Thom on D800 lens choice

Started May 14, 2012 | Discussions
mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,531
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

noirdesir wrote:

If you make a 2x crop from the 200 mm f/2, it will have the FOV of a 400 mm lens, the DOF of a 400 mm f/4 lens and the image noise (or SNR if you want) of a 400 mm f/4 lens and a lower resolution/contrast than the 200-400 mm f/4. But you have a noticeably smaller lens than the 200-400 mm is (plus you also have a 200 mm f/2 lens)

If I need only about 12MP image files, I would still pick a D800+200/2 instead of a D700+200-400/4 on safari.

That's one reason why it is so absurd to answer to people who want more resolution for cropping that they "don't own the right lens".

venice Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

mattr wrote:

noirdesir wrote:

If you make a 2x crop from the 200 mm f/2, it will have the FOV of a 400 mm lens, the DOF of a 400 mm f/4 lens and the image noise (or SNR if you want) of a 400 mm f/4 lens and a lower resolution/contrast than the 200-400 mm f/4. But you have a noticeably smaller lens than the 200-400 mm is (plus you also have a 200 mm f/2 lens)

If I need only about 12MP image files, I would still pick a D800+200/2 instead of a D700+200-400/4 on safari.

That's one reason why it is so absurd to answer to people who want more resolution for cropping that they "don't own the right lens".

Agree that is a nonsensical response.

I frequently shoot with my D3x knowing that the cropping flexibility allows me to select a particular lens, for example, the 24mm f/1.4, and still obtain the results I need.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,586
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

mattr wrote:

noirdesir wrote:

If you make a 2x crop from the 200 mm f/2, it will have the FOV of a 400 mm lens, the DOF of a 400 mm f/4 lens and the image noise (or SNR if you want) of a 400 mm f/4 lens and a lower resolution/contrast than the 200-400 mm f/4. But you have a noticeably smaller lens than the 200-400 mm is (plus you also have a 200 mm f/2 lens)

If I need only about 12MP image files, I would still pick a D800+200/2 instead of a D700+200-400/4 on safari.

That's one reason why it is so absurd to answer to people who want more resolution for cropping that they "don't own the right lens".

Certainly, cropping is the same as using a DX camera and nobody tells DX camera owners that they "don't own the right lens". And with the D800, a FX camera has finally enough pixel density on the DX crop to double as a very decent DX-ish camera.

My aversion to cropping comes from that I don't like composing with me having to mentally crop it (though DX cropped viewfinder of the Nikon FX cameras helps a lot for the 1.5x crop) and with the subject being so small in the viewfinder, here a dedicated DX camera comes with a higher magnification (though a FX viewfinder without any cropping still clearly beats any DX viewfinder in size).

I am also very much a prime person, ie, I to some degree mentally limit myself to only seeing the images I can take with the lenses I have with me. But in the end it is what satisfies you more, capturing high MP, low noise images or capturing whatever draws your attention.

SNRatio Regular Member • Posts: 476
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely, though quite unexperienced

venice wrote:

SNRatio wrote:

And while most el cheapo lenses could be made to look quite good on the D700, their flaws are exposed in an entirely different way on the D800. Compared to D700/D3 they may still look very nice on D800 (just downsample to 12MP..), but you don't get a D800 for doing D700 comparisons, do you?

Well, plenty of people might use get a D800 to step up from their D700 but don't need the maximum resolution most of the time.

For those people, who I would say constitute about 90% of all D800 users, if not more, lenses like the 28-300 make excellent sense.

I surely won't need the max resolution most of the time - I don't even do that with my D700. And none of us say that the 28-300 doesn't make sense at all, what we underline, is that it doesn't make much sense to buy the D800 and then only use the 28-300. The easiest and cheapest way to get more out of the camera, is to fill in with relatively inexpensive primes. With the AF-S 50/1.8G or the AF-S 60/2.8 micro, the AF 85/1.8D and the AF 35/2D in addition to the superzoom, you have an inexpensive series giving quite good total coverage - the main weakness will be low light shooting. (And you are going to be very disappointed with the 35/2 sometimes, when you need off-center performance in the f/2-f/4 range.)

I will probably not go for such a combination myself. Why? Well,, I have got quite a bit experience with the 18-200, both versions. On the D1H it looked just about perfect, on the D50/D40 it was very good, but on the D300 weaknesses were exposed. It became a moot point that pictures with it did in fact look better on the D300 than the D50/D40 - I had to fall back on primes so often that I ended up almost exclusively using the 16-85 - which the primes had a far harder time to beat. And for the question whether the 18-200 on the D300 looked much better than the 16-85 on the D40 - never looked much into it, but don't think it did. The 18-200 is very nice for low-hanging fruit, but mostly that.

The adequate allround combo for me with the D300 was the 16-85 + 70-300, and my primes got rather little general use. With more pixels, cropping in the tele end became a much more viable option, so for example, in choosing between the 18-200 and the Sigma 50-150 on the D300 in situations where I might occasionally need 200mm, the choice was obvious. Still I find the 18-200 a damned useful tool on DX - its use has just got so much more specialized with time. Something like a 20-200 FX could be much more interesting, for me than the 28-300, in particular if it is good from 24-35mm where lots of my use is.

I hope, both for Nikon and the D800 buyers' sake, that you are wrong about the 90+ percent estimate for the 28-300 audience. Most of those people will be way better served by the upcoming D600. Using superzooms can be quite smart, trying to gloss over their deficiencies isn't smart at all. Superzooms may be very handy universal tools for beginners, and those who prefer to stay at that level may have found a companion for their life.

Tamas Ibiza New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

Yawn.....Thom is a commercial boring person.....go for it....

fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 17,143
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

Thom's article says:

If you can live with f/8 as your smallest aperture, the 28-300mm may be good enough that you won't notice the difference.

venice wrote:

Jon Rty wrote:

And this is exactly what Thom says in his article as well

We are not remotely in agreement on this.

Let us part with the understanding that we are both passionate about photography but that we do not interpret Thom the same way.

Have a good day.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

-- hide signature --

Frank

All photos shot in downtown Manhattan unless otherwise noted.
Thanks in advance for the kindness of your comments or critiques.

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mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,531
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

noirdesir wrote:

My aversion to cropping comes from that I don't like composing with me having to mentally crop it (though DX cropped viewfinder of the Nikon FX cameras helps a lot for the 1.5x crop) and with the subject being so small in the viewfinder, here a dedicated DX camera comes with a higher magnification (though a FX viewfinder without any cropping still clearly beats any DX viewfinder in size).

I agree, this is the main drawback.

But I think it can be done and it is a nice exercise. I have always been trying to mentally crop to different aspect ratios while still getting a good composition, especially for portrait orientation where I don't like the 2:3 very often.

For me the added flexibility, especially when using prime lenses, is well worth the effort.

fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 17,143
What Thom is saying

This is a really useful article. What Thom is saying is that the answer is not obvious and not the same for everybody, or for all situations.

I'm a street photographer. I don't own a lens, prime or zoom, that cannot be used, although the 14-24G and the 85L are severely limited in practice.

I had settled on the 24-120 on the D3s, because of its zoom range and its quality stopped down to f5.6 or larger. Anticipating, some day in the distant future, getting an 800E from B&H, I gave my 24-70 a try on the street and found I like it better, for now. It operates more smoothly than my 24-120, I can shoot at all apertures, and it impels me to shoot closer, which is something I'm happy to work on. I've also stopped down to f8 as my default aperture in good light. But the fact is I am losing certain shots I could get with longer focal lengths. For my needs, the 28-300 is worth taking a look at. So are the f1.8 primes, because of the small size.

For me the 800E will be two cameras. A very cheap way of taking a few street shots with the S2 to see what happens, or for what ever MFish situations might come by. For that IQ of lenses will be paramount.

More commonly, it will also be a daylight street camera that is smaller than the D3s/D4, somewhat weaker AF, but that adds effective focal length to all lenses. The 3 zooms now become effective 24-122, 24-210 and 28-450.

It's relatively easy to explain what a purist needs to get the best IQ, and likewise what tools will help you get the shot, when that is paramount. But Thom did something harder, to explain the tradeoffs, and how Nikon's current lenses give you choices that require judgment in balancing IQ and getting the shot. I found it helpful in perhaps leading me to get the 28-300 in addition to numerous other lenses. I could perhaps find a place for it, at least in street photography shot at f8.

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Frank

All photos shot in downtown Manhattan unless otherwise noted.
Thanks in advance for the kindness of your comments or critiques.

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mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,531
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

venice wrote:

I frequently shoot with my D3x knowing that the cropping flexibility allows me to select a particular lens, for example, the 24mm f/1.4, and still obtain the results I need.

Exactly.

For example for walk around street photography IMO 35mm is perhaps the best focal length (on full frame). I expect the new 28/1.8 on a D800 to be perfect for this application: it allows me to go a bit wider if necessary but I can still obtain 23MP crops corresponding to 35mm (or 11MP corresponding to 50mm). Which zoom lens offers 28-50/1.8-3.2 in such a small package?

venice Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

Thom says:

"The 28-300mm? No, I'll pass. I know a lot of people like the notion of one-lens-does-everything, but that seems to me to be in direct contradiction to the core of what the D800 is. I really don't see the point of buying the DSLR with arguably the best image quality available and then slapping it with the penalty of less capable glass (probably with a protective filter out front that further reduces capability)."

It just depends on how your interpret him.

Let's leave it at that.

Have a good day.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

venice Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

SNRatio wrote:

venice wrote:

SNRatio wrote:

And while most el cheapo lenses could be made to look quite good on the D700, their flaws are exposed in an entirely different way on the D800. Compared to D700/D3 they may still look very nice on D800 (just downsample to 12MP..), but you don't get a D800 for doing D700 comparisons, do you?

Well, plenty of people might use get a D800 to step up from their D700 but don't need the maximum resolution most of the time.

For those people, who I would say constitute about 90% of all D800 users, if not more, lenses like the 28-300 make excellent sense.

I surely won't need the max resolution most of the time - I don't even do that with my D700. And none of us say that the 28-300 doesn't make sense at all, what we underline, is that it doesn't make much sense to buy the D800 and then only use the 28-300.

I agree that it is better to have choices. I have the 28-300 and have used it on my D3x but when I do a fashion shoot I generally use either my 24 f/1.4 or 85 G f/1.4 or 135 DC f/2 for their size, fast focus, and the way they render an image. On a recent outdoor sports shoot I used my D3x and the 24-70 for the fast focus.

About your ad hominem crack about my being inexperienced ...

It is because I am very experienced that I can comfortably criticize Thom and his fallacious argument.

If you cannot make terrific images using the 28-300 and a D800 then it is your failing as a photographer, not the equipment. I can afford any lens I want to get the shot I visualize, not everyone can. Also, not everyone wants to travel with a bag of lenses. And, the 28-300 on a D800 probably handily beats the 24-70 on a D700 for resolution anyway.

Please post a few images and think a little before throwing stones.

See some of my images at the link below. They are from my recent gallery show. Hundreds of people and not one asked me what lens or camera I used.

-Bill

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

Jim Keye Senior Member • Posts: 2,182
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

venice wrote:

Thom says:

"The 28-300mm? No, I'll pass. I know a lot of people like the notion of one-lens-does-everything, but that seems to me to be in direct contradiction to the core of what the D800 is. I really don't see the point of buying the DSLR with arguably the best image quality available and then slapping it with the penalty of less capable glass (probably with a protective filter out front that further reduces capability)."

It just depends on how your interpret him.

What, exactly, is there to interpret there? His statement is about as straightforward as it gets. Are you saying you have a different philosophy than him (shooting style, what constitutes sufficient IQ, what the D800 "core" is)? Seriously, what is there to "interpret" in his statement?

venice Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

Jim Keye wrote:

venice wrote:

Thom says:

"The 28-300mm? No, I'll pass. I know a lot of people like the notion of one-lens-does-everything, but that seems to me to be in direct contradiction to the core of what the D800 is. I really don't see the point of buying the DSLR with arguably the best image quality available and then slapping it with the penalty of less capable glass (probably with a protective filter out front that further reduces capability)."

It just depends on how your interpret him.

What, exactly, is there to interpret there? His statement is about as straightforward as it gets. Are you saying you have a different philosophy than him (shooting style, what constitutes sufficient IQ, what the D800 "core" is)? Seriously, what is there to "interpret" in his statement?

Well, I agree with you. He is crystal clear that the 28-300 does not belong on the D800.

I feel he is wrong about that and that the 28-300 can be used to good effect on the D800. Not everyone that uses the D800 needs to only use top glass for every shot.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

fad
fad Forum Pro • Posts: 17,143
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

venice wrote:

Jim Keye wrote:

venice wrote:

Thom says:

"The 28-300mm? No, I'll pass. I know a lot of people like the notion of one-lens-does-everything, but that seems to me to be in direct contradiction to the core of what the D800 is. I really don't see the point of buying the DSLR with arguably the best image quality available and then slapping it with the penalty of less capable glass (probably with a protective filter out front that further reduces capability)."

It just depends on how your interpret him.

What, exactly, is there to interpret there? His statement is about as straightforward as it gets. Are you saying you have a different philosophy than him (shooting style, what constitutes sufficient IQ, what the D800 "core" is)? Seriously, what is there to "interpret" in his statement?

Well, I agree with you. He is crystal clear that the 28-300 does not belong on the D800.

I feel he is wrong about that and that the 28-300 can be used to good effect on the D800. Not everyone that uses the D800 needs to only use top glass for every shot.

I'm more expert with language than photography by a long shot. He is not saying what you think he is. (He could be clearer, though. He's being very cute, and not everyone has the habit of charting complex arguments on the fly.)

Thom has very clearly explained what is required to shoot as a perfectionist. But this is a more complex argument - how to make tradeoffs among different lenses. He could clarify that different styles and different subjects and different technical approaches would each lead to different lens choices. But maybe he's not a sophisticated enough writer to do that with clarity, or maybe it would take too much time. There is a lot in that article, but the reader has to do some work to get all of it.

He is explaining the pros and cons of different lenses and lens combinations. For him, he does not plan to use the 28-300. But he is quite clear that for others it might work well.

In fact, I think I'll go and order the 28-300 now. Thom has talked me into it. I'm a street shooter who likes to shoot at f8 and who sees a lot of tele opportunities. It could be a very good fit. With that an a 50/1.8D or another prime in my pocket, it could be a good thing.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

-- hide signature --

Frank

All photos shot in downtown Manhattan unless otherwise noted.
Thanks in advance for the kindness of your comments or critiques.

 fad's gear list:fad's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon D800 Nikon D4S Nikon D810 Nikon D750 +19 more
venice Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Boat sails. Thom on dock. And Venice still lovely

fad wrote:

venice wrote:

Jim Keye wrote:

venice wrote:

Thom says:

"The 28-300mm? No, I'll pass. I know a lot of people like the notion of one-lens-does-everything, but that seems to me to be in direct contradiction to the core of what the D800 is. I really don't see the point of buying the DSLR with arguably the best image quality available and then slapping it with the penalty of less capable glass (probably with a protective filter out front that further reduces capability)."

It just depends on how your interpret him.

What, exactly, is there to interpret there? His statement is about as straightforward as it gets. Are you saying you have a different philosophy than him (shooting style, what constitutes sufficient IQ, what the D800 "core" is)? Seriously, what is there to "interpret" in his statement?

Well, I agree with you. He is crystal clear that the 28-300 does not belong on the D800.

I feel he is wrong about that and that the 28-300 can be used to good effect on the D800. Not everyone that uses the D800 needs to only use top glass for every shot.

I'm more expert with language than photography by a long shot. He is not saying what you think he is. (He could be clearer, though. He's being very cute, and not everyone has the habit of charting complex arguments on the fly.)

Thom has very clearly explained what is required to shoot as a perfectionist. But this is a more complex argument - how to make tradeoffs among different lenses. He could clarify that different styles and different subjects and different technical approaches would each lead to different lens choices. But maybe he's not a sophisticated enough writer to do that with clarity, or maybe it would take too much time. There is a lot in that article, but the reader has to do some work to get all of it.

I agree that you can tease out a variety of mixed messages from Thom's article.

But, I take his final and strongest statement as the main conclusion.

-Bill

Fashion meets Fighting

http://www.hatakeyamagallery.com/april-2012-bill-fulcher/

Ilkka Nissilä Veteran Member • Posts: 4,107
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

That's one reason why it is so absurd to answer to people who want more resolution for cropping that they "don't own the right lens".

No but they aren't getting FX image quality, either, especially not the quality that one would get with a D3s/D4/D800 and the lens that has the right focal length to fill the frame with the intended composition. DX (or cropping from D800) is probably better than using 1.4X teleconverter on an FX camera but not like the uncropped FX image.

With newer cameras and lenses the standards of quality will move up, and the expectation e.g. for publication, galleries, etc. will be to deliver the highest quality possible with equipment of the time. No one cares that lower quality was perfectly acceptable five years ago.

Certainly, cropping is the same as using a DX camera and nobody tells DX camera owners that they "don't own the right lens".

It's not quite the same since the viewfinder area corresponding to DX crop is smaller than that of a good DX viewfinder (D7000, D300s etc.) and therefore the photographer can not see the subject as clearly as they would using an actual DX camera. This means that misfocuses will be missed, bad subject expressions will be obtained instead of good ones (since one can simply not see well enough) etc.

And with the D800, a FX camera has finally enough pixel density on the DX crop to double as a very decent DX-ish camera.

Why would that be interesting, except occasionally in emergency when there is no other choice? The quality expectation will be that of the uncropped FX image.

dedicated DX camera comes with a higher magnification (though a FX viewfinder without any cropping still clearly beats any DX viewfinder in size).

Right.

I am also very much a prime person, ie, I to some degree mentally limit myself to only seeing the images I can take with the lenses I have with me. But in the end it is what satisfies you more, capturing high MP, low noise images or capturing whatever draws your attention.

I'm not sure what you mean here.

Ilkka Nissilä Veteran Member • Posts: 4,107
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

If I need only about 12MP image files, I would still pick a D800+200/2 instead of a D700+200-400/4 on safari.

Why would you make such a choice? The D700 is an old camera, for the next four years most people will use D800 and expect the quality level of the uncropped D800 image with the best lens on the market mounted on it (with proper camera support).

Typically the quality of the 400mm shots is at least as important as that of the 200mm shots in the scenario you discribe. I am pretty sure the 200-400/4 at 400mm mounted on the D800 will produce much better quality than 200/2 cropped by 2x to match the field of view of the 400mm lens. Even if you look at 12MP images corresponding to 200mm and 400mm the image quality from the true 400mm lens will be better. The 200 AF-S is a very finicky thing to get to focus precisely and cropping it by 2x will be inviting disaster IMO.

And presenting variable quality images is a big no no in my opinion. The quality of of a set of images is just as much dependent on the quality of the lowest quality shot as it is on the highest quality shot. And the 400mm shots are the ones where most of the interest will lie because they show something one cannot see with the naked eye.

That's one reason why it is so absurd to answer to people who want more resolution for cropping that they "don't own the right lens".

The quality expectation at any given time is based on the best quality lens of the correct focal length mounted on the best quality camera (D800 in most cases) without cropping. If the least quality shots are noticeably worse in the context of final presentation than the best ones then the former are tossers IMO.

Consistency is what impresses people. Anyone can get one good shot every once in a while.

russbarnes Senior Member • Posts: 1,660
Re: Question about Thom's mention of the Zeiss lenses

In truth, I'd pick the 45 ahead of the 24 every time because I think it has more versatility... but I have both, so I don't need to worry

jccrtv wrote:

Thank you Russ. Beautiful work. Yes I'm just noodling around better ideas to take advantage of what the D800 will add to what I do. I've considered the 14-24 to be best in class for ultra-wdie zooms, but thinking strongly about the Zeiss 21 ZF.2 for the D800 and not using a zoom there. A Tiltshift has been on my list for a while as I love landscape and architecture. Thanks for mentioning the 24mmPCE. I guess I'll go with that, too. Before I pull the trigger on it, 24 more useful cause it's wide than the 45PCE?

Jim

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mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,531
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

Ilkka Nissilä wrote:

If I need only about 12MP image files, I would still pick a D800+200/2 instead of a D700+200-400/4 on safari.

Why would you make such a choice? The D700 is an old camera, for the next four years most people will use D800 and expect the quality level of the uncropped D800 image with the best lens on the market mounted on it (with proper camera support).

Let's not forget the context of this discussion. Thom's answer to people who wanted more MPs for cropping flexibility was that they should buy "the right lens" (I guess it is best to ignore the condescending remark about perspective). If you want, you can substitute the D700 with a new 12MP "D700s" in my example.

The whole concept of "owning the right lens" is problematic. I posted several examples where corresponding lenses simply don't exist. All lenses are compromises. A high MP camera such as the D800 adds flexibility and opens new options, including by cropping, and there are no real tradeoffs. That's exactly what new photographic equipment should do. What is not to like? And why on earth is it necessary to tell people that they should not desire such a high MP camera for cropping flexibility and instead "buy the right lens".

Typically the quality of the 400mm shots is at least as important as that of the 200mm shots in the scenario you discribe. I am pretty sure the 200-400/4 at 400mm mounted on the D800 will produce much better quality than 200/2 cropped by 2x to match the field of view of the 400mm lens. Even if you look at 12MP images corresponding to 200mm and 400mm the image quality from the true 400mm lens will be better. The 200 AF-S is a very finicky thing to get to focus precisely and cropping it by 2x will be inviting disaster IMO.

Again, see my response above. - Moreover, a 200/2 cropped 2x gathers the same amount of total light as a non-cropped 400/4. Image quality (always assuming resolution of the crop is sufficient) should be close and will depend very much on the specific lenses/sensors. BTW, I don't have the 200/2 but I'm strongly considering it. I'm surprised to hear that it does not focus precisely.

mattr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,531
Re: Thom on D800 lens choice

Ilkka Nissilä wrote:

It's not quite the same since the viewfinder area corresponding to DX crop is smaller than that of a good DX viewfinder (D7000, D300s etc.) and therefore the photographer can not see the subject as clearly as they would using an actual DX camera. This means that misfocuses will be missed, bad subject expressions will be obtained instead of good ones (since one can simply not see well enough) etc.

Sometimes a much brighter viewfinder image can at least partially compensate for lower magnification (see my example with 200/2 and 200-400/4 in this thread).

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