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AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6 vs. the rest of the world


Introduction

The 28-70mm range is considered by many professional photographers to be the most widely used one on a 35mm film or sensor. Therefore it is not a big surprise that most manufacturers offer lenses in this range for the professionals as well as for the beginners. Third party companies are not an exception to this rule.
Angenieux is a French firm well known for their high quality motion camera lenses as well as for some important innovations in the optics. In the 1990-ies it tried to enter the photography marked by offering some very interesting lenses for the main camera body manufacturers: Nikon and Canon. Unfortunately they did not see a future for their efforts and discontinued the production line focusing on motion camera lenses only.
The AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6 was one of the most anticipated Angenieux products but only some 3000 F-mount lenses were produced. I was told that Nikon delivered the electronics for these lenses, so no reverse engineering was necessary on the Angenieux side. However I was not able to find any confirmation to this online.
Noticeably, the lens has a constant opening aperture at f/2.6 but this is not registered by the two Nikons I tested it on which showed f/2.8 instead.

Even today, using digital equipment, some customers continue to report superb image quality delivered by the Angenieux 28-70mm and some consider it even better than the Nikon flagship lens in this range: Nikkor AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D ("The Beast"). This was the reason I decided to buy an Angenieux and am fortunate to have a very well preserved one now.
Soon after I started taking pictures with the lens, I noticed that it delivers somewhat "softy" pictures. I decided to buy The Beast and do this test.


Angenieux on D700            The Beast on D700

Methods

For the purpose of the test an object was selected offering good details at the center and the edges of the frame. This made the comparison at 100% crop easier. I decided to include in the test a low budget AF-Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D lens as well as the magnificent Nikkor Ai 50mm f/2 (for the 50mm pictures only, of course).
The test was performed on 28, 50, and 70 mm at f/2.8, f/3.5, f/4.5, f/5.6, f/7.1, f/9.0, and f/11.0 on two different camera bodies: Nikon D700 and Nikon D70s. The pictures of the Ai 50mm lens were used to compare the pictures taken with the other lenses at 50mm only and at aperture steps available on this lens. The AF-Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D lens was used also according to its limitations regarding the aperture.

Results

Here are the pictures:

D700

Center

Focal Length @ Aperture AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6 AF Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D Ai 50mm f/2
28.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/3.5 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/4.5 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/5.6 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/7.1 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/9.0 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/11.0 No 28 mm on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 50 mm
on this lens
No f/3.5 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/5.6
50.0 mm @ f/7.1 No f/7.1 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/9.0 No f/9.0 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/11.0
70.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 70 mm
on this lens
No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 @ 70 mm
on this lens
No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/5.6 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/7.1 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/9.0 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/11.0 No 70 mm on this lens

Corner

Focal Length @ Aperture AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6 AF Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D Ai 50mm f/2
28.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/3.5 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/4.5 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/5.6 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/7.1 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/9.0 No 28 mm on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/11.0 No 28 mm on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 50 mm
on this lens
No f/3.5 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/5.6
50.0 mm @ f/7.1 No f/7.1 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/9.0 No f/9.0 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/11.0
70.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 70 mm
on this lens
No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 @ 70 mm
on this lens
No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/5.6 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/7.1 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/9.0 No 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/11.0 No 70 mm on this lens



D70s

Center

Focal Length @ Aperture AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D
28.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/3.5
28.0 mm @ f/4.5
28.0 mm @ f/5.6
28.0 mm @ f/7.1
28.0 mm @ f/9.0
28.0 mm @ f/11.0
50.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 50 mm on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/4.5
50.0 mm @ f/5.6
50.0 mm @ f/7.1
50.0 mm @ f/9.0
50.0 mm @ f/11.0
70.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 @ 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/5.6
70.0 mm @ f/7.1
70.0 mm @ f/9.0
70.0 mm @ f/11.0

Corner

Focal Length @ Aperture AF Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D
28.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
28.0 mm @ f/3.5
28.0 mm @ f/4.5
28.0 mm @ f/5.6
28.0 mm @ f/7.1
28.0 mm @ f/9.0
28.0 mm @ f/11.0
50.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 50 mm on this lens
50.0 mm @ f/4.5
50.0 mm @ f/5.6
50.0 mm @ f/7.1
50.0 mm @ f/9.0
50.0 mm @ f/11.0
70.0 mm @ f/2.8 No f/2.8 on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/3.5 No f/3.5 @ 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/4.5 No f/4.5 @ 70 mm on this lens
70.0 mm @ f/5.6
70.0 mm @ f/7.1
70.0 mm @ f/9.0
70.0 mm @ f/11.0

Written by betso on 12/16/2011, 12:00am in"Photography"

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