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  1. #1
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    How to test lenses with the D800?

    I'm not sure of my method to test my lenses on my new camera (D800).

    I have some of the best lenses that Nikon made for film that I would like to use with the FX (film-format) D800. However I'm not sure that they are really good enough.

    I use designed-for-digital DX lenses with my D300 and I'm very pleased with the result. I figure that if what I get from the D800+lens-under-test is BETTER than what I get from D300+tried-and-trusted-lens then that's good.

    First and easiest test is definition judged by pixel peeking:

    - Pick a real scene as subject (not a test chart)
    - Compare the system-under-test with a known benchmark (the D300+16-85 in this case)
    - Do the same photo on both cameras with the lenses under test in the same conditions, camera on a tripod, same ISO, same aperture, developed in the same way
    - Bring up the results side-by-side on-screen with the degree of enlargement adjusted so that the image looks the same from both cameras but is big enough to judge the amount of detail without individual pixels being noticable (100% for the 12Mpix D300 and 60% for the 36Mpix D800)
    - Inspect the center and corners
    - Classify the images from best-looking to worst-looking

    This is the way I usually test my gear. I did the test yesterday but I have to redo it. Just want to make sure I haven't missed something.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  2. #2
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Be sure that you do not know which is which when you the best-to-worst rating. - Terry
    -----------------
    I am no better than you. I critique to teach myself to see.
    -----------------
    Feel free to edit my photos or do anything else that will help me learn.
    -----------------
    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

  3. #3
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    The identity of the lens is just in the title of each window which it's easy to ignore. In fact each lens has a particular look about it. I found that after the first few tests I could identify most of the lenses without even looking at the title.

    Thanks for the input. This has been a very frustrating test.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  4. #4
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Franglais, it is going to be hard when comparing it with the D300, different sensor size and different resolution, if using AF the systems are also different

    I tried the 35mm DX AFS lens in FX mode, the corners are soft until F8 , the vignette nearly disappear but it is still visible, in DX mode it works great

    Sigma 150 macro , impressive on both cameras

    50mm F/1.8 AFS , great on both cameras

    Tokina 11-16 F/2.8 DX, in DX mode is great, but in FX mode the corners are always soft, vignettes below 14.5 mm

    70-300 VR zoom great on both cameras

    The 18-200 , I just installed it and looked through the viewfinder , it vignettes all the time regardless of focal length, still have to take some shots

    Love the AF , it is snappy, even with the macro lens

  5. #5
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Quote Originally Posted by armando_m View Post
    Franglais, it is going to be hard when comparing it with the D300, different sensor size and different resolution, if using AF the systems are also different
    ...
    It's the result that counts. Put two images up side by side, same size on screen. At first they look identical so I enlarge them both and there comes a moment when I can see that one is cleaner and has more detail than the other. Sensor size and resolution are irrelevant. Even AF is irrelevant because I'm using a real, three dimensional subject and looking at a wide area of the image to get a general impression.

    Put a bad lens (5 element 28mm f2.8 from the 1990's) on the D800, compare it with a good lens (16-85 VR) on the D300 - and the D300 shows more detail, despite having 3x less pixels. I expected this. But some of my other old lenses didn't do very well either. All of your lenses are recent so they probably do better.

    I just wanted to check my logic before repeating the test.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  6. #6
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    The lens has to be a top quality full frame lens to begin with. The D800 has more resolution than most films, so some lenses will not give the expected results regardless of their original cost. Also the center of the image on most lenses has higher resolution than the edges, and a DX sensor falls mostly in the lenses sweat spot.
    GRF

    Panorama Madness:

    Nikon D800, 50mm F1.4D AF, 16-35mm, 28-200mm & 70-300mm

  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Quote Originally Posted by freygr View Post
    The lens has to be a top quality full frame lens to begin with. The D800 has more resolution than most films, so some lenses will not give the expected results regardless of their original cost. Also the center of the image on most lenses has higher resolution than the edges, and a DX sensor falls mostly in the lenses sweat spot.
    Some of my film lenses were top quality when they were introduced 14 years ago and they seem to do quite well on the D800. But I think that lens design has leapt ahead in the last 8 years or so, first with DX format lenses and then with FX format. My 28-70 f2.8 is probably outclassed by the current 24-70 f2.8

    One thing I've noticed - the fall off in detail at the corner of my DX lenses on the D300 is just like the fall-off with a good full-frame lens on the D800. The DX lenses are designed to cover the smaller format and that's it.
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  8. #8
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    The identity of the lens is just in the title of each window which it's easy to ignore. In fact each lens has a particular look about it. I found that after the first few tests I could identify most of the lenses without even looking at the title.

    Thanks for the input. This has been a very frustrating test.
    Then get someone else to judge. Unless there are gross differences, non-blind testing is very inaccurate. - Terry
    -----------------
    I am no better than you. I critique to teach myself to see.
    -----------------
    Feel free to edit my photos or do anything else that will help me learn.
    -----------------
    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

  9. #9
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker View Post
    Then get someone else to judge. Unless there are gross differences, non-blind testing is very inaccurate. - Terry
    OK boss. I'm having lunch with just the right person on Sunday..
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  10. #10
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: How to test lenses with the D800?

    Here is an interesting set of tests which seem credible to me. He raves about my 28-70 f2.8 and 17-35 f2.8 (I agree with him). At the time I write this the tests of the 28-300 and 24-120 f4 have been withdrawn. Now this is just the sort of lens that I am doubtful about using with the D800 (if you want to get the maximum out of the thing).

    LensRentals.com - D800 Lens Selection
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

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