The Snub Nose

Canon EOS 350D with Carl Zeiss Tessar T* 2.8/45mm

Veijo Vilva

(Page under Construction)

  • FOV corresponds to a 72mm lens on a 35mm camera
  • a very flat "pancake" (18mm), very light (90g) lens
  • a quite sharp and contrasty lens, quite reasonable even at full aperture

  • the lens is mounted with an Contax/Yashica Bayonet-to-EOS adapter
  • manual focus
  • AV (aperture priority) or M (manual)


  • my test procedure isn't very rigorous
  • bad results may be caused by bad focusing as manual focusing in dim lighting isn't any too easy when the DOF for this level of expected sharpness is just a few millimeters in either direction
  • the backs of the books aren't at exactly the same depth, the maximum difference is about one inch. Only a few books at the center and at the upper right-hand corner have been aligned - roughly.
  • the test only shows that the specific tested lens is at least as good as my results -- even that individual lens might be better, and others of the same make and model may be better or worse
  • anyhow, the equivalent magnification of the 100% crops is just plain sick, i.e. about 48x on a typical 17", 1024x768 CRT. Normally, 8x has been considered a reasonable maximum for critical sharpness from film. At 48x magnification, a 35mm film frame would be about 172cm (68") wide, and even a 1.6x crop factor dSLR frame would be 107cm (42") wide!

At f/5.6:

At f/5.6 everything is quite sharp, even at the edges.

A crop from the center at f/5.6:

According to the Zeiss specs, at f/5.6 the 40 cycles/mm MTF is much lower at the center
than at about 9-12mm from the center, i.e. near the corner of the 350D frame.

A crop from the corner at f/5.6:

Extremely sharp, negligible vignetting

A center crop at full aperture (f/2.8):

At f/2.8 the result is sharp in the center, slightly softer at the edges.
The 40 cycles/mm center MTF is specified to be about the same as at f/5.6, and the
minimal differences between these f/2.8 and f/5.6 center crops could be attributed to
a quite possible slight misfocusing, which at f/2.8 has a more discernible effect.

A crop from the corner at f/2.8:

Still recommendably sharp, some vignetting

4x magnification from the corner, left at f/5.6, right at f/2.8
(resolution limited by the camera sensor and the EOS normal quality jpeg artifacts)

On a 20" (50.8cm) wide print, the f/5.6 corner crop would be roughly
like the picture below - only with a somewhat better resolution:

This is an almost 23x magnification relative to the sensor size!
It's like making a 20"x30" print from a 35mm film frame.

In practise, the Tessar fares quite well even at f/2.8:

Hand-held shots on an overcast, slightly misty day, in lowish contrast light

Not bad, not bad at all (Full size)

The 100% crops are very slightly soft:

A crop from the center

Note: here all of the foreground softness is due to the very limited DOF at this resolution level. For a sub-pixel CoC, the clock and the platform numbers are at about the hyperfocal distance.

A crop from the edge

Note: here most of the softness is due to the very limited DOF at this resolution level.

A quite reasonable bokeh

... and a couple of examples of not so reasonable!

A crop from the corner

A crop from the corner

A crop from the edge

Sharpness again limited by DOF (and the sensor resolution, of course)


My Street Cameras

I usually prefer slightly longer lenses, but the snub nose 350D + T45
combination is quite handy on the street as the non-protruding lens
doesn't so easily get stuck in the bag. The wide-angle FED-2 + O15
combination is even flatter with a total depth of 52mm vs. 82mm,
but needs an external viewfinder (not shown) for accurate framing.
The FED has a much more solid feel and more positive focusing.

EOS 350D with Tessar 2.8/45 vs. FED-2 with Orion-15 6/28
a short tele dSLR vs. a wide-angle 35mm rangefinder.

Industar-50-2 3.5/50 vs. Tessar 2.8/45
An even lighter and very much cheaper alternative,
Industar-50-2 is the Poor Man's Pancake Tessar,
rather sharp already wide open, very sharp at f/8.

Schneider-Kreuznach Radionar 2.9/50mm is my lightest street lens,
not as sharp and contrasty as the Tessar, but the bokeh is better.
I paid only 3.50 Euros for the camera from which I extracted it.

My preferred walkaround lens, however, is a soft-focus meniscus,
a magical lens, which doesn't produce so stolidly conventional pics.

EOS 350D with VPK Meniscus Achromat
a soft-focus medium tele

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