Resolution (f22) & Chromatic Aberration

Zone D at f22
Nikon 35mm PC Extreme Corner Sample at f16 Olympus 35mm Shift Extreme Corner at f16 Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone D at f16
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f16 (Zone D)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f16 (Zone D)
Contax PC Distagon
at f16 (Zone D)
4.5 points
4.75 points
4.75 points

The rot is really starting to set in at this aperture, and everything begins to look exactly the same thanks to diffraction effects, but I was curious to see whether the Nikon ever shaped up in Zone D . . . and it doesn’t. The same story is visible across the frame: misty specs.

Distortion

I didn’t shoot a distortion target with these lenses because in practice they all behaved so well, and so similarly, that there seemed little point. They all have a little simple centre frame barrel distortion flattening out without nasty positive kinks at the corners. In the majority of cases, unless you’re working at very close range, you won’t even need to correct for it.

Chromatic Aberration

Once again, in practice, the lateral CA one expects after working with 24mm and 28mm shift lenses is less of an issue. It crops up discreetly in some instances when using the Nikon and Olympus, but the Zeiss again shows its pedigree (and justifies its cost) by controlling these aberrations rather better . . .

Nikon 35mm PC Extreme Corner Sample at f16 Olympus 35mm Shift Extreme Corner at f16 Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone D at f16
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f8 (Zone C)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f8 (Zone C)
Contax PC Distagon
at f8 (Zone C)

Please note that these samples have been resampled to 200% using PS Bicubic Sharper. In common with straightforward non-shifting lenses the aberrations worsen slightly as you move away from the centre of the image circle. Right out on the edge of Zone D (about 29mm from the middle), this is about as bad as it gets:

Nikon 35mm PC Extreme Corner Sample at f16 Olympus 35mm Shift Extreme Corner at f16 Contax 35mm PC-Distagon Zone D at f16
Nikon 35mm PC Nikkor
at f8 (Zone C)
Olympus 35mm Shift
at f8 (Zone C)
Contax PC Distagon
at f8 (Zone C)
4.5 points
4.75 points
4.75 points

A nice mix of different aberrations to play with there, but on the whole a fairly commendable display given the demands we’ve placed on them: first place to the Zeiss, and joint second for the Nikon and Olympus.