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Author Topic: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations  (Read 2099 times)

David3484

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Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« on: February 19, 2011, 09:20:05 pm »

I have been wondering about something for a while.  There is a lot written about various sensors used in DSLR cameras (mostly CMOS sensors) and medium format cameras (mostly CCD sensors) and there is a lot written about various lenses.  I am not an engineer, but I do understand that there are inherent limitations in many sensors that prevent them from making the most of certain lenses, and there are inherent limitations in many lenses that prevent them from making the most of certain sensors.  What I have never read about, however, are serious discussions of optimal sensor and lens combinations.  That is, what specific lens and sensor combinations can produce the best results for specific applications?  For example, putting aside sensors and lens that are impractical to come by, suppose someone wants look for the best lens/sensor combinations that would produce optimal high end portraits or fashion photography, regardless of which box connects them together.  (Of course the question would be relevant to both DSLR and medium format platforms.)  Am I barking up the wrong tree or is this a discussion that has merit?   David
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Canon Bob

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Re: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 05:53:10 am »

David,

There's a reasonable article here although it's close to two years old now.

Bob
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 05:55:34 am by Canon Bob »
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David3484

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Re: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 12:39:45 pm »

Thanks, Bob.  Interesting article, although it underscores my point.  There are so many lens reviews and camera reviews (which may include sensors), but precious few serious recommendations of which sensor/lens combinations produce optimal results.  If one is serious about investing a small fortune in high end equipment, it would seem to me that this would be a necessary step.  I would like to believe that Leica, Canon, Nikon, Phase I, Hasseblad, etc., are designing their newer lens for optimal performance for the sensors used in their own cameras, but I don't really know. 

I did see a recent article comparing Zeiss lenses on Canon DSLR cameras (below). That's the sort of thinking/analysis that I would think would be very useful.

http://photocinenews.com/2010/10/22/nat-geo-shooter-ben-horton-compares-canon-glass-to-zeiss-glass/
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 03:02:07 am »

Not exactly what you might look for, but the DXOMark website has a comparison possibility for lens/camera combinations which might shed some light on the questions.

Canon Bob

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Re: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 03:38:56 am »

......  I would like to believe that Leica, Canon, Nikon, Phase I, Hasseblad, etc., are designing their newer lens for optimal performance for the sensors used in their own cameras, but I don't really know. 
I would think that all the major players in bodies/sensors would dearly love to have the option to change their mount diameter and registration distance for one reason or another.
For example, Nikon would surely love to be able to produce an 85/1.2 at a saleable price but it's unrealistic for the time being.

Bob
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Optimal Lens / Sensor Combinations
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 03:40:25 pm »

Hi,

As far as I know the main limitation is sensors are not very good at handling large angles of incoming rays of light. Essentially telecentric lenses are preferable, but this is not really a problem on DSLR or MF-DSLRs, because the need for mirror box makes the lenses telecentric anyway. But, telectentric wide angles don't usually excel. There are a couple of obvious exceptions like the Carl Zeiss 21/2.8 and the excellent Nikon 14-24/2.8 zoom.

Hasselblad had the SWC-body a mirrorless body/lens combination with an external viewfinder.

Microlenses improve a lot, but they don't really work well with shifted lenses. MFDBs are intended to be used with both MF-SLR type bodies and on technical cameras, so most don't have microlenses. Leica has specially designed microlenses for the lenses having short flange distance.

Other than that the lens needs to be very well corrected for aberrations. On the other hand some aberrations like distortion, vignetting and lateral chromatic can be handled in raw conversion. So in general:

- DSLR lenses are by and large OK.
- A combination of post processing and optimization for high resolution and high MTF may be best.
- Backs without microlenses will vignette och are more sensitive to color cast but work with shifted lenses.

Best regards
Erik

I have been wondering about something for a while.  There is a lot written about various sensors used in DSLR cameras (mostly CMOS sensors) and medium format cameras (mostly CCD sensors) and there is a lot written about various lenses.  I am not an engineer, but I do understand that there are inherent limitations in many sensors that prevent them from making the most of certain lenses, and there are inherent limitations in many lenses that prevent them from making the most of certain sensors.  What I have never read about, however, are serious discussions of optimal sensor and lens combinations.  That is, what specific lens and sensor combinations can produce the best results for specific applications?  For example, putting aside sensors and lens that are impractical to come by, suppose someone wants look for the best lens/sensor combinations that would produce optimal high end portraits or fashion photography, regardless of which box connects them together.  (Of course the question would be relevant to both DSLR and medium format platforms.)  Am I barking up the wrong tree or is this a discussion that has merit?   David
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Erik Kaffehr
 
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