Best lens for D800??

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
wilberforce_1 Forum Member • Posts: 57
Re: Best lens for D800??
1

It is very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to find a lens with "absolutely no distortion."

A more practical approach is to get a lens that has low distortion that has a "simple" distortion profile that is easily corrected - then apply Lightroom's lens distortion correction (which is specific for each lens brand and model) to a RAW photo, and this provides a virtually distortion-free photo.

Usually very low distortion is needed for architectural, not people, photos, where any distortion is immediately obvious in the straight architectural lines in the photo.

The other thing to realize is that aside from lens distortion, there is also perspective distortion, where objects (or body parts) closer to the lens appear larger than objects (or body parts) further from the lens. This is most obvious for short focal length lenses where noses (closer to the lens) appear larger, and faces appear more rounded. To minimize perspective distortion, you need as long a focal length as possible, in order to take the photo from as far away as possible - but of course you run into practical limitations with how far you can get from your subject.

In many cases the perspective distortion, which is unavoidable, dominates over any slight lens distortion (such as barrel or pin-cushion distortion).

I suggest pick your focal length first based on size and distance of subject, with the aim of trying to be as far away as practical (to minimize perspective distortion), and if you cannot control the distance, then pick a zoom lens (for example if the dancers are moving such that the distance is constantly changing). The lens distortion is a relatively small factor, as it usually can be almost completely corrected in post. Also, longer focal length lenses generally have much less lens distortion that short focal length lenses.

On the other hand, if you have an artistic goal of including, or exaggerating, perspective distortion, then of course you need to pick a closer distance and accordingly a shorter focal length lens.

Just some thoughts, not trying to avoid answering your question.

But not knowing anything else, one suggestion would be a Nikkor 50 mm f1.8G. Bright for indoor shots, good length for full-length portraits, distortion easily corrected in Lightroom, and very low cost. This will give you a very good idea of where you need to go from there. Nikkor 85mm F1.8G might also work, but you will need to be about 30 ft away for a full-body shot.

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