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DHill

Anyone using the Nikon 16-35mm f4 with D800?

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I've just tried out a Nikon 16-35 f4, and found the corners are really, really soft at f4 and f5.6. This is on a D800. 

 

I'm just wondering whether this is normal for this lens. I guess I could use it in the 1.2x or 5:4 crop modes to avoid the corners, or always stop down to f8, but that seems a bit restrictive on a decently priced lens. 

 

And yes, I do know the old maxim that you had to stop down a stop or two to get reasonable performance, but I guess I've been spoilt with modern lenses that are perfectly fine for Alamy purposes wide open right across the frame. 

 

Note this isn't an alignment issue - corners were equally soft on both sides. 

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Thanks very much, Gervais and Julie. 

 

Just giving this a gentle bump to see if we can collect a few more experiences with this lens on a D800 for Alamy submissions. Anyone else made it work for them? If so, how? 

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I used on the D800E with stunningly good results, I'm surprised you have one with soft corners. The 16-35mm f/4 is a modern lens and when I tested it, outperformed typical 16-35mm/17-35mm f/2.8 designs. However, Jim Henderson (Alamy contributor) found some problems with focusing more than anything else, I think on a D700.

 

I was able to go very quickly to a test snap done indoors in my living room with the D800E and the lens set to 16mm and f/4. The corners were very slightly soft, caused mostly by curvature of field, leading to slightly more distant focus than in the centre (so closer planes falling in the corner look more softened. This is only the extreme corners, and applying the lens profile actually pushes the soft zone entirely out of the shot (I guess is also loses the 16mm angle, as the distortion is quite marked).

 

On Alamy, shots from the D800E and 16-35mm of mine include: search for - 'jaguar car dollar burn' and also the set which goes with CPYEME.

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Thanks, David. Good idea about applying the lens profile; I've just tried that on my test images and it helps a little but doesn't eliminate the soft area that much. Maybe the copy I tried was a bit rough, but can curvature of field vary from one lens copy to another? I would imagine it's inherent in the lens formula rather than being caused by misaligned elements ... 

 

In case anyone's interested, let me see if I can post a sample image: 16mm, f4 (sorry about the ugly subject). 

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3747/12768161115_bdb878a117_o.jpg  with lens profile applied

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3830/12768647994_858699af66_o.jpg without lens profile applied

Both have LR5's auto CA correction turned on. Look at the bottom corners, especially the bottom left (easier to see there due to the image content). I would expect that just by itself would be a big QC fail no matter where the focus of attention in the image is. 

 

Pity. The zoom range is nice. I find I'm constantly trying to turn my 24-70 to below 24, and my 14-24 to above 24. 

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I use this combination. You do need to be careful with the corners at wider focal lengths at full frame. It's more a distortion related smearing effect than softness I think. and it's at its worst when there's a horizontal surface in the corner (like the ground at your bottom left corner). If photographing vertical subjects the effect mostly disappears (like your tree top left and to a lesser extent the bin bottom right - both out of focus but not smeared) but as David says field curvature/plane of focus can be an issue.

In 1.2x crop mode it has a versatile 19-42 focal length equivalent without the corner issues, the vr is great for blurring water etc and it has a very useful close focus distance.

Basically, if I want to shoot at 16mm full frame with the D800 I know I need to take time over the composition to watch for what sits in the corners. If I'm shooting in a hurry then I use the 1.2x crop or the D700.

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Thanks very much, Keith. It sounds as though images are passing QC, where the corner are positioned carefully so as not to sit on anything important, despite the smearing. Is this understanding correct? 

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Thanks very much, Keith. It sounds as though images are passing QC, where the corner are positioned carefully so as not to sit on anything important, despite the smearing. Is this understanding correct? 

 

No, I try and lose the smearing effect completely, either by having empty corners (blue skies and deep shadows don't smear), by cutting the corners out with the 1.2x crop or by having something close to the plane of the sensor in the corner which doesn't smear so badly.

Looking back over what I've submitted so far with this combo the 1.2x crop seems to have been used a lot. I don't often need wider than 19mm anyway. Most of my shots at 16 - 18mm have been with the D700 and the effect is much less noticeable.

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Thanks again, Keith. That sounds logical, and seems to confirm my original suspicion that using a crop mode was the way to make this lens work. Just a matter of remembering to use it ;-)

 

f8 seemed to clear those corners up a lot as well ...

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I still see some smearing at f8/11 with but it can help having the extra depth of focus - in focus and a bit smeared looks a lot better than out of focus and smeared.

Concerning crop modes you probably already know this but if you disable illuminated focus points the crop greys out making it much more useable. I have it set to the fn button so I can turn it on/off with ease.

 

Cheers, Keith

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Thanks, Keith. Yep, I use the crops a lot (36mp really isn't necessary for everything!), and some compositions suit the 5:4 crop better than the 3:2 modes. I too have programmed one of the front buttons to adjust crop modes on the fly - makes it very easy to change without taking your eye from the viewfinder. 

 

It's thing like that and the separate rear buttons for AF and AE-lock that make the D800 an incredibly versatile camera. 

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Wow, I was looking for a NIKKOR 16-35 f4, but after seeing DHill's photos I will stick to my old Sigma15-30.  On my

D800 at 15mm at f5.6, My Sigma would out perform your NIKKOR 16-35.  I also have been using my NIKKOR 12-24 f4

on my D800 in DX mode (15MB file) with good results.  I used a NIKKOR 20-35 f2.8 on film cameras for years and

was never really happy with it.  I've also not heard good things about the NIKKOR 17-35 f2.8

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Chuck - I'm glad what I posted was of help! The corners of the 16-35 f4 reminds me of reviews I've seen of the 17-35 f2.8. I've probably been spoilt by the 14-24 f2.8, which stays sharp right into the corners, especially after the auto CA correction in LR. 

 

I decided not to go with the 16-35. Being restricted to crop modes isn't really what I wanted from relatively expensive glass; on balance for me that's a bigger evil than frequent lens changes and missing an occasional shot due to having the wrong lens mounted. 

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Lenses on a D800 need to be pretty good. 36MP takes a lot of resolving and on  something like a D800, the images will be actually worse than on say a D300 or equivelent if the lenses aren't up to it. A D700 is 12MP for example. Any flaws and the D800 will show it up quite a bit more. That's one of the downsides IMO.

Edited by Gervais Montacute

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In case anyone finds this while searching the archives: I've deactivated the example photos, but if anyone wants to see them in the future, just send me a direct message.

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Well, partially because of this information, I've gone back to using my old Sigma 15-30 on my D700

and my Nikkor 12-24 f4 on my APSC DSLRs.  At 5.6 the Sigma is actually very good and shooting at  800

to 3200 ISO on the D700 and the D800.  I'm just not comfortable with the 12-24 Nikkor f2.8.  I'd like to find an old

Nikkor 20-35 f2.8, but so many of them were not very good optically.  I just really like to range on a FF

of the 20-35 and it felt good in my hands.  The Sigma 15-30 is close but it is not a "great piece of glass."

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Tokina has a new 16-28mm f/4 full frame but I've not yet tried it. It is supposed to be derived from the 11-16mm f/2.8 DX so may be pretty good. The best lens in the 17-35mm range I have had, recently, for D800 has been a very rare last model Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8-4 EX DG HSM. You just don't find these for sale as so few were ever made. They have a 77mm filter thread instead of the previous 82mm, and a much improved design with better coatings and wide open performance. I bought one for use with our D600 and it was about as close to a perfect 17mm for geometry, illumination and fine detail sharpness wide open (to the corners) as I've ever seen. Far superior to the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Tamron-design KMinolta lens I still have.

 

I sold it with the camera (disposed of after two one-week travel shoots, with a service between and a complete shutter change after, because of the oil splatter problem) and very much regret doing so as it only cost me £120 as new, and any I've seen have been over £250 or the older type which is larger, heavier, soft in the corners and prone to flare. I pretty much gave the Nikon kit away, I paid a trade (journaist's discount) price for it to begin with and could therefore pass it on to a new owner at a bargain price without feeling too bad about selling the sensor spot monster to a new owner.

Edited by David Kilpatrick

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