How good is the 17-40 /f/4L?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Robert Coe, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : >On Fri, 04 Jun 2010 20:58:57 +0100, Bruce <>
    : >wrote:
    : >>When I used Canon 5D bodies, I was happiest with the results from Carl
    : >>Zeiss (Contax) lenses used with adapters. There are many thousands of
    : >>photographers who use non-Canon lenses on Canon DSLRs. I do
    : >>understand that this isn't for everyone, and that manual focusing is
    : >>beyond some people. But the results are what matters, and many people
    : >>are prepared to accept a little inconvenience in exchange for superior
    : >>image quality.
    : >
    : >*IF* your eyesight is good enough to MF on those poor viewing screens.
    : >They are NOT designed for manually focusing.
    : Totally agree, which is why I invested in KatzEye screens for both 5D
    : bodies and now also on my D700. My back-up D300 has a standard screen
    : but I only use AF lenses on it. I was going to say that I hardly ever
    : focus manually with the D300 but in truth I hardly ever use the
    : camera. Like my back up 5D, my back-up D300 is hardly ever needed.

    Sometimes recently I've found myself carrying my backup camera just to have a
    different lens immediately available. Reminds me of the days when magazine
    photographers would carry matching Nikons or Leicas, one with b&w film, the
    other with color. ;^)

    Robert Coe, Jun 6, 2010
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  2. Robert Coe

    Pete Guest

    That reminds me of the times when I was ask to shoot both negatives and
    slides at the same function. I had to have an assistant; annoyingly,
    she was better than I was; luckily, she was my partner at the time :)
    Pete, Jun 6, 2010
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  3. Robert Coe

    Peter Guest

    I use an R strap and carry both my D300 and D200. I usually keep my 12-24 on
    the D200. The R strap takes all the weight off my neck and spreads it evenly
    on my shoulders.
    Peter, Jun 6, 2010
  4. Apart from the cost, the extra bulk and weight of full frame are a
    drawback for me. I used to have a Nikon F3 and I'm much happier with the
    D5000. I do accept your needs may be different.

    David J Taylor, Jun 6, 2010
  5. Robert Coe

    Bruce Guest

    I use a Nikon D700 with a back-up D300. In use, there seems to be
    hardly any difference in overall size and weight. The D300 has a
    smaller pentaprism, and an inferior view as a result, but that seems
    to be about it.

    I think your D5000 is quite a lot smaller and lighter than the D300,
    which might explain your views on full frame. However, the D5000 is
    completely unsuitable for professional use on account of its flimsy
    construction, so it isn't even on my radar. I have never even held
    one, let alone used one.

    The key to full frame is in the image quality. Not only do you get
    the same, welcome control over depth of field as with 35mm film, you
    get image quality that stays very high even at ISOs up to 12,800.

    Of course you only get this with Nikon DSLRs - the D3 and D700. The
    Canon full frame 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II both smudge detail at
    higher ISOs and the Sony Alpha 850 and 900 suffer very badly from
    noise at ISO 800 and above. The effect of this on image quality is so
    severe that the highly respected DxO Labs rating for image quality
    gives the D3 and D700 higher ratings than the Sony Alpha 850 and 900
    despite the latter two having a 24 MP sensor. No wonder Sony has so
    much trouble selling them.

    The 12 MP Nikon D3 and D700 retain excellent image quality throughout
    the ISO range. The 24 MP D3X has higher noise levels, as you would
    expect with twice as many photoreceptors. But it is still streets
    ahead of the Sony Alpha 850 and 900, and that goes a long way to
    justifying its higher price.
    Bruce, Jun 6, 2010
  6. []
    [good stuff snipped]

    Thanks for your insight into full-frame.

    As my needs are amateur rather than professional, I actually find the
    D5000 a very sturdy camera - in its class - and have been very pleased
    with it. I know you wouldn't choose my lenses either!

    David J Taylor, Jun 6, 2010
  7. Robert Coe

    Bruce Guest

    Don't bet on it!

    I use an 18-200mm Nikkor on the D300. ;-)
    Bruce, Jun 6, 2010
  8. Robert Coe

    Peter Guest

    For what?
    Peter, Jun 6, 2010
  9. Crop will havea somewhat better sensor than your current
    camera, but as crop increases, so does FF --- and the larger
    sensor wins. (And there's not that much grow potential left in
    sensor sensitivity: once you count every single photon,
    that's it, end of the line ...)

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jun 8, 2010
  10. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : > The FF usually has a better low light sensor. (Yes I know if I wait,
    : > the crop will have the better sensor;)
    : Crop will havea somewhat better sensor than your current
    : camera, but as crop increases, so does FF --- and the larger
    : sensor wins. (And there's not that much grow potential left in
    : sensor sensitivity: once you count every single photon,
    : that's it, end of the line ...)

    My last physics class was in the pretty distant past, but my recollection is
    that there are a lot more photons available than any existing sensor has
    managed to count.

    Robert Coe, Jun 8, 2010
  11. Robert Coe

    Me Guest

    Is that after or before the RGGB bayer filter?
    No - "better" is a subjective value. It's worse for price and size than
    a compact camera, but better than medium format. A less subjective
    "better" is something that optimally meets a pre-determined need.
    Me, Jun 8, 2010

  12. That's correct for Bayer sensor cameras. It's not true for the raw
    sensors without filter. The quantum efficiency of the best sensors
    is in the 80% range for the red end. Few camera-speed-readout
    sensors, however, are good enough to actually count photons. They
    need a factor of four to six lower readout noise to get so that the
    readout noise is reliably less than 1/2 the signal size of a single

    Single pixel sensors got there long long ago ... like in 1935.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Jun 8, 2010
  13. I point you to
    --- you are about right.
    38% QE (Canon 1D Mark II, green passband) isn't 'a lot more photons
    available'. One stop more is already 76% ...
    .... given similar technology. It surely would be possible to
    construct a piss-poor really old tech FF that is beaten by a new
    P&S (if someone was mad enough to waste the millions needed).

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jun 8, 2010
  14. On 6/8/2010 2:37 PM, Pete wrote:
    Remember that the Bayer filter is a huge photon loss: dye filters
    lose lots of light even in their passband (like losing 60% or more in the green),
    not to mention that only one color reaches each sensor element.

    You could dramatically increase the sensitivity by using dichroic filters,
    where there is no absorptive loss, and three separate sensors for
    R, G, B. That would quadruple, more or less, the light in the green and
    multiply it by 6 in the red and 8 in the blue (red filters are better.)

    Broadcast video cameras traditionally do this.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Jun 9, 2010
  15. Please look up the source I mentioned for an alternative

    Heck, go to and look at "Color Sensitivity" for
    a couple cameras: you'll find like losing 20% in the green.
    So you claim. Got any data as proof?
    Broadcast video cameras have 2MPix at most for HD, they don't
    have the alignment problems more detailed sensors have. Don't you
    think that hasn't been tried and found not good enough?

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jun 9, 2010
  16. Robert Coe

    Me Guest

    Nikon lodged a (US) patent application (a few years ago) for a sensor
    design using miniature multiple dichroic mirrors to split light just
    above the sensor plane, redirecting to separate sensels for RG&B. I
    expect it wouldn't be easy to produce in volume.
    Me, Jun 10, 2010
  17. Robert Coe

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Doesn't matter in the slightest.
    You could spend a lot more money.
    At a much, much lower resolution.
    Ray Fischer, Jun 10, 2010
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