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Author Topic: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction  (Read 4528 times)

luxborealis

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Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« on: June 17, 2012, 11:15:26 AM »

So, is diffraction a problem with the Nikon D800e? You be the judge.

The original photos were taken yesterday morning - a fine morning for landscape photography with beautiful light and no wind. All were shot with a Nikkor 20mm 2.8 AF-D lens with lens hood attached but no filter. I used sturdy Manfrotto 055 legs with a more than adequate head, mirror lock-up and an electronic release.

The same scene was shot at 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22. I have attached here screen captures from Lightroom. At 5.6 the lack of depth-of-field shows in a foreground element being slightly out of focus. It sharpens up nicely through to 11 after which the effects of diffraction begin to be noticed. At 22, diffraction is definitely there, but remember - this is pixel peeping at 100%. When properly sharpened then wide-format printed and viewed normally, I am convinced diffraction will not be an issue at all but that's for another post.

The full set of screen captures from 5.6 to 22 (each one with Default Sharpening and "properly" Sharpened) are available on my blog. But for this space, I've only provided 8 and 22 comparisons.

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arlon

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 08:57:15 AM »

I've only had my D800E for three weeks now but it seems like all of the issues proposed by the experts before the camera came out (which almost scared me off of it) have proven mostly untrue. I was expecting to have to use "Pro" glass, perfect technique, tripod only, fight moire and etc. I've been having wonderful results with a $5 Sears and Roebuck manual focus lens and shooting off hand.. At least better results than I got with my D700.. (-:} 

Thanks for posting your examples/experiences with the D800E..
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Derry

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 12:34:01 PM »

agree on those high f stops as I have seen a very small amount of diffraction but nothing to make me want to stop shooting at that level,,

also agree on the 800E being a wonderful camera,, just back from a Florida trip with a couple thousand photos to work and have yet to see any morie or reasons to not love every one of those 36.3 MPs,, the range of the camera is fantastic,, shooting around water offers a varied level of lighting and so easy to recover the blown areas or underexposed,,

certainly a keeper for me,,

Derry
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Brad Barr

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 09:32:19 PM »

I have to be honest....as a real, working full time photographer, all that means exactly nada in the real life practice of photography.
There may or may not be some theoretical merit to the "issue", but funny, to the folks actually using them, this just doesnt apply nor affect their images.

Simply put, its the best dslr/sensor to date by pretty much every account out there.

I will not ever attempt to use some formula of the sensor pitch to whatever to figure out what sharpening radius is optimal......imo thats just overkill.  Sorry...just my 2cts.  ymmv.  :D and all that.  
 imo, time better spent honing your craft than over analyzing  sensor data.
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 04:37:16 AM »

I have to be honest....as a real, working full time photographer, all that means exactly nada in the real life practice of photography.

Hi Brad,

Since you're being honest, tell us, how often (as a percentage) do you shoot your 300mm and 400mm lenses at f/16, and why? Or are you just venting some frustrations about concerns that do not affect you so much, but may concern others?

Couldn't it just be the case that some people want to really know their equipment, strengths weakneses, alternative solutions, before they are placed in a difficult or just unfamiliar situation? Being prepared is surely something you practice in your type of photography, why not allow others to do the same?

Cheers,
Bart
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kers

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 06:04:47 AM »

I am still finding out new things every day about the camera and lenses and how to handle them...
I do architecture and using the PCE lenses it really takes a lot of attention getting every thing a s sharp as it can be...
But if you do it well you have 124cm wide pictures wit perfect detail corner to corner...
the weaknesses and strengths of all my lenses are clearly exposed

On the other hand my 70-200 seems to take AF tack sharp photos without any effort just using the central AF sensor. AF is very fast on this lens..
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free1000

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 08:56:40 AM »

For me this test is a bit inconclusive. I tend to find DPReview's test and the tests at Digilloyd more useful, both show very significant diffraction effects with a wide variety of optics.  Of course different people have different needs and points of comparison and maybe this is sufficient as a test for the OP.

For my part I'd like the D800E to take the place of my Mamiya AFDII and Aptus 75, the jury is out on this, I am in the process of testing.  I'll still be happy if the camera doesn't match up, because I don't intend to sell the Aptus. The D800E will replace my 5DII for all but my commissioned architecture work where I need the 17TSE and 24TSE (which is unbeatable in my view).  What I'm not sure about is some of the MF usage,  this is touted as an MF 'killer' but I see it as a slightly different beast.

I have a friend who bought the camera and shoots a lot of MF using Contax glass. They are a bit disappointed because they shoot deep field landscape and then have it printed large in prestigious public display areas where people have to get close up to the image. For this photographer, a peak resolution at f5.6 just doesn't cut the mustard, because of the nature of their subject matter and the final print characteristics.   
 
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ndevlin

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 10:10:21 PM »


You keep going on about deep DOF on the 800E being somehow unusable b/c of diffraction, or at least I'm reading it that way. The reality remains that you are no worse off than with MF where you require longer focals lengths to achieve the same view. Indeed, with the 645D, optimum aperture was between f7.1 and f9 on every lens as I tested them, factoring optical quality and diffraction. On the whole, you're better off in 35mm for DOF.

In practice, as others have said, this means virtually zero. You're always ahead with more pixels and the visible impacts of diffraction in print are way less than the already small effects one sees on screen at 100%.

The upshot: relax. This is a non-issue. If you need real serious DOF, use tilts, or focus stitch.

- N.   
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Brad Barr

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2012, 03:41:56 PM »

yeah...cause I use my 300 and 400 so often when shooting weddings right? 
Please....come down off the ivory tower. 

Being prepared is one thing...all all this handwringing and microinspection is yet another all together.  Its gotten out of hand.  Of course with such a jump in resolution you are gonna see lens weaknesses quicker, but f16+ is always gonna b less sharp than f8.  So what?

Bottom line....is there a better camera for the money out there?  Ok then.

but whatever.....the d800 sucks..we all know that right?  go ahead and send yours to me, and I'll suffer thru with it.  #realitycheckonisle3
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free1000

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2012, 06:28:32 PM »


The upshot: relax. This is a non-issue. If you need real serious DOF, use tilts, or focus stitch.

What makes you think I'm not relaxed? This isn't an emotional issue for me, but judging by some of the responses to my posts, it is for other people.
 
I regularly shoot on a Schneider 35XL with the Aptus and I know there is a lot of bull about diffraction, people telling me that camera/lens was useless over f11 etc. etc. when it came out, and I've often shot very nice images at f16 with it.  So I hear what you are saying, I'm trying to get below the skin of this a bit.  The images at the head of this thread are very inconclusive to me. Other people I know are more concerned about this *perceived* limitation than I am because it affects the kind of work they do more than it would affect me.   
 
I take your point about the increased DOF of the 35mm sensor, but tilt really isn't much of an option with the D800E because there is access to a limited set of PC lenses that were not designed for a sensor with the D800E's resolution, and it's not a solution for my subject matter where objects are most likely to extend above and below the wedge of focus, especially if its at a wide aperture and correspondingly narrow. 

I'm not obsessive about resolution,  but I need to get the range of this thing nailed down before I hop on a plane and lay out a lot of money to get a shot I want.  I need to test the assumptions I'm reading about to destruction because it's expensive and hugely wasteful of time not to.  I've heard this excellent PR about DxO saying the D800/E exceeds the Aptus 75 in DR and colour etc. and on the basis of my currently limited tests I can't personally confirm this. That's not to dislike the camera, I'm just benchmarking it so I know when its the right tool for the job.





 
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 02:18:31 AM »

Hi,

What happens when stopping down is that you loose detail contrast. If detail contrast goes down to zero at pixel pitch then detail is irrevocably lost. As long there is some detail contrast the detail can be restored with proper sharpening. Essentially you would use Smart Sharpening with Gaussian blur option and try match diffraction with radius.

The other point is that once a lens is diffraction limited there will be little difference between a 300$ lens from Nikon and a 900$ lens from Zeiss as diffraction will be the sole determinator of sharpness.

The image below was shot at f/16. Left image is capture sharpened with my default setting at and the right one is sharpened with advanced sharpening in Photoshop using gaussian blur. The story behind this image is that I made a very similar image three days ago at f/8, and that images was suffering from lack of DoF. So I decided to walk out to the same spot again and reshoot at f/16 and sharpen in post.


Best regards
Erik


What makes you think I'm not relaxed? This isn't an emotional issue for me, but judging by some of the responses to my posts, it is for other people.
 
I regularly shoot on a Schneider 35XL with the Aptus and I know there is a lot of bull about diffraction, people telling me that camera/lens was useless over f11 etc. etc. when it came out, and I've often shot very nice images at f16 with it.  So I hear what you are saying, I'm trying to get below the skin of this a bit.  The images at the head of this thread are very inconclusive to me. Other people I know are more concerned about this *perceived* limitation than I am because it affects the kind of work they do more than it would affect me.  
  
I take your point about the increased DOF of the 35mm sensor, but tilt really isn't much of an option with the D800E because there is access to a limited set of PC lenses that were not designed for a sensor with the D800E's resolution, and it's not a solution for my subject matter where objects are most likely to extend above and below the wedge of focus, especially if its at a wide aperture and correspondingly narrow.  

I'm not obsessive about resolution,  but I need to get the range of this thing nailed down before I hop on a plane and lay out a lot of money to get a shot I want.  I need to test the assumptions I'm reading about to destruction because it's expensive and hugely wasteful of time not to.  I've heard this excellent PR about DxO saying the D800/E exceeds the Aptus 75 in DR and colour etc. and on the basis of my currently limited tests I can't personally confirm this. That's not to dislike the camera, I'm just benchmarking it so I know when its the right tool for the job.





 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 02:43:23 AM by ErikKaffehr »
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uaiomex

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 03:15:00 PM »

Eric: I always wonder why do professional landscape photographers like Adamus or DiFruscia constantly use f16, sometimes even more instead of tilts or focus stacking. Despite this, their pictures look very sharp (of course, all across the frame from foreground to infinity)
Wel, it strikes me that they rely on similar sharpening techniques to compensate for partial diffraction. Could you please elaborate more on your sharpening technique? Perhaps a few settings with cold numbers?
Thanks a lot.
Eduardo


Hi,

What happens when stopping down is that you loose detail contrast. If detail contrast goes down to zero at pixel pitch then detail is irrevocably lost. As long there is some detail contrast the detail can be restored with proper sharpening. Essentially you would use Smart Sharpening with Gaussian blur option and try match diffraction with radius.

The other point is that once a lens is diffraction limited there will be little difference between a 300$ lens from Nikon and a 900$ lens from Zeiss as diffraction will be the sole determinator of sharpness.

The image below was shot at f/16. Left image is capture sharpened with my default setting at and the right one is sharpened with advanced sharpening in Photoshop using gaussian blur. The story behind this image is that I made a very similar image three days ago at f/8, and that images was suffering from lack of DoF. So I decided to walk out to the same spot again and reshoot at f/16 and sharpen in post.


Best regards
Erik


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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 10:11:14 PM »

Hi,

This page has a series of measurements of MTF 50 with three different cameras of different pixel pitch:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=66833.0



This page shows the effects of diffraction and defocus on a 16 MP APS-C camera. It has the same pixel pitch as the Nikon D800.

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/49-dof-in-digital-pictures?start=1

The last part of the article discusses sharpening: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/49-dof-in-digital-pictures?start=2

Why renown photographers use f/16 constantly, I don't know. What I do no is that they throw away some detail. It's a good idea to stop down, if you need to but also a good idea not to overdo it when not needed.

Best regards
Erik

Eric: I always wonder why do professional landscape photographers like Adamus or DiFruscia constantly use f16, sometimes even more instead of tilts or focus stacking. Despite this, their pictures look very sharp (of course, all across the frame from foreground to infinity)
Wel, it strikes me that they rely on similar sharpening techniques to compensate for partial diffraction. Could you please elaborate more on your sharpening technique? Perhaps a few settings with cold numbers?
Thanks a lot.
Eduardo


BartvanderWolf

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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 09:50:38 AM »

Why renown photographers use f/16 constantly, I don't know. What I do no is that they throw away some detail. It's a good idea to stop down, if you need to but also a good idea not to overdo it when not needed.

Indeed. I can only guess why renowned photographers would do such a thing, but most likely it's to even out the corner versus the center performance of their lenses, and maximize single shot DOF. There is also a chance that their creative skills exceed their technical insights. Stopping down more than needed will increase exposure time (and thus wind motion blur), and they'll lose microcontrast in the fine details that is unrecoverable.

I've attached a chart showing the Optical Transfer Function (is the diffraction plus defocus limited MTF, assuming a perfect lens) of a D800 (maximum 102.5 cy/mm equals Nyquist) with a Circle of Confusion of 1.5x the sensel pitch. Such a critical CoC will deliver an even sharpness throughout the DOF zone. For a 24mm lens that would give a DOF zone from 1.80 m to infinity at f/22, from 2.47 m to infinity at f/16, and from 3.59 m to infinity at f/11, with hyperfocal focusing.

What the chart shows is that f/22 will sacrifice the maximum resolution of the D800, it will drop to some 74% of what the camera is capable of. It also shows that f/16 only just allows to reach the maximum resolution that the camera is capable of, but with an overall less contrasty image than e.g. is possible with shooting at f/11. Going from f/16 to f/11 will e.g. boost the MTF50 from 43.0 cy/mm to 57.4 cy/mm, and the contrast at the limiting resolution (near the maximum possible resolution at Nyquist) is also significantly higher, a much better starting point for deconvolution sharpening.

The lesson is that going for maximum DOF in a single shot comes at a price.

The Cy/mm resolution also gives a quick indication of the output magnification potential. If we consider an output resolution of 5-8 cy/mm to represent good to high quality, then we just divide the sensor resolution by 5 or 8 and we get the magnification factor . Then magnify the physical sensor size (36x24 mm) by that magnification factor, and that will give the output size. Thus when going for high quality, f/22 only allows a 9.22x magnification before it's output resolution drops below that of the 10.3x of f/16 and f/11, with f/11 giving overall better microcontrast. The narrower aperture shots also need much more (higher radius) deconvolution sharpening to recover from the overall loss of contrast.

Cheers,
Bart
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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 03:42:30 PM »

Thanks for the considered and detailed responses Eric and 'BartvanderWolf'

There are a lot of technicalities I've not heard about before, but it seems to me that I'll try to minimise use of apertures over f11 for my particular uses.  Overall I don't feel I need to worry that I have to use f5.6 to get an adequate results for my needs.
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Re: Nikon D800e Samples 4 - Diffraction
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2012, 09:42:46 PM »

Eric, Bart: I assume that for these guys, having enormous DOF and getting center and corners pretty much in the same degree of sharpness is more important than maximum sharpness at center of picture. But I'm just guessing. What's important is, that one can restore a lot of the lost sharpness due to diffraction by proper sharpening in post. Thanks Eric for the links. Next time I go out for some serious landscapes, I will take into consideration all this.
Eduardo
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