Sharpness: Will upgrading P900 to Nikon D500 and a 200-400 lens make my bird's pictures sharper?

While it is true that a better team will not make a better photographer, it is equally true that any photographer is limited by the capabilities of the equipment used.

There is an old saying that has been around photography for a long time:

The gear does not matter.

It's true, but it's only half the truth. The rest of the truth is this:

The gear does not matter, until it does.

When the technical capabilities of your team are not up to the tasks you want to capture, only then will the material be important.

When your team matters, you will know. It matters because the team you are using will limit you to doing the work you want to do and that you have the skill and knowledge to achieve it. Until you reach that point, the equipment you are currently using is perfectly fine. for you.

In the end, gears with greater capabilities can certainly help. But a better camera will not make you a better photographer. It will simply allow you to use more of the skill, knowledge and experience you have gained along the way. Part of that experience and knowledge contributes to the ability to choose the best tool for the job among the available options.

For more information, see: When should I update the body of my camera? The answer is equally applicable to lenses or complete systems.

Equipment recommendation: What should I look for in a lens so that the photograph of my product is sharper?

Your question is about "what to look for" (a good way to ask a question, since no lens is "the best" and it becomes a subjective question in which you will find a wide variety of opinions).

I will try to describe some ideas and I would like to start with what it means to have a "macro" lens (how they differ from a lens without a macro).

  • The ability to bring a subject to focus at an extremely close distance. While the definitions of "macro" vary, you will find a school of thought in which the lens should be able to produce an image at 1: 1 scale. This means that the image projected on the camera's sensor is as large as the subject in real life. Your sensor is approximately 15 mm high by about 22.5 mm wide. Think of a coin like an American penny … about 19 mm in diameter. It would barely fit on the sensor in the "wide" dimension and would have to cut a few millimeters in the narrow dimension. Clearly, its ceramic is much larger and does not require a lens with true "macro" capability.

  • We tend to think that the plane of focus is a "flat" field. But in reality it is moderately curved. This means that if you capture a photo of a subject that is really flat (think of a painting), the edges and corners of the image may be a bit soft, even if the center of the image is well defined. This is useful for flat themes (like painting, drawings, etc.) but its pottery is not "flat" … so this is not really a situation in which this attribute would benefit your work.

  • The true macro lenses usually DO do everything possible to have a better resolution power than a typical lens. Is is An area that can be useful for your work.

Canon makes an EF-S 60mm f / 2.8 Macro USM. This lens is not too expensive, it is a true macro (capable of close-up images at a 1: 1 scale, not that you need it for your work) and is particularly sharp (possibly one of the sharpest in the EF). -S series … if not the The sharpest of the EF-S series. Previously, I owned one of these lenses, but I donated it to a nephew since the bodies of my camera need full-frame lenses (EF-S lenses only work with camera bodies that have APS-C size sensors) .

I also own the EF 100mm f / 2.8L IS USM macro. This is an impressive lens … approximately 3 times the price of the 60mm macro. While I appreciate the 100mm macro, the 60mm macro will easily compete with the 100mm macro with respect to its ability to resolve fine details. For your particular application, I do not think 100mm offers any advantage over 60mm (unless you plan to upgrade to a full-frame sensor camera body some day).

A 100mm focal length lens will require moving the camera a little further from your work. This is fine if you have the space.

I should add that you can find zoom lenses that will work "macro" somewhere in the name. These lenses allow a closer approach but never a true 1: 1 scale (often a 1: 4 scale or perhaps a 1: 3 scale) and generally do not share the attributes of their true macro brothers.

Other lenses can do an incredible job, but you'll want a solid platform. I noticed that one of his images showed symptoms of vibration (the image was blurred only in the horizontal direction). This indicates that the camera was possibly shaking after pressing the shutter button. The solution for this is to use a remote shutter or use the camera timer to delay the shot, so that the camera has a few seconds to stop the shake after pressing the shutter release button.

I should add a "generalization". I'm cautious to add this information because, while it's usually true of many lenses, it's not forever true. Consider this when I offer this information: the lenses are usually not sharper at the ends. The lowest possible focal ratio offered by the lens will generally not produce the best results. Often, stopping the opening down around 2 f-stops will noticeably improve sharpness. E.g. if you have a f / 2.8 lens … consider shooting at f / 5.6. If you have a f / 4 lens … consider shooting at f / 8. You would really need to carefully test the lens to find the best results.

I think that most lenses with a moderate focal length (50 mm would be good) will produce a fantastic image. Stop at the opening (f-stop) to generate a generous depth of field. Make sure the camera is on a solid platform and does not move.

Your lighting should be fine … but you could consider some adjustments (if you wish). One of your dishes had a strong reflection in the center. Simply adjusting the angle of the light (creating images of the plate is a "mirror" … would the mirror reflect the light source?) This is something that we should always keep in mind when photographing shiny surfaces. A circular polarizer can help you reduce reflections (also … you can stick a polarizing film to the light source, although it looks like it has a fairly large light source).

Sometimes reflections can help provide an accent … revealing the brightness on the bright surface of your art. An accent light to the side to provide a reflection that you can control (control the location and limit the size) can be a benefit here. The book Science of light and magic (by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua) is often recommended as an aid in understanding lighting concepts.

To sum up

  • Even Canon's 50mm f / 1.8 is optically very sharp.
  • The EF-S 60 mm f / 2.8 Macro USM is particularly strong.
  • The EF 100mm f / 2.8 Macro USM (there is also the "L" series with IS) is also extremely sharp but will require a longer working distance between the lens and the subject.
    You need a solid mounting platform for the camera to avoid vibrations … use the self-timer or the remote shutter release.
  • Stop the f-stop moderately … consider 2 opening stops as a good starting point and evaluate the quality of the image to discover what works best for your specific lens.
  • Some improvements in lighting will be useful (the only reflections on your art should be the reflections you want to deliberately show to reveal the bright / bright nature of your theme).

lens: why is Nikon 1.4g better when Nikon 1.8g is sharper?

What did the reviewers say about why they chose one lens over the other?

They have their own priorities and biases. You should evaluate the information they present and decide if you agree with their conclusions.

Everyone tests the sharpness of the lens because it's easy Just shoot a resolution table and read the numbers. However, this method really tests the combinations of lenses and cameras.

  • Beyond a certain level of sharpness, most pixel viewers must be satisfied. For me, around 65 lp / mm is "good enough". A lens that is at least as sharp gives me many details to work on real images that are not of resolution graphics or brick walls.

  • The difference in sharpness between lenses that exceeds the capabilities of the sensor makes no difference in the final image quality.

I have two 35-105 / 3.5 zoom lenses from the 1980s that are quite sharp. The results of the sharpness are perhaps too good and I wonder if I read the table wrong. In any case, modern lenses still look a little better. (Imagine that these are 1 "x1" cultures from 40 "x27" images.)

  • Canon EF 24-105 / 4L @ 24/4

    Canon 24-105 / 4L @ 24/4

  • Nikon 24-120 / 4G @ 24/4 -and- Nikon 24-70 / 2.8E @ 24 / 2.8

    Nikon 24-120 / 4G @ 24/4Nikon 24-70 / 2.8E @ 24 / 2.8

  • Pentax-A SMC 35-105 / 3.5 @ 35 / 3.5 and 35 / 4.5

    Pentax-A SMC 35-105 / 3.5 @ 35 / 3.5Pentax-A SMC 35-105 / 3.5 @ 35 / 4.5

There is more to lenses than sharpness.

  • veil glow
  • contrast

  • flames ghosts

  • focal lengths, zoom range
  • maximum openings – variable vs constant

  • distortion

  • chromatic aberration
  • bokeh (quality)
  • close focus / macro mode
  • color performance

  • Technology – autofocus, image stabilization, etc.

The way you prioritize these factors can make a completely different lens "better" for you than for me or for anyone else. For example, I am more concerned with the veil than distortion and chromatic aberration. As long as the distortion and AC are not out of control, they add "character" to the images. But the terrible glow of the veil can make images useless.

Recently, my sharpest and most advanced lenses have become among my least used lenses. Consider XF 18-135 / 3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. It is an excellent lens by any measure. I consider it an excellent lens, superior to my current favorite lens, but It is not suitable for what I want

  1. I want the short end to be longer (~ 28 mm).
  2. I want a variable opening F3.5 or faster (2.8-4)
  3. I want a minimum minimum focus distance.
  4. I want bokeh with "character".

sensor: Why is FF sharper than the trim body for the same frame of the same object?

It is mainly the difference in the variation of the distances of the subjects and the magnification relationships and how they interact with the resolution limits of the lens.

The effects of the diffraction and the flowering of the sensor, although measurable in laboratory conditions, are more subtle. If an image is taken below the aperture limited by diffraction for a particular sensor and there are no fully saturated pixels, those effects will be shown much less in the resulting image than if taken in an aperture above the DLA and with a number significant of fully saturated pixels.

To fill the frame with the same flat test table, it is necessary to shoot at a distance greater than 1.6X with the trim body than with the full frame body. If you use 10 feet for the entire body of the box, you must shoot at 16 feet with the crop body. However, what does not increase is the number of lines per inch (as projected on the sensor) that the lens is capable of resolving. The image of the subject projected by the lens is smaller at 16 feet than at 10 feet, so the resolution limit of the lens is wider in relation to the characteristics of the surface of the subject and the size of each pixel (assuming the APS-C and the FF sensor have the same number of pixels).

To obtain the same display size, the image of a crop body should be magnified 1.6 times more than with an image of a full-frame body. For a 4×6 print, the full frame image only needs to be enlarged by approximately a factor of 4.23 compared to 6.77 for the body image of the cutout.

With the largest shooting distance (1.6X) and the largest magnification (1.6X), it is stretching the resolution limits of the lens to a greater degree (2.56X). To put it another way: to get the same sharpness with the trim body, you need a lens capable of solving 1,800 lines per inch to match the full-frame camera with a lens capable of resolving 700 lines per inch.

Even if you have an 80mm lens for the FF camera and a 50mm lens for the culture body to be able to shoot at the same distance, you would still need the 50mm lens used in the APS-C body to solve approximately 1125 lines by inches to match the 700 lines per inch 80 mm lens used in the FF body, because it is still expanding the result by 1.6X more to get the same screen size.


To simplify the mathematics, the following theoretical illustration assumes an APS-C sensor that is 1.5X smaller than the FF sensor (although the original question is about a camera with a 1.6X cut-factor sensor).

Imagine you have a lens with a theoretical resolution limit of 1000 line pairs per mm. With a 24 mm wide sensor it could project 24,000 pairs of lines. With a 36 mm wide sensor it could project 36,000 pairs of lines. Now take a test chart with 36,000 pairs of lines that fills the frame of the FF camera to ten feet. If you go back up to 15 feet to fill the camera frame of the trim body with the same test chart, then the 36,000 pairs of lines in the test chart will exceed the resolution capability of the lens because there are 36,000 pairs of lines trying to fit A 24mm wide sensor.

It does not back up because the lens is further extended when it is attached to a crop body. The lens projects the same size image in any way. The reason you make a backup is to allow the smaller sensor to capture the same frame. This reduces the angular size of the subject by 1 / 1.5X in the virtual image actually projected by the lens. But it does not reduce the angular size of the resolution limit of the lens by 1 / 1.5X when making a backup.

At 15 feet from the table, the angular difference between each pair of lines is 1 / 1.5X of the angular size when the camera was 10 feet from the table. But the lens still has the same resolution limit that is ultimately based on the angular size of the line pairs in the test chart. The line pairs per mm can only be significant when the distance from the entrance pupil of the lens to the sensor remains constant, as well as when the magnification factor of the virtual image projected on the sensor at a particular screen size remains constant.

Then, it enlarges the APS-C 1.5X image more than the FF image to see both images in the same screen size. This means that with the image of the APS-C sensor we can perceive blurry circles (measured in the sensor before the enlargement of the screen) that are 1 / 1.5X the size of the blurred circles at the limit of our perception in the FF image . The slightly fuzzy edges that would appear sharp in the FF image may be blurred due to the increased magnification of the APS-C image.

If the 1.5x crop body image of a 24K line pair graph taken from 15 is printed in 4×6 and the FF image of a 36K line pair graph taken in 10 & # 39; is printed at 6×9, then the sharpness should be the same because the line The pairs would be the same width in both prints. But when you print the body image of the 1.5 to 6×9 cutout, the line pairs (which are at the resolution limit of your lens) are now 1.5X wider. It does not gain any additional subject detail when enlarging more, because the lens can not resolve those details smaller than the width of the line pairs. At that point you are only revealing the blur.

The two effects are multiplied: the rewind for the same frame reduces the angular size of the subject details by 1.5X, then the magnification with 1.5X more to show the same size reduces the acceptable Confusion Circle by a factor of 1.5X.

Here's another way to look at it: if the 1.5x crop body image of a 24K line pair graph taken from 15 is printed in 4×6 and the FF image of a 36K line pair graph taken at 10 & # 39; is printed at 6×9, then the pairs of lines would be the same width in both prints. Note that the FF image is resolving the 36K line pairs shown at 6 x 9 inches, while the 1.5X clipping body is only solving the 24K line pairs shown at 4 x 6 inches. But when you zoom the body image from cutout 1.5 to 6×9, the line pairs (which are at the resolution limit of your lens) are now 1.5X wider.