Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: D Fosse on February 15, 2013, 07:56:02 PM

Title: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: D Fosse on February 15, 2013, 07:56:02 PM
Just got a D800, moving up from D300 and D700. Naturally I want to get the most out of this camera. I'm an employed photographer and use this equipment at work, but with the daily workload I simply never have time to do any testing, so I thought I should hear what people's experiences are. I should say that I work at an art museum, so naturally a large part is art reproduction for print, or documentation for conservation purposes, both "flat" and three-dimensional. But I also do a lot of events and publicity.

I have a fairly limited set of prime lenses that I'm familiar and comfortable with. I always had an instinctive distrust of zoom lenses, maybe unfounded. Anyway, here they are:

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. Cheap and unassuming, but this is in fact my main workhorse. I use it all the time. Is the 1.4 any better?
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8. I previously used this a lot for stitching, but hopefully there won't be too much need for that with the D800...other than that a good lens for all the usual reasons.
Nikkor 35mm f/2. This is a lens I feel I "should" have, but oddly I don't use it much.
Sigma 24mm f/1.8. I got this as a replacement for a broken Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, expecting it to be merely "usable" - but I was in for a surprise. This is in fact an excellent lens, very sharp, with only a little CA towards the corners. I use this all the time, it's my main "event" lens. But is a Nikkor significantly better? Money's always tight, so price matters.

For close-up I got a Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, but that was a disappointment. I'm sure it's an excellent lens, but it feels too short. I get this weird feeling that the focal length decreases the closer you focus. So I found an old 105mm Micro-Nikkor, the manual focus variety, which is OK because it's only used in a controlled studio setting using strobes. This lens feels a lot better than the 60. For this I also have a PK-13 extension tube.

But would the Micro 60 do better than the regular 50 in terms of flat field, at both close and normal distances"?

When I take the camera home for my personal stuff (yes, I'm allowed that), I use the 24 and 85 mostly. But it's at work that I really need to push the technical quality as far as possible. Can I settle for these lenses, or am I not getting the full potential out of this camera?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Peter McLennan on February 15, 2013, 08:53:12 PM
So I found an old 105mm Micro-Nikkor, the manual focus variety, which is OK because it's only used in a controlled studio setting using strobes. This lens feels a lot better than the 60. For this I also have a PK-13 extension tube.

I have a 55mm f3.5 Micro Nikkor from the 70s and it's the sharpest lens I've ever used.  My D800 loves it.  I agree about the focal length, though.  It's a bit short for real macro work. For that reason, I ordered a "bigger sister" manual focus 105mm f4 from KEH.  I sent it back.  It might have been just the copy I got, but it had nowhere near the resolving power of the 55. 

Can't comment on the other lenses, although a friend has current-version AF VR 105 Micro Nikkor and it looks pretty close to my 55.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 15, 2013, 09:30:22 PM
I just bought Nikon 60mm AF-S G (flat field), hoping that it would outperform my old Nikon AF 50mmF1.4D on D800e.
I cannot see any significant improvement in sharpness.
I also compared it to a pretty sharp Sigma 70mmF2.8 that also is flat field lens.
Sigma is a bit sharper, although it has a bit more pronounced CA.
Tested at F5.6-F9, at 15 feet distance.

In general I am quite disappointed in 35mm glass...
My 22MP Mamiya ZD with Mamiya 80mm AF2.8 and especially Mamiya 55mm AF2.8 is quite noticeably sharper - bitingly sharp.
Unfortunately, none of the above lenses give that bitingly sharp MF quality result.
As a result, I have an impression that ZD has about the same, or possibly even more details in a smaller file (after it is compressed to DNG).

Does anyone know of any 35mm AF lens (besides $$$ Coastal Optics)  that would give truly sharp (MF quality) D800e files?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on February 15, 2013, 10:15:07 PM
Hi Michael,

The new Sigma 35mm F1.4 lens is getting rave reviews world wide even some are saying like Lloyd Charmers that in his opinion it is the worlds best 35mm to date.

I have one order for my Nikon D800E even though I have the Nikon 35mm F1.4G lens as it is the good.

Ciao

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BobDavid on February 15, 2013, 10:44:35 PM
I just bought Nikon 60mm AF-S G (flat field), hoping that it would outperform my old Nikon AF 50mmF1.4D on D800e.
I cannot see any significant improvement in sharpness.
I also compared it to a pretty sharp Sigma 70mmF2.8, also is flat field.
Sigma is a bit sharper, although it has a bit more pronounced CA.
Tested at F5.6-F9, at 11 feet distance.


I purchased the 60mm AF-S G last week for the D800. For many years, I used a Hasselblad multi-shot back attached to a pancake camera mounted with a 72mm Digitar (with electronic shutter). For copystand work, the Hassey system was out of this world--especially for fine art reproduction where absolute color fidelity and micro contrast are essential. The H120 makro planar lens is also stunning.

However, the Nikkor is a very serviceable lens. The linear distortion is well-controlled and the generic ACR 7 lens profile does a decent job of correcting falloff and tweaking linearity. I think the best solution for a flat field lens on a 35mm camera would be a top-of-the-line enlarger lens. I haven't researched it, but there's got to be a way to mount one onto the D800.

As far as mounting the camera to another device capable of accepting Digitars, The Cambo X2-Pro is too awkward for my taste and the Cambo Ultima 35 is clunky.

I would love to see how a 1980s Nikkor 55mm macro lens compares to the 60mm AF-S G.

Now that I have retreated from fine art repro and use the copystand for other applications, the D800/60mm combo is great.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 15, 2013, 10:58:41 PM
Hi Simon, I hope that Sigma will raise the bar with all upcoming newer lens models. I am tempted by this lens also, but for my application will have to wait for the both wider and longer lenses of the same quality. It would be interesting to see how it performs on D800e vs top MF glass.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on February 15, 2013, 11:23:38 PM
Hi Bob,

I use the Horseman VCC system using Rodenstock Rodagon and Apo Rodagon enlarging lenses for all my art reproduction, jewellery, food and drink photography  with excellent results. These Rodenstock lenses on my Nikon D800E are superb.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 15, 2013, 11:55:13 PM
Hi,

Lens rentals has posted a page describing the best lenses for D800.

I would expect the D800E to perform better, having a resolution advantage, but it operates with small pixels, 4.8 microns
and the ZD is at 9 microns, I would guess. MTF drops with frequency.

I got a test shot from Tim Parkin using a 25/2 Zeiss Distagon on the Nikon D800E, it has about 37% MTF at Nyquist.

The Mamiya with it's larger pixels would have Nyquist at around 2667 on a the same figure and there the lens would transfer around 70%, almost twice the contrast.
(http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Images/MFMythsReality/TimPerkin/OLP/D800E_not_sharpened.png)

So pixel for pixel the Mamiya should have better contrast, but I guess that you can compensate with more sharpening.

I guess that the Mamiya lenses are quite good.

Having high MTF at large pixels sounds like a recipe for creating aliasing artifacts. I would expect you to have a lot of that on the ZD.

Here I look into that issue: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/71-mf-digital-myths-or-facts?start=4

Could you publish a pair of comparable images, preferably raw? If you have an image with slanted edge, it would be helpful.

Best regards
Erik





A

Hi Simon, I hope that Sigma will raise the bar with all upcoming newer lens models. I am tempted by this lens also, but for my application will have to wait for the both wider and longer lenses of the same quality. It would be interesting to see how it performs on D800e vs top MF glass.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 16, 2013, 12:03:11 AM
Hi Erik, you are right, ZD is very prone to moire, while it is pretty rare and faint on D800e.
I will try to shoot publishable test images over the weekend to post here.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Petrus on February 16, 2013, 02:14:45 AM
If DxO is to be trusted, the best primes for D800 would be:

Nikon 85 f:1.8 G, 35 points, the SHARPEST lens they have measured so far (lens + camera combination, D3x). $500.
Sigma 50 f:1.4 DG, 28 points, sharpest normal lens so far. $500.
Sigma 35 f:1.4 DG, 30 points, the sharpest mid-wide so far (measured with canon 5D3, D800 should be better). $900.
Nikon 24 f:1.4 G ED, 29 points, best "landscape-wide" so far. Almost $2000.
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 f:2.8, 23 points, best ultra-wide. $3000.

As we can see, the quality goes down with wider angles but prices explode, so stitching, when possible, is recommended.

Nikon 85 and those Sigmas are real winners in both quality and price.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 16, 2013, 02:59:31 AM
Hi,

I think the DxO data is basically good but I am very skeptical the figures of merit they have.

Best regards
Erik


If DxO is to be trusted, the best primes for D800 would be:

Nikon 85 f:1.8 G, 35 points, the SHARPEST lens they have measured so far (lens + camera combination, D3x). $500.
Sigma 50 f:1.4 DG, 28 points, sharpest normal lens so far. $500.
Sigma 35 f:1.4 DG, 30 points, the sharpest mid-wide so far (measured with canon 5D3, D800 should be better). $900.
Nikon 24 f:1.4 G ED, 29 points, best "landscape-wide" so far. Almost $2000.
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 f:2.8, 23 points, best ultra-wide. $3000.

As we can see, the quality goes down with wider angles but prices explode, so stitching, when possible, is recommended.

Nikon 85 and those Sigmas are real winners in both quality and price.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 16, 2013, 03:09:59 AM
Hi,

If you include a slanted edge target I can measure the images with Imatest. The MTF plots probably tell a story. It should be tilted according to the marks at bottom and top.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik, you are right, ZD is very prone to moire, while it is pretty rare and faint on D800e.
I will try to shoot publishable test images over the weekend to post here.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 16, 2013, 07:58:17 AM
Hi Erik, I can try to compose this target using white paper over black cardboard...
Would it be sufficient if I use a single piece of white paper (so no checkerboard pattern), angled as in your illustration.
Considering the difference in resolution of ZD vs D800e and the focal differences of their lenses, would it make sense to capture images where target is the same size, measured in pixels?
Which apertures would you prefer for each camera?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: D Fosse on February 16, 2013, 11:29:35 AM
Thank you all for your thoughts, very interesting (and reassuring). What I take away from this is:

1. Sigma is generally held in high regard, which confirms my favorable impression of the 24/1.8. The ultimate 24mm would be the Nikkor 24/1.4, but that's simply too expensive at the moment. Carl Zeiss could also be worth looking into.

2. The Micro Nikkor 60/2.8 is a superb lens on its own merit, although a little on the short side for macro work. But it could replace the 50/1.8.

3. Nikkor 85/1.8 is, as I suspected, an almost perfect lens to go with a D800.

Using an enlarger lens for flat field is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure where I would find a good one. I think we have a Leitz Focomat stuffed away somewhere, but how those old lenses perform in color I don't know (CA ?).
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 16, 2013, 02:14:04 PM
I shot the custom-made slanted edge target (printed on a laser printer) at F2.8, F5.6, F8, F11 (and F16 for ZD) with the following setup:

 Nikon D800e - Nikon 50mm AF-D F1.4
 Nikon D800e - Nikon 60mm AF-S G F2.8
 Nikon D800e - Nikon 28-70mm AF-S ED F2.8 - @50mm
 Nikon D800e - Sigma 70mm F2.8
 Mamiya ZD   - Mamiya 80mm F2.8

For now I shot ZD at such subject-to-cam-distance that framing closely resembles D800e.
While changing lenses on D800e I changed the subject-to-cam-distance to maintain the framing as well.

I am converting all files to high quality sRGB jpgs, cropped to the target.
Erik, do you want to see all raws? It is 676MB...
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on February 16, 2013, 03:35:57 PM
Hello,

Its interesting how reviews can give different out comes.

Photozone rates the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM with only 2 stars out of 5.

http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/616-sigma5014ff?start=2

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 16, 2013, 03:47:40 PM
I shot the custom-made slanted edge target (printed on a laser printer) at F2.8, F5.6, F8, F11 (and F16 for ZD) with the following setup:

 Nikon D800e - Nikon 50mm AF-D F1.4
 Nikon D800e - Nikon 60mm AF-S G F2.8
 Nikon D800e - Nikon 28-70mm AF-S ED F2.8 - @50mm
 Nikon D800e - Sigma 70mm F2.8
 Mamiya ZD   - Mamiya 80mm F2.8[/li][/list]

For now I shot ZD at such subject-to-cam-distance that framing closely resembles D800e.
While changing lenses D800e I changed the subject-to-cam-distance to maintain the framing as well.

I am converting all files to high quality sRGB jpgs, cropped to the target.
Erik, do you want to see all raws? It is 676MB...



And here are the results (each jpg is about 2MB; right-click to view at full size):

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16.jpg)

A sharpened view of the same file:

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16_sharpened.jpg)


Looking at these samples I see that D800e file certainly can capture more detail than a file from ZD, at the same framing.
My previous comparison was based on shots of live (and different) models, which made it seem otherwise.

Attached is the slanted edge target used for this test.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 16, 2013, 04:32:20 PM
Hi Ezra,

JPEGS are fine.

It will take some time for me to check out...

Best regards
Erik


    And here are the results (each jpg is about 3MB; right-click to view at full size):

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16.jpg)

A sharpened view of the same file:

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16_sharpened.jpg)


Looking at these samples I see that D800e file certainly can capture more detail than a file from ZD, at the same framing.
My previous comparison was based on shots of live (and different) models, which made it seem otherwise.

Attached is the slanted edge target used for this test.

[/list]
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 16, 2013, 06:16:15 PM
Hi Erik, I see that you are using the composite image in Imatest. To avoid JPG-related artifacts, you can use the composite 8-bit TIFs:
http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16-CompositeTIFs.zip
"Low contrast" is the plain output from RawTherapee, "High contrast" version is after an additional Luminosity curve was applied to all crops (in 16 bit precision) within Photoshop.

P.S. in your post above two images are the same.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 16, 2013, 06:24:36 PM
Thanks!

A task for tomorrow.

Best regards
Erik



Hi Erik, I see that you are using the composite image in Imatest. To avoid JPG-related artifacts, you can use the composite 8-bit TIFs:
http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-16-CompositeTIFs.zip
"Low contrast" is the plain output from RawTherapee, "High contrast" version is after an additional Luminosity curve was applied to all crops (in 16 bit precision) within Photoshop.

P.S. in your post above two images are the same.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 05:52:28 AM
Hi,

I got some good test files to measure MTF from Michael Ezra. My understanding is that Michael found the ZD to be superior while shooting models in studio, but found on the test shots that the Nikon had better detail.

I measured MTF on the Nikon 50/1.4 and the Mamiya 80/2.8 both at f/5.6 and plotted in the same diagram. The diagram shows the MTF (contrast transferred) for all frequencies up to twice Nyquist limit. This essentially means that the curves are comparable. Info past 4000 (ZD) or 5000 (Nikon) LW/PH is artifacts of SFR measurement.

This indicates that the Nikon should be able to achieve superior detail. The Mamiya curves can be pushed up with sharpening but so can the Nikon curves.

I don't know hoe this correlates with Michael's experience, but I guess that we all will learn something new checking these data, and that is always a good thing.

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 06:13:57 AM
Hi,

More observations.

Signal noise is better on the Nikon, but this depends much on exposure.

The Nikon D800E/Nikon 50 lens combo has much better MTF on a lp/mm basis. It is hard to say how much is coming from sensor and how much from lens.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 17, 2013, 07:45:35 AM
Hi Erik, thanks for looking into these files.
For the noise comparison, it might be more accurate to compare files from Sigma @5.6 and Mamiya @5.6 as their raw exposures were very close.
D800e was at 100 ISO and ZD at 50 ISO.

The black square of the slanted edge was not a very deep black, but a dark grey (as came out of my laser printer).
I carried raw development using low contrast & linear base tonal curves, do you think results would be different if higher contrast files were used?

Comparing these findings vs the charts from 25/2 Zeiss Distagon on the Nikon D800E is Zeiss that much better?
I see that the contrast of the Zeiss chart is much higher (but this could be due to raw conversion setting), do you think it could be a factor?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 09:32:06 AM
Hi Ezra,

The contrast on the chart matters little, Imatest compensates for that.

I'm going to recheck the noise ratios on Sigma and ZD. The question is not about ISO, f-stop and shutter speed, but how far to the right the images are exposed.

My understanding is that you are feel that you got better detail on the ZD than on the D800. Checking with Imatest indicates the opposite, I have not really found any explanation. What is your take on the issue now?

I also checked the Nikon 50/1.4 and the ZD at 80/2.8, reason being mainly that I expect Mamiya with it's larger pixels being less affected by diffraction.

Regarding the Zeiss 24/2 sample, it was coming from Tim Parkin, I don't recall how it was "developed" but raw processing matters a lot. I'll try to check out about the sample. Right now I feel that it would be good to find out about the issue you have and not looking for the ultimate lens. The new Zeiss Distagon 55/1.4 seems to be a very good lens, but I think the price will be exceptional.

One of the reasons I am much interested in this that there are quite a few poster who claim that even old 25 MP backs are superior to todays CMOS based FF sensors. So I am very much interested finding out why and how.

Best regards
Erik



Hi Erik, thanks for looking into these files.
For the noise comparison, it might be more accurate to compare files from Sigma @5.6 and Mamiya @5.6 as their raw exposures were very close.
D800e was at 100 ISO and ZD at 50 ISO.

The black square of the slanted edge was not a very deep black, but a dark grey (as came out of my laser printer).
I carried raw development using low contrast & linear base tonal curves, do you think results would be different if higher contrast files were used?

Comparing these findings vs the charts from 25/2 Zeiss Distagon on the Nikon D800E is Zeiss that much better?
I see that the contrast of the Zeiss chart is much higher (but this could be due to raw conversion setting), do you think it could be a factor?

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: JohnBrew on February 17, 2013, 09:59:30 AM
There is a gentleman on one of the Nikon forums who adapted several Mamiya MF lenses for use on a D800. While he liked the image quality the weight differential put him off.
Best lenses on my D800 are in order:
1. 85 1.4G, my example is bitingly sharp, bokeh is a little nervous wide open, terrific when stopped down.
2. Zeiss 50 Makro, fabulous all-rounder
3. 105 2.5 Ai, don't discount it just because it's "old" - very sharp w/wonderful bokeh.
4. Zeiss 21, THE landscape lens and a big thank you to ACR for their lens correction tool

The only lens I own which was absolute garbage on the D800 is a Nikon 24 2.8 Ais. I would like a good 28 but the new 1.8G has too much field curvature for me.
My 2 cents.

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 17, 2013, 10:58:21 AM
My understanding is that you are feel that you got better detail on the ZD than on the D800. Checking with Imatest indicates the opposite, I have not really found any explanation. What is your take on the issue now?

On ZD I usually use F10 to get acceptable depth of field. Field curvature on Mamiya 80mmAF is not as curvy as on Nikon 50AFD1.4.
In my application field curvature is quite important - when I shoot a model laying (or flying:)) perpendicular to the lens axis, filling most of the frame length.
Comparison using models *could* be faulty, as models used with different systems were different, so there is variation in skin texture and hair thickness and some lighting variation as well.
Nevertheless, It appeared to me that if I shoot the same object using these systems not to preserve framing, but to maintain number of pixels per object dimension, ZD version would be sharper.
May be this is due to aliasing of the large pixels, hard to say.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 11:50:05 AM
Hi Michael,

Aliasing would cause fake detail. The Nikon would also alias. You have a D800E?

I just run the 25/2 vs. 50/1.4 comparison. It seems that the 25/2 has an edge in MTF, specially at low frequencies (I will make a better plot later). I also ran the SQF figures. They are very close: if you made a 150x100 cm print and viewed at 95 cm you should not be able to see a difference between the two. Zeiss SQF = 90.5 Nikon SQF = 89. Supposedly a difference of five is discernible.

This was with no sharpening.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Rob C on February 17, 2013, 12:38:05 PM
There is a gentleman on one of the Nikon forums who adapted several Mamiya MF lenses for use on a D800. While he liked the image quality the weight differential put him off.
Best lenses on my D800 are in order:
1. 85 1.4G, my example is bitingly sharp, bokeh is a little nervous wide open, terrific when stopped down.
2. Zeiss 50 Makro, fabulous all-rounder
3. 105 2.5 Ai, don't discount it just because it's "old" - very sharp w/wonderful bokeh.
4. Zeiss 21, THE landscape lens and a big thank you to ACR for their lens correction tool

The only lens I own which was absolute garbage on the D800 is a Nikon 24 2.8 Ais. I would like a good 28 but the new 1.8G has too much field curvature for me.
My 2 cents.




That’s interesting; I find mine quite good. Maybe I’ve had it for around fifteen years or so now, from new – I do feel that quality control has since gone down the tubes, though. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen; imagine if jet engines had a similarly low level of testing prior to use…

Rob C
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 02:30:47 PM
Hi,

The main advantage of the D800 is more pixels. I don't think that per pixel quality of the D800 is better than say a D600.

Best regards
Erik



Nevertheless, It appeared to me that if I shoot the same object using these systems not to preserve framing, but to maintain number of pixels per object dimension, ZD version would be sharper.
May be this is due to aliasing of the large pixels, hard to say.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: TMARK on February 17, 2013, 02:56:24 PM
My old 60 AFd micro is very sharp. My old 28 2.8 ais is super. Very well corrected.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 17, 2013, 03:29:09 PM
Hi,

What is your problem with Canon? DR at low ISO? Resolution? Color rendition?

If you happen to have a decent MFDB, wouldn't a Hartblei H-cam or Alpa FPS be a good solution?

What is wrong with Nikon 14-24/2.8, Zeiss 18/3.5 and Zeiss 21/2.8? All those lenses seem to be decent and around 20 mm.

I don't have any personal experience of any of that stuff, but from what I have seen they are pretty attractive. All right, I have heard about field curvature on the Zeiss lenses, but not much else.

Sorry for asking. I can feel your frustration, just want to know what aspects it is about?

Best regards
Erik


I've been reading this thread with interest.

The following are a few comments I made elsewhere today. They seem relevant to this thread and sum up my frustration.

I look at files from the Canon 17 & 24mm TS-E lenses and weep. If only Canon made a body that took full advantage of them.

I'd literally go out and buy a Nikon D800E tomorrow if there was a lens of around 20mm that took full advantage of the camera.

I'm even considering buying a Canon 5D111 just to use the TS-E lenses. I'm that desperate.


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on February 17, 2013, 03:41:53 PM
Hi,

I got some good test files to measure MTF from Michael Ezra. My understanding is that Michael found the ZD to be superior while shooting models in studio, but found on the test shots that the Nikon had better detail.

I measured MTF on the Nikon 50/1.4 and the Mamiya 80/2.8 both at f/5.6 and plotted in the same diagram. The diagram shows the MTF (contrast transferred) for all frequencies up to twice Nyquist limit. This essentially means that the curves are comparable. Info past 4000 (ZD) or 5000 (Nikon) LW/PH is artifacts of SFR measurement.

This indicates that the Nikon should be able to achieve superior detail. The Mamiya curves can be pushed up with sharpening but so can the Nikon curves.

I don't know hoe this correlates with Michael's experience, but I guess that we all will learn something new checking these data, and that is always a good thing.



Erik,

That sag in the lower frequencies is a typical curve of diffraction effect on a constricted lens. Was the Mamiya lens on the nikon camera with an adapter or was it on the ZD? With the thread title I assume its adapted and a large amount of the image circle is off the sensor. That is the price of adapting lenses. It's not that the mamiya lenses are inferior, it is diffraction.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: JohnBrew on February 17, 2013, 04:56:13 PM

That’s interesting; I find mine quite good. Maybe I’ve had it for around fifteen years or so now, from new – I do feel that quality control has since gone down the tubes, though. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen; imagine if jet engines had a similarly low level of testing prior to use…

Rob C


Rob, interestingly enough it is fine on the D700.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 17, 2013, 10:47:05 PM
Was the Mamiya lens on the nikon camera with an adapter or was it on the ZD? With the thread title I assume its adapted and a large amount of the image circle is off the sensor. That is the price of adapting lenses. It's not that the mamiya lenses are inferior, it is diffraction.

FYI, in this test Mamiya lens was used directly on Mamiya ZD body only. All other lenses were mounted on Nikon D800e without any adapters also.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 12:17:12 AM
Hi,

The Mamiya lens is on ZD body (without adapter). The shot is at f/5.6 so I don't think diffraction plays a significant role. The sensors have different pitch 9 microns on the ZD and 4.8 microns on the D800E.

Best regards
Erik

Erik,

That sag in the lower frequencies is a typical curve of diffraction effect on a constricted lens. Was the Mamiya lens on the nikon camera with an adapter or was it on the ZD? With the thread title I assume its adapted and a large amount of the image circle is off the sensor. That is the price of adapting lenses. It's not that the mamiya lenses are inferior, it is diffraction.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 01:31:53 AM
Hi,

Thanks for explaining, now I see what you mean.

Best regards
Erik

Hi, certainly resolution, I would have preferred the D800 sensor, but above all I've never particularly liked the Canon bodies.

I'm happy enough with my current MFD setup. I'm looking for a more versatile option; something that a tech camera or MFD couldn't offer.

They're decent enough but I was really hoping for a T/S solution/s.

Hey ho.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: risedal on February 18, 2013, 04:19:54 AM
I've been reading this thread with interest.

The following are a few comments I made elsewhere today. They seem relevant to this thread and sum up my frustration.

I look at files from the Canon 17 & 24mm TS-E lenses and weep. If only Canon made a body that took full advantage of them.

I'd literally go out and buy a Nikon D800E tomorrow if there was a lens of around 20mm that took full advantage of the camera.

I'm even considering buying a Canon 5D111 just to use the TS-E lenses. I'm that desperate.



today you can buy the 6D which is the best camera sensor wise from Canon and use the 17mm and 24mm TS lenses.
Nikon have nothing to compare with regarding these 2 lenses
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Rob C on February 18, 2013, 04:47:50 AM
Rob, interestingly enough it is fine on the D700.


That explains it: I have both D200 and D700 bodies.

I can't quite get the idea behind why a higher res. sensor should affect a lens so; yes, of course I understand the implications for larger blow-ups and the inevitable break down of information gathered, but at non-giant work of maybe A3 or thereabouts, which I imagine people generally work around for magazine use etc. why should the same lens appear less good? Or, are these negative comments entirely based on unrealistic pixel-peeping at reproduction sizes for which almost nobody ever achieves a market?

Rob C
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: risedal on February 18, 2013, 04:54:05 AM
Hi,

What is your problem with Canon? DR at low ISO? Resolution? Color rendition?

If you happen to have a decent MFDB, wouldn't a Hartblei H-cam or Alpa FPS be a good solution?

What is wrong with Nikon 14-24/2.8, Zeiss 18/3.5 and Zeiss 21/2.8? All those lenses seem to be decent and around 20 mm.

I don't have any personal experience of any of that stuff, but from what I have seen they are pretty attractive. All right, I have heard about field curvature on the Zeiss lenses, but not much else.

Sorry for asking. I can feel your frustration, just want to know what aspects it is about?

Best regards
Erik



They are no TS lenses.
14-24 is nice resolution wise but have severe problems with flare
Zeiss 18/3,5 nice but not excellent as 21/2,8 with more vignetting
Canons  two TS-E lenses are unique and they are gruesomely good
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Rob C on February 18, 2013, 04:55:59 AM
Hi, certainly resolution, I would have preferred the D800 sensor, but above all I've never particularly liked the Canon bodies.

I'm happy enough with my current MFD setup. I'm looking for a more versatile option; something that a tech camera or MFD couldn't offer.

They're decent enough but I was really hoping for a T/S solution/s.

Hey ho.


Hi Keith,

I can't help wondering: if you get the right 135 format body and the lenses you need, would you then be happy to abandon your Hassy outfit in favour of lightness - if there's really much difference? I think that a tripod is probably as big a carriage problem as a larger format! Years before my first heart attack I discovered that carting my Gitzo G 410 around was more than my body could handle for longer than maybe half-an-hour.

Rob C
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Rob C on February 18, 2013, 04:58:03 AM
On ZD I usually use F10 to get acceptable depth of field. Field curvature on Mamiya 80mmAF is not as curvy as on Nikon 50AFD1.4.
In my application field curvature is quite important - when I shoot a model laying (or flying:)) perpendicular to the lens axis, filling most of the frame length.
Comparison using models *could* be faulty, as models used with different systems were different, so there is variation in skin texture and hair thickness and some lighting variation as well.
Nevertheless, It appeared to me that if I shoot the same object using these systems not to preserve framing, but to maintain number of pixels per object dimension, ZD version would be sharper.
May be this is due to aliasing of the large pixels, hard to say.



You see the advantage of brick walls?

Rob C
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 04:01:07 PM
Hi Michael,

I made a quick check, comparing the Sigma to the Nikon 60 mm. To me it seems that the Nikon is quite a bit better than the Sigma.

The SQF values tell a slightly different story, right now I don't know if I would believe SQF.

Which apertures are you using on D800E and what is your maximum intended print size?

I'll try to make some better plots tomorrow.

Best regards
Erik

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 18, 2013, 05:23:26 PM
Hi Erik,

Which apertures are you using on D800E and what is your maximum intended print size?
On D800e I will likely use about F8-F10 in the studio most frequently. Otherwise, F5.6 for the sharpest application
Max print size from a single exposure is likely 24"x36".

About the Sigma images, here is an updated composite image with replaced Sigma 70mm samples, after using live view focusing.
This is made of the same samples I referenced in PM as "Set B".
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 05:43:17 PM
Hi Michael,

I have run some calculations on Sigma 70 and Nikon 60/2.8. I find the results somewhat odd.

It seems that they are very close up to something like 30 lp/mm, at that point the curves part, Nikon is a straight line while Sigma drops quite a bit faster. I used lp/mm in this comparison as I feel it is easier to grasp. When comparing ZD and D800E I use LW/PH which tells actual resolution of the sensor ignoring size.

Visual impression dominated by low frequencies so I think the images can be quite close but Nikon is much better at fine detail.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,
On D800e I will likely use about F8-F10 in the studio most frequently. Otherwise, F5.6 for the sharpest application
Max print size from a single exposure is likely 24"x36".

About the Sigma images, here is an updated composite image with replaced Sigma 70mm samples, after using live view focusing.
This is made of the same samples I referenced in PM as "Set B".
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: risedal on February 18, 2013, 06:40:31 PM
I just bought Nikon 60mm AF-S G (flat field), hoping that it would outperform my old Nikon AF 50mmF1.4D on D800e.
I cannot see any significant improvement in sharpness.
I also compared it to a pretty sharp Sigma 70mmF2.8 that also is flat field lens.
Sigma is a bit sharper, although it has a bit more pronounced CA.
Tested at F5.6-F9, at 15 feet distance.

In general I am quite disappointed in 35mm glass...
My 22MP Mamiya ZD with Mamiya 80mm AF2.8 and especially Mamiya 55mm AF2.8 is quite noticeably sharper - bitingly sharp.
Unfortunately, none of the above lenses give that bitingly sharp MF quality result.
As a result, I have an impression that ZD has about the same, or possibly even more details in a smaller file (after it is compressed to DNG).

Does anyone know of any 35mm AF lens (besides $$$ Coastal Optics)  that would give truly sharp (MF quality) D800e files?

The_Suede and I did a test with Hasselblad 150mm and the 40Mp back + Nikon D800 with Sigma 105 macro (it is a superb cheap lens)
When we used Camera Raw or Lightroom etc there where no big difference between  the two cameras results  and  careful USM added .
The Hasselblad shines more together with their own software Phocus = more micro contrast etc  but our conclusion was, the Hasselblad combo is very expensive compared to Nikon.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Hening Bettermann on February 18, 2013, 07:47:13 PM
Are there any comparisons of the best 35 mm lenses vs. Digitars and Rodenstocks used on say the Nikon D800? Such comparison will of course only be possible for focal lengths that would allow the Nikon to be mounted on the back of e.g. an Alpa or Arca.
If nobody has really compared it - what would you exspect? These lenses are of course designed for a larger pixel pitch.
The reason I ask is that all of these top 35 mm lenses are insanely heavy. Digitars in a mechanical Copal would only weigh about 150 grams! Of course there would be the problem of adapting them, but I hope it could be done using a focussing helicoid and an adapter ring, the latter custom built if necessary.
Any ideas, or, better, experience?
Good light! - Hening
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 18, 2013, 10:29:14 PM
I downloaded a trial from quickmtf.com and generated these graphs of all tests @F5.6
I hope that I used the software correctly:) Erik, does this correspond to your findings?

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 11:52:37 PM
Hi Michael,

Takes some time to find out ;-)

Best regards
Erik

I downloaded a trial from quickmtf.com and generated these graphs of all tests @F5.6
I hope that I used the software correctly:) Erik, does this correspond to your findings?


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 19, 2013, 01:20:04 AM
Hi,

Here are very preliminary plots in lp/mm of a Rodenstock Digaron W 40 mm and a Zeiss 25/2, both images converted in LR4 without sharpening.

I need to recheck the data I compared D800 and D800E and found a stunning difference, so I recheck that no sharpening was applied. Anyway, here are the plots.

The Digaron W 40/4 is 530 grams and the Distagon 25/2 comes in at 570 - 600 g but gives two extra stops and a helicoid focusing.

The "knee" around 110 lp/mm is the Nyquist limit, all info beyond that is fake.
Best regards
Erik


Are there any comparisons of the best 35 mm lenses vs. Digitars and Rodenstocks used on say the Nikon D800? Such comparison will of course only be possible for focal lengths that would allow the Nikon to be mounted on the back of e.g. an Alpa or Arca.
If nobody has really compared it - what would you exspect? These lenses are of course designed for a larger pixel pitch.
The reason I ask is that all of these top 35 mm lenses are insanely heavy. Digitars in a mechanical Copal would only weigh about 150 grams! Of course there would be the problem of adapting them, but I hope it could be done using a focussing helicoid and an adapter ring, the latter custom built if necessary.
Any ideas, or, better, experience?
Good light! - Hening
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 19, 2013, 01:38:27 AM
Hi,

I think Imatest gives slightly higher figures. I think it uses green channel data only. Will try to find out more.

This page may be intesresting, by the way: http://www.imatest.com/docs/mtf_appearance/

Best regards
Erik

I downloaded a trial from quickmtf.com and generated these graphs of all tests @F5.6
I hope that I used the software correctly:) Erik, does this correspond to your findings?


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: JohnBrew on February 19, 2013, 07:45:20 AM
Thanks for the link, Keith. A terrific comparison.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Hening Bettermann on February 19, 2013, 10:14:04 AM
> Here are very preliminary plots in lp/mm of a Rodenstock Digaron W 40 mm and a Zeiss 25/2, both images converted in LR4 without sharpening.

Thank you, Erik. Obviously there is no weight to save on the wide angles. But they could not be adapted anyway. The shortest that could would be the Digitar 72. Flange to focal distance 68.4 mm, of which the Nikon would take 46.5, leaving 21.9 mm for a helicoid (17-34mm) + adapter rings. Here the weight difference would be significant, about 220 grams vs. 525 for the Sigma 70mm. From f=100 mm and up, a Zörk or Mirex shift adapter might be squeezed in.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Petrus on February 19, 2013, 12:53:48 PM
If anyone is interested here is a link to some comparisons between the Nikon 14-24, Zeiss 15 and Samyang 14.

I "leafed" through the site and had a feeling that Nikon was doing as well as Zeiss on the average. Having 14-24mm focal lengths is a big bonus, and Nikon costs $1000 less! The only problem with the Nikon is the no-filter design, and maybe weight. I have to say that the 14-24 Nikon zoom is an amazing feat of optical engineering.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 19, 2013, 03:10:57 PM
Hi Michael,

We had lot of discussions and I hope we gained some understanding. I would be much interested what you have found.

My impression in short is:

- I have not found any good reasons for the better perceived detail on the ZD.
- My evaluation indicates that the advantage of large pixels on the ZD does not offset the resolution advantage of the 36 MP sensor in the D800E in MTF measurements.
- To me it seems that the lenses tested are pretty good.
- I don't really feel the Sigma 70/2.8 is the superior performer I have expected it to be.

The question is really, how we go on?

I am most thankful for this thread, which I felt was both unbiased an open minded.

Best regards
Erik


I just bought Nikon 60mm AF-S G (flat field), hoping that it would outperform my old Nikon AF 50mmF1.4D on D800e.
I cannot see any significant improvement in sharpness.
I also compared it to a pretty sharp Sigma 70mmF2.8 that also is flat field lens.
Sigma is a bit sharper, although it has a bit more pronounced CA.
Tested at F5.6-F9, at 15 feet distance.

In general I am quite disappointed in 35mm glass...
My 22MP Mamiya ZD with Mamiya 80mm AF2.8 and especially Mamiya 55mm AF2.8 is quite noticeably sharper - bitingly sharp.
Unfortunately, none of the above lenses give that bitingly sharp MF quality result.
As a result, I have an impression that ZD has about the same, or possibly even more details in a smaller file (after it is compressed to DNG).

Does anyone know of any 35mm AF lens (besides $$$ Coastal Optics)  that would give truly sharp (MF quality) D800e files?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: risedal on February 19, 2013, 06:01:07 PM
I "leafed" through the site and had a feeling that Nikon was doing as well as Zeiss on the average. Having 14-24mm focal lengths is a big bonus, and Nikon costs $1000 less! The only problem with the Nikon is the no-filter design, and maybe weight. I have to say that the 14-24 Nikon zoom is an amazing feat of optical engineering.

it is an amazing lens , better at 14mm than Canon L 14mm etc. but the lens have one big problem,flare.
I dont know if you have seen this

different zeiss and nikon lenses together with D800
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/03/d800-lens-selection
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 19, 2013, 09:57:35 PM
Hi Erik,

I agree on all points with you, but I'd like to share one more set of graphs which better illustrates my initial comment about sharpness of files from ZD.
I shot the same target using Mamiya 645AF 55mm F2.8 lens.

To complete the illustration, here are
   1. an updated composite chart of all targets,

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-18.jpg)

   2. the MTF charts measured from the tests with this lens,

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTFcharts_MamiyaZD-Mamiya645AF-55mmF2.8.jpg)

   3. a comparison to probably the best second sample which is D800 with Nikon 50mmAF-D F1.4 @5.6.

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_D800-50AFD1.4-f5.6---ZD645AF55F2--f8.jpg)

   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_D800-50AFD1.4-f5.6---ZD645AF55F2--f8.gif)


I am puzzled by Sigma. My previous impression on its sharpness when using it on D700 was much better. I may need to repeat this test on Sigma 105mm which I also have.
However, based on my prior use on D700, Sigma 70mm was sharper than Sigma 105.

I am also quite happy with the performance of my 13-year old zoom Nikon 28-70mmF2.8 which I used primarily with 35mm format in the past years!

I am so impressed with 50mm Nikon prime, I got it for free back in 2000 when I purchased Nikon F5 for $1000 right on the street for cash:) This lens was simply included!
I'd use it for my studio work, if not for the field curvature.

ZD with 55mm lens gives outstanding sharpness, but, ironically, I don't use this focal length frequently.

Nikon 60mm performed significantly better in this test than I expected, as other images I shot with it were rather lacking contrast and soft. I may need to look into the reasons why.
If that gets resolved, I may use this lens for my studio work, since it is flat field.

D800 system is certainly more versatile feature-wise, can deliver acceptable sharpness and is significantly less prone to moire, as most lenses are struggling with sensor resolution:)

ZD gives consistent sharpness, compatible Mamiya lenses are excellent and some are outstanding. Moire can be a significant issue even with not the sharpest lenses in the lineup, e.g. Mamiya 150mm F3.5)  But above all, I love how Mamiya shutter sounds:)

I also enjoyed this discussion, thank you for your help with the charts!


EDIT: I am a bit confused by the results from the quickmft program: I re-shot [email protected] at a closer distance.
Strangely enough, the MFT was significantly changed - I am not sure then how reliable these graphs are... any thoughts?
Here is comparison (right click and view image for undistorted view):
(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_ZD645AF55F2--f8_atDifferentScales.gif)


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 12:02:17 AM
Hi Michael,

To begin with MTF is one aspect, it says a lot about the sharpness a lens can deliver but not all. We also essentially only looked at the center. I recently tested an old Zeiss Sonnar 150/4 which was really shining in my table top setup, but did not work at all outside, because of lens flare. That could also be a problem with your 60/2.8.

I don't know much about Mamiya lenses. Back in time I have seen some tests at Photodo and they were pretty good. In general I expected the Mamiya to have some advantage because the larger pixels are less demanding on the lens.

An interesting observation: if you check the MTF-curve on the Sigma 70 and the Nikon I made they are pretty close at low lp/mm but at high lp/mm the Nikon pulls away.

Another point may be that if we look at actual pixels a system with the lower resolution will be at visual advantage, because we look at finer details. If I compared two images I used to resize them to the same resolution, say 70x100 cm at 200 PPI, and compare on screen. Problem is that you see large differences on screen but much less in print.

As you point out I would expect to see moiré with the ZD. It would probably also create some artificial detail.

Would be nice if you posted a few images of real subjects showing the performance of the ZD.

Regarding the ZD, I would probably bought one, would it not have been for the long delay. When 24 MP FF arrived I started to feel less attraction to MF. I'm still pretty much interested in MF, but not as a MF SLR but more like a technical camera.

I very much enjoyed this thread.

Could you post the MTF crops for the Mamiya 55, both exposures?

It would also be nice to have some shots from the D700 and the D800E with the Sigma and the favorite Nikon of yours.

I'd suggest that programs like quickmtf and Imatest give a lot of good information. Sometimes they make you see things that you have not seen. But photography is about seeing.

Best regards
Erik


Hi Erik,

I agree on all points with you, but I'd like to share one more set of graphs which better illustrates my initial comment about sharpness of files from ZD.
I shot the same target using Mamiya 645AF 55mm F2.8 lens.

To complete the illustration, here are
   1. an updated composite chart of all targets,

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/LensComparison-2013-02-18.jpg)

   2. the MTF charts measured from the tests with this lens,

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTFcharts_MamiyaZD-Mamiya645AF-55mmF2.8.jpg)

   3. a comparison to probably the best second sample which is D800 with Nikon 50mmAF-D F1.4 @5.6.

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_D800-50AFD1.4-f5.6---ZD645AF55F2--f8.jpg)

   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_D800-50AFD1.4-f5.6---ZD645AF55F2--f8.gif)


I am puzzled by Sigma. My previous impression on its sharpness when using it on D700 was much better. I may need to repeat this test on Sigma 105mm which I also have.
However, based on my prior use on D700, Sigma 70mm was sharper than Sigma 105.

I am also quite happy with the performance of my 13-year old zoom Nikon 28-70mmF2.8 which I used primarily with 35mm format in the past years!

I am so impressed with 50mm Nikon prime, I got it for free back in 2000 when I purchased Nikon F5 for $1000 right on the street for cash:) This lens was simply included!
I'd use it for my studio work, if not for the field curvature.

ZD with 55mm lens gives outstanding sharpness, but, ironically, I don't use this focal length frequently.

Nikon 60mm performed significantly better in this test than I expected, as other images I shot with it were rather lacking contrast and soft. I may need to look into the reasons why.
If that gets resolved, I may use this lens for my studio work, since it is flat field.

D800 system is certainly more versatile feature-wise, can deliver acceptable sharpness and is significantly less prone to moire, as most lenses are struggling with sensor resolution:)

ZD gives consistent sharpness, compatible Mamiya lenses are excellent and some are outstanding. Moire can be a significant issue even with not the sharpest lenses in the lineup, e.g. Mamiya 150mm F3.5)  But above all, I love how Mamiya shutter sounds:)

I also enjoyed this discussion, thank you for your help with the charts!


EDIT: I am a bit confused by the results from the quickmft program: I re-shot [email protected] at a closer distance.
Strangely enough, the MFT was significantly changed - I am not sure then how reliable these graphs are... any thoughts?
Here is comparison (right click and view image for undistorted view):
(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/MTF_ZD645AF55F2--f8_atDifferentScales.gif)



Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 20, 2013, 12:20:46 AM
Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/N50F5.6__N60F5.6_ZD55F8.jpg)

The same via animated overlays (view full size also):

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/N50F5.6__N60F5.6_ZD55F8.gif)

JPG with ZD captures that I used for MTF:
(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/ZD-55.0 mm-f_8.0_DiffDistance.jpg)

The same with MTF charts: http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/ZD-55mm-f_8.0_DiffDistance1.jpg

I sold D700 on announcement of D800e, so I won't be able to shoot the same tests with it.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 01:52:43 AM
Hi Michael,

I think that you compare a cropped down image from the Nikon to an uncropped image of the ZD.

You could try to have the same FOV on the short dimension and upsize the ZD image from 4016 pixels to 4924 pixels and compare the mages sized by side, I guess you would get much closer to the MTF curves.

You can of course also downscale the Nikon image to ZD image height.

Regarding the differences between the two ZD55 shots I guess that focus is better on one of the images. I got similar results in Imatest.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: D Fosse on February 20, 2013, 02:34:30 AM
When I started this thread I had no idea it would evolve into this exhaustive study - a big thank you to all who contributed (I know you didn't do it for my benefit, but that's the beauty of forums... :) )

I've bookmarked the thread for future reference. It has certainly helped me understand the camera better, and will continue to help me get the most out of it.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 20, 2013, 07:38:19 AM
Hi Erik,

I agree with your explanation on the focus difference in ZD shots, this makes sense.
In the last image in your last post comparing ZD55 to Nikon 60 - which ZD image did you use - the one shot at the farther distance (the sharper one)?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 08:08:10 AM
Hi Michael,

Yes, the sharper one one was used, I hope. I can make mistakes! I will recheck, and also make some new plots.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

I agree with your explanation on the focus difference in ZD shots, this makes sense.
In the last image in your last post comparing ZD55 to Nikon 60 - which ZD image did you use - the one shat at the farther distance (the sharper one)?

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - (another way to see it)
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 12:43:29 PM
Hi,

I noticed that test target is at the same size. So it seems that FOV is wider on the Nikon shot. The effect would be the same as cropping the Nikon image to 4016 pixels height instead of the 4924 pixels it has. I made an MTF plot for Nikon 60, ZD55 and Nikon 60 cropped. In this case the ZD image would be slightly better than the Nikon image.

The assumption here is that the target has wedges have the same pixel sizes.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 20, 2013, 01:13:42 PM
Thanks Erik, this confirms my earlier qualitative impression: when comparing pixel-to-pixel ZD file to a cropped D800e file, ZD can have sharper pixels.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 03:42:09 PM
Hi,

I would suggest that when we compare a higher resolution sensor with a low resolution one at actual pixel the lower resolution one is always at advantage. That way to compare eliminates the only advantage a high resolution sensor has, namely resolution.

Anyway, I hope that we have gained some understanding about how the lenses perform and you gained experience with tools to measure MTF. I also think we got some perspective on lenses versus sensor performance.

I hope you still enjoy your D800E.

For me it was an interesting experience, and my guess is that I'm going to revisit this thread and your images quite a few times.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks Erik, this confirms my earlier qualitative impression: when comparing pixel-to-pixel ZD file to a cropped D800e file, ZD can have sharper pixels.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 21, 2013, 12:09:29 AM
Hi Michael,

One interesting observation is that the ruler shows some color artifacts on both Nikon exposures, while the ZD doesn't.

I don't have any good explanation for this. I also think the effect may be more pronounced with LR4 than with RawTherape.

One issue that we didn't look into really is the effects of sharpening. Sharpening is very important to visual impression but it is very much to taste.


Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/N50F5.6__N60F5.6_ZD55F8.jpg)

The same via animated overlays (view full size also):

(http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/N50F5.6__N60F5.6_ZD55F8.gif)

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on February 21, 2013, 12:44:21 AM
I've been reading this thread with interest.

The following are a few comments I made elsewhere today. They seem relevant to this thread and sum up my frustration.

I look at files from the Canon 17 & 24mm TS-E lenses and weep. If only Canon made a body that took full advantage of them.

I'd literally go out and buy a Nikon D800E tomorrow if there was a lens of around 20mm that took full advantage of the camera.

I'm even considering buying a Canon 5D111 just to use the TS-E lenses. I'm that desperate.



You might find your solution in a FF nex that allows you to use any lens you want. They have put one in their video camera so it is bound to show up on a stills camera.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 21, 2013, 02:10:37 PM
Hi,

Another full frame alternative is the Leica M. It will take R-series lenses with an adapter.

An interesting alternative may be Hartblei H-Cam or Alpa FPS for digital back owners.

Best regards
Erik

You might find your solution in a FF nex that allows you to use any lens you want. They have put one in their video camera so it is bound to show up on a stills camera.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: TMARK on February 22, 2013, 08:59:22 AM
I've been using the Zeiss Hasselblad V lenses with the D800e, with a Fotodiox adapter.  Focus confirmation works, just remember that the arrows point in the opposite direction as the V lenses focus ring moves in the opposite direction of nikon.  The 80 CF, 150 CF, 50 C, 120 CF and 180 CF are outstanding.  The 80 and 150 are my two favrite portrait lenses on the D800e, and film for that matter.

I have a 60 AFd Micro and it one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used.

Have fun!  The D800 hits on so many levels, with only a few draw backs.  I wish the VF were bigger, and I wish you could change screens.  other than that, it essentially replaced (not entirely) MF digital, Leica M and Mamiya 7. 
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on February 22, 2013, 09:04:20 AM
I've been using the Zeiss Hasselblad V lenses with the D800e, with a Fotodiox adapter.  Focus confirmation works, just remember that the arrows point in the opposite direction as the V lenses focus ring moves in the opposite direction of nikon.  The 80 CF, 150 CF, 50 C, 120 CF and 180 CF are outstanding.  The 80 and 150 are my two favrite portrait lenses on the D800e, and film for that matter.

I have a 60 AFd Micro and it one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used.

Have fun!  The D800 hits on so many levels, with only a few draw backs.  I wish the VF were bigger, and I wish you could change screens.  other than that, it essentially replaced (not entirely) MF digital, Leica M and Mamiya 7. 

Could you post any comparative (not sharpened) images of the sharpest captures with CF lenses vs Nikon 60mm?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Ellis Vener on February 22, 2013, 12:58:12 PM
The one thing I really want changed from the D800 to it's successor is the ISO control button needs to be moved from the "rewind knob" to near the shutter release. Better SNR at ultra-high ISo settings would be nice too.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on February 22, 2013, 03:37:16 PM
Thanks, it's a thought, but unfortunately the NEX is the least inspiring camera I've ever used.

I think the inspiration comes from the synergy of you with the scene.  ;) You don't need the camera for that.
It wont impress clients looking for some expensive box. Just stick a Leica label on it. Suddenly the same output will be 5X more valuable.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Enchanter on March 02, 2013, 11:03:55 PM
I use my Zeiss 100/2 ZF.2 Makro Planar on my D800E for work related product shots and it's a superb combination.

I don't rate the Nikon 35 f/2 lens at all. A much better lens for the D800 is the manual focus Nikkor 28 f/2.8 AI-S lens. It's razor sharp, particularly up close, is beautifully made and excellent for some product shots as it focuses down to an incredible 20 cm (7") and has very little distortion. 

Tomorrow I'm taking delivery of a Sigma 35 f/1.4 and hope that it lives up to all the hype.


Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on March 03, 2013, 12:19:47 AM
Hello Enchanter,

I received the new sigma  35mm F1.4 lens Nikon mount a week or so ago and after some tests against my Nikon 35mm F1.4G I sent it back to the NZ distributor. Very soft in the corners at F5.6 and F8.0.

I would be interested in you thoughts when you have tested your version.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Enchanter on March 03, 2013, 03:22:37 AM
Hi Simon,

That's very disappointing to hear. I'll certainly let you know how my copy performs.

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Conner999 on March 03, 2013, 09:04:14 AM
As TMark with Hassy lenses via adapter, do the same with M645 glass (80/1.9 C & N, 120/4, 150/2.8A, the incredible 200/2.8 APO) and Fotodiox Pro adapter on 800E and D3S with excellent results -- and a very different drawing style vs Nikon, Zeiss, etc. Have also used Hassy 110/2 FE with Canon a couple of years ago - again very nice results.

AF and auto-aperture manual focus glass are a priority for the business, but when clean copy & budget stars align, I need to re-acquire the 80/1.9 (and maybe the 200 APO), and eventually try some more Hassy (and Pentax) glass, but the 120/4 and 150/2.8A are in the "never shall be sold" category.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Enchanter on March 04, 2013, 03:41:34 AM
Hello Enchanter,

I received the new sigma  35mm F1.4 lens Nikon mount a week or so ago and after some tests against my Nikon 35mm F1.4G I sent it back to the NZ distributor. Very soft in the corners at F5.6 and F8.0.

I would be interested in you thoughts when you have tested your version.

Cheers

Simon

Hello Simon,

I received the Sigma 35mm F1.4 (Art) lens today. Tested it this afternoon on my RRS TVC-34L tripod and BH-55 ballhead, which is very stable. Well, I was stunned at how sharp this lens is especially at F5.6 and F8. It equals my Nikon 200 f/2 VR II for straight out sharpness but not for colour. After your experience with the copy you had, I was particularly interested in the corners at F5.6 and F8.0. No problem with mine. Maybe, you should try another one as you had a decentred lens by the sounds of it.

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: TMARK on March 04, 2013, 11:05:35 AM
One thing about the 28 AIS:  it is a stunning, complex design.  I have two copies.  My first was knocked around a bit and started blowing highlights and showing CA.  I received a quote to have it repaired and found that buying another copy would be cheaper.  The second copy had the same problem, sent them both into be repaired and they are magic lenses. 
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: TMARK on March 04, 2013, 11:08:29 AM
As TMark with Hassy lenses via adapter, do the same with M645 glass (80/1.9 C & N, 120/4, 150/2.8A, the incredible 200/2.8 APO) and Fotodiox Pro adapter on 800E and D3S with excellent results -- and a very different drawing style vs Nikon, Zeiss, etc. Have also used Hassy 110/2 FE with Canon a couple of years ago - again very nice results.

AF and auto-aperture manual focus glass are a priority for the business, but when clean copy & budget stars align, I need to re-acquire the 80/1.9 (and maybe the 200 APO), and eventually try some more Hassy (and Pentax) glass, but the 120/4 and 150/2.8A are in the "never shall be sold" category.

Using whatever lenses you can adapt to a Nikon or Canon is, to me, so much more interesting and flexible than the MF backs. I have an 80 1.9 and an 80 2.8.  I very much liked them both of film and MF digital.  I'll get the adapter ASAP.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on March 05, 2013, 01:17:52 AM
Hi Enchanter,

Good to read that you have a good copy.

Lloyd Chambers also has written on his website about lens skew he has encountered with the Sigma 35mm F1.4 lens.

I think I will wait a few months and then try a number of Sigma 35mm F1.4 lenses and compare them to my Nikon 35mm F1.4G lens to see if there is a good version out there.

Enjoy your new lens.

Cheers

Simon

Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: stevesanacore on March 05, 2013, 07:56:08 AM
Hello Enchanter,

I received the new sigma  35mm F1.4 lens Nikon mount a week or so ago and after some tests against my Nikon 35mm F1.4G I sent it back to the NZ distributor. Very soft in the corners at F5.6 and F8.0.

I would be interested in you thoughts when you have tested your version.

Cheers

Simon

I wonder if issues like this are really focus calibration issues and not optical defects? I think manually focus bracketing would be the only way to discount that problem. There was a white paper by lensrentals on the subject a while back.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: bjanes on March 05, 2013, 09:17:33 AM
Hi Enchanter,

Good to read that you have a good copy.

Lloyd Chambers also has written on his website about lens skew he has encountered with the Sigma 35mm F1.4 lens.

I think I will wait a few months and then try a number of Sigma 35mm F1.4 lenses and compare them to my Nikon 35mm F1.4G lens to see if there is a good version out there.

Enjoy your new lens.

Cheers

Simon



As I read Mr Chambers' post, his current theory is that the lens flanges on his two D800s are slewed as he observed the defect not only with the Sigma 35 f/2.8 but also the new Zeiss 125 f/2 Apo and a couple of other lenses. The defect likely resides in the camera, not the lenses.

Regards,

Bilil
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: NashvilleMike on March 05, 2013, 01:24:16 PM
Hey Simon,

Another vote for the Sigma 35/1.4 here. I am generally not a fan of third party lenses (other than Carl Zeiss) but this one is a winner. I spent *considerable* time (somewhere north of 6 different testing sessions across many weeks) testing it against my other wide angles with my D800E (Zeiss 21, Nikon 24/1.4G, Nikon 28/1.8G, Nikon 35/1.4G and my 24-70/2.8G zoom) and it easily won the competition against the 35/1.4G in every aspect of performance EXCEPT flare resistance, where the Nikon was markedly superior, and if one were to get subjective, I thought the Nikon bokeh was a bit better. This included testing at every possible distance range I would ever see myself using the lens in, from studio work through infinity/landscape, all controlled, proper testing on a heavy tripod rig, remote release, focus bracketing via live view and so forth. Short answer: I just sold the Nikon 35/1.4G; in particular the distant corners/edges for landscape type targets were rendered better with the Sigma, and even in studio work, the sharpness advantage of the Sigma is noticeable. Only my Zeiss 21 is noticeably any better in the center, which is saying something. I even tested the Sigma against the Zeiss 35/2 and Zeiss 28/2 and preferred the Sigma.

So, to make a long story short, I hope you try another one; this is a truly state of the art lens if you find a good sample.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on March 05, 2013, 09:07:55 PM
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your critique on the Sigma F1.4 lens. I will definitely give it another go and I will test in on both of my Nikon D800s just to be sure.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: xtranch on March 09, 2013, 11:59:26 AM
I just got the Sigma 35 1.4 from B&H. Yesterday I went to a local airport where they have an old B17 bomber. Combined with my Nikon D800 I got excellent results. this lens is just the thing for crawling into a dark space where a tripod would not fit. It very sharp and has great colors, with a minimum of distortion. it is price at half what you would pay for a Zeiss, which is what I use for landscapes.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Petrus on March 20, 2013, 07:14:42 AM
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your critique on the Sigma F1.4 lens. I will definitely give it another go and I will test in on both of my Nikon D800s just to be sure.

Cheers

Simon

I got mine today and made a quick test against Nikon 35mm F:1.4. Sigma is clearly sharper both at full open and at f:8, and there is less color smearing. Camera was D800E. So it seems I was lucky to get a good specimen...  Sigma is slightly wider, by the way. Nikon image was linear 95.5% of the Sigma image in size. If Nikon is 35mm, then Sigma is actually 34mm.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: shadowblade on March 20, 2013, 01:53:45 PM
The weak link is the tilt-shift lenses.

There is no 17mm tilt-shift lens, the 24mm PC-E lens has less shift than its Canon counterpart, and they don't quite match the Canons for image quality.

This is the only reason I'm still using Canon - their low-ISO image quality hasn't improved since the 5D2, and Nikon/Sony left them in the dust a long time ago. But I like to shift and stitch for landscapes...
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on March 20, 2013, 02:46:45 PM
I'm with both of you, I would love to use the canon T/S.

I was planning to get the new Sony A58 but after consideration of the weak spot of my lenses - wides - I am about to go D600. The DxO review made me think the D600 will get most of what the lenses have to offer for $2k. I'm not paying $3k to go FF when the D600 has me really impressed with the low noise. I'm thinking Nikon 28 1.8G or Sigma 35 and the 85 1.8G

My Sig 20 1.8 EX DG on 1.5 crop is really pressed at infinity focus. There is a tearing effect on the fine detail. The lens seems fine at shorter distances. It's a fail for landscapes which is why I use the 50 macro stitched.

Since most review sites test the lenses in studio make sure you test your purchase at distance as well, you may have a rude surprise. This happened to me recently with a 180 degree pano at a national park using the Sig 20, my newest lens. Fortunately I had also done a copy with the 50 Macro or that trip would have been a bust.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on March 20, 2013, 11:08:10 PM
Hi Bob,

I use the Horseman VCC system using Rodenstock Rodagon and Apo Rodagon enlarging lenses for all my art reproduction, jewellery, food and drink photography  with excellent results. These Rodenstock lenses on my Nikon D800E are superb.

Cheers

Simon

I have to say your beer shot is really working, I want one. Actually a case. Really nice work.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 20, 2013, 11:17:09 PM
Agreed, whether future Nikon tilt-shift lenses can ever match those of Canon with the current Nikon lens mount is questionable. Then there's the advantage of the Canon dual axis rotation.

The rear optical element of all the T/S I know of is significantly smaller than the mounts and located fairly close to them. I don't believe that the F mount is the issue here.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on March 20, 2013, 11:20:18 PM
Hello,

Thanks Fine Art.

I took few shots of a bottle today for Jim Beam using my Horseman VCC adaptor with a Rodenstock Apo Rodagon 105mm lens and of course my Nikon D800E.

The bottle just looked awesome even thought I am not a bourbon drinker. I prefer Vodka and red wine but not in the same glass mind you.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Fine_Art on March 20, 2013, 11:26:20 PM
I picked up the D600 with the 85 1.8G today. They are bringing in a Sigma 35 (the new version) for me at the end of the week. Finally after years of waiting I am full frame again without film.

The 85 is looking good BTW, I have to redo my resolution tests tomorrow from further away in case the chart printing is the weak link. A good sign. It seems the lens is near nyquist like my sony macros. A curious thing in the store was jpg wide open formed strong purple on a black and white street sign far away. When we swapped it for a different (the store demo) copy the color was green. My conversions at home from RAW look better. The resolution is great, there is a hint of purple which vanishes stopped down.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: HarperPhotos on March 20, 2013, 11:36:43 PM
Hi Fine Art,

Glad to read about your new toys. The Nikon 85mm F1.8 has a very good reap. I have the Nikon 28mm F1.8 lens and I just love it. I have to try another Sigma 35mm F1.4 against my Nikon 35mm F1.4 lens in a few weeks as me and Lloyd Charmers can't be the only shooters to get dudes.

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 21, 2013, 08:54:56 AM
Bernard, I bow to your greater knowledge of the Nikon system.

So, there's no real excuse? Nikon should be capable of producing T/S lenses that are as good or even better than the Canon offerings? They just need to get their act together?

Yes, I believe that's pretty much it.

Now, the current 24mm pce is an excellent lens already. It is seemingly not as good as the Canon 24mm ts when shifted, but it is very far from being the disaster some have described. At least my copy is.

So they would in fact not have to improve that much to come on top.

The rest is a matter of mgt priorities.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: shadowblade on March 22, 2013, 12:03:20 AM
It also doesn't shift as far (only a millimetre, but every millimetre counts when you're trying to make a huge panorama) and doesn't have independently-adjustable tilt and shift axes.

Hopefully the Samyang 24mm tilt-shift coming in May performs well optically, and Nikon goes ahead with the 17mm tilt-shift...
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 22, 2013, 12:58:29 AM
It also doesn't shift as far (only a millimetre, but every millimetre counts when you're trying to make a huge panorama) and doesn't have independently-adjustable tilt and shift axes.

I am still not sure to understand the value of those shift lenses for panorama imaging.

The corners, even on the excellent Canon 24mm ts, are significantly weaker than the center section of a good prime, so why not do spherical panos?

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8511/8575299685_772802562c_o.jpg)

Shot with a 85mm f1.4 AF-S on a monopod.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: shadowblade on March 22, 2013, 11:41:17 AM
I am still not sure to understand the value of those shift lenses for panorama imaging.

The corners, even on the excellent Canon 24mm ts, are significantly weaker than the center section of a good prime, so why not do spherical panos?

Cheers,
Bernard

1. Because finding nodal points, etc. is a pain, and because pano rigs tend to be big and cumbersome to set up.

2. Because sometimes the stitching process for a spherical pano just fails and you can't put the image together. I've never had a shifted pano fail to stitch.

3. Because you can't easily use filters with a spherical pano, since the lens moves. When doing a shifted pano, you can use graduated ND filters (useful if there's a moving object in one part of the scene) and polarisers.

4. Because, even if the centre of a prime is sharper than the corners of a tilt-shift lens, the distortion induced by correcting the spherical pano into a rectilinear projection will make the corners of the final image worse than the corners of a shifted image, when you're dealing with the wider focal lengths.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on March 22, 2013, 01:42:49 PM
Hi,

You have a tripod mount on the lens and shift the camera? Else you get a parallax problem with shifted panos.

Best regards
Erik


1. Because finding nodal points, etc. is a pain, and because pano rigs tend to be big and cumbersome to set up.

2. Because sometimes the stitching process for a spherical pano just fails and you can't put the image together. I've never had a shifted pano fail to stitch.

3. Because you can't easily use filters with a spherical pano, since the lens moves. When doing a shifted pano, you can use graduated ND filters (useful if there's a moving object in one part of the scene) and polarisers.

4. Because, even if the centre of a prime is sharper than the corners of a tilt-shift lens, the distortion induced by correcting the spherical pano into a rectilinear projection will make the corners of the final image worse than the corners of a shifted image, when you're dealing with the wider focal lengths.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MrSmith on March 22, 2013, 01:54:53 PM
Hi,

You have a tripod mount on the lens and shift the camera? Else you get a parallax problem with shifted panos.

Best regards
Erik



i do, it's marked in mm so i can match the shift exactly in the opposite direction. but you only need to do that if there is something in the foreground. it's not always needed.
i thought about a nodal slide but i like to swap lenses around and switch from tripod to handheld and travel light so i have not bothered. if i had specific interiors to shoot i perhaps would get a slide for that occasion.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: shadowblade on March 23, 2013, 04:52:37 AM
Hi,

You have a tripod mount on the lens and shift the camera? Else you get a parallax problem with shifted panos.

Best regards
Erik



Yep.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 23, 2013, 10:58:42 AM
1. Because finding nodal points, etc. is a pain, and because pano rigs tend to be big and cumbersome to set up.

2. Because sometimes the stitching process for a spherical pano just fails and you can't put the image together. I've never had a shifted pano fail to stitch.

3. Because you can't easily use filters with a spherical pano, since the lens moves. When doing a shifted pano, you can use graduated ND filters (useful if there's a moving object in one part of the scene) and polarisers.

4. Because, even if the centre of a prime is sharper than the corners of a tilt-shift lens, the distortion induced by correcting the spherical pano into a rectilinear projection will make the corners of the final image worse than the corners of a shifted image, when you're dealing with the wider focal lengths.

1. Euh not really. Finding the nodal point of a lens is a simple process performed only once. Pano heads are a bit bulky, but the good ones fold into a compact package. By the way the pano above was done without a pano head, not that I would recommend this as a best practise,

2. Never happened to me after thousands of spherical panos, not a single time. When using pano heads I also don't remember many occurences where blending issues occured, just a few with sea scenes at fast shutter speeds (zero issues when using slow shutter speeds obviously),

3. I can relate to what you are saying only for neutral grads if you do multi-rows panos... but I don't see any need for those filters in the first place with modern cameras like the D800. PL is not an issue, at least no more than with other wide angle options (meaning mostly a bad idea). But spherical pano has major advantages with flare control when using filters since the longer lens you are using typically have more protective hoods, this is also a major value when shooting in the rain for example,

4. Not with modern software like PT gui. There is of course an angular coverage beyond which a planar projection becomes impossible, but the information available on the faceted surface of the sphere of a mosaic stitch is not significantly less in the corners vs the center compared to the mosaic after projection on a plane. What is less, of course, is the amount of pixels available to cover the same angular section of the scene in the corners vs the center... but that is exactly the same with a single lens. If you haven't I encourage you to do this test by yourself, a 24mm is a good candidate.

So, I am sorry, but I am still not convinced.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ACH DIGITAL on March 24, 2013, 02:55:14 PM
I would like to recommend this wonderful lens. The 85mm 1.8 G.
This portrait of my daughter, done at f/8 with studio flash.

(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/10120389/OJO/_DSC5598.jpg)

100% view.

(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/10120389/OJO/100%25.jpg)

ACH
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: MichaelEzra on March 24, 2013, 11:36:18 PM
Turns out that Nikon 60mm AF-S F2.8 on D800e delivers superb results in real life shots.
I used it through the entire studio session today and areas in focus are sharp to my full satisfaction!

A couple of issues with this lens on D800e -
1. sometimes camera/lens combo cannot focus at a farther distance and requires a retry or a quick manual turn of the focus ring.
2. the slightly out of focus high contrast edges show color fringing. this effect can get prominent, but easily curable using defringing tool in RawTherapee/ ACR
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: FredBGG on March 25, 2013, 01:06:11 AM
Turns out that Nikon 60mm AF-S F2.8 on D800e delivers superb results in real life shots.
I used it through the entire studio session today and areas in focus are sharp to my full satisfaction!

A couple of issues with this lens on D800e -
1. sometimes camera/lens combo cannot focus at a farther distance and requires a retry or a quick manual turn of the focus ring.
2. the slightly out of focus high contrast edges show color fringing. this effect can get prominent, but easily curable using defringing tool in RawTherapee/ ACR

Out of curiosity can the AF-S cover the 5x4 crop the D800 does?
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: FranciscoDisilvestro on March 25, 2013, 02:02:55 AM
Out of curiosity can the AF-S cover the 5x4 crop the D800 does?

The 60 mm AF-S 2.8 is an FX lens, so it does.

Regards
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Enchanter on March 25, 2013, 03:57:06 AM
Very nice portrait ACH DIGITAL.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: shadowblade on March 25, 2013, 08:59:20 AM
1. Euh not really. Finding the nodal point of a lens is a simple process performed only once. Pano heads are a bit bulky, but the good ones fold into a compact package. By the way the pano above was done without a pano head, not that I would recommend this as a best practise,

2. Never happened to me after thousands of spherical panos, not a single time. When using pano heads I also don't remember many occurences where blending issues occured, just a few with sea scenes at fast shutter speeds (zero issues when using slow shutter speeds obviously),

Actually, this is the reason I switched to doing panos with a tilt-shift lens in the first place - after a trip to Mongolia, I ended up with too many spherical panos that Photoshop just wouldn't stitch properly.

Quote
3. I can relate to what you are saying only for neutral grads if you do multi-rows panos... but I don't see any need for those filters in the first place with modern cameras like the D800. PL is not an issue, at least no more than with other wide angle options (meaning mostly a bad idea). But spherical pano has major advantages with flare control when using filters since the longer lens you are using typically have more protective hoods, this is also a major value when shooting in the rain for example,

A lot of scenes still have enough dynamic range to benefit greatly from either a ND grad or HDR/image blending - and, by using a ND grad, you end up with half or one-third as many images to deal with later.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 25, 2013, 10:03:51 AM
Actually, this is the reason I switched to doing panos with a tilt-shift lens in the first place - after a trip to Mongolia, I ended up with too many spherical panos that Photoshop just wouldn't stitch properly.

A lot of scenes still have enough dynamic range to benefit greatly from either a ND grad or HDR/image blending - and, by using a ND grad, you end up with half or one-third as many images to deal with later.

PS has progressed since CS6, but it remains a pretty average stitcher, you may want to try Autopano pro or PTGui Pro on your Mongolia images. Unless there was a serious issue at capture they should solve you problems.

I haven't felt the need to use a ND grad a single time since I started to use the D3x 4 years ago. What do you shoot with if I may ask?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: LKaven on March 25, 2013, 04:53:03 PM
Turns out that Nikon 60mm AF-S F2.8 on D800e delivers superb results in real life shots.
I used it through the entire studio session today and areas in focus are sharp to my full satisfaction!

And it has extremely low distortion, around 0.1%, making it a favorite among some fashion shooters.  This lens excels in the mid-far field as well, on a par with the top Nikon pro glass (24-70, 70-200). 
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Quentin on March 25, 2013, 07:41:30 PM
I don't use my D800E and 24mm PC-E tilt shift for panos.  I use a very compact system comprising a Sigma dP2m and nodal ninja III compact pano head and lightweight tripod.  This is properly set up with accurate nodal point andI have yet to have an issue with stitching using PT GUI pro.   The results are in the 10x 8 league for resolution.  There is simply little reason to go to the hassle of using heavier and more complex kit for panoramas,  great though the D800 is for all other purposes.

Howver I have looked at this intriguing device

http://www.nikonschool.it/experience/jumbo-mbs2.php (http://www.nikonschool.it/experience/jumbo-mbs2.php)

Google translate link

http://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&tl=en&u=http://www.nikonschool.it/experience/jumbo-mbs2.php (http://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&tl=en&u=http://www.nikonschool.it/experience/jumbo-mbs2.php)

Anyone try it?

Quentin
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 25, 2013, 08:38:35 PM
I don't use my D800E and 24mm PC-E tilt shift for panos.  I use a very compact system comprising a Sigma dP2m and nodal ninja III compact pano head and lightweight tripod.  This is properly set up with accurate nodal point andI have yet to have an issue with stitching using PT GUI pro.   The results are in the 10x 8 league for resolution.

Yep, the DPm series camera are great for stitching also.

I still prefer the DR of the D800 though. I find this to be often key for wide panos shot with 50mm lenses because of the variety of light levels often present in the scene.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: eronald on March 25, 2013, 09:42:04 PM
Maybe somebody should finally make a nice cheap F8 lens.

Edmund

I would like to recommend this wonderful lens. The 85mm 1.8 G.
This portrait of my daughter, done at f/8 with studio flash.

(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/10120389/OJO/_DSC5598.jpg)

100% view.

(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/10120389/OJO/100%25.jpg)

ACH
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: photodan on March 30, 2013, 01:34:02 PM
Maybe somebody should finally make a nice cheap F8 lens.

Edmund


I'll second that thought in spirit so to speak. I'd like to see autofocus single focal length lenses (say at at least from 35mm to 200mm) with a max aperture of around f/2.8 - on the assumption that they could be economically designed and produced with high quality control (economically meaning not much more expensive than the current f/2 f/1.8 variants and less expensive than the f/1.4 variants) to:
(a) no focus shift
(b) negligible CA at all apertures 
(c) negligible purple fringing at all apertures
(d) negligible distortion
(e) resolution across almost the entire image plane that makes full use of high mp cameras such as the D800/E
(f) very smooth bokeh
(g) microcontrast similar to Zeiss lenses

It really ticks me off that I can't find a such a lens for the D800E I have. I think I've tried them all in my favorite focal length range. What do I see out there for example is a bunch of recent 35mm f/1.4 lenses that fail in most of the categories and old f/2 designs that fail as well. Apparently there's not much of a market for lenses that I would like best.  I am aware of procedural and software workarounds for some of the issues but they are compromises.  I spent a ton of money on the D800E and lenses (bought and sold for the most part) and what I get for that investment is excellent dynamic range and color, but just slightly more effective resolution than the 20-24mp cameras. 

 
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: AFairley on March 30, 2013, 07:07:25 PM
I'll second that thought in spirit so to speak. I'd like to see autofocus single focal length lenses (say at at least from 35mm to 200mm) with a max aperture of around f/2.8 - on the assumption that they could be economically designed and produced with high quality control (economically meaning not much more expensive than the current f/2 f/1.8 variants and less expensive than the f/1.4 variants)

+1  This a major gripe of mine.  Since my usual shooting aperture is f8, I do not need blazing speed, particularly at the expense of performance across the frame. The weight and expense of the f1.4 lenses is just waste to me. 
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 30, 2013, 07:56:49 PM
(a) no focus shift
(b) negligible CA at all apertures 
(c) negligible purple fringing at all apertures
(d) negligible distortion
(e) resolution across almost the entire image plane that makes full use of high mp cameras such as the D800/E
(f) very smooth bokeh
(g) microcontrast similar to Zeiss lenses

It really ticks me off that I can't find a such a lens for the D800E I have.

Have you tried the 28 and 85mm f1.8?

Seems to me that these 2 are by far the closest ever to what you are suggesting. Image quality is mind boggling and price is cheap.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: jwstl on March 30, 2013, 08:16:50 PM
I wouldn't say the Sigma 35 1.4 "fails in most categories". I'm not sure it fails in any category. I haven't used it on an FX body-ordering a D800E this week-but I have no doubt it will shine. It's as good as the reviews say.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Quentin on March 30, 2013, 08:34:14 PM
I wouldn't say the Sigma 35 1.4 "fails in most categories". I'm not sure it fails in any category. I haven't used it on an FX body-ordering a D800E this week-but I have no doubt it will shine. It's as good as the reviews say.

It shines.   ;D

On my D800E it is simply outstanding.  Pin sharp wide open, one if the finest prime lenses I have used.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Ken R on March 31, 2013, 09:34:25 PM
I did a pretty thorough real world landscape photo test with the D800E and the 5D mark III using some of the best wide angles lenses available. On the Nikon I used the new Zeiss 15mm, the 14-24mm and the 24 PC-E. On the Canon i used the 24mm TSE II and the 14mm L II. Besides looking at images on my monitor and posting crops I printed the images 20x30in and crops from 40x60in prints (on 20x30in since thats the larges I could print locally)

I posted it here: LINK (http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1199128)

Look at all the pages of the thread because I kept posting through it.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 31, 2013, 09:47:22 PM
It shines.   ;D

On my D800E it is simply outstanding.  Pin sharp wide open, one if the finest prime lenses I have used.

I have to agree, it is an impressive lens. I had the chance to use it on the D800 last night during the wedding reception of a friend, very impressed with every aspect of it, starting with the AF that worked overall better than that of my trusted 85mm f1.4 AF-S...

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on April 01, 2013, 09:35:12 AM
Hi,

Just a small note, don't forget about sharpening. Different lens/sensor combos need different sharpening. The Canon 5DIII has a OLP filter and that means that it needs more sharpening than the Nikon D800E which has a disabled OLP filter or the Pentax 645D that has none.

You could try my sharpening recipe in LR4, see below.

Best regards
Erik



I did a pretty thorough real world landscape photo test with the D800E and the 5D mark III using some of the best wide angles lenses available. On the Nikon I used the new Zeiss 15mm, the 14-24mm and the 24 PC-E. On the Canon i used the 24mm TSE II and the 14mm L II. Besides looking at images on my monitor and posting crops I printed the images 20x30in and crops from 40x60in prints (on 20x30in since thats the larges I could print locally)

I posted it here: LINK (http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1199128)

Look at all the pages of the thread because I kept posting through it.
Title: Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
Post by: Ken R on April 01, 2013, 09:53:09 AM
I tried sharpening on the final print, also some noise reduction in the 5D3 image to reduce the banding and noise in the deep shadows. The NR worked great but the sharpening helped only a little since it just could not make up for detail that was not there. The D800e wiped the floor with the Canon in that regard. On a small print it works well but large prints are brutal and show every single shortcoming. Given, I was looking at prints 20x30in and larger (because thats what I plan on exhibiting).

For smaller prints. Say 16x20 and smaller even 12MP is enough. 18-22MP is good up to 20x30in if all things are perfect with the best optics. Given Im looking at prints with my nose inches from the surface.