D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
John Miranda
Regular MemberPosts: 147
Like?
D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
Apr 25, 2012

For any interested, below are test results comparing Nikon's D3X, D800, Zeiss and Nikon lenses. The test really highlights the importance of lens choice, and how a D800 with a weaker lens may render less overall detail than a D3X with a superior lens.

With all the attention being placed on Nikon's excellent new D800, its easy to under emphasize the lens contribution to image detail.

Enjoy:
http://www.johnmiranda.com/benchmark2.htm

-- hide signature --
Nikon D3X Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Dennis DH
Senior MemberPosts: 1,241
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

Thanks for the post.

Kind of as most people expected, to get the most out of the D800 you are going to want the best lens.

For me it probably means an overhaul of my lens collection with fewer lens but better quality. Which down sizing my kit is fine, as the older I get the heaver my camera bag seems.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
m_appeal
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,434
Like?
So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

I am not sure what the conclusion of this test is?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
John Miranda
Regular MemberPosts: 147
Like?
Re: So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to m_appeal, Apr 25, 2012

It was a comparative test.

I'm quite happy with the 24-70mm lens that I own, but was surprised at the Zeiss sharpness difference that I saw (I don't own the Zeiss). I haven't printed the images so far to see what the difference visually means in a larger print, so I don't have further conclusions other than what I was able to visually demonstrate from full pixel crops.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DANdeMAN
Contributing MemberPosts: 902Gear list
Like?
Re: So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to m_appeal, Apr 25, 2012

m_appeal wrote:

I am not sure what the conclusion of this test is?

The 24-70 is crap!?
--

DANdeMAN SONY V3 (03-2005)

 DANdeMAN's gear list:DANdeMAN's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Samyang 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Aspherical +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
lockandload
Contributing MemberPosts: 513
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

I don't know if I got an abnormally good one or not but my copy of the 24-70 with my D800 is excellent.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
m_appeal
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,434
Like?
Re: So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

i highly doubt the 24 70 2.8 is as bad as it is made look in this test... It looks borderline soft

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
John Miranda
Regular MemberPosts: 147
Like?
Re: So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to m_appeal, Apr 25, 2012

I didn't try to make any lens look bad. Having owned the 24-70 for 3 years, I have always thought of it as an excellent and sharp lens, and still do. What I am sharing are two pictures, one taken with my 24-70 at 50mm at f8, and another with a Zeiss prime, and showing full pixel crops.

If anything, I would have preferred seeing less of a difference on my full pixel crops, as I am a 24-70 owner. In one respect the comparison is unfair, the Zeiss is a prime lens locked in at 50mm, while the 24-70mm is more versatile with its zoom, perhaps the trade off. It is what it is, no agenda with either manufacturer.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Zsolt Trencsenyi
New MemberPosts: 8Gear list
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

If you compare the two shots, the background seems a lot sharper with the 24-70 at the same aperture than with the ZF 50. This could indicate the focus being way further back than on the ZF shot and could explain why the foreground is blurry.

 Zsolt Trencsenyi's gear list:Zsolt Trencsenyi's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
rayman 2
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,164
Like?
Well I tested the cameras and the lenses..
In reply to lockandload, Apr 25, 2012

Well I tested the cameras and the lenses..
and found that the lenses were not that far apart from each other.
The difference was there but not as strong.......
I suppose I know why....
i DID NOT rely on the autofocus of the cameras and ALWAYS focussed in live view.
The focus indicator of all digitals is a bit off ! you sort of get well focused

but its not in all critical cases.. the indicator is a bit shifted to the left and is in focus
when the one lamp "just" turns to the midle indicator.... not exactly in the
center.....
I posted some results here on the H3 against D800 E and D3X thread...
but I do see the cameras about as far from each other as you do... so the test
is in line with what I got..
Peter

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
elliotn
Senior MemberPosts: 1,019
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

All you've established is that you have a serious autofocus problem with the D800 - look at the water behind the books.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DrGoon
Regular MemberPosts: 136Gear list
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to Zsolt Trencsenyi, Apr 25, 2012

Agreed. What this test may show better than lens differences is that camera assisted autofocus in the hands of a critical operator is capable of more consistent results than the autofocus mode employed. In order to quantify that however, we'd need to know the Af settings used.

"7. Both cameras focused on the same exact spot (I did use autofocus, or camera assisted focus for lenses without autofocus)."

What Af settings were used, and what were test conditions 3 and 6?

 DrGoon's gear list:DrGoon's gear list
Nikon D50 Nikon D90 Nikon D7000 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D800 +11 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
anotherMike
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,736
Like?
Unfortunately, your test is critically flawed and has to be ignored :(
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

Man, I hate to be the bearer of bad news as I do really appreciate people with access to this variety of expensive gear trying to be helpful, but you made one unfortunately critical mistake which renders your entire test worthless: you used the AF system to focus or to gauge focus (unless I have mis understood you, but I don't think I did because I see different points of exact focus in your test shots).

To do this test properly, you need to use the Live View focus method in what they call tripod mode, for the AF lenses, and Live View using manual focus and a loupe or zoomed in for the MF lenses, AND you need to do the same test about 3 times, refocusing each time.

Anything else, and people will be misled by your results. The fact that one can see different points of focus in the small web images in the comparisons is the litmus test that your method failed to achieve the one thing that is absolutely critical in these sorts of tests, which is exactly similar focus for each lens. Right now all you are testing is the AF inconsistencies of the lens/body more than the lens performance itself.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news as I'm aware this took some time. (I test for a living, and have done controlled lens tests before - to do it right is a PITA and takes quite a bit of time and repetition, in order to root out the testing errors and variance)

-m

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
anotherMike
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,736
Like?
Re: So Nikon 24-70 is a bad lens for D800?
In reply to DANdeMAN, Apr 25, 2012

There is no conclusion of the test. It was performed with a critical error in methodology (accurate focus was not determined for each lens under test), and thus nothing, zero, can be surmised from the results. Unfortunately.

-m

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
rayman 2
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,164
Like?
Re: Unfortunately, your test is critically flawed and has to be ignored :(
In reply to anotherMike, Apr 25, 2012

anotherMike wrote:

Man, I hate to be the bearer of bad news as I do really appreciate people with access to this variety of expensive gear trying to be helpful, but you made one unfortunately critical mistake which renders your entire test worthless: you used the AF system to focus or to gauge focus (unless I have mis understood you, but I don't think I did because I see different points of exact focus in your test shots).

To do this test properly, you need to use the Live View focus method in what they call tripod mode, for the AF lenses, and Live View using manual focus and a loupe or zoomed in for the MF lenses, AND you need to do the same test about 3 times, refocusing each time.

Anything else, and people will be misled by your results. The fact that one can see different points of focus in the small web images in the comparisons is the litmus test that your method failed to achieve the one thing that is absolutely critical in these sorts of tests, which is exactly similar focus for each lens. Right now all you are testing is the AF inconsistencies of the lens/body more than the lens performance itself.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news as I'm aware this took some time. (I test for a living, and have done controlled lens tests before - to do it right is a PITA and takes quite a bit of time and repetition, in order to root out the testing errors and variance)

-m

you are right ! Its actually enough to focus at live view with full magnification to the spot........ its hard though because the live view of the D800 in bright light is quite dim
but you can use a loupe to shade it !
My tests in my thread of all the cameras were all done in live view !
Peter

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
John M Roberts
Senior MemberPosts: 1,459
Like?
Re: Focus difference?
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

John Miranda wrote:

I didn't try to make any lens look bad. Having owned the 24-70 for 3 years, I have always thought of it as an excellent and sharp lens, and still do. What I am sharing are two pictures, one taken with my 24-70 at 50mm at f8, and another with a Zeiss prime, and showing full pixel crops.

If anything, I would have preferred seeing less of a difference on my full pixel crops, as I am a 24-70 owner. In one respect the comparison is unfair, the Zeiss is a prime lens locked in at 50mm, while the 24-70mm is more versatile with its zoom, perhaps the trade off. It is what it is, no agenda with either manufacturer.

I have a question as to why the background of the 24-70 is sharper while it's forground is soft yet on the Zeiss, it is the opposite? From my thinking there is a different point of focus. Why would I see this difference at the same aperture and at the same FL. Help me out here.

Thanks,

John R

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
rayman 2
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,164
Like?
Re: Focus difference?
In reply to John M Roberts, Apr 25, 2012

John M Roberts wrote:

John Miranda wrote:

I didn't try to make any lens look bad. Having owned the 24-70 for 3 years, I have always thought of it as an excellent and sharp lens, and still do. What I am sharing are two pictures, one taken with my 24-70 at 50mm at f8, and another with a Zeiss prime, and showing full pixel crops.

If anything, I would have preferred seeing less of a difference on my full pixel crops, as I am a 24-70 owner. In one respect the comparison is unfair, the Zeiss is a prime lens locked in at 50mm, while the 24-70mm is more versatile with its zoom, perhaps the trade off. It is what it is, no agenda with either manufacturer.

I have a question as to why the background of the 24-70 is sharper while it's forground is soft yet on the Zeiss, it is the opposite? From my thinking there is a different point of focus. Why would I see this difference at the same aperture and at the same FL. Help me out here.

Thanks,

John R

Because autofocus does not work correctly on all cameras...... not just Nikon.
It sort of works but its not good enough for critical work. Thats why its

much better to use live view... at high magnification for critical work with these
high MP cameras... I can tell you that both my Hasselblads and the Mamaya

arent perfect in that respect either .. BUT they only use ONE AF field and that generaly works better.. even better with the Hasselblad true focus method.....
Live view ! nothing else !
Peter

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
John Miranda
Regular MemberPosts: 147
Like?
Re: Focus difference?
In reply to rayman 2, Apr 25, 2012

Thank you all for the constructive inputs, perhaps that explains the difference. I did rely on the autofocus and in hindsight the technique of using live view would have been correct. When I have a chance, since I own the 24-70, I will apply the technique suggested above and re-do that shot and see if the the Nikon gets closer to the Zeiss.

At the distance the books are at, for 50mm, I thought at f8 that autofocus & viewfinder focus would have sufficed, but perhaps not at this level of detail.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
BJN
BJN
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,734
Like?
Indeed, focus varies widely in these.
In reply to anotherMike, Apr 25, 2012

And the target objects are poorly chosen. They lack detail that would make the focus point difference more obvious. But it's easy to see the water behind vary in sharpness due to the shifting focus plane.

-- hide signature --

BJ Nicholls
SLC, UT

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
cluna
Senior MemberPosts: 1,401
Like?
Re: D3X, D800 and a variety of lens tests
In reply to John Miranda, Apr 25, 2012

John Miranda wrote:

For any interested, below are test results comparing Nikon's D3X, D800, Zeiss and Nikon lenses. The test really highlights the importance of lens choice, and how a D800 with a weaker lens may render less overall detail than a D3X with a superior lens.

With all the attention being placed on Nikon's excellent new D800, its easy to under emphasize the lens contribution to image detail.

on the "Zeiss 50mm on left, Nikon's 24-70 f2.8 on right," comparison, the DOF or the focus is way off.

-C

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads