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02-27-2016, 09:25 AM   #1
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Long Lenses on 645z

A few months ago I started a thread on an alternative to the 300mm f/5.6. I got a lot of good information out of that thread and came to the conclusion that the lens wasn't the problem, it was camera shake. I have since bought a long lens support of the lens but that hasn't really improved image quality. My system and technique consists of a 3 series Gitzo carbon fiber tripod, acre tech GV ball head, long lens support, MLU, wireless remote with 3 second delay and not using Live View when making the image. After all of this, images made with a shutter speed between 1 second and 1/300 second come out with noticeable shake issues.

So my new question is, for those of you shooting with the 645z, how do you get quality images when shooting with a long lens. It really seems as though camera shake is the problem and I don't know what more I can do to limit it.

Thanks,
Andy

02-27-2016, 09:43 AM   #2
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i use the 645d with the 300 5,6 and with a much lighter equipment and no long lens support i never noticed all this shake..maybe is not 100% over sharp but i think is very good.
maybe for long lenses better those with tripod collar so weight is better balanced...long lens support is for very big lens.
02-27-2016, 10:32 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by abrehm Quote
A few months ago I started a thread on an alternative to the 300mm f/5.6. I got a lot of good information out of that thread and came to the conclusion that the lens wasn't the problem, it was camera shake. I have since bought a long lens support of the lens but that hasn't really improved image quality. My system and technique consists of a 3 series Gitzo carbon fiber tripod, acre tech GV ball head, long lens support, MLU, wireless remote with 3 second delay and not using Live View when making the image. After all of this, images made with a shutter speed between 1 second and 1/300 second come out with noticeable shake issues.

So my new question is, for those of you shooting with the 645z, how do you get quality images when shooting with a long lens. It really seems as though camera shake is the problem and I don't know what more I can do to limit it.

Thanks,
Andy
Given what you are saying, I might conclude it was not camera shake. You shouldn't see any camera shake at 1/250 AFAIC, given the level of care you have taken.

I assume you have run tests with higher shutter speeds compared to lower ones? Same everything, except shutter speeds and iso's (trying to keep aperture the same so the dof is the same...)?
02-27-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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I'm not dealing with an issue but can you please share some examples comparing a few shutter speeds so we can better understand what you are experiencing?

02-27-2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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I am not sure you can fix this. It's the no. 1 fail of the 645z in my opinion, no electronic first curtain shutter.

If the next body doesn't have it then I may leave the system (most likely but not decided). I love the Z but that part ticks me off.

It makes for an annoying experience, open live view, zoom in, focus, meter and set exposure, close live view, start mirror lock-up, wait 3-5 secs, then shoot. This is the only way to get critical sharp images.

If there is a hint of wind, long lens is off the menu too.

I don't blame you for being frustrated.

Now that's not to say I haven't got good images with the 300/5.6, I have indeed, but it's hard work and you have to lug around a long lens support.
02-27-2016, 12:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
I am not sure you can fix this. It's the no. 1 fail of the 645z in my opinion, no electronic first curtain shutter.

If the next body doesn't have it then I may leave the system (most likely but not decided). I love the Z but that part ticks me off.

It makes for an annoying experience, open live view, zoom in, focus, meter and set exposure, close live view, start mirror lock-up, wait 3-5 secs, then shoot. This is the only way to get critical sharp images.

If there is a hint of wind, long lens is off the menu too.

I don't blame you for being frustrated.

Now that's not to say I haven't got good images with the 300/5.6, I have indeed, but it's hard work and you have to lug around a long lens support.
i have 645d and have sharp images without all your work..things are two , you are blind or camera has problem.
mirror lock a good trip , best aperture and a good sharp eye or glasses, make using the 645z 300 5,6 a breeze.
02-27-2016, 12:51 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote

It makes for an annoying experience, open live view, zoom in, focus, meter and set exposure, close live view, start mirror lock-up, wait 3-5 secs, then shoot. This is the only way to get critical sharp images...

That is my process exactly as well and I find nothing annoying about taking these steps. That's using good technique.

here are my M*300/4 pics (used on 645Z and 645D), most also have the 1.4x TC added. No lens support. Some of these are even in moderate winds from the hills.
Remember with the Z you can crank the ISO to help with shutter speed and still keep a clean image.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeoria/albums/72157663192487870

Last edited by mikeSF; 02-27-2016 at 12:59 PM.
02-27-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
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The thing I fell in love with about the 645d when I got it was the manual experience of making the shot,same goes for the Z.

It's rewarding when it pays off and you get a top shot.

However, where I think my experience was tarnished was when I was in-between owning a Leica M9 and before I bought the 645D, I was using a Sony Nex6 as a short term in-between camera. Oh boy, no shutter shake there, just wonderfully sharp images all the time, any shutter speed, any lens length.

Just if we could keep that whole process I described with the Z, but at the end rather than having to close the live view, just being able to press the shutter button would be good without it needing to close first.

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 06:32 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jonny1986 Quote
i have 645d and have sharp images without all your work..things are two , you are blind or camera has problem.
mirror lock a good trip , best aperture and a good sharp eye or glasses, make using the 645z 300 5,6 a breeze.
Alright then I am blind. Righto. That's it.

You obviously don't print large, say 20x30".

Anything but the best technique described by myself and MikeSF will leave you wishing you had.

I have an image just printed at 20x30" with the FA80-160, shot at 100mm. You can see distant branches on trees hundreds of meters away. Anything but that shot discipline will not net those results.

02-27-2016, 01:35 PM   #9
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I use a 200+1.4tc and see no shutter shake issues outdoors in Scotland and in reasonable to high wind. Live view zoomed in. I alter the ISO to maintain a high shutter speed. Close live view. 12 sec timer. MUP. Geared head. Gitzo tripod. All works well and as others have said its a good process to follow.

I can't imagine the faff and bother lugging around lens supports and the like
02-27-2016, 03:45 PM   #10
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Thanks all for the comments. I am out on a shooting trip right now but I will post some images from this trip to show what I'm on about. There have been several images on this trip that I needed the 300mm but even looking at the review screen I can see things are not critically sharp, it's very annoying. My backup has been shoot with the 150 and crop later but that is wasting a lot of information.

As someone mentioned, at small sizes it may not be a deal breaker but I routinely print larger than 20x30 so this quality of image is not an option. It's a shame that the Z has such great resolving power only to be let down by camera shake in the end. Hopefully next time around they will make a mirror less version with electronic shutter!

Edit: it still seems that there is something unique with the Z that makes the images not come out sharp. I didn't shoot 645 film, but it would seem those bodies didn't have this issue or Pentax would have done something about it. The fact that many D shooters are also getting good images makes me further think there is something with the Z that isn't quite right. It's a shame that for a high end system you can't shoot over 200mm!

Last edited by abrehm; 02-27-2016 at 04:44 PM.
02-28-2016, 07:24 AM   #11
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Hi Andy,

I shoot fine art landscape with the 645Z (and previously with 645D, and before that the three models of film P645's as backup to 4x5 film) and print large for myself and a few customers, between 40" and 60" wide most of the time. The Pentax FA 300/5.6 is one of my most used lenses for selective compositions. Best at f/11. My results are quite sharp using careful technique and I am extremely picky about IQ. I use a 5-series Gitzo CF most of the time, with a 3-series as backup for hikes. Arca Z1 and Markins heads. Careful focusing with a loupe in live view.

You mentioned a 3-second delay - this may not be enough time for all vibrations to settle out on the long lenses. After locking up the mirror I use a 5 to 6 second delay before tripping shutter. Also, note that most of my comps are horizontal - I have noticed that shutter vibration is more problematic when the camera is mounted vertically.

The Pentax 67 200/4 with adapter is also giving me superb results.

In addition I use the Pentax FA 400/5.6, and have run a series of tests to determine best shutter speeds and best method of mounting on the tripod. I found that using the camera's tripod mount produced sharper results than using the lens foot. And better results are using a bracket that supports the body and the end of the lens.

Lastly, I find deconvolution sharpening makes a huge difference in the final assessment of sharpness.

I was going to post an image taken with the 400mm but the file exceeds the forum's size limit. Here is a link to the image on my FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/RossMartinPhotography/photos/pb.1455841824745679.-2...type=3&theater

Ross

Last edited by SeattleDucks; 02-28-2016 at 09:35 AM.
02-29-2016, 09:00 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Ross-

Thanks for the information, thats good to know that you can get quality images from the 300 f/5.6. I just got back from my most recent shooting trip and have to say that I got some useable images while using this lens, a first for me. With that said it still seems that this combo is extremely sensitive to vibrations.

Since this is one of my better attempts the blurry image is actually quite a bit better than what I usually get. All images are RAW, straight out of the camera. The first is the entire image and the second 2 are 100% crops. The second image is the better of the two in my opinion with the 3rd holding less detail. Again, these are better results than what I typically get. While there is not a huge difference between the two crops, the only technical difference between the two was a slight breeze (maybe 1-2 mph) when taking the 3rd shot. While I got something useable in this time, the fact that a slight breeze makes such a difference concerns me. Since I shoot landscapes there is almost always a breeze which will make using this lens very difficult but I guess I will just have to be very selective in its use.

Andy
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03-01-2016, 12:13 PM   #13
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Andy, I do see the signs of motion blur (vibration) in the 2nd crop shot (3rd image in post). The 1st crop shot (2nd image in post) looks quite good to me considering it is not sharpened yet. Deconvolution capture sharpening would pull a ton of detail out of that (in Lightroom, I slide Detail all the way to 100% to turn the algorithm into full deconvolution, and use Amount 45% and Radius 0.8 as a starting point, with Masking set individually depending on image by holding down the option key while sliding).

Before the 645Z (and 645D previously) I was using a Nikon D800 and 70-200mm and I found that rig also susceptible to vibration from wind, unstable ground the tripod was on, etc. I think these high-resolution digital sensors are extremely revealing of every minor fault, more so than my 4x5, 6x7, and 6x4.5 film images were.

One tip I was given to help with wind-induced vibrations using long lenses is to set the tripod up at kneeling-on-ground height when possible, with only one or two of the beefiest legs extended. And another was to rest a beanbag on top of the camera and lens combo for damping. I have not tried that yet myself.

Ross
03-01-2016, 12:26 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by abrehm Quote
Ross-

Thanks for the information, thats good to know that you can get quality images from the 300 f/5.6. I just got back from my most recent shooting trip and have to say that I got some useable images while using this lens, a first for me. With that said it still seems that this combo is extremely sensitive to vibrations.

Since this is one of my better attempts the blurry image is actually quite a bit better than what I usually get. All images are RAW, straight out of the camera. The first is the entire image and the second 2 are 100% crops. The second image is the better of the two in my opinion with the 3rd holding less detail. Again, these are better results than what I typically get. While there is not a huge difference between the two crops, the only technical difference between the two was a slight breeze (maybe 1-2 mph) when taking the 3rd shot. While I got something useable in this time, the fact that a slight breeze makes such a difference concerns me. Since I shoot landscapes there is almost always a breeze which will make using this lens very difficult but I guess I will just have to be very selective in its use.

Andy
Andy, these are missing the EXIF exposure data. Can you share settings you used? The keeper of that bunch looks just fine at 100%. I also incorporate an umbrella to baffle a breeze when needed. Maybe that would help with the breeze.
03-01-2016, 08:40 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Thanks for the info and suggestions Ross. Funny enough I set my tripod up as you suggested on these shots. I have a 4 segment series 3 Gitzo and I only had 3 segments extended, which included the 2 largest diameter segments. I don't know if that is the reason for the better results but it will be something that I continue to do in the future. I haven't heard about the bean bag trick, I may try it at home to see how it performs before I pack around even more weight!

Mike, sorry the EXIF info didn't come through. The 1st crop was ISO 400, f/8 1/125 and the second crop was ISO 100 f/8 1/20. It seems that anything between 1/200 and 1.3 seconds causes me issues. Luckily the breeze died down enough on the 1/125 shot to get something useable.
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