Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Nikon vs. Canon, My Current Thoughts...

I get allot of emails similar to this from James:

"I noticed on the Luminous Landscape forum that you'd done some comparative testing between the Canon 24mm TS-E and the Nikon 24mm PC-E. I'm about to invest in a TS lens and currently use a 1DSmkII. I wondered if you think the Canon is still good enough for critical work with a FF hi-res sensor (I may be upgrading to a 5DII) or should I go down the Nikon route in some way? Is the Nikon significantly better, or is it nit picking?"

IMO from my limited testing I would say that the Nikon 24 T/S is slightly better than the Canon and allot more expensive (not so according to DigiLloyd). Now take into account that there is some variation in the Canons supposedly and maybe I have an exceptionally good one. These lenses are a huge stretch for designers and the fact that the Nikon is only a touch better suggests that even competing designers are up against a rock and a hard place. If you were buying all new and can afford it, I would say buy Nikon as every little bit of resolution helps. The current IQ leader is the Nikon DX3 ($8K see Luminous Landscape), but that may change again next year and Canon may surge ahead. If you already have Canon I would say stick with it. The differences are incremental and not all that great. The one exception may be weather sealing. There seems to little doubt that the Nikons perform better in cold, wet and salty conditions (Antarctica!). This matters to me not at all. When was the last time someone shot a building when it was raining? BTW, I just bought a 5DII, love it, and will be talking about that later. See: 5D vs. 5DII

I really like Michael Reichman's take on the high end Nikon vs. Canon vs. Sony issue in the Luminous Landscape Forum:
"Here's my considered opinion. The differences are mouse nuts. What are mouse nuts, you ask? Very, very very small, I reply.
Yes, there are differences in overall image quality between these three or four cameras. One will do better in very low light, another in high contrast situations. One will have wider dynamic range, and other a bit more resolution. But give me the raw files from each camera shot at the same time of the same subject and 9 times out of 10 I'll make 16X20" prints in a few minutes that will have you scratching your head over which is which. I've now done this little test so many times that people don't even come to the studio any more and pick up the challenge. They know that they'll end up buy the beer afterward almost every time."

NOTE: James has informed me that there are people working on adapters which will make it possible to use the Nikon 24 T/S on a Canon. This adaption has been a problem because it is a purely electronic connection unlike other Nikon lenses. Stay tuned see below.....

On another related note. If you are having issues with one of these wide T/S lenses, say with soft corners when using full rise. You may by confounding the problem by using too small an aperture and diffraction limits. Loss of resolution due to diffraction starts to set in after f11 and becomes very noticeable at f16.5 (more or less). Back off slightly on the full shifts and combine it with some minimal perspective correction in Photoshop, use the best apertures and you can get more professional results from your lenses. BUT Canon has announced new 17mm and 24mm T/S lenses! I can't wait to test these. See: New Canon T/S

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