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Author Topic: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...  (Read 12804 times)

aaron

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D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« on: January 03, 2014, 12:19:45 pm »

Hi,
I am looking at putting together a D800 kit for shooting panoramics and would really appreciate any suggestions as to lens choices etc..

My intention is to shoot single row panos so camera in vertical position, so the main question is what lenses will work best. I have trawled through lots of threads here on the topic of panos and theres lots of great info, I'd like to get some current opinions on the subject.

I am thinking a set of prime lenses would be 'easier' but have seen some suggestions that the nikon zooms like 70-200 f/4 are good too but may be too heavy on nodal slides etc...
So anyhow if anyone with experience here can suggest a set of lenses that would work well and cover most situations it would be great!

Thanks,
Aaron
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Wayne Fox

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 12:41:52 pm »

have done several pano stitches as you describe with a 50 and 100mm zeiss with good results.
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Paul2660

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 02:30:03 pm »

Are you up close? or far away.  The 70-200 is a beast IMO and on a nodal slide it will be a bit tricky.  I often use the 14-24 but my nodal pans are almost always on close in subjects.  If I need a distance pan then I will most times use the 24-120 or 24-70 depending on which lens is in my bag.  I have also use the Tamron 70-300 (its not a bad lens at all if you can live in the aperture range) since it's much lighter than the 70-200 and in the selected aperture ranges very close to my 70-200.  If I am wanting just a wide prime I have often used the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 which IMO is as sharp or sharper than the much more expensive Nikon 24 1.4.  But my main reason for getting rid of the 24 1.4 Nikkor was the terrible terrible coma when I used it for night work, but that's another subject.

One other note on the 14-24 is the possibility of flare.  This will flare and it's a very destructive non recoverable flare and if you pan it and pick up flare, you can have a real mess.

The other lens that comes to mind is the new version of the 80-400.  Much better than the old version. 

Paul Caldwell


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Paul Caldwell
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Telecaster

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 03:30:31 pm »

There are many different approaches to shooting panos. Are you looking to stitch wide angle shots into an ultra-wide composite, or long lens shots into a high-detail wide-ish composite, or something in-between?

My own approach has been to use a 4050mm lens, or equiv., with low rectilinear distortion and build a 3:1 or so pano out of multiple shots. Usually, though not always, with the camera in vertical orientation. The 55mm on my Pentax 645D works great for this. Alternately I'll use a shift lens and take three horizontal shots. My first-ever stitched panos were with a Mamiya 50/4 shift lens on 120 format film (645), scanned & assembled manually in Photoshop. It's way easier now.   ;)

-Dave-
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aaron

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 03:54:58 pm »

Thanks for the suggestions lads...
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

To maximise image quality I would have the D800 mounted vertically, so I need lenses which when in vertical orientation will give me similar coverage as the 617 film lenses or in that ballpark, so I am not looking for an ultra wide result.

Initially I thought i just need to pick up a set of nikon primes but some of them are more designed for portraiture etc.. so may not render or line up well for stitching, I know the software options may  here but why not choose the most suitable lenses to begin with.

Thanks!
Aaron
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 03:57:45 am »

The lenses I have used a lot for pano wirk with my D3x/D800 include:
- Zeiss 50mm f2.0 and recently the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4,
- Zeiss 100mm f2.0,
- Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-S,
- Leica 180mm f2.8 APO,
- Nikon 70-300 VR.

Other lenses that should be splendid also and very good deals include:
- Sigma 35mm f1.4 (I own a copy but have not done much pano work with it),
- Nikon 85mm f1.8 (don't own one but friends do and call it the best 85mm ever designed).

Cheers,
Bernard

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 05:39:52 am »

Thanks for the suggestions lads...
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

To maximise image quality I would have the D800 mounted vertically, so I need lenses which when in vertical orientation will give me similar coverage as the 617 film lenses or in that ballpark, so I am not looking for an ultra wide result.

Hi Aaron,

Well, that's simple then. Choose a lens which gives the vertical FOV you need with the camera in portrait orientation. You determine how wide the FOV will be by adding fewer or more tiles next to each other with some overlap for the stitching.

The only thing to remember is that, when using a rectilinear projection method your corner coverage will be stretched out (they have more vertical FOV), so make sure your FOV composition in the center of the image is adequate. With other projection methods (e.g. cylindrical) you do not stretch the corner coverage as much, and no additional vertical coverage in the center is required.

Quote
Initially I thought i just need to pick up a set of nikon primes but some of them are more designed for portraiture etc.. so may not render or line up well for stitching, I know the software options may  here but why not choose the most suitable lenses to begin with.

Fixed focal length lenses are usually less bulky and allow for a sturdier setup. It's also easier to determine the No-Parallax-Point (NPP), while with a zoom lens it may differ for each focal length you dial in.

Cheers,
Bart
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PhotoEcosse

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 06:40:01 am »

Not a direct answer to your question but, unless you are looking for 180 panos, don't forget the amazing facility that the 36Mp of the D800 gives you for single-shot panoramics.

Using the 14-24mm lens at widest from far back and then severely head-and-tail cropping to pano format works exceptionally well - certainly good enough for a very high quality 5-feet by one-foot print. The lens profile and vertical correction in LR5 certainly gets rid of most of the edge distortion and minimal use of the Transform tool in CS6 gets rid of any remaining. Last year I was able to make a superb pano of the entire Laguna waterfront of Venice with a single shot from a boat about 400 yards offshore by this method.
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JohnBrew

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 08:21:27 am »

I'm with Wayne and Bernard. Zeiss 50 Makro and 85 1.4G.

Petrus

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 09:11:32 am »

First determine which focal length you need, most likely something between 35 and 85, then get the best prime (or two) you can afford with least distortions and flare.

Sigma 35 f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4, Nikkor 85 f/1.8 are all fairly cheap and would work fine.
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t6b9p

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2014, 12:05:10 pm »

Quote
If I am wanting just a wide prime I have often used the Rokinon 24mm 1.4 which IMO is as sharp or sharper than the much more expensive Nikon 24 1.4.

I tried to love the Rokinon lens but after trying 3 copies I gave up. The first had a significant issue in one quadrant (everything was streaked). The second copy was "perfect" optically with only a trace of coma in the corners when shot wide open (less than the Nikon 14-24), however the focus had way too much free play in it making critical focusing almost impossible. The third copy had too much coma but nice focus action! I sure if I kept going eventually I would have got a performer but three times is enough. So I will stick to the Nikon 14-24 for night sky shots.

I picked the Zeiss ZF 100 Makro for panorama landscapes (doubles for Macro & IR work) but I am having trouble deciding on a prime in the 50-60mm range. The contenders are:
Zeiss ZF 50/2 Makro
Nikon 58/1.4
Zeiss Otus 55/1.4
although the last is probably a little too expensive for my budget.

It would be a bonus if the 50-60mm lens performed well in the 830nm IR range as well, doubling up on duty and reducing kit weight.
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PeterAit

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2014, 12:43:27 pm »

Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me? As I understand it, the ideal panorama is taken by rotating the camera and lens about the lens's nodal point. But, why? Does it make any real difference or is it just one of those theoretical issues that some (unnamed) people love to fuss over?

FWIW, I recently returned from a trip to southern Utah and Colorado where I took quite a few panos using a D600 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 (and a few with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4) The "nodal point" was my feet and I just turned and clicked, making sure to overlap the images by a good bit, using aperture priority. I have been processing with PTGui and have some wonderful results. How would the nodal point make my panos better?
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Peter
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 03:34:54 pm »

Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me? As I understand it, the ideal panorama is taken by rotating the camera and lens about the lens's nodal point. But, why? Does it make any real difference or is it just one of those theoretical issues that some (unnamed) people love to fuss over?

Hi Peter,

It's to avoid parallax (shifted images) in either foreground or background. When foreground and/or background do not perfectly overlap at the transition between the images, it can become difficult to smoothly blend the images into a single image, especially when you have only a small overlapping zone between images.

Try looking at a distant point, an hold your arm stretched in front of you, stick your thumb up. Now look at it with one eye closed, and then switch to the other eye closed. You'll see your thumb jump left and right in front of an otherwise stationary background. It would be impossible to blend those two "images" into  a single wider one, without laborious masking.

The larger the difference between foreground and background features, the smaller the distance between the two entrance pupils of the lenses must be to avoid potential issues. When the two NPPs are aligned, and you rotate through that point, there will be no parallax and alignment in the overlap zone can be made perfect (by also allowing to eliminate lens distortion).

Quote
FWIW, I recently returned from a trip to southern Utah and Colorado where I took quite a few panos using a D600 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 (and a few with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4) The "nodal point" was my feet and I just turned and clicked, making sure to overlap the images by a good bit, using aperture priority. I have been processing with PTGui and have some wonderful results. How would the nodal point make my panos better?

Your foreground features were either far enough away or with too few predictable patterns that PTGUI could not use its clever/smart blending to hide the double or differently angled features. Try shooting something with more foreground detail, and you'll soon find out things can become impossible to hide, especially when you only have a small overlap zone. That sucks if you cannot redo the shot.

Cheers,
Bart
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aaron

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2014, 03:58:39 pm »

Thanks again everyone, I think I will pick up the following three lenses which are being mentioned by a few of you!

Sigma 35 f/1.4
Zeiss 50mm f2.0
Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF

I am torn between the Nikon 85 f1.4 and the Zeiss ZF 100 Makro, they're too close in focal to justify both.....

It would be nice to have a unified set of lenses of the same brand, so I had considered three Nikon 1.8 lenses, 28, 50 and 85 but it seems the nikon 50 may be the weak link there.... plus the 28 may be a bit wide.
I prefer the build quality of the Zeiss but the Nikon's are weather sealed.

Decisions decisions...

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Petrus

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2014, 08:22:40 pm »

Can someone please explain this "nodal" stuff to me?

The fact is that if there is nothing close enough (like a few meters) and you can do the body twist precisely enough, having a tripod with a fancy panorama nodal point head contraption is not going to make any difference what comes to the final result (if the shutter speed is fast enough = no need for a tripod). Then, on the other hand, having a proper nodal point panorama setup makes things easier. I think it boils down to using a tripod or not; if you use a tripod for you photos, make a tripod nodal point system, if you shoot without a tripod try to keep the camera at the same point in space instead of just turning your body.
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bill t.

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 12:32:14 am »

The poor man's Otus: the 55mm Micro Nikkor f2.8 AIS.  I love it, it's perfection.  And it doesn't weigh a ton.
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nairb

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2014, 01:00:21 am »

There's apparently a nikon 35f1.8 for full frame about to be announced, and what I've been using so far is tha af-s 60mm nikon micro which is great. Those two plus an 85 or 105 would seem to be a good combo depending on the quality of the 35mm when it's available.
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PeterAit

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2014, 08:43:02 am »

Thanks again everyone, I think I will pick up the following three lenses which are being mentioned by a few of you!

Sigma 35 f/1.4
Zeiss 50mm f2.0
Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF


With all due respect, you might consider getting one lens only then use it to develop your pano technique. Having so much hardware just complicates things and distracts from what you need to learn. It puts me in mind of the people who buy a nice printer and then immediately want to get a dozen different papers to "test." No, get one good paper and work with it until you make make really excellent prints. Then and only then consider trying others.
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henrikfoto

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2014, 09:58:16 am »

If you like to have a lot of details I would considder a longer lens. Zeiss 135mm apo or Micro Nikon 200mm f.4?
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AreBee

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Re: D800 Nodal Panoramics - lens suggestions...
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2014, 02:28:54 pm »

Aaron,

Quote
I guess what i hope to do is to emulate the look of shooting a Pano 617 camera with its traditional line up of lenses - 90mm,180mm, and 300mm.

The horizontal and vertical FOV of the above lenses is:

90mm = 86.7 Horizontal, 36.9 Vertical
180mm = 50.6 Horizontal, 18.9 Vertical
300mm = 31.6 Horizontal, 11.4 Vertical

A single capture using a 19mm, 38mm and 63mm focal length lens respectively will provide equal horizontal FOV on a D800 in landscape orientation.

In order to equal vertical FOV of a 617 camera by stitching a single row of portrait orientation images on a D800, a 54mm, 108mm and 180mm focal length lens respectively will be required.

The above assumes that the 617 camera negative is exactly 60x170mm (I have read that it may actually be 56x171). The sensor in the D800 is 35.9x24mm.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 04:55:05 pm by AreBee »
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