Changing Course

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kent_staubus, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Every five years or so I sort of change the direction I'm going with photography. Twenty years ago I was really into wildlife photography with F100 & 500mm f4, but after five years of that I started doing a lot of "stock" photography with medium and large format. It paid pretty well and I photo'd the sort of small town/farm subjects I like. The bottom fell out of stock photography about five years later and I began doing a lot of night photography. I still do that. Three years ago I added wedding and portrait photography. I've made some decent money with that, but have gotten fed up with some aspects of it. One "aspect" is the drunks I run into while trying to do the job. Yesterday a drunken uncle thought it would be cute to change the channel on the CyberSync flash transmitter mounted on my camera while I was doing the "formals." I wasted nearly ten stressful minutes figuring out what the problem was. My main problem is my weekends are tied up so I can't go duck hunting, do a three day weekend in Chicago to see an opera, and more importantly I'm not out taking the kinds of photos I like to take. Life is short and should be spent doing what you enjoy, and I don't really enjoy the wedding business. It ties me down too much. It's a job, not a recreation. So, I think I might make a change.
    I still like doing portraits and that doesn't take much of my time. I've been using the D7100 for that mostly, with great results. I also offer a speciality which is taking shots with historic lenses on my 4x5. I really like doing that, it pays well, and I have zero competitors. So what else do I really want to photo? I love shooting trains at night, with flash. It's my niche and I've stayed with it for going on nine years now. I'm also doing more travel photography. I can sell off the stuff not needed if I quit doing weddings, and that will raise a substantial amount of cash.
    Everytime I make a change in direction I carefully analyze what I want to do and what I need to do it. The D7100, 17-55mm f2.8, and SB-900 flash units work fine for portraits. I have some problems with the night shots I do, though. The D7100 does almost everything very well, but I often have to deal with some perspective distortion. Sometimes I can fix this with software, sometimes not. I could shoot it with my 4x5 but that creates problems too, specifically exposure levels. I have a enough flash to easily achieve ISO 800 & f5.6+ on most shots, but I'm limited to ISO 400 film, and the lenses really need to be stopped down to f8 or f11. I already have 10,000ws of flash and to double or quadruple that would cost a small fortune! It would also begin to irritate train crews. So that leaves using a 24mm PC-E lens on a DSLR. That lens isn't nearly wide enough my D7100 though. I'm often shooting at 17mm or 20mm with it. I'm thinking that just by using that wide of an angle for what is in effect an architectural shot is part of the problem. If I was shooting FX I could get away with a 28mm, or even a 24mm. Not sure if that would be a fix or not as I haven't tried it. A guy I sometimes work for as a second shooter has offered me his back-up D800e for $1,500 as he's planning on getting a D810 before the end of the year. Hmm. I've been studying lenses for the past week. I won't be doing any fast moving photography and almost always shoot from a tripod. I think lenses 24/50/85 would work well for me. For a 24mm I've looked at the 25mm Zeiss as it's the sharpest you can put on a Nikon. A 14-24mm f2.8 is excellent and gives me the 14mm end too. The f2.8 is what I'm used to and I shoot stopped down for more DoF anyway. I'm leaning towards the 24mm PC-E, even though it's not as sharp as the CZ 25mm. I'm just thinking the movements could potentially be a big benefit for me. For 50mm I like the Sigma f1.4, and for 85mm maybe the Nikon f1.8G. I doubt I'll use 85mm all that much and the f1.8G is actually Nikon's sharpest. I also have an 80-400mm AFS I intend to keep, but will sell the 70-200mm f2.8 VR-1. I would keep one of my D7100 for awhile and eventually replace with an Olympus OMD and a couple of f2.8 zooms for most of my other photography. The D800e would only be for night shooting on a tripod.
    I'm still not sure what I want to do. In the past everytime I've spent the bucks on a "fancy" camera I've been very disappointed. It mainly comes down to whether or not a D800e will tame the distortion or not. I'm also open to keeping what I have, since it does work well, and using some sort of software program that's better than CS5 for fixing distortion. (Or, maybe I'm not using CS5 to its fullest!) Most of my enlargements are 16x20, but I have been making some 20x30 this year. The railroads and grain elevators like them and pay pretty well for them. Below is a photo showing what I'm talking about regarding distortion. What I'm wanting to know is if going from shooting a D7100 at 17mm to a D800e with 24mm PC-E (or 28mm f1.8G) is going to make much difference at all. I'm after --noticeable-- difference, in the real world.
    Kent in SD
    00ct3P-551785984.jpg
     
  2. Kent:
    The image below is with one click in PS CC2014 or LR 5.6 Lens Correction tab. Not sure if you can get this in CS5, or if you even view this as an improvement to what you have. When you wrote "I'm also open to keeping what I have, since it does work well, and using some sort of software program that's better than CS5 for fixing distortion." I thought I'd give it a shot. No fine-tuning here at all.
    00ct3u-551787284.jpg
     
  3. Definitely helped the tube on the right, and somewhat on the left. I couldn't back up any more to take this shot (which is common) and had to tilt the lens back. That creates keystoning, which is the main problem here. An easy fix with a t/s lens. Another thought would have been to use my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 at 11mm. I wouldn't have had to tilt the lens up so much and could simply crop off the bottom. Software fix would be the easiest thing for me. Another advantage for D800e in this kind of shooting is I could get about the same quality shooting it at ISO 3200 as I do ISO 800 on D7100. Doing that, I could move up one f-stop to gain the DoF I lost with FX, and still have one more stop. That would allow me to sell my big X3200 monolights 1320ws and replace with much lighter Einstein monolights 640ws. Half as much light, but I could compensate for that by moving up ISO. I guess there are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. I wish I could use that Canon 17mm t/s on my D7100!
    Kent in SD
     
  4. While the FOV may be pretty much the same between 17mm (DX) and 24mm (FX), wider lenses (especially as you get to the ultra wide focal lengths) display more distortion. I always found the 17-55mm lens had a lot of distortion at the wide end, especially at the 17mm focal length, but found I was always able to correct it reasonably well through software. As I migrated to FX, I immediately noticed improvements in distortion shooting 24mm FX vs 17mm DX.
    Can software correct at least some of the distortion? Yes, of course. Is it the best choice? Probably not. While distortion is still noticeable at 24mm with my 24-70mm lens, it is much, much easier to correct because there is so much less of it.
    DXO software has some pretty advanced distortion correction options. I don't know if it can full solve your distortion issues but it may 'fix' them to a level you can live with.
     
  5. I did some reading and did find a way to fix the image a bit better. However, I agree with Elliot that if I wasn't using such a wide lens it would have been easier. Also, I lose a bit from the sides and bottom. The main problem was keystoning, but there was also some barrel distortion in there. I have a 28mm shift lens in my closet somewhere. Maybe I could test it on my friend's camera somewhere here in town. That will give me some idea of what a 24mm PC-E might do for me. The software fix is probably at the "good enough" level, but I need to make an enlargement to see what effect moving pixels around had. I do see some distortion as the railroad track is now bowed. That's the problem with what I shoot--there's a lot of straight lines to contend with.
    Kent in SD
    00ct40-551787484.jpg
     
  6. I'm one that does not have a problem with the "distortion" of a wide lens. I think the original looks much better, you feel the height and width of the elements, where the second one Ken reworked looks like a shot of a toy train to me.
     
  7. As I migrated to FX, I immediately noticed improvements in distortion shooting 24mm FX vs 17mm DX.​
    that's interesting, because the 24-70 AF-S is known for distortion at 24mm. in fact, the photozone tests show the 24-70 has more distortion at 24mm than the 17-55 does at 17mm. i would also tend to agree with Michael that the original shot looks the best and the distortion in the shot doesnt take away from the composition.
    as far as Kent's question goes, if he's shooting on a tripod most of the time, the extra resolution of an 800 or 810 could be useful. that said, we're really only talking about incremental differences from a d7100 or d750, other than the difference in hi-ISO over DX. the biggest benefit IMO to kent's style of shooting is the ability to crop more heavily. hard to say whether its worth it, but $1500 isnt that much for a 36mp FX body in the larger scheme of things--if you can make good use of all those pixels.
     
  8. Excuse me I know most people doesn`t want to hear about film again... but for certain tasks I think it is still better.
    Don`t fight against lack of resolution, distortion, converging lines and software mediocre results. Use a large format film camera and all this problems are gone.
     
  9. I like the first photo more as well, the last one the grain elevator on the right is bulging outward, and the ground below the train is curved.
     
  10. Use a large format film camera and all this problems are gone​

    Apart from the highlighted two below..

    I could shoot it with my 4x5 but that creates problems too, specifically exposure levels. I have a enough flash to easily achieve ISO 800 & f5.6+ on most shots, but I'm limited to ISO 400 film, and the lenses really need to be stopped down to f8 or f11. I already have 10,000ws of flash and to double or quadruple that would cost a small fortune! It would also begin to irritate train crews.​
    Think those might be Deal Breakers! Bankrupt with Cross Crews...You're Doomed!


    My PC 28mm doesn't play very nicely with my D700 on anywhere near full shift. It smears badly. I can't remember where it start becoming objectionable...after about 2/3rd I think. That may be enough for you?
    The only way to get parallel grain silos looking 'correct' is to physically have the camera at the mid-height of those towers. Shift lenses correct keystoning, but don't give the same view as if the camera were really 60ft up. If you can drive there and you've got a fairly substantial 4 x 4 or van, you could get one of those high lift masts and tether shoot from 60ft!


    Just curious, but I wonder what the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8's like on your D7100? It's supposed to be pretty sharp wide open. DoF at that distance shouldn't be to restricting.
     
  11. Kent, check out what Andy Biggs has written about his decision on this topic. I found it useful in helping me decide what kind of images I now want to capture.
    http://www.theglobalphotographer.com/the-global-photographer/2014/7/27/why-medium-format-digital.html
    Joe Smith
     
  12. Drunken uncle. Kent, if no one has posted this elsewhere, as a wedding guy, you might enjoy this.
    https://www.facebook.com/thelesliejordan/posts/342719599239589
     
  13. The ultimate camera for me would be something like the Fuji 680 system, only digital. I'm quite interested in the new Pentax 645Z as I know the cost will be coming down on used ones in a few years. However, the lenses are astronomical in price and so far very limited. It's hard for me to justify the expense as I won't be earning that much income from the gear.
    I liked the Biggs article because it's a great example of how to analyze what kind of images you want to shoot and then translate that into what gear is needed. It's so much more advanced than the usual, "I want to take pictures. What's the very best camera?" and no more thought put into it than that. I think I might be at the edge of what the current photo gear can do at times, and that's sometimes frustrating. There are shots I can visualize but the technology to do them well doesn't seem to exist yet. I've come up with at least two possible solutions but each has its own issues. Changing format to D800e will give me more resolution for bigger enlargements, allow me to shoot at higher ISO so I can use lighter weight flash, and allow me to use t/s lenses. The problem it brings is one stop less DoF and I struggle to get as much as I can as it is. The format I'm using now (DX) gives me an extra stop of DoF, but seems to introduce more distortion for certain kinds of shots. Software fixes just might work for that. Bottom line is I guess there is no perfect system and in the end you learn to deal with the shortcommings of whatever you go with, and maybe just pass up a few kinds of shots.
    This winter I have my sights set on a couple of massively big subjects that no one else would even attempt. Up in North Dakota there are railroad trestles almost a mile long and 180 ft. high! I think I've come up with a way to photo them at night. This would best be done when there is snow on the ground, which doubles the power of the flash. Also, the rivers would be frozen hard enough to drive out on. I go to a lot of trouble and expense to take some of these shots, and often there is some danger to it. I'm trying to maximize my results for the effort. The gear I currently have has proven reliable in these conditions and any changes must be carefully thought through.
    Below shot:
    Last Friday night was perfectly calm, something unusual on the prairie. I drove three hours up to an old elevator on the BNSF Appleton Sub. There was a pond that perfectly reflects an old elevator right along the tracks, a shot I've wanted for years. Train traffic is low, maybe four or five per day. I went after the shot anyway. I only need two X3200 monolights at half power to give me ISO 1000 f4. It was a great shot and the set up was easy! After waiting for eight hours, the wind began to pick up again, and I was forced to bag it. Cost was $60 in gas, 12 hours of time, and a night's sleep. No train showed up; I'll be back again for another try. Freeze up is maybe a month away. At least distortion isn't a problem on this one.
    Kent in SD
     
  14. Another try to attach shot:
    00ct8Z-551798484.jpg
     
  15. @ Eric
    As you often do with me, you have left out some key elements from my comments and from Photozone's. I am guessing that you have used neither lens which is why you don't clearly understand the issue at hand.
    From your Photozone Link: "however the good news is that it is uniform distortion that is not too complicated to correct by software in post processing"

    The bottom line is that distortion is much easier to correct at 24mm with the 24-70mm lens than it is at 17mm (24mm FOV on DX) - and you basically do not get the kind of distortions (that are not easily correctable) that are in the OP's original image with the 24-70mm lens that are there at 17mm in the DX format. The attempts to correct the image posted above show the complexity of the problem.

    Kent, perhaps you need to try out 24mm on FX to see if it works for you. You might find that you like it.
     
  16. Kent, a good friend of mine in Houston has gone back to film and his old view cameras for a lot of his work. He still does macro with old digital cameras and lenses, some of which are "home made" or "home adjusted" from castoffs.
    Check out his work and his equipment here:
    http://www.naturalperlart.com/about/technical-information-2/
    Joe Smith
     
  17. Distance and height are your friend in reducing trapezoid distortion Kent. Even a few feet, like from the top of a step ladder or raising the camera on a pole helps a lot. A really tall tripod might be cheaper than a PC lens!
    I can't remember whether CS5 has a "backwards" perspective control option. But GIMP certainly has. The standard Photoshop method is very cumbersome and requires a lot of guesswork to correct perspective trapezoiding. The backwards method simply requires you to outline the building(s) you want to correct and click the mouse. Although the height of the subject will remain squat and distorted, requiring an additional vertical rescale to correct it.
    The 36Mp of a D800/E is more than enough that the slight loss of definition from using digital correction doesn't show too much. Besides, PC lenses give a lot of colour fringing that also needs to be corrected in software. This can't be done automatically in camera or in NX2 since the camera has no way of knowing how much shift has been applied. The one-click fringing correction option works well enough though.
    Also, if 28mm is wide enough, the old 28mm f/3.5 P-C Nikkor is much cheaper than the 24mm PC-E. It still suffers from the fringing problem, but strangely the 35mm f/2.8 PC Nikkor does not.
     
  18. Twenty years ago I was really into wildlife photography with F100 & 500mm f4​


    I am sorry but the oldest F100 is only 15 years old.
     
  19. I am guessing that you have used neither lens which is why you don't clearly understand the issue at hand.​
    Actually, Elliot, sorry to have to correct you again, but i do own the Nikon 24-70 AF-S, so i have first-hand experience with its distortion. i've also used tamron and sigma 17-50/2.8 DX lenses which also have distortion at 17mm. not quite sure why you would take my posting of scientific testing contradicting your claims as a personal attack, my point was simply that, according to Photozone, the 24-70 showed more distortion than the 17-55, so moving to FX isn't necessarily going to solve that issue, although the 24-70 is much more expensive than the DX alternatives. i get that you are trying to be helpful, but we dont want to spread misinformation, do we? Kent's corrected shot looked worse than his original, and if he needs straighter lines, i would suggest using a different lens than a wide-angle zoom at its widest setting. There is much less distortion with the tokina 12-24 at 17mm than any of the DX wide angles ive tried at that same focal length. undoubtedly the 24/1.4 or 24 PC would be better than any of the FX 24-xx zooms for distortion. i also use the 14/2.8 fuji for my mirrorless system which has imperceptible distortion; hoping the new nikon 20/1.8 has similar qualities on FX.
     
  20. LOL. Started with D90, then D90s, then F5, then F100. That was back in the days I was a beginner and chasing the "hot" camera of the month. It was the F100 I ended up with.
    I still have the 28mm PC. I think it's an original model since it has a metal screw on lens cap. It is shift only. It was pretty effective on my 35mm cameras. I just might watch and see if I can find a 24mm PC-E for $1,300 or so and try it. I can always resell. I've been shooting 4x5 for a decade & half now and am quite comfortable using movements. I do plan on shooting a few trains with 4x5 this winter, on a smaller scale. Snow on the ground will help me a lot. I do have some modern Rodenstock lenses 90/150/300mm in Copal shutter that play nice with my CyberSync triggers. I know some railroaders that I can set it up in advance with.
    In the late 1950s there was a NYC commercial photographer named O.Winston Link who took a lot of night photos of the Norfolk & Western Railroad in West Virginia. Most of you have probably seen a few of the photos. He shot a 4x5 Graphic using ISO 100 film at f11 or f16. To get what was essentially daylight exposure levels he used huge flash bulbs. It would be very difficult & expensive to duplicate that today with modern flash. He had a letter of authorization from the president of the railroad and pretty much got the cooperation he needed. I think the guy was a genius to figure out all those exposures without any meter, just using guide numbers. The 4x5 gave him perfect images. I've talked to two of his former assistants in recent years, Garvey and David Plowden. They had some interesting stories!
    https://www.google.com/search?q=o+winston+link&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=d2k8VOy8C9H3yQS7-YDYAw&ved=0CF8QsAQ&biw=1251&bih=1069
    Kent in SD
     
  21. I don't have any real constructive advice to offer here but I think it is great to be will to attempt a new direction! It is
    extremely difficult to step away from a direction that can create income and go for self fulfillment and enjoyment!
    Whatever decision you make, I don't think you can go wrong. You will walk away with an experience and knowledge and
    that can't be always be bought. Worst case scenario will be like certain vacations, you're glad you went but you will
    probably not come back to that exact destination again! Good Luck to you!
     
  22. Hi Kent,
    My experience with the PCe-24 leads me to correct keystoning with software, and use the tilt capability for focus plane tilting where DOF at small apertures will not suffice. Trains, locomotives, near-far compositions, etc. When shifting for tall buildings such as grain elevators, the foreground (from the edges of the lens area of coverage) tends to have a smeared look which is why I use S/W for that correction.
    Also, when the D7000 first came out, I tried the lens on a body and the shifting towards the top of the camera was blocked by the flash housing. You might be able to shift for vertical shots.
    I used the PCe-24 for the recent lunar eclipse. No tracking, 30sec @ F4. Pixel peeping on the short star trails showed good sharpness to the corners and significantly better than my 20mm AI and 16-35 zoom. CA was present and correctable in post. I don't know how the lens compares with the Zeiss, but it is the sharpest WA I have.
    John
     
  23. I'm wondering if it is possible to push a 400 speed color film to 800 the way it is in B&W. If I recall, it can be done fairly easily. Might be worth experimenting with for a few shots close to home since you are so familiar with working in 4x5.
    Rick H.
     
  24. Started with D90, then D90s, then F5, then F100.​

    If you started with the D90 then you couldn't start any earlier than 2008 which is far from 20 years ago.
     
  25. To get flash above the trains so the shadow can drop behind, I do have a couple of 15 Manfrotto lightstands, and eight of the 13 footers. I can trigger the camera with a CyberSync, but the problem is the camera does sway a good deal either from any breeze or just from the vibrations from the train (especially if ground is frozen.) Even with fast flash duration it does blur to a noticeable degree.
    Kent in SD
     
  26. @ eric
    Well, you don't have experience with the 17-55mm. It is an excellent lens overall but troublesome at 17mm. My use of both lenses tells me otherwise. Photozone, your source, confirms this too. DXO also confirms that distortion of the 24-70mm is marginally less than the 17-55mm and scores some pretty impressive FX numbers. But the bigger issues are the various distortions created at 17mm because of the focal length itself as compared to 24mm, as clearly indicated by Kent's sample image which is possibly uncorrectable, or would require significant Photoshopping. There is a big difference between 24mm and a 24mm FOV.
    While I never used the 17-55mm for landscapes, I did use it for a lot of group shots and, although it is an excellent lens, I learned early on how difficult it was to correct certain shots at 17mm. So I made it a point to never used it at that focal length. In fact, it was the only lens I had that I could not easily correct its distortions with DXO software. At 24mm, the 24-70mm cleans up beautifully and easily.
    " i would suggest using a different lens than a wide-angle zoom at its widest setting."
    Now we are getting somewhere!
    Kent, your Holmquist is nice anyway!
     
  27. as someone who comes from a photojournalist background, i dont really like to do a lot of post-processing. my mantra is, get it right in camera, if possible. im not disputing that the 24-70 might be easier to correct than the 17-55--or any standard DX zoom, for that matter--but i dont think you will find any standard zoom which doesnt have distortion at the wide end. ive had the 24-70 since 2010 and distortion is sometimes an issue with it @24mm, just like it is with most wide zoom lenses i own, if shooting at the wide end. primes tend to be better in this respect but not always. i also learned in group shots, shooting with DX bodies and the 17-50s, either to zoom in a bit or not place people at the edges. Same advice i follow when shooting an UWA. anyway, thanks for the clarification; further elaboration on this point wont help the OP, who seems to be in a place where a d800 makes sense for what he wants to do. my thinking is, the more elaborate the setup, the more higher resolution is warranted. if you're shooting quick fast and dirty run and gun style like a lot of my event shooting, you dont need to have the most technical photographs possible, just something which captures the feel of the moment. so there's a dichotomy between absolute technical quality and documenting fleeting moments as they happen. the more one emphasizes technical aspects, the more time that requires. a lot of times, as a PJ, you don't need "perfect," you just need "good enough." last saturday, covering three events, i shot more than 700 frames. obviously, not every single one of those is going to be treated with the same care of shooting just a few shots with an elaborate lighting setup, etc. anyway, kudos to kent for sharing his experience and for actively thinking about his shooting style and how he wants to evolve it. it's food for thought for us all.
     
  28. Eric, this is something I use to think (Kent`s topic aside). And even with extremely technical perfect shots, there is always space to improve. We have to know where to put the bar, which should be also movable.
    Kent, your photos are great, you have a unique style and vision, but I`m stressed... :) Your 4x5" camera with two flash shots and the result will be technically "perfect". I understand you have some obvious limitations, and it`s not the same, of course!
     
  29. Is the 24mm FOV really equivalent to 17mm on DX? I would not be surprised if either of these normal zooms "cheat" slightly on the wide end, but technically you should be able to zoom in a few mm on the 24-70 and still capture the same FOV as 17mm on DX.
     
  30. According to Nikon, the 24-70 is 84 degrees at the wide angle (on FX) versus 79 degrees for the 17-55 wide angle (on DX).
     
  31. Wrt pushing colour film. Not greatly
    successful either in slide or negative.
    All you're really doing when pushing
    any type of film is raising its contrast.

    Film's speed is manufactured in, and
    there's no way to significantly change
    the amount of shadow detail captured
    by a given exposure.
     
  32. even with extremely technical perfect shots, there is always space to improve.​
    agree but it depends on how much of the exposure you can control. live concert photography, which i do frequently, isn't about technical perfection at all because you dont control the lighting or the subject's movement or facial expression. sometimes you have a combo of variable stage and natural lighting, for instance. think about technical aspects for too long and you miss the shot. so it has to be intuitive, and somewhat zen: you have to become one with the camera and feel the compositional elements which make a good shot as opposed to a mediocre one. guesswork and timing and a bit of luck factor into getting that shot or shots which stand out from 99 similar shots. but the idea isn't to capture a static shot, it's to evoke an emotional response. it's a different approach from landscape or studio precisely because of the lack of absolute control, and the need for sometimes constant adjustment of shooting parameters. it's a verite approach, which makes excessive post-processing seem counter-intuitive. now technique is a different thing entirely; the way you approach the shot and how you execute it does have a bearing on your results. with live performers, you have to anticipate the action.
     
  33. Since I am controlling the light in my shots, I guess I'm more like a studio photographer. Exceptions are sometimes my subjects dont' show up, my studio isn't heated, and it's very, very big!
    Kent in SD
    00ctIb-551827984.jpg
     
  34. Kent,
    I don't know what software you used for your "Fixed?' version, but if you haven't already, you might want to look into the Adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop CC or CS6 (alas, not in CS5 I think). I just tried it for the first time tonight on an image of a bowling ball display shot with a D800E and 14-24 at 20mm. Among other things, it significantly reduced the elongation of balls at the edge of the frame, which may be similar to your water tower issue. This image didn't have any key stoning, but the tool can fix that too.
    Kent in MI
    Here's the "before" version:
    00ctIi-551828184.jpg
     
  35. And here's the after:
    00ctIj-551828284.jpg
     
  36. I really like your work, by the way.
     
  37. Looks like my first purchase will be an upgrade to CS6. That's certainly good enough.
    Thanks.
    Kent in SD
     
  38. The D800E is an amazing camera. It's been my main camera for the past year-and-a-half, and I love it. My only complaint is that the phase detection autofocus isn't reliable in low light. I can work around that for night landscape and city shots, because I tend to switch over to contrast detection autofocus in live view when I'm using a tripod. But, I find the D800E's AF a little unreliable for events.
    The D750 supposedly has better autofocus (as to the D810 and D4s), but I haven't tried any of those cameras. When I photograph an event, I still drag my Canon gear along, because the 5D Mark III is like the Superman of autofocus.
    I don't tell you this to dissuade you from considering the D800E. It may actually be better than the D7100 that you have been using. But other than the lack of lightning fast, super reliable autofocus in all conditions, the D800E is the finest camera that I have ever used, bar none.
    Good luck with your decision and your endeavors.
     
  39. Kent, this may help you as well:
    http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/keystoning/
    although I don't think it will fully resolve some of the issues that lens present at 17mm.
     
  40. I took this shot at 24mm (24-70mm f2.8) at f2.8 to show how much less the various distortions are vs the 17-55mm lens.
    00ctcB-551881684.jpg
     
  41. Corrected image easily, quickly and effectively fixed (unlike Photoshop, this is virtually all done automatically and required only about 15 seconds of time)
    00ctcC-551881784.jpg
     
  42. Having viewed Kent Staubus images previously and on other forums can well understand what is to me a parallex problem. Those elevators simply rear up from the ground and threaten to overwhelm the miniscule BNSF locomotives.
    Photography without ambient solar illumination is so much easier to control using some form of artificial flash. If I had my druthers would suggest return to a 4x5 field camera with swings and tilts. However as I have discussed with Kent on other forums, processing of such films can be difficult; Kent has a lab which will do his large format with ease.
    The alternative as has been suggested is the tiltable (is that a proper description) lense which should help eliminate the overpowering effect of those grain silos.
    As for waiting seemingly forever for a train, that is one of the negative joys of night photography in a train sparse territory. Only $60.00 for fuel? Gee from what well you are pumping your low priced petrol?
    Bryce Lee
     
  43. You can't get parallAx from a single viewpoint....it refers to apparent movement of an object when viewed from 2 points.
    The term 'keystoning' is derived form the shape of the top-stone in a stone arch. However, the shelves on bowling balls are seriously distorted by perspective. Indeed if you turn the image CCW by 90 Deg, you get a classically inverted keystone image that anyone who has shot an office-block from close up will recognise.
    Terminologically, Perspective Distortion needs to be separated from Optical distortion. They are totally different. A lens cannot 'exhibit' Perspective Distortion, that's determined by relative position and/or angle between the sensor plane and the subject. Lenses can surely exhibit barrel or pincushion Optical Distortion.
    If the sensor plane is parallel to the silo plane, it's walls will appear vertical and not looming. However, you will almost certainly have chopped their tops off. To get them to fit in, you need to tilt the camera up, and low and behold, they fit!...and the walls are now distorted.
    Shift lenses allow you to maintain the parallel relationship between sensor and subject.
    A 5 x 4 digital back on a Technical Camera would cure the problem, but all of the ones I've ever played with are, in effect, scanning backs and completely unsuitable for flash use.
    There's a medium format Fuji, the GX 680 III that had some lens tilt/shift capability. It had interchangeable film backs, and a optional digi back.
    or, maybe a 24mm f 3.5 PC-E Tilt and Shift on a D800E? You might need to bump the ISO as f3.5 isn't great!!
    or to let more light 'in', maybe the new 20mm 1.8? Frame loose to maintain the 'parallels' and crop afterwards? Time to put that little bubble level on the hot-shoe...:)
     
  44. Mike--
    Thanks for the thoughts. I level the tripod head using a torpedo level. More & more, I'm becomming a 24mm PC-E will go a long ways to giving me what I want, with software to mop up. I think some of the images I want to do are at the edge of what current gear/techniques can deliver.
    Kent in SD
     

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