Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens - DxO tests

I will at some point do some of my own tests (maybe) but since DxO have just finished testing the FE 28-70mm I thought I'd show theirs. (Click on the screen shots for the DxO site) And as I write often, unconvinced as I am by DxO's sensor tests, I do think their lens tests are useful.

As I suspected not much difference between the 35mm and 55mm in terms of sharpness and in the real world with images on the screen I doubt I will see much difference.

Interesting results with the zooms, as has already been pointed out elsewhere. DxO find the 28-70mm to be slightly sharper than the Zeiss 24-70mm. Zeiss are obviously much better at primes than zooms, which I guess doesn't really make the upcoming FE 16-35mm anything to get hot and bothered about.

As would be expected the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is better across the board apart from CA than the Olympus 17mm f/1.8. The sharpness difference is somewhat extreme, though again I'm not sure I'd see this on my screen.

So what does this prove? Well it proves some lenses are better at lens tests than others. Does it matter? That's for us as individuals to decide. I happen to like the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and of course there are sharpening algorithms to apply from a variety of sources. 

Bottom line is that the Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is obviously a fine lens as is the Sony FE 55mm f1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens, particularly when used on the non-AA filtered A7r. And the fact that this is pretty much the best that non medium-format digital photography can offer currently gives the FE system it's most attractive and compelling reasons to buy into it and use it. 

I'm no great fan of the A7 and A7r handling and many aspects of their design and performance, but fitted with these top class primes the resulting files are hard to resist. I have to admit I don't mind the handling of the A7r / 35mm combination as much as some of the heavier a-mount / adapter combinations I've used and I've certainly used both the A7 and A7r an awful lot since I've bought them. And the accumulation of 1000's of incredibly detailed and sharp high-resolution images is undoubtedly an incentive for me to keep using my FE cameras despite the reservations I have. To be honest, if I wasn't doing this for a living then I wouldn't own either the A7 or A7r, but since I do I will certainly make the best of it and continue to use them, take pictures with them and earn money from them. The final reason being a pretty motivating inducement to continue with them.

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Olympus E-P3 using same sensor as before?

According to DxO - the E-P3 sensor is "pretty much the same sensor as the Olympus PEN EPL2 and Olympus E5"

While I have many doubts about DxO and the implications they draw, I'm assuming they do this right.

If as stated in many reviews the E-P3 has a better higher ISO performance, then its probable that this is achieved in software.

The "Cult" of DxO

(Excellent Blog here:- wrote:-

"Real scientific research relies upon peer review and the fundamental concept that the results are repeatable and reproducible. DxO may very well be conducting very rigorous tests, but unless they are completely transparent regarding their testing methods, some level of skepticism is valid and in fact healthy.

I can also understand and appreciate if DxO views their methods as intellectual property and a competitive advantage. They are, as far as I know, a for-profit entity and seem to be acting as such. So lacking that, all the public has to go on is how DxO results compare to the results of other testing labs and people's experience in the field.

But right now DxO is the 800 pound gorilla - their results are more widely publicized and cited online than any other testing lab, so many view the results as the final word, when in fact they aren't."

For some time I've been trying to find out, with no success, how DxO carry out their tests. (If anyway has a link for this let me know and I'll publish it.) As John says their results are widely quoted and given a great deal of importance.

But who exactly are DxO? How do they conduct these tests? What do their numbers mean? Why should we trust their results? Why have they suddenly become so prominent?

I have been told they conduct their sensor tests without a lens. So just how useful is this? 

They may well be providing useful information for us all, but without some idea of how they obtain this, how is it to be trusted?

And trusted it is by many. And quoted often. But how many people actually understand it?

Their results are often used by people to help decide on which camera to buy. But should they? I'm curious about this. I have often been described as a DxO basher! I'm not, I'm just baffled as to why something that seems to be both incomprehensible and vaguely mysterious is quoted by so many, so often. 

If anyone would like to help unravel some of this, I'd be happy to publish it.

DxO Comparison

panasonic lumix GH1 14-140 zoom
Interesting set of results comparing the Panasonic Lumix GH1 with a G1 and a Canon 7D at:-

I did have a look at the DxO results & went back and looked at images from my GH1 & G1.
I did some serious pixel peeping and was hard pressed to spot any difference in resolution. There is some difference in terms of noise at higher ISO's with the GH1 being slightly better, but otherwise in terms of how the image looks on the screen I couldn't see any difference.
I then looked at some Canon 5D images and that was clear to see.
The GH1 is much "punchier" though obviously can't compete at higher ISO's.
Plus the 5D does have a much better Dynamic Range and deals with "difficult" exposures much better.
However this is at the expense of contrast and overall image "pop" which is the best way I know how to describe it.
Its one of the reasons I use a 5D MkII for indoor events etc, and G1/GH1/GF1 for landscape etc.
Some time ago an English photo mag, maintained that at low ISO settings the G1 outperformed both a D3 and D300 in terms of resolution. Having used both of those cameras I would agree with that.
panasonic lumix GH1 45-200 zoom