I wanted to test the difference between using a tripod and hand held , the weather bright overcast, no wind, mirror up on tripod with remote release. Well the short answer is that you just can`t beat a well made sturdy tripod period. Whilst doing the test and seeing as my ulcer is playing up today which normally keeps me around the house I decided to test my lenses (in a non scientific way) by using the tripod and photographing a section of brick wall( yeh! I can hear you saying"Oh No" but there you are, so listed below are my lenses and my findings.Camera Canon 5D2.
CONTAX 21mm 2.8 MM version.
Not much to say about this lens other than it`s about as close as you can get to perfection at that focal length full stop.
SIGMA 20mm 1.8
Stopped down to f8-11 it`s surprising just what a good lens it is, slight softening at the extreme corners.
CONTAX 25mm 2.8 MM version
Central main area 100% the corners are not quite on par but very close.
CANON 28mm 2.8
Not a bad lens centrally but I`m afraid that the corners never really make it.
CONTAX 28mm 2.8 MM version
Very good centrally and nice feel with good colours but the corners never quite come near what I expected after seeing the centre.
CANON 35mm f2
For a budget lens the general performance is excellent, if the corners on FF were just slightly better this lens would cost a premium.
CONTAX 35mm 2.8 MM version
Again the central area is very good and stopped down it`s a very usable lens, the corners just start to let it down a touch but nothing serious.
VOIGTLANDER 40mm f2 Ultron 11
A very good performance and by f11 the corners are well on par with the rest of the frame.A superb small footprint makes this a really great walk-a-bout lens and it came complete with a screw in macro lens. When mounted the aperture ring is very close to the body but I just fitted a cable tie around it to give me something to grab hold of.
CANON 50mm f1.8 mk11
Excellent performance for a budget lens, central area very sharp and defined and a match for many other 50`s. Slightly let down by the corners but at f11 it ain`t bad at all.
LEICA 50mm f2 Sumicron (latest with built in hood)
Is there anything any better on the market? I certainly doubt it. It just writes the image in a believable way. The focus ring has just the perfect feel for manual focus and stopped down a few stops the whole frame is in focus and bristling with fine detail. BTW videos shot with the 5d2 and this lens open on the wide side are superb.
CANON 85mm 1.8
For the price this lens is the bargain of the century and really would be good value at twice the price. A touch og greenish CA when shot into the light wide open but is soon tidy once stopped down a couple of stops. Bitingly sharp everywhere to just before the very corners but never noticed in the real world.
CONTAX 100mm f3.5 MM version
Absolutely superb everywhere from f5.6, I`d like it to be an f2 or 2.8 but you can`t have it all and the f3.5 is probably what makes it so superb. It`s small and compact with a feel to the focus like the Leica. You don`t see many up for sale but after trying this lens out and being blown away I managed to grab another mint condition one just in case.
CANON 100 mm f2.8 macro
In general a very very good performance that would satisfy any macro shooter ( or landscape) not quite on par with the Contax 100 3.5 for out and out fine detailed sharpness but it does have the versatility of close focus where it comes into it`s own.
CANON 135L f2
A superb lens, bokeh to die for and fully usable wide open if required. I think the Contax 100 3.5 might just have the edge on the central definition but the 135 seems to have the same definition right into the corners and that`s not an easy task. If this lens had IS (image stabilising) it would be on my camera more of the time but unless you are shooting in good light you really need a support to bring out the best of it.
Contax 35-70mm MM version
A cracking small manual focus zoom that deserves all the praise it gets.It`s generally good everywhere except the corners at the 35mm end. Add to this the close focus feature and it is a must have lens for MF(manual focus)buffs.
CANON 17-40L zoom
@17mm generally good for such a wide lens, some distortion towards the corners and the edges plus some CA in tree branches but not that bad for a 17mm lens and with the later cameras and software the distortion can be easily cleaned up.
@28mm very very good and probably the actual sweet spot of the lens, no big problems to speak of.
@40mm not quite as sharp as at 28mm but pretty even across the frame with little or no distortion.
CANON 24-105L zoom
@24mm distortion, distortion, distortion. I never really noticed just how much barrel there is in this lens at the wide end, it won`t show quite as much in the real world but on a brick wall it is quite an eye opener.
@35mm Not to bad at all, some corner softness but well inside criteria.
@50mm a surprisingly good performance overaul after see the wide end, well usable at this focal length.
@70mm centre definition fine but softness creeping in the edges and corners.
@105mm well! maybe it`s my copy but at 105mm I found the image definition quite lacking really for what is actually quite an expensive lens.
CANON 70-200L f4 IS
@70mm very good performance right across the frame.
@100mm again, very good everywhere.
@135mm recorded very fine detail, lost of contrast and great corners.
@200mm just a hint of softness right in the very corners but away from that it was 100%
Well, there you have it, not scientific and remember maybe some of my technique and / or the adapters needed to convert Contax and Leica to EOS mount might not be perfect and of course in the real world away from brick walls things get a lot easier. If nothing else I now know what to choose when the best IQ is needed.