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Comparing macro lenses using MTF - invitation

 
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 106
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:13 am    Post subject: Comparing macro lenses using MTF - invitation Reply with quote

After more than 50 macro lenses tested for resolution and CA using standardized method I've found some real gems, some of them being already known for great results. Of course, I have selected the best of the best for my own macro work, although there are few weak points (magnifications) where feeling says there must be some better optics out there.

I have bought many of those lenses on Ebay auctions, some of them locally and some were borrowed from friends and distributors. There are still few lens "milestones" worth testing and comparing but so far I didn't have a chance to get samples like Minolta Dimage 5400 lens, Mitutoyo 5x objective or Zhongyi (Mitakon) Super Macro 1x-5x lens.

I wonder would it be unrealistic to ask you guys if you can part from your precious lens worth testing for a week or two, send it to me for testing and get it back with charts? Unfortunately, postage from USA or Asia to Croatia and back is way to high so only Europeans qualify for this challenge! I believe small package postage across Europe is in order of €10 or so.
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 2101
Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would send the DI 5400 & Mitutoyo 5X if you were in US, but postage to Europe is ~$24!! I know because I just shipped a couple of my controllers and both got rejected by customs, so I had to redo the documents and ship again. So 2 packages cost me $96 Sad

How would you think the Laowa 25mm would compare to the DI 5400 or other better lenses around 2~4X?

Best,

Mike
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 106
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mawyatt wrote:
I would send the DI 5400 & Mitutoyo 5X if you were in US, but postage to Europe is ~$24!! I know because...

I know too Mike that US to Europe postages become to high in the last couple of years. This is why I'm very rarely buying anything from USA except when friends who live there are visiting.
mawyatt wrote:
How would you think the Laowa 25mm would compare to the DI 5400 or other better lenses around 2~4X?

My main argument when insisting on MTF way of testing lenses is repeatibility and easy comparison even when the lenses are miles or years apart. My series of macro lens tests was divided by magnification factor and 3x episode was published in September last year: www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=38109. So let's compare!
It is easy to find that Laowa 25mm equals lens #4 (Lomo 3.7 objective @3x) when comparing weighted average resolution but Laowa has more balanced resolution across the frame. However, when Lomo was mounted via tube lens, it's edge resolution improved so it can be considered as better (and much cheaper) solution in 3x to 4x range.
Untill someone borrows me Dimage 5400 lens for testing I wouldn't be able to compare it to Laowa so I can only speculate about their differences....
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link, what tube lens did you use with the Lomo 3.7?

I agree with your testing setup, having repeatable results with numbers is the proper "scientific" way to evaluate, anything else is "speculation".

Best,
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
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Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lomo 3.7 measured 2505 on average when extended for 3x but went over 2600 when relayed with Raynox DCR-250. Central resolution doesn't change much but edges improve substantially. It's 125mm focal length gives almost exact 3x magnification.
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!!

Best,
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 106
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First package with lenses and objectives for MTF testing has arrived from our fellow photomacrographer Filip (jurkovicovic): three scanner lenses and three microscope objectives. I believe second group will arouse broader attention. There is Amscope "knurled ring" Plan 4x/0.10 and two infinite Zeiss/Jena GF Planachromats: 6.3x/0.12 and 12.5x/0.25.
This is going to be one intense weekend in my lab!

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jurkovicovic



Joined: 16 Jul 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice photo Smile
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
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Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This testing episode came to a stall unexpectedly. One of my „calibrated“ tools turned out to be way off the expected values. I become aware of it thanks to few reference objectives tested earlier and now added to this new batch. Since 2016 I was using Capture One as part of MTF testing workflow. Comparison to other raw converters revealed this piece of software is second to none when it comes to extracting the last pixel of resolution while fighting nicely demosaicing with just the right amount of presharpening. Version 10.0 was the first to read (compressed) Fuji raw files so I started to convert raw test patterns into files accepted by Imatest program. All was done by using default values in order to maintain cross-platform compatibility. When C1 v.11.0 was introduced in November 2017. I've upgraded so my „Comparing macro lenses using MTF” series published here at the end of 2018. was done using that later version. In April this year I upgraded to v.12.0 but didn’t do any testing since recently. Comparing old figures from my Lomo 3.7x, Nikon 5x NA 0.15 LU Plan and Nikon 10x NA 0.30 Plan EPI to new values brought me to shocking 10-15% differences. Since most of HW and SW components are well controlled and frequently checked, Capture One came under suspicion at once. Here are the results of Imatest resolution test performed with the same lens, on the same raw file but processed with C1 versions 10.0, 11.0 and 12.0 respectively:

You can easily see equal vales for 10.0 and 11.0 but substantially lower values for v.12.0. Obviously, Phase One team decided to weaken presharpening algorithms but without any notice to their users.
Now I have rolled back to v.11.0 because of MTF testing. Of course, at work with Nikon D850 I’m staying with the latest version due to some new features introduced.
The testing continues….
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19970
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miljenko, thank you for this latest report about the significance of sharpening applied during raw conversion.

I wonder if you have done any similar tests regarding the effect of using different sensors.

My understanding of slanted edge analysis is that what it's really determining is system MTF, not just lens MTF. If that's correct, then it seems like sensor resolution, presence/absence of AA filter, and maybe even smaller details like microlens characteristics could have some significant effect on the results.

Is this something that you've looked at?

--Rik
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Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 106
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:

I wonder if you have done any similar tests regarding the effect of using different sensors.

Never directly but since 2004. I have "imatested" literally hundreds of lenses using different cameras I owned: Nikon D200, D300, D7000, D7100 and Fuji X-T1 & X-T2. On some occasions I used the same lens with different cameras and the results were so different that I archived them strictly separated. For some time my resolution reference was (great copy of) Sigma 70mm f2.8 Macro so I have tested in on several cameras. And yes, resolution values were different.
rjlittlefield wrote:

My understanding of slanted edge analysis is that what it's really determining is system MTF, not just lens MTF. If that's correct, then it seems like sensor resolution, presence/absence of AA filter, and maybe even smaller details like microlens characteristics could have some significant effect on the results.

You are absolutely right. All those components play it's role in final resolution score. The most prominent being AA filter so when manufacturers in general decided to omit this questionable add-on, resolution figures measured jumped by a huge margin.
As a side note: although I do my best to stick to "standardized" testing procedure and gear I am very well aware there is hardly such thing. But nevertheless if someone does MTF testing using the same hardware and software as I do, results will be similar and within lens variation values.
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