Subjective Lens Sharpness Test II: AFS 70-200VRII, AFS 80-200, and AFS 105VR Micro


ziploc

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#1
Quite some time ago in my previous Subjective Lens Sharpness Test article, I have tested the AFS 18-200VR vs the AFS 18-70. In this 2nd installment of the article, I'll be comparing three additional lenses: the AFS 70-200VRII, AFS 80-200, and the AFS 105VR Micro. To make it inline with the previous test so that comparisons could be made, the same test method is used: by shooting the characters on my LCD monitor. The camera used is the Fuji S5pro so please bear in mind that the results are for DX format. I do not have an FX camera to perform the FX tests. And as usual, please note that there will definitely be performance variation between these lenses and yours. Please also note that this test compares only optical sharpness; other parameters like light drop-off, chromatic aberration, distortions etc. are not considered. The previous results from my AFS 18-200 is added as reference only and not intended to compare with the 3 lenses.

I've rated the sharpness according to my interpretation with the following colors; you're free to make your own assessments.

Light green - excellent
Dark green - good
Light yellow - fair
Dark yellow - average
Red - below average

Grading reference:



All images were cropped at exactly the same location - one center and the other lower right corner.

 

ziploc

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#3
105mm Comparison





Note: The 18-200VR results is not present here as this focal length was not tested in the previous lens test.
 

ziploc

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#4
135mm Comparison





Note: the results rated "dark green" above are, in actual fact, just very slight softness which should really be rated between "dark green" and "light green".
 

ziploc

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#6
The subject distance (the coke can) is at about 1.5m for all 3 lenses, and is about the minimum focusing distance of the 80-200. All images of the 70-200, the 80-200, and the 105 are taken at the exact same location; the images of the 70-200 are smaller due to focus breathing issue of the lens. Because of this, it is harder to do a direct comparison at the respective focal length. To overcome this problem we will need to take into consideration of the effective focal length of the 70-200 and compare them as follow:

70-200@85mm vs 80-200@80mm:
At this focal length the 80-200 performs slightly better than the 70-200 with creamier bokeh. No nervous bokeh is observed from both lens. All bokeh are excellent.

70-200@135mm(effective ~105mm) vs 80-200@105mm vs 105:
The bokeh of 70-200 is the most creamy, follow closely by the 105 and then by the 80-200. No nervous bokeh is observed from all 3 lens. All bokeh are excellent.

70-200@200mm(effective ~135mm) vs 80-200@135mm:
The bokeh of 70-200 is slightly creamier than of the 80-200. No nervous bokeh is observed from both lens. All bokeh are excellent.


From left to right: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8. Click on the picture to open up a larger view.

80mm/85mm Bokeh Comparison



105mm Bokeh Comparison



135mm Bokeh Comparison



200mm Bokeh Comparison

 

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ziploc

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#7
AFS VR 105/2.8G Micro sample pictures





 

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ziploc

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#8
AFS VRII 70-200/2.8 sample pictures

Singtel road show at Vivo City - picture shot from 2nd floor. Focusing is on the Singtel guy.


100% crop


AFS 80-200/2.8 and AFS VR 105/2.8 - sample pictures to be added later.
 

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ziploc

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#9
Conclusion

All 3 lenses are tested very sharp from corner to corner on a DX format camera. The AFS VRII 70-200/2.8 is the sharpest of them all, although focus breathing is one issue to be considered if you constantly shoot at near focusing distance. The AFS 80-200/2.8 has very slight softness near the corner, but this is only noticeable if you pixel peep. The AFS VR 105 Micro is also sharp from corner to corner. The bokeh are excellent for all three lenses at all focal length. All uses 9-blade aperture diaphragms whch produce rounded bokeh. These results make the AFS VR 105 Mirco good not only for shooting macros but also for shooting portraitures.

Hope this article is helpful to you. Cheers and happy shooting. :)
 

Sgdevilzz

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#10
Thanks for sharing! Definitely helpful for those who are in a dilemma of choosing the 70-200mm or the 80-200mm.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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#11
thanks ziploc for the detailed comparison! :)

Do you happen to have any info on the focusing speed of the 105 micro? I'm not asking for exact data, but more your gut feel comparing the 105 micro with the 70-200VRII. Say, something like focusing from MFD to subject at 5m.
Thanks!
 

ziploc

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#12
Thanks for sharing! Definitely helpful for those who are in a dilemma of choosing the 70-200mm or the 80-200mm.
You're most welcome. :)

thanks ziploc for the detailed comparison! :)

Do you happen to have any info on the focusing speed of the 105 micro? I'm not asking for exact data, but more your gut feel comparing the 105 micro with the 70-200VRII. Say, something like focusing from MFD to subject at 5m.
Thanks!
No problem, I've just tested it for you. Since the 70-200's MFD is about 1.4m, I tested the focusing of both this lens and the 105 from ~1.4m to the street lights outside my window estimated about 1km away (5m is too close and with both lens the difference is negligible). The 70-200 focused very fast and affirmative with very little hunt. And the 105... focused even faster than the 70-200! :) It would hesitate momentarily when the shutter release is pressed, feeling like the camera is performing some calculations or the motor needs to overcome the inertia of the lens, but once it moves it is extremely fast. But all in all it is quite a lot faster than the 70-200.

I'm not too sure when you said MFD is how far because the 105 is a macro lens and so it can focus very close. But since there is a focus limit switch on it that stop at 0.5m for non macro shots, I assume you're referring to that. With the 105 focusing from 0.5 to 1km, the lens did hunt back and forth at the beginning. This is because when the focus is at 0.5m the street light becomes a big blur ball and the phase detection sensor is unable to tell which direction to go, so it went the wrong direction first to the near limit and then reversed to the correct focusing spot. So with this hunt it did take a while before hitting the right focus.
 

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ZerocoolAstra

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#13
No problem, I've just tested it for you. Since the 70-200's MFD is about 1.4m, I tested the focusing of both this lens and the 105 from ~1.4m to the street lights outside my window estimated about 1km away (5m is too close and with both lens the difference is negligible). The 70-200 focused very fast and affirmative with very little hunt. And the 105... focused even faster than the 70-200! :) It would hesitate momentarily when the shutter release is pressed, feeling like the camera is performing some calculations or the motor needs to overcome the inertia of the lens, but once it moves it is extremely fast. But all in all it is quite a lot faster than the 70-200.

I'm not too sure when you said MFD is how far because the 105 is a macro lens and so it can focus very close. But since there is a focus limit switch on it that stop at 0.5m for non macro shots, I assume you're referring to that. With the 105 focusing from 0.5 to 1km, the lens did hunt back and forth at the beginning. This is because when the focus is at 0.5m the street light becomes a big blur ball and the phase detection sensor is unable to tell which direction to go, so it went the wrong direction first to the near limit and then reversed to the correct focusing spot. So with this hunt it did take a while before hitting the right focus.
Thanks for that!
errr.... my bad for overlooking the fact the MFD of the 105 micro is wayyyyy smaller than that for the 70-200! :embrass:

yeah I think you got what I was asking about. My interest was piqued when you mentioned the smooth bokeh and usability as a portraiture lens.
Have heard some comments before that because the micro-Nikkors are really sharp and contrasty, they aren't quite so ideal for portraiture. Also (wrongly) assumed that focusing wouldn't be as snappy. Glad to hear your positive feedback!
 

ziploc

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#14
Have heard some comments before that because the micro-Nikkors are really sharp and contrasty, they aren't quite so ideal for portraiture. Also (wrongly) assumed that focusing wouldn't be as snappy. Glad to hear your positive feedback!
This was somewhat true for the old AFD105, as the lens is very sharp and the bokeh can be a little too harsh (and added to that is the hex shape diaphragm). That's why I was also curious about whether the AFS105VR behaves in a similar way. But so far it doesn't seem so, and even though the optics is very sharp, the bokeh is almost as creamy as the 70-200. I did couple of simple portraiture test shots and they do look good.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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#15
This was somewhat true for the old AFD105, as the lens is very sharp and the bokeh can be a little too harsh (and added to that is the hex shape diaphragm). That's why I was also curious about whether the AFS105VR behaves in a similar way. But so far it doesn't seem so, and even though the optics is very sharp, the bokeh is almost as creamy as the 70-200. I did couple of simple portraiture test shots and they do look good.
Mmmmm sounds yummy... ;p
Looks like this lens is worth a 2nd (and 3rd and 4th and 5th...) look :D

thanks!
 

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