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Alex_Mustard

17-35mm vs 14-24mm

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I am not sure I have an answer to this, my aim here is to start and provide a place for debate.

 

As Canon FF shooters will tell you, one of the draw backs of FF sensors is getting good performance out of wide angle rectilinear lenses. Particularly zooms that prove so useful for underwater shooting. I have seen a range of shots taken with the Canon 16-35mm (Mk1 & 2) and Canon 17-40mm on these cameras. So are getting pretty decent results, but many are frustrated, some shots look like someone has smeared o-ring grease in the corners of the frame - they were so blurred. Indeed some shooters have even mounted Nikon's 17-35mm on their Canon in an attempt to improve matters!

 

Anyway, when Nikon introduced their first FF digital they also introduced a stunning new wide angle optic - the 14-24mm. I have tried this lens a few times, starting almost 1 year ago with a pre-production sample and several times since. I have not tried one underwater. As I have said quite a few times on Wetpixel, I fear that the fact that this lens will not take a dioptre will significantly limit its quality underwater and I suspect that the splendid, older 17-35mm (which will take a dioptre) will actually out perform it behind a dome, in the real underwater mode.

 

For me at least this has all been speculation and suspicion. I know plenty of people with D3s and even now D700s in housings, but nobody is sharing any tests and results. Surely people have tried this lens by now. Why is everyone hiding their findings? Anyway, to help overcome the bashfulness I thought I plunge in with some test shots.

 

I have recently been shooting the Nikon D3 in a Subal housing in Canada, USA and in Mexico. And will post a my field notes on what FX is like for a Nikon user in a detailed article (on the Front Page) in the next week or so. I have not used the 14-24mm underwater, but have had a chance to try the 17-35mm. So how does the Nikon stack up for ultra-wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle rectilinear zooms.

 

I am great believer in tests that represent real world shooting. So I took these test shots using the same aperture and shutter speeds I was using at the time for the subjects. I chose a nice detailed and contrasty subject (mesh) to examine sharpness and to exaggerate and chromatic aberrations and fringing. Below are two test shots of the mesh and a test shot of real subject matter (it is not a good photo, but it is OK for test purposes - I got much better shots of this subject, but these are under wraps for now). The files are totally unadjusted - not even sharpened. They were saved for web - which has produced some noise (particularly in the purple fringing for some reason). Both F11 at 1/125th.

 

17-35mm @ 35mm (this is actually pretty wide on FX)

 

Whole frame:

post-713-1220593503.jpg

 

100% crop, centre:

post-713-1220593544.jpg

 

100% crop, corner:

post-713-1220593575.jpg

 

This is clearly less sharp than the centre of the frame and there is some clear fringing, but I have seen much worse. I think a smaller aperture - this was a real world F11 - would have improved matters on the sharpness. But then shooting at F22 or F16 in not very handy in the real world of underwater photography even with a base ISO of 200.

 

17-35mm @ 17mm ( i hate pincushion distortion)

 

Whole frame:

post-713-1220593787.jpg

 

100% crop, centre:

post-713-1220593832.jpg

 

100% crop, corner:

post-713-1220593873.jpg

 

At 17mm in the corners the CA is pretty nasty. But much of this can be reduced further in software. The detail is clearly visible, the edge definition is good and I'd still catagorise this as acceptable. Personally I don't like the pincushion look of a wide rectilinear, prefering the barrel distortion of fisheyes. I'll try a post a fisheye + teleconverter (similar coverage) as an comparison.

 

17-35mm @ 24 mm, in the real world!

 

Whole frame:

post-713-1220593951.jpg

 

100% crop, central:

post-713-1220593990.jpg

 

100% crop, edge:

post-713-1220594027.jpg

 

Get to a real world example and the image looks very acceptable. OK this is a dull shot. But shows that even when the subject is close the corners all look good. There remains CA on the fish (this is uncorrected again) but the details of the eye are still clear. Plus you get this sort of fringe if you shoot front curtain with a long-ish exposure!

 

So in summary I think that the Nikon 17-35mm is performing pretty well with a dioptre and dome - this is the same setup I used on film. There is room for improvement and I have heard that there are some new domes in the pipeline that may solve some of these problems. But for now I'd be happy to stick the 17-35mm + dioptre on the camera when the subject demands or requires. It may not shoot brick walls or mesh 100% perfectly, but it is not far off and it does a nice job on real world subjects. Interested to hear what others think.

 

Alex

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Sorry if I am being thick Alex but - are those mesh shots in the water?

 

Only it looks like you are wearing shoes!

 

FWIW the corners don't look as bad as I might have expected, but again I don't know much.

 

Paul C

Edited by PRC

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Those look like ankle weights on his dry suit booties. Of course Alex only wears Sweeneys or Lobbs for underwater use. :)

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I was planning to change my 17-35 to 14-24, but I found out that 14-24 did not fit to my port (sea and sea for D3). So that might be one reason not people using that yet.

 

-A-

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Hi,

 

 

 

I think alex was a little bored by all the white sharks in Guadelupe and photographed the bottem of the cage.

 

 

 

 

Rob

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Hi,

 

 

 

I think alex was a little bored by all the white sharks in Guadelupe and photographed the bottem of the cage.

 

 

 

 

Rob

 

 

Think you may have it right there Rob!

 

Paul C

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I was planning to change my 17-35 to 14-24, but I found out that 14-24 did not fit to my port (sea and sea for D3). So that might be one reason not people using that yet.

 

-A-

 

I have the Sea&Sea D3 housing and I am more than happy with my 14-24 configuration and decent corners @ 5,6 and smaller...

 

post-5686-1220633398.jpg

 

this image was taken last sunday with a D3 and 14-24 @ 14mm or 15mm with ISO 6400, 1/50, f4 and I think it looks decent for being in 4-5 meter vis...

 

 

since about 2 months I have totally stooped using my 16mm fisheye since I like my 14-24 so much :)

 

// Alex

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I have the Sea&Sea D3 housing and I am more than happy with my 14-24 configuration and decent corners @ 5,6 and smaller...

 

this image was taken last sunday with a D3 and 14-24 @ 14mm or 15mm with ISO 6400, 1/50, f4 and I think it looks decent for being in 4-5 meter vis...

 

 

since about 2 months I have totally stooped using my 16mm fisheye since I like my 14-24 so much :)

 

// Alex

What port/dome and extensionrings are you using? I was told that 14-24 is too big for NX fisheye domeport.

 

-A-

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What port/dome and extensionrings are you using?

 

-A-

 

Same question but directed at Alex M.

Tom

Edited by Tom_Kline

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I have the Sea&Sea D3 housing and I am more than happy with my 14-24 configuration and decent corners @ 5,6 and smaller...

 

post-5686-1220633398.jpg

 

this image was taken last sunday with a D3 and 14-24 @ 14mm or 15mm with ISO 6400, 1/50, f4 and I think it looks decent for being in 4-5 meter vis...

 

 

since about 2 months I have totally stooped using my 16mm fisheye since I like my 14-24 so much :)

 

// Alex

 

Nice shot, this is a good example of a scenario where a 14mm rectilinear FL on FF works!! :)

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I have the Sea&Sea D3 housing and I am more than happy with my 14-24 configuration and decent corners @ 5,6 and smaller...

 

post-5686-1220633398.jpg

 

this image was taken last sunday with a D3 and 14-24 @ 14mm or 15mm with ISO 6400, 1/50, f4 and I think it looks decent for being in 4-5 meter vis...

 

 

since about 2 months I have totally stooped using my 16mm fisheye since I like my 14-24 so much :)

 

// Alex

Interesting shot, but I really don't think it gives me any information about sharpness anywhere in the image.

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Interesting shot, but I really don't think it gives me any information about sharpness anywhere in the image.

 

Yes I can agree that my image laks of general sharpness but the image is taken in almost total darkness @ iso 6400, I hope you understand what that means... :)

 

maybe this is a better exampel of fine corners, I wish I had better examples at ISO 200 in good light but thats not the case living in sweden :)

 

post-5686-1220724545.jpg

 

this test image is taken in a rather dark indoor pool with a D3 14-24mm @ 14mm ISO 2000 f8 and 1/25 so there might be a slight of motion softness in the image, I have processed the image in ACR4.3 without any sharpening and resized it in CS3 to 72 dpi and saved it as jpg 8.

 

// Alex Dawson

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Those bottom corners look pretty reasonable considering they are at F8. Clearly not as sharp as the centre foreground, but not bad at all. Good example.

 

Alex

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I found some pictures online from the 14-24mm - which actually have some subject matter in the corners, showing some corner issues - although the best shot is taken at F5.6, so it is hardly surprising there is a corner sharpness issue!

 

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29215965

Those were posted on Wetpixel originally :).

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I'd be interested to see the same shots and conditions using the D3 at full frame vs cropped frame

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I'd be interested to see the same shots and conditions using the D3 at full frame vs cropped frame

Just imagine the outer "half" of the image gone ... shouldn't be too hard. Whether cropped in or out of the camera, the result would be the exact same image.

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It really is just a crop. So just crop the center 1/1.5 of of the image - and that's what you'd get in cropped mode.

 

James

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Those were posted on Wetpixel originally :).

 

Yes, those were my images. I had tested the 14-24 on a Sea&Sea housing and the 8" glass port several months back. Maybe it was the wrong port extension, but I could not get acceptable corner sharpness out of this setup. A couple weeks ago I was in the Bahamas giving the Aquatica 9.25" megadome with the 14-24 a good working out at various settings. f/5.6 produced a decent image, albeit with a little corner softness, and at f/8, the images seem to be what I would consider acceptable in way of corner sharpness. And in comparison, using the 16mm fisheye, I didn't notice any significant softening in the corners.

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