FDn 50 f1.4 & Zuiko OM 50 f3.5 Macro – At Distance
Now for centre crops:
This is a very impressive performance on centre at f2. There is a little residual CA than can be cleaned up manually with relative ease, but the resolution is very strong indeed.
At f5.6, the 50mm FDn f1.4 is blistering on centre.
But at f11, the OM Macro is no slouch. At 50% you wont see any real difference between this and the FDn and that’s a big print already.
The zoom is very respectable on centre at f8, where it seems to peak.
Edge = perfect. This is as good as any lens I have ever used.
And once again, the Macro is just a touch behind, albeit at a smaller aperture (which it needs – see later images).
The Sony zoom is not bad, but the image lacks not just definition, but the contrast and definition that makes the above files look so much better.
Just go give you an idea of performance when away from their optimums:
Now you can see why the 50mm f3.5 OM Macro needs stopping down more at distance for good edges.
Summary: We are comparing very different lenses here, but that’s more from an interest point of view. We are shooting at a fair distance in the test scene and I did not expect the macro to do all that well and it as indeed considerably weaker than the FDn at f5.6, but keep stopping it down and it puts in a very respectable performance, even at this distance. The centre might not be scintilating, but its very decent. The edges are pretty impressive. Its only in comparison to the stunning Canon that it looks less good. I can say, however, that I have done shots at mid-range distances (15m) and the macro was a noticeably stronger than here. Not as good as the FDn, but not far off….
For the OM 50mm f3.5 Macro and shot at distance, f11 is the sweet spot, though f8 is very useable. As a Macro/close distance lens, with the potential for shooting distant scenes, this compact wonder is, well, wonderful!
For general use, it is obvious that the 50mm FDn 1.4 is one very sharp lens with tremendously uniform performance once stopped down. I can say from other test shots that it is quite ‘glowy’ wide open, which is useful for portraits. By f2 the glow is gone. By f2.8 edges still a touch soft. By f4 things are really tightening up and only a hair behind its best. By f5.6 it’s a scalpel everywhere. This is the sort of performance I see with my Leica and Zeiss M lenses at 5.6. Seriously.
If you are a landscape shooter and have been tempted by the 50 ZM planar as a cheaper alternative to the expensive (but brilliant) 55 FE, why not consider the FDn? You’ll save a bunch even over a used ZM and have performance that is every bit as good and possibly a little better… As an added bonus, you have a glowy f1.4 lens thrown in, which can double for other applications.
The kit zoom is best at 28-35mm and then steadily declines. At 50mm, it can’t really stand up to the FDn 50 1.4, which shows better resolution everywhere, better contrast and does a fine impression of a very expensive lens. Compared to the 50mm Macro, its close on centre (possibly a touch weaker) but quite far behind at the edges. I would be very happy to use the Zuiko OM 50mm Macro for everything, including landscapes at distance and this means you can get away with carrying only one lens. Sure, the 50mm FDn is better at distance, but only if you are making very large prints and its not a macro lens when you need one of those.
Zuiko OM 50 f3.5 Macro – Medium Close up Performance
The following frame was shot at a distance of about a metre (3 feet) – The logs are quite small (6-10 inches across)…
There is nothing wrong with that edge performance!
Now a bit closer in (frame about 30cm across)
You can see how f16 just takes the edge off resolution on centre. It gives a tiny, almost invisible benefit at the edges, but subtle degradation everywhere. You’d need quite a large print to see it, though.
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