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Author Topic: Nikon 16-35mm f/4 long exposure problem  (Read 15558 times)
Byron Will
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« on: November 21, 2012, 09:56:33 PM »
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Nikon 16-35mm owners might be interested in this post, especially if you shoot at night.

After purchasing and shooting this lens in more "normal" shooting situations (outdoor photography) for about a month, I was shooting on the Olympic Peninsula last week, and wanted to explore this lens qualities for night photography. Shooting at 25-30 sec. ISO2500, I was very surprised to find red bands, at 90 degrees to one another, in my photos, which moved in the frame with different focal lengths. At first I thought it was light leaks or the camera (D800e). After an evening of testing instead of shooting, I determined that the streaks were being created inside the lens (possibly by the VR unit). Final tests were done indoors in a dark closet, with the camera covered for good measure. Same settings. Same results. 16mm seems to yield the worst artifacts.

I returned the lens Monday, and tested 4 more, finally finding one that did not exhibit this problem (glad they had enough to test!). My lens and three of four had varying degrees and intensities of pure red streaks or bands in the exposure. Luckily, I found one that was free of this anomaly, and tested fine here at home. One person at the store said they saw something like this in their images at the coast, but chalked it up to something else. Hence the purpose of this post.

I also found a number of threads on DP Review concerning this issue, but no one apparently found a solution. My solution was exchanging. I don't know Nikon's take on this, but is certainly a strange, but real problem. 4 out of 5 lenses did not pass, which was surprising. Of the five, my original one was the worst one, and one of them was not readily apparent, so this is something one could easily miss. Maybe it's only a problem with recent models. The bad one I had was 252141.

If anyone is interested, I can post examples. It's easy to test your own lens. You just need a totally dark environment and the setting above. If you never shoot like this, it's probably not a concern.
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stamper
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 03:30:34 AM »
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Quote

I determined that the streaks were being created inside the lens (possibly by the VR unit).

Unquote

I would be interested in how you came to that conclusion? Using VR on a tripod isn't recommended and if it was off then how did it affect quality? I have the lens but don't use it for low light shooting.

Quote

My lens and three of four had varying degrees and intensities of pure red streaks or bands in the exposure

Unquote

Could this be light pollution that occurs over or near cities?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:33:29 AM by stamper » Logged

degrub
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 10:32:18 AM »
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since you shot in a  dark light tight closet... could it be an internal reflection from an red source in the camera body  - one of the screens ?  Did you try this experiment with your other lenses ?
otherwise it sounds like possible thermal source in the lens or body. Why the cross and not a diffuse  image i don't know. If it was a sensor thermal issue (from the long exposure) i don't think it would have changed location with change in focal length.

Was the autofocus turned off ?
Was the VR turned off ?

Frank
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Byron Will
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 10:58:56 AM »
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I tested other lenses and there were no sign of these problems at the same focal lengths. Got the same result with the 16-35 on my D300.

I'm guessing about the VR, but one person on DP Review send his in to Nikon, they replaced the VR unit, to no avail. It didn't matter if the VR was turned off or on. The VR was not "working" in off position, but may be "ready to go". The light seems to be pure red, so I wondered if there was a small laser in the VR unit, but this is conjecture. Auto focus on or off made no difference. Aperture made no difference. Same result.

Another reason I suspected the VR was that I tried two exposures in the closet handheld with the VR on and moved the camera while the exposure was being made, and it changed the shape of the bands. It was completely dark, but just for added insurance it was at 30 sec. f/22 with the lens cap on.

Thom Hogan suggested I tape the power contacts for the lens. Not ready to do that yet! Have to be sure it's a keeper.

It's easy to test. It's a very strange problem. Glad I have a good one now.


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Dustbak
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 03:17:14 PM »
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Could it be a similar issue that the 24-70 had? This lens turned out to have a light leak around the focussing window on the barrel. A leak small enough to only show up under more extreme long exposures. taping the transparant window to test would be my first step in this case.
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Byron Will
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 01:11:59 AM »
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Yes, I think the 18-200mm had this problem also. No chance of light leaking in the closet at the lake. Totally black outside the closet at night, let alone inside it. Then a sweater thrown over the camera during exposure for good measure. I was cautious because the D800e is very sensitive to light (which is great). The resulting streaks were nearly identical at the same focal length, whether shot in the closet or on a tripod in the dark outside.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 03:22:22 AM »
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Just out of curiosity, did you close the eye piece?

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
opgr
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 04:03:59 AM »
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1. Would be useful to post a RAW file. I know some of us can immediately see whether it is "captured" data, or "interference" data, and the RAW data might give further evidence what is being recorded.

2. A further thought is that your 1 "good" unit may actually turn out to be a "faulty" unit if it does not exhibit the "problem", e.g. the stabilizer not working properly or something.

3. Could it possibly be light leakage from the headsup display in the viewfinder? Like focus points or something similar?
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Regards,
Oscar Rysdyk
theimagingfactory
DaveJ
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 09:05:22 AM »
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I tested my D800E and 16-35 in a dark closet and don't see the streaks you are experiencing.
Dave Jolley
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Byron Will
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 11:44:31 AM »
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Thank you all for responding.

Yes, I did close the eyepiece when testing outdoors and indoors in the closet, as the bands look like light leakage. I also put the rain protector on the camera and draped a sweater over everything outside. Same results led me inside. It was too bad, as it was quite beautiful. I did take some photos with another lens, but was upset about the 16-35, and forgot to check careful focusing for the stars. No streaks though...
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I tested the VR on my new lens, and it "does it's thing". I very rarely use VR.
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For starters, attached are a few exposures, one outside, one closet shot inside and one later at home as a guide for testing at the store. I also have the RAW files for these and for my tests on the other lenses. As I said, it's a strange one. EXIF data is there.
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The main purpose of the post was for others to test their lenses, as this is a subtle problem, and only seen really only when the exposures are long and the ISO is high, so thanks for testing, and I'm glad your lens is fine. I don't ever write in forums, but I do read them, so please excuse my lack of knowledge of navigation/posting in the forum.

Here's one of the posts on DP Review: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3263826
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Byron Will
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 11:48:21 AM »
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Only one attached, so I'll give it another try.
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LKaven
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 06:50:38 PM »
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Over at DP Review, check out the postings of Marianne Oelund, an engineer living in the Pacific NW USA.  She has looked into the VR unit as the source of light pollution in long-exposure situations, and believes that it is the cause.  She posted her findings in a recent thread on just this lens.  She's a detail oriented person, and the information we get from her is usually very reliable.
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Byron Will
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 07:39:05 PM »
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Thanks very much. Her suggestion of using a film camera with the back (and shutter) open and taking a photo of the lens barrel from the back is excellent. There are two sensors, one for vertical motion, and the other for horizontal motion. Maybe this is why I would see two bands in the image. Glad I don't see them now.
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DaveJ
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2012, 08:01:57 AM »
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Thom Hogan mentions this issue in his Nov 23 blog. I retested mine with VR On & Off at iso 100 and 3200 and still don't see any streaks.
Dave Jolley
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Byron Will
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2012, 02:49:55 PM »
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I had written Thom Hogan a week ago Friday and sent a few pictures after returning home. He made a few suggestions, but I'm glad that he asked his readers to test their lenses. This way it gives a far larger sample and a better indication of the scope of the problem (very limited), rather than my one experience with my lens and at the camera store with 5 lenses. I have to say though, that initially, it was a bit disconcerting. My initial lens exhibited quite strong banding, but the lenses I tested varied immensely. One was barely detectable, but it was there. Strange problem.
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LKaven
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2012, 04:45:41 PM »
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Thanks very much. Her suggestion of using a film camera with the back (and shutter) open and taking a photo of the lens barrel from the back is excellent. There are two sensors, one for vertical motion, and the other for horizontal motion. Maybe this is why I would see two bands in the image. Glad I don't see them now.


She seemed to suggest that having AF off was also necessary in addition to having VR off.  In her analysis, the VR unit is powered up whenever the AF is.

I see you got to Thom already.  It looks like he has some data and will be posting findings soon.
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ScottGrant
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2012, 01:50:55 PM »
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I have the same issue you are speaking of Byron.

This is from a few nights ago.  It Happens regardless if on D800 or D700.  This is f4 @ 30 seconds at ISO 6400.

The lower right corner is also very red!

Since reading this thread i tried shooting the 16-35 with both the VR and AF off and i still get the red streak.
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Byron Will
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2012, 06:59:40 PM »
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Scott, sorry to hear your lens probably has a problem. it didn't matter what the settings were, the red bands were there for me regardless of VR on or off, lens focus switch on or off, etc. with both of my cameras. If it's too late to exchange the lens, you have a guarantee with Nikon, and if long exposures are important for your shooting style, you might have to send it in. I would suggest that you insist that after they repair it (you can send prints along) that they test it before they send it back to you. It's easy to test it.

BTW, your attachment did not show up here, and mine also disappeared...



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elliot_n
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2012, 06:20:00 PM »
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I just tested the 16-35 f4 VR and 24-85 f3.5-4.5 (the old one without VR) on my D700. The former produced a clean (black) image whereas the latter exhibited a diffuse red band, similar to that posted by Byron.
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WayneF
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2013, 02:25:25 PM »
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Old thread, sorry, but I had a mysterious red streak problem in a Nikon D800, with 70-200 f/2.8 (VR-I, which was not on), which I cannot explain or reproduce.    These are star pictures,  Andromeda here, at about ISO 3200, f/2.8, 20 seconds, at 190 or 200mm.



The red streak was Not in Any 14-24mm image, but in Every 70-200 image, sorted here before I gave up on trying to work around it:



Yes, I know 20 seconds is better at 14mm, and clearly way too long for 200mm, unless guided (but I did not take that).   This was not the best night (cool, falling from 60F to near 40F before I left, and windy and dry, and a large moon rising in another hour or two).  I was only intending a quick trial run of D800 camera and high ISO, using only a tripod.

The red streak was very evident of course (not in dark viewfinder, but in rear LCD result), and was a constant in that one lens, and at the time, I carefully inspected front and rear lens elements looking for something red on it, but it seemed very clean and clear.

Any suggestions about a cause would be appreciated, however, I may be unwilling to consider any about external light, because (arguing with myself),   because it was deep rural dark - at an astronomy club dark site 100 miles from the big city, and the point of being there was simply that no light is allowed there. Also the site happened to be empty, I was alone. It was rather dark, and the lens was also aimed up, where there isn't anything. And even if there had been, something has to change when the lens direction is changed east or west, and it didn't.  Surely it had to be internal somehow?   The viewfinder was not closed, but there simply was no possibility of any external light, honest.   I went from the 70-200 back to 14-24, then back again, and back again, and one lens always did it, the other never did.

I could Not recreate the problem at home next night with similar sky exposure, however the city sky is at least four stops brighter, white at this exposure.
I also tried in a pitch black closet (similar settings, 20 seconds, high ISO, infinity focus at 200mm, etc), and got a pitch black image.

Yes, I did use a dim red flashlight a few times, but carefully and sparingly, and not during any exposure.  Logic would imagine it must be related, that somehow it affected something in the lens?  Really does not seem possible, but the same in every image? (it was never on during any exposure, and rarely otherwise).   So some kind of phosphorescent memory? I cannot recreate any issue from it either.  At home, I did try shining it directly into the open viewfinder from only an inch or two, for the full 30 second exposure in the dark, and it did make the frame somewhat pink then, not in the same way, and of course nothing remotely like that happened before. That might affect metering, but it takes a lot to get into the frame, and there was not a lot of anything at this dark site.

It simply could not happen, yet it did.  The only plausible cause would seem to be some kind of internal red light, but that does not seem rational, and does not explain why it stopped at home.

Anyway, it seems interesting, but hopeless in understanding...
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