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Thread: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

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    3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    if you had to be restricted to 3 lens for the D800 (E)
    with money no object and including MF lens what would you buy - based solely on image quality ?

    (so in other words weight, size and and other factors were total non issues - only image quality factors such as sharpness/ bokeh/chromatic aberration/lens coatings/ optical design/ were factors)

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    For me it would Zeiss 21 2.8, Otus, Zeiss 135 f2, that's my list!

    Mat

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    nice list..............

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    to shoot what?
    but no matter what i'm shooting, the center lens is ZF 35/2 ..

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    general photography.

    the kind of lens you buy and keep forever assuming you stay with the same system.

    if you have a specialized interest - lets say you are into sports or birding it can be part of your (3)

    I dont expect the list to work for everone

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Zeiss 21/2.8, Sigma 35/1.4 ART and 70-200/2.8VRII
    however if size, money and weight were not a factor I would rather use MF

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    For Image Quality but ----- to me IQ means more than line-pairs per milimeter; it's a total package of high sharpness and pleasing contrast with smooth bokeh. Soooo, that said here are my 3:

    My short: Nikkor 28mm f1.4. However since this is an older design with a hand-ground aspheric element, you need to search out a good copy. Plan to pay for it and go through two or three before finding a beloved one. Possibly my most used lens.

    My normal: Nikkor 50/1.2 D. It's a manual focus lens but delivers amazing results. I do not personally care for the way the new 58/1.4G renders, nor do the any of the current Nikkor 50 AF lenses suit me any better. The OUTUS might, but it's also MF, bigger and more expensive AND focally longer (and perhaps too long) than the 50/1.2 I already own and love. BUT, the 50/1.2 may get dropped in favor of the Sigma Art 50 when I finally get one in the upcoming weeks -- depends on how it draws, but if anything like the 35 Art then it promises to be very viable.

    My long: Nikkor 85/1.4G by a whisker over the 105DC. Simply outstanding optically and nothing bad to be said anywhere about it except its weight. One other option here would be the Hassy Zeiss F 110/2 -- an amazing optic with phenomenal imaging characteristics, but it's all manual and stop-down metering. Though honestly, the 105DC is almost as sweet, is AF and electronically coupled and has the option of the DF ring. So for me, it's a really tough call between the 105DC and 85/1.4G for my longer lens -- some days it's the 105 in my bag, others the 85.

    My caveats *IF* I preferred some other focal ranges: In superwide the Zeiss 18 ZF2 is tough to beat -- I prefer it over any current 21 by a fairly large margin, though Guy's F-mount converted 19mm Leica R was very sweet. (In fact I wish I had bought it when he sold it, but could not get myself to pull the trigger simply because I don't shoot that wide very often and I have a 17-35 zoom that covers that range well enough for me.) Ironically, there are NO 24's I am enamored enough with over the same 17-35 zoom to put them on this list -- but to clarify the zoom is not an iconic lens, just a worker bee that works for my needs in that wider range and why it's not on the list. In 35 it would be the Sigma Art, done. 135 would be the Zeiss, hands down one of the best optical performers I've ever seen regardless of focal length, format or manufacturer. Only reason I don't own one is because I never cozied up to the 135 as a focal length I easily visualize in. Finally in longer, the 200/2 Nikkor is amazing too, essentially right up there optically with the aforementioned ZF 135 -- my only nit being a relatively long minimum focus distance and weight...
    Jack
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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Zeiss 35/1.4, Nikkor 60/2.8 and Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRII

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    Senior Member JohnBrew's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    I use these: Zeiss 21 2.8, Zeiss 55 1.4 & Nikon 85 1.4G. I don't believe you can do any better than choosing these lenses. I feel pretty well set with this trio. Something better might come along but it would have to be pretty darn fantastic to replace any of them.

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Money no objection. I assume this includes money for a caddy....

    1) Nikon AFS VR 200/2.0
    2) Nikon AFS 35/1.4
    3) Nikon AFS 58/1.4

    I have all 3 of these and use them extensively with the exception of the 200. For that I often compromise and bring the 70-200VRII. I would love to bring the 200/2.0 instead.

    It is a hard choice and maybe the ZF lens is better in areas but I prefer using the AF lenses nowadays.

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    If sharpness is your #1 criterion, then DXOmarks has already ranked it for you:

    Sharpest lenses on 800E, which is the sharpest Nikon camera currently


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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    sigma ART 35
    sigma ART 50
    Nikon G 85/ 1.4

    but, i've just order a nikon 50 1.8 G SE… because sometimes art lens aren't just small enough !

    but it depends so much of your type of shooting,
    if i wasn't using my arca RM3D 90% of the time, my 3 lenses were =

    24 pc-e
    45 pc-e
    85 pc-e

    i still can't understand why there's no 35 pc-e !

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    For me, it would be all AF-lenses and probably all Nikkor:

    24/1.4
    58/1.4 (alternatively the Sigma 50/1.4)
    105/2.0 or 135/2.0, probably the latter.

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by trioderob View Post
    if you had to be restricted to 3 lens for the D800 (E)
    with money no object and including MF lens what would you buy - based solely on image quality ?

    (so in other words weight, size and and other factors were total non issues - only image quality factors such as sharpness/ bokeh/chromatic aberration/lens coatings/ optical design/ were factors)
    Money no object? Image quality is subjective and can be a combination of qualities that add up to a special lens not just some clinical sharpness measure.

    I'd choose the legendary Zeiss CY mount 21/2.8, 28/2 "Hollywood", 50/1.2 Anniversary, and 85/1.2 Anniversary … plus a fee to Sherlock Homes Inc., to find them

    For a zoom, the uber-rare Leica R24-70/2.8 … and 70-280


    - Marc
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Money no object? Image quality is subjective and can be a combination of qualities that add up to a special lens not just some clinical sharpness measure.

    I'd choose the legendary Zeiss CY mount 21/2.8, 28/2 "Hollywood", 50/1.2 Anniversary, and 85/1.2 Anniversary … plus a fee to Sherlock Homes Inc., to find them

    For a zoom, the uber-rare Leica R24-70/2.8 … and 70-280


    - Marc
    I assume that you will change the lens mount on the D800 to CY to avoid the rather destructive modifications necessary for the f/1.2 lenses to fit the F-mount
    Or will you simply transplant the innards of the Nikon to a suitable Contax body?

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Money no object? Image quality is subjective and can be a combination of qualities that add up to a special lens not just some clinical sharpness measure.

    I'd choose the legendary Zeiss CY mount 21/2.8, 28/2 "Hollywood", 50/1.2 Anniversary, and 85/1.2 Anniversary … plus a fee to Sherlock Homes Inc., to find them

    For a zoom, the uber-rare Leica R24-70/2.8 … and 70-280


    - Marc
    Agree with your first sentence. If your after a look than it will change from a set that is clinical in sharpness.

    Btw there really is no such thing as money no object, there always is a ceiling. If there wasn't you would not be wanting a Nikon. MF comes to mind immediately and I can spend your money in a NY second that would make your head spin. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I assume that you will change the lens mount on the D800 to CY to avoid the rather destructive modifications necessary for the f/1.2 lenses to fit the F-mount
    Or will you simply transplant the innards of the Nikon to a suitable Contax body?
    I used the 28/2 "Hollywood" and 55/1.2 Anniversary on a Canon 5D … the C/Y to Nikon adapter won't work?

    In that case then I'd move to Leica R optics … Latest 19/2.8, Mandler 35/1.4, later 50/1.4, and the Mandler 85/1.4 … longer lens would be the R180/2

    - Marc

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Marc,

    I had the pleasure of owning the 35/1.4 and 80mm/1.4 R Mandlers back when I shot Canon. Amazing optics to be sure.

    HOWEVER and IMHO only: The Nikkor 28/1.4 ASPH -- which has an actual FL of closer to 30mm -- has a nearly identical rendering to, but is notably sharper (centrally) than the 35 Mandler wide open. The latest Nikkor 85/1.4G again renders a lot like the Mandler 80, but is significantly sharper. It is nearly as sharp as the Z 135/2 but that sharpness is served up with a healthy dose of Mandler-esque cream to f4.

    As a totally irrelevant aside, IMHO the absolute best 50 I ever owned period, was a Mandler 50/1.4 Pre-Asph M lens, a gen 3 IIRC. I liked the way it drew better than any Cron or Mandler Noctilux, and I owned plenty of both trying to get even better than the little Mandler Lux. BUT once again, the little manual Nikkor 50/1.2AFD is pretty darn close -- very close. Probably a little closer to a gen 3 1.0 Noctilux M than the Mandler Lux M -- so that will calibrate where it falls on the scale for me -- so very seriously among the nicest 50's I've ever owned. I have high hopes for the Sigma Art 50, but it's got a hurdle to get over in this pack...

    I know you don't shoot Nikon, but you should really get a look at these lenses just so you can see them first-hand...

    PS: I still occasionally kick myself for not buying Guy's N converted 19R when he sold it, but at that time money was an object . If I had managed it, I would own the ultimate quad of rendering glass for my Nikons...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I used the 28/2 "Hollywood" and 55/1.2 Anniversary on a Canon 5D … the C/Y to Nikon adapter won't work?

    In that case then I'd move to Leica R optics … Latest 19/2.8, Mandler 35/1.4, later 50/1.4, and the Mandler 85/1.4 … longer lens would be the R180/2

    - Marc
    No adapters because of the similar register distance. Some of the smaller aperture lenses can have the mounts changed easily, but at least for the 85/1.4 a more elaborate modification is required. I guess that would be the case for all the f/1.2 lenses, but if it's possible depends on the size of the exit pupil. The F-mount is rather narrow.

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....


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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    Yes, but the 28/2.0 has not been tested and the 85/1.4, 85/1.2 and 55/1.2 (55mm, not 50mm) are not on the list and for good reason. I think there is someone in Japan doing conversions of the 85/1.4 to F-mount. I even think I found a web or email address a couple of years ago, and they do surface on the Great, Big Auction Site now and then. The question is if it's worth the hassle compared to buying a ZF.2. The f/1.2 versions... that's another story

    But for those with access to a hacksaw, there is a bargain priced 55mm available on that website right now, at only $8,899.11. The offer ends in just 2 days, so you'd better run

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    sigma ART 35
    sigma ART 50
    Nikon G 85/ 1.4

    but, i've just order a nikon 50 1.8 G SE… because sometimes art lens aren't just small enough !

    but it depends so much of your type of shooting,
    if i wasn't using my arca RM3D 90% of the time, my 3 lenses were =

    24 pc-e
    45 pc-e
    85 pc-e

    i still can't understand why there's no 35 pc-e !
    Discover the fantastic resistance against flare and ghosting (50mm f/1.8G)

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Money no object? Image quality is subjective and can be a combination of qualities that add up to a special lens not just some clinical sharpness measure.

    I'd choose the legendary Zeiss CY mount 21/2.8, 28/2 "Hollywood", 50/1.2 Anniversary, and 85/1.2 Anniversary … plus a fee to Sherlock Homes Inc., to find them

    For a zoom, the uber-rare Leica R24-70/2.8 … and 70-280


    - Marc
    I have the 21/2.8 and 28/2 CY mount if someone was looking .

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Yes, but the 28/2.0 has not been tested and the 85/1.4, 85/1.2 and 55/1.2 (55mm, not 50mm) are not on the list and for good reason. I think there is someone in Japan doing conversions of the 85/1.4 to F-mount. I even think I found a web or email address a couple of years ago, and they do surface on the Great, Big Auction Site now and then. The question is if it's worth the hassle compared to buying a ZF.2. The f/1.2 versions... that's another story

    But for those with access to a hacksaw, there is a bargain priced 55mm available on that website right now, at only $8,899.11. The offer ends in just 2 days, so you'd better run
    You can convert some of the CY lenses to a Nikon mount with an Leitax mount kit . Not a simple conversion .

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    My picks ….19/2.8,35/1.4 and 80/1.4 Leica R lenses …..with the 100/2.8 ,180/2.8APO and 50/1.4 (60mm ),28/2.8 Leica R my bonus picks . (You said cost was not a consideration) . All converted to Nikon with a Leitax mount .

    These lenses are small by comparison to AF alternatives ,each has a well known signature and a common Leica R aesthetic . Took me a year to assemble this set .

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    The main drawback is some of the great lenses are also huge (85/1.4, 24/1.4, 200/2, etc) or they're manual focus meaning shooting without continuous tracking, which means shooting when the subject is in focus or doing something interesting but not regularly both. Which in turn means highly technical, static imagery - nothing wrong with that, but it's quite limiting. Or the occasional lucky strike. Not so great when someone expects 150 in-focus technically excellent shots to pick among.

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    Re: 3 lens for the D800 - money no object....

    My 'go-to' lens for the D800(E) is the 24-120 f4 Nikkor. Invaluable if you want to travel light.

    Otherwise I would say the two Sigma Art-series f1.4 primes - the 35mm and 50mm.

    I'm hoping for a Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art (or, better, an f1.4 or f2 21mm!) at the next Photokina.
    John L Dobson
    Editor, Ffestiniog Railway Magazine

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