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Author Topic: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?  (Read 36402 times)

Rob C

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #40 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.



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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #41 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

« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 04:07:47 PM by ErikKaffehr »
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MichaelEzra

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #42 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".

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #43 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".
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 06:52:39 PM by ErikKaffehr »
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risedal

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #44 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.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #45 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

MichaelEzra

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #46 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?

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #47 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?


ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #48 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
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 02:25:36 AM by ErikKaffehr »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #49 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?


JohnBrew

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #50 on: February 19, 2013, 07:45:20 AM »

Thanks for the link, Keith. A terrific comparison.

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #51 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.

Petrus

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #52 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.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #53 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?

risedal

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #54 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
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 06:02:49 PM by risedal »
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MichaelEzra

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #55 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,



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



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



   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison




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):



« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 10:48:15 PM by MichaelEzra »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #56 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,



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



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



   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison




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):




MichaelEzra

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #57 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.



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



JPG with ZD captures that I used for MTF:


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.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 12:34:38 AM by MichaelEzra »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #58 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.


« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 01:54:42 AM by ErikKaffehr »
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D Fosse

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Re: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?
« Reply #59 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.
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