Resolution (f5.6)

Zones A/B at f5.6
Nikon 35mm Shift lens at f2.8 Olympus 35mm shift lens at f2.8 Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone A f4
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f5.6centre)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f5.6 (centre)
Contax PC Distagon
at f5.6 (centre)
4.5 points
4.75 points
4.75 points

As you by now would expect, the Zeiss looks particularly sweet centre frame two stops down: it clearly resolves more than the other two, even allowing for the slightly stronger lighting it benefits from. The Olympus is beginning to emerge as a distinct second best, with the Nikon not really improving much from its wide open performance.

Zone C at f5.6
Nikon 35mm PC Corner Sample Olympus 35mm Shift Corner Sample Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone C
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f5.6 (Zone C)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f5.6 (Zone C)
Contax PC Distagon
at f5.6 (Zone C)
4.5 points
4.75 points
4.75 points

. . . although we still see the Zuiko suffering from a poorer Zone C. In many ways Nikon lenses tend to behave like cut price Zeiss optics: cool/neutral colouring, very high centre frame performance, best well stopped down, often flaky in the outer image circle at wide apertures. It’s just that this is a vintage Zeiss: one of the best, and it’s just sharper and punchier than the Nikon, which is relatively sharper than the Olympus in this part of the frame.

Zone D at f5.6
Nikon 35mm PC Extreme Corner Sample Olympus 35mm Shift Extreme Corner Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone E
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f5.6 (Zone D)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f5.6 (Zone D)
Contax PC Distagon
at f5.6 (Zone D)
4.5 points
4.75 points
4.75 points

Something tells me that the Nikon is never going to render a sharp corner at a sensible working aperture – perhaps that’s why we have the inclusion of f32 as an option! Based on my prior experience with Olympus lenses, I think we could be slowly building to a barnstorming f11 finale.