Why I pay attention to lens and sensor quality

These snapshot show a small fraction of the SHOT show displays using my photos:

Unlike billboards, these are seen up close. And these were not even the largest images — the biggest was a three-part Keltec display 8 feet high by about 12 feet wide. That is why I am looking at upgrading my equipment…but there’s nothing in Canon line-up that would make a noticeable upgrade in resolution. Pity.

This entry was posted in camera and lens. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Why I pay attention to lens and sensor quality

  1. Gewehr98 says:

    Even if you could afford the body and lenses, I’m not even sure a 36 megapixel Nikon D800 would be the logical progression for you, Oleg. With enlargements like that (or bigger, as you stated), you’re edging into medium-format territory. I guess it depends on the PPI that you’re printing at and the intended viewing distance of those prints. 300PPI for reading distance, 150PPI for viewing at 2 feet, 30PPI for viewing at 10 feet. With the D800 36 megapixel resolution, you could print an image at 60PPI and it’ll still be 3 meters wide, as long as the viewer stood back a few feet.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      D800 also wins on user interface. Where it loses is the incompatibility with my lenses which I can’t yet afford to replace.

      I just played with a Leica S2 and it’s awesome. But the macro lens isn’t even close to 1:1, and no tele lenses exist. Wtih Canon, I use 85-100mm range a lot and 200mm almost as often.

  2. Leica offers adapters for using the S2 with legacy lenses of the Hasselblad V-system as well as Hasselblad H-series autofocus lenses. Other adapters exist for lenses of the Mamiya 645-system and the Pentax 67-system. The widely available Hasselblad CFE 5.6/350 Superachromat can have its focal length extended to 490 with the teleconverter APO 1.4XE.

  3. Gewehr98 says:

    As a pro, I know you want fast primes and fast telephotos, f2.8 or wider, right? For my own D300, I went a different route, buying older Nikon autofocus FILM FX lenses from Goodwill’s online auction site. eBay isn’t the only game in town, and Goodwill’s winning bids are quite a bit cheaper. I have good high-ISO quality with my D300, so I don’t have a lot of f2.8 or faster lenses, but I always keep my eyes open for more.

    I spent a whopping $35.00 on a Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8 prime, and just landed a $75.00 Nikkor AF 70-210mm Constant Aperture f4 zoom which I adore for sharpness and the bright f4 at the 210mm long end. Even at 36 megapixels, DSLR resolution hasn’t quite gotten to the point where diffraction affects film lenses, so I chose the excellent older glass at a marked reduction in price compared to brand new offerings.

    All Nikon AF film lenses were and are FX, and work perfectly with the D600, D610, D700, D800, and D800E FX professional bodies. They’re metal and glass, so they’ll be heavier than their current plastic digital counterparts, but as I said, the optics are first-rate with a very solid feel and function.

    I’ll bet you could find a good film-era Nikkor AF 80-200mm f2.8 for a reasonable price, and then pick up additional lenses one at a time as you sell off some of your Canon glass piecemeal. Or keep both systems, using the advantages of each to complement each other…

    • Oleg Volk says:

      Trouble with older glass is that it doesn’t always work well with digital bodies. Older 300/4 lenses on Canon 5D were unusable. Wide angles tended to work poorly also. Not enough anti-reflection coating, wrong design for the sensor requirements, etc.

  4. It isn’t just a straight matter of the number of pixels. The sensor size also plays a factor in the final quality of the image.

    Upshot of the D800 is it’s also a full frame sensor instead of just packing more pixels into a tight space.

    I have really liked my Nikon’s and want to upgrade to a full frame camera I just haven’t been able to justify the cost yet. Especially since Canon rules the video side of the realm. Since stills are my primary though Nikon I think is going to win.

  5. mike says:

    There’s always ‘blads new 50MP CMOS back…

  6. Gewehr98 says:

    I know what you mean about justifying the cost of the upgrade. My goal is to have a FX D700 in my grubby little mitts by the end of this year. I’ll still keep the D300 as an adjunct, because it’s good for sports and wildlife, but I’m not using all the edge-to-edge goodness of my FX lens collection on the DX D300.

  7. Michael Quinn says:

    Have you looked at the Sony A7R? It’s basically the 36mp full frame sensor from the D800 without the AA filter so it’s ridiculously sharp. It’s mirrorless so the body is smaller than a Canon Rebel T5i. Only problem is the lack of available native mount glass. However, the existence of the Metabones smart adapter mostly negates this by allowing you to use your existing EF mount glass with full aperture control and (somewhat slow) autofocus. It’s by no means perfect, (If you do find the perfect camera let me know.) I own one of these myself and it has almost replaced my SLR for everything but hight speed action. If you’re in the Atlanta area any time we have them at Showcase (where I work) and I’d be happy to send you sample images.


Comments are closed.