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Whatbs your opinion G Lenses Sharper Than Medium Format

coodeville

Well-Known Member
<font size="+1">An associate and I were talking about format sizes. We agreed that a larger negative is always better. But he insists that a Zeiss G lens is sharper than a good amount of other brand medium format lenses. He also claims to have made sharper 20 x 24's with the 45mm G lens than with the Mamiya 80mm f/2.8. What is your opinion?
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
His claim that the G lense is "sharper" than a good amount of other brand medium format lenese seems simply silly to me, but it depends on what he is comparing. If to a Holga, yes, he's right. If to a Hasselblad or Rollei, or Fuji, or Contax or modern Mamiya, no, he's wrong. Claims like that can really only be chuckled at, and not argued with.

Austin
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Zeiss G lens is sharper than>

As beautiful as 35mm and G lens produced slides are- A projected Hasselblad slide can almost make you believe that you are actually there. There is no comparison.

Regards:

Gilbert
 
For a given, specifc area of film, the G lens might be a lttile bit sharper (for a few reasons, and a lens test would confirm that). But since the medium format lens covers a much larger peice of film, for a given output size, say an 11x14 print, the medium format lens will give you the sharper print -- and it will be increasingly apparent the larger your output size.

 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
I would guess that even CZ lenses have a tolerance margin and there will, for ex&le, be some 45mm G lenses that are better than others. I am very happy with my 45 and have blown up to approx A3 with no apparent problems. I used to have a Mamiya 645 and an 80mm f2.8 bought new. I think I got the "Friday" lens. It was at best adequate and was fairly instrumental in putting me off medium format photography other than using vintage cameras (Wirgin, Rikards Verascope, Zeiss Ikonta etc.) I sent it back to Mamiya who said it was within tolerance levels. If you end up comparing a "good" CZ G45 with a "poor" medium format lens, I am sure you could get better results from the 35mm negative. Wilson
 

jsmith45

Member
The G lens might beat the others in resolution and contrast, but it is hard to compare the 35mm format with 6x6. There is a richness in medium format that 35mm cannot duplicate, and (more importantly), the resolving power of the film itself is the great equalizer. If your 45mm Planar has greater resolving power than the film you are using, the the film is the weakest link. For me Fuji 800 makes great 8x10 photos from 35mm, but looking at the grain structure after scanning shows me that I'm not taking advantage of the lens using that film.
 

robgo2

Active Member
Although I do not have the specific data regarding the G lenses, it is generally true that 35mm lenses are of a higher resolution than larger format lenses. They have to be in order to produce an acceptable image from a smaller negative. Still, MF will crush any 35mm system in terms of image quality for significant enlargements. At 4x6 or even 8x12, the difference may be hard to appreciate.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
The reason *some* 35mm lenses have a higher resolution than MF lenses in general is the image circle for MF lenses is much larger. There are quite a few MF lenses that simply outperform most any 35mm lense...

None the less (as Robert said), when the increase in film size is taken into account as to how much usable "resolution" there is, there is no comparison, MF wins hands down.

Regards,

Austin
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Robert and Jeff have a point on the resolving power.

Since 135 format generally has higher resolving power than the larger format, I think the 135 slide may looks shaper than the 120 slide on the light table, with all things being equal. But large prints and projected images, I don't think so. Unless you are comparing to a poor medium format lens.
 

jsmith45

Member
If you are interested in seeing test results for different lenses, go to
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and look at their MTF ratings. The Contax G 45mm Planar is rated higher than any other lens they have tested. However, as was mentioned earlier, if we are looking at comparative ratings, the common denominator is lost when we consider the negative size. If a lens for 35mm has the same resolving power as a lens for mediurm format, the medium format lens will beat the 35mm lens because there is far less magnification of medium format negatives. Thus, for an 8x10, the medium format lens has much greater potential resolving power.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Jeffery,

"The Contax G 45mm Planar is rated higher than any other lens they have tested."

It is second from the top of the pack for their rating of lensese they've tested...the Canon 200/1.8 is higher, rated a 4.8.

I'm not saying I agree with their ratings, BTW...

Regards,

Austin
 

jsmith45

Member
Whow, Austin you're right! I'll bet that I missed that because I don't have any Canon equipment (though it is great stuff). The face-off is always between Zeiss and Leica, so I tend to look at those two and my other two favorites, Pentax and Nikon.

The ratings are, of course, very limited in usefulness as they don't cover a large s&le size of lenses. What they are good for is telling people not to buy Centon.
 
C

cyberstudio

I think this issue has been discussed before. For making prints, of course the printing stage strongly affects the results. I kind of had a similar experience with my Fuji 645s not significantly blowing my G off to be worth maintaining another format and I considered moving up to 6x7 (such as Mamiya 7). However, it could simply be poor digital scanning, something that a larger negative may or may not be able to solve. I could always pay more for a professional scan but if I keep on doing it the costs would be prohibitive.

Be it 135 or medium format, within a format you want to squeeze the last bit out of it, and the Contax G certainly is capable of doing that within its format limitations as all the other respondents have agreed. A 645 negative is only 1.6x larger (linear) and all it takes is for the Contax G to out-resolve it by 1.6 times. I do not believe this is a total impossibility in all situations. If there is some discontinued frozen Ektar 25 around I think it can be done against some ISO 400 or 800 medium format film.
 
You're looking at the wrong math. I'm not sure where 1.6 times came from but it's not the "linear" measure that matters. It is the area of film being used. A 645 negative (about 60mm x 45mm) has around 3 times the area of a 35mm negative (about 35mm x 24mm) -- and can therfore hold 3 times the information. There is no way a 35mm lens -- even a G lens -- can be so sharp as to overcome that disadvantage (grain could also get in the way). A G lens might be a little sharper for a given square millimeter than a MF lens, the fact that you have 3 times the number of square millimeters makes a huge difference. I can't explain your experience with the Fuji 645, but my Contax 645 produces noticable better images than my Contax G, and my Mamiya 7II produces phenomenal images. No contest. Carry the extra weight and put up with the added inconvenience of MF and you WILL get better images than your G (provided of course that you use the stuff properly).
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Yes I have to agree with Lotus. I have two Mamiya 6MF bodies and the three system lenses which go with the 6. Before that I had a Yashicamat 124G and before that, would you believe, a Lubitel.
Medium format knocks spots of 35mm but is not as convenient.
Regards,
John
 

afong

Member
It is not difficult to believe that the engineering and manufacture of the G2 lenses is much easier due to the two facts that 1) as a 35mm system a smaller piece of glass is required and 2) as a rangefinder the lens is brought closer to the film plane.

Simply put, it is far easier to maintain extremely tight tolerances and uniform coatings since there is less glass and less complexity in the lens to compensate for optical aberrations. So is a G2 45mm f2 sharper than a 645 80mm f2? Probably.

That being said about lenses, the differences in the amount of enlargement of the image on film necessary to obtain the same size print gives a clear advantage in image quality to medium format.

af
 
C

cyberstudio

Obviously, there is some gap between medium format and 135. Whether that gap is big enough to justify the extra costs of medium format is a very subjective question. To me, the middle of the road 645 did not give me a big enough gap to justify. In my humble opinion I would have to go all the way to 6x7 or a really good 645 (such as Lotus' Contax) to be "happy" with medium format.

As for linear vs. area, the point is well taken, but is it really that hard for one lens/film system to be sharper than another by so much that the former can store 3 times as much information ? Not either. A 80 lp/mm system vs. a 50 lp/mm system can both be squared to yield a 3 times difference in information stored.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Bobby,

"As for linear vs. area, the point is well taken, but is it really that hard for one lens/film system to be sharper than another by so much that the former can store 3 times as much information ? Not either. A 80 lp/mm system vs. a 50 lp/mm system can both be squared to yield a 3 times difference in information stored."

I'm not sure about your arithmatic here...but it's not that easy, optically, to cover a larger film area...which is why larger format lenses aren't as sharp (in most cases) as smaller format lenses in terms of raw resolution per same unit of coverage...but when the increase in coverage area is taken into consideration, the larger lenses are effectively sharper given the same size print (not the same magnification).

35m suffers from the resolution of film, where MF does not as much. This, of course, depends on how large an image you want. For 8x10 and below, no doubt, 35mm does just fine in most cases. Above that, MF can certainly show higher image quality. Some people can shoot 35mm up to 13 x 19 with little distinction between it and MF, but that takes careful focus/controlling camera shake, proper exposure and very good development.

Regards,

Austin
 
G

guy

Austin,

Test results aside, I have some 24"x36" and 30" x 40" prints hanging on my wall. Some were with my Canon IS glass and others were with my Contax 645. The Canon images are great but the 645 ones blow them away in sharpness and detail. You may argue Canon vs. Contax 35mm glass but that can only account for so much. Simple physics will declare a substantially enlarged MF image sharper than a likewise 35mm image, assuming both are shot with high quality glass. The same goes for my prints from my 4x5. Hands down the winner. And on a light table the detail in the 4x5 is stunningly superior to my 645 and 35mm trannies. And no one argues that 4x5 lenses are as sharp as 35mm!

Guy
 
C

cyberstudio

I started wondering why I drifted off myself. The question was whether it was possible for the Planar G 45 to defeat the Mamiya 80/2.8 in a 20" x 24". I said, yeah, with the best optics (G45), best film (Ektar 25), best printing and best technique, why not ? Over less good optics, less good film (e.g. ISO 400), less good printing (Frontier scanning, for ex&le, set to usual speed) and less good technique on the medium format side. I would not deny this (135 winning over MF) as a total impossibility. Of course, everything else equal, there is a gap between 645 and 135, a sizable one indeed. In my opinion, a bigger film area is only as good as how you use it properly. The bottom line: 645 has 3 times the area over 135 and everything else equal should be capable of a 3-times-area enlargement, but 135 should be adequate for everything 12 x 18 or below.
 
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