Resolution (f2.8)

Full frame

Here’s a fun new parlour game: take a Nikon 14mm and try to focus it wide open – anywhere at all. Instead of a plane of focus, you will find yourself wrestling with a weird 3D toroidal field of focus extending behind an in front of where you want it. Net result: baby soft centre frame surrounded by a ring of much higher resolution with a radius of 5-12mm, fading into dark, mushy corners. Here’s a few judiciously chosen 100% crops to illustrate.

Canon 14mm at f2.8 (centre) Nikon 14mm at f2.8 (centre)

Quite respectable – in fact, very good wide open performance from the Canon – and surely a focus error with the Nikon? But here’s another 100% crop just a few metres along what I had laughingly come to think of in the traditional sense as the ‘plane’ of focus:

Canon 14mm at f2.8 (centre) Nikon 14mm at f2.8 (centre)

Yes – not only the same lens at the same aperture, it’s the same capture – cripplingly soft in the centre, surrounded by a ring of extremely high resolution. Needless to say both have fairly soft corners wide open . . .

Canon 14mm at f2.8 (corner) Nikon 14mm at f2.8 (corner)

Again, impressive performance in the extreme corner from the Canon, but someone seems to have replaced my fabulously desirable and expensive EDIF Nikon with a Cheapola Distortamat. Hard to convey exactly how disappointed I am with the Nikon at this point, not to mention the fact that it took 12 exposures to even work out where the focus was.