This is a summary of the results of a distant-landscape test of the following lenses:
- Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
- Nikon 58mm f/1.4 AFS-Nikkor G
- Coastal Optical 60mm f/4 UV-Vis-IR Apo Macro
- Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG Art (Copy 1)
- Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG Art (Copy 2)
- Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus
You can read about the methodology and the f/4 results here.
- The f/1.4 pictures are here.
- f/2 is here.
- f/2.8 images here.
- The f/5.6 results are here.
- f/8? Here.
- f/11? Not presented. Too similar.
At f/1.4, the Otus is far and away the best performer away from the center, although, in the center, the Sigmas give the Zeiss a go. The same is true to a lesser extent at f/2. At f/2.8 the Sigmas are very close to the Otus. Beyond that, you could throw a blanket over the three of them.
The Coastal Optical does fine, but it’s handicapped by the fact that it’s only an f/4 lens.
This is not a test that plays to the 58mm Nikkor’s strength, which is the rendering of out-of-focus portions of the image, but it performs credibly nonetheless.
The Micro-Nikkor is outclassed. It is an older design, and it is not operating at the distance for which it was designed. Nevertheless, its performance is not bad, just not up to the high standard of this field.
In tests that follow, I looked at out-of-focus portions of a different test image.
In this test, the 58mm Nikkor shows that it’s something special when it comes to rendering smooth, creamy bokeh. The Otus is second, with a less voluptuous treatment. The Sigma has a fiddly quality to its bokeh at the wider apertures. The other two lenses do fine, but are nothing to write home about in this context.
A few notes:
The macro capabilities of the Coastal Optical lens, together with the relatively short focus ring throw and the stiff action, make it really tough to focus accurately. It does stay put when you take your hand off, which is more than I can say for the not tested 50mm Summilux.
The D810 dramatically improved live view over the two predecessor cameras, but it’s still not quite up to the Sony alpha 7 live view. On the other hand, the D810 live view won’t turn itself off when you get your head close to the LCD screen. (That is fixed on the Sony a7RII.)
The Otus is a delight to focus. The combination of the long-throw focusing ring and the silky action is delightful.