Season of Touit – picture 10
Week 37, Saturday
As far as I can tell photographers are pretty obsessed with the sharpness, but I can surely relate to this feeling myself as well. Looking at the picture and seeing all the small details captured in a moment of split second is just fascinating. This sort of obsession with sharpness is profound with high resolution cameras, because one can zoom in and see even more details. No wonder why ‘is it sharp?’ or ‘how sharp it is?’ is number one topic in many photography forums. Like many other Sony Alpha users (especially those coming from the Nex legacy), my first experience regarding sharpness happened with the Sony E-mount kit lens (SEL1855). For those who dismiss kit lenses in general, I can say that even the kit lens can deliver pretty good contrast&colors, and stopped down it can deliver acceptable sharpness as well. But the truth is that when I was using the kit lens I always had to worry about the sharpness. After shooting with it I always felt certain anxiety and needed to check my pictures later on from computer screen to see if they were ok, particularly regarding the sharpness.
My experience with Zeiss is different. The Touit 2.8/12 is very sharp right from the wide open at f/2.8 and doesn’t really increase after that even if stopped down a bit – although the focus area increases and makes the image feel sharper in total. What I like about the Touit 2.8/12 is that the sharpness extends to edges as well, particularly if the subject is close focused.
When focusing into far objects, like landscape for example, the sharpness doesn’t strike as superb, but might also be because things get rather small in the image field due to small focal length. Nevertheless the results are very good like in this picture of stars where edge sharpness is very important.
Then the Touit 2.8/50M. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, also pretty sharp even wide open. Stopping down at f/4 or F5.6 things get very sharp and is joy to use in everyday photography. However, the Touit 2.8/50M starts to shows its real capabilities only at the macro range. When focused very near the lens is very very sharp, though this perception might be emphasized by the experience of seeing microscopic details which would otherwise be unreachable for the naked eye. The diffraction doesn’t really start to decrease the sharpness until at f/16, which is very impressive and convenient considering that macro photography usually works with small apertures to increase the depth of field.
Are the Zeiss lenses sharper than the x product from the competitors? To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I find them to be more than enough – which in my case means I don’t have to make compromises between the aperture value and sharpness (like I had with the Sony E-mount kit lens 18-55). Everything looks very good and after certain level of ‘clear single hairs and dust particles’ I find it difficult to see the benefit of increased sharpness. I understand that people love to compare things, but for those who are seeking maximum sharpness, I would like to remind that while it feels rational to maximize performance it might not be psychologically the best approach. There is always something better waiting behind the corner and going for maximum performance means that one is more likely to be unsatisfied again when the newness-factor disappears. For me, the best thing regarding the sharpness of these lenses is the fact that I stopped worrying about it altogether and have enjoyed my images ever then.
Year of the Alpha – 52 Weeks of Sony Alpha Photography: www.yearofthealpha.com
Posted by Toni Ahvenainen on 2014-09-12 20:37:14
Tagged: , Stars , Sky , Night , Zeiss , Touit , 2.8/12 , Sony Nex-5N , Antenna , Falling , star