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Archive 2012 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?
  
 
Derek Weston
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


So I've been reading up on lenses for the d800.

Read an article on lensrentals that talked about and tested a number of lenses on the d800.

In the article it was mentioned that the tests were not conducted at infinity focus. (for whatever reason they couldn't at the time)

That started me wondering... are most of the tests/reviews we see on lenses conducted without testing at infinity?

If so... should we be able to confidently assume that these tests translate to infinity distance focus as well?

Once in a while I read about a lens that does better at close range than not -- aside from macros, is there any reason to believe this is the case with many other lenses?

I've not been able to find much about landscape or 'infinity' performance with various lenses in combination with the d800.

Perhaps I shouldn't worry. (but with so many choices lens wise, it'd be interesting to know, help narrow things down perhaps)



Dec 06, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


Not shooting a D800, but using hyperfocal distance I never focus at infinity for any landscape...


Dec 06, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


Bernie wrote:
Not shooting a D800, but using hyperfocal distance I never focus at infinity for any landscape...


ah, shouldn't have implied infinity is necessarily what you'll want for landscape, but, I find myself there a lot.



Dec 06, 2012 at 11:11 PM
MikeW
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


read up on hyperfocal distance & depth of field.


Dec 07, 2012 at 04:22 AM
elbeasto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


I understand DoF but I can't find an easy to understand explanation of hyperfocal distance.
I'm sure my shots are suffering as a result too, especially with wide zooms.



Dec 07, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


elbeasto wrote:
I understand DoF but I can't find an easy to understand explanation of hyperfocal distance.
I'm sure my shots are suffering as a result too, especially with wide zooms.


point at which (between camera and as far as the eye can see - infinity) everything after the point towards infinity is "acceptably" focused. Or something like that. I've seen some claims that everything past this point is then as focused (sharp) as possible... focused at infinity. So I think the thought is that you want to go hyperfocal so that you're not compromising any more foreground than needed.

That said... and in looking at a few photos providing an example... you've got to decide what's of value in your photo... because the mid point we're talking about won't always provide an infinity with (as perfect) a focus as it could have.

Me? I cut my teeth on this problem shooting the tokina 11-16 on a crop. It has a hard stop infinity focus. I generally rack it all the way over and don't worry. I like my results. (and in many situations where I don't have lots of time to snap the shot, it's certainly preferable -- in my testing I wasn't losing anything doing this)

Of course some of what I've said in the paragraphs above might not be proper understanding. I've not spent much time on the subject. I'm not the sort to "read the manual."



Dec 07, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


In short, hyperfocus varies by sensor (film) size, focal length and f-stop, but it is the distance at which a particular focal length and f-stop combination achieves focus from some set point to infinity. For example, on my D800E, at 24mm and F/8, when I focus 8 feet into the scene everything from 4 feet to infinity is in focus. If I just if I move the focal point back to 7 feet the DOF goes from 3.5 feet to 58 feet. With the same lens and at 5.6 I need to focus at 12 feet to get 5'10" to infinity into focus. With a 35mm lens at f/8 I have to focus at 17 feet and then get 8.5 feet to infinity in focus. There are charts and apps to help with this.


Peace,

Todd



Dec 07, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


Todd Warnke wrote:
In short, hyperfocus varies by sensor (film) size, focal length and f-stop, but it is the distance at which a particular focal length and f-stop combination achieves focus from some set point to infinity. For example, on my D800E, at 24mm and F/8, when I focus 8 feet into the scene everything from 4 feet to infinity is in focus. If I just if I move the focal point back to 7 feet the DOF goes from 3.5 feet to 58 feet. With the same lens and at 5.6 I need to focus at 12 feet to get 5'10"
...Show more

Thanks.

What, precisely, is the quality of " in focus." Are you claiming that in focus merely equates to acceptable focus, at a minimum, or perfect focus. (or whatever the term might be for "best" focus possible given a certain shot)



Dec 07, 2012 at 07:33 AM
 

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JimFox
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


I never focus at infinity. Even when shooting stars, I am not at infinity. Now hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong on this, but in the old days before autofocus, we could use infinity as a dead stop of being at infinity. But I believe with all of our autofocus lenses, that there is extra space where the lens can actually focus beyond infinity and thus not be in focus at all. That the autofocus system needs to be able to turn the focusing beyond infinity and back.... kind of like Buzz Lightyear who goes to Infinity and Beyond....

If that's not correct, please one of you gear guru's step in here...

Jim



Dec 07, 2012 at 09:09 AM
Elan II
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


moonpeep wrote:
So I've been reading up on lenses for the d800.

Read an article on lensrentals that talked about and tested a number of lenses on the d800.

In the article it was mentioned that the tests were not conducted at infinity focus. (for whatever reason they couldn't at the time)

That started me wondering... are most of the tests/reviews we see on lenses conducted without testing at infinity?

If so... should we be able to confidently assume that these tests translate to infinity distance focus as well?

Once in a while I read about a lens that does better at close range than not
...Show more



To answer your question, most lens resolution tests are performed at 50x the lens' focal length. This includes all macro lenses btw. The results are indicative of the overall quality of the lens, but don't tell you how it'll perform at a range of distances. There are more than a few lenses that produce good results at near and mid distances, but not at extreme close-up or long distances.

There are plenty of lens field reviews out there that can tell you the rest of the story, and you can always rely on user feedback like you're trying to do here. What's the particular focal range you are interested in?







Dec 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


JimFox wrote:
I never focus at infinity. Even when shooting stars, I am not at infinity. Now hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong on this, but in the old days before autofocus, we could use infinity as a dead stop of being at infinity. But I believe with all of our autofocus lenses, that there is extra space where the lens can actually focus beyond infinity and thus not be in focus at all. That the autofocus system needs to be able to turn the focusing beyond infinity and back.... kind of like Buzz Lightyear who goes to Infinity
...Show more

Bingo The only lenses that I know of that have a "true" infinity stop are the Zeiss lenses. Nikon's AF does indeed go past the infinity mark.

To the OP - For landscapes on the D800, I still like my 14-24 and 24-70 (30mm and above - it's good but not great from 24-30mm).

I'd also throw in the Zeiss 21, Nikon 24 1.4 (weird, but it's sharper than the 24-70 @ 24mm and the 1.4 opening is nice for stars), the Nikon 28mm 1.8, and for longer stuff I grab my 70-200 2.8 (although just tested a 70-200 F4 and it seems just as sharp).

I've used all these lenses focused out to typically landscape distances they are all great performers. Just depends on what you want. Personally, I'd start with zooms and then add primes. Here's the types of landscapes I do:

http://www.backcountrygallery.com/subjects/landscape/



Dec 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


moonpeep wrote:
Thanks.

What, precisely, is the quality of " in focus." Are you claiming that in focus merely equates to acceptable focus, at a minimum, or perfect focus. (or whatever the term might be for "best" focus possible given a certain shot)


You are right to suppose that "in focus" is a relative judgment. The answer gets pretty technical pretty quickly, but it primarily involves viewing distance and image size. On the technical side the "circle of confusion" is used to determine "in focus" and is accounted for my apps like Simple DOF.

Peace,

Todd



Dec 07, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


Elan II wrote:
To answer your question, most lens resolution tests are performed at 50x the lens' focal length. This includes all macro lenses btw. The results are indicative of the overall quality of the lens, but don't tell you how it'll perform at a range of distances. There are more than a few lenses that produce good results at near and mid distances, but not at extreme close-up or long distances.

There are plenty of lens field reviews out there that can tell you the rest of the story, and you can always rely on user feedback like you're trying to do
...Show more

Thanks. I enjoy my wide angles and in particular was trying to figure out if the 14-24 Nikon lens would offer the best infinity resolution in that class. (save perhaps for a Zeiss offering -- though even then I believe I read of one of theirs that faltered at long distances)

I had just always assumed the 14-24 would given the great reviews on its resolution capabilities. Beyond that I'll probably have to decide on a mid-range type zoom.

I do storm chasing and most of my shots are of clouds with the foreground "optional" in meaningful use. (because you have to take what you can get)

Also, while I'm at it: does anybody know if the 14-24 is a hard-stop infinity focus? As mentioned earlier, my tokina 11-16 is like this, at least at the wide end. Makes my life much much easier when shooting on the run or at night. Ease of use is a big plus.



Dec 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


Steve Perry wrote:
Bingo The only lenses that I know of that have a "true" infinity stop are the Zeiss lenses. Nikon's AF does indeed go past the infinity mark.

To the OP - For landscapes on the D800, I still like my 14-24 and 24-70 (30mm and above - it's good but not great from 24-30mm).

I'd also throw in the Zeiss 21, Nikon 24 1.4 (weird, but it's sharper than the 24-70 @ 24mm and the 1.4 opening is nice for stars), the Nikon 28mm 1.8, and for longer stuff I grab my 70-200 2.8 (although just tested a
...Show more

Thanks for the reply. I'll have you know that your picture of mesa arch was the one that really turned me on to the magic of the area. Specifically the light you were getting at that time of year. I finally stopped out last year and was disappointed that the February angle of the sun was nowhere near what you had... was still an amazing experience, though.

Thinking the same with the zooms... half of my efforts require me moving around pretty quick, so switching out primes constantly might get tough. Always considered the 14-24 the holy grail of wide angle zooms, so I really hope that will work out. (although the focus shift thing sounds annoying)

Next zoom would be tougher. 24-70 should have better quality than the 24-120, but if it ran it close, I'd be pretty tempted to go there. Other bonus is the VR... I'll be doing some video with this lens too, I imagine, so that's nice.

Is the zeiss really that special that it finds its way in your kit with the 14-24? From my reading the 14-24 becomes distortion free at around 20mm or so IIRC. Is it just the "look" that the 21 has?

Like the idea of the 24mm 1.4 for stars, but the issue with that lens reportedly is coma... as in: seagull shaped stars a third of the way from the edge or so. Interestingly enough, the samyang offering at 24 1.4 is supposed to be free of this and sharper wide open, so that was going to be my go to for night sky.



Dec 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


moonpeep wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I'll have you know that your picture of mesa arch was the one that really turned me on to the magic of the area. Specifically the light you were getting at that time of year. I finally stopped out last year and was disappointed that the February angle of the sun was nowhere near what you had... was still an amazing experience, though.

Thinking the same with the zooms... half of my efforts require me moving around pretty quick, so switching out primes constantly might get tough. Always considered the 14-24 the holy grail of wide angle
...Show more

Thanks for the kind words on Mesa Arch Got pretty lucky with that one, had a good angle for the sun plus plenty of haze to pick up the sunrise colors.

Honestly, the Zeiss is mostly in the bag for when I need a good wide that takes polarizers. It does draw a bit different than the 14-24, but not sure if it's "better". Sometimes I like the look it gives, sometimes the 14-24 is more suited for the subject.

Haven't had a lot of use with the 24 yet (as soon as I purchased it, I seemed to have stopped needed that focal length - go figure). The limited use I have had with it has all been positive though - no real chroma issues. (But my opinion on that may change down the road, we'll see)



Dec 07, 2012 at 08:35 PM
woos
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · best landscape lenses for d800? Which do best at infinity?


moonpeep wrote:
If so... should we be able to confidently assume that these tests translate to infinity distance focus as well?


Not necessarily, unfortunately. =p Check the Camera labs 24-70mm stuff. Where they compare the nikon 24-70mm vs the tamron 24-70mm. The tamron is super good close up, but once you get farther away the nikkor spanks it.

Personal example. The Sigma 120-300mm OS. Look at Sigma's MTF chart. Should be super sharp across the whole frame, right? And it is. But read photozone's tests...they show corner softness, and so do "the-digital-picture" crops. Why? Because the are close up, short focus distance. And the corners soften a bit near the minimum focusing distance. But farther away is 100% crisp just like the MTFs indicate. But reading photozone you'd think the lens has soft corners.

There's supposedly some Zeiss lens or two that do better at infinity than they do close up , but I dunno.

So tests are good, but it's important to try thing for yourself ;-0



Dec 07, 2012 at 09:42 PM





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