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Author Topic: Ultimate giclée lens?  (Read 4413 times)

TrumpetPower!

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Ultimate giclée lens?
« on: January 26, 2013, 11:38:59 AM »
So, I do a bit of fine art reproduction / copy / giclée work, and I'm expecting to do more in the future.

I get great results with the Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro.

More is always better, of course, which is why this question.

Can anybody offer a recommendation of a significantly better lens to use (with a 5DIII)?

At optimum aperture (presumably somewhere in the f/5.6 - f/11 range), it must be visibly (not just measurably) superior in all these categories, in this order of importance:

  • Distortion. The CM is virtually distortion-free. Any candidate lens must have no more distortion than the CM.
  • Sharpness. The CM at f/8 is very sharp, but I suspect there might be even sharper lenses by now.
  • Corner sharpness. The CM is very good in the corners at f/8, but not quite as good as in the center.
  • Light falloff. Again, at f/8, this is well controlled with the CM. A candidate lens shouldn't be worse, but my workflow already compensates for less than perfectly even illumination so it's my least important criteria.

I'm confident that the CM is far and away the best lens that Canon offers for this type of work...the question is if there's anything anybody else offers that's even better.

I'm aware of the Zeiss f/2 Makro-Planar, but the distortion comparison at The Digital Picture

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Distortion.aspx?FLI=0&FLIComp=0&Lens=727&Camera=453&LensComp=287

shows, to my eye at least, visibly more distortion for the Zeiss, which makes it a non-starter. (If the difference is more due to lack of proper alignment of the test target in Bryan's comparison, I'll reconsider.)

Given the versatility of the Canon mount with adapters, I'm willing to consider anything that can be physically attached to the camera. Basically everything is on the table, including even medium format lenses. But the Canon 50 CM seems to have the least distortion of any of the competition in Bryan's database, which makes it a very hard act to follow.

So...any suggestions, or is this already as good as it gets?

Thanks,

b&

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Ultimate giclée lens?
« on: January 26, 2013, 11:38:59 AM »

raptor3x

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 01:41:25 PM »
Bodies: 1Ds3,5D3,X-T1,A7 Lenses:  16-35L F4 IS, X 18-55 2.8-4, Σ 35 1.4 A, Σ 50 1.4 A, 24-70L II, 85 1.8, 100L IS, 135L,  70-200L F2.8 IS II

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 02:31:39 PM »
For an ultimate lens you're probably looking at the Coastal Optics 60mm macro. But that's a $4k lens, although you can rent it when necessary.

https://www.lensrentals.com/rent/nikon/lenses/specialty/coastal-optics-uv-vis-ir-60mm-macro

http://www.jenoptik-inc.com/coastalopt-standard-lenses/uv-vis-nir-60mm-slr-lens-mainmenu-155/80-uv-vis-ir-60-mm-apo-macro.html

Okay, that would seem to cover the "ultimate" range of the spectrum. And I have actually toyed with the idea of getting into multi-spectral imaging, which is a level of insanity way above and beyond ICC color profiling...which is why I've veered away from it.

So, since the thread would seem to be won with the first post -- and, as you note, since it's as expensive as a lesser Great White...can anybody offer any suggestions between the Canon 50 CM and the Coastal Optics 60mm?

That is, in the years between now and when I've saved up for the Coastal Optics, is there anything else worth considering to tide me over?

(Though the rental option is probably a really good idea for special projects and high-dollar clients.)

Thanks,

b&

raptor3x

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2013, 02:43:22 PM »
Another option would be the Sigma 70mm macro.  That one should be a bit sharper in the corners than your 50 is in the center at F/8 as well as having slightly lower distortion (not that either of these have any detectable distortion.), and less vignetting.  See the photozone.de reviews for more info.

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/559-sigma70ff28eosff?start=1
Bodies: 1Ds3,5D3,X-T1,A7 Lenses:  16-35L F4 IS, X 18-55 2.8-4, Σ 35 1.4 A, Σ 50 1.4 A, 24-70L II, 85 1.8, 100L IS, 135L,  70-200L F2.8 IS II

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 03:22:56 PM »
If you want sharper overall images, consider a lens with a larger image circle such as a Tilt-Shift lens.  Distortion will be low, and sharper corners and less viginetting.
You might also adapt a MF lens, but most low cost ones will not match a 35mm lens.
All Macro lenses are very good.  I'd go for contrast and color rather than worry about a tiny amount of difference in distortion.  Realistically, you have to spend a lot of $$ to get much improvement over your existing lens.  Money might well be better spent on lighting.
 

risc32

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 03:25:14 PM »
I doubt you're going to find anything noticeably sharper, no matter what it is. I think you'll have to wait for a high MP camera body. Or i guess you could look into stitching, possibly with a longer macro lens.

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 03:26:34 PM »
Another option would be the Sigma 70mm macro.  That one should be a bit sharper in the corners than your 50 is in the center at F/8 as well as having slightly lower distortion (not that either of these have any detectable distortion.), and less vignetting.  See the photozone.de reviews for more info.

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/559-sigma70ff28eosff?start=1

That Sigma looks quite attractive. Unfortunately, I didn't find any review sites that included both the Sigma 70 and the Canon 50 Compact Macro -- let alone any that compared the two. Still, it might well be worth doing the comparison myself, either by trying it at the local camera store or (EDIT: Blast! none of the local stores carry it!) renting one for $25.

Thanks again!

(And more suggestions are certainly welcome.)

Cheers,

b&
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 03:55:43 PM by TrumpetPower! »

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 03:26:34 PM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 03:35:25 PM »
If you want sharper overall images, consider a lens with a larger image circle such as a Tilt-Shift lens.  Distortion will be low, and sharper corners and less viginetting.
You might also adapt a MF lens, but most low cost ones will not match a 35mm lens.
All Macro lenses are very good.  I'd go for contrast and color rather than worry about a tiny amount of difference in distortion.  Realistically, you have to spend a lot of $$ to get much improvement over your existing lens.  Money might well be better spent on lighting.

I've got the 24 TS-E, and it's awesome. It's also a bit short for this sort of thing, though I might wind up using it for an oversized canvas. I'm holding off on additional TS-E purchases until after Canon updates them.

Can you offer any suggestions for specific medium format lenses to consider?

Contrast and color are important to a degree, yes, but differences are almost entirely eliminated with a good ICC profile. Distortion, at least for me, is much more challenging to correct for. And even slight amounts of distortion can be jarring in artwork with lots of straight lines.

Lighting I've got covered...four Einsteins. When I configure my studio for copy work, there's perfectly flat, glare-free illumination on the artwork.

Thanks,

b&

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 03:46:25 PM »
I doubt you're going to find anything noticeably sharper, no matter what it is. I think you'll have to wait for a high MP camera body. Or i guess you could look into stitching, possibly with a longer macro lens.

I've done the stitching thing, both with shorter camera-to-subject distances and with the 180 macro (which is serious overkill). It's a royal pain in the netherbits, and really only worth doing if you need more than 12" x 18" x 300 ppi for output (using a 5DIII for input). Even the slightest defects in your capture show up as glaring seams, so you have to do really big overlaps which means that many more frames to stitch. It can be done, but it's not fun.

Oh -- and for anybody who might want to try it, move the artwork under the camera, keeping the sensor plane parallel to the artwork. Landscape-style panoramas where you re-aim the camera between shots doesn't work at all for art reproduction.

Cheers,

b&

neuroanatomist

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2013, 06:03:35 PM »
So, I do a bit of ... reproduction / copy... work...

So, actually you're the photocopy-ist here, shooting flat targets on walls.  Hmmmm....   :P
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 06:55:53 PM »
So, I do a bit of ... reproduction / copy... work...

So, actually you're the photocopy-ist here, shooting flat targets on walls.  Hmmmm....   :P

Well, it's just one of my hats -- and the targets aren't always flat, and the flat ones are usually on the floor, not the wall....

b&

dr croubie

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 10:15:03 PM »
So how ultimate is 'Ultimate'? And how macro is 'Macro'? And how budget is your budget?

Nikon made a lovely lens a few years back, and 80mm f/1.1 (or 1.0?) macro lens, for 1:1 reproduction of things like Postage Stamps and such. I'm pretty sure it can't focus to infinity and needs a bellows, but it sells second-hand for $2k for a reason...
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 11:02:43 PM »
So how ultimate is 'Ultimate'? And how macro is 'Macro'? And how budget is your budget?

Nikon made a lovely lens a few years back, and 80mm f/1.1 (or 1.0?) macro lens, for 1:1 reproduction of things like Postage Stamps and such. I'm pretty sure it can't focus to infinity and needs a bellows, but it sells second-hand for $2k for a reason...

Sounds like a curious beastie. My Google-fu isn't leading me to any hits. Any chance you've got a link?

While I don't need infinity focus, I do need to be able to focus at least up to several feet away. In fact, for the main purpose, it'll mostly be used at a distance of 20 - 40 inches or so..."true" macro isn't part of this exercise.

Something just happened to come up this afternoon whereby it made sense to order the Sigma in a hurry, so it'll be here tomorrow. I'll do a thorough comparison between it and the Canon and post the results here, or at least post them somewhere and post a link here.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 11:02:43 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 12:30:04 AM »
Here is the one i'm thinking of, 85mm f/1.0 Repro-Nikkor.
It looks like a perfectly symmetrical design, 0.0000% distortion is amazing, even a half-decent working distance.
But it's very limited to 0.9x - 1.1x magnification, so it's pretty much postage stamps or nothing, not very useful for larger artworks unfortunately.

Still, it's something nice to drool over.

I know I'll never own one, but wow, check out that bokeh (check out the gallery link down the bottom)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 12:37:32 AM by dr croubie »
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docholliday

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 02:12:34 AM »
When I do copy work, usually for 3d painting/torn canvas stuff and some sculpture, I use one of these if I'm shooting on small format: http://www.hartblei.de/en/sr120m.htm Otherwise, scanning back with a large format for the best quality in repro.

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Re: Ultimate giclée lens?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 02:12:34 AM »