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Author Topic: Best glass for D800?  (Read 31350 times)
JimGilley
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« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2012, 01:06:46 PM »
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Call me a contrarian, but I don't buy all this "nothing but the most expensive glass will do on the D800 advice". I suppose it all depends on what you shoot. Having been a Canon boy for the past 12 years (and a Nikon boy for 20 years prior to that), I ditched all my Nikon glass long ago, but I still recalled a few favorites.

Thus far, on my D800, I have shot the 55/2.8 micro AIS, 35/2 AIS, 105/2.8 micro AIS, and ZF.2 35/2. All perform really well when shot at f8, which is where I do nearly all of my shooting. The 55/2.8 is just as amazing on the D800 as it is on the 5D2 (it is my standard 50mm-class lens on my Canon bodies) as it was back on my F3 in the film days. I admit to not having tried the ZF.2 50/2, but at its price, I'm not sure I want to. Is it really THAT much better than the old 55/2.8? I have my doubts.

The most interesting comparison I've made is the ancient 35/2 AIS versus the Zeiss 35/2. If you shoot wide apertures, you'll definitely want the Zeiss, but if you shoot at f8, and can crop the corners out, the AIS is just fine at about one-sixth the price. I saw no difference whatsoever in the center, or even at the center edges. Only in the corners did the Zeiss earn its keep. And honestly, the CA was nothing to crow about on the Zeiss either. It wasn't horrible, but I was expecting better.

The old 105/2.8 micro AIS is a fine performer too. It would be fun to do some comparison shots with the ZF.2 100/2, but I don't have that kind of money to blow on such things. And the Coastal Optics lens? I guess if you're a millionaire. At ten times the price of the Nikon equivalent, is it really ten times better? Not for my applications.

Don't take my comments the wrong way, I'm not trying to insult anyone. I just think there is a lot of unfounded fear of resolution out there. As Michael said, beware of the moire boogeyman. I say beware of the "only the pricey lenses will work on the D800" boogeyman.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2012, 06:52:04 PM »
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Yeah, the 14-24 was a bit of a surprise but I guess for a wide zoom, its not bad. I'm looking forward to the 28 1.8. Exactly what I need.

The thing is, is there any other lens as wide - prime or zoom - that performs just as well? Does stopping down to f/7.1 help? In any case, the corners still look better than the Canon 16-35L II on the 5D2...

Also, it looks like this was before CA correction in DXOptics or another program - I wonder how it looks after correction?
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billy
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« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2012, 03:42:39 PM »
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how about the best Nikon 50mm prime with Autofocus? Any suggestions?
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Michael Erlewine
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« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2012, 02:50:41 AM »
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I have the Coastal Optics 60mm and have used it for close-up work. Here are some notes of mine that may be useful. I am the close-up/macro mentor on Nikongear.com.

Aside from being very expensive ($4500), the CO-60 APO lens is somewhat of a specialized lens. It is designed for use not only in the visual spectrum but also in the infrared and ultra-violet spectrums on either side of the visual  spectrum. It was designed for forensic and scientific use. If you were looking for a copy-camera lens in a studio, this would be just about perfect. Lens expert Lloyd Chambers states that the CO-60mm is “a reference lens for other lenses… On a scale of 1 to 5, it is a 5+.”  

It does have its problems, foremost among them is the fact that this lens has a prominent hotspot at smaller apertures around magnifications of 1:3. For distances longer than this, there is no problem. However, as a macro photographer the 1:3 range means I have run into these hotspots many times and they do ruin a photo. Not sure what the thinking is on why such an expensive and perfect lens should have such a glaring fault. Perhaps it is that we should be grateful to have this fantastic lens, warts and all. A workaround is to use the very smallest extension ring to help bypass the hotspot range. Another trick is to use a high-megapixel camera like the Nikon D3x and avoid the hotspot range and then crop out what you are trying to capture, given the extra pixels. I have done both successfully.

Aside from the hotspot I have other issues with this lens, in particular the very short focus throw of around 210º degrees. Compared to 630º on the CV-125, 210º is difficult especially since a focal length of 60mm is wide enough that even the smallest change in the focusing barrel produces a noticeable change. This makes it hard to focus stack with the CO-60mm. Macro lenses benefit from having long focus throws, more so the wider they get.

The other issue that I have encountered, although no one else seems to worry about this, is that when shooting in mixed light such in the shadows of a forest canopy where a shaft of sunlight is cutting through the shade, the CO-60mm appears to be more sensitive to light dynamics. The result is the need to use diffusers carefully to filter the brighter light areas.

That being said, this is a wonderful lens indeed. It comes with no hood, but really needs one. I use the rubber hood, Nikon HR-2 on my copy.

Since I stack photos a lot, I do not use this lens except on a focus rail due to its short focus throw. Also f/4 is just too dark in the viewfinder for dimly-lit subjects. In actual practice, I don't use this lens as much as I imagined I might, preferring the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO Lanthar, the Leica 100mm f/2.8 Elmarit R. Also the newer Nikon 60mm f/2.8G lens is on par with the Zeiss 50mm Makro-Planar, both of which I use. Here are some specs:

Lens: Coastal Optics 60mm f/4.0 APO Macro
Focal Length: 60mm
Widest Aperture: f/4
Narrowest Aperture: 45
Aperture Blades: 7
Filter Size: 52mm
Hood: Does not include a hood. Use Nikon HR-2
Close Focus Distance: 10.4 inches (26 centimeters)
Reproduction Ratio: 1:1.5 (2/3rds original size)
Focus Throw: 210º
Weight: 19 ounces (535 grams)
Pros: Wickedly sharp, short focus distance.
Cons: Slow lens, only 7 blades, short focus throw, does not go to 1:1, hot spot at 1:3.

For notes on some 42 lenses that relate to close-up or macro photography, here is a free e-book (second book listed) at:

http://macrostop.com/

Many of these will probably do well on the D800E, which I have on order.






« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 02:56:12 AM by Michael Erlewine » Logged

Michael Erlewine
Founder: MacroStop.com, AMG - All-Movie Guide, All-Music Guide, All-Game Guide, Matrix Software, Classic Posters, ClassicPosters.com, SpiritGrooves.net, and other sites.
MichaelEzra
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« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2012, 07:38:29 AM »
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how about the best Nikon 50mm prime with Autofocus? Any suggestions?

See this post: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=63931.msg514616#msg514616
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2012, 07:49:01 AM »
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The thing is, is there any other lens as wide - prime or zoom - that performs just as well? Does stopping down to f/7.1 help? In any case, the corners still look better than the Canon 16-35L II on the 5D2...


The Zeiss 21 f2.8. The occasional moustache distortion is well-corrected in the lens profiles in ACR.
Also Nikon has filed for patents for an 18 1.8 and 20 1.8 according to Nikonrumors, a site which has proved very reliable.
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Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2012, 05:36:00 PM »
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Nikon did not put any 50 mm lens on their preferred list for D800, which is surprising. I checked a number of lens tests on Photozone. I am considering a D 800e kit to include several VERY inexpensive Nikon primes. I am most interested in f 5.6 to f11 for my seascape work. at those apertures the 50mm f 1.8 ($120), and 85 mm f1.8 ($425) should be a no brainier. Their resolution figures generally meet or beat very expensive zoom at 1/3the price, giving up flexibility of course. I pre- ordered the D800e, and purchased the 14-24 for interior architectural work I often do, and the Zeiss 18 mm (has a filter thread--important to me)  for seascapes. adding the cheap 50 and 85 would round out a modest system.
Dave.
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stevesanacore
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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2012, 09:41:07 AM »
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Two comments:
- there are also real gems in the Nikon line up, like the 24mm f1.4 AF-S, 85mm f1.4 AF-S,... in fact most of their lenses released these past 5 years are brilliant designs,
- the 24mm PCE is functionaly a bit dated compared to the current Canon, but is optically excellent (not merely very good).

Cheers,
Bernard


Well I have not used anything yet that compares with my Leica R's on my Canon. That includes any of my brand new 15 Canon lenses, other than the new 17 and 24 shifts. All my old Nikon lenses were also dogs in comparison. The only alternative is possibly the new Zeiss lenses but as has been said it seems that every lens is it's own story. In any particular focal length, any brand may be the best choice for one specific need.

I think it's very personal choice taking into consideration how and what we shoot. When I'm working with models on a lifestyle shoot, then I need quick AF and usually only the center of the image is most important. Most of the new top Canon and Nikon lenses are fine for that. But when I'm shooting landscapes with or without people - then I use my Leica's - nothing comes close to the reliable quality from corner to corner other than a MF Tech camera setup.

It's too bad Leica doesn't do what Zeiss does and build optics in Canon and Leica mount. They did start making PL mount lenses but the prices are astronomical for still shooters.

So adapting my Leica's to Nikon mount is important to me. Any advice is welcome, thanks.



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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2012, 03:35:47 PM »
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So adapting my Leica's to Nikon mount is important to me. Any advice is welcome, thanks.



I just received my D800E so I only have limited experience but so far I'm impressed with the Leica R's on the Nikon (Leitax adapters). The Nikon adapter is a bit different than the Canon adapter. The Canon fits over the Leica mount so it is easy and quick to convert. The Leica mount needs to be removed for the Nikon adapter to fit. the primes can be done yourself the zooms need to be sent back to Leitax for the conversion. So far The Nikon/Leica is sharper than my IQ180/Rodenstocks!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2012, 04:10:16 PM »
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Marc: I preordered a D800E. I have two beautiful R lenses sitting on the shelf. The 50mm f2 Summicron, and 35mm f2.8 Elmarit. Both are earlier 2 cam models. Are your R lenses newer or older? I am considering the DIY conversion kit.
Thanks in advance
Dave
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2012, 06:05:05 PM »
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Dave
Most of mine are newer rom versions but yours are easily converted at home amazing on a 800E
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2012, 08:37:26 AM »
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No mention as yet of the Zeiss Hartblei lineup.

http://www.hartblei.de/en/tech1.htm
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2012, 11:41:56 AM »
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Indeed, the Leica 180 f2.8 is highly usable.
Anybody know how the non-APO version compares? I'm not expecting it to match the APO, but how good is it stopped down compared to other options? I'm pretty limited in the tele- range right now.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2012, 06:20:00 PM »
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Anybody know how the non-APO version compares? I'm not expecting it to match the APO, but how good is it stopped down compared to other options? I'm pretty limited in the tele- range right now.
I just converted a 180 3.4R, I don't have a 180 2.8R for comparison but it is quite sharp, nipping at the heals of the 280 4.0R
as a general comment the leica R's are so sharp that the lens is not limiting, liveview focusing technique and atmospheric conditions more than out weigh the nuance differences between the Leica R's. I've been shooting between F5.6 and F8 and occasionally f16, 5.6 to 8 razor sharp f16 more than acceptable. I also have a 80mm 1.4 for the Bokeh which is not as sharp as the other leica R's but the Bokeh is exceptional great for flowers, portraits etc. Very, very happy I decided to go with Leica R's for my D800E plus I can use them on my 5DmkIV in 3 years Smiley
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #54 on: July 19, 2012, 10:50:20 AM »
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... Very, very happy I decided to go with Leica R's for my D800E plus I can use them on my 5DmkIV in 3 years Smiley....
Marc

So you are not buying the D900E ? Smiley
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Pieter Kers
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #55 on: July 20, 2012, 03:04:40 AM »
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So you are not buying the D900E ? Smiley

Who ever has the best sensor in 3 years! Smiley
By investing in the Leica R's and converting them to Nikon mounts I have manufacturer proofed myself
With an adapter you can mount a nikkor on just about any camera, however the opposite is not true
Marc
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 03:11:06 AM by marcmccalmont » Logged

Marc McCalmont
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