packman
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:51 am

Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:42 pm

Hi folks

I recently treated myself to a new 80-400mm Nikkor which I have used with D80 and D300 bodies and have been disappointed with the large number of rejections I have had on a.net due to excessive grain. I shoot with an ISO setting of 200, aperture priority, F8 and usually on fine days with blue skies. Grain has not been a problem with my AF 80-200 Nikkor, shooting in the same conditions and with the same settings. If I was shooting in poor lighting conditions I could perhaps understand why I was getting a grain but this has got me baffled. Any comments that anyone might have would be appreciated - don't suggest changing to Canon equipment though.  Smile

As a result of the grain issue I have tried out Neatimage and this has raised a couple of additional points - firstly the filtered image seems to reduce the file size signifcantly and secondly when I equalise the filtered image in PS2 it looks worse than the original shot, although when viewed normally the grain is much reduced. Has anyone got any experience of how the filtered images fare in the screening process? Again any constructive comments would be most welcome.

Many thanks
p.
 
B737200
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 5:30 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:16 am

I'm no lens expert but I don't think a lens can directly induce grain. The only thing I can think of is that the 80-400 maybe lets less light in to the sensor. From my limited experience grain will show up more profoundly in the darker areas (at least with the Nikon 2 series DSLR).

Now I know that the camera will expose for the light entering but I'm assuming there might be some variations through a range of exposures that it might find acceptable. Perhaps try setting the camera to overexpose a bit. In my experience my D200 would rather underexpose a bit than overexpose, may be your D80 and D300 are the same. This would help prevent grain/noise showing up in the darker areas of the image.

BTW I don't have the 80-400 so I'm just guessing here.

[Edited 2008-10-20 00:18:18]
Lady Guinness is ready to fly...
 
viv
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 5:17 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:21 am

I use the 80-400 all the time and have never had a problem with grain - like you I generally shoot at ISO 200. I can't comment on Neatimage because I have never used it.

I have used the lens on a D70, D200, D300 and D700.

By any chance is your in-camera sharpening set to 'on'? Or are you sharpening the whole image in post-processing?
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
ruudb
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 4:21 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:56 am

Can you show examples of these grainy pictures? I think Neatimage isn't needed, it only makes the pictures look awkward in my eyes. Just use the right settings can solve the problem of too much grain, rather overexposure than under. And I believe it is better to use the ISO 100 setting as long as possible, you lose a lot of detail and introduce more grain with ISO 200.
 
SFO2SVO
Posts: 304
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:18 pm

I am using 80-400 with D70s and D90.
I have seen some strange things happening in the sky.
http://sokolniki.biz/DSC_0035.JPG Look close to top of the shot, WN 737 is not the strange part  Smile Packman, is this what you are referring to?

BTW, polarizer on 80-400 can make things really grainy. But that's expected.
318-19-20-21 332 343 717 727 737-234578 743-4 752 763 772 D9/10 M11/8x/90 F70 RJ85 ATR72 SF340 E120 TU34/54 IL18/62/86/9
 
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clickhappy
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 12:10 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:43 pm

My take on what is happening - you are having to sharpen the (way too) soft images to try and compensate for the lack of quality the 80-400 produces.

Many people will try to defend this lens, and it can produce decent images in perfect conditions, but I got rid of mine, the quality just wasn't there.


SFO2SVO - that image suffers from haze or fog, no fault of the lens.
 
NIKV69
Posts: 10910
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:59 pm



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 5):
My take on what is happening - you are having to sharpen the (way too) soft images to try and compensate for the lack of quality the 80-400 produces

Exactly the reason I bought the 80-200 2.8 and use my 80-400 for departures on sunny days. It will have to do till I can afford the 200-400 2.8.

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 5):
but I got rid of mine, the quality just wasn't there.

I thought you were using it to hold open your back door?  biggrin 
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
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clickhappy
Posts: 9042
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 12:10 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:10 pm



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 6):
I thought you were using it to hold open your back door?

yes, this was correct, but now I have a dog and I upgraded to sliding glass doors, so no need for a door stop.
 
viv
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 5:17 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:58 pm



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 5):
it can produce decent images in perfect conditions

Yes, it can.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Vivion Mulcahy



I agree it cannot be compared with a prime and that the autofocus is a tad slow, but it is much sharper than the 18-200. The sweet spot of the 80-400 is f./9.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
packman
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:51 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:11 pm

Thank you all for comments and suggestions.

It looks as if the 80-200 will continue to be my main lens with the 80-400 in reserve for where I need the longer range, if I can put up with the combined weight!

Viv, I checked the sharpness setting which was on 2, which I guess is the default but have now changed it to zero, although I don't think that this will dramatically improve the situation. Every little helps though.

The grain is very evident in the raw files, I try to selectively sharpen but the a.net standards seem to be too high for this lens with the shots I am attempting at the 400mm end. I will persevere with the airliner shots to see if I can improve things as there are others who seem to use the lens satisfactorily but I guess that Clickhappy surmises correctly.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 6):
till I can afford the 200-400 2.8.

2.8  Wow!

Thanks again guys
p.
 
sluger020889
Posts: 404
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RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:32 pm



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 5):
Many people will try to defend this lens, and it can produce decent images in perfect conditions, but I got rid of mine, the quality just wasn't there.

Same here, got rid of mine as well, quality just wasn't there.

Joey
I would love to fly a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!
 
NIKV69
Posts: 10910
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:32 pm



Quoting Viv (Reply 8):
Yes, it can.

Whoa! Nikkor 80-400VR plug time!

Though I got some nice captures at the parking garage in LAS this is my latest favorite.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nicholas A Vollaro



Quoting Viv (Reply 8):
The sweet spot of the 80-400 is f./9.

I was told it was F10 or even F11. I don't shoot enough with it though.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
Lexy
Posts: 1265
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RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:38 am

I shoot with the 80-400 on a D80 and love it. Great lens and I have shot in cloudy, rainy, and sunny conditions. The lens does fine, it's just the person pushing the button that makes the difference here.
Nashville, Tennessee KBNA
 
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clickhappy
Posts: 9042
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 12:10 pm

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:52 am



Quoting Lexy (Reply 12):
The lens does fine, it's just the person pushing the button that makes the difference here.


Ah, so that is why I could never get consistent results.

Lol.
 
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Kereru
Posts: 596
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:19 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:32 am



Quoting Lexy (Reply 12):
The lens does fine, it's just the person pushing the button that makes the difference here.

Tend to agree as many times when I thought the subject was soft it was more the atmosphere in between as I have many taken under suitable conditions that came out good and were accepted even with considerable cropping to make up for distance.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Colin Hunter
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Colin Hunter



I have found it to be a compact compromise as I don't have access to prime lenses and easy to carry along with an 18-200 and 10-20 mm lenses to small regional airports around NZ.

I think it is up to the photographer to extract the best performance from his / her gear and if sometimes we fail then that is part of our learning curve to achieve the best results from what we have in our kit. As far as grain goes I try and concentrate on getting an accurate exposure to make life easier when processing. I still get grainy rejects and usually it is poor or bad exposure and me trying to get a shot on that I like.

My 0.02c worth.

Colin  old 
Good things take Time.
 
Lexy
Posts: 1265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:05 am

RE: Grain Problems With Nikkor 80-400mm

Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:46 pm



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 13):
Ah, so that is why I could never get consistent results.

That's a whole other thread there my friend. LOL!!! But any photographer will tell you that most Nikon lenses are fine. It's really all about the person behind the camera. It's easy to take pictures on a sunny day, but it's even more a challenge to shoot on cloudy days. And especially when there isn't anything of "significance" coming in.

Royal, you know this (about the weather) being from the Seattle area where the weather isn't always on your side. Up there, I am sure it can be a challenge of immense proportions somedays.  Smile

I have the 80-400 Nikkor VR and I have found it to be a very capable lens on both my D80 and D300 platforms. Now, some may disagree and that's perfectly fine. But I think it's a fine lens overall for aviation photography. This all based upon the places I shoot at most frequently and the weather conditions, etc.
Nashville, Tennessee KBNA

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