Nikon 105 for butterfly collection

Started 5 months ago | Questions thread
antoineb
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f22 massively in diffraction territory! Don't go over f11
In reply to TQGroup, 5 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

I've volunteered to photograph a very extensive butterfly collection. I plan to use my D600 + Nikon 105 VR lens. Has anyone any experience or suggestions?

Is IQ still good at F22 or is there a significant impact from diffraction with this combination?

I'm thinking of using a colour corrected led ring light... will this work OK? If so, should I use even lighting or offset to render more "depth" to the images?

As the collection numbers well over 10,000; throughput speed is important. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Hi TQGroup,

people should be thankful that you've volunteered to photograph over 10'000 butterflies!!!

My two cents is based on the very solid article in this link:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/resolution.shtml

Basically, this says that, even with a "perfect" lens (i.e. no loss in light transmission, etc) then for a 24x36mm sensor of 24mp:
- at f8 you're in in safe territory diffraction-wise, except for the longer light wavelengths (red) where even a perfect lens could properly feed only 19mp
- at f11 you're already losing resolution to diffraction for all light wavelengths except the shorter ones i.e. blue-violet
- at f16 you're massively losing resolution to diffraction for all light wavelengths.  Even for blue-violet a perfect lens could properly feed only 14mp (vs the D600's 24mp)

And then you have to remember that even a great lens such as the 105mm macro, is certainly not "perfect" in terms of theoretical models.  For starters, the 105mm macro loses you no less than 3.4 stops in light transmission (the very best lenses for transmission being shorter focal length primes but even they lose around 1.5 stops).

BOTTOM-LINE:  I personally wouldn't go over f11.  You must obviously be good at this if you took such an assignment, but just in case:  (1) I hope you own a lightbox, either purchased or home-made - one of these with a thin side opening to install objects can save a lot of valuable time;  (2) I'd do some testing not just w the Aperture but also with whether I can manage it in JPEG and if so whether I can play with the compression settings - could be invaluable if you could avoid having to PP a few tens of thousands of images.  Good luck.

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