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Thread: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

  1. #51
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Like I say, I'm withholding judgement for a while, and will give Zeiss the benefit of the doubt.

    But people who think that heavy pincushion distortion in a $1200 85mm f1.8 lens is a non-issue are, IMO, making an unwarranted leap of faith. This is not a focal length that's super hard to correct. Even relatively inexpensive 85's from Nikon and Canon and Sony have practically no distortion. And some of them are lightweight and sharp, too.

    If you only shoot low depth of field portraits, and never do landscape work with this lens, or don't care about the distortion in your photographs, I guess you're good to go. For what I do, I need straight lines and sharpness everywhere, including the corners. Both. This is absolutely not too much to ask for an 85mm lens.

    If it turns out I can get what I need using software correction, I may pony up for the Batis after all. It's smaller and lighter than the 90mm macro. But I need to be convinced. I'm not giving Zeiss a free pass on this one.

    And frankly, I'm surprised that they are featuring a distortion curve based on in-camera correction in some of their publicity materials. Did they adjust for in-camera correction when they calculated their MTF charts?
    Last edited by davidstock; 16th June 2015 at 22:44.
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Well said!

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    I'm going to go by my reality on this one. First I need the damn thing but second a well known lens cheap by any standard the Samyang 14mm before, during and after a PT lens correction. The darn lens corrects very nicely even in the pixel peaking world. One would think with 42mpx cam this small loss of correction we could easily make up in post with a good sharpening technique. One also has to wonder and no one knows this answer yet as to what truly is the difference between corrected and u corrected. Is it a 5 MPX loss in detail or 10 or what. It's all guessing at this point. Ask yourself this also what does 3 percent truly mean with a 85mm lens . Is it more severe than the Samyang 14 or less severe. I say this your buying it new anyway. From Amazon you get a month to test it, from B&H you get 14 days for your returns. I think it maybe worth a leap of faith and try it out see how it works to your style. What I'm reading on the forums is panic and it's really a guess at this point . Maybe I'm a optimist or maybe I'm just not overly concerned. One thing I do know for a fact, I can learn to live with the workaround if need be.
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  4. #54
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstock View Post
    Like I say, I'm withholding judgement for a while, and will give Zeiss the benefit of the doubt.

    But people who think that heavy pincushion distortion in a $1200 85mm f1.8 lens is a non-issue are, IMO, making an unwarranted leap of faith. This is not a focal length that's super hard to correct. Even relatively inexpensive 85's from Nikon and Canon and Sony have practically no distortion. And some of them are lightweight and sharp, too.

    If you only shoot low depth of field portraits, and never do landscape work with this lens, or don't care about the distortion in your photographs, I guess you're good to go. For what I do, I need straight lines and sharpness everywhere, including the corners. Both. This is absolutely not too much to ask for an 85mm lens.

    If it turns out I can get what I need using software correction, I may pony up for the Batis after all. It's smaller and lighter than the 90mm macro. But I need to be convinced. I'm not giving Zeiss a free pass on this one.

    And frankly, I'm surprised that they are featuring a distortion curve based on in-camera correction in some of their publicity materials. Did they adjust for in-camera correction when they calculated their MTF charts?
    I'd be honestly surprised if any lens in the 80~120mm range has more than 1% distortion, but 3% on a prime from Zeiss? ouch! And I always thought the 1% barrel on my Canon 85LII was on the high side.

    This is almost certainly going to see 99% of it's use in portraits, where neither the distortion nor resolution loss from correction are going to be noticed, but for what seems to be a premium product, it just shouldn't be this way. simply out of principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Ask yourself this also what does 3 percent truly mean with a 85mm lens . Is it more severe than the Samyang 14 or less severe.
    In theory, it should be less severe than the same 3% on a wider lens, since you'll get fewer objects into the frame, especially near the corners, but only if you generalize based on what 85mm lenses are "traditionally" used for. In practice I have used my 85L on everything from portraits to landscape and architecture to studio photography, and had a few shots where even the 1% barrel distortion of that lens was visible, especially on close-ups. The closer your focus distance, the more distortion kicks into effect.
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    So it seems that the specs for the Batis 85 show high distortion. It's funny because the only one I've seen who has actually tested it seem to like it a lot. Usually that guy at diglloyd is extremely finicky about his reviews. I remember he was all over the shutter shock thing. But apparently he likes the 85 so much he's gonna buy it.

    http://diglloyd.com/blog/2015/201506...Mountains.html

    The shot shown is a landscape scene. Maybe he's missing the problem. Or maybe it's actually a very good lens. Is there anyone who pays for the mirrorless subsbcription there that can render an opinion?
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina DZ View Post
    Distortion has nothing to do with pixel peeping, at least for me. It's easily visible in web sizes.
    I'm concerned about values current Zeiss marketing machine promotes.
    He clearly never came from a background of large format shooting, or possibly he has forgotten the much lower distortion performance of 'near-symmetrical' lens designs that LF lenses mostly exhibit. Even the best retrofocal lenses for SLRs and mirrorless camera have considerably more distortion, and it is readily apparent to a trained eye, with an appropriate subject.

    These newer lenses go way beyond anything that would ever have been considered acceptable in film shooting days. The fact that they CAN be corrected in PP doesn't mean that they SHOULD be designed that way from the beginning.

    Spouting platitudes about pixel peeping and naval gazing are excellent if you want to redirect the focus of a group of beginner enthusiasts, but of little benefit when the discussion is about real issues of performance and the demands/expectations of serious image makers. It actually is counterproductive and worth less than $ .02.

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    I'm a long time Zeiss lens user. I hope the Batis is a great lens in every respect. I hope the distortion issue was blown out of proportion because of the way Zeiss calculated it. (There are two main ways of reporting distortion that could get confused.) I hope people who have pre-ordered it will be happy with it. I hope it will work for my own photography.

    But it is highly unusual for a big name expensive 85mm lens to have obvious pincushion distortion. Zeiss's other 85's don't, Nikon's don't, Canon's don't, Sony's don't. Even half the reported distortion would be high for this focal length.

    And we know that correcting distortion does have some effect on resolution. As far as I've seen, nobody has quantified the actual loss of resolution yet for this lens.

    So I think this issue should be addressed sometime soon. First of all by Zeiss, openly. (Which is the opposite of what they're doing so far.) By reviewers, of course. By early adopters. And eventually by people like me who are considering the lens for certain kinds of work that require low distortion. I'm sure we'll know before too long. Until then, I'm left speculating. And hoping.

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    The Zeiss video that Eoin linked is only missing the Make. Belief motto from Sony. it even ends like a Sony video with a "ting". I doubt they will be open at all.

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    From an older Zeiss paper on lens distortion that I found on the Alpa site:


    "Pincushion distortion at an already detectable level in a lens for the 35mm format is described by the following curve:

    [Zeiss here includes a curve that looks similar to their distortion curve for the Batis 85mm.]

    "The black curve shows that the radial distortion error increases gradually from zero in the middle of the image to 3% in the corner of the image where the focal length is 3% larger than in the middle.

    "Looking at this curve, one keeps in mind: "The lens exhibits a 3% distortion", but might then be surprised if a test report claims: "The lens shows 1.1% pincushion distortion". How can we reconcile this apparent discrepancy?

    "Well, the test report does not refer to radial distortion, but rather to TV distortion. This is a measure of how strongly the image of a straight line that is situated at the edge of the image (in particular on the long edge of the image in a rectangular format) is curved. This amplitude of curvature is then related to the total frame height and expressed as a percentage value.

    "It is therefore very important to note which percentage value is actually meant. The values of TV distortion are always smaller than the radial distortion specified by us."

    Tentative conclusion: the Batis 85mm has TV distortion of around 1.1%. Real, but not horrible.

    Just to confuse things a bit, Imatest says there are at least two ways of measuring TV distortion, which give significantly different results....
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Unfortunately, yes.

    I would have kept my M9 and (non-ASPH) Leica glass if I wanted approximate composition. That system certainly had that in spades, and I found it frustrating that I couldn't get closer to a well-considered composition with that system.

    Well, that and the the fact that I didn't consider their inability to produce a properly functioning piece of electronics to be 'quaint' or part of the 'Leica Charm'...
    ---Michael
    LOL Well in the first few hard months of learning the M9 I would have agreed. Now I love framing with the M9 and detest noisy EVFs, which can give me a serious headache.

    As my second body is a Sony A7.mod, I can also add I throw out just as many shots for bad framing as with the M9, and many more shots I throw out for other reasons, like shutter shake.

    Practice, Practice Practice.

    Many also think the M9 can't focus well at superspeed. However the M9 consistently beats the A7 in this regard as well, with CV 50/1.1 and 75 Lux WO.

    As to the 85 and it's compromises: we'll just have to see if they pulled it off. I read that simple barrel distortion is the easiest to correct without huge downside.

    This may also be the thinking behind the 10% distortion of the Q 28, looks crazy but simple to fix. Or is it?

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstock View Post
    Tentative conclusion: the Batis 85mm has TV distortion of around 1.1%. Real, but not horrible.
    ...that is after the image processor correction being applied. Why can't Zeiss reach 0.4% if it's so easily amendable?
    And thank you for reminding about radial distortion. Good luck fixing that in post. Well, I know "liquify" does miracles...

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina DZ View Post
    ...that is after the image processor correction being applied.
    Are you sure? The way I read it is that it's 1.1% "raw" (i.e. before any image processing and/or software correction)

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    Senior Member Malina DZ's Avatar
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    Are you sure? The way I read it is that it's 1.1% "raw" (i.e. before any image processing and/or software correction)
    No, I'm not, with so many measured numbers (3%, 1.1%, ~0.5%) floating around.
    BTW, where does 1.1% distortion come from?

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina DZ View Post
    No, I'm not, with so many measured numbers (3%, 1.1%, ~0.5%) floating around.
    BTW, where does 1.1% distortion come from?
    Well the 0.5% (or less, depending how you read the graph) is with camera correction "on" according to the Zeiss paper. But they don't mention if the MTF graphs are with camera correction "on" or "off"
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    I'm sure this point has been made elsewhere, but lens design is a huge bag of compromises. Symmetric designs are great, but not for (current) digital sensors, and probably not for AF. Some asymmetric designs are low distortion, but have CA (color fringing in out of focus areas). Other sharp designs have mustache distortion. Some designs are good (e.g., Contax zooms) but are smaller aperture and heavy.

    But now that we *can* do software correction for purely geometric distortion, that frees up one variable so that the others - low vignetting and color cast on digital sensors, sharpness to the corners, low CA, light weight, fast AF - can be improved. I'm not seeing that this is a bad thing. Certainly not "unprofessional". Sure, if there is a lens design that matches all the other requirements *and* has no geometric distortions, that would be better. I'm betting that there isn't one.

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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    ...Sure, if there is a lens design that matches all the other requirements *and* has no geometric distortions, that would be better. I'm betting that there isn't one.

    --Matt
    I'm betting that if there were one created that people (including myself) would scoff at the price...
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    Re: When a 3% pincussion makes you a "serious shooter"..

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    I'm sure this point has been made elsewhere, but lens design is a huge bag of compromises.
    Nikon 85/1.8G is somehow able to pull off great results in all IQ categories (0.17% Pincsh) without any corrections at a much lower price.
    Distortion is a big deal as it affects every single image you take at any aperture, unlike sharpness, CA and vignetting. Hope, a new generation of professionals understands that.

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