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Nikon D5500 Camera Test

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Roy5051, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    This subject has probably been raised before, but I think you should tell readers what lens was used when conducting the D5500 camera test.

    This is especially important in view of the comment in the Lab results boxout, which says "With its 24.2-million-pixel, DX-format sensor that lacks an optical low-pass filter, the D5500 is capable of recording huge amounts of detail, so long as a suitably sharp lens is used".

    What I believe we should be told is whether the 18-55mm zoom supplied with the camera is "suitably sharp" to record all this extra detail. Or are buyers going to have to buy an additional/alternative, better quality, lens to get this extra detail. At the end of the day, any camera is only as good as the glassware attached; is the lens supplied in a D5500 kit good enough? Or should buyers just buy the body only? Without details of the lens used in the test, how are buyers to know what to buy?

    The camera has been awarded 5 stars and a GOLD award by AP, but what about the lens?
  2. Jimbo57

    Jimbo57 Well-Known Member

    I may be imagining this...... but I seem to recall reading fairly recently that, to ensure fair comparison between different marques of camera body, all AP's resolution tests were conducted using a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime lens.

    But, as I say, that might be a trick of my imagination.
  3. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    Apologies, that was remiss of us. The lens we used for the tests was in fact the D5500's normal kit zoom, the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II. We used it towards the middle of its range where it's strongest (approx 30mm), and at f/5.6.

    Like all kit zooms, though, the lens's performance depends a lot on the focal length used. They tend to show soft corners, barrel distortion and chromatic aberration at wide angle, and be relatively soft overall at the long end. If you're prepared to spend time post-processing from raw, though, distortion and CA can be easily fixed.

    Overall, while you can get good results from the 18-55mm, you won't get images that are consistently sharp across the frame at all focal lengths if you go pixel-peeping. Even inexpensive primes like the AF-S DX-Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G or the AF-S DX-Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G will give noticeably better results, but of course they don't zoom.
  4. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    We often use the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro, especially for high-end SLRs that don't have their own 'kit' zoom. But with entry-level cameras we tend to use the lens that comes in the box, as we feel that's more relevant to the likely buyer.
  5. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    Pixel peeping is fine for them as likes it but I reckon Nikon's VR cheapies are as good as 99% of real world photographers need. I'm pleased as Punch with my 18~55 and 55~200.

    Anything that enables me to get a sharp image at 1/30 second, after drinking a litre of Zillertal bier, has to be good. This is about a third of the frame at 26mm...

  6. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Andy, that clears things up about what lens was used. But, is the kit lens good enough to take advantage of the lack of optical low pass filter?
  7. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    Well, that's an interesting question. In the sharpest areas of the frame at its best settings, it can probably resolve enough detail to do this.

    However, in a way that's not really the point. If you take away the blurring effect of the low pass filter, the sensor should always capture a bit more detail with almost any lens, unless you're using a Lensbaby or shooting at f/32. So even using a kit lens, the camera should give slightly higher image quality.

    Looking at this from the opposite direction, one of the reasons why companies are comfortable removing the OLPF from high pixel count cameras is that lens aberrations start to give sufficient anti-aliasing effect that the filter is no longer really necessary. If the image isn't sharp enough to cause aliasing, then there's no need for an OLPF any more. At which point, why blur the image further?
  8. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    It would seem that to give a genuine assessment of a camera's best potential imaging one should use the best lens available, with the most critical focussing method. For a camera's normal imaging ability as achieved by the normal buyer one should use the marque's standard kit lens with AF.
    Do both.
  9. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    That really is a good plan. I second it.

  10. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Interesting Thread which rather raises and highlights the question: why aren't makers of APS sensor cameras making more fixed focal length lenses of high quality available for their cameras.

    They do it for full frame.

    And microFour Thirds member companies do it for their format.

    Why not APS sensor camera makers?
  11. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I can immagine that the old bugbears of space and time constraints come into play so that the tech writers can never get to do all the testing that they'd like to. Still, a nice idea in principle.

    Pentax seem to do reasonably well with their APS prime lens lineup.

    Also possibly relevant to this thread, I vaguely recall one of Prof Newman's articles from a few years ago discussing the issue of lens and sensor resolution on overall image sharpness, where I believe he said something to the effect that there's no such thing as the sensor outresolving the lens or vice versa, improving either will improve the overall result.
  12. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    OK. So put the lab data in in AP and real use data in WDC or vice versa, and a conclusion in both. If someone is really interested in the camera then they may buy both mags.
    I hope that I have mentioned the correct gear mag that is AP's sibling.
  13. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    Some manufacturers do. Pentax has a wide range of very high quality prime lenses for APSC. Fuji looks pretty good too.

    Given that an awful lot never seem to make it beyond a kit lens or two then I think it most appropriate to test the Nikon with the kit lens.
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I guess the point is more about Nikon and Canon, as manufacturers who make more than one sensor size in the same mount, yet haven't put out many APS-C primes - 2 in the case of Canon.

    Yeah, makes sense for entry-level and lower mid-level cameras.

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