I’m comparing what are two if the best cameras by two of the best manufactures with what is regarded as some of their best lenses as far as sharpness goes. I was inspired to run this test myself after reading up on Ken Rockwell’s similar test here. Me personally, I tend to take a lot of shots at 35mm so running the test at that focal length made sense to me.
So let’s get to it: For the test, I setup both the Nikon D810 with the 24-70mm and the Leica M-P 240 with the 35mm Summicron in exactly the same spot and took the photos. On the Leica, I started at F2.0 and worked my way up to F5.6. So I took a shot at f2.0; f2.8; f4.0 and f5.6. Here they are, check them out at full resolution.
Leica Summicron 35mm Prime Lens
Some points to make, even at f2.0, there is a certain 3D look, something amazing with the Leica. That’s the Leica look coming through! I actually prefer the look overall from the Summicron 35mm ASPH at F2.0 than F2.8.
The aperture value never seems to come through correctly in the pictures meta data so is you download the images at full resolution to check out for yourself, you may find that abnormality.
On the Nikon D810 I took 1 less photo because I had to start at F2.8.
Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 Zoom Lens
Yes these images look duller than the Leica, but that is just because of the colour profile I use on the D810. I like the “Camera Flat” profile as it allows for so much processing in post.
These images are sharp, no doubt. At F4.0, the Nikon 24-70mm comes alive, and is an awesome workhorse lens, and will record ultra-sharp images. And it is certainly at home on the Nikon D810.
But you know what? I prefer that 3D, lifelike image that the Leica’s seem to render. There is just a nice look, something that makes the image come to life for me. Here is a comparison between the Leica at F2.0 (my favourite setting) and the Nikon at f4.0 so you can see what I mean. Leica is on the left.
And for a pure sharpness comparison between the Leica Summicron 35mm at F2.0 vs the Nikon 24-70 at 35mm at F4.0, here you go.
It is hard to pick in my view.
But, remember, the Leica 35mm Summicron when cared for will probably outlive the photographer. It is a fully mechanical lens. The Nikon 24-70mm has a lot of electronics in it.