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Author Topic: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy  (Read 7143 times)

dwswager

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Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« on: July 29, 2016, 10:32:32 pm »

I'm considering a T/S lens for a trip to Italy.  I've wanted to own one, but never had the right impetus.  I've played with them, but if I take it with me, I want time to learn it for a few months before I go.  And if I get the Nikon, I will need time to ensure it gets fixed to reorient the movement axis. So some questions.

My Basic Kit is:

Nikon D810
Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8

Questions:
1) Will a T/S be worthwhile in for this trip?
2) What focal length would be best?
3) What actual model would you recommend.  The Samyang seems to get decent reviews, but...

Thanks!
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alan_b

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 11:32:54 pm »

What do you want the T/S for? Shift for architecture? Tilt for landscapes?  Wide angle or normal/tele?  Personal/family or business/photo trip?

Since you mentioned the Samyang, I'll guess wide-angle, and Italy makes me think architecture...  The Samyang isn't very sharp in the outer image circle, so probably won't have any advantage over correcting the 16-35 in post.  Also, you can use the VR in some circumstances and not be hassled for using a tripod.

If you're looking for tilt to get infinite-plane type landscapes in focus, that's only one type of shot where you'll see a benefit for the price of carrying that extra lens.

The Nikon gets trash-talked a lot, but it's very sharp within limits.  Also, adjusting the axes to be parallel really only benefits one type of shot where you want to exaggerate near-far relationships on the ground plane. (Shift down and tilt forward.)  The default perpendicular arrangement has a couple uses: 
1. Shooting a building at an oblique angle. (Vertical rise with horizontal swing)
2. Landscape horizontal shift pano with forward tilt.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2016, 08:10:24 am »

Assuming that you are interested in correcting verticals of man made structures during a personnal vacation:
- a 24mm or wider is probably the most useful focal length,
- adjusting the lens handheld is doable but not super easy,
- the Nikon 24mm T/S that I used to own a copy of isn't quite as bad as some people are making it to be, in fact it is brilliant with no/moderate amounts of shift and very good tilted. The corner do weaken a lot with large amounts of shift though,
- Nikon has been rumored for some time to have a next gen 19mm T/S lens ready for release. It is anybody's guess how it would perform but my guess is that Nikon wouldn't bother to release a new lens that isn't best in class overall. I believe it is also likely to capture electronic info about T/S status to enable automatic corrections.

Cheers,
Bernard

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2016, 08:22:39 am »

What do you want the T/S for? Shift for architecture? Tilt for landscapes?  Wide angle or normal/tele?  Personal/family or business/photo trip?

Since you mentioned the Samyang, I'll guess wide-angle, and Italy makes me think architecture...  The Samyang isn't very sharp in the outer image circle, so probably won't have any advantage over correcting the 16-35 in post.  Also, you can use the VR in some circumstances and not be hassled for using a tripod.

If you're looking for tilt to get infinite-plane type landscapes in focus, that's only one type of shot where you'll see a benefit for the price of carrying that extra lens.

The Nikon gets trash-talked a lot, but it's very sharp within limits.  Also, adjusting the axes to be parallel really only benefits one type of shot where you want to exaggerate near-far relationships on the ground plane. (Shift down and tilt forward.)  The default perpendicular arrangement has a couple uses: 
1. Shooting a building at an oblique angle. (Vertical rise with horizontal swing)
2. Landscape horizontal shift pano with forward tilt.

I agree with Alan, and would like to add an alternative, use a slightly longer focal length (=higher resolution) and stitch (= limitless FOV). When you're clever (shoot Portrait orientation), it requires very little additional gear (a No-Parallax Point or NPP bar, and a rotator under the camera). This does assume you use a tripod of sorts,  otherwise practice with handheld stitches (walking around the NPP, instead of turning your neck). Distant subjects rarely suffer from parallax.

Cheers,
Bart
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geesbert

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2016, 08:26:06 am »

Any TS lens requires a decent tripod with a good head. Are you taking one with you?
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Paul2660

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2016, 09:27:43 am »

I would rent the Nikon from Lensrentals, to see what you think about it on the 810.

I tried two of them, coming from the Canon 24 and 17mm TS-E, and the Nikon is not close.  At least the ones I tried. 

Bernard's comments are what I found, also  and I wanted max shift on mine. 

I found the Nikon can't handle much shift, both of the lenses I tried were weak past 4mm of shift.  CA was terrible, but correctable, but even worse, than this was the smearing at 10mm. This is not correctable and is a sign of a lens that can't handle much movement.  For price point, Nikon could do better, and I hope they allow for some changes on the 19mm. 

I also had some strange vignetting on 1 of the 2 lenses I tried at 8mm of shift and out. 

Most definitely get the axis shifted to allow tilt and shift in the same plane.

Paul C
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Paul Caldwell
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langier

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 10:03:33 am »

I dragged along my 24 PCE along during my first couple of trips to Europe but now it stays home. Too big and heavy and I found that with the auto geometry correction in ACR and the files from my D800, it is just fine. I even learned to shoot it on the fly hand-held for quick architecture photos. If you are doing commercial work, have a strong back and want the ultimate quality, the PCE and a tripod are a must. However, careful use of your 16-35mm, tripod and the nice files from your D810 will probably do you just fine for all practical purposes.

In the mean time, I've downsized my travel kit to m43 and a 7-14mm lens. I get it close in-camera then tweak the files in post. The files are fine up to 16x20 prints and then some. If you need the ultimate, then pack all the pieces. If you want a sense of freedom to shoot quickly and go lightly, less is more.
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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 10:44:44 am »

Amen to that, Larry.
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Theodoros

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2016, 11:02:17 am »



Since you mentioned the Samyang, I'll guess wide-angle, and Italy makes me think architecture...  The Samyang isn't very sharp in the outer image circle, so probably won't have any advantage over correcting the 16-35 in post.
 

Correcting in post has nothing to do with shooting with a T/S lens or using a tech camera. In post you can only make lines look straight... Perspective distortion due to bending of the image area will remain and look awful...

The Samyang is enough in the outer image circle for what it is designed to do, it only needs to be stopped down to f8 or even f11... It will be a much better choice (a world apart actually) than any lens without movements...

The Nikkor 24mm PCE is a significantly better lens than the Samyang (much better optically than the Canon 24mm T/S II too) and is worth buying if one can spent the extra amount required... If one can't spent for the Nikkor, the Samyang is the only alternative he's left with... 

My advice for the O/P would be to go for a T/S lens and spend some hours as to practice with it.... Italian monuments are tall and with much detail on them, no post processing will ever transfer the impact they have if stored in a file other than true perspective correction... If anything, it will additionally be a true "school path" towards "true photography" for the O/P...
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Theodoros

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2016, 11:22:31 am »

I would rent the Nikon from Lensrentals, to see what you think about it on the 810.

I tried two of them, coming from the Canon 24 and 17mm TS-E, and the Nikon is not close.  At least the ones I tried. 

Bernard's comments are what I found, also  and I wanted max shift on mine. 

I found the Nikon can't handle much shift, both of the lenses I tried were weak past 4mm of shift.  CA was terrible, but correctable, but even worse, than this was the smearing at 10mm.

The Nikkor vignettes severly if past 8.5mm for shift in the long side... It still beats the Canon across the frame at all apertures for every aspect of optical characteristics but for CAs which are VERY easily correctable... The 8.5 mm of (side) shift that the Nikkor will vignette, one will notice only when testing as it is out of even professional use for 99.99% of the cases... There is no smearing with the Nikkor at the edges of the frame... Not unless one pushes contrast up to the level as to achieve a laughable look (many do)... The contast out of the Nikkor is also much more than the Canon 24mm TSE II... one barely needs to add contrast in the file with the Nikkor... Awesome handle of flare too...

PS. For one that is not used with movements used on image areas as to understand why 8.5mm of side shifts is more than enough, he should think of it as in proportion with larger image areas... 8.5mm is 24% (!!!) of 36mm width... the proportion in 4x5 shift film is 33mm !!!! ...one will obviously never require to use that...

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Paul2660

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2016, 12:21:18 pm »

Theo

Just curious.  You feel the Nikkor 24mm shift lens is better then the Canon 24mm TS-E II?  Not sure but you might be the only person I know of that believes that. But again to each their own. But I had both used both and just totally disagree so you must have a much better lens than either of units I pirchased and the two I borrowed. 4 total copies. None came close the Canon when shifted 8mm and out. And I did see smearing as bad as the 35SK does on a IQ260 when shifted past 5mm.


I found  just the opposite to be the case as the Nikon is not anywhere near as good when shifted out to 10mm or even 8mm even stopped down to F8 or F11.  At least that is what I found and I really tried to make that lens work for me.  The Nikon and Canon Ts-E I are much closer but the new Canon blows away the Nikon on shifts especially in the corners where you get both smearing and softness. The Samyang 24 is a huge disappointment probably the biggest egg they laid in a long time. Lots of Nikon photographers hoped that Samyang would hit a home run like they did with their 14mm bit they did not.

Just goes to show opinions vary and best case is to rent it. Plus if you get a good one you can purchase it.

Paul C

« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 12:28:28 pm by Paul2660 »
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Paul Caldwell
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Theodoros

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2016, 02:15:12 pm »

Theo

Just curious.  You feel the Nikkor 24mm shift lens is better then the Canon 24mm TS-E II?  Not sure but you might be the only person I know of that believes that. But again to each their own. But I had both used both and just totally disagree so you must have a much better lens than either of units I pirchased and the two I borrowed. 4 total copies. None came close the Canon when shifted 8mm and out. And I did see smearing as bad as the 35SK does on a IQ260 when shifted past 5mm.


I found  just the opposite to be the case as the Nikon is not anywhere near as good when shifted out to 10mm or even 8mm even stopped down to F8 or F11.  At least that is what I found and I really tried to make that lens work for me.  The Nikon and Canon Ts-E I are much closer but the new Canon blows away the Nikon on shifts especially in the corners where you get both smearing and softness. The Samyang 24 is a huge disappointment probably the biggest egg they laid in a long time. Lots of Nikon photographers hoped that Samyang would hit a home run like they did with their 14mm bit they did not.

Just goes to show opinions vary and best case is to rent it. Plus if you get a good one you can purchase it.

Paul C

Hi Paul... Actually I 've also tested all three lenses myself  for all their image circle and on the same image sensor... It was back in January when I was trying to find a 24mm lens to use on my ...Contax 645 system by having their mechanisms removed... (before I realized that the Canon can't actually fit mechanically on the Contax because the rear element will interfere with the mirror's path by 2mm)....

To do the test, I used the lenses mounted on a Rollei XACT-2 view camera with recessed board modified as to mount the lenses on extension rings (used instead of lens mounts) with CPU contacts for Canon and Nikon and controlled the aperture (on other than the Samyang) via a self made chord which was used to connect Sony's CPU pins with extention ring's CPU pins and used adapters made for Nikon and Canon lenses as to be used on Sony α7 cameras as intermediate to the extension chord. The Sony was then used as a remote release and sync for the lenses and the Hasselblad CF-39MS MFDB alike... Then I repeated the test using the Sony α7II as an image area and used the Rollei's shift and up-down movements on the rear standard as to scan the whole image circle...

My findings are very similar to the one of ALPA... (http://www.alpa.ch/_files/20131006_ALPA_FPS_low-rez.pdf) so I'm surprised you say I'm the only one who finds the Nikkor to be the best...

As one can see on the ALPA test that I've linked, the Nikkor is easily the sharpest and more contrasty lens to the extremes of the image circle (although a wider aperture is used on it - a smaller aperture would benefit the edges further), the Samyang is slightly sharper than the Canon (but less contrasty) at the furthest edges of the frame (the difference shows more if the same aperture is used), the Nikkor suffers the least of field curvature (Samyang is the worst but only visible at the edges of the frame) and the Nikkor has clearly more CA but evenly & proportionally distributed towards the edges (which makes it dead easy for one to correct).

Other than that, all lenses have the best center at f8 but the best edges (for the whole image circle) at f13, the Nikkor is usable to the extremes of its image circle from ...f5.6 (!!!) and the Nikkor's center is the most resistant to diffraction as it is so sharp at the center that diffraction entry makes the center look as good as the others are at f8...

P.S I was trying to find another (major) site with lens comparisons that has the Nikkor praised as being the champion of the category, but unfortunately I couldn't find it... another member of the forum used this site as reference about a week ago and had a look into it out of curiosity... So, I'm double surprised "you don't know another that claims the same" as what is published out of comparisons agrees more with my findings that with yours... maybe you've tried a "lemon"?
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2016, 03:58:00 pm »

The site is lenscore.org. They rate the nikon 24mm T/S as being significantly better than the Canon... but they only test un-Shifted.

Again the Nikon is simply excellent, and possibly the best 24mm around, as long as you don't shift it too much.

Canon went for a different design compromise. They did compromise the center sharpness in favor of corner sharpness. Considering the overall perception the photography world has of these 2 lenses (mostly held by people having never shot the Nikon I guess), it seems that Canon made the right chiice. ;) Why? Because people compare what they see within a given image and don't realize that the center is only average with the Canon 24mm T/S. What they see is corners almost as good as the center.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 04:13:12 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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Theodoros

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2016, 04:25:40 pm »


See Paul? ...Other than having two sites (being the only ones that compare direct with competition) in agreement with me, other than me being trustful and always having double checked before I state a case, now you have Bernard also in agreement with me!  ;D  So I'm far from being "the only one who you ever met who says that the Nikkor is better than the Canon..."   ;D

Jokes over, lets get serious now...

The Samyang is a pretty good lens for its purpose, especially if one considers the price of it, it's better than the Canon at the edges if shifted extremely and it does its purpose of existing much better than its price suggests... most importantly it makes the path to true photography easier and less costly for new comers to enter...

I've too noticed that there is a lot of "promotion" in forums for "how amazing the Canon 24 TSE II is..." I find this explainable as the Canon is both a great lens and then the comments come from... Canon users who hardly have any experience from alternatives. But it is also explainable because the Canon is mechanically the best out of the three (the Samyang has inferior mechanics and the Nikkor, although up to the Canon's construction, doesn't rotate the mechanisms with respect to each other) and as we know, mechanical operation is of major importance for one to get the most out of such a lens...





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Paul2660

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2016, 05:56:21 pm »

I would agree it's center sharp, but it's a shift lens, so I guess I looked for different aspects of the lens, as I have shifted for larger resolution since early 2003, (don't do it as much now as most shots I want can be stitched without needing shift due to vast improvements in software)

But I can't argue with Theo's testing, as I feel he is very through, however I also am through, however I was looking for a different output, i.e. excellent corners shifted, as there are plenty of great standard 24mm lenses, and I would have to say the Sigma Art 24mm would stack up very well to the Nikon (that if you get one that is not off center).

When I moved to Nikon, back in 2012 with the D800, I immediately sought a great shift lens, and tried the Nikon 24mm, as mentioned I tried 4 different copies, 2 new 2 used, and never found 1 lens that gave me the full sharpness on shifts I had with the 17 and 24mm Canon TS-E II lenses.  Of course I was testing on a 5D MKII and 6D vs D800 so there was more stress on the Nikon lens due to resolution.  Personally I did not see what Theo saw, but I can agree that there are more than likely good examples and bad examples of all lenses.  I know of another great photographer on another forum, who swears by his 24  PC-E and I have seen examples from him, so it can be good.  I just got tired of testing lenses I guess.

Based on Theo's notes, I need to re look at the Samyang also. 

My results correlate much more with the lensrentals findings on the Nikon 24 PC-E.

http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/nikon/lenses/specialty/nikon-24mm-f3.5d-pc-e

This has gone a bit out of bounds to the OP, but I sure would test the Nikon, best way to rent.

Paul C
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Paul Caldwell
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Theodoros

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2016, 06:33:44 pm »

Why don't you trust ALPA's own examples Paul? Can't you see there that the Nikkor is clearly sharper even at the edge of the IQ 180 frame although it's shot at f8 (Canon at f11)?  Note that the Nikkor is visibly sharper at the edges if stopped down another stop than it is at f8....
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2016, 07:12:00 pm »

Why don't you trust ALPA's own examples Paul? Can't you see there that the Nikkor is clearly sharper even at the edge of the IQ 180 frame although it's shot at f8 (Canon at f11)?  Note that the Nikkor is visibly sharper at the edges if stopped down another stop than it is at f8....

Because only focusing on the center of the image circle, kind of, defeats the fact that it's a tilt and SHIFT lens!? It's the better shifted performance that is what professionals need.
BTW, the "http://www.lenscore.org/" scores are taken for a weighted average of all apertures, even the apertures that are not relevant in particular scenarios.

Cheers,
Bart
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one iota

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2016, 07:14:53 pm »

Have a look at this comparison between Samyang and Nikon albeit non-shifted:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=841&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=3&LensComp=632&CameraComp=614&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=3

Any comparison between Nikon and Canon is entirely irrelevant to this thread particularly when not on a full frame DSLR  :P and besides why would you spend good money on a perspective correcting lens that was significantly weaker when shifted  ;)
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Mahn England

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2016, 08:15:00 pm »

using a tilt-shift lens is time consuming and would argue that it's not a good use of your time on your first trip to Italy.  I have found that for travel photography (rather than serious architectural photography) a wide angle lens and perspective correction in post is quite satisfactory.

perspective correction in post should also be practiced in advance to get a sense of how much "over-framing" is needed.  similarly you can practice hand-held panos to make sure you've got enough image to work with.

a tripod will be somewhere between very awkward and unacceptable (unless you have an assistant/fixer) in many urban situations and a complete non-starter if you're on a group tour
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HSakols

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Re: Recommended T&S Lens for a Trip to Italy
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2016, 09:33:32 pm »

You could buy a micro 4/3 body and Nikon tilt shift adaptor.  I did pretty well hand holding a Nikon 20mm attached to an Olympus 4/3 camera. 
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