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Equipment

The Sony FE Lenses MTF and Variance Summary

We’ve put all of this information out in other articles, but it was as we finished each one so it’s become scattered about. I wanted to simply put up all of our MTF and variance curves for Sony FE lenses in one place so you wouldn’t have to hunt and search for different articles to get the information you wanted. So there’s nothing new here, and very little commentary, just a single place where you can go to compare FE lenses.

Remember that each lens was tested at it’s widest aperture. The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 has lower MTF than the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8, for example, because they were tested at different apertures, not because the f/2.8 is a sharper lens.

I also want to point out that the new variation curves we’re using now tend to minimize the difference between lenses a bit compared to the old ones. We think that’s appropriate since people were really splitting hairs with them before. But with these, when you notice a difference, it’s a pretty real difference.

FE Prime Lenses

Sony FE 35mm ZA f/1.4

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 35mm ZA f/2.8

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Zoom Lenses

For each zoom, we’ll show that results at 3 focal lengths: wide, center, and long end.

Sony FE 16-35mm f/4

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 24-70mm f/4

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM

2470GM24sml

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

2470GM70sml

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

Sony FE 70-200 F/4 G OSS

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

OlafOpticalTesting, 2016

 

I’m not going to make any comments here, we’ve made them in previous articles. We just wanted to get all of the MTF curves in one place where you could find them easily.

 

Roger Cicala, Aaron Closz, Brandon Dube, and Diego Martinez

Lensrentals.com

June, 2016

 

Author: Roger Cicala

I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.

Posted in Equipment
  • Rob

    Have you done testing of the sony alpha lenses? (16-35, 24-70, 70-200?)

  • Kevin, I’m not sure I follow how to do that. The bench has to be set up with calculations and distortions for each type of lens before we run that type. We have standardized test lenses for calibrating the bench itself, but no way to, for example, have a test Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro planar — we’d have to have a test copy for each specific lens kept separate for that purpose.

  • Kevin

    I’m looking forward to seeing your results at different distances. I think your approach is much more transparent and reliable.

    One little suggestion, maybe it’s better to introduce a standard control like in a science experiment, ie, use a specific copy before every run to assure better consistency across different tests.

  • Kevin, I have no idea, it could be either one. If some other target analysis testers, who would be testing at similar distances to DxO, find the same thing then it’s likely to be testing distance. If they find differently than DxO, then copy variation would be the fast horse.

  • Kevin

    You may already notice the very controversial results of 2470GM recently published on DXO. Especially the 70mm wide open is on the opposite comparing to your results. Do you think the difference is mainly from the copy variance or the focus distance?

  • Kevin, it’s the catch-22 of all testing. Bench is at infinity, target analysis is close.

    Personally for shorter focal lengths I think the bench is more appropriate. A 24mm may be tested at 5-6 feet in target testing. When you get out to 70mm and up, target analysis gets better, 12 to 15 feet or more, up to maybe 25 feet at longer (100mm or so) focal lengths.

    Personally, I think you look at both and give weight to what’s more like you’re shooting distance. As an aside we now have a finite bench, but that also is for very close testing, really more for macro lenses. But it should start giving us some idea about which lenses are really different at very close focusing distances. (early results say most new lenses aren’t too different)

  • Kevin

    Hi Roger,

    I read a few interesting comments about your tests on other sites. I think In your OLAF tests lenses are focusing at infinity, right? I’m wondering how relevant are the results in real-world photography.

    IMHO, most likely subjects far away are just backgrounds, or even they are major subjects. normally they don’t provide much fine details. Anyway, those subjects within 10-50 feet demand higher resolving power.

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

    Kevin

  • Claudio, in the newer graphs it’s +/- 1 standard deviation from the mean.

  • Claudia Muster

    I really appreciate your effort, I’ve learnt a lot from your blog. One question: What variance do you show? Is it extreme-to-extreme, standard deviation or even some other variance?

  • Hakann, when time allows. Remember this blog is a nonprofit hobby. During the summer we are very busy doing the work that allows us to earn a little money and buy the equipment that lets us do this stuff. We have some contract testing for NASA that’s going to tie up an entire week, some more contract testing for a manufacturer that will take another, and our usual testing for Lensrentals all the time. I doubt we’ll get around to it before late July at best.

  • Hakann Vatansever

    Hello Roger, many people waiting for good news about AF coil assembly improvement you’ve mentioned about FE2470/FE55 lenses…When will you publish about them? many thanks.

  • Any plans for the FE 28mm f/2?

  • Lee

    My theory is that that’ll change as these higher and higher pixel density sensors make problems easier to spot and a higher portion of customers start complaining about these things.

  • Brandon Dube

    Making an electronic mount for an optical bench is quite complicated to do properly and requires the participation of of the company that makes the mount (Canon for EF mount, Nikon for F mount, Sony for E mount, and so on). Most of these companies are not using MTF benches very often if at all, and have no interest in that kind of cooperative effort.

    MTF benches are most popular with rather small lenses, under 1″ in diameter, used for more industrial applications where the images are processed by a computer and a lens that’s a dud means something bad happens. If your typical Canon, Nikon, whoever, lens is a dud, someone gets some soft pictures but no one gets hurt.

  • Lee

    As much as I don’t want to defend the awful fact that lenses are turning into consumer electronics (and won’t participate in it; I don’t own a single focus-by-wire or no-aperture-ring lens and it’s going to stay that way as long as possible), it is a bit silly that the optical bench makers haven’t realized that they’ll need to build “smart” mounts for these systems.

  • peevee

    Any chance to see data for the lenses stopped down a notch? Because wide open nothing but 24-70/2.8GM looks even close to being half-suitable for landscaped. 16-35/4, what a shame…

  • umad?!

    oh, I just forgot how hard it was to get those focus by wire (especially linear motors) to work with the optical bench. I can see that this makes absolutely no sense from your perspective ^^

    Even if there are no Fuji blogs, I’ll still keep coming here, you guys are making an outstanding job!!! 🙂

  • Phillip Reeve

    Thanks a lot for your work!
    Should you ever find the time I would appreciate it a lot if you added the FE 2/28.

  • Ike582

    Thanks Roger!

  • Brandon Dube

    If I get to shit on another camera company, I might make the mount as a pet project and twist an intern’s arm or two into focusing on Fuji 🙂

  • Here’s a couple of intro ones: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/05/mtf-the-english-translation/

    https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2009/06/have-you-seen-my-acutance/

    There’s a lot of more technical ones out there if you Google ‘how to read MTF charts’.

  • More than demand is the fact that I’d have to shell out for a Fuji mount for the bench, then sacrifice a camera to drive it like we did with Sony. I just don’t think we’ll ever get around to that, honestly. That’s a $4,000 investment along with a LOT of man hours.

  • umad?!

    Any chance to see any Fujis next? But I guess there just isn’t enough demand/stock :/

  • Ike582

    Roger & Company, thanks for the article. What’s the best online resource that I can review so as to understand how to read and understand these type of charts?

  • We have enough, Joel, but not enough in stock any one day. Summer gets really chaotic around here.

  • Roger Cicala

    We have enough except that it’s summer now and there’s never any in stock.

  • joel richards

    Thanks so much! Do you enough Batis lenses to add those at some point?

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