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Nikon 14-24 unsharpness?


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#1 kaarlin

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 11:05 AM

Is there anyone who worked with the 14-24mm lens underwater. I would like to see some results and am curious about the unsharpness everybody is talking about.

I doubt between the 14-24mm and the 17-35mm lens.


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#2 kaarlin

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 12:29 PM

this thursday I will be in the swimmingpool with Ron Offermans and we will test the 14-24....

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#3 Drew

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 12:34 PM

Do a search in this subforum. There is a thread with the info you need.

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#4 kaarlin

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 01:07 PM

Yes, but nobody who really tried this lens underwater. It is all based on what people think this lens would do. I would like to see the results of the 14-24 so I can decide if this lens is good enough or not

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#5 loftus

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 01:42 PM

Yes, but nobody who really tried this lens underwater. It is all based on what people think this lens would do. I would like to see the results of the 14-24 so I can decide if this lens is good enough or not

A couple of people who have used this lens underwater have posted on WP. One of them is Matthew Addison; the general consensus has been poor corner sharpness as expected unless stopped down significantly. This lens is not able to take a diopter which is one of the factors making it difficult to get good results underwater.
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#6 The Octopus

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 03:14 AM

I have used the 12-24 nikon with my Aquatica rig and have gotten very good photos, I am also considering the 14-24 as it is reported to have much less distortion at 14mm than the 12-24 and supposed to be sharper on the surface.
I don't use diopers with my 12-24 (not recommended by Aquatica). I assume that placement of the dome from the lens as well as the size of the Dome would affect sharpness greatly with these lenses.
It would be great to see a side by side comparison.
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#7 StephenFrink

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:08 AM

Is there anyone who worked with the 14-24mm lens underwater. I would like to see some results and am curious about the unsharpness everybody is talking about.

I doubt between the 14-24mm and the 17-35mm lens.


I'll try to transmit a test from Bonaire next week. I'm teaching a Digital Master class, http://waterhousetou.../instruction#52, and we'll have 2 - D3X/Seacam/14-24 rigs there. I'm sure there will be a 17-35mm as well, so if time allows maybe we can do a semi-definitive comparo, at least for in-water issues.

This will also be my first intensive UW tests of my new Seaflash 150 on the reef (I've shot several swim competitions with it, but no typical reef stuff yet). I'll be checking for rear-curtain synch with Canon, and of course E-TTL accuracy. Both have tested fine in studio and pool, but eager for some real-life experiences.

Edited by StephenFrink, 26 January 2009 - 07:08 AM.

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#8 loftus

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:39 AM

I have used the 12-24 nikon with my Aquatica rig and have gotten very good photos, I am also considering the 14-24 as it is reported to have much less distortion at 14mm than the 12-24 and supposed to be sharper on the surface.
I don't use diopers with my 12-24 (not recommended by Aquatica). I assume that placement of the dome from the lens as well as the size of the Dome would affect sharpness greatly with these lenses.
It would be great to see a side by side comparison.

The 12-24 is a DX lens; the 14-24 is essentially for FX. So they are not really comparable.

Edited by loftus, 26 January 2009 - 06:48 AM.

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#9 Drew

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:27 AM

Yes, but nobody who really tried this lens underwater. It is all based on what people think this lens would do. I would like to see the results of the 14-24 so I can decide if this lens is good enough or not

Next time use the advance search. The information here is a little hard to find because there is so much but it's there. I found pertinent threads in 3 minutes of searching such as this one:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=25723

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#10 divegypsy

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:03 AM

I disagree with what Loftus has said about the 12-24 (on DX) and the 14-24 (on FX) not being comparable. I feel they are absolutely comparable. As are any pair of lenses. Or pair of cameras

The true comparison is the final image. If both cameras are of similar resolution (megapixels), you simply shoot two shots, filling the frame equally with the same subject under the same conditions, preferably the same type of conditions you usually dive and shoot in. Then you enlarge the two images to the same actual physical size, perhaps to 10x15 inch prints. And yes, this means you have to enlarge the DX image 1.5x that of the FX image.

Then you look at the two prints, side by side, and see which one you prefer. And why.

You could shoot and compare a portrait of a manatee shot with a full frame fisheye and with a 35mm lens. The fisheye shot would probably be technically sharper because there is less water between the camera and the manatee. But the fisheye distortion and extreme foreshortening of the manatee’s features might also be objectionable. And in that case the slightly less sharp 35mm lens image might give you the picture that you feel better shows what a manatee looks like, to you. And so for you, the 35mm lens is the better lens to shoot manatee portraits with.

Getting carried away with the technical aspects of photography equipment is just a jerk off.

The only thing that really matters is what the final image looks like.

And, most important of all, whether it satisfies YOU or not.

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#11 loftus

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:15 AM

I disagree with what Loftus has said about the 12-24 (on DX) and the 14-24 (on FX) not being comparable. I feel they are absolutely comparable. As are any pair of lenses. Or pair of cameras

The true comparison is the final image. If both cameras are of similar resolution (megapixels), you simply shoot two shots, filling the frame equally with the same subject under the same conditions, preferably the same type of conditions you usually dive and shoot in. Then you enlarge the two images to the same actual physical size, perhaps to 10x15 inch prints. And yes, this means you have to enlarge the DX image 1.5x that of the FX image.

Then you look at the two prints, side by side, and see which one you prefer. And why.

You could shoot and compare a portrait of a manatee shot with a full frame fisheye and with a 35mm lens. The fisheye shot would probably be technically sharper because there is less water between the camera and the manatee. But the fisheye distortion and extreme foreshortening of the manatee’s features might also be objectionable. And in that case the slightly less sharp 35mm lens image might give you the picture that you feel better shows what a manatee looks like, to you. And so for you, the 35mm lens is the better lens to shoot manatee portraits with.

Getting carried away with the technical aspects of photography equipment is just a jerk off.

The only thing that really matters is what the final image looks like.

And, most important of all, whether it satisfies YOU or not.

Fred

I'm simply saying that the 12-24 is designed for DX, so if you are seeking a wide rectilinear for a DX camera, most likely this would be the better choice. The 12-24 will only work on an FX camera in DX mode. (5MP on a D700) I don't know what camera kaarlin is planning to use. Appears octopus uses a D300.
Similarly the 14-24 is designed for FX.
Max FOV on the 14-24 is 114 degrees on FX
Max FOV on the 12-24 is 99 degrees on DX
So yes they are different.

Edited by loftus, 27 January 2009 - 08:04 AM.

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#12 jeremypayne

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:48 AM

Getting carried away with the technical aspects of photography equipment is just a jerk off.


Some people want to understand exactly how their equipment works. Why is that a jerk off?

You have a right to choose to be indifferent to a deep understanding of the underlying technology, but why be pejorative about someone who makes a different choice?
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#13 Drew

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 08:39 AM

You could shoot and compare a portrait of a manatee shot with a full frame fisheye and with a 35mm lens. The fisheye shot would probably be technically sharper because there is less water between the camera and the manatee. But the fisheye distortion and extreme foreshortening of the manatee’s features might also be objectionable. And in that case the slightly less sharp 35mm lens image might give you the picture that you feel better shows what a manatee looks like, to you. And so for you, the 35mm lens is the better lens to shoot manatee portraits with.

Getting carried away with the technical aspects of photography equipment is just a jerk off.

The only thing that really matters is what the final image looks like.

And, most important of all, whether it satisfies YOU or not.

Fred I'm sure you studied the technical aspects of lenses, dome ports and other areas of underwater photographic equipment to better your chances of getting the shot you want. Just like in your example, knowing what the lenses do behind a dome port helps with framing, due to corner sharpness issues. Blind shooting can be a total waste of time. Knowing all aspects of the camera and lens and how it works behind a dome port is absolutely essential for a photographer. WP became popular because of the learning curve of digital vs film. It's easy to forget that all pros including yourself had to experiment to get the right lens behind the right port etc at the beginning of the digital evolution of photography.
Technical discussions can help, although if it's all discussion and no photo taking, then it's largely academic... but still useful info for those who know how to use it.

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#14 kaarlin

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:24 PM

Hi Drew,

thanks a lot for the thread. That makes it vissible for me! With the 9.25"dome there is a unsharpness, but much less than the 8"dome. But still.... there is unsharpness. Thursday I will make some testshots with the 14-24mm amd the 17-35mm to sea the difference in this between the two lenses.

Karin

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#15 divegypsy

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:19 PM

While I have taken the time to understand the basic theory of things like how a lens performs behind a dove port vs a flat port, I do not feel that debating the theoretical technical differences of things like the difference of a 5mm longer or shorter extension tube for a wide angle lens behind a particular dome port is a productive use of time. It is much better to just get the pieces and try them. And as long as the results are satisfactory, then spend your time diving and shooting. And as long as the results work for you, and your customers if you have any, then just use what you have and keep shooting. The old press cliche applies, "F8 and BE THERE".

Several years ago I suggested that people might try Nikon's 24-85mm in its "macro mode" lens behind a modest size dome as a very nice close focus WA. And I had one guy tell me the lens was OK on land but thought it wasn't particularly sharp after he had tried it behind a flat port. I have shot a large quantity of shots with the lens exactly as I proposed, many of which have been published in quality magazines such as National Geographic, GEO, and others. If I had gotten carried away with all the techno-babble, I might never have even used the lens because it doesn't have all of Nikon's highest technology like ED glass or crystal nano lens coating. But neither did the older non-VR 105 Micro-nikkor.

I still feel that you just try something and if it works for you, use it. And that the actual pictures are what really count. Not the gear.

Fred

#16 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:22 PM

I don't have a 14-24mm, but I have finally tested the 17-35mm more thoroughly on FX Nikon now.

I have tested it in my Subal system in three different domes, with three different port extension rings and two different dioptres (and without) over a range of apertures and at 17mm and at 35mm. It was quite an undertaking! And I have not been through the results in detail.

First impressions at 17mm are that dioptres improve edge sharpness, but also increase pincushion distortion. These are 100% crops taken at F5.6 - what I reckoned would be the widest aperture I would be likely to use. Stopped down the edge performance is better, because there is more depth of field to bring the virtual image into focus.

So, F5.6, 17mm, No Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image


F5.6, 17mm, +3 Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image


F5.6, 17mm, +4 Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image

Excuse image quality - not the best as light was going (ISO 1600). Anyway it is clear that the +4 dioptre has better edge detail in the tiles than the +3 and both are much better than no dioptre - in which detail is almost blurred completely.

As expected the tests show the importance of a dioptre. Since the 14-24mm cannot take a dioptre and is wider than the 17-35mm I can only envisage the edge performance being worse than the first image above. Of course stopping the lens down might improve the situation.

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#17 Drew

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 09:34 PM

While I have taken the time to understand the basic theory of things like how a lens performs behind a dove port vs a flat port, I do not feel that debating the theoretical technical differences of things like the difference of a 5mm longer or shorter extension tube for a wide angle lens behind a particular dome port is a productive use of time. It is much better to just get the pieces and try them. And as long as the results are satisfactory, then spend your time diving and shooting. And as long as the results work for you, and your customers if you have any, then just use what you have and keep shooting. The old press cliche applies, "F8 and BE THERE".

Several years ago I suggested that people might try Nikon's 24-85mm in its "macro mode" lens behind a modest size dome as a very nice close focus WA. And I had one guy tell me the lens was OK on land but thought it wasn't particularly sharp after he had tried it behind a flat port. I have shot a large quantity of shots with the lens exactly as I proposed, many of which have been published in quality magazines such as National Geographic, GEO, and others. If I had gotten carried away with all the techno-babble, I might never have even used the lens because it doesn't have all of Nikon's highest technology like ED glass or crystal nano lens coating. But neither did the older non-VR 105 Micro-nikkor.

Sure, and if you didn't understand the theories of dome ports and extension rings and how they fit together, then you'd be like that "one guy" who loses out. Flat port on a 24mm? And now because of your contribution, other people now can try that particular lens with a configuration based on the physics/techno babble and not waste 3x more time trying to find an optimum solution by trial and error.
I'm all for testing to confirm as in the case of the 14-24 on FX, but the physics is pretty hard to deny and obviously enough people have done the test dives to prove the physics . That's what this community is about, Fred, to share ideas and solutions (of course SEARCH the forums for the answers before posting yet another same question to the issue). I'm sure the reason you are a member is not to tell people not to talk and go out and shoot, but to share your vast expertise and maybe even learn a thing or two. Even your other natgeo colleagues and others in the same field have browsed WP for info. So I see no harm in covering the physics before going out to test and then sharing the results. That would save a lot of time in finding the optimum port combination through pruning myself in a pool for hours.

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#18 loftus

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 03:44 AM

I don't have a 14-24mm, but I have finally tested the 17-35mm more thoroughly on FX Nikon now.

I have tested it in my Subal system in three different domes, with three different port extension rings and two different dioptres (and without) over a range of apertures and at 17mm and at 35mm. It was quite an undertaking! And I have not been through the results in detail.

First impressions at 17mm are that dioptres improve edge sharpness, but also increase pincushion distortion. These are 100% crops taken at F5.6 - what I reckoned would be the widest aperture I would be likely to use. Stopped down the edge performance is better, because there is more depth of field to bring the virtual image into focus.

So, F5.6, 17mm, No Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image


F5.6, 17mm, +3 Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image


F5.6, 17mm, +4 Dioptre, 100% edge crop:
Posted Image

Excuse image quality - not the best as light was going (ISO 1600). Anyway it is clear that the +4 dioptre has better edge detail in the tiles than the +3 and both are much better than no dioptre - in which detail is almost blurred completely.

As expected the tests show the importance of a dioptre. Since the 14-24mm cannot take a dioptre and is wider than the 17-35mm I can only envisage the edge performance being worse than the first image above. Of course stopping the lens down might improve the situation.

Alex

Thanks Alex. That's helpful. What's your preferred extension ring, same as you used previously?
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#19 divegypsy

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:01 AM

Hi Alex,

A very nice comparison of the 17-35mm lens with and without diopters. So interesting that I'll have to do a similar set of tests with my own Seacam domes.

I think it might also be interesting to see center sharpness comparisons of the same shots so we can see how much (if any) sharpness is lost to the center of the image by adding the diopter to the prime lens.

Could you also please tell us what size dome these shots were taken with as a +4 diopter might be too strong for use with a large size dome and not allow the lens to focus on an "infinity" virtual image.

Fred

#20 divegypsy

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:24 AM

Drew,

I was not saying sharing information is not worthwhile. I have always been willing to do that. If we share, we all get better, and benefit.

I'm simply saying that it is the final image that really matters. Also, I have not been a "natgeo colleague". Always outside. I just don't fit into the local politics there.

The stories I have sold to them - manatees, giant octopus, giant cuttlefish, crinoids and frogfish - have all been projects I "self-assigned" and showed only when I was satisfied with the results. And not one time when I was at National Geographic, and almost never at any other magazine, except perhaps a dive magazine, have I been asked about which camera or which lens a picture was taken with.

What is really important, what sells, is the story idea and how the images make the story concept work. Magazines buy pictures, sometimes, but what they run are STORIES. So the best way to sell your work to a magazine is to analyze the kinds of stories they use and then come up with a fresh idea for a new story. And walk in the door with a completed story.

Then you sell them the whole package, not one picture or two. And even National Geographic will use a technically weak picture, IF the image content is particularly unique or important to the story concept.

And that is the experience on which I say, "Don't waste too much time on technical aspects."

Get in the water and shoot what is really important to you.

Fred