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Author Topic: Strange bokeh (out-of-fucus) with EF 600 f/4L IS  (Read 51466 times)
BCRider
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2007, 06:46:13 PM »
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...On several of the images, I get a very strange effect on the out of focus areas.  In the attached image, it is visible in the bushes in the background.

I get EXACTLY that effect with my 100-400L at times.  Too often actually and I don't use a filter.

The suggestion to compare against film is an interesting one.  Or even the IS possibility.  

But unfortunately I don't know what causes it and Canon was no help either.
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skid00skid00
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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2007, 08:15:19 PM »
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It looks just like heat waves to me.  In the bison photo, look just above the fallen tree, in front of the bison.  There's a clear little blob there.
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2007, 09:48:00 PM »
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I shot about 1200 images last week with a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF 600 f/4L IS.  On several of the images, I get a very strange effect on the out of focus areas.  In the attached image, it is visible in the bushes in the background.  It is hard to describe, but appears almost like double images.

I've seen this in numerous photos made with this lens (and with the 100-400 L).  It's a 'bad bokeh' lens.  You can minimize the effect by choosing backgrounds carefully, avoiding bright highlights or backgrounds that are near enough to the plane of focus that objects are semi-recognizable.  Or, use a different lens.

Doug Herr
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chris anderson
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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2007, 07:22:04 PM »
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[that is heat waves, or atmoshere. I see it alot shooting hot day time college football. no way around it except shoot when its cooler outside! your lens is fine, just bad shooting conditions!
 chris in Texas
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kshuler
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2008, 03:36:03 PM »
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Actually, to me that looks like a bad case of nisen bokeh.  It could also be camera shake, but my guess is that is nisen bokeh, which is "double lines" where there should be one thin line (doesn't affect solids, just thin lines).  The bison appear to be quite well focused, and do not display the doubling effect you are seeing, and the foreground blurred parts do not seem to display the effect narly as much as the background.  It appears that your lens has been overcompensated for spherical aberration, which is largely responsible for this effect.  For details, see my website, which should explain this effect:

http://bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html

Klaus
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sumowondertoad
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2008, 04:05:02 PM »
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Klaus, thanks so much!  Finally, an answer to this problem!  I regularly shoot with both the Canon EF 600 f/4L IS and the EF 400 f/2.8L IS and have never, never had anyone, including the techs from Canon, tell me what the problem may be.

I'm definitely recommending your wonderfully explanatory website to my colleagues.

Thanks again...Scott
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2008, 04:49:54 PM »
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Actually, to me that looks like a bad case of nisen bokeh.  It could also be camera shake, but my guess is that is nisen bokeh, which is "double lines" where there should be one thin line (doesn't affect solids, just thin lines).  The bison appear to be quite well focused, and do not display the doubling effect you are seeing, and the foreground blurred parts do not seem to display the effect narly as much as the background.  It appears that your lens has been overcompensated for spherical aberration, which is largely responsible for this effect.  For details, see my website, which should explain this effect:

http://bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html

Klaus
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Wow, so you have to choose between chromatic ab and bokeh! Great explanation, thanks. I always thought it was heat haze, although there may still be an element of this.
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Nick Rains
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kshuler
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« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2008, 08:48:24 PM »
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Wow, so you have to choose between chromatic ab and bokeh! Great explanation, thanks. I always thought it was heat haze, although there may still be an element of this.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Actually, I believe spherical aberration and chromatic aberration are caused by different things.  Spherical aberration is fixed with aspheric lenses and chromatic aberration by adding anomalous dispersion lenses.  You can have perfectly corrected spherical aberration and still have chromatic aberration in your pics.

Klaus
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GerardK
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2008, 10:08:37 AM »
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That's a great article Klaus. Just read this thread and you website on bokeh, and out of curiosity shot some pics with my Canon EF 70-300 mm IS f4-5.6 (on a Canon 400D). Hadn't noticed the effect so far, look at the reeds in front of the cat. Do you think IS has anything to do with it?


Gerard Kingma
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kshuler
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2008, 04:17:37 PM »
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That's a great article Klaus. Just read this thread and you website on bokeh, and out of curiosity shot some pics with my Canon EF 70-300 mm IS f4-5.6 (on a Canon 400D). Hadn't noticed the effect so far, look at the reeds in front of the cat. Do you think IS has anything to do with it?
Gerard Kingma
www.kingma.nu

[attachment=6048:attachment]

[attachment=6049:attachment]
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Well, I can't completely say that IS has nothingt o do with it, but I doubt it.  THe artifact you have on that particular lens is in the foreground, and the background looks better to my eye, although it would be nice to have a deeper background with either a very bright spot or some reeds prominent in the background to say for sure.  I would THINK that if IS was the culprit, you would get the same effect on both sides of the cat.  If spherical aberration is the culprit, then you might have a real NICE blur to the background given that foreground blur.  How does it do on difficult backgrounds... smooth nice bokeh or harsh nisen bokeh?

If it IS related to IS, then it is an interesting phenomenon.  Back on the days before CT scans in medicine, sometimes to get a good image of a structure that doesn't show up well on x-ray (like a kidney), they would sometimes rotate the x-ray or patient around the axis of a kidney while taking the picture.  This meant the only thing minimally moving would be the kidney, which would be "in focus" and everything surrounding it would "blur" because it moved more.  I just can't remember exactly what the radiological technique was called.  ?tomogaphy?  This certainly could be going on with the lens as well, if you are moving, but the camera is keeping focus on the cat.  BUt you would expect the same both back and front.  The easy way to check if hat is undeed what happens is to place an object in the same location as the cat was, set up your cmera and lens in the same place, but on a tripod, turn IS off, and shoot again.  If you get the same pattern, it is because of your lens' bokeh characteristics, and if it is gone, then you know it is due to IS.

Just some thoughts.

Klaus
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[a href=\"http://www.bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html]http://www.bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html[/url]
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01af
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« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2008, 05:51:27 PM »
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For simple geometric reasons, an image stabilizer (no matter whether it's in-lens or in-body) can eliminate camera shake only at the plane of focus. For out-of-focus parts of the image, the same IS action that reduces shake at the plane of focus will amplify shake elsewhere. Out-of-focus areas are blurred anyway so adding some shake-induced blur will hardly hurt ... usually. But unfortunately, defocus-induced blur is not the same as shake-induced blur; the two kinds of blur have different "textures," so adding them can result in very odd-looking out-of-focus rendition, or bad bokeh. So an image stabilizer at work actually can affect bokeh (and not for the better). Long lenses seem to suffer from this effect more than shorter lenses.

Furthermore, due to residual spheric aberrations most lenses have their nicest bokeh not at full aperture but at, say, half or one f-stop down from the widest. This is particularly true for fast lenses.

So in order to reduce the unpleasant bokeh I'd suggest to switch off IS (use a tripod instead) and to stop the lens down by an f-stop. If a tripod is not an option then maybe reducing camera shake through faster shutter speed (higher ISO setting) or through a monopod can also help, to a degree at least, as it will reduce the stabilizer's workload. If that doesn't help then I'm afraid you'll have to switch to a different lens.

-- Olaf
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01af
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« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2008, 06:30:22 PM »
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For details, see my website which should explain this effect: [...][a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188527\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Klaus, very nice and enlightning explanation. Good work! Only one issue: At the end of that page, you seem to confuse perfect correction of spherical aberration with perfect bokeh. However these are two different concepts.

Perfectly corrected lenses usually will produce neutral circles of confusion, i. e. those with equal brightness across the whole area, and fairly sharp edges. However, neutral COCs will render an image with a bokeh that's only so-so ... not bad but not really nice either.

Lenses with slightly under-corrected spherical aberration will produce circles of confusion for background objects that are brighter at their centers and rolling off smoothly to their edges. COCs of that shape will render an image with perfect bokeh. However under-corrected lenses usually are not the best performers.

So perfect bokeh and perfect correction for aberrations are two different things. It's not impossible to design high-performance lenses which still have nice bokeh. But that requires the lens designer to take bokeh into consideration ... as if lens design wasn't complex enough already. So often, much effort goes into making the lens sharp and then the bokeh falls just where it may.

A lens maker who always makes their lenses not only sharp but also provides them with nice bokeh is Leica. Minolta also used to do this. A company that always corrected the hell out of their lens designs but hardly ever gave a damn for good bokeh was Nikon ... but they changed for the better recently.

-- Olaf
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kshuler
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2008, 09:02:17 PM »
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Klaus, very nice and enlightning explanation. Good work! Only one issue: At the end of that page, you seem to confuse perfect correction of spherical aberration with perfect bokeh. However these are two different concepts.

Perfectly corrected lenses usually will produce neutral circles of confusion, i. e. those with equal brightness across the whole area, and fairly sharp edges. However, neutral COCs will render an image with a bokeh that's only so-so ... not bad but not really nice either.

Lenses with slightly under-corrected spherical aberration will produce circles of confusion for background objects that are brighter at their centers and rolling off smoothly to their edges. COCs of that shape will render an image with perfect bokeh. However under-corrected lenses usually are not the best performers.

So perfect bokeh and perfect correction for aberrations are two different things. It's not impossible to design high-performance lenses which still have nice bokeh. But that requires the lens designer to take bokeh into consideration ... as if lens design wasn't complex enough already. So often, much effort goes into making the lens sharp and then the bokeh falls just where it may.

A lens maker who always makes their lenses not only sharp but also provides them with nice bokeh is Leica. Minolta also used to do this. A company that always corrected the hell out of their lens designs but hardly ever gave a damn for good bokeh was Nikon ... but they changed for the better recently.

-- Olaf
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Thanks Olaf-

I will reexamine the page you were referring to.  What you explain is exactly what I was trying to get across... "ideal" lenses with perfect spherical aberration, while nice and sharp and high contrast, have at best neutral bokeh.  I will see where the confusion lies-- most likely in the little image circles saying "ideal" lens, which I defined earlier in the page as not ideal for bokeh, but a lens without "flaws" like spherical aberration.  I would be a leica photographer if I could afford it, but now I am firmly in the minolta camp-- use a maxxum 7d.  Unfortunately, my sony lenses I own are NOT designed for bokeh.  The 70-200 ssm is a FANTASTIC lens, but not completely optimized for bokeh.  It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but is close to an "ideal lens."  I just ordered a Zeiss 24-70 SSM, but what I have seen about it is also not excellent bokeh.  Sharper than any other 24-70 out there, but not optimized for bokeh.  Some day I hope to investv in the sony 135 f/2.8 STF.  Now THERE is a bokeh machine!

As a side note, if IS has anything to do with the double line effect at all, then doesn't that make the Sony and Pentax sensor shift techhnology BETTER in this regard?  The same effect should NOT happen with sensor shift, I wouldn't think, unless there is severe distortion on the lens being used.

I would be thrilled if someone would try their IS lenses on a similar scene, the same pic with IS on, and then tripod mounted with IS OFF.  That would really settle things once and for all if this is due to properties of the lens optics, or properties of the IS system.

Klaus
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[a href=\"http://www.bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html]http://www.bokehtests.com/Site/About_Bokeh.html[/url]

PS:  I have edited the site ever so slightly to put quotes around the word "ideal" and explained again that all I mean is lack of spherical aberration, and fixed a sentence in the preceding paragraph.  Thanks for pointing out the confusion
« Last Edit: April 11, 2008, 09:15:27 PM by kshuler » Logged
01af
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2008, 10:47:58 AM »
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Some day I hope to invest in the Sony 135 mm f/2.8 STF.  Now THERE is a bokeh machine![a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188852\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That's right. The Minolta/Sony 135 mm STF is the lens with the world's best bokeh ever. It uses a built-in and cleverly designed apodization filter to force the circles of confusion into the shape that naturally leads to perfect bokeh. However it comes at a price: even though the geometric lens speed is 1:2.8, the effective speed is only 1:4.5 due to the transmission loss in the apodization filter. So the lens is f/2.8; T/4.5. And it is manual-focus only even though it's made for Minolta A mount/Sony Alpha mount.

The Nikon DC lenses ('De-focus Control') try another approach to optimize bokeh. They allow the user to adjust spherical aberration through the range from slight under-correction to slight over-correction. So depending on the setting, the DC lenses will get optimized either for background bokeh or for foreground bokeh---but not both, unlike the STF. Also unlike the STF, they don't suffer from transmission losses.


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As a side note, if IS has anything to do with the double line effect at all, then doesn't that make the Sony and Pentax sensor shift technology BETTER in this regard? The same effect should NOT happen with sensor shift ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188852\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
No. As I already said in my previous post, the problem is the same no matter whether the image stabilizier is built into the lens (moving lens elements) or into the body (moving sensor).

Update: I just fired a few frames, to test if the image stabilizer really affects bokeh to a perceptable degree. I used a Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D (APS-C format, 6 MP, in-body image stabilizer) and a 560 mm 1:6.3 lens (Minolta AF Apo 400 mm 1:4.5 G with 1.4× TC). The focus distance was approx. 35 m/100 ft; the background had many sharp edges and specular highlights (cars in a parking lot) and was approx. 100 - 120 m/330 - 400 ft away. I tried f/6.3 at 1/500 s and f/16 at 1/80 s. For the hand-held shots, I was wielding the camera up and down vigorously, to give the stabilizer a real work-out. Still nearly all shots are sharp, even those taken at 1/80 s. For the tripod shots, I switched the stabilizer off. Result: ummm. At first sight: no difference. At a closer look: the hand-held shots show a tendency for harsher bokeh and hints of double lines, and the tripod shots don't ... but that's at the borderline of perceptability; it takes a very close look to notice. So I guess it will take a few more tests to settle this issue, using different combinations of focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds, focus distances, and background distances.

-- Olaf
« Last Edit: April 12, 2008, 12:28:40 PM by 01af » Logged
kshuler
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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2008, 06:00:06 PM »
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That's right. The Minolta/Sony 135 mm STF is the lens with the world's best bokeh ever. It uses a built-in and cleverly designed apodization filter to force the circles of confusion into the shape that naturally leads to perfect bokeh. However it comes at a price: even though the geometric lens speed is 1:2.8, the effective speed is only 1:4.5 due to the transmission loss in the apodization filter. So the lens is f/2.8; T/4.5. And it is manual-focus only even though it's made for Minolta A mount/Sony Alpha mount.

The Nikon DC lenses ('De-focus Control') try another approach to optimize bokeh. They allow the user to adjust spherical aberration through the range from slight under-correction to slight over-correction. So depending on the setting, the DC lenses will get optimized either for background bokeh or for foreground bokeh---but not both, unlike the STF. Also unlike the STF, they don't suffer from transmission losses.
No. As I already said in my previous post, the problem is the same no matter whether the image stabilizier is built into the lens (moving lens elements) or into the body (moving sensor).

Update: I just fired a few frames, to test if the image stabilizer really affects bokeh to a perceptable degree. I used a Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D (APS-C format, 6 MP, in-body image stabilizer) and a 560 mm 1:6.3 lens (Minolta AF Apo 400 mm 1:4.5 G with 1.4× TC). The focus distance was approx. 35 m/100 ft; the background had many sharp edges and specular highlights (cars in a parking lot) and was approx. 100 - 120 m/330 - 400 ft away. I tried f/6.3 at 1/500 s and f/16 at 1/80 s. For the hand-held shots, I was wielding the camera up and down vigorously, to give the stabilizer a real work-out. Still nearly all shots are sharp, even those taken at 1/80 s. For the tripod shots, I switched the stabilizer off. Result: ummm. At first sight: no difference. At a closer look: the hand-held shots show a tendency for harsher bokeh and hints of double lines, and the tripod shots don't ... but that's at the borderline of perceptability; it takes a very close look to notice. So I guess it will take a few more tests to settle this issue, using different combinations of focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds, focus distances, and background distances.

-- Olaf
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well, first off, I am exceedingly jealous of your lens collection.  Would LOVE to have a huge lens like that!  Second, it is good to know that even on such a massive lens, the image stabilization on a Maxxum 7d is so effective... less effective than VR or IS?  Don't know, nor have I seen a very convincing TEST to show this.  That is, a test that is relatively well controlled and done by someone who does not start out with the answer they are trying to find.  

I have thought through the IS/VR and in body image stabilization, and after thinking about it a bit, yes, it should happen with both systems about equally (I may make some photoshop diagrams to illustrate this point).  Never thought about it, but the double lining seems, at least in theory, to be able to be caused by an IS/SSS system itself, on top of that produced by spherical aberration.  The being the case, maybe I should use that tripod more often than I do!

Thanks for setting me straight.

Klaus
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Update:  I have added the beginnings of a discussion of this Image stabilization bokeh effect on my website.  Will add more in a few days when I get a chance.
http://bokehtests.com/Site/Stabilization_and_Bokeh.html
« Last Edit: April 15, 2008, 07:26:34 AM by kshuler » Logged
Mikael
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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2008, 07:23:30 AM »
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Hello
I did contact Nikon support if they know about this kind of effect (using their super tele VR lenses). They replied (very fast !!) that VR in generally has nothing to do with this effect, if the right VR mode is set. They further said that the effect may be caused by the specific lens characteristic (combination of different glasses and materials, polish characteristics) and can happen with "oversharp" lenses (whatever that means...)
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01af
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« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2008, 05:07:04 PM »
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I did contact Nikon support if they know about this kind of effect (using their super tele VR lenses). They replied (very fast !!) ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196081\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Obviously they didn't fully understand the question.

-- Olaf
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Mikael
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« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2008, 05:01:33 AM »
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Obviously they didn't fully understand the question.

-- Olaf
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I think they did, the question was very clear. So just for you Olaf the question in original German as sent to Nikon :-)

Frage:
als Natur- und Tierfotograf interessiere ich mich vor allem für lichtstarke Telebrennweiten und hier besonders für die Nikon Optiken mit VR Technik (AF-S VR NIKKOR 600 mm 1:4G ED und AF-S VR NIKKOR 600 mm 1:4G ED).
In dem bekannten Web-Forum von Luminous Landscape habe ich nun einen Thread gelesen, dass die Bildstabiliserung einen schlechten Effekt auf die Abbildungscharakteristik haben kann, der teilwiese so ausgeprägt ist, dass der Hintergrund ein extrem schlechtes Bokeh aufweist. Im Forum geht es allerdings um Canon Objektive mit IS Technik. Da nun Nikon genau wie Canon bewegliche Linsen verwendet, frage ich mich, ob bei Nikon auch so ein Effekt zu befürchten wäre. bzw. ist er Ihnen überhaupt bekannt oder können Sie sagen, dass der im folgenden Thread diskutierte Effekt überhaupt nichts mit der Bildstabiliserung zu tun hat:
Link auf diesen Thread:


Answer:
Bei richtiger Nutzung des VRs des Objektives (Stellung Tripod für Fotografie mit Stativ) sollte keine Verdopplung der Hintergrundstruktur auftreten. Der genannte Effekt tritt auch bei Objektiven mit überscharfer Abbildungsqualität auf, auch bei Objektiven ohne VR und ist unter Anderem abhängig von den verwendeten Gläsern, Schliffen und Kombinationen..
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01af
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« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2008, 12:59:01 PM »
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Bei richtiger Nutzung des VRs des Objektives (Stellung Tripod für Fotografie mit Stativ) ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196518\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Obviously, they did not understand the question at all. They have no idea what you're talking about. They think you're talking about shake-induced blur and whether the stabilizer itself can create (rather than defeat) blur. They also refer to over-corrected spherical aberrations which is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Und noch einmal auf deutsch: Sie haben deine Frage ganz offensichtlich überhaupt nicht verstanden. Sie wissen gar nicht, wovon du sprichst. Sie glauben, es ginge um Verwacklungen und ob der Bildstabilisator selber welche verursachen könne. Außerdem beziehen sie sich auf überkorrigierte sphärische Aberrationen, was eine ganz andere Baustelle ist.

-- Olaf
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Mikael
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« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2008, 04:18:57 PM »
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Obviously, they did not understand the question at all. They have no idea what you're talking about. They think you're talking about shake-induced blur and whether the stabilizer itself can create (rather than defeat) blur. They also refer to over-corrected spherical aberrations which is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Und noch einmal auf deutsch: Sie haben deine Frage ganz offensichtlich überhaupt nicht verstanden. Sie wissen gar nicht, wovon du sprichst. Sie glauben, es ginge um Verwacklungen und ob der Bildstabilisator selber welche verursachen könne. Außerdem beziehen sie sich auf überkorrigierte sphärische Aberrationen, was eine ganz andere Baustelle ist.

-- Olaf
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196610\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Yes you are right. Indeed Nikon (you have to be a registerd Nikon user to send emails to their tech support)  replied very fast (within one hour) so I do not think they took the time and followed this entire thread. Furhtermore they mixed the terms "tripod mode" from the D3/D300 Live View AF mode and the option for panning with VR lenses (only vertical blur correction). But as long as nobody has reproduced this bokeh effect (Stabilizer On/Off) it is not clear if IS/VR/AS can have such an effect as shown on some of the sample pictures here (especially the deer photo)
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