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Nikkor PC 85mm D f2.8 for Product Photos?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Conrad Monroe, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Hi All!
    I am looking for some advice and guidence. I am trying to make a decision on purchasing a Nikkor PC 85 f/2.8T&S lens.

    I am starting a small studio business to support our local arts & crafts community that covers 3d Art & Crafts items and oil, water color and charcoal 2d Art. The images will be used for advertising and more importantly to prepare 35mm slides for juried art & craft shows. To meet the labs requirements my D100 3008x2000 px image will need to be upsized to 4096 X 2730 px. This application requires near frame filling images with non-distracting backgrounds and/or reflections. The jury will spend only 5 secs on each image so each one must bring out the best of the artist's work.

    · Out of the camera the object needs to fill 75 to 85% of the image frame to minimize pixel loss due to cropping.
    · To maintain sharpness and detail the DOF needs to be deep enough to cover the object.
    · Object sizes can range from 6 to 20 inches
    · At 28mm/f22 the smallest object to fill 70% of the images frame is about 11 inches.
    · To keep an 8-inch object in focus I need to limit the image size of the object to approximately 55 to 58% of the frame causing a substantial pixel loss.

    So far my biggest issue is with photographing bowls that range in size from 6 to 10 inch diameter. On the 8 inch bowl I am currently working with I can have the center/bottom of the bowl and either the front edge or the back rim in focus but not both. I am currently using a 17-55mm f2.8 zoom at 28mm at f22.

    From what I have read it appears that the Nikkor PC 85 Tilt & Shift lens was made for applications such as this. I have read Bjørn's review and was quite encouraged with his evaluation of it, however Bjørn's review was taken from the viewpoint of a naturalist vs a studio photographer.

    To that end I have the following questions:
    · By using the tilt capability of the PC 85 to align the focus plane with the object, can I improve the front to back DOF? If so, how much? And do you have an example you can share?
    · Bjorn’s review of this lens indicates that diffraction rears its ugly head as the lens is stopped down. The question is how useable is it at f32? Is the diffraction softening less of an issue than loss of DOF? i.e. can I trade one for the other to maximize the image? Any sharable examples of this lens at f22 – f45?
    · Is this the best choice for a lens that will be primarily used for photographing 3d objects that range from 6 to 20 inches in a controlled studio situation? If not, what would be better?
    · And finally, my guess is that this lens will excell at any 2d work that I would throw at it. True?

    Thank you in advance for any help or insight you can provide!
  2. There's just no other lens for your application. The 85 PC is the tool.
  3. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yeah, Nothing beats camera movements for maximizing the zone of focus (ie, the Scheimpflug principle.) I'd recommend a good book on view cameras to learn how to do it. Adams' Camera and Lens is great!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2005
  4. Chris, thanks for the lead! I have spent most of the past day reading articles on the Scheimpflug & Hinge principles. I ran across a collection of articles written by Merklinger that were really helpful:
    I also bit the bullet and ordered the lens from KEH, should have it this Friday. I have pretty much cleared my calendar for the weekend so that I can start down yet another learning curve! Hopefully it wont be too rough, I have pretty much used up all my slack time for this project. :frown:

    Thank you both for your response and help!
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