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Author Topic: lense dilemma sharpness  (Read 9102 times)
shybuck
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« on: August 07, 2009, 02:36:32 PM »
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I am going to the four corners area this Sept, slot canyons, chaco canyon and some ruins. I hope to take some good shots and panos that are tack sharp as I want to print large up to 24" wide. I only have a D80 and a 18-200mm lens. I was hoping for suggestions for a good quality lens for this trip as these pics are very important to me. Am I able to get what I want with this camera now?

Now, here is the dilemma. I hope to upgrade some time to a full size sensor, possibly a MarkII or a D700. Of course all my DX lenses are of no
use with these cameras and most likely I would sell the D80 along with the lenses.

Any suggestions would help me. Right now I'm spinning around on this.  Thanks in advance  




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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 02:43:02 PM »
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I think bythom.com is your best lens resource for your camera.  I'm pretty sure the 18-200 is not the lens you want for tack sharp photos, however.
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shybuck
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 02:49:25 PM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
I think bythom.com is your best lens resource for your camera.  I'm pretty sure the 18-200 is not the lens you want for tack sharp photos, however.


yes I agree, this is why I'm asking for suggestions for a specific lens. Would you have any?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 04:41:51 PM »
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Other than to see what Thom has to say at his site?  Only to wait for Bernard to show up and see if he has any suggestions.
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 05:37:00 PM »
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slrgear.com provides graphs for sharpness.

Sigma 70mm F2.8 is exceptionally sharp. I use it on D700.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 05:52:09 PM »
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When you say you want to print 24" wide, do you mean you want to print 16x24", or 24x36"? 12mp isn't going to cut it for 24x36" prints IMHO, not if you really care about fine details and print quality. I would plan on stitching if such large prints are your goal. 12mp can do pretty nice 16x24" prints if you use good glass and technique.

As for which lens, there are lots of excellent choices depending on what focal length you want to shoot most, what your budget is, whether you're willing to use manual focus primes.  For sheer optical quality I'd say some of the best lenses would include:

Nikkor 14-24
Nikkor 24-70 (great from 30-60mm, still quite good outside of that range)
Any of the Nikkor PC-E lenses
Nikkor 60mm AF-S macro
Nikkor 105mm AF-S VR macro
Zeiss 35mm f/2
Zeiss 100mm f/2
Sigma 150mm Macro

among others.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 05:53:04 PM »
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I used to do a lot of panos with the cheap 35mm f2.0 when I was on DX, if it very sharp stopped down to around f8-f11. The Zeiss is said to be better, but the difference seems to be pretty minor at small apertures.

if you want longer the new 50 mm f1.4 might be a good choise too, although I have never tried it for panos. I use to shoot panos with the 60 mm AF-S macro, but it is a bit too long for DX, and my sample does suffer from significant light fall off that can pose problems with skies, even when the lens is stopped down to f11.

My view is that a Sigma 70m will be too long for panos on the D80 if you are a pano beginner.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 05:56:05 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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jasonrandolph
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 07:29:57 PM »
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There have already been some good suggestions given.  I use the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 on my D300 regularly, and I'm quite happy with the sharpness.  The other really sharp but inexpensive lens I use is the 50mm f/1.8.  I think that one goes for about $130 these days.  The good thing is that it's an FX lens, so if you go for a D700, you've already got a lens for it.  The Tokina cost me about $600, but I think it's a great investment.  I too intend to go full-frame later this year, so I'll have to kiss that one goodbye soon.
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01af
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 03:38:36 AM »
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Quote from: shybuck
I hope to take some good shots and panos that are tack sharp as I want to print large up to 24" wide. I only have a D80 and a 18-200 mm lens. I was hoping for suggestions for a good quality lens for this trip as these pics are very important to me. Am I able to get what I want with this camera now?
So you're going to take landscape shots, right? Then bringing home extremely sharp images is no problem, even with your less-than-perfect gear. Just bring along a tripod (good idea anyway, even with the finest gear). Set your lens to a medium focal length, such as 35 mm, 50 mm, or 100 mm, at apertures between f/8 and f/16. Avoid the extreme settings (18 mm  and 200 mm) and full aperture. Set your camera to manual-exposure mode. Shoot all your subjects as multi-row panos. This way you'll get huge images with hundreds of megapixels each which will contain more detail than shots taken with a medium-format 30+ MP digital back.

-- Olaf
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 03:52:56 AM »
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Hi,

I second this. I have some info on my homepage on the issue which you may find helpful:

http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoa...a-and-stitching

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: 01af
So you're going to take landscape shots, right? Then bringing home extremely sharp images is no problem, even with your less-than-perfect gear. Just bring along a tripod (good idea anyway, even with the finest gear). Set your lens to a medium focal length, such as 35 mm, 50 mm, or 100 mm, at apertures between f/8 and f/16. Avoid the extreme settings (18 mm  and 200 mm) and full aperture. Set your camera to manual-exposure mode. Shoot all your subjects as multi-row panos. This way you'll get huge images with hundreds of megapixels each which will contain more detail than shots taken with a medium-format 30+ MP digital back.

-- Olaf
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MarkL
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2009, 05:56:15 AM »
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It all depends on how many frames you plan to stitching. Stitching with my D700, 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.4 are my most used lenses.
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shybuck
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2009, 11:11:33 AM »
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Quote from: MarkL
It all depends on how many frames you plan to stitching. Stitching with my D700, 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.4 are my most used lenses.


OK, it's the next day and I am so overwhelmed by so many good suggestions and references. I will take into account the lenses suggested. I do plan on stitching together HDR panos. Also I plan on shooting slot canyons and closeups of petroglyphs. I will shoot at iso 100 at a f22 or 32. The suggestion to keep in the range of 50mm to 100mm is something I will do, but why only f16?

I have print capabilities of 24" to whatever, so yes the answer is I want to be able to have tack sharp huge images in these sizes if wanted. I hope to get together a portfolio for review. I have a fine art painting background and I want to enter the fine art pro field. So should I invest in a full frame sensor before this trip?

So any comments on this are appreciated.

I'm reading much on the Mark II vs the D700. In favor of the Mark II are the 21 MP also feels good in my hands. In favor of the D700 is the 5fps for action. But no bracketing button???

Any more opinions on the two are also appreciated. Wow, what a resource this is. Thank you!
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2009, 11:47:08 AM »
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Hi,

There is something called diffraction, it's physics. Anyway if you stop down to far you start loosing sharpness. For that reason good lenses are sharpest at f/5.6 or f/8. Regarding full frame or not I have no solid advise. Takes some exprience and work to utilize full frame.

I'm not really sure about the HDR thing, never worked for me. I do a lot of stitching.

Here is one of mine panos:

http://83.177.178.241/ekr/multimedia/TPOI_Godafoss_720p.mov (HD720 p)

or

http://83.177.178.241/ekr/multimedia/TPOI_Godafoss.mov (HD 1080p)

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: shybuck
OK, it's the next day and I am so overwhelmed by so many good suggestions and references. I will take into account the lenses suggested. I do plan on stitching together HDR panos. Also I plan on shooting slot canyons and closeups of petroglyphs. I will shoot at iso 100 at a f22 or 32. The suggestion to keep in the range of 50mm to 100mm is something I will do, but why only f16?

I have print capabilities of 24" to whatever, so yes the answer is I want to be able to have tack sharp huge images in these sizes if wanted. I hope to get together a portfolio for review. I have a fine art painting background and I want to enter the fine art pro field. So should I invest in a full frame sensor before this trip?

So any comments on this are appreciated.

I'm reading much on the Mark II vs the D700. In favor of the Mark II are the 21 MP also feels good in my hands. In favor of the D700 is the 5fps for action. But no bracketing button???

Any more opinions on the two are also appreciated. Wow, what a resource this is. Thank you!
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shybuck
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2009, 12:39:35 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

There is something called diffraction, it's physics. Anyway if you stop down to far you start loosing sharpness. For that reason good lenses are sharpest at f/5.6 or f/8. Regarding full frame or not I have no solid advise. Takes some exprience and work to utilize full frame.

I'm not really sure about the HDR thing, never worked for me. I do a lot of stitching.

Here is one of mine panos:

http://83.177.178.241/ekr/multimedia/TPOI_Godafoss_720p.mov (HD720 p)

or

http://83.177.178.241/ekr/multimedia/TPOI_Godafoss.mov (HD 1080p)

Best regards
Erik


wonderful shots Erik, thanks for the diffraction info. I guess this varies on each lens, so I will do some testing.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2009, 01:00:27 PM »
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Quote from: shybuck
wonderful shots Erik, thanks for the diffraction info. I guess this varies on each lens, so I will do some testing.
I'll save you some time and effort: Diffraction is not lens dependent ... http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials...photography.htm
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shybuck
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« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2009, 01:52:22 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I'll save you some time and effort: Diffraction is not lens dependent ... http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials...photography.htm


another wonderful reference site, thanks for sharing this with me.
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elf
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« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2009, 10:59:45 PM »
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You don't need to go to spectacular scenic places to determine if you can print tack sharp images 24" wide.  I'd recommend renting a lens you're interested in and going to a local park and shoot panos.  Even if you don't rent a lens, I'd recommend shooting lots of practice images close to home so you understand what you and your camera are capable of doing.  

Choose the focal length of the lens for the amount of detail you want in the image. Personally, for landscapes I think anything wider than 60 mm doesn't have enough detail.  On the other hand, using a 60mm or longer lens and trying to capture a 360 degree sunset you won't be able to complete the image before the light has changed dramatically.


p.s. There's lots of other things besides landscapes to shoot panos of: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etf.../P7309376Fb.jpg
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shybuck
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2009, 07:49:59 PM »
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Quote from: elf
You don't need to go to spectacular scenic places to determine if you can print tack sharp images 24" wide.  I'd recommend renting a lens you're interested in and going to a local park and shoot panos.  Even if you don't rent a lens, I'd recommend shooting lots of practice images close to home so you understand what you and your camera are capable of doing.  

Choose the focal length of the lens for the amount of detail you want in the image. Personally, for landscapes I think anything wider than 60 mm doesn't have enough detail.  On the other hand, using a 60mm or longer lens and trying to capture a 360 degree sunset you won't be able to complete the image before the light has changed dramatically.


p.s. There's lots of other things besides landscapes to shoot panos of: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etf.../P7309376Fb.jpg


thanks Elf, for sharing your thoughts on my lens spin. I have shot panos thou not 360's, and I'm just not happy with the focus, so I'm thinking of a prime. But I'm beginning to think nothing  will satisfy like a full size sensor. I'm seriously leaning towards  buying the 5D Mark II, simply for the 21 pixels on that full sensor. Now, do I go with the kit lens which is the 24-105 f4, or look to something else that will shoot panos and walking around shots.
There's always something to sweat about.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2009, 08:20:36 PM »
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I'm not sure full frame sensors and/or 'sharp' lenses are the answer ...

You should be able to get really sharp, nice images with a D80 and the 18-200mm lens.  If you can't, a new sensor and prime aren't gonna solve the problem.

Shooting for stitching takes practice and good technique ... Good technique, a good tripod, mirror lock up and maybe even a pano-head will help far more a full frame sensor and new lens, IMHO.

Maybe you could post an example of an image you aren't satisfied with?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2009, 10:35:56 PM »
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Quote from: elf
p.s. There's lots of other things besides landscapes to shoot panos of:

Indeed.



Cheers,
Bernard
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