• Members 796 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 5:45 p.m.

    I got a notification of a PM on a forum I have lost interest in. Basically a guy had seen my Architectural photography done with the old Nikon 28mm PC and wanted some advice.

    He had started a thread, asking about the old Nikon 28mm PC. He had seen a cheap copy and wanted to try, I presume, to do some Architectural photography on the cheap, with one he had seen going for €250. Basically the replies he got, told him not to bother, as only new modern TS lenses were worthwhile on digital, at much greater cost, obviously. This is a pretty standard thing on Photo forums. Sombody asks about an economic lens solution, but gets told to buy some lens costing much much more, as lens quality is king.

    Is it me, who does not understand anything about photography? I have made some pretty nice pictures with the Nikon 28PC and the Nikon 35PC, which one respondent said was even worse than the 28. They seem sharp enough on my big monitor, and do not compare to shabbily on the IQ front with my Nikon 24TS, in real world pictures. Whilst gaining some insights and experience with the 28PC, which was my first PC lens, I also had a lot of fun experimenting and learning. I aid this lens in the early days with a €300 Nikon D700, which gave me some insight into the advantages/disadvantages of FF, as I was using M43 at the time.

    Does the online photography world worry far to much about lens quality? It seems a bit of an obsession at times.

    A couple of shots with the Nikon 28PC, hand held on a Z7



    And a version made with the 24TS


    The 28mm on a tripod this time



    JPG, 1.5 MB, uploaded by NCV on Nov. 20, 2023.


    JPG, 917.0 KB, uploaded by NCV on Nov. 20, 2023.


    JPG, 1.1 MB, uploaded by NCV on Nov. 20, 2023.


    JPG, 886.8 KB, uploaded by NCV on Nov. 20, 2023.

  • Members 17 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 6:25 p.m.

    The obsession with "sharpness" has gotten ridiculous for sure. The best part is that most of the people chanting about maximum sharpness just share on the web LOL.

    I had the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 for several years and was really happy with it until I noticed on some group shots that people near the edges were slightly soft. I decided to sell the 28 and buy the 24L II. After almost 10 years with the 24L I realized that it wasn’t serving my needs as well as the 28 1.8 so I sold the 24 and picked up a nice mint 28 again. Context is everything when reading lens reviews as they tend to obsess on sharpness right into the corners. I would never use a fast prime for landscape photography as it’s the wrong tool and that is where the corners may matter, I use my f/4 zooms for landscape. For my needs a fast prime is for one of two things.
    Creative surreal looking portraits where large apertures can be used creatively. For these types of shots I found the 24L was terrible and I use my 35L 50L 135L or 200L.
    Documentary style photography is where I really want a fast wide prime and the 24L just sucked at this due to way too many mis-focused shots. The humble 28mm 1.8 excels at this type of work because the corners and edges simply don’t matter as they are out of focus anyway. The 28 has fast accurate AF and in low light it looks as good as sharper lenses. In better light it looks great at 2.8.
    The grass is not always greener and I’m super happy to have the controversial 28mm back in my bag along with all my L lenses

  • Members 433 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 6:27 p.m.

    Very much like our obsession with image quality. How much does it matter?

    With both of these there is a continuous scale from zero (no image at all) to infinity (an image with an infinite amount of detail). Obviously, we need better than zero image quality, but ultimately the amount we "need" depends largely on the technology available. People can sometimes obsess over very small differences. A very small increase in quality is often not worth either the cost or the trouble.

  • Nov. 20, 2023, 6:50 p.m.

    It can be an obsession if you pixel peep. But for normal sized photos, I think the overall "feel" of the picture is far more important. And old lenses can sometimes do this better than new ones - and so can "bad" ones.

    The other week, I took my 10-24 lens (the one that is now in for repair) out for some autumn pictures. I got some nice images. I even put one in for a competition (it didn't win, but it wasn't bad). Today, I was doing something with it and, for the first time, zoomed in to 100%. Centre was beautifully in focus; edges were awful. A result, I think of the lens and the baseplate starting to come apart. But the picture still looked OK when you observed it as a holistic image.

  • Members 1070 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 7:21 p.m.

    I find nothing wrong with the sharpness of your Wells Cathedral photos here, NCV.

    That said, there is nothing wrong with aspiring to higher image quality, as it is evident even on downsized images. The only problem is: it costs money!

    The (relatively cheap) Chinese shift lens I have is not as sharp as I would like, but it does enable me to get good verticals, which are important to me, and the results can be sharpened with software.

    This is a good example of a photo that I could not take without that lens. The spire is 100 metres high, and moving further away would bring trees into the frame. I am more than happy with the result:


    One has to settle for what one can afford.


  • Members 17 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 7:53 p.m.

    That looks pretty decent to me. What really matters IMO is how it looks in the final product rather than at 100%. Most of my photos are destined for either a photo book or screen viewing. Occasionally I make a 12x18 enlargement but that is rare.

  • Members 796 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 7:59 p.m.

    One has to settle for what one can afford., and I would add what it is worth spending for the usage we get out of the lens. I am undecided right now about getting a Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D as I have seen a good offer. 24mm seems to be my most used FL for architecture and I have got by with the Z14-35 which when corrected in post to match the 11mm of shift, gives almost the same image.

    The Laowa shift lenses are quite good, better in some aspects and worse in others compared to the equivalent Nikon and Canon offerings. Certainly they are as good as my old Nikon lenses.

  • Members 272 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 9:58 p.m.

    My sister is a psychologist. She is also a qualified profiler (FBI certified) and has years of experience consulting with the Indiana State Police along with other law enforcement agencies to help find psychopaths and bad guys such as serial killers. She was down to our place sometime back and I described the "obsessions" about IQ, sharpness, etc. For one particular thread of post from DPR I showed her she comment that in this case it was a full blown psychosis. Others she viewed as along a continuum of OCD.

    In reality forgoing standing back and viewing an image holistically and trying to understand the story the photographer was trying to tell, and zooming into 100 percent and only viewing a small portion of an image is like trying to evaluating a print from an enlarger by looking at a grain magnifier.

    The first thing to remember is there is no perfect lens. This has nothing to do with cost, the laws of physics tells us that. A lens design is a trade off. A lens projects a three dimensional cone of light onto a plainer sensor. All photons from a given ray of light are projected onto to a single point on the sensor. All the metrics the gear heads use are based only on the photons from the focal plane. However most of the light in the real world comes from outside the focal plane! 🤪 The unfortunate thing is the gear heads only focus on the focal plane. The prime metric of the gear heads is the MTF which is only considers light from a target at the focal plane. Life and light exist outside the focal plane.

    If a lens helps you tell your story and produce good images - then why question it. I use a grain magnifier when I print a negative in order to properly focus the enlarger - not to evaluate a print. I use 100% zoom in digital only to fine tune sharpening as sharpening for printing is different than sharpening for viewing on a display. I sure would not judge an image or the story it is suppose to tell from a grain magnifier or a 100% zoom.

  • Members 835 posts
    Nov. 20, 2023, 10:16 p.m.

    To be a professional, one should care about quality. As a realist, you might not be able to afford the best of it. As an artist, it doesn't matter.

  • Members 692 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 12:37 a.m.

    Those images have too small pixel count to be displayed properly on my 4k screen.

  • Members 1182 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 1:31 a.m.

    I am in the fortunate position of shooting a camera with over 9um pixel pitch and no micro-lenses. That means that any old lens on my camera is good enough - and that I can shoot up to about f/11 without noticeable diffraction in my 3.4MP images.

    I don't print and my 1920x1200px monitor is all I need for viewing.

  • Members 139 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 1:48 a.m.

    A real professional psychiatrist wouldn't be making conclusions or diagnoses from reading a single forum thread...

  • Members 284 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 3:51 a.m.

    For me, IQ matters more than a little. Yes, scene, composition, and processing all take priority, but IQ is still important. Am I "obsessed"? I like to believe I'm not. But if I see two photos, one with "significantly" better IQ than the other, all else more or less equal, the higher IQ photo wins. What if I'm not comparing photos, but just looking at a single photo? In this case, the importance of IQ has a lot to do with the scene, composition, and processing. The latter three have to be "exceptional" to overcome a lack of the former, but exceptional in the former cannot make up for any lack in the latter three.

  • Members 796 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 7:08 a.m.

    Obviously, image quality matters to me too, otherwise I would of just used my cell phone to take the pictures in my OP, instead of using a camera with a lens suited to this type of photography. I usually use a tripod too when I can. My point is another, on the unquantifiable slippery slope of "image quality".

    Let's talk about the lens I that started this thread off, the Nikon 28mm PC. Back in the day, but not so long ago, this lens cost about €2500 at todays prices, I have a book about Architectural photography, written by a guy who was at the top of the game. The pictures are mostly large format 5x4, but he also used the 28mm for some work, including a set which was used in a glossy magazine. This was lens was sold and used by top practitioners, as a top quality professional lens.

    Yes, my later Nikon 24mm and 45mm TS lenses are sharper at pixel peeping level, but my old 28PC and 35mm PC have a rendering which is very attractive, perhaps more attractive than the more modern lenses. At high levels of magnification the level of detail in the picture is more than adequate.

    I believe we come to a situation, with sensors and lenses, where we reach a point (different for everybody) where extra resolving power does not matter anymore. I will add that there seems to be some growing realization that some old film era lenses have visual output properties that are perhaps more important than modern sharp often clinical lenses that have become the norm. Lens reviewers have a lot of blame in this question, when they show us how horrible most of our lenses are at 100% magnification in the corners, but never really talk about unmeasurable factors like rendering.

  • Members 796 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 7:14 a.m.

    That is it. The unquantifiable feel of a lens is important too. I briefly owned the Samyang 24 Tilt Shift. Looking at MFT charts and such it was probably better than my old Nikon 28PC, but it had a horrible low contrast rendering that I hated.

  • Members 692 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 12:55 p.m.

    Meaning what? I remember a joke be Roger at LR about rendering - this is what you say when there is nothing positive to say or something of that sort.

    Probably because those factors are nonexistent with the old lenses. Rendering of slightly OOF parts, or of bokeh, etc., is important but I still have to see an old lens unique in a positive way in that respect.

  • Members 692 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 1:10 p.m.

    BTW, this is tangential to the discussion but if IQ is not a factor, why not use a UWA, and then do corrections in LR/PS? Why bother with TSE lenses in the first place when a tilted plane of focus is not needed?

  • Members 272 posts
    Nov. 21, 2023, 1:24 p.m.

    Geometric corrections in SW are not equivalent to the manipulation of the lens geometry. After the three dimensional space in the scene is projected onto the sensor plane, parallel planes undergo a different distortion. A T/S lens or a view camera can address that. The information is no longer present in the image for S/W to differentiate and apply custom corrections for the changing perspective. Camera movements change the geometry of the entire three dimensional space prior to the projection onto the sensor. S/W perspective corrections apply the same exact parameters of the focal plane.