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Author Topic: Lenses for D800 - where's the weak link?  (Read 21645 times)
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2013, 02:10:57 PM »
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Hi Michael,

We had lot of discussions and I hope we gained some understanding. I would be much interested what you have found.

My impression in short is:

- I have not found any good reasons for the better perceived detail on the ZD.
- My evaluation indicates that the advantage of large pixels on the ZD does not offset the resolution advantage of the 36 MP sensor in the D800E in MTF measurements.
- To me it seems that the lenses tested are pretty good.
- I don't really feel the Sigma 70/2.8 is the superior performer I have expected it to be.

The question is really, how we go on?

I am most thankful for this thread, which I felt was both unbiased an open minded.

Best regards
Erik


I just bought Nikon 60mm AF-S G (flat field), hoping that it would outperform my old Nikon AF 50mmF1.4D on D800e.
I cannot see any significant improvement in sharpness.
I also compared it to a pretty sharp Sigma 70mmF2.8 that also is flat field lens.
Sigma is a bit sharper, although it has a bit more pronounced CA.
Tested at F5.6-F9, at 15 feet distance.

In general I am quite disappointed in 35mm glass...
My 22MP Mamiya ZD with Mamiya 80mm AF2.8 and especially Mamiya 55mm AF2.8 is quite noticeably sharper - bitingly sharp.
Unfortunately, none of the above lenses give that bitingly sharp MF quality result.
As a result, I have an impression that ZD has about the same, or possibly even more details in a smaller file (after it is compressed to DNG).

Does anyone know of any 35mm AF lens (besides $$$ Coastal Optics)  that would give truly sharp (MF quality) D800e files?
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risedal
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« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2013, 05:01:07 PM »
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I "leafed" through the site and had a feeling that Nikon was doing as well as Zeiss on the average. Having 14-24mm focal lengths is a big bonus, and Nikon costs $1000 less! The only problem with the Nikon is the no-filter design, and maybe weight. I have to say that the 14-24 Nikon zoom is an amazing feat of optical engineering.

it is an amazing lens , better at 14mm than Canon L 14mm etc. but the lens have one big problem,flare.
I dont know if you have seen this

different zeiss and nikon lenses together with D800
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/03/d800-lens-selection
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 05:02:49 PM by risedal » Logged
MichaelEzra
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« Reply #62 on: February 19, 2013, 08:57:35 PM »
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Hi Erik,

I agree on all points with you, but I'd like to share one more set of graphs which better illustrates my initial comment about sharpness of files from ZD.
I shot the same target using Mamiya 645AF 55mm F2.8 lens.

To complete the illustration, here are
   1. an updated composite chart of all targets,



   2. the MTF charts measured from the tests with this lens,



   3. a comparison to probably the best second sample which is D800 with Nikon 50mmAF-D F1.4 @5.6.



   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison




I am puzzled by Sigma. My previous impression on its sharpness when using it on D700 was much better. I may need to repeat this test on Sigma 105mm which I also have.
However, based on my prior use on D700, Sigma 70mm was sharper than Sigma 105.

I am also quite happy with the performance of my 13-year old zoom Nikon 28-70mmF2.8 which I used primarily with 35mm format in the past years!

I am so impressed with 50mm Nikon prime, I got it for free back in 2000 when I purchased Nikon F5 for $1000 right on the street for cash:) This lens was simply included!
I'd use it for my studio work, if not for the field curvature.

ZD with 55mm lens gives outstanding sharpness, but, ironically, I don't use this focal length frequently.

Nikon 60mm performed significantly better in this test than I expected, as other images I shot with it were rather lacking contrast and soft. I may need to look into the reasons why.
If that gets resolved, I may use this lens for my studio work, since it is flat field.

D800 system is certainly more versatile feature-wise, can deliver acceptable sharpness and is significantly less prone to moire, as most lenses are struggling with sensor resolution:)

ZD gives consistent sharpness, compatible Mamiya lenses are excellent and some are outstanding. Moire can be a significant issue even with not the sharpest lenses in the lineup, e.g. Mamiya 150mm F3.5)  But above all, I love how Mamiya shutter sounds:)

I also enjoyed this discussion, thank you for your help with the charts!


EDIT: I am a bit confused by the results from the quickmft program: I re-shot ZD+55mm@F8 at a closer distance.
Strangely enough, the MFT was significantly changed - I am not sure then how reliable these graphs are... any thoughts?
Here is comparison (right click and view image for undistorted view):



« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 09:48:15 PM by MichaelEzra » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #63 on: February 19, 2013, 11:02:17 PM »
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Hi Michael,

To begin with MTF is one aspect, it says a lot about the sharpness a lens can deliver but not all. We also essentially only looked at the center. I recently tested an old Zeiss Sonnar 150/4 which was really shining in my table top setup, but did not work at all outside, because of lens flare. That could also be a problem with your 60/2.8.

I don't know much about Mamiya lenses. Back in time I have seen some tests at Photodo and they were pretty good. In general I expected the Mamiya to have some advantage because the larger pixels are less demanding on the lens.

An interesting observation: if you check the MTF-curve on the Sigma 70 and the Nikon I made they are pretty close at low lp/mm but at high lp/mm the Nikon pulls away.

Another point may be that if we look at actual pixels a system with the lower resolution will be at visual advantage, because we look at finer details. If I compared two images I used to resize them to the same resolution, say 70x100 cm at 200 PPI, and compare on screen. Problem is that you see large differences on screen but much less in print.

As you point out I would expect to see moiré with the ZD. It would probably also create some artificial detail.

Would be nice if you posted a few images of real subjects showing the performance of the ZD.

Regarding the ZD, I would probably bought one, would it not have been for the long delay. When 24 MP FF arrived I started to feel less attraction to MF. I'm still pretty much interested in MF, but not as a MF SLR but more like a technical camera.

I very much enjoyed this thread.

Could you post the MTF crops for the Mamiya 55, both exposures?

It would also be nice to have some shots from the D700 and the D800E with the Sigma and the favorite Nikon of yours.

I'd suggest that programs like quickmtf and Imatest give a lot of good information. Sometimes they make you see things that you have not seen. But photography is about seeing.

Best regards
Erik


Hi Erik,

I agree on all points with you, but I'd like to share one more set of graphs which better illustrates my initial comment about sharpness of files from ZD.
I shot the same target using Mamiya 645AF 55mm F2.8 lens.

To complete the illustration, here are
   1. an updated composite chart of all targets,



   2. the MTF charts measured from the tests with this lens,



   3. a comparison to probably the best second sample which is D800 with Nikon 50mmAF-D F1.4 @5.6.



   4. and the same, but animated for easier comparison




I am puzzled by Sigma. My previous impression on its sharpness when using it on D700 was much better. I may need to repeat this test on Sigma 105mm which I also have.
However, based on my prior use on D700, Sigma 70mm was sharper than Sigma 105.

I am also quite happy with the performance of my 13-year old zoom Nikon 28-70mmF2.8 which I used primarily with 35mm format in the past years!

I am so impressed with 50mm Nikon prime, I got it for free back in 2000 when I purchased Nikon F5 for $1000 right on the street for cash:) This lens was simply included!
I'd use it for my studio work, if not for the field curvature.

ZD with 55mm lens gives outstanding sharpness, but, ironically, I don't use this focal length frequently.

Nikon 60mm performed significantly better in this test than I expected, as other images I shot with it were rather lacking contrast and soft. I may need to look into the reasons why.
If that gets resolved, I may use this lens for my studio work, since it is flat field.

D800 system is certainly more versatile feature-wise, can deliver acceptable sharpness and is significantly less prone to moire, as most lenses are struggling with sensor resolution:)

ZD gives consistent sharpness, compatible Mamiya lenses are excellent and some are outstanding. Moire can be a significant issue even with not the sharpest lenses in the lineup, e.g. Mamiya 150mm F3.5)  But above all, I love how Mamiya shutter sounds:)

I also enjoyed this discussion, thank you for your help with the charts!


EDIT: I am a bit confused by the results from the quickmft program: I re-shot ZD+55mm@F8 at a closer distance.
Strangely enough, the MFT was significantly changed - I am not sure then how reliable these graphs are... any thoughts?
Here is comparison (right click and view image for undistorted view):




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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #64 on: February 19, 2013, 11:20:46 PM »
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Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.



The same via animated overlays (view full size also):



JPG with ZD captures that I used for MTF:


The same with MTF charts: http://www.michaelezra.com/Projects/Posts/ZD-55mm-f_8.0_DiffDistance1.jpg

I sold D700 on announcement of D800e, so I won't be able to shoot the same tests with it.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 11:34:38 PM by MichaelEzra » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2013, 12:52:43 AM »
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Hi Michael,

I think that you compare a cropped down image from the Nikon to an uncropped image of the ZD.

You could try to have the same FOV on the short dimension and upsize the ZD image from 4016 pixels to 4924 pixels and compare the mages sized by side, I guess you would get much closer to the MTF curves.

You can of course also downscale the Nikon image to ZD image height.

Regarding the differences between the two ZD55 shots I guess that focus is better on one of the images. I got similar results in Imatest.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.


« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 12:54:42 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

D Fosse
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« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2013, 01:34:30 AM »
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When I started this thread I had no idea it would evolve into this exhaustive study - a big thank you to all who contributed (I know you didn't do it for my benefit, but that's the beauty of forums... Smiley )

I've bookmarked the thread for future reference. It has certainly helped me understand the camera better, and will continue to help me get the most out of it.
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2013, 06:38:19 AM »
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Hi Erik,

I agree with your explanation on the focus difference in ZD shots, this makes sense.
In the last image in your last post comparing ZD55 to Nikon 60 - which ZD image did you use - the one shot at the farther distance (the sharper one)?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 06:06:14 AM by MichaelEzra » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #68 on: February 20, 2013, 07:08:10 AM »
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Hi Michael,

Yes, the sharper one one was used, I hope. I can make mistakes! I will recheck, and also make some new plots.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

I agree with your explanation on the focus difference in ZD shots, this makes sense.
In the last image in your last post comparing ZD55 to Nikon 60 - which ZD image did you use - the one shat at the farther distance (the sharper one)?

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #69 on: February 20, 2013, 11:43:29 AM »
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Hi,

I noticed that test target is at the same size. So it seems that FOV is wider on the Nikon shot. The effect would be the same as cropping the Nikon image to 4016 pixels height instead of the 4924 pixels it has. I made an MTF plot for Nikon 60, ZD55 and Nikon 60 cropped. In this case the ZD image would be slightly better than the Nikon image.

The assumption here is that the target has wedges have the same pixel sizes.

Best regards
Erik
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #70 on: February 20, 2013, 12:13:42 PM »
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Thanks Erik, this confirms my earlier qualitative impression: when comparing pixel-to-pixel ZD file to a cropped D800e file, ZD can have sharper pixels.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #71 on: February 20, 2013, 02:42:09 PM »
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Hi,

I would suggest that when we compare a higher resolution sensor with a low resolution one at actual pixel the lower resolution one is always at advantage. That way to compare eliminates the only advantage a high resolution sensor has, namely resolution.

Anyway, I hope that we have gained some understanding about how the lenses perform and you gained experience with tools to measure MTF. I also think we got some perspective on lenses versus sensor performance.

I hope you still enjoy your D800E.

For me it was an interesting experience, and my guess is that I'm going to revisit this thread and your images quite a few times.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks Erik, this confirms my earlier qualitative impression: when comparing pixel-to-pixel ZD file to a cropped D800e file, ZD can have sharper pixels.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #72 on: February 20, 2013, 11:09:29 PM »
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Hi Michael,

One interesting observation is that the ruler shows some color artifacts on both Nikon exposures, while the ZD doesn't.

I don't have any good explanation for this. I also think the effect may be more pronounced with LR4 than with RawTherape.

One issue that we didn't look into really is the effects of sharpening. Sharpening is very important to visual impression but it is very much to taste.


Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

To bypass uncertainties in use of software, I composed these comparisons of thee sharpest exposures.
In this case for all three exposures the subject in the frame occupies about the same number of pixels (I re-shot ZD file again here, even closer)
This is for the purposes of comparing pixel sharpness, while disregarding framing differences.



The same via animated overlays (view full size also):



« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 11:13:45 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Fine_Art
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« Reply #73 on: February 20, 2013, 11:44:21 PM »
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I've been reading this thread with interest.

The following are a few comments I made elsewhere today. They seem relevant to this thread and sum up my frustration.

I look at files from the Canon 17 & 24mm TS-E lenses and weep. If only Canon made a body that took full advantage of them.

I'd literally go out and buy a Nikon D800E tomorrow if there was a lens of around 20mm that took full advantage of the camera.

I'm even considering buying a Canon 5D111 just to use the TS-E lenses. I'm that desperate.



You might find your solution in a FF nex that allows you to use any lens you want. They have put one in their video camera so it is bound to show up on a stills camera.
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KLaban
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« Reply #74 on: February 21, 2013, 05:07:01 AM »
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You might find your solution in a FF nex that allows you to use any lens you want. They have put one in their video camera so it is bound to show up on a stills camera.

Thanks, it's a thought, but unfortunately the NEX is the least inspiring camera I've ever used.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #75 on: February 21, 2013, 01:10:37 PM »
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Hi,

Another full frame alternative is the Leica M. It will take R-series lenses with an adapter.

An interesting alternative may be Hartblei H-Cam or Alpa FPS for digital back owners.

Best regards
Erik

You might find your solution in a FF nex that allows you to use any lens you want. They have put one in their video camera so it is bound to show up on a stills camera.
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« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2013, 01:36:57 PM »
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Another full frame alternative is the Leica M. It will take R-series lenses with an adapter.

I was seriously considering the Leica M.

The addition of liveview should have meant that the camera could have been used for genre not usually associated with Leica. Unfortunately they delivered liveview without scrolling, a considerable handicap for tripod mounted work.

Sadly now dismissed.
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TMARK
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« Reply #77 on: February 22, 2013, 07:59:22 AM »
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I've been using the Zeiss Hasselblad V lenses with the D800e, with a Fotodiox adapter.  Focus confirmation works, just remember that the arrows point in the opposite direction as the V lenses focus ring moves in the opposite direction of nikon.  The 80 CF, 150 CF, 50 C, 120 CF and 180 CF are outstanding.  The 80 and 150 are my two favrite portrait lenses on the D800e, and film for that matter.

I have a 60 AFd Micro and it one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used.

Have fun!  The D800 hits on so many levels, with only a few draw backs.  I wish the VF were bigger, and I wish you could change screens.  other than that, it essentially replaced (not entirely) MF digital, Leica M and Mamiya 7. 
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #78 on: February 22, 2013, 08:04:20 AM »
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I've been using the Zeiss Hasselblad V lenses with the D800e, with a Fotodiox adapter.  Focus confirmation works, just remember that the arrows point in the opposite direction as the V lenses focus ring moves in the opposite direction of nikon.  The 80 CF, 150 CF, 50 C, 120 CF and 180 CF are outstanding.  The 80 and 150 are my two favrite portrait lenses on the D800e, and film for that matter.

I have a 60 AFd Micro and it one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used.

Have fun!  The D800 hits on so many levels, with only a few draw backs.  I wish the VF were bigger, and I wish you could change screens.  other than that, it essentially replaced (not entirely) MF digital, Leica M and Mamiya 7. 

Could you post any comparative (not sharpened) images of the sharpest captures with CF lenses vs Nikon 60mm?
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KLaban
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« Reply #79 on: February 22, 2013, 08:09:56 AM »
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Have fun!  The D800 hits on so many levels, with only a few draw backs. I wish the VF were bigger, and I wish you could change screens.  other than that, it essentially replaced (not entirely) MF digital, Leica M and Mamiya 7.

Thanks. It's looking more and more likely I'll be using the D800E soon.

I guess if they introduced a digital version of the Mamiya 7 we'd all be happy!
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