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Thread: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

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    Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    I am beginning to think that it may be impossible to get a reasonably priced wide that is going to be sharp right into the corners on the D800E. I then thought that in the film days I shot the majority of the images with the 35-70mm range and could get along well with a 24-85mm or 24-120mm if using a 1.2 crop.

    Has anybody tried just setting the D800E to 1.2 crop and just forgetting about the corners?

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Regular wide? As i mentioned before the nikon 28 1.8g is supposed to do pretty good wide. Stop it down and you should get good edges.

    Ultra wide and affordable... the samyang 14mm 2.8 does pretty dang good.

    If they bother you too much in post I'd just lob them off.

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    I am beginning to think that it may be impossible to get a reasonably priced wide that is going to be sharp right into the corners on the D800E. I then thought that in the film days I shot the majority of the images with the 35-70mm range and could get along well with a 24-85mm or 24-120mm if using a 1.2 crop.

    Has anybody tried just setting the D800E to 1.2 crop and just forgetting about the corners?
    Hi Robert,

    I can say with good certainty that a very good hand picked sample of Nikon's 17-35mm f2.8 may get you close to what you are looking for...but a lot depends on what focal length you'd primarily be using, at what distance and what f-stop would be acceptable for you to shoot at. Somewhere's here on Getdpi I had a post regarding this lens's performance on a D800e. From memory at 17 thru approx 22mm at mid and long distance, to achieve fairly good to very good sharpness on edges and right into the very corners while examining files at 100%, an f-stop of at least f8 and preferably f11 was required. At approx 24-27mm, using the same criteria, f5.6 was just OK, f8 was good and beyond was very good. At approx 28-35mm, f8 was very good and beyond was approaching excellent. Again keep in mind I'm talking about examining these files at 100%. Anything less (like 50%) and the edges and corners becomes even more acceptable and better at wider apertures. It all depends what the expectations are.

    Of course I would add to the above observations that generally the central resolution of the frame is still superior to the sides/corners, even when the lens is stopped down (examining again at 100%), so for me to say there is "even" sharpness accross the entire frame at any given focal length or f-stop when examining the files at 100% , wouldn't be accurate. I also doubt from what I've seen that even central resolution would match the Leica 21-35mm lens (viewing at 100%), but I think in some circumstances and lens settings, it would come close.

    The last thing I'd would say, as I often have when discussing this lens, is there was a high degree of sample variation, maybe more so than any other Nikon Pro level zoom (and its been fairly well documented). Still the lens has low distortion, good contrast, a very useable zoom range that's versitile and generally good to above average performance on a 36MP sensor, especially when zoomed in from it's widest focal length.

    I'm sure there are quite a few single focal length wides and ultra wides that probably can outperform this lens at their given focal length and so too could the Nikon 14-24 in many respects.... so I am specifically referring to wide angle zooms, especially those that reach beyond (longer) than 24mm.

    I've also tested both of Tokina's fairly recent wide angle zooms and for the most part, a good sample of the Nikon 17-35 f2.8 was superior, except in the area of possibly the level of microcontrast.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 11th January 2013 at 09:40.

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Sharp at 100% or sharp at normal viewing distances? How wide? Can we see a corner?

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Sharp at 100% or sharp at normal viewing distances? How wide? Can we see a corner?
    I am just generalizing from the lenses I have tried and unless you go to the the latest Leica zooms or Leica APO lenses, most lenses are soft in the corners and edges. The exception being the 50mm Summicron.

    Part of the problem is I either shoot sports, or scenic where most of the time the lens is at or near infinity. Most lenses have too much curvature of filed to be sharp at infinity. The modern Nikkor zooms are better, but to get the edges, they loose some in the middle. I assume it is the asherics in the newer wide angle zooms helping with the edges.

    An example I posted a while back, though not wide angle related, was the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II versus a 1996 Leica 105-280mm. The Leica held the corners better, the Nikkor was fuzzy. Worried, I checked the MTF chart of the Nikkor, and it shows a drop on the edges as I observed. In the sample shot below, the Nikkor was as sharp as the Leica in the middle 2/3, but the edges suffered. The crops are from the left of the frame.





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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Robert Wrote<<<<"Most lenses have too much curvature of filed to be sharp at infinity"<<<<

    Some of the edge/corner softness often observed, especially with wides and ultra wides has been on the higher resolution full frame 35mm cameras due to the high(er) pixel density on the sensor.

    The other reason is as Robert mentioned is due to field curvature. A great example of this is with the Pentax FA autofocus 35mm f3.5 645 medium format lens when used at infinity. I tested a large # of samples of this lens, to see if there was much variation in corner/edge performance when used on the 645D camera. Unfortunately not too much. At infinity, one can see excellent sharpness across the frame which deteriorates as one gets closer to the sides and edges....yet when the sides/edges and corner in the foreground are examined closely, they are extremely sharp! Subjects at mid-distance and at closer range, field curvature is effectivively reduced, sometimes significantly.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Here is a sample showing the latest version of the 28mm f2.8 Nikkor AF-D and the 24-85mm VR, which was a kit lens with the D600. I will label the bottom of the pictures. You can see that the 28mm prime is sharper in the middle, but it falls off quickly on each side. I even tried focusing near the side on the roof of the cream coloured home, which gave sharp edges, but the middle was mush.



    The Full image, using the 28mm Nikkor. Focus was on the window of the shed using liveview.





    Middle of the image, 28mm Nikkor. It is much sharper than the zoom in the middle. Pay attention to the bark on the trees or the writing on the yellow ladder.





    Middle of the image 24-85mm.





    towards the side of the 28mm Nikkor image.





    The side area of the 24-85mm.





    Edge of the 28mm Nikkor.





    Edge of the 24-85mm. This CA cleans up with either Lightroom or capture one.

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    On a quick glance (on a general monitor at work), the center frame crops although sharper with the fixed 28mm, is not all that significantly different than the zoom. I'd almost chalk it up to more of a difference of micro-contrast than actually resolution..at least to some degree.

    As for the edges and side crops, the zoom being superior, is readily evident.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 11th January 2013 at 15:06.

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    For what it is worth, here is a Leica 28mm Elmarit-R shot of this same scene taken this fall. It had the same filed curvature problem as the 28mm Nikkor, but it only affected the very edges of the frame and you could compensate by focusing at the edge and letting the DOF deal with the center. To be fair, the Nikkor cost me about $150, the Leica 28mm is worth ten times that.

    This is the center crop. You can see the Leica is so sharp that the detail of the bark of the tree by the shed is creating moire.


    Leica 28mm Elmarit-R, second version.






    Middle of the image, 28mm Nikkor. It is much sharper than the zoom in the middle. Pay attention to the bark on the trees or the writing on the yellow ladder.





    Middle of the image 24-85mm.

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    Re: Corner and edge sharpness with the D800E

    Robert,
    I'm now viewing all your images (even the previous ones) on a better monitor and as such, revised some of my previously posted comments. I can readily see the differences you illustrated, even in the center crops. That's been the nemesis of the D800 for some...finding suitable wide angle lenses that provide sharpness out to the edge and corners of the frame.
    That I believe may be one of the advantages of 40 MP medium format digital cameras over the D800...namely pixel density is less with MFD and therefore it's somewhat easier to achieve better edge and corner sharpness with wide angle lenses, even when focused at infinity.
    One doesn't have to work as hard achieving this. There are also fewer Nikon mount lenses that have sufficient resolution across the frame for the D800e.

    Just yesterday I stumbled upon some sort of photography review magazine I've never seen before and they had a published test addressing this very issue (and other performance attributes) between the Hassy 40MP HD-4 and the Nikon D800 (or it might have been the D800e). I recall they tested the Nikon with both some of the best Nikon and Zeiss glass. In some cases, image quality was extremely close while in examining other parameters (such as wide angle performance at the sides and edges), there was a big difference and naturally, it wasn't surprising. I encountered just that when I examined similar focal length wide angle files from the D800e and Pentax 645D. Each system of course has it's strengths and advantages/disadvantages.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 11th January 2013 at 16:09.

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