Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lens Tests

I have placed an order for a Nikon D800e and that raises the question of what lenses to use and where to go for information. I know the quality of what I have (17-40, 24-70, 50 macro, 90 tse, 70-200 and rarely used 300.

My go-to sites for information are:

1) - i find the ISO target images the most useful in understanding about resolution, especially as he has retested most lenses with the Canon 1Ds3 and Nikon D3x so we can make some reasonable predictions about the D800(e).

2) - I don't think we can say much about function on a 36 megapixel camera when testing with a 12 so some of the older tests are of less value (yet a bad lens will remain bad - only worse).

3) - good testing but very limited selection, and again consider the camera with which the testing was done.

4) - helpful but they specifically say you can't compare diff. systems - even within one brand.

5) - not formal lens testing with numbers and graphs but practical testing and comparisons. Yes, you have to pay for access, but paying $100 or so if you are purchasing a $3000 camera and perhaps as much as $7,000 in lenses, information well worth having.

What have my investigations so far shown me? The following are my impressions and remember I have not done any personal testing, not yet having the camera.

Well, the Zeiss 15 is stellar and significantly better in the far corners than the already very good Nikon 14-24 - but at $3000, and as I'm not your typical landscape photographer concentrating on near far compositions - it may not be sensible.

The Nikon 24-70 has a good rep but looking at the images I'm not overly impressed, especially at the 24 end. The Nikon 24 f1.4 G is terrific and as good or better than the Zeiss, and cheaper, faster, and auto focus.

The Nikon 35 1.4 is also terrific, and better than the f2 lens at the apertures I use - f8 and f11.

The Nikon 50 1.4 g tests very well but oddly doesn't seem to have a great reputation - barring evidence to the contrary, it will be part of my collection.

I wish there were more information on the 70-200 on either the D3x or the D800 but it looks to hold up well enough - near perfect at 70-100 and decent if not exceptional  in the corners the rest of the way. As this focal length is by far my most frequently used  lens, and as generally with longer lenses there is less opportunity to move forward or back to frame, I think I will have to at least give it a go. I wish Nikon made a high quality f4 lens for less weight ...

As to the D800 itself and the whole business of switching cameras - I was prepared to spend the money on the Pentax 645D - here I can spend about the same for camera and lenses and gain live view, image stabilization, and more flexibility.  If I find that Canon releases an even better camera within the year, I'm sure my D800e will not depreciate too badly and the lenses can be sold, or adapted for use on the Canon if need be.

Some argue that 36 megapixels isn't really a lot more than 21 since the linear increase in print size possible is the square root of the increase in pixels (about 31%) but that's the difference between 20X30 and 30X40 and for me that's important and may even pay for itself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lens rentals has been collecting recommendations in their "D800 Lens Selection" blog entry.