keepreal

keepreal

Lives in United Kingdom Enfield, United Kingdom
Works as a Retired, was Information Technology Manager
Joined on Mar 24, 2007
About me:

Amateur with a passion for pictorial photography of more than fifty years.

Comments

Total: 212, showing: 1 – 20
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On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)

I have completely lost interest after reading the review at http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/981-laowa12f28. The qualities of this lens appear to have been exaggerated in other reviews and the deficiencies played down. I'll stick to my Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 and panorama stitching when necessary. I now suspect that this Laowa may be another example of the photographic media hyping up to encourage sales when the quality of the item is not really in line with the price. People are so keen to part with their money, perhaps the view of industry is why bother.

I will also try out my Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM which I have not used with my Nikon D610 yet, only just having bought that camera. You never know it might be better than I expect. although on film I did notice less than ideal edge sharpness.

Link | Posted on Dec 4, 2016 at 23:39 UTC as 1st comment
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)
In reply to:

keepreal: See https://www.ephotozine.com/article/venus-laowa-12mm-f-2-8-review-29779 for a very favourable review and then ignore what it says, even though it appears to concur with the sample photos here.

"The lens had to be placed very close to the test chart, something that it is not really designed for."

IMO that review is garbage unless one is talking only about macro photography. As I have suspected for a long time, lens reviewers shoot charts set very near to test lenses and most have sharpness and distortion characteristics that differ considerably at distance.

I am not sure optically if it is feasible, but one needs a system to send a virtual image of an industry standard source as if at infinity, failing that at a considerable distance, into the lens, not a chart or near set up like DP Review and other reviewers use.

I imagine the set at the end of the samples of the same subject with a lot of detail in it to the edges at various apertures makes for a much more reliable "chart".

Regarding what I wrote above about the dubious quality of lens testing due to the use of charts placed near to the camera, I can now say that the use of a collimator to make a virtual object much farther away is perfectly feasible.

I had my eyes checked earlier this afternoon and there for distance vision they used to use letters of various sizes backlit on the other side of the room about 20 feet away. Now, they are using a collimator set much nearer, at about half the distance.

Of course, equipment of this nature for testing lenses would be very expensive and to be suitable for a very wide angle lens it would cost considerably more and be quite a bulky piece of apparatus. What they now use for testing eyes is child's play by comparison.

Link | Posted on Dec 2, 2016 at 20:33 UTC
On article The whole nine yards: Canon 35mm F1.4L II USM review (275 comments in total)

This lens clearly is sharp. This lens clearly is big, heavy and expensive. This lens clearly is insane. Is there no limit to what extreme lengths lens designers will go, sometimes quite literally?

In the days of 35mm film, cameras often were described as miniature. Now increasingly with digital, we have monsters. Apart from professionals needing to capture the back side of the moon, I see no point in it. Unless, that is, the exercise is merely intended to have wealthy people with muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger part with their cash.

Link | Posted on Dec 2, 2016 at 09:55 UTC as 25th comment | 4 replies
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)
In reply to:

AbrasiveReducer: This is making me nostalgic. A really wide lens without tons of barrel distortion. (This was the norm in the film era when there was no way to correct the distortion.)

Personally, I'd rather see more lenses with low distortion than more gold coatings and bubble-shaped bokeh, etc. And the bonus is when there is no distortion to correct, sharpness does not suffer from having to move all those pixels.

Fotopizza, not many lenses at fairly reasonable prices are good enough towards the edges and especially in the corners. So the end result after software correction for distortion is not particularly good. If not for that, I would be quite happy to use them. For example, with the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO "the auto-correction comes at the price of a bit of softness - it is simply not lossless". (photozone.de) But as joribama suggests, in time this may improve.

Most modern Zeiss lens for full frame or APSC suffer from very bad vignetting, quite a few also have a lot of distortion. It makes me wonder if they are based on designs from the film era. The Voigtlander Heliars also appear to be and while very good, suffer from severe vignetting. Correcting that can result in noise.

I was surprised through your comments to learn that Alpa is still in business along with Rodenstock lenses for their equipment. I last heard of Alpa nearly sixty years ago with their rather nice 35mm SLRs.

Link | Posted on Dec 1, 2016 at 02:36 UTC
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)

See https://www.ephotozine.com/article/venus-laowa-12mm-f-2-8-review-29779 for a very favourable review and then ignore what it says, even though it appears to concur with the sample photos here.

"The lens had to be placed very close to the test chart, something that it is not really designed for."

IMO that review is garbage unless one is talking only about macro photography. As I have suspected for a long time, lens reviewers shoot charts set very near to test lenses and most have sharpness and distortion characteristics that differ considerably at distance.

I am not sure optically if it is feasible, but one needs a system to send a virtual image of an industry standard source as if at infinity, failing that at a considerable distance, into the lens, not a chart or near set up like DP Review and other reviewers use.

I imagine the set at the end of the samples of the same subject with a lot of detail in it to the edges at various apertures makes for a much more reliable "chart".

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2016 at 20:58 UTC as 10th comment | 6 replies
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)
In reply to:

aramgrg: Samyang redifined what a cheap lens is. Laowa shows how far it can go being reasonably priced. Go ahead, Canikon introduce one with $3000 price tag.

Not so sure about reasonable. Less unreasonable? Maybe.

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2016 at 20:35 UTC
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)
In reply to:

AbrasiveReducer: This is making me nostalgic. A really wide lens without tons of barrel distortion. (This was the norm in the film era when there was no way to correct the distortion.)

Personally, I'd rather see more lenses with low distortion than more gold coatings and bubble-shaped bokeh, etc. And the bonus is when there is no distortion to correct, sharpness does not suffer from having to move all those pixels.

Totally agree but surprised at the Likes. I have been arguing the toss over this and look for film-like attributes in a lens whenever possible, getting stick for it.

A less than obvious reason to add to your points is that shooting HDR, I insist on being free to choose my RAW developer. My preferences for tonal gradation and ease of use, Machinery HDR Effects, will not correct lens distortion.

Besides, no software will turn a sow's ear into a silk purse - take the m.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 anything-but-a-genuine PRO. Useful for shots of beer by the gallon, though.

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2016 at 20:33 UTC
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)

The price for this Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 lens is pretty steep. A similar lens which has both both auto focus and aperture linkage also would be, even with as good optical quality, except perhaps from one of the prime lens manufacturers - no pun intended.

I am beginning to wonder if the growing number of manufacturers whose lenses lack auto focus and aperture linkage to the camera body is because they do not know how to do the electronics. Samyang, as far as I am aware do provide AE on Canon but only for one of their lenses. But at least their lenses are often cheap in spite of good optics, which may be the reason.

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2016 at 17:08 UTC as 20th comment | 6 replies
On article Venus Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D sample gallery (121 comments in total)

I will wait more reviews of this lens, but so far the indications are very positive indeed, even at wider apertures. From the samples here, I am very impressed. Having just bought a Nikon D610 and Nikkor 20mm f1.8 I am loathe to spend any more but I dare say later on I might be tempted.

I have just migrated from my D300 mostly using the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM for landscapes, rarely longer than 14mm. My sample of this lens is good but the D610 with 20mm will give much better IQ. If the 20mm is not wide enough on FF, then I'll stitch panoramas from 20mm frames, not needing many of course, One advantage as others discuss below is not having as much perspective distortion and a huge saving by doing that. On the other hand, panorama stitching is a chore and I do not always feel mentally energetic enough to make a really good job of difficult images. My aim always is to avoid obvious distortion so that the result looks natural. Happily, in landscapes one usually need not worry.

Link | Posted on Nov 30, 2016 at 16:53 UTC as 22nd comment
On article Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Lens Review (202 comments in total)

For this size, weight and price this lens ought to be special but, quite clearly it is anything but. It is a pity DPR gave it a silver award. How much was that worth to them, then? People who spend this kind of money on second rate in my opinion are idiots or very rich. Or both.

I have the original 12-24mm and the lack of distortion at any focal length is amazing. Mine is one opf the good ones but the definition is nothing special, even on my APSC Nikon D300. On FX the edges suffer too much so, now, with my new D610 I bought the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 which is nearly as wide on FX as 12mm on DX. I agree with CreeDo about stitiching together panoramas, so when 20mm on FX is not wide enough that is what I intend to do.

Link | Posted on Nov 23, 2016 at 17:48 UTC as 29th comment | 2 replies
On article DxO ViewPoint 3 adds automatic distortion correction (26 comments in total)
In reply to:

keepreal: There is one serious shortcoming in Viewpoint, at least as I see it, but I have a way around it. Please tell me if you agree or not. Possibly, something I need to set I have not yet discovered, though I have looked high and low.

If you want to compress the edges in an image, which I occasionally want to do with an ultra-wide angle image or a panorama for a landscape, it crops the top and bottom to the same pixel height, so the end result, while having compressed edges, also loses part of the image top and bottom. Weird. I also found this in Viewpoint 1.

So what I have to do is extend the canvas size top and bottom, apply the Viewpoint transition, then remove the narrower redundant top and bottom afterwards. It works, but what a chore.

Very clever, scastle. Many, many thanks. You have contributed everything to my use of VP!

I changed the default in Crop from preserve aspect ratio to unconstrained and now it does exactly what I want, just compressing in one direction while leaving the other unchanged.

I think DxO should let you choose the defaults or at least warn you in Help to check them all. Strange that crop has an influence on other functions even if you never intended to use it. Not how I would have designed it.

Link | Posted on Nov 18, 2016 at 17:44 UTC
On article DxO ViewPoint 3 adds automatic distortion correction (26 comments in total)

There is one serious shortcoming in Viewpoint, at least as I see it, but I have a way around it. Please tell me if you agree or not. Possibly, something I need to set I have not yet discovered, though I have looked high and low.

If you want to compress the edges in an image, which I occasionally want to do with an ultra-wide angle image or a panorama for a landscape, it crops the top and bottom to the same pixel height, so the end result, while having compressed edges, also loses part of the image top and bottom. Weird. I also found this in Viewpoint 1.

So what I have to do is extend the canvas size top and bottom, apply the Viewpoint transition, then remove the narrower redundant top and bottom afterwards. It works, but what a chore.

Link | Posted on Nov 18, 2016 at 14:14 UTC as 3rd comment | 2 replies
On article DxO ViewPoint 3 adds automatic distortion correction (26 comments in total)
In reply to:

scastle: A quick review.

The automatic perspective corrections go a bit overboard and have to be dialled back some. The auto horizon correction, on the other hand, is often not enough. So,the auto corrections, at least in my experience, are better left in manual mode. I have not messed with the toytown tilt feature at all. Maybe I will find some picture that will benefit from it but (again IMHO) this is just a schnick-schnack.

What I like about Viewpoint is that that some of what it can do appears to be both unique and useful. But, after experimenting, I have to agree, scastle, that using manual almost always is better.

What impressed me most was correction for distortion with full frame fish eye lenses. I downloaded several from pixelpeeper to try that out and results were surprisingly good, allowing considerable correction towards the edges while leaving a large part of the centre unchanged, when that was imperative.

Having just spent a small fortune on a Nikon D610 and a Nikkor 20mm f/1.8, I am not now going to fork out on a fisheye but Viewpoint, IMO for the first time, makes such a lens a useful proposition. I do not like any distortion where I can correct it and the only reason I have little actual need of Viewpoint is that in landscapes with an ultra wide angle, or even in a panorama, one rarely can detect it even when it is there - in my kind of pictures, not everybody else's of that kind.

Link | Posted on Nov 18, 2016 at 10:59 UTC
On article DxO ViewPoint 3 adds automatic distortion correction (26 comments in total)

When I had an XP system, I bought V1 to compress the edges in images with an ultra wide angle lens. Hardly ever using it, I did not bother to upgrade for Windows 8.1 compatability but the special upgrade offer for the new V3 at 19 GBP changed my mind. Just now trying it out to correct perspective distortion on a shot I had a lot of trouble with, just press one button and there it is spot on.

BTW, wide angle lens do not distort at the edges, it is the geometry in real space and our mental recollection of what we think objects should look like, taken on board at less of an angle. However, our brains are designed to work on experience and as you cannot see more than vague blurred shapes outside of about 90°, it comes up with something different. For that, when it matters, DXO Viewpoint is worth having to correct it, regardless of what else it also can do. I will have to look into that and learn, see if it adds anything else new or better to my tool kit that I actually have a use for.

Link | Posted on Nov 17, 2016 at 20:18 UTC as 5th comment

Pretty daring to trust expensive kit like this to a drone but the result is lovely and beautifully edited. Please do it again when there is a little less mist and a little more sunshine. I'd like to see that too!

Link | Posted on Nov 3, 2016 at 09:19 UTC as 20th comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

keepreal: I would have liked a mirrorless camera to replace my Nikon D300 with the Sigma 12-24mm lens, that I use most because of the weight but last week finally gave up on the idea because no camera mount or lens combination suits me better. I ended up buying a Nikon D610 and Nikkor 20mm f/1.8, thereby saving 296g, too little but better than nothing and of course better IQ.

I have an EVF on my Olympus Pen but I do not like them at all. The A99 II weighs 849g, as much as my D300. In my opinion this only underlines the pointlessness of it, no need even to bother looking at its features.

Ever since digital, there has been a fashion in bigger and heavier which IMO is madness. Reviewers describe the new Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 as lightweight. Are they in the pockets of the manufacturers? So far, among the worst are those PRO lenses on MFT, whose size and weight is out of all proportion.

If I want to strengthen my arm muscles, I prefer to go to the gym, not buy a camera for the purpose.

Everlast66 I was only comparing the weight with my D300. My D610 is FF, slightly smaller and about the same weight. People who have no idea how to judge what a digital sensor or even film can record when looking at a scene directly or through an OVF loose less of the benefit by using an EVF, but I am not one of them.

Dave Oddie "The A99II is smaller than the original A99 it replaces and weighs 1 gram less than a Nikon 610." They and the D300 all are too big and heavy.

Nikon 20mm F2.8 is not that good. Weight is not to be saved regardless of everything else.

The A99II is "pointless" [to me, understood] not to everybody, just most of them. When I shoot my foot, at least I can see it properly in OVF, regardless of the light. Shooting in darkness no interest to me.

"As to the EVF...there are other advantages as well but you should be aware of those already if you have an Oly Pen." None for me.

"Plenty of other people get on fine with them, many seeing them as an advantage." True.

Link | Posted on Oct 26, 2016 at 14:23 UTC
In reply to:

keepreal: I would have liked a mirrorless camera to replace my Nikon D300 with the Sigma 12-24mm lens, that I use most because of the weight but last week finally gave up on the idea because no camera mount or lens combination suits me better. I ended up buying a Nikon D610 and Nikkor 20mm f/1.8, thereby saving 296g, too little but better than nothing and of course better IQ.

I have an EVF on my Olympus Pen but I do not like them at all. The A99 II weighs 849g, as much as my D300. In my opinion this only underlines the pointlessness of it, no need even to bother looking at its features.

Ever since digital, there has been a fashion in bigger and heavier which IMO is madness. Reviewers describe the new Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 as lightweight. Are they in the pockets of the manufacturers? So far, among the worst are those PRO lenses on MFT, whose size and weight is out of all proportion.

If I want to strengthen my arm muscles, I prefer to go to the gym, not buy a camera for the purpose.

Yes I did and also looked at just about everything else both similar and different. Too little time and space to give all my reasons here but Sony + Zeiss seems to be an expensive exercise in vignetting at every possible focal length, especially with very wide angle lenses. However good those lenses otherwise are, that is not acceptable. Moreover, giving up OVF with severe reservations about any of the camera and lens alternatives is not something I was prepared to do - as far as I am concerned it would just have been an expensive exercise in trading one set of reservations for another.

I think the best alternative would be a Leica M with Tri-Elmar but I would have had to sell my Lamborghini first.

Link | Posted on Oct 26, 2016 at 11:20 UTC
In reply to:

Poweruser: Ridiculous price

Tom,

The Sigma is much smaller and only weighs 470g so I expect everyone who owns it will want to replace it with this monster instead.

Link | Posted on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:19 UTC

I would have liked a mirrorless camera to replace my Nikon D300 with the Sigma 12-24mm lens, that I use most because of the weight but last week finally gave up on the idea because no camera mount or lens combination suits me better. I ended up buying a Nikon D610 and Nikkor 20mm f/1.8, thereby saving 296g, too little but better than nothing and of course better IQ.

I have an EVF on my Olympus Pen but I do not like them at all. The A99 II weighs 849g, as much as my D300. In my opinion this only underlines the pointlessness of it, no need even to bother looking at its features.

Ever since digital, there has been a fashion in bigger and heavier which IMO is madness. Reviewers describe the new Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 as lightweight. Are they in the pockets of the manufacturers? So far, among the worst are those PRO lenses on MFT, whose size and weight is out of all proportion.

If I want to strengthen my arm muscles, I prefer to go to the gym, not buy a camera for the purpose.

Link | Posted on Oct 26, 2016 at 09:54 UTC as 41st comment | 7 replies
On article Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art real world sample gallery (215 comments in total)
In reply to:

munro harrap: I tried the 14-24mm Nikkor. Well it can be useful to have such a field of view and then be able to narrow it down to get what you can make the most of, but not when there is the problem of the flare at the wide end all of the time. My lens was just NOT sharp, and to be able to focus it accurately REQUIRED the live view , because the AF was unreliable on a D800. This is due to the amount of possible choices of focus points within the vast depth of field available. These machines are untameable and ALWAYS go for the brightest highest contrast, so that you really do NEED a touchscreen. It is truly pathetic that they construct entire cameras and optical systems without involving reportage and sports photographers in the actual design at all, and then go on safari with a bunch of guys when it really is already too late, Even a sharp superwide needs a touchscreen, or accurate manual focus- but the "throw" is too narrow on such lenses to be accurate there too.

I am no expert on such matters, but surely the problem is that you need to change the focus mode not to switch focus points ad nauseam? How you best do this, I am not sure and perhaps, like I do with my Sigma 12-24mm, I always just use lock and hold on the central focus point. Of course this might not suit for fast moving subjects.

Link | Posted on Oct 7, 2016 at 09:22 UTC
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