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Author Topic: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens  (Read 11350 times)

Michael Erlewine

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The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« on: December 17, 2016, 11:43:49 am »

OK. The 19mm PC-E arrived, less than two hours ago and I had to let it warm up. Here are a couple of shots taken in our kitchen with the Nikon D810. They are short stacks of three or four layers, with a clumsy attempt to start figuring out how best to use tilt. Vertical tilt used here, but this is going to be a learning curve. I use tilt a lot with close-up, where it is very easy to see the effect, but here, FF, as others have said.... I have got some learning to do.

The lens is smaller (and lighter) than I imagined, which is good. It is, of course, solid. Finally, for my work, all of the different ways to shift, tilt, rotate, etc. are all there and are wonderful. It took me a while to figure out there is a separate LOCK on tilt, so be warned.

As for IQ, too soon to tell. It is not as sharp as the Otus (Otii), but sharp enough considering it is very wide. I will have to do a lot of playing around, and mostly inside, since it is bitter cold right now, with nights near zero. All in all I am pleased, but I have a lot of experimenting to do before I can say for sure. Certainly it is years ahead of my three PC-E lenses, which I am going to get rid of. I am grateful Nikon finally has gone for more quality in lenses, like Zeiss did with the Otus series. I did not finish the photos, but I did play with them some, so these are not just right out of the camera. Didn't have time to do both, right now.

Of course, I am only working it to my ends, which usually involve focus stacking, and I can't really take it outside in this weather, as another 8-10 inches of snow fell last night, etc.

The lens is not as sharp or as well corrected as the Otus series. However, it is sharp, and considering that it puts so much in focus, the lack of the utmost acuity is probably tolerable, especially if I can remember that I will be using this for landscape and not tabletop or studio work... unless (there always is the chance) that I find some useful way of using it close-up.

Considering that I stack and that stacks themselves are rife with artifacts unless very carefully done, in some respects this lens avoids having to stack at the sacrifice of a little bit of "sharpness."

I have not experimented with any chromatic aberration or whatever, but I will get around to that. Before I do much tilting or shifting I need to do some straight shooting. Here is one short stack (three) with the Nikon D810. At 100%, it is tolerable, even OK, but with this lens (at least for me) the concept of "impressionism" is important to keep in mind.

The lens cap, which is new for me, is a hard shell cap with a positive lock and requires a button pressed to release it. Since with the lens I won’t walk around with the lens cap off, I am glad it can’t slip off.

So, the flowers are a 3-stack shot, the room shots are a single shot, but perhaps with some tilt. I can’t remember.
If there is interest, I will keep posting. Otherwise, I will just test it to my own interests.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 11:52:40 am by Michael Erlewine »
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 10:26:34 am »

Here is a shot done with the Zeiss Otus 28mm APO lens. This, like the earlier shots, is a stack of a few layers. It is superior to the 19mm PC-E enough, that I question if I want to keep the 19mm PC-E. Your thoughts? Nikone D810
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 10:55:14 am »

I think you are going to return the 19mm...

It will never be the same quality of the Otus ... it is meant as a shift lens and have to compromise certain qualities unshifted.
I can see that in the photo of the flower...
Not only is the 19mm photo probably technically not up to the Otus, it looks like you did not put any work in it to make it look good as do you seem to have done with the Otus shot.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 11:08:50 am »

I think you are going to return the 19mm...

It will never be the same quality of the Otus ... it is meant as a shift lens and have to compromise certain qualities unshifted.
I can see that in the photo of the flower...
Not only is the 19mm photo probably technically not up to the Otus, it looks like you did not put any work in it to make it look good as do you seem to have done with the Otus shot.

It is not true that they were treated differently in post. The color of the Otus is different than the Nikon. I have no axe to grind or dog in this fight..

The difference in quality must be something like the difference between 19mm and 28mm. I am sure there is a reason Zeiss settled on 28mm instead of, say, 24mm.

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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 01:08:16 pm »

It is not true that they were treated differently in post. The color of the Otus is different than the Nikon. I have no axe to grind or dog in this fight..

The difference in quality must be something like the difference between 19mm and 28mm. I am sure there is a reason Zeiss settled on 28mm instead of, say, 24mm.

The light seems different in both images...  the nikon seems to get a more less direct softer light- it has far less contrast.

About the Otus being 28mm - i think they had enough problems to get it right at 28mm.
According to lenstip.com they could make it a perfect lens, for instance  coma in the corners is not well controlled even at f2
So at 24mm it will be even more difficult to make and surely more expensive and probably even heavier/bigger...
http://www.lenstip.com/481.7-Lens_review-Carl_Zeiss_Otus_28_mm_f_1.4_Coma__astigmatism_and_bokeh.html
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 01:16:34 pm »

The light seems different in both images...  the nikon seems to get a more less direct softer light- it has far less contrast.

About the Otus being 28mm - i think they had enough problems to get it right at 28mm.
According to lenstip.com they could make it a perfect lens, for instance  coma in the corners is not well controlled even at f2
So at 24mm it will be even more difficult to make and surely more expensive and probably even heavier/bigger...
http://www.lenstip.com/481.7-Lens_review-Carl_Zeiss_Otus_28_mm_f_1.4_Coma__astigmatism_and_bokeh.html

Those photos were taken on two different days, different light, etc. Again, I was looking at acuity, not color. As for the Otus 28, despite its problems, it is a marvelous lens for my work. Incredibly great.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 12:25:49 am »

I own both, like both and will keep both.

Cheers,
Bernard

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 05:19:01 am »

I own both, like both and will keep both.

Cheers,
Bernard

After some consideration, I've decided that, for my work, the 19mm PC-E would not add that much. Ultimately, the acuity is just south of what I consider necessary. It is sharp, but not exactly sharp as I need it. I know that others will respond that I don't know howo to focus it, and there is focus shift, and distortion - all of that. Granted, it is difficult to focus, especially when tilt is involved, but we all know that. It is the widest lens I have that includes the tilt movement, and I have to admit that it is a bear to focus. Not easy. And it could just be me, but I find the results not jumping out at me, as I had hoped. And the worst impression I've had is that it is just another Nikon lens. But whatever the reason, it does not grab me. Now, the Nikon El Nikkor 105mm APO grabs me, as do the Printing Nikkors, the Noct, and many of the "exotic" industrial lenses, as well as those for Large Format.

If this tells you anything, I am also selling off the three Nikkor PC-E lenses I have (24, 45, 85mm), and also the Nikon 14-24mm and 24-70mm zoom lenses. They don't grab me either, and are not well-corrected enough for my work. I wish that the PC-E 19mm would be what I hoped it would be, and it is nice, but at the price of a Zeiss Otus, it is not of that quality. I am looking at (eternally hopeful!) the new Nikon Milvus 18mm lens that is about to be released.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 05:41:19 am by Michael Erlewine »
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 07:05:04 am »

... I wish that the PC-E 19mm would be what I hoped it would be, and it is nice, but at the price of a Zeiss Otus, it is not of that quality. ...

I understand what you say, but at a pricepoint less than the Otus 28mm it is a 19mm with a workable image circle of about 65mm.
If it would be of Otus quality costs would be much higher that is...if they could make it.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2016, 07:12:57 am »

I understand what you say, but at a pricepoint less than the Otus 28mm it is a 19mm with a workable image circle of about 65mm.
If it would be of Otus quality costs would be much higher that is...if they could make it.

Of course, you are right. The bottom line is that it is not that impressive IMO, which is just my opinion. I hoped it would be like, well, the Noct Nikkor or something like that which would Knock me out. Instead, it was just another "Nikon Lens" beneath all those movements.
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alan_b

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2016, 02:44:42 pm »

Is there a ~115˚ lens that does impress you?
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 02:54:12 pm »

Is there a ~115˚ lens that does impress you?

The Zeiss Otus 28mm (75 degrees) impresses me a lot, but perhaps you meant with  a Tilt/Shift, and the answer is no. I would use my Cambo Actus with various lenses like the El Nikkor APO 105mm, which very much impresses me.
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alan_b

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 03:48:49 pm »

The Zeiss Otus 28mm (75 degrees) impresses me a lot, but perhaps you meant with  a Tilt/Shift, and the answer is no.

If you need the wide angle, there's no comparison between a 75 and 100+ deg lens. The Rodie 23 is sharper, but isn't as wide and has its own set of compromises (besides costing 2-3x the Nikon). The Canon 17 is wider, but not as sharp or well-corrected.

I'm still getting to know the Nikon 19, but the first thing that caught my eye was the overall color & contrast - definitely something special there. (It also really needs to be shaded from extraneous light.)

Edit: not meaning to be argumentative - sorry if I'm coming across that way!
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 03:53:58 pm by alan_b »
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ben730

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 07:41:58 pm »

Michael, the 19mm PC is a very special lens made to solve very rare photographic problems.
It's a perfect tool in it's discipline.
I don't know the canon 17mm. If it's as good, it's great.
The Rodie 23 mm with 112 deg and the SK 28 Super Digitar with 115 deg are in my experience the only
sharper lenses in this angle (but each with limitations as Alan_b already wrote). And I never used them with very small
pixel sensors like the D8xx.

I also use the Nikkor Apo 105 EL with my Cambo Ultima, in my studio for pack shots .
You are right, this lens is great, but I never used it for architectural photography...

Regards,
Ben




Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2016, 10:54:08 pm »

Michael, the 19mm PC is a very special lens made to solve very rare photographic problems.
It's a perfect tool in it's discipline.
I don't know the canon 17mm. If it's as good, it's great.
The Rodie 23 mm with 112 deg and the SK 28 Super Digitar with 115 deg are in my experience the only
sharper lenses in this angle (but each with limitations as Alan_b already wrote). And I never used them with very small
pixel sensors like the D8xx.

I also use the Nikkor Apo 105 EL with my Cambo Ultima, in my studio for pack shots .
You are right, this lens is great, but I never used it for architectural photography...

Regards,
Ben

Thanks for the note. I don't generally do architectural shots, but landscapes on down to close-ups. I use the El Nikkor APO 105 and Large Format lenses mostly on the Cambo Actus. I have a number of ultra-wide lenses, including the two 16mm Nikkor Rectangular Fisheyes, various other circular fisheyes, Sigma ART 24mm ARt, Venus 15mm, etc. What caused me to not keep the Nikon 19mm was that, for me, it was just not sharp enough. Close, but for what I like, I want everything a little sharper, so I can play that off against bokeh. I am finding that, in general, I am drifting away from where most folks seem to be happy, which is troubling, but it is what it is. I love the mechanics of the 19mm PC-E, just what I always wanted, but not interesting enough by itself to overcome my above criticisms. I do realize that folks will love this new lens and I see why. I may look into the new Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8. But actually, I probably have almost enough lenses.... or that's what I keep telling myself... as I study another new one. LOL.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2016, 12:55:32 am »

Hi,

The PC lenses have large image circles but they are not intended for close ups or large aperture work.

I bought my Canon 24/3.5 TSE LII as a general purpose high performance lens but in my case it is outperformed by my Canon 16-35/4L and may be even the Sony 24-70/2.8ZA at 24 mm. But I find it very usable for architecture work or whenever I need shift.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks for the note. I don't generally do architectural shots, but landscapes on down to close-ups. I use the El Nikkor APO 105 and Large Format lenses mostly on the Cambo Actus. I have a number of ultra-wide lenses, including the two 16mm Nikkor Rectangular Fisheyes, various other circular fisheyes, Sigma ART 24mm ARt, Venus 15mm, etc. What caused me to not keep the Nikon 19mm was that, for me, it was just not sharp enough. Close, but for what I like, I want everything a little sharper, so I can play that off against bokeh. I am finding that, in general, I am drifting away from where most folks seem to be happy, which is troubling, but it is what it is. I love the mechanics of the 19mm PC-E, just what I always wanted, but not interesting enough by itself to overcome my above criticisms. I do realize that folks will love this new lens and I see why. I may look into the new Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8. But actually, I probably have almost enough lenses.... or that's what I keep telling myself... as I study another new one. LOL.
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2016, 04:28:37 am »

I am now testing the 19mm PCE myself and already am impressed with the quality - also when shifted.
aberrations are well corrected unlike the 24mm PCE
Already it is clear that it is indeed in a different league than the other PCE's as mentioned. ( as is the price)
The shift mechanics are geared and need not to be tightened. I also like the lock on the tilt mechanism.
The only thing missing is a tripod attachment, for making shift-stitches without parallax errors.
The image circle is very good up to circa 56mm ( not 65 as i thought before)
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2016, 07:01:51 am »

in a first test of the 19mm i have these results...
F4 unshifted on the 19mm gives a clearly better quality image than f8 on the 14-24mm@19mm
flat field of sharpness at about 40 meter (infinity) and very uniform lens performance across the image- even shifted.
shifted it results in a maximum 12359x9915pixel image = 122MP on a D810 ( clearly wider than 14mm- about 12mm)
very low distortion... lens can be used for architecture and does not need  distortion correction most of the time.
I will show later some examples...
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2016, 12:42:20 pm »

I just finished a test of the 19mmPCE combined with a 10x cheaper body: Nikon J5.

The J5 has a 13,2x8,8mm-sensor with 20MP = 5568 x 3912px
With the 19mm PCE I can make a stitch of the full shifted lens.
Unshifted i get about a 50mm lens FF image.
Full shifted i can make an image circle larger than FF  - i can reach on the long side 37.6mm

This means i can stitch about an angle of about an18mm FF lens with the long side of 37.6mm and 15865 pixels
This equals to a FF sensor of about 167MP.
The results are impressive. the J5 sensor has some noise and the lens can probably not do 167MP but i am sure it can do FF 100MP (8320x5547px)
Even at f4 it can do a good job, but optimum is about f 5.6-8.
It also shows us that the shift mechanism of the PCE works very precise.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 10:44:09 am by kers »
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kers

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Re: The Nikon 19mm PC-E f/4 Tilt/Shift Lens
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2016, 12:52:16 pm »

...
The lens is not as sharp or as well corrected as the Otus series.
...

As shown above the lens outperforms the 36MP sensor of the d810 by far. It can do 100MP
Also it is highly corrected.
This means that at 36MP we cannot fully see the quality of the lenses we are talking about and some issues are sensor related.
It also means that if you can see that the lens is less sharp than the Otus it has to do with other qualities than sharpness.
The so called microcontrast perhaps.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 12:56:29 pm by kers »
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