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preliminary results d800e


Active member
I received the camera from B&H yesterday, everything is as advertised. I tested my 17-35, 55 micro, 105 f/2.5, and my 200 mm Q C. I photographed my living room as it is too cold and wet to go outside. The 200 is sharp at f/5.6, f/8, f/11 and f/16. I strained at 100% to see if maybe diffraction was setting in at f/16, it doesn't look like it, but I will have to test this a bit more. I didn't test the 300mm f/4, I'm not expecting any issues with it. The 55mm and the 105mm were as expected sharp at f/5.6, but then I would have been flabbergasted if they were not. The 17-35 was my main concern. I tested it at f/5.6 at 17mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. I didn't re-focus and the plane of focus seemed to remain the same. What surprised me was the plane of focus really, really matters. (Duh, and I call myself a professional.) It always seemed that close enough at f/5.6 was fine with the ultra wide, and now it seems that it matters more. Though it could be too many things that I was testing for and too short of a test. The extreme, extreme corners are a bit soft as they always have been. But I tried focusing just in the corners using live view, and the results were surprising, it isn't tack sharp but it is much better. Of course when the corners are in focus nothing much else is. But it leads me to one conclusion about the 17-35. I realize that a curved field lend acts differently than a flat field, in the old days we used to have rules of thumb about what lenses were best for what subject. But as a practical matter, I tend to not place any importance on the extreme, extreme corners, and the darn lenslooks good so far. I am hoping in the very near future when it is a bit dryer to take it outside and give it a better test than in my living room. But the more that I have used this lens with the d700 I am rather impressed with it. I am looking forward to seeing what it will do with the new camera. Have a happy and safe new year. Joe


Well-known member
Hi Joe,

The Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 was one of the first lenses I tested when I had a D800e, knowing that it was in the wide/ultra wide focal lengths with regards to the D800/e that achieving edge to edge sharpness was problematic. I posted my initial findings in a post here on Getdpi. Your initial observations are quite like mine...a surprisingly good wide/ultrawide lens on the D800/e, that exhibits a good combination of acuity/sharpness over most of the frame, especially when stopped down to f8-f11 and has a very good combination of sharpness, wide angle focal length range covered and what I was most looking for...low distortion when compared to some of the other wide angle zooms. The degree of corner softness depends on three prominent factors with this lens, two of which you aptly described. The f-stop selected, focal length selected and lastly selection of focus plane due to field curvature. There may be better performing single focal length lenses for use with the D800/e, or those with more limited focal length range, but when all factors mentioned (above) are taken into consideration, a good sample of this lens (there were many mediocre ones), may be the sleeper among choices in this genre of lenses.

Dave (D&A)


Active member
It is the constancy of compromises that we have to deal with. I want as much resolution that I can have, I want the lowest amount and most manageable of distortion that I can have, if the compromise is a bit lower contrast, but low flare, and extreme corner softening, I can live with all of that. One of my friends has a 14-24, at the same focal length (20mm) shooting side by side on the same type of camera (d700/d3) we cannot tell the difference in resolution between them. That is indoors, but outdoors, his lens flares much more than mine. So, I don't know, but I don't see the advantage. I used a Zeiss 21mm, nice lens, the color cast is a bit different, but not a big deal, but the distortion was not to my taste. I could see why people like the lens though. I'm going out today and see if I can find a spot to test the camera indoors. From my decades of view camera work (architectural) I just got used to having softer corners, I at this point cannot understand the fuss about the extreme corners. It makes me think that maybe I am a dinosaur. I did notice one thing about the files of the d800e, at least so far, when I process them exactly like I process the d700 files they look really nice, but "creamier" smoother transitions, so I am curious, for those of you out there working with the d700/d3 files and the d800e files, do you process them differently?