I'm getting obsessed with sharpness

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
Bill,

I know exactly squat about testing lenses, but I have tested products in the past.

So here's my firm-grasp-of-the-obvious take on it.

1. set up a rock-solid mount for your camera.
2. set up a known target that shoes what you want to test
3. control the lighting
4. bang off the shots with the various lenses and keep careful notes
5. examine the the results at 100% and keep careful notes

Another thought: DXO has a bunch of lens tests, including "the best lenses for your [name of camera here]"

Have you had a look at those?

Cheers, Jock

PS -- Those shots look razor sharp to me. Honestly, I don't a problem.
 

donlaw

Hall of Famer
Sep 14, 2012
Texas
Don
Looks sharp on my monitor.

I have a D800 that I use for mainly for architectural photography and love it. You can do some serious cropping and still get amazing resolution and detail.
The file sizes do not bother me because I don't take a huge number of photos with it. But the weight factor can be an issue.
I would not want to lug it around NYC all day!
 

pniev

Student for life
May 13, 2013
From what you tell, you crop your photos because you want to work from a distance. If so, go for Nikon D800E. There is clear difference in sharpness between the D800 and D800E. I compared on 1:1 size on 30 inch screen and the differences are there. And even more so compared to D600/D610 and 16MP cameras. But only if you crop. And that is what you do, if I understand correctly.

You could also go for the Sony A7R because it has the same sensor but the AF of your 300mm lens will be useless.

The Nikon 300mm 2.8 VRI/VRII with TC20-III converter are among of the best lens-sets out for Nikon cameras. Gives sharper results than 200-400mm Nikon, when using a converter. If that does not bring you your desired sharpness, no lens will (well, perhaps the Leica R APO 280mm with 2x extender but it requires MF).

I am not sure that the D4S willhelp you in getting the sharpest results. It’s a camera that is more suitable for fast action and “rapid response”.Do you need faster shutter speed (and better higher ISO performance) for birding? If you use the 300mm handheld, that may explain the softness when you look at 1:1 size. For big lenses like the 300mm 2.8, you need a rock solid tripod for wildlife so VR and very high shutter speeds are not needed. Both could be handy to freeze flight shots.

My recommendation would be to rent a Nikon D800E (and perhaps the D800) and do some testing with your 300mm and 300mm/TC20-III converter. Try various sharpness settings. in LR to see what you like. If you want to be more precise, use Photoshop (Ming Thein’s lessons on Photoshop might be a good start).

Good luck in your quest for sharpness.

Peter
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
S W France
Bill
Thanks Peter

I have yet to use the 300mm f2.8VR - next week maybe.
A new D800E costs about the same as a good used D3S

I think that I need to get into a hide and set up feeding posts around our "garden" - we live in rural SW France so we have a few hectres to play with.

I'll get one, (a hide), next week as I am in the UK
 

pniev

Student for life
May 13, 2013
A hide would indeed be a great solution!

The D3S is a great camera and the larger pixels will help but a D800E/300mm 2.8/TC20-III set is a hard-to-beat set for wildlife photography!

PS: a few hectres of garden? wow. That must a paradise for birding.
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
S W France
Bill
A hide would indeed be a great solution!

The D3S is a great camera and the larger pixels will help but a D800E/300mm 2.8/TC20-III set is a hard-to-beat set for wildlife photography!

PS: a few hectres of garden? wow. That must a paradise for birding.
as you probably know land is cheap in rural France - just came with the house plus my two neighbour have the same with quite a few different environments - lots of birds around already coming in for the breading season……. I'm just lucky
 

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