Seeing Numbers Part II: With real World Images

Roger Cicala of Lensrentals measured a few lenses at 35mm and discussed his findings here. He also took some nature test images (at f/5.6) with the very same lenses and sent the raw files to us.

The Scene

With Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Naming Conventions 

  • s35f5.6: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at f/5.6
  • n35f5.6: Nikon 35mm f/1.4 at f/5.6
  • n24-120f5.6: Nikon 24-120mm f/4 at f/5.6
  • m16-35f5.6: Nikon 16-35mm f/4 at f/5.6


  • OS3P: Sharpened with our script Opimal Sharp V3 Plus
  • OS3PS: Sharpened with our script Opimal Sharp V3 Plus and Optimal Snap on top

We show 100% pixel views from Lightroom 4.3 on a 30" monitor.


Chromatic Aberrations (CA)

All lenses show some CA.

Click on image to enlargeThe Sigma 35mm and Nikon 35mm show CA but not that much. We would still fix it in Lightroom.

Click on Image to enlargeThe 16-35mm zoom shows some more CA and the 24-120mm the strongest CA. We show how Lightroom 4.3 reduces the CA for the 24-120mm zoom (left without CA removal):

 Click to enlarge

With the help of LR we can manage the CA with all these lenses.

Sharpening, Detail and Contrast Processing

We process the images in three steps: 

  • Lightroom: CA removal on, Sharpening 80, 0.5, 0, 0 (this is just some base sharpening, your technique may vary). We published our main workflow here. Of course we have a bias towards our own scripts. You can check a demo version of all our scripts for free.
  • DOP Optimal Sharp V3 script for detail sharpening (works in Photoshop but we also use droplets from Lightroom)
  • DOP Optimal Snap to enhance global and local contrast (we also add some saturation, can be tuned of course)

As mentioned all images were processed the same way (without any extra tweaks).

Click to enlargeThe left shows the Sigma center with LR processing only and the right after Optimal Sarp V3 tuning.


Click to Enlarge

The left part shows the result from step 1 and the right after adding the contrast tuning (global and local) from DOP Optimal Snap. 

Analysis: Center

The best lens in the center is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. That is why we compare the other three  lenses with the Sigma lens. We show crops of final the processed images.

Click to enlargeNikon 35mm f/1.4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at center: Both lenses are close in the center. It is more a matter of personal preference.

Click to enlargeNikon 16-35mm f/4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at center: The Sigma shows significant better contrast.

Click to enlargeNikon 24-120mm f4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at center: Both lenses are close in the center. The Sigma has some edge though.

Analysis: Right 

We check the images on the right because there is no real right corner to analyse in this scene.  

Click to enlargeNikon 35mm f/1.4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at the right: The Sigma is quite a bit better.

Click to enlargeNikon 16-35mm f/4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at the right: The Sigma wins hands down.

Click to enlargeNikon 24-120mm f/4 vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 at the right: The Sigma wins but the Nikon 24-120mm is surprisingly holdings its own.

Analysis: Left

The left would mirror the results of the right if the Sigma would not been slightly decentered (read in Roger's article).

We only show one comparison that shows the weaker left of the Sigma lens.

Click to enlargeOk, the Sigma is still a bit better but it may also already show the left corner softness.


Overall there is no real surprise. The real world images mirror the finding of Roger's measurements. Minor measurement differences are hard to detect and major differences also show after processing. We think our detail sharpening is pretty good but it does not level the differences (a good thing I think). Keep in mind that all the lenses produced very usable results. Roger, thank you very much to let us join in on this project.

We for sure plan to use our 24-120mm f/4 VR a lot more. It is a very good compromise for zoom of this range.

Lets end with one of our portfolio images shot with our D800 and 24-120mm f/4 VR at f/6.3:

click to enlarge

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    outbackphoto - News - Seeing Numbers Part II: With real World Images

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Cinema5d change of ownership | Main | Happy End for Lightroom 4.4RC and Fuji X-Trans Raw Images »