Does Nikon Need Some Good Canon Lenses?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by landrum_kelly, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. I am not trying to belittle what Nikon has done with the new medium format quality D800. It is magnificent in terms of resolution and overall quality and features at a reasonable price, and I hope that Canon follows suit very shortly on all those points.
    Even so, when I looked at this image carefully, I could not help but (almost) instinctively "go for the corners," in this case the bottom left and bottom right:
    http://mansurovs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Nikon-D800-Image-Sample-1.jpg
    Was this shot with a Nikon lens? There is substantial distortion of shapes in the corners, and is that pin cushion distortion that I see in scrolling across from bottom left to bottom right?
    In any case, my question should probably be rephrased: has Nikon's new body outrun its lenses? I really do not know, and so the question is an honest one.
    Lest I be misunderstood, yes, Canon, we will abandon you in an instant if you do not stop the price gouging and if you keep coming in second to Nikon where bodies are concerned! The D3X over the 1Ds III was one thing, but enough is enough! Come out with the best, or at least have the common courtesy to drop your prices.
    --Lannie
     
  2. In addition, the Nikon shot posted above shows absolutely NO chromatic aberration. What's up, Canon? Can you get rid of the chroma noise while you are at it?
    --Lannie
     
  3. I see a little purple fringing in the skylights, but that's a tough contrast there.
     
  4. The only question I have is why did you
    post a Nikon query in the Canon
    forum?
     
  5. Read my original post above, Jamie: it's a message to Canon.
    Comparisons of the two are appropriate on both threads. I chose the Canon thread since I shoot mostly
    Canon.
    --Lannie
     
  6. Landrum, the only major questions I
    can see are:

    1. Does Nikon need some good canon
    lenses?

    2. Has Nikon's new body outrun it's
    lenses?
     
  7. Was this shot with a Nikon lens?​
    Are you kidding - Nikon is going to use images in their D800 advertising that aren't shot with a Nikon lens?
    As the EXIF data reveal, the image in question was actually shot with Nikon's best wide-angle (there are some Canon users who use it too): AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED - shot at 15mm.

    Every wide-angle lens will show some amount of distortion, usually barrel at the wider end and often pincushion at the longer end. According to photozone, the distortion characteristics is all barrel for the 14-24 - quite large at 14mm and almost zero at 24mm.
    There are several posts in the Nikon forum that attempt to address the question of which lenses can do the D800 sensor justice - Nikon even published a D800 technical guide that lists a few that are deemed to be "good enough" - not sure the list is exhaustive though.
     
  8. I believe that was taken with the 14-24, which some few Canon users have adapted. It is a great lens but nothing is perfect. Overall I think it is remarkably sharp and detailed.
    One assumes you mean the 5D3 vs this D800? Canon's samples are just pre-production in-camera JPGs, there are no raws yet. Too early to judge.
    The price will end up being whatever the market will bear.
     
  9. zml

    zml

    > what Nikon has done with the new medium format quality D800.
    ..?
    Have you ever shot with medium format digital ..? I guess not, because the samples I've seen from the D800 are not even close to MFD Anno Domini 2006 let alone 2012. Geez, a 6 years old PhaseOne p45+ back (39 mpixels...) beats the stuffing out of anything I've see thus far from D800 in terms of detail, contrast and lack of aberrations. Yep, the 800D has the ISO advantage (realistically, ISO 200, is max on the p45+) but so what..?
     
  10. Where is this library?
     
  11. the image in question was actually shot with Nikon's best wide-angle​
    Sad, isn't it? A wide zoom is the best wide angle lens that Nikon has?
    I rather doubt that.
    --Lannie
     
  12. The price will end up being whatever the market will bear.​
    And then comes the market adjustment. . . .
    Nikon has done more than offer a great camera--it has done so at a great price. Canon, listen up!
    --Lannie
     
  13. Something is definitely wrong here. I see that 692.48RU is mischelved!
    Lannie, the distortion is normal for an ultrawide rectilinear lens. It would be the same if the lens were Canon's. Is that your point? And yes, there's CA, but that's quite typical of a high contrast edge on an ultrawide lens.
     
  14. Don't know where the library is, but they still have Micofiche readers !
     
  15. I see that 692.48RU is mischelved!​
    Sarah, you're too funny, and I was looking for something serious. I had no idea what you were talking about at first. I even googled the LC number you gave and got something in Russian before I caught your joke.
    As for the various lenses, I am not quite reconciled to the fact that "rectilinear" is a label that must be offered with qualifiers when one is talking about the corners. I know that corners are a problem, but does no one have a prime that can avoid distortion in the corners? My rhetoric and ignorance are getting me into trouble here, but the point was not to stir the Canon v. Nikon pot; rather, to raise a topic that I thought might be promising. Then again, perhaps it was not as promising as I thought.
    In any case, I had not run that photo through PS to find out the EXIF data, and I did not know if it was an official Nikon photo or simply something that someone had taken. (My impression was that some persons had been given cameras and were posting their own shots, but perhaps not.)
    In any case, I did not mean for the question or my subsequent posts to sound so flippant, as they seem to do upon rereading.
    --Lannie
     
  16. Maybe this should have been my original question within the question: Does no one have a prime that can avoid distortion in the corners?
    The fact that zooms distort is obvious enough. I have a Sigma 12-24 that can be quite horrific at the wide end, but I thought that surely there was a very wide prime that nailed the corners. Perhaps not. . .
    --Lannie
     
  17. Canon's 14mm will have a little less distortion that Nikon's 14-24 (which everyone considers the golden standard for wide anglel lenses (prime or zoom) nowadays) - but it's corner sharpness won't reach Nikon's. Nikon's 14mm will even fare worse. Canon's 17mm TS-E lens has less distortion than the 14/2.8 and stopped down a bit a fairly even sharpness distribution across the frame - but it's not as wide.
    Sad, isn't it? A wide zoom is the best wide angle lens that Nikon has?​
    Since one is hard pressed to find a better lens from any manufacturer in this segment, I don't think it qualifies as sad but rather shows what is possible nowadays. Nikon's 14/2.8 and 14-24/2.8 cost about the same, yet the zoom sets the standard.
    Where is this library?​
    French National Library in Paris: http://ivrpa.org/gallery/user/2700/still/paris_french_national_library_bi
     
  18. Quite possibly. ;-)
    TS-E24 f/3.5L II, please!
     
  19. Lannie, my comment would have been a bit better understood if I hadn't inserted a critical typo!
    In answer to your question, the distortion is a property of the geometry of a rectilinear lens. Your Sigma 12-24 may be a bit soft when not stopped down enough, but it is probably the least distorted extreme-wide rectilinear lens there is, and it will show exactly that sort of swoopy distortion in the margins. Some rectilinear lenses create barrel distortion, and that would pull in the corners just a bit, but I think you would still find the edge/corner distortion objectionable.
    The type of ultrawide lens that keeps objects from getting stretchy and distorted is actually a diagonal fisheye. You would find that objects in the corners of the frame would not be stretched and distorted. The down-side, of course, is that straight lines become bowed unless they pass through the center of the frame. In the UWA category, I use a 17-40, the Sigma 12-24, and the Zenitar 16mm fisheye. I actually use the Sigma only rarely. Usually when I'm photographing that wide, I go straight to the fisheye. I do this especially when photographing people, because stretchy heads are awful. On the other hand, they often end up with bad posture:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Landrum, you're kidding, right? Having a sensor that outclasses your lenses would be a nice problem to have, and I have some very nice glass. Aside from that, nobody *knows* how a Canon lens will compare. The pixel pitch on the D800 is 205 px/mm. The best FF that Canon has to offer is a paltry 160 px/mm. The D800 pixel pitch compares to a 14 MP APS-C sensor. APS-C sensors don't challenge the FF corners, so we have nothing at all to base an opinion.
    I'm with Dan South on this. Slap a TS-E 17mm on it, and help Sarah find her book. ;)
     
  21. The type of ultrawide lens that keeps objects from getting stretchy and distorted is actually a diagonal fisheye.​
    Wow, Sarah. Thank you so much! Wow again! I really had no idea about any of this. This is fascinating, and it certainly is not what I expected to learn--but then one never knows or understands in advance what it is that one does not know. I am going to have to bookmark this page so that I can come back and consult your post from time to time. There is a lot of information in those few sentences.
    Thank you so much for being my teacher.
    --Lannie
     
  22. Thanks, Michael. I'm not sure I followed all of that. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  23. Dan and Michael: TS-E 17mm
    Are you guys saying that that is the best wide lens in the corners? I wish that my pockets were that deep.
    --Lannie
     
  24. Just for the record, does anyone know what Nikon's best wide prime is, if it is better than the best Canon wide prime? I have an old manual focus Nikon 600 f/4 which fits on my EF mounts with adapters, but I really would like to know what is available in wide angle--of any brand, with adapters (for the EOS mount). I will not be able to afford either the 5D III or the D800 for the foreseeable future, but getting the most out of my 5D II with the right glass might be something that I could swing if I sold off a couple of things.
    I really want to get up on the Appalachian Trail to Roan Highlands and Grassy Ridge Bald before the tourists start coming back when it gets warm, and getting the best shots out of the camera body I have--not to mention getting a few more miles out of this creaky old body's ancient legs--is something I would like to do while I can still do it. The last time I was up there many years ago, I was carrying an Instamatic. . . . One never knows when one's next foray into the high country is going to be one's last.
    --Lannie
     
  25. The TS-E is a special purpose lens, TS being short for tilt-shift. The image circle is larger than the sensor to allow for shifting. I don't know if its corner performance is superior, although I expect that it is. The reason to use a TS-E is for perspective control, and to tilt the focus plane. As Sarah points out, there isn't a single overall best choice independent of intended use. They each have their place, as much for aesthetic choice, or for engineering trade-offs and cost considerations. (For the architectural shot you posted, a TS-E would be a great choice.)
    Earlier, I wrote to point out that Canon does not sell a FF sensor capable of capturing the same detail that the D800 can. We have no way, aside from testing lenses off-camera on an optical bench, to know if any Canon offering is any better or worse in the corners than the shot you posted.
     
  26. Lest I be misunderstood, yes, Canon, we will abandon you in an instant if you do not stop the price gouging and if you keep coming in second to Nikon where bodies are concerned! The D3X over the 1Ds III was one thing, but enough is enough! Come out with the best, or at least have the common courtesy to drop your prices.​
    It's obvious from that statement that you're of the opinion that more pixels = superior camera. It's a ludicrous opinion. Why don't you ditch all your camera gear and buy that silly 42MP Nokia camera phone? After all, it has more pixels than the D800 so must surely be better.
     
  27. It's obvious from that statement that you're of the opinion that more pixels = superior camera.​
    Trying to hijack the thread, are you? See Scott Ferris' thread to discuss that and related issues:
    http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00a5IN
    Canon gear in general is increasingly over-priced. The Canon prices will have to fall. That is my point. There is no single right camera for everyone, and I have never made such a ridiculous claim as you suggest. You sound like a brand loyalist who cannot bear to see his team/brand criticized.
    The 5D III does sound impressive, and it will be very useful for many photographers. I have the 5D II, however, and I do not see in the 5D III a compelling reason to upgrade at this time.
    The more Nikon samples that I view, however, the more obvious it is that Nikon has truly hit a home run, both in terms of quality and in terms of price. I hope that Canon will follow up with a camera that is friendlier to landscape photographers and to bank accounts. Not all of us are shooting action pictures, and not all of us have a lot of money.
    I would, for the record, like to see someone develop a lens that can nail the corners. This thread is primarily about recent product announcements in both camps as they relate to optical demands made by newer sensors. Except for the corners at very short focal lengths, I see very little in the D800 to criticize. I am not as happy with the 5D III.
    --Lannie
     
  28. Lannie i hear that using the Canon 17 TSE you can take two photos with moving the camera - keeping the lens same place and get the angle of view of a 14mm. I believe this will give you a much better picture than any 14 mm including the much praised Nikon 14-24mm lens.
    I dont have this lens and so only going by my reading of forum posts from other owners.
     
  29. Sad, isn't it? A wide zoom is the best wide angle lens that Nikon has?
    I rather doubt that.
    --Lannie​
    Just curious, which Canon wide zoom would you consider to have less distortion* and better corner sharpness than the example you referenced?
    *My understanding (which may or may not be correct) is that the distortion you refer to is actually an effect of capturing a very wide angle of view, and not due to any intrinsic lens deficiency. In other words, a theoretical lens with perfect optical design of the same angle of view would produce the same amount of distortion.
    ** I just realized that Sarah had already posted a good explanation regarding distortion.
     
  30. Several answers, like Sarah's, addressed the important points about distortion. But perhaps it would help to address the issue explicitly as there are two types of distortion you can see in a photographic image, and I think they are getting confused in some posts. There is rectilinear distortion and geometric distortion.
    Rectilinear distortion is one of the 5 "Seidel monochromatic aberrations" that can be present in your lens (there are also chromatic aberrations but they aren't relevent to this discussion). If the aberration "distortion" is present, straight lines in the object are not straight in the image. The commonly observed "barrel" and "pincushion" distortions are samples of the optical aberration, distortion. These aberrations are a result of the image scale, or magnification, not staying constant across the image plane. If the image scale increases away from the center of the frame you get positive, or barrel distortion. If the image scale decreases away from the center of the frame you get negative, or pincushion distortion.
    Geometric distortion is NOT an optical aberration, it is not caused by the lens but is caused by the geometry of the scene. Look at an example.
    Say you draw a precise circle a foot in diameter at your head height on a wall. Now if you back away (say 10 feet) from the wall but stay exactly opposite the circle it will still look circular (no surprise). Now, move 10 feet to the right and still stay 10 feet from the wall. Now look back to your left and look at the circle. It no longer looks like a circle, but it appears elliptical from your viewing angle and it is smaller because you are further away. That is geometric distortion. There is nothing "wrong", that is just how things really look off to the side, and that is how they will look in your image too.
    All lenses corrected for the aberration "distortion" will display geometric distortion. Just a fact of life.
     
  31. Nikon has truly hit a home run, both in terms of quality and in terms of price.​
    As a Nikon user I don't doubt the quality part ;-) but in terms of price - Canon just goes were Nikon has gone before. Every Canon lens in recent years I can think of had been cheaper than the Nikon counterpart - so much so for the superteles that you could buy a 7D for the difference. With every introduction of a new lens that I can recall, Canon has aimed at equalizing that difference - in many instances "overcompensating".
     
  32. My understanding (which may or may not be correct) is that the distortion you refer to is actually an effect of capturing a very wide angle of view, and not due to any intrinsic lens deficiency.​
    I-Liang, have such limits been established purely deductively or empirically? I am always a bit skeptical when someone claims that something cannot be done. Next thing you know, someone has done it.
    As for Canon v. Nikon zooms, I really have no idea which are better. I would think that a prime lens of either brand would be more likely to be able to nail the corners than a zoom, but it goes without saying that I could be wrong.
    I do want to point out that I recognize that most shots which will be made with the D800 are not going to test the limits the same way that that library shot did. Most people are not even going to notice such problems in actual prints unless the prints are very big and persons are standing very close.
    --Lannie
     
  33. Lannie i hear that using the Canon 17 TSE you can take two photos with[out] moving the camera - keeping the lens same place and get the angle of view of a 14mm. I believe this will give you a much better picture than any 14 mm including the much praised Nikon 14-24mm lens.​
    Sravan, that bears looking into. Thanks for that suggestion. If you are correct, I can buy one after my next convenience store heist.
    --Lannie
     
  34. Say you draw a precise circle a foot in diameter at your head height on a wall. Now if you back away (say 10 feet) from the wall but stay exactly opposite the circle it will still look circular (no surprise). Now, move 10 feet to the right and still stay 10 feet from the wall. Now look back to your left and look at the circle. It no longer looks like a circle, but it appears elliptical from your viewing angle and it is smaller because you are further away. That is geometric distortion. There is nothing "wrong", that is just how things really look off to the side, and that is how they will look in your image too.
    All lenses corrected for the aberration "distortion" will display geometric distortion. Just a fact of life.​
    Richard, you might well be right, and I have no idea whether such problems can ever be overcome. Optics is one of the most difficult branches of physics that I have ever delved into, and I cannot see what might be possible a priori.
    --Lannie
     
  35. Dieter, I guess that you are right, and essentially, the "problem" is that the demand is apparently there. I won't ever be able to afford an AF 500mm f/4 or AF 600mm f/4 of either brand. That is why I hang onto my old Nikon Ai-S manual focus 600 f/4--it is the only 600 that I will ever be able to afford, if indeed I can continue to afford to hang onto it. (I got it on eBay in 2006.)
    This for me is an expensive hobby--and getting more expensive every day at just that time in my life when I have to start cutting back. I cannot cry too much, though. I still have my first digital camera, the Olympus E-20, as well as a Kodak PRO SLR/n, not to mention my Sony NEX-3, etc., etc. There will always be something that I can afford to shoot unless I become totally indigent.
    --Lannie
     
  36. To bring Richard's explanation home, if you were to stand to the side of the circle on the wall (which appears as an elipse from where you're standing) and photograph it with your excellent Sigma 12-24 rectilinear lens pointed perfectly perpendicular to the wall, that circle would be projected as a perfect circle in your photograph, just as though you were viewing the wall from a much greater distance. If you were to photograph it with a fisheye, it would look like an elipse, just as you view it from where you're standing.
    Now consider yourself standing in a room full of spherical Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. From where you're standing, they all look "circular." Photograph them with a fisheye, and they will all look circular. Photograph them with your Sigma 12-24, and they will appear stretched in the corners and edges (quite a lot at 12mm!).
    Generally speaking, a rectilinear lens is good at projecting from flat surface to flat surface and not as good with 3D objects, while the reverse is true of a fisheye.
    FAIW, these are not so different from the issues involved when mapping a spherical surface (the Earth) to a piece of flat paper. There are several ways to do it, each of which introduce their own particular distortions. There is no perfect, natural way to map a sphere onto a plane.
     
  37. Landrum, you are probably right in that one should never say it can't be done - but SLR wide-angle lenses are burdened by the fact that they are all retro-focus designs by necessity - there's got to be space for the mirror movement. This complicates the optical design - and certainly contributes to distortion and corner softness. Primes in general will show less distortions than a zoom at its widest setting (not too surprising considering the more complex lens design of the latter). Rangefinder lenses should do a bit better in that regard - but some don't play nice on a digital sensor because their rear is too close to the sensor and the incident light angle too shallow. AFAIK, the Voigtlander 15mm lens has very low distortion, but produces color shifts in the corner when used on a Leica M9.
    I am sure that a wide-angle lens could be designed with optimized corner performance and negligible distortion - what I don't know is what the price for such a lens would be and what other side effects (like maximum aperture of f/5.6, for example) it would entail. Some Zeiss and Leica wide angle lenses seem to do quite well in terms of corner sharpness; I have never seen one that is totally distortion free though. On the other hand, distortion in the range of +/-1% are usually negligible in everyday shooting - and many can be completely eliminated in post processing.
     
  38. Sarah, you sound as if you are saying that these problems can be logically seen to be insurmountable. The amazing thing, however, is that lens technology has advanced to the stage that it has. I am not sure what the theoretical limits really are. At present we seem to be seeing problems at perhaps 15mm or less. (I really do not know where the corners start to show obvious distortion.)
    I do understand your analogies, but I remain unconvinced as to what constitutes a proof, especially when it comes to specific focal lengths. Could newer designs push the realm of what is considered acceptable into presently uncharted (or unattained) territory?
    Dieter, my response to Sarah applies to you as well, I suppose. I am not saying that either of you is wrong. I simply do not know.
    --Lannie
     
  39. Dieter, your remarks about post-processing do raise some interesting theoretical and practical questions--can post-processing do what lens technology cannot?
    --Lannie
     
  40. I-Liang, have such limits been established purely deductively or empirically? I am always a bit skeptical when someone claims that something cannot be done. Next thing you know, someone has done it.​
    As Richard and Sarah explained, the distortion that you are describing is a product of the rectilinear geomerty design. It doesn't matter if you replace the Nikon with a Canon/Leica/Zeiss rectilinear lens of identical field of view - you'll see the same geometrical distortion. It's a product of projecting a curved surface onto a flat plane.

    Sravan suggested stitching two images from a shift lens as a way of achieving a simliar field of view with higher image quality. However, depending on how the stitched image is processed, it will either end up with the exact same rectilinear distortion, or it can eliminate the rectilinear distortion but then will introduce a different sort of distortion. In this link: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-projections.htm, compare the rectilinear vs cylindrical projections under the section Examples: wide horizontal field of view.

    The previously mentioned arguments are qualitative, emprical ones. If a rigorous, mathematical proof is necessary to convince you, I can't provide one.
    As for Canon v. Nikon zooms, I really have no idea which are better. I would think that a prime lens of either brand would be more likely to be able to nail the corners than a zoom, but it goes without saying that I could be wrong.​
    That's a very valid point if you're arguing that a prime lens would out perform a zoom, but the title of your original post basically asks if a Canon lens (not specifically a prime) would do a better job than a Nikon lens (specifically the 14-24 zoom in the example you highlighted). My feeling is that there are some lenses in both the Canon and Nikon catalog that are fully capable of taking advantage of the increased resolution; they can be identified by reviewing various metrics (MTF, CA, etc) that have been posted on well known lens review sites.

    Or you could wait until respected photographers have had a chance to evaluate both cameras on multiple lenses and give their anecdotal impressions.
     
  41. The only major question I have is that I had time to jog around the block with my bad knee and all before this picture downloaded. Is it going to take this long for every picture that comes out of the D800 ?
     
  42. Harry, I was impressed in the other direction, that the image was indeed large enough to challenge my networking infrastructure. It's a serious case of the sour-grapes and pixel-envy if one can look at this as anything but an improvement, if your interest is detail. 35 MP is a few pixels shy of double my 7D's 18 MP, and appreciably more than half again as much as each frame from a 5D2. Each image is almost as tall (the short direction) as mine are wide (the long direction). I would have to stitch two portrait oriented shots to equal one landscape shot from the D800, and likely still come with lower IQ (due to losses in the processing). Quite literally, a shot I can print at 8x12 can have the same detail printed at 19x13. Isn't this an improvement?
    My 7D can be set to over-sample RAW images at 10 MP, rather than its native 18 MP. I have never ever seriously considered doing so. There are a few reasons why I *might* consider doing so, but I have never come across a reason compelling enough that I *would* do so. Does anyone really routinely capture images smaller than the camera is capable of?
     
  43. Interesting choice for you to pick on the 14-24mm Nikkor. The 14-24mm easily has better performance than Nikon fixed focal length superwide angle lenses. Nikon developed some new technology to make it:
    http://imaging.nikon.com/history/scenes/25/index.htm
    Its performance was compared to the 14mm L II here:
    http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/canon14l2_nikon1424/nikon1424_canon14l2_a.html

    That said, if you're specifically looking for a sharp, distortion free image, the Biogon type wide angles (Hasselblad, Contax G, Zeiss Ikon and Mamiya 7 43mm and 50mm lenses) satisfy those criteria (0.03% distortion), but they do not perform well with digital sensors and they produce prolific vignetting at wide apertures even on film. The 14-24 has some barrel distortion at 14mm but the distortion is very low from about 17mm to 24mm. Vignetting is low and color uniformity excellent. The 14mm end is sharpest and 24mm is a bit weaker but still gives fixed focal length lenses a run for their money.
     
  44. Do these sorts of wild assertions--Nikon bodies are best, Canon lenses are best, etc. -- really do any good at all? They are not even novel or interesting trolling. Remember the old law:
    At any given time T, camera marque A will have the lead in some respect over marque B.
    At time T+1, B will have the lead over A.​
    There was a long time in which the top Nikon cameras had a max of 6MP, now Canon has only 23MP on the D5 mk iii, and Nikon has 30MP. Horrors, "I must change my whole camera system right now!"
    Those who change cameras every time one or the other pulls ahead, are doomed to change cameras often.
     
  45. your remarks about post-processing do raise some interesting theoretical and practical questions--can post-processing do what lens technology cannot?​
    Nikon and likely also Canon (I just don't know) already have in-camera correction for lens "shortcomings" - like CA correction. Software often allows further corrections - like eliminating lens distortions (DxO is probably the most advanced one here, but given decent lens profiles, even photoshop does OK).
    This thread is starting to confuse me a little - it had been my understanding that we were discussion lens properties - like corner sharpness and lens distortion - but not the geometric distortion that is inherent when projection a 3D object onto a 2D surface.
    My understanding of the "theoretical limits in lens design" is that the lens designer has a complicated system to deal with that requires careful balancing of different abberations and other "lens errors" in order to arrive at a design that suitable for the job and fits within the design parameters. Very often, minimizing one or two lens parameters goes at the expense of making others appear more pronounced. The fact that with digital cameras another optical system is within the optical path (the microlens array on the sensor) adds further complications to the lens design process.
    I tend to look at it a different way - if distortion-free and "sharp-in-the-corner" lenses were easy to design and manufacturer at a reasonable cost - then it would be done (or would have been done already). I believe that whatever high-end lens appears on the market today is the best possible under a set of given circumstances. A different set of optimization parameters and a different set of priorities may result in a different lens - the manufacturer needs to make the decision which route to take.
    I owned a Novoflex 400mm and 600mm rapid-focus system - both lenses did fairly well on film but were a disaster on my D200 - CA was horrible. Those lenses were simple designs, a triplet for the 400 and a single lens (or a duplet, I forgot) for the 600 - out of necessity they were as long as their focal length (not tele designs). Much more complicated designs with speciality glasses are used in today's high-end teles; AF and IS/VR further add complications to the lens design. Rather than complaining that a photographic lens system isn't perfect, we should be happy with the fact that they have become as good as they are now.
     
  46. Interesting choice for you to pick on the 14-24mm Nikkor.​
    Well, Ilkka, there is a silver lining to my criticism: the library picture was so perfect that I was almost stunned to see the distortion in the corners. Truth be told, I did not know which lens it had been shot with. I guess that I got a copy of the file from some other source and did not know what the EXIF data was, and I didn't run it through PS to find out for myself what focal length was used. Yes, it looked wide, but I had no idea how wide it really was!
    Knowing now just how wide the lens actually was certainly tempers my questioning, benign though it was. Now that the question has been raised as to how (or whether) a lens can be made much better, I am all the more interested in that question. The library photo was truly an impressive photo. I was really quite in awe of it, and still am.
    Sometimes a thread takes one in a direction that one could not possibly have anticipated when one started it. When Sarah posted the fisheye shot with her explanation, I knew that I was into some very interesting territory, territory that is much more interesting than my original question. Sarah has quite a mind, and she has still left me thinking about the problems of optics.
    There is a reason that we hang onto some of our Nikon glass when we switch to Canon or some other brand, as I did when the 5D came out and Nikon was not indicating any strong commitment to ever going full-frame. The reason? Well, if you shoot Nikon, I don't have to tell you. . . .
    That said, I don't expect to switch back again, although I do have a D90 which I shoot just for fun. I feel sure that further developments from Canon will lead into the same territory that Nikon has now covered.
    --Lannie
     
  47. Do these sorts of wild assertions--Nikon bodies are best, Canon lenses are best, etc. -- really do any good at all? They are not even novel or interesting trolling.​
    JDM, if you are talking about my original question, that was not the point at all. I thought that I had bent over backward to express my awe at the D800. As for the lens, as I just told Ilkka, I did not know just how wide it really was when I wrote the original post. Silly me.
    --Lannie
     
  48. Sarah, you sound as if you are saying that these problems can be logically seen to be insurmountable.​
    Well, I wouldn't quite put it that way, because I don't consider the particulars of these geometries as "problems." They are what they are. Of course you can always transform a photo from one geometry to another through an app such as PhotoShop, usually with somewhat mediocre results. However, just understand that a geometry is what it is.
    Think of it this way. Mount your Sigma onto a FF camera and dial it out to 12mm. Stand in front of a large painting, making sure to keep the camera square with its orientation. Frame it up so that you fill the frame with the entire painting. Take your picture, pull it up on your computer, and give it a good look. Absolutely nothing will look distorted. The lens is doing its job correctly.
    Now line up your family for a group photo at 12mm. Be certain your wife is standing either on the left or the right. Print and frame the picture, hang it on the wall, and prepare to sleep on the couch. She even won't have to ask, "Does this photo make me look fat?" ;-)
    It's only when you photograph something 3-dimensional (or something that lies in a plane that isn't perpendicular to the axis of the lens) that you will see distortions. In that case a different geometry of lens (fisheye) might (or might not) be preferable, depending on what you are photographing. Or perhaps the distortions are kinda' cool. A lot of people love UWA rectilinear landscapes, with swoopy clouds in the margins!
    In any event, UWA photography of any geometry is problematic (and always will be, despite technical advancements), because you're taking a hemispherical scene and re-mapping it to a flat surface. Something has to stretch and distort somehow to make that happen. (And a skilled photographer will make absolutely certain that it's not his/her significant other!)
     
  49. Rather than complaining that a photographic lens system isn't perfect, we should be happy with the fact that they have become as good as they are now.​
    Dieter, I'm not whining. Every day presents me with new delights, having been a resolutoin freak since the age of thirteen when I first started splitting double stars. I had to deal with my share of chromatic aberration in those days as well, in spite of the fact that the objective on that first telescope was said to be "achromatic." My present small refractor has an apochromatic objective, and it is awe-inspiring. The lens designers keep doing things that I never thought possible. I am still in awe of all of it.
    I am simply glad to have lived long enough to have seen all these developments in both lens technology and digital imaging--and that is from the heart. Brand names be damned. We live in interesting times, and my only regret is that I will not live long enough to see everything that is coming where imaging and communications technology is concerned--and who knows what else. Gosh, I feel left out already. . . .
    As for [several] changes in the direction of the thread, well, I have been delighted there as well. Sarah's fisheye shot brought me out of a chair with a benign (but not mild) expletive which I shall not repeat here. Her lasting intellectual challenge in her explanation might keep me up nights for a while.
    Let's face it, though. Given the weakness of my original post, the thread had no way to go but up, and I take no credit for the fact that it has improved vastly as it has gone along.
    --Lannie
     
  50. It's only when you photograph something 3-dimensional (or something that lies in a plane that isn't perpendicular to the axis of the lens) that you will see distortions.​
    Thanks, Sarah. I think that I finally, finally, finally get your point. Could I hire you as a personal tutor?
    --Lannie
     
  51. Frame it up so that you fill the frame with the entire painting. Take your picture, pull it up on your computer, and give it a good look. Absolutely nothing will look distorted.​
    Not true in that form. No geometric distortion yes - but the lens will still impart its lens distortions onto the image thus created - be it barrel or pincushion (both of which can often easily be corrected) or mustache-shaped (which you can't correct out). So the frame of the artwork you just shot may be bowed outward or inward or may have a wavy appearance, respectively.
     
  52. Dieter, barrel, pincushion and moustache distortion are all geometric distortions. And all three can be corrected with appropriate calibration and software.
     
  53. I have read some of the long responses just wanted to add a couple of things. The library image is still an awesome image and when viewing it full size on your computer you must take into account that it is presented at approximately 4 feet x 6 feet, and you are viewing it from about 18 inches.
    I shot with a Canon FD 17mm for 15 years and of course it had corner "stretch" distortion but it became even more apparent with my Nikon 14mm f2.8 that I used for over 5 years. I now use the 17 TS-E but I have not evaluated the corner stretch yet. I stitch images with it from a 5D II and the image quality is so stunning I have not worried about any distortion. I will make a point of comparing it to the others. Although, you would think I would have noticed a problem while stitching images together and I have not.
    Most of my lenses are Nikon so I can also add that what Nikon does need to do is add a 17mm tilt and shift so I can trade in my 5D II for a D800!
    P.S. I am so happy I bought a 5D II in the fall while it was on sale.
     
  54. barrel, pincushion and moustache distortion are all geometric distortions. And all three can be corrected with appropriate calibration and software.​
    Ilkka, and here I thought they are one of the five "Seidel monochromatic aberrations" as mentioned by Richard Chalfan above. As opposed to the geometric one that is introduced by the camera's orientation with the respect to the scene being photographed and the fact that a 3D object is projected onto two dimensions. But I did mention that this thread has confused me - and with your remark, continues to do so.
    Also, I was under the impression that moustache distortion is nigh impossible to correct - certainly not as easily as pincushion or barrel.
     
  55. I do not understand, why introducing new cameras by Canon and Nikon prompt such childish response in community, they( camera companies) loosing market shares in compact cameras, so they brought that megapixels war to DSLR market. I do not see anything new, or revolutionary in this, if they can cramp 8-10 megapixels in tiny compact, why not put them in full frame.
    As for original poster saying, that you will get medium format quality from those megapixels, good luck with that. 35mm is 35mm with all its limitations, difference only in grain or pixels size.
    May be Canon get it right this time, no one complained about resolution of 5D2, complains was all about slow focus, so itโ€™s fixed.
    Happy shooting to all.
     
  56. As for original poster saying, that you will get medium format quality from those megapixels, good luck with that. 35mm is 35mm with all its limitations, difference only in grain or pixels size.​
    Well, Nick, there is medium format, and then there is medium format. Consider this: Does the new Nikon not presage a move in the direction of medium format quality with the convenience of 35mm? Whether or not you think that Nikon has created a camera with true medium format output, it certainly at the very least has moved a long way in that direction. The marginal utility of carrying around bulky, heavy, and slow medium format gear has suddenly become less with the introduction of the new Nikons. I think that the D800 and its stablemate have shaken the camera world to its foundations. Oh, and did I mention price? Have you looked at the price of a Hassy MF camera and lenses lately?
    As for the presumed "childish response in community," well, maybe we are a bit like kids looking at pictures of new toys. A lot of us get excited about new products, even if we will never buy them--and who knows? Maybe we will, even if that might be a few years down the line when people sell them when the next new thing comes along.
    I liked it better when we were talking about lenses. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  57. Nick,while we are on the topic of medium format, consider these remarks last Friday by Shun Cheung, moderator of the Nikon forum here on Photo.net:
    Shun Cheung [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG], Mar 02, 2012; 09:46 a.m.
    Personally, I prefer the 5D3's 6 frames/sec with 22MP. To me, the 4 fps on the D800 is a fairly serious limitation. If you only use it as a studio still-subject, landscape, or macro camera, it is fine. Otherwise, 36MP is meaningless for a lot of people.
    The D800 is essentially a "medium format" camera in a small-format body. It is intedned to be used like medium format, but since it is still a small-format camera, a lot of people will use it that way and to some degree, Nikon is also trying to advertise it that it can be both medium-format-like and also small format.
    So, Nick, some of them are not exactly ecstatic over on that forum, and some of us are not totally thrilled over here, either. Strange world.
    --Lannie
     
  58. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Landrum Kelly, I am glad that I stumbled upon this thread. To make it clear, I do have plans to buy a D800, most likely a D800E, for its high resolution adavantage. It'll mainly be my landscape camera and will also be great for testing lenses. However, something around 16 to 20MP with better high-ISO capabilities will be a more practical, general purpose DSLR.
    I am very glad that Nikon introudced the D800, but it is more like a "medium format" camera in a small-format body. It is an overkill for the majority of the people reading these forums.
    In the old days, we used different types of film for different purposes. Today, the "film type" is built into the sensor and camera electronics, so we need more than just 1 camera type for different purposes. I know, it sure adds to the cost.
     
  59. Thanks, Shun! I was just reading and citing your post on your forum, and here you are over here. Why don't you just stay over here for a while?
    It's an expensive time to be shooting, yes, but also a very interesting and exciting time. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  60. Dieter,
    "Canon's 14mm will have a little less distortion that Nikon's 14-24 (which everyone considers the golden standard for wide anglel lenses (prime or zoom) nowadays) - but it's corner sharpness won't reach Nikon's. Nikon's 14mm will even fare worse. Canon's 17mm TS-E lens has less distortion than the 14/2.8 and stopped down a bit a fairly even sharpness distribution across the frame - but it's not as wide."​
    Canon's 14mm is not a good lens, the Nikon zoom is better, in my experience. Canon's 17mm TS-E is sharper in the corners than Nikons 24 PC-E, Canon's 24 TS-E makes all of them look like plastic kaleidoscopes. The 17 TS-E shifted with a two shot stitch gives an equivalent field of view of an 11mm lens.
     
  61. Not true in that form. No geometric distortion yes - but the lens will still impart its lens distortions onto the image thus created - be it barrel or pincushion (both of which can often easily be corrected) or mustache-shaped (which you can't correct out). So the frame of the artwork you just shot may be bowed outward or inward or may have a wavy appearance, respectively.​
    Well, yes, true, but I think that's being nit-picky. The Sigma 12-24 actually has freakishly well controlled distortion. In practice, nothing will look bent or stretched at first glance. Perhaps if you were to line up a ruler along what was a straight line in the painting (maybe the picture frame), you would be able to find some minor deviations from perfect straightness. That would be true of any lens from any manufacturer. I don't think it would be true of a pinhole, though.
     
  62. I know a world famous very high end interiors photographer that uses a 5D MkII with a Sigma 12-24 and does almost nothing to his files.
    Mustache distortion can be corrected, there are several programs that allow multiple types and directions of distortion within a single image to be corrected. But as Sarah says, it often isn't worth the effort, and, in practice, lenses designed for copying artwork tend to have very little distortion anyway.
     
  63. Scott, was it you who posted an inline photo or two of the interior of a house made with the Sigma 12-24 in a forum thread several years ago? I am thinking that it was you. I know that I went and ordered the Sigma as a result. It has given me some astounding sky shots. I forget now what the thread was about, but it was a very long thread.
    --Lannie
     
  64. Landrum,
    I'm not sure, it could have been, I do post a lot of images in threads, though I don't remember that particular thread.
    When I did some covering for my friend I used it as an excuse to buy the 17 TS-E and I use that for the vast majority of my interiors.
     
  65. Dear kally the price is the first thing the buyer is paying attention and the mentioned price in most previews will drop down
    for sure. And As far as to be in top of market yes they have to come out what considerably competent and I do agree that
    5d3 is not a match to the d800 as d700 was not a match 5d2.
    I am 7d owner and if I am moving to FF I will go to mkii Or wait for mk4 or 6 d who knows
    Also I would like to see the 1.3 crop sensor back at least on the 7d mkii
     
  66. Also I would like to see the 1.3 crop sensor back at least on the 7d mkii​
    Why? It couldn't then use EF-s lenses and ultrawides are limited in EF. The 1.3 crop factor was never fully supported and failed because of lens choices. The 1.6 crop factor is fully supported and will keep going for years.
     

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