DXOmark does lenses (no rumors here)

DXOmark added lens measures and scores to their website. Currently 16 Nikon lenses are part of their database. The highest lens + body score (61) goes to the 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED + D3x combo followed by the 85mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.8D and 50mm f/1.4G lenses:

Here are the top 7 Nikon lenses based on optical metric scores (filtered by resolution):

They also have a lens compare feature.

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  • vince

    Am I reading dxomark right? Many Canon lenses beat comparable nikkor lenses?

    • LGO

      Other than T-stop, it is not likely that one can directly compare the measurement of the a Nikkor lens vs a Canon lens. The lens-body combination makes a big impact on the final score.

      What I find more helpful are actual field test mounting different lenses on the same body, e.g., Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Canon 24-70mm mounted on the Canon 5D Mk II. There, the Nikkor 24-70mm performed significantly better than its Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 counterpart.

      • Jingalala

        the canon 24-70 is old and the most crappy L lens in canon lineup. maybe they will make a better update version soon.

    • GlobalGuy

      This comparison is biased by the BODY of the camera the lens is sitting on.

      Unfortunately, the standard is camera body dependent and therefore not really a great judge.

      • iamlucky13

        On the other hand, most of us aren’t in the process of choosing between Nikon, Canon, or other systems. When we’re shopping, it’s usually for lenses for a camera we already have, so if the lenses within a brand are tested on the same body, such reviews can be useful.

        • Jars

          Except you can’t turn a lens into 1 number
          This is like the testing slrgear does, but reducing each complex 2D and 3D graph into 1 number doesn’t represent what the lens can do.

          eg, I just saw slrgear’s test of Canon’s 70-200 2.8 II. It’s sharp, at all lengths, but the sweet spot is
          1) not centered
          2) jumps around as you change focal length

          In a number you wouldn’t see these issues.

  • Well OF COURSE the 70-200 + D3X scores high. Thats a $10k bundle!

  • Just FYI (before you blast me away): all non-rumor posts will soon go to a separate blog here on NR, I just need some time to setup everything (in the last poll the majority of NR readers wanted to have other Nikon related news when slow on rumors).

  • Jay A

    Good stuff Pete…nice find

  • Nathan Shane

    What surprises me is how high ranking the 24-120mm VR is, because that lens is so often talked about as being disliked by so many because it lacks sharpness.

    • I noticed that too, but then again DXOmark is pure lab measurement based and many will disagree with its findings.

    • Tomaocron

      Yeah, and where is the 24-70mm f/2.8 workhorse that I use every day?!

    • On the D700 is performs bottom in the tested lenses…

      • le_eiji

        you know what? D700 is outresolved by EPL1. 5D Mark I was also significantly sharper than D3/D700.

        • Jars

          sensors are not sharp or soft.

          • Lars

            Of course they are. The AA filter has a direct impact on MTF at higher frequencies.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that the 50mm 1.8 scored better thant he 1.4

    • Matstar

      ..but went the other way on a D700 body!

    • Tim

      the 50 1.8 is a beast!

      Much rather buy 3 1.8s than 1.4 (specially now with ISO), and bump them around.

  • Charlie

    Based on reviews 50 1.4G is better than 1.8 and that is on actual use not lab measurement.

  • LGO

    What I find most helpful in the DXO Mark is the T-stop measurement vs the f-stop setting of the zoom and prime lenses.

  • Chaii

    OMG! My AF 50mm 1.4D performs poorer than a 1.8D T__T

    • Matstar

      only on a D3x.. so don’t worry too much!

  • Eric Pepin

    nice to know that I own the third highest ranked lens and might soon also own the first.

    Thank you DXO, my E Ego is officialy inflated.

  • ashley dudd

    there are no 24-70 f/2.8 and 14-24 f/2.8 which are the sharpest lens in the world.

    • ashley dudd

      plus, it looks like a canon website. one thing for sure is the nikkkors are shapper than canon. how do i know? i use nikkor and my brother use canon. we have been taking pictures of same objests in many occasions. when it comes to the sharpness, canon could not keep up with nikon at all.

      • LGO

        DXO Mark is not a Canon website.

        My experience using both Canon and Nikon is that Nikkor zoom lenses are generally better than Canon zoom lenses. Canon prime lenses however are pretty good and hold out pretty well against Nikkor prime lenses.

      • mikeg

        You sure that’s not just focusing issues? Nikon does have a much better focussing system than Canon on nearly any of their cameras.

        • LGO

          Nikon’s focusing system is indeed better. But if focusing is the cause, it would affect both zoom and prime lenses.

          Having said this, Canon’s new 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II is one excellent lens and easily holds it own against the Nikor 70-200mm f.2,8 VR II. This is the one time where I think Canon has a better zoom lens than Nikon’s.

          • Jars

            Canon’s new 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II ‘s sweet spot isn’t centered and also moves around…

          • A Canon phtographer

            Even the Nikon guys like dpreview accepted the Canon’s 70-200 is better than Nikon’s. Of course, you, as a Nikon zealot, will always try to say shits about Canon.

            Why don’t you worship your Nikon masterpieces without trying to put in a bad light other brands?

  • Surprise, surprise, the much hated 24-120VR is up there. But no surprise to me as I love it!!!!!!

  • I knew I loved my 85 1.4 for a reason. I just can’t wait until Nikon decides to make a newer, better version.

  • fiatlux

    One thing to note is that the overall lens sharpness score results from a weighted average over the frame, but at the best aperture only.

    So for instance, if the 50 1.8 is sharper at f/8 than the 1.4, and let’s assume that’s the best aperture of both lenses, it will get a better score than the 1.4, irrespective of the results at wider apertures. That’s what happened I guess, and that may explain the surprisingly good score of the 24-120 VR as well.

  • Matstar

    Totally agree! My 50mm 1.4 is sharpest at f/5. I wouldn’t use these results to solely influence my future purchasing decisions!

  • spidercrown

    suprisingly the kits canon 18-55mm IS get very high score compared to nikon one. All this while, reviews report the the latter is better?

    • le_eiji

      well, that’s because it is used in a much sharper body.

  • Luc

    I have doubts about the usefulness of DxO’s lens tests, and specifically DxO’s selection of lenses. Not only is there is limited choice of Nikon lenses, but how useful are the results for a 28-200mm on a D3X/D3s? What’s the likelihood of anyone using that combination?

    • Lance

      I think I may have asked them to do the 28-200 last year. Believe it or not it’s a nice lens and works fine on my D3S, and now that distortion correction is easy in Lightroom 3, it’s near perfect for a daytime do everything lens. But also in low light, the D3S compensates for its slow speed. It does have a plastic mount so you have to be careful in handling. It’s very light and small. Ken Rockwell likes it and David Busch praised it as a “remarkable… highly prized lens” in his “Nikon D3S/D3X” guide (pg 359). It’s a little hard to find but is often on eBay at a fairly low price.

  • Chris P

    Remember all these tests are done in a lab to a chosen set of criteria and are therefore largely theoretical. At one time I had a manager who, if I used the expression ‘in theory’ in a report, would send me a short memo which read ‘In theory a man with one foot encased in ice and the other in a bucket of very hot water is perfectly comfortable’.

  • alex

    lame testing…. no 14-24

    • another anonymous

      we can hope they only started the compare yet and next lens will occure there lately

  • donde?

    The 900€ combo 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 + D90 is the 3rd best measured camera-lens combination, while the same camera with the 1300€ 17-55 f/2.8 ranks pretty low.

    • Where are you reading that? Looks like #95 in the list to me….

  • longtimenikonshooter

    They forgot to test AF-S 200mm f/2 VR, 14-24mm f/2.8, and 85mm f/1.8D on D3x.

  • dragossani

    Resolution chart (center and corner) of
    50mm f/1.8D – http://optyczne.pl/tmp/4691_roz.jpg
    50mm f/1.4D – http://optyczne.pl/upload2/4367_roz.jpg
    Look at (common used) f/2.0 aperture. Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D is much sharper there. Maximum resolution at about f/5.6 is no so important. DXO ranking methodology is a bit stupid.

  • Karlosak

    This is a perfect example that a few general numerical values cannot describe performance of a complex product that lenses undoubtedly are. Resolution – in the center, corners? Vignetting – at which F-stops? CA – lateral or longitudinal, what about fringing, coma? Bokeh shape and quality? Resistance to flare? Field curvature, focus breathing?

    IMHO, these new DXOmark scores are worthless.

    • Kuv


      • Eric Pepin

        agreed, but cool to read over and good to read if your worried about a lens being a dud i guess.

        • Maps

          Good for a backup if slrgear hasn’t profiled the lens…
          and also to throw at fanboys

  • Matt

    Where is my beloved Nikon 135mm DC? DXO Optics doesn’t have a module for it either (although it doesn’t really need any corrections except CA).

  • Charlie pinoy

    I love my 50 1.4G!!!

    • Delie

      Same here 🙂

  • Darkness

    Still cant find the 24-70?

    • That’s because it’s not there…

  • This is just more BS from DXO to get attention to their software, especially now that Adobe is in the process of obsoleting it.

    DXO just wants to sell more of their crappy software. Ok, it does what it does alright, but it’s still not efficient to incorporate into a professional work flow.

    • mikeg

      Lol, how do you figure? It does many things better than LR2 and the noise reduction is still better than what LR3 can do.
      I’ve tried many many different RAW converters (including the LR’s) and haven’t found anything that give the same quality. The software is buggy sure, but it never impeeds my post processing.

  • Anonymous

    then we can expect more stupid photogs out there who will buy stuff based on inaccurate tests. lenses being tested by machines vs lenses being tested by humans do make a big difference.

    “why isn’t my 70-200mm sharp wide open?”

    “because it isn’t?”

    “but DXOmarks said so!!”

  • solid_liq

    I don’t buy these ratings at all. I think they were all done by taking pictures of a sheet of paper with lines drawn on it, and testing their quality with respect to using the camera as a photocopier. Completely worthless ratings.

  • le_eiji

    what these ratings tell us is that NIkon needs to get away with lower megapixel cameras such as D700. They may have sharper zoom lenses than canon equivalent, but the body matters as much as the lens in a digital era. D3x has 24 mp count, but whether it is sharper than 5D Mark II is debatable. 5D Mark I was significantly sharper than D700 even though putative pixel counts are about the same.

    • Richard

      Agreed. Indeed, these results are almost an unpaid endorsement of the 5D MKII. One has to continue to wonder just where things will stand with Nikon when Canon is ready to introduce a 5D MKIII. That just could be a turning point for many. I know that I will not hang around long if Nikon has no response by then.

      • Eric Pepin

        now that canon sees the market for the 5d with video, wati till you see the 5d3 price before you assume things.

        • Richard

          Fair enough, but it would be foolish of Canon to materially change the price point and drive away a customer base. The 5D MK II scores dramatically close to a D3X in these tests, though the tests probably do not fairly evaluate high ISO performance and focusing accuracy, especially in low light. Still, it is not unreasonable to say that Nikon has lagged behind in this segment.

          There are a growing number of people concluding that DSLRs are not the ideal format for a video platform, notwithstanding the results which have been achieved thus far. It seems, to me at least, that video optimized cameras will be forthcoming at some point. The Red Camera and its progeny point the way, I think. When the newer versions are released we shall see what has come of this development path.


          • jimmy

            Of course a $20,000 + video camera will beat a $3,000 DSLR with video capabilities – that’s not the point.

  • Ghyz

    And where are the 35mm AF-D 2.0 as well as the 20; 24 and 28mm AF-D 2.8 ?
    Those lenses are just fabulous. They might not be as sharp as a 85mm AF- D1.4, but even if they vignet (especially the 35mm f/2) at full aperture, they do it very well in a very soft and gentle way. Typically the kind of thing you cannot show in this kind of test…

    The inaffordable 24mm 1.4G could have been a great tester as well.

    I would have also like them to test the 35mm 1.8 Dx. Compared to a 50mm 1.8, it could have been quite interesting…

  • le_eiji

    another worry about this sort of testing. Many people don’t feel that the 85mm f1.4D is the best lens for portraiture. In combination with a D700, it gives you a painful chromatic aberration at a wider aperture that makes it highly ineffective for portraiture. It may be a good lens at f8, but hardly any portrait photographer use that lens at f8. Lenses should be evaluated not at their optimal aperture, but at an aperture they are most frequently used.

    • Richard

      Exactly! If one has to use F8 to achieve an acceptable result, what is the point?

    • Eric Pepin

      the 85 1.4 is one of three nikon portrait lenses. Its whole design is for portraits. Im not quite sure what your thinking. Aberations are painful at 1.4 but no portraits are at 1.4 and coming from a person who owns that lens among others its a beauty of a lens and renders nicer then anything else ive ever used. the only possible contender is the DC lenses, other then that its the best portrait lens around.

  • mikeg

    Sounds like a bunch of Nikon fanboys to me.

    The post processed images that people show you may not be because of the equipment you use. Think about it, its almost more about the skill of the user during post than it is about the equipment.

  • Jose

    Other interesting info DXO mark is a comparison of diffeent cameras in different segment.
    For example if yo compare Nikon D300s with Canon 7D you can see the following:

    Nikon D300s (12 MP ) is better in SNR 18%, Tonal Range, Color Sensivity, and Full CS

    Canon 7D is better than Nikon D300s only in Iso Sensivity over ISO 300 and little bit better in Full CS.

  • Brent

    Seems they totally ignored the high-end Nikkors: the new 70-200, 24-70, 14-24. What gives DXO?

  • D700 (feels like F3)

    why worry about these rankings? it’s always the combination of lens and camera in the digital world … and last but not least: the person using it …

  • KR

    D40 with 18-55 in the hands of a pro will obliterate 70-200 and D3x in the hands of an amateur

  • Adam

    According to DXOmark the D90 sensor is better then the D300s ???

  • Nobody Special

    More tests, from more ‘experts’ that get everyone wondering whether the equipment they have been happy with is suddenly not as good as they thought.

    Then the brain starts to backfire and we go into a dither – or – we wish we never would have bothered reading them. Labs have testing equipment that read information off of flat plains, not three dimensional objects with different light sources, etc…..

    They are what they are and are not ‘real world’, more power to DXOmark for their efforts, but the last thing anyone should do is make decisions based on what they find.

    • Delie

      if you tell us that we shouldn’t make decisions based on what we find on the web, does that mean i shouldn’t make a decision based on what I read you saying on the web too, and is that not a double negative? does that mean i should make a decision based on what they said, because you told me I shouldn’t do? brain-implosion 🙂

      just excuse me, i’m bored 🙂

      • Nobody Special

        Well, well,,,,, I forgot……

  • Anonymous

    How is the Nikon D50 better than the D70 and D70s?

  • illo

    whoo whoo its look like U$S 99 1990 canon 50mm 1.8 is the best for Croped cameras. Nice

  • lol this is somewhere they shouldnt have gone, they rate the 70-200 f/2.8 on the D3s as “2 1/2” stars for sports. wow.

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