Nikon PC 19mm f/4 E ED Tilt Shift lens review with samples
So its an extremely expensive lens, but also pretty unique and valuable to the right user. Its manual focus only although you can adjust its aperture using your camera and you do get exif information stored in your files. Many of you will already know what a tilt shift lens is by now, but heres a recap just in case the shift function here up to 12 millimeters on this nikon lens enables you to correct your perspective for architecture, photography or any other kind of photography, where Keeping straight lines straight is important. Yes, you can do this to your pictures in editing software too, but that will degrade your final image quite a bit and theres, nothing quite like getting it right when youre there in the field. You can also rotate this lens so that it shifts from left to right or diagonally or any angle in between, and another neat trick is that that shift function can be used to make easily stitchable panorama. Images just shift the lens all the way to the left. Take a shot and then to the right, take another shot and make sure to keep the exposure the same by shooting in manual mode stitch. The two pictures together and editing for a high resolution panorama neat. So the shift function is pretty useful for landscape or architecture. Photography, the lenses tilt function allows you to literally tilt the front element of the lens and pretty far too. This has the effect of adjusting your plane of focus.
For example, here we have a close up shot of my toddlers building blocks and, as youd expect, the blocks further away are out of focus if i tilt the lens just so, i can adjust the plane of focus to include the whole line of them. Well, pretty much so thats a feature which is mainly used for product photography. You can rotate the tilt mechanism of the lens 360 degrees, also for just the right focus because of this lenss ultra wide angle, its going to be much more used for architecture photography than product photography, so the shift function is going to be my key interest for This review, but it is nice to know that the tilt feature is there too, if youre ever doing something really unusual and need to use it? One thing youre paying for with this nikon lens at least, is its build quality. It is metallic and tough, so it should put up with some good term use its based on a metal lens mount with a weather ceiling gasket around the edge it weighs about two pounds or just under a kilogram at the rear. Come the controls for the shift mechanism and theyre very well designed on the other side they can be locked in place, but on this side is a good sized knob that lets you adjust it very precisely then, at the front we have a similar mechanism for controlling The lenss tilt again that is very well designed and easy to control with a nice big control, dial.
Finally, right at the very front theres the focus ring. It has plenty of precision there that youll need in use, although focusing the lens isnt too difficult its so wide angle. The lens has a very bulbous front element unavoidable in such a wide angle, lens of this kind. So you can forget about using almost any kind of filter with it. It does come with a special lens hood made of plastic, which snaps into place reasonably well, although for peace of mind, you should probably still take care how you put it away in your camera bag. This lens does not have image stabilization and, as i mentioned already, its manual focus only overall, its build quality is pretty much everything you could ask for here. Just look at how big it is, though, adapted onto my z7 camera lenses like this have to be extra large to accommodate the optics for its very large image circle. Well, lets move on and look at image quality im testing it by adapting it onto my nikon z7 here with its full frame 45 megapixel sensor. Firstly, im using the lens normally under shifted in the middle of the image at f4. Sharpness looks excellent with good contrast. The image corners look excellent too, offering lots of resolution stop down to f 5.6 for more brightness and at f 8. We are treated to a bit more sharpness too, at f 11 things, look a tiny bit better again, although still not quite razor sharp its only.
If you stop down as far as f 16 that the image quality begins to deteriorate a little due to the effect of diffraction, so its a very impressive performance when the lens is not shifted, now lets shift the lens all the way up and see what happens In the middle of the image at f4 picture, quality is a lot softer now, with some very clear, astigmatism theres much more horizontal resolution than vertical, which is kind of what youd expect to be honest in the corner. Thats been stretched to the least, though we see a pretty sharp image. The corner thats been stretched. The most is really soft, with extra darkness from vignetting ouch stop down to f 5.6 and its a little bit clearer in that difficult corner and slightly sharper in the corner. Thats been stretched, the least as well. The middle of the image is a little sharper but were still seeing lots of astigmatism here, stop down to f8, and the middle looks much better, though, and f 11 looks excellent there. The least stretched corner looks excellent at f, 11 2 and the stretched corner just okay. The most difficult corner is now showing a tiny bit more detail, but its still mediocre stop down to f16 for a further tiny improvement. But you dont want to stop down any more than that because of diffraction. So as impressive as this lenss image quality was when unshifted. It does really disappoint when shifted and anyone spending a fortune on it expecting otherwise will be disappointed.
Well, lets move on and take a look at distortion and vignetting when a lens is unshifted, we are treated to some slight barrel distortion and slightly dark corners at f4, stop down to f5.6 and they brighten up again now lets shift the lens. There is a slightly stretched distortion pattern now, but nowhere near as bad, so i thought it could be theres a lot of darkness in the top of the image where its been stretched, the most stop down to f5.6, f8 or f11 to see that darkness slowly get Pushed higher up, but it will always be there at least just a little so interesting results now lets take a look at close up image quality. This thing can focus down to less than 25 centimeters. Bringing you right up to your subject. Close up image quality at the maximum aperture of f4 is fairly sharp, but contrast gets a little hazy, stop down to f 5.6 and contrast makes a return so again avoid the maximum aperture here now lets take a look at how the lens works against bright lights. Its very bulbous front glass element here is surely setting it at a serious disadvantage. Here we do see a fair bit of glaring and flaring, even when bright lights are not completely in the picture frame. Finally, bokker, unless youre getting really close to your subject, then its a bit of a moot point, but generally autofocus backgrounds are rendered smoothly by this nikon lens here.
Overall testing this lens out was enjoyable for me, but its image quality was not what youd expect for a lens at this incredibly high price point. The wide angle of 19 millimeter was very enjoyable to use, but occasionally i did find myself wishing it was wider. This is the kind of lens that youd be much more likely to hire out than to buy because of its incredibly high price. If you do decide to buy it, then it will work. Okay for you, but dont be surprised at its quite natural limitations when youre using it at full shift or full tilt on a high resolution camera, despite what youre paying for it.