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Author Topic: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?  (Read 3706 times)

BarbaraArmstrong

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Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« on: May 28, 2012, 08:28:37 pm »

I've been nagged by a question: if the D800/D800E outresolves all but a few of Nikon's lenses, and even those are challenged by the capabilities of the new camera, is it worth buying one or more new ones to outfit this camera?  Will they be able to handle the next step up in Nikon's camera development?  All of us are excited by (and tend to think we will live happily forever) with the latest advances in camera design, often especially advances in megapixel count -- going from 8 to 12, then 12 to 16 or into the 20's and now beyond.  But I also know that that outer line of technology keeps moving forward and we keep wanting the next new thing. Will the Nikon lenses handle anything better?  Also, will the third-party lenses that work well on the D800/D800E, albeit often at manual focus, work well with any significant further advancement in MP in the DSLR format? --Barbara
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2012, 09:02:00 pm »

I've been nagged by a question: if the D800/D800E outresolves all but a few of Nikon's lenses, and even those are challenged by the capabilities of the new camera, is it worth buying one or more new ones to outfit this camera?  Will they be able to handle the next step up in Nikon's camera development?  All of us are excited by (and tend to think we will live happily forever) with the latest advances in camera design, often especially advances in megapixel count -- going from 8 to 12, then 12 to 16 or into the 20's and now beyond.  But I also know that that outer line of technology keeps moving forward and we keep wanting the next new thing. Will the Nikon lenses handle anything better?  Also, will the third-party lenses that work well on the D800/D800E, albeit often at manual focus, work well with any significant further advancement in MP in the DSLR format? --Barbara

There is of course no free lunch, tapping into higher resolution requires better glass that will be more expensive. The crazy inflation of MF glass prices is another example of this trend.

Now, we have seen for many years DX sensors with much higher pixel densities than FX ones and lenses typically do well, so we know for a fact that the center part of lenses can take 50+ megapixel without any problem at all.

The question is the corners. For fast lenses it is not relevant since those are anyway always focused no farther than 1/3 away from the corner which is still excellent with good glass like the new f1.4 and f1.8 series.

For the corners, we are looking at other types of applications where f8 is used more often than not. Most of my Nikkors deliver excellent results in the corner at f8, the Zeiss 50mm f2.0 and 100mm f2.0 are perfect in the corner at those apertures, not to mention longer Leica glass (180 and 280) that are not even breaking a sweat. The longer pro Nikon glass like the 300 f2.8,... is simply untouchable with a huge margin at most apertures.

So I am not worried and anyway, there is nothing significantly better in the known part of the galaxy...

If you want perfect corner image quality, you can always stitch with the right lenses.  ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

theguywitha645d

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2012, 09:24:10 pm »

It does not matter. Simply adding more and more pixels does not make your images softer. You simply transition from a sensor limited condition to an optics limited one. The pictures don't get worse. You simply pay by having larger and larger file sizes.
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LesPalenik

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2012, 10:10:53 pm »

Quote
Will the Nikon lenses handle anything better?
One way to squeeze the maximum from the Nikon lenses, is to get yourself a Seitz Roundshot.
Since their rotational cameras use just the middle part of the lens, even their low-end D2x model can use the lowly 18-55 DX lens and still produce a very sharp 2,056 x 12,117 pixels (25MP) image.
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ndevlin

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 10:20:12 pm »


Barbara, I think you can relax. From what I've seen, the best of Nikon's glass nicely meets the 800E's capabilities.  The limiting factors will always be shooting condition/technique.  There are also lenses like the 100makro Zeiss which is, if anything, too sharp.

Frankly, i don't need more MP from Nikon, but perhaps a less-wide and slightly taller sensor..hint, hint...
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 10:20:52 pm »

Bernard's explanation is the best, most concise and most understandable by non-engineers that I've read so far in this regard. To make it a little more complicated, don't forget that each and every lens differs from it's otherwise identical cohorts - in other words not every 50mm f/1.4G AF Nikkor, even those with sequential serial numbers perform identically.
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BarbaraArmstrong

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 10:33:40 pm »

Thank you all for your replies.  Thank you especially, Bernard, for taking the time to write such a specific explanation and evaluation -- much appreciated.  I have been a Nikon user/fan since my first Nikon in the 1970's, and have the D800E on preorder.  I've been contemplating which lenses I would like to use with it.  And I will add my vote for a less elongated sensor, something along the lines of 4/3, which I would find to be more versatile.  --Barbara
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Pingang

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 01:55:59 am »

I think in this case all the camera makers have similar issues, not just Nikon. From my own experience I would say most of the newer lenses are still good, perhaps can take challenge from even more mega pixels sensor. The problem is, IMHO, may be in a little more limited useful range of f stops. Modern technology has made most of the popular lens makers capable of delivering good and similar quality lenses, Nikon is not worse and may be not better than others.  More mega pixels will still deliver larger picture file, which if necessary - gives more room and detail for retouch, and in such case, let's say you capture an image with D800 and scale it down to D700 size, will still give visible better result than original from later. I continue to welcome high mega pixels, but honestly speaking, I think the digital camera until D700 and 5DII has reached the requirement of 90% of still needs, however, world does not stop then.

Pingang
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kers

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 04:40:04 am »

Frankly, i don't need more MP from Nikon, but perhaps a less-wide and slightly taller sensor..hint, hint...

You can always chop the sides of - if you have more megapixels... and also you can put the camera on 5:4 if you like to make the choice before taking the picture..
Nikon will never change the sensor and now with all the 16:9 screens i find it has a good balance...

about lens quality... I would like to see Nikon make a truly good 50mm lens with nanocoating and a fast(!) autofocus  as well as a 16-17mm shift lens that can handle the d800 even shifted.
For me the nanocoating is what makes the newer lenses stand out.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 05:24:22 am »

I would like to see Nikon make a truly good 50mm lens with nanocoating and a fast(!) autofocus  as well as a 16-17mm shift lens that can handle the d800 even shifted.
For me the nanocoating is what makes the newer lenses stand out.

They have recently released a patent for a 17 mm T/S, so your wish may come true.

A high end 50 f1.2 is long overdue, but I am not sure whether they look at this as a priority. The still have quite a few lenses missing/needing updates:

Missing:
- 70-200 f4 (but they have released a patent for a 70-300 f4 so that might be it)
- 17mm T/S

Needing updates:
- 24-70 f2.8 VR - Tamron did it, there is little doubt they will do it too,
- 80-400 AF-S VR
- 35mm f2.0 or f1.8 (even if the current f2 is still pretty decent)
- 24 mm T/S
- 135mm f2 VR
- 180 f2.8 VR
- 400 f5.6 VR
- 300 f4 VR
- ...

Cheers,
Bernard

dreed

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 01:43:56 pm »

Needing updates:
- 24-70 f2.8 VR - Tamron did it, there is little doubt they will do it too,

That will be interesting to see. Canon updated their lens for this range and left out image stabilisation. That decision wouldn't have been made without consulting with the appropriate folks whereas Tamron are looking to create a differentiated product to attract people. Just saying.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Are Nikon lenses at a dead-end?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 05:53:22 pm »

That will be interesting to see. Canon updated their lens for this range and left out image stabilisation. That decision wouldn't have been made without consulting with the appropriate folks whereas Tamron are looking to create a differentiated product to attract people. Just saying.

Sure, Tamron is trying to create a differentiator, how is that different from Canon releasing a 85mm f1.2 pr Nikon releasing a 14-24 f2.8.

We do not know that actual reason why Canon left IS out. It could be concerns about robustness, some design trade offs, a belief that photographers don't need VR in a 24-70 f2.8 (very doubtful IMHO),...

Anyway, it leaves the door wide open for Nikon.

Cheers,
Bernard
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