I'm convinced of the pro glass

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Gary Nakayama - SF Bay Area, California, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. ....apart from (some) sports shooters...

    "It scares the horses, don't you know";)

    ... and I suspect a full power SB-910 blast to the face of a down-hill mountain biker might be a bit nasty too!
  2. I do most of my static subject photography at ISO 64, including landscapes, architectural shots, and shots where the close-up subject is not swaying with the wind. For flower shots I may increase ISO to 200-800, to avoid movement blur, but whenever I can, I tend to shoot at lower ISOs for such subjects. For hand-held photography (of mostly people subjects) I will use whatever ISO that gives me fast enough shutter speed to stop movement, including ultra high ISO of 12800 etc. when necessary, in very low light. Of course I'll prefer to use lower ISO when possible.

    I haven't felt the ISO 64 to be problematic at all, in fact I love it, as it gives a bit more options regarding long exposures for blurring water movement, when desired, without resorting to the use of ND filters. But I started shooting with slow slide film and never really felt the urge to do landscape photography without a tripod. I find the tripod gives much greater control and consistency for this type of shots, and it results in tangible differences in the outcome. Beautiful tones, consistent near-to-far sharpness, ease of exposure blending and stitching compared to hand-held usage, precise composition etc.

    Sometimes there is no choice but to use very high ISO. In this case I was shooting at ISO 102400 a lot, to get shots of the dancers who were flashing a torch for a second at times, with no other light at the venue of old castle ruins. Now that was dark.

  3. ...which clearly captures more detail at ISO100 than at ISO200. :) It's absolutely not the case that the D810 has a problem at higher ISOs (although I believe there might be a tiny drop at some ISOs shared with the D800) - it's that it captures even more detail at ISO64. For the average JPEG from the camera, you can't see a difference; if you want to recover shadows (or avoid blown highlights - I hate entirely white clouds), which is my default situation, then I'll take all the detail I can get. If I'm outdoors in daylight, ISO64 is normally quite achievable - by f/8 I'm starting to see diffraction effects, and Sunny 16 would put that as a 1/256s exposure. Indoors if there's sun streaming through the windows, I usually need the same to capture shadow and anything directly sunlit. If I'm under natural lighting, sure, I let the ISO lift, and (adjusted to scale) any D8x0 body outperforms the D700 at any ISO. I could float the D700 between ISO200 and 1600 with very little effect; the D8x0 bodies do see an effect, but they're always better than the D700 was.

    When I'm shooting indoors, it's usually inappropriate or downright rude to use a flash - certainly one on the camera, and moving around with an acceptable lighting rig is tricky (despite my "monopod with a flash at both ends" experiments in candid butterfly lighting). It's certainly distracting, and I get complaints about the mirror slap as it is - I'm planning to try more with the D850's electronic shutter, but live view with a long lens has its own limitations for AF and stability. On-camera flash is arguably more appropriate for fill flash in direct sunlight - but that's where I rely on the sensor dynamic range and shooting at ISO64 the most. If there were more dynamic range to be had, I'd take (native) ISO32 if Nikon offered it. As for shooting outdoors at night, while I know an SB600 can light up a building reasonably well, there are limits to what it can do with an entire cityscape. And with wildlife at night, ignoring whatever harm or distress I may cause it with flashes (Yellowstone bans flashlights I presume for this reason), I've been burnt by discovering the flash duration on my SB-600 is much longer than I'd realised, and inadequate for freezing dragonflies.

    So I'll always take more high ISO performance if it's available (and not just a marketing number). While it's not perfect, I've been pretty impressed by the images out of the D850 even at stratospheric ISO, and that's usually even viewing 1:1.
  4. The 70-200/4 AFS VR I have does seem to produce exceptionally nice looking results-at f/4. I also have a 70-200/2.8 VRI that I think needs to be used at 3.2 if possible, so the f/4 version is effectively only 2/3 stop slower in my mind. I had an 80-200/2.8D a good while back and not able to compare directly, but I am pretty sure that the 70-200/4 (and 2.8VRI central area at least) would win a comparison.

    Also, I have one of the non VR Tamron 17-50/2.8 zooms that seems quite good. Zoom operation of my Tamron is fine, and I like the relatively light weight. Too bad there does not seem to be an inexpensive FX equivalent of that lens, at least that I have found.
  5. I should look into this one...

    I'm not a BIG tele shooter, but 70/80-200/210 is a range that makes sense for me. I'm not planning on getting rid of the 80-200 f/2.8D and I don't think an f/4 lens can COMPLETELY replace it, but there's also no getting around the fact that it's a lot of glass to move around and focus can be a bit "leisurely" with consumer bodies(and yes, I'm including my D800 in that classification). The F5, D1 series, D2 series, and D3s slam it around like crazy, but of course the older cameras don't have as good of AF modules as the D3s(and especially not the D800) and I also feel like the D3 in-body motor is a bit less potent than the earlier single-digit cameras.

    Of course, VR won't stop action or blur backgrounds, but in many cases it can make more than a 1-stop difference when hand-holding. There's also the fact that a lens I will carry with me is MANY times more useful than a lens that stays at home/in the car.

    That doesn't stop me from wanting a 135mm f/2 DC also. I know Andrew has issues with this lens, but I still want one. The local shop had the 105mm version a few months back in nearly new condition for around $500, and I figured I'd sleep on it since I didn't see it flying off the shelf-when I called the next day to say to hold it back for me, it was already gone.

    BTW, I do a lot of landscape and other "environmental" types of photography(for lack of a better term) and I consider a tripod standard equipment. I think it's a bit short sighted to imply that "no one uses a tripod." I actually have a couple, including the spindly little Manfrotto CF legs with a B-1 ballhead on top(I want to upgrade those legs) that weighs a little of nothing and works fine most of the time, a Tiltall that works great cameras like my RB67 and 4x5 cameras, and a massive no-name unit that's about 15lbs and that I rarely take far but would hold an 8x10 steady without breaking a sweat.
  6. - By 'detail' I take it you mean 'has a greater dynamic range'? The dynamic range of modern DSLRs is probably an order of magnitude greater than any slide film ever made, and also exceeds what most negative film could hope to capture without special techniques.

    So I see no problem at all with throwing away a couple of stops to get a more appropriate aperture or shutter speed. How often are you photographing black cats in a rabbit hole backlit against the sun?

    Direct flash? Hateful stuff! But bounced flash can be implemented in almost any room, and is much less intrusive and distracting. Even those little white plastic speedlight-condoms help to spread the light and soften its effect on the eyes, even though they do little to alter the character of the light.

    "That doesn't stop me from wanting a 135mm f/2 DC also."

    - Save your money Ben. Get the Samyang 135mm f/2 instead.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  7. The picture is the thing.

    You do what you need to do to get the picture. High ISOs, low ISOs, flash, available light, noise-- it's all subordinate to the image.

    As in so many areas of life, ideological commitment to some particular method can be a serious impediment to achievement in actual practice.

    Is that sufficiently ex cathedra for you?
    sjmurray and Wayne Melia like this.
  8. 5 digit ISO
    That was me shooting night games under light, or in the gym, with my 18-140.
    ISO = 12800, 1/500 sec, f/5.6 (wide open). I was trying to stay away from ISO 25600

    I would have loved to use a f/2.8 and get the ISO down to 3200. But for this old man, the f/2.8 lens is too heavy to haul around for a double game (JV + Varsity). Plus 2x the cost of the f/4 lens. The f/4 lens was a compromise for weight and cost.
    With the 70-200/4 ISO=6400, 1/500, f/4
    I had 2 student who came to the last football game with a 70-200/2.8. Mom and dad's lenses. (drool)

    For the gym sports, I switched to the 35/1.8 DX. ISO=3200, 1/500 sec, f/2.8.
    I tried shooting at f/2, but got more focus misses.
    Though now I have to look at the Tamron 18-70/2.8 that @rj mentioned.
  9. What you want is a Sigma 50-100mm 1.8 or for the wider end, the 18-35mm 1.8. Limited zoom range but you can shoot wide open if needed!

    If your OK with 2nd hand, they can be had quite reasonably priced.

    Is it really OOF or is the shallow DoF in the 'wrong' place?
  10. I first looked at the DX Sigma 50-150/2.8, as the focal range matched close to the standard 70-200 on a FF camera.
    • + That was the ONLY fast DX lens that was close to the standard FF 70-200 in focal length.
    • - It really sucked when Sigma make the VR version of the DX 50-150/2.8 as big and heavy as the FF 80-200/2.8. So no DX size reduction like the non-VR version.
    • - Then rather than a smaller version 2, they discontinued it for the 50-100/1.8.
    Then the 50-100/1.8
    • - To me, the reduction in zoom range really sucked. OK that was one of the compromises to get from f/2.8 to f/1.8.
    • - - The weight, is as heavy as a FF Nikon 70-200/2.8. OK, to be expected from the larger f/1.8 glass, and another compromise. Although for me weight was a major issue, so this hurt bad.
    • - But no VR. This one really hurt, especially for an old man who is not as steady as his younger self was.
      • My guess is that either the designer thought that the fast 50-100 did not need VR, or Sigma could not get the VR version to meet the target IQ.
    • So no VR on a heavy lens, and I would have to use it on a monopod. If so, I might as well use the slower but wider range 70-200/2.8 or the discontinued 50-150/2.8.
    • - - Then I read of repeated issues with consistent focusing. The problem that I read was that the lens would not consistently focus, so focus adjustments did not work. And with that shallow DoF, missing focus was more of an issue than with slower lenses. This was fatal.
      • I hope Sigma has the focus issue sorted out.
    As for focus miss with my 35/1.8
    • It could very well be that the AF did not nail the focus when the shutter fired. C-AF will do that. I observed that many times, my first shot of a snap shot, where I quickly shift subjects, shot 1 is OoF (I think the camera was still focusing the lens), then shot 2 is in focus. The deeper DoF would accommodate some of the focus lag.
    • Interestingly I did not have this problem shooting basketball. I think I did not do as much fast subject shifting as I did with volleyball.
    • But I have also missed the subject, so my fault. On close examination of some OoF shots, I found the background in focus, but the subject not. So I clearly missed the fast moving subject, or missed in the snap/shift to a new subject.
  11. Lightweight Pro Glass, is, I think, a bit of a contradiction.:D

    I have never had a single focus issue with the 50-100mm on my D500 (maybe that's the point?). 2500 frames of jumping horses on a grey English afternoon and it never missed. 1/1600 @ f4 Auto ISO about 30 degrees on to a horse doing maybe 20mph, jumping 4ft fences, about 20>30 feet away.

    VR doesn't help for moving subjects, although when I do autumn leaf close-ups in the woods it would be handy but guess it would make it even heavier. Go monopods!

    Certainly my first frame, of a burst, success rate is higher with the D500 than the D7200 with the same lens.

    Trouble with all this tech is the better stuff gets, the further you push the envelope of what's possible, so that small increments in, say focus acquisition, mean you can get that extra money shot... when before you couldn't. Giving the AF module more light to work with has the same result.

    So you buy the upgrade.

    ...and repeat....;)
  12. @mike_halliwell
    Yup the old pro f/2.8 lenses were/are heavy.
    But if they keep the optical quality and slow down the lens as with the f/4 lenses. They have the pro quality with a lighter lens.

    But as you said, AF performance is better with more light. More light = faster lens.

    On a DX/crop camera, I prefer the shorter 50mm end of the 50-100/150 to the 70mm end of the 70-200. That 70mm is just a bit too long for field sports, when shooting on the sidelines.

    I would LOVE the f/2.8 or f/1.8 pro lenses, but being retired, and not making money off my shooting, I have to be careful where my limited budget is spent.
    And being old, I can't handle the gear weight like I did when younger, so a monopod is definitely in the future. But, I'm trying to push it off as long as I can, as it really cramps my ability to follow/pan with the action, when standing near the sidelines.

    The D500 is probably a better camera for me to use for some of the sport stuff that I shoot, than the general purpose D7200, but it isn't in the budget.
    Albin''s images likes this.
  13. Sure is, there's only so far you can lean back into a barbed-wire fence if the horse jumps a little closer and you hit the 50mm hard-stop on the lens!

    The 50mm end on the Sigma has an effective FOV of ~75mm on FX and is a bit tight. I wonder if Sigma could push version 2 to 40-100mm 1.8...? :cool:

    By looking at the EXIF data on a day's horse jump shots, the magic number seems to be ~135mm, (so 85mm on DX);

    I have tried an 85mm 1.8 G AFS prime on the D500, but it's too scary with no zoom-flexibility for errant gee-gees.
  14. YES, 40mm on the short end !!!
  15. Wouldn't 35 to 105mm be a more sensible range for a DX lens?

    I find the old Series E 75-150 f/3.5 to be quite a nice lens for use on full-frame and for intimate venues, but a wider zoom ratio than 2:1 wouldn't go amiss.

    Swap it to DX and you've still got a very useful and neat little tele-zoom.

    I also have to revise my previous 'rave review' of this lens. My first sample - with silver metal mounting grip - is an absolute gem. A second sample I picked up - with black plastic grip - is more of a dog! So obviously you need to try before you buy with this lens, or get one cheap enough to take a risk.
  16. Range YES :), Speed NO :(

    The whole idea is a fast 'Pro' lens and currently Sigma seem to have hit a x2 Zoom Range 'Limit' for their f1.8 DX zooms. Either 18-35mm 1.8 or 50-100mm 1.8.

    An extra 10mm on the wide end would be very handy. It's so sharp it easily crops to 150mm FOV at the other end.
  17. Well put. I keep the f/4 in my go bag with the D750. I also have a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 APO DG, if I need an extra stop. However, it tends to reside in its padded case. The Nikkor is tack sharp, even @ f4. And, like most folks, I'll kick up the ISO by a stop when I need to. I also had the older AF "D" version, but the newer model is really heads and shoulders above it.
  18. Funny you mentioned that.
    Last year, I was thinking that based on the EXIF of my soccer pics, 35 would be a good wide end for a field zoom.
    So 35-105 (3:1) or push the range a bit more to 35-140 (4:1). Make that a f/2.8 lens, and you would have something for us DX guys.
  19. Nah, f2 at a most.....:cool:

    Might need a wacky polycarbonate composite, fluorite glass and titanium to keep the weight down though....;)
  20. Interesting thread, I hope it continues.

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