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Author Topic: D800 and E... poor for landscape use?  (Read 18639 times)
free1000
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« on: June 27, 2012, 04:24:55 PM »
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I've just bought a D800E and it seems to be a very interesting and exciting camera.  I'm still trying to figure out what lenses I'll get and how it fits in with my other cameras. Will it obsolete the Aptus 75 on Mamiya AFD?  I have lots of questions and testing to do.

I bought a description to the lens reviews on Digilloyd as part of my research on lenses, there are quite a few tests with the D800 and a few with the D800E.

The conclusion other people I'm talking to, and that I'm coming to is that the fine pixel density of the sensor compromises the usefulness of this camera.

Diffraction limits seem to hit really early with many lenses, with apertures as low as f6.3 in many cases.  Few lenses appear to perform best at an aperture as small as f8, and almost everything is soft at f11.

So the D800 looks like its going to be great where low DOF is needed. With very wide lenses, maybe these wide apertures mean the camera is going to be OK, but for normal and longer lenses, shooting subjects where depth of focus is needed looks like its going to be rather hamstrung.  A lens like the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor maxes resolution at f4.5 or f5.6.  (DPReview samples).  These things are not great for a landscape image where one wants the foreground in focus while retaining distant detail. 

I can see that a wide angle lens could help, but I prefer compositions that use more normal to short tele focal lengths.

I'll reserve judgement until I have a bit more experience, but it seems rather ironic that a camera that at first seems tailor made for use in landscape photography is irrevocably limited by diffraction softening.  Nevertheless I'm sure I can fit this camera into my stable and find a number of good uses for it,  it just doesn't seem to quite be the revolution I just thought it was initially.

How are landscape photographers who like shooting with anything other than a wide-angle going to deal with this?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 05:05:59 PM »
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You may want to do a search on D800 diffraction to find the many threads devoted to this very topic.

In short, there is no problem.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 05:17:14 PM »
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One of the possibilities for increasing depth of field is tilt.

The 45 mm and 85mm PCE are very good lenses for this purpose,  btw also for simply making a quick and easy 70 megapixel stitched image.

What is see is above d8 diffraction starts playing a role.

cheers PK
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 05:17:27 PM »
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Essentially, your reasoning is flawed. Diffraction at an absolute reference to pixel pitch is not a useful marker. Diffraction limit is actually based on format size, not resolving power, just like CoCs. Evaluating at a 100% monitor view is deceptive as it does not represent an actually viewing distance. And it is how the image is perceived is much more important than is individual pixels appear a little soft, especially in comparison to another image which the viewer will never see.

Your diffraction limit is the same as any 35mm format camera. Use f/16 and enjoy your camera.
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free1000
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 05:24:21 PM »
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Essentially, your reasoning is flawed. Diffraction at an absolute reference to pixel pitch is not a useful marker. Diffraction limit is actually based on format size, not resolving power, just like CoCs. Evaluating at a 100% monitor view is deceptive as it does not represent an actually viewing distance. And it is how the image is perceived is much more important than is individual pixels appear a little soft, especially in comparison to another image which the viewer will never see.

Your diffraction limit is the same as any 35mm format camera. Use f/16 and enjoy your camera.


If I make a print from a file I shoot at f16 that has less resolved detail at 40"x 30"  and look at it and compare it with a print made from a file at f5.6 that has more resolved detail, then at an equivalent viewing distance the f5.6 file will look more detailed.
 
This is what matters to me, not looking at a monitor.  However, looking at the monitor tells me something about the relative appearance of my future prints.



 
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free1000
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 05:25:28 PM »
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You may want to do a search on D800 diffraction to find the many threads devoted to this very topic.

In short, there is no problem.

Cheers,
Bernard


I obviously did not look hard enough. I didn't see a convincing argument. Is there one thread in particular that justifies your statement that there is no problem?

If I do a search for 'D800 diffraction' I only get two postings in the search results, mine and your response to it.



« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 05:30:07 PM by free1000 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 05:28:36 PM »
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One of the possibilities for increasing depth of field is tilt.

The 45 mm and 85mm PCE are very good lenses for this purpose,  btw also for simply making a quick and easy 70 megapixel stitched image.

What is see is above d8 diffraction starts playing a role.

cheers PK

Thanks, this is definitely an option at these focal lengths, I'll maybe see if I can find somewhere that rents them and test them. I've kind of fixated on the fact that I've never found much use for longer length PC lenses in my other life which is focused on wide angle views.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 05:38:17 PM »
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If I make a print from a file I shoot at f16 that has less resolved detail at 40"x 30"  and look at it and compare it with a print made from a file at f5.6 that has more resolved detail, then at an equivalent viewing distance the f5.6 file will look more detailed.
 
This is what matters to me, not looking at a monitor.  However, looking at the monitor tells me something about the relative appearance of my future prints.



 

Does the f/16 shot printed at 30x40 look sharp and detailed? That is it. The comparison is irrelevant. But I bet the area in front and behind the object will look sharper in the f/16 print.

BTW, did you actually make these prints? And what is your viewing distance to these 30x40 prints? I routinely print that size and larger. 30x40 is not big and you can easily get sharp prints, not that print size is really a factor here.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 05:46:52 PM by theguywitha645d » Logged
Brad Barr
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 06:00:41 PM »
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why not just wait till you have the camera, and make your own judgments from real pix.....

all this hand wringing seems a bit premature.  Everyone I've talked with simply gushes about the camera and its resulting images.
Just sayin....
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2012, 06:03:25 PM »
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Does the f/16 shot printed at 30x40 look sharp and detailed? That is it. The comparison is irrelevant. But I bet the area in front and behind the object will look sharper in the f/16 print.

BTW, did you actually make these prints? And what is your viewing distance to these 30x40 prints? I routinely print that size and larger. 30x40 is not big and you can easily get sharp prints, not that print size is really a factor here.

Not yet, but I will go bigger than that to satisfy my curiosity. I fixed on 50"x40" for the Aptus 75 as a size where I could enjoy the experience of getting closer to the print  to reveal more detail, yet be large enough to look good in a gallery.  

I base viewing distance on a rule of thumb that I should stand at least as far as the diagonal of the print. The bigger the print the further away.  It is nice to approach a print and see more detail revealed,  not all of us have as young eyes as we'd like.
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free1000
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 06:09:18 PM »
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why not just wait till you have the camera, and make your own judgments from real pix.....

all this hand wringing seems a bit premature.  Everyone I've talked with simply gushes about the camera and its resulting images.
Just sayin....

I have the camera already, my initial feelings are very positive.  For some uses its going to be great. I'm just trying to establish which kind of job this tool is best for.  I'll also have my Canon kit for my architectural commissions,  my technical camera with Aptus 75 for personal architectural work. What I'm wondering is if I can 'bin' the Mamiya gear. I've been pretty unhappy with it for some time, particularly as I've found it really hard to shoot one particular landscape project using it, because I'm shooting long and I don't much like the longer Mamiya lenses and ease of shooting.
 
I'm think this limitation might cause a problem, and I don't particularly want to waste money on expensive lenses just to shoot that project if I won't get the result I want.

I can't test easily, because the subject matter is 600 miles and a 12 hour drive away.  

I know people sometimes get very emotional about cameras, but they are just tools to me, and I'd like to know how to use them as best I can. 

(Darn I lied,  my Ebony view camera is not just a tool to me, I like to smell the leather and caress the titanium... I should have said, 'digital cameras are just tools to me' because I can't love something that I'm going to have to depreciate over 2-3 years. I have also had a brief 'fling' with a number of SX-70's).


« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 06:14:57 PM by free1000 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 07:09:10 PM »
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The essential point here is that the resolution of all cameras is usually limited by both the sensor resolution and the lens resolution, or in the days of film, both the film resolution and the lens resolution.

To have a camera that can produce images that are limited by only the lens is a very desirable state of affairs, provided it's a good lens.

If you use a lens at F16 or F22 you would certainly hope that the resolution of the image would be limited only by diffraction. If the resolution is limited by both diffraction and the pixel count of the sensor, when the lens is used at F22 or even F16, better get yourself a decent camera.

If the resolution of the image is limited by both sensor and lens when using a good lens at F4 or F5.6, it's to be expected. We have a way to go before the best lenses will cease to out-resolve the best sensors, when such lenses are used at their sharpest apertures.

I look forward to the day when the resolution of my sensor is so great that the resolution of all my images will be limited only by the resolution of the lens, whatever the aperture used, because only then can I be sure that I'm getting the most out of my lens.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2012, 08:36:58 PM »
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Not yet, but I will go bigger than that to satisfy my curiosity. I fixed on 50"x40" for the Aptus 75 as a size where I could enjoy the experience of getting closer to the print  to reveal more detail, yet be large enough to look good in a gallery.  

I base viewing distance on a rule of thumb that I should stand at least as far as the diagonal of the print. The bigger the print the further away.  It is nice to approach a print and see more detail revealed,  not all of us have as young eyes as we'd like.


When I got my 645D I was hearing all kinds of stuff about diffraction (f/11 being the supposed limit) and lenses not being up to the task. I found most of it wrong. The first thing I did was shoot it under a whole bunch of conditions and pushing the limits and print large results. I found part of the process is the processing, but I have no problem stopping down on this camera to f/22 and then lenses have been fine. Sure, at 100% or in comparison I can see a difference between an f/8 image and f/22 image, but likewise, I don't hang comparative aperture versions in an exhibition and the images in-and-of-themselves are great.

I would go and shoot a whole bunch, play with processing, and make some large results. That is the best way to get a handle on whether the camera will be good for you. But I really cannot see f/5.6 as any sort of real limit.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 09:06:20 PM »
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In essence, you are saying two things ...

  - Nikon lenses aren't good enough for landscape work

  - The 35mm format isn't good for landscape work

Both of these notions are just plain silly.



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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 09:38:18 PM »
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I have been shooting a D800 since late April. I use an AF-S 24/1.4G, TS-E 24, TS-E 45, AF-S 85/1.4G and a 70-200 zoom. The camera and  lenses perform magnificently and I have no issues with diffraction. I regularly make large 42"x63" prints on aN Epson 9900 using ImagePrint 9 and can tell you that the prints are amazing.

I am very impressed with the camera and Nikon prime lenses.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 11:29:20 PM »
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Hi,


Much of that is simply BS.

The small pixel size does not limit the usability of the camera, at least not in the sense that there would be a degradation of image quality in any sense with the smaller pixels. The only exception may be exceptionally high ISO.

So images from a Nikon D800 will always be better than from Nikon D3X, a Nikon D700 or a Canon 5DIII as long as the same lenses are used.

Regarding diffraction, essentially any decent lens gets diffraction limited at f/8. That simply means that the lens is so well corrected that it does not improve with stopping down. Stopping down beyond ideal apperture looses sharpness regardless of the pixel size. But with more pixels you may have more to loose.

Some or even most of the sharpness lost to diffraction can be restored using correct sharpening, so diffraction may not be the evil as it is often seen.

Now, there are advantages with larger formats. There is no substitute for square centimeters. A larger sensor will always have a better potential for microcontrast if lenses at similar quality are used at the same aperture. If there is a need to stop down for DoF a larger format will need be stopped down more. But even a larger format will be diffraction limited at f/8 (unless you have a lens that is ill designed or badly assembled), and if you need to stop down to f/11 on the D800 you would probably stop down to f/22 on the MFDB.

In general, whatever format you use, the more you have the more you can loose. The great feature of the Nikon is that it has a well working live view, so you can focus exactly, and a very hi resolving sensor at a very attractive price. You can buy more than half a dozen excellent Zeiss lenses for the price of the cheapest MF digital backs, and many of the lenses Nikon has are really excellent, too.

Finally, going from 24 MP to 36 MP is not a giant leap, and the 24 MP we now have on a couple of Sony Cameras and the Nikon D3200 would really correspond to 54 MP on full frame.

Best regards
Erik

I've just bought a D800E and it seems to be a very interesting and exciting camera.  I'm still trying to figure out what lenses I'll get and how it fits in with my other cameras. Will it obsolete the Aptus 75 on Mamiya AFD?  I have lots of questions and testing to do.

I bought a description to the lens reviews on Digilloyd as part of my research on lenses, there are quite a few tests with the D800 and a few with the D800E.

The conclusion other people I'm talking to, and that I'm coming to is that the fine pixel density of the sensor compromises the usefulness of this camera.

Diffraction limits seem to hit really early with many lenses, with apertures as low as f6.3 in many cases.  Few lenses appear to perform best at an aperture as small as f8, and almost everything is soft at f11.

So the D800 looks like its going to be great where low DOF is needed. With very wide lenses, maybe these wide apertures mean the camera is going to be OK, but for normal and longer lenses, shooting subjects where depth of focus is needed looks like its going to be rather hamstrung.  A lens like the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor maxes resolution at f4.5 or f5.6.  (DPReview samples).  These things are not great for a landscape image where one wants the foreground in focus while retaining distant detail.  

I can see that a wide angle lens could help, but I prefer compositions that use more normal to short tele focal lengths.

I'll reserve judgement until I have a bit more experience, but it seems rather ironic that a camera that at first seems tailor made for use in landscape photography is irrevocably limited by diffraction softening.  Nevertheless I'm sure I can fit this camera into my stable and find a number of good uses for it,  it just doesn't seem to quite be the revolution I just thought it was initially.

How are landscape photographers who like shooting with anything other than a wide-angle going to deal with this?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 12:28:24 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

free1000
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2012, 02:38:50 AM »
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In essence, you are saying two things ...

  - Nikon lenses aren't good enough for landscape work

  - The 35mm format isn't good for landscape work

Both of these notions are just plain silly.  

I'm not saying this, I am partly reflecting the worries of other people.  However, some of these people print very large prints that have to be looked at very close up, so probably their requirements are a bit unreasonable.
 
There is a question mark at the end of my topic, I'd hoped that made it clear I was soliciting opinions rather than making a statement of fact.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 02:47:13 AM by free1000 » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2012, 02:39:58 AM »
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When I got my 645D I was hearing all kinds of stuff about diffraction (f/11 being the supposed limit) and lenses not being up to the task. I found most of it wrong. The first thing I did was shoot it under a whole bunch of conditions and pushing the limits and print large results. I found part of the process is the processing, but I have no problem stopping down on this camera to f/22 and then lenses have been fine. Sure, at 100% or in comparison I can see a difference between an f/8 image and f/22 image, but likewise, I don't hang comparative aperture versions in an exhibition and the images in-and-of-themselves are great.

I would go and shoot a whole bunch, play with processing, and make some large results. That is the best way to get a handle on whether the camera will be good for you. But I really cannot see f/5.6 as any sort of real limit.

Yes, I think you will be proven right, and the proof is in the pudding.  I've found a place I can hire a bunch of lenses, so I can test my heart out over the next week and get a couple of nice large prints made for me as well.
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2012, 02:46:02 AM »
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Some or even most of the sharpness lost to diffraction can be restored using correct sharpening, so diffraction may not be the evil as it is often seen.

Now, there are advantages with larger formats. There is no substitute for square centimeters. A larger sensor will always have a better potential for microcontrast if lenses at similar quality are used at the same aperture. If there is a need to stop down for DoF a larger format will need be stopped down more. But even a larger format will be diffraction limited at f/8 (unless you have a lens that is ill designed or badly assembled), and if you need to stop down to f/11 on the D800 you would probably stop down to f/22 on the MFDB.

In general, whatever format you use, the more you have the more you can loose. The great feature of the Nikon is that it has a well working live view, so you can focus exactly, and a very hi resolving sensor at a very attractive price. You can buy more than half a dozen excellent Zeiss lenses for the price of the cheapest MF digital backs, and many of the lenses Nikon has are really excellent, too. 

Thanks Erik, I think these are good points.  I would say that on the Aptus 75 I've never really seen a problem with diffraction except when I used old LF lenses experimentally, so the shortcomings of those optics were multiplied.

There are many practical and ergonomic things I like about this camera in addition to the quality of the image (and I'm not referring to resolution but wider aspects).  If I could live with the 24 PC,  then the ability too shoot HDR in camera and save as TIFF would speed up my workflow for some of my less exacting commissions considerably. I'd still need to carry around the Canon for the 17 as its a lifesaver much of the time, but even if I could shoot 2/3 of my work in camera it would be a massive time saving in post.




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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2012, 03:02:50 AM »
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Hi,

My guess is that stopping down to f/22 actually looses significant resolution on most cameras. On the ones I have it effectively turns 24 MP to perhaps 6 MP. Some of that can be regained in sharpening, but I would say that there is little reason to invest in high pixel count if shooting at f/22 and beyond. It doesn't hurt but nor would it benefit. The Nikon D800/D800E has also the benefit of excellent DR and good live view.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks Erik, I think these are good points.  I would say that on the Aptus 75 I've never really seen a problem with diffraction except when I used old LF lenses experimentally, so the shortcomings of those optics were multiplied.

There are many practical and ergonomic things I like about this camera in addition to the quality of the image (and I'm not referring to resolution but wider aspects).  If I could live with the 24 PC,  then the ability too shoot HDR in camera and save as TIFF would speed up my workflow for some of my less exacting commissions considerably. I'd still need to carry around the Canon for the 17 as its a lifesaver much of the time, but even if I could shoot 2/3 of my work in camera it would be a massive time saving in post.





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