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A quick question about resolution ... M240 verses D4
Old 01-10-2016   #1
Keith
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A quick question about resolution ... M240 verses D4

I've been asked to photograph one of those very large power pylons that carry electricity from power stations to various grids cross country. It's for an artist who has a private commission to create a scale replica ... for some type of exhibition I gather and accuracy is important apparently. I know where there is one not far from here on flat rural land which will allow me to move around it in a circle from a reasonable distance with a longish lens and I would imagine taking a shot every forty five degrees should give him what he needs. I'll provide him with hi res files that he can expand on his computer to allow him to see detail and construction methods etc from top to bottom.

I have a choice of my M240 with a 135mm OM Olympus prime that I can use with an adapter and EVF or use my D4 and 24-120 G series Nikkor zoom. I expect the Leica being 24 megapixels should be the best choice but I'm not sure about the Oly lens option. The D4 has less megapixels but It has the choice of a more modern optic of course with the Nikkor.

There's probably not a lot in it but I was wondering what others would select in my position if they had these options.
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Old 01-10-2016   #2
Michel154
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i have never used the 135mm OM Olympus but i suspect from F8 to F16 it would do the job quite well personally i would go with the leica special with the 240 liveview
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Old 01-10-2016   #3
Larry H-L
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Either camera should be fine for this purpose, but the lens length concerns me. With a tower that large, a 120-135mm is going to move you back quite a distance, putting lots of air and dust between you and the tower. You might consider an 85-90mm also.

Also, the 24-120 may perform better at 85-100mm than maxed out to 120, most zooms fall off at the longest setting.

I'm sure you will do a fine job, have fun.
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Old 01-10-2016   #4
mcfingon
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I would suggest a prime lens with good distortion correction (or that is corrected well in-camera with software), Keith. Otherwise you may end up with curves in wires and towers that are disconcerting for scaling.
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Old 01-10-2016   #5
ray*j*gun
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The D4 with the sharpest 50 you have. I use a 50 1,8 D (a modest but really sharp Nikkor) and the files are amazing for accurate sharp images.
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Old 01-10-2016   #6
willie_901
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Extremely narrow apertures will limit resolution due to diffraction.
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Old 01-10-2016   #7
icebear
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Take both cameras with you in case it is kind of PITB to get there. If it's not too far away, then take whatever you are comfortable with. You can always re-shot if the first results sucks- which is unlikely. Most importantly let the guy who needs the shots decide if the quality is OK for his purpose. As an artist he is most likely not a pixel peeper and you are completely overthinking it.
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Old 01-10-2016   #8
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For the zoom lenses you own, Google for reviews and find data regarding resolution and distortion vs focal length and aperture. If you are lucky the reviews will discuss field flatness.

As mcfingon mentioned, resolution is only one factor required for the fidelity you seek. Field curvature is just one of the optical aberrations that can degrade overall accuracy.

I would research high-end commercial architectural photographers to see if it is practical to rent the best lens for this task. If the project budget is sufficient, you should be able to achieve an appropriate level of accuracy.

With apologies for stating the obvious, keeping the sensor perfectly square to the subject is critical as well. I would use a very sturdy tripod with a geared head. I would use an external level mounted on the camera. I would also experiment to calibrate the tripod and camera level indicators. I suspect slight deviations in camera leveling from location to location would cause as much trouble as optical aberrations. Post-production manipulation can correct for small deviations in leveling without significant side effects, but getting it right in the field saves time and effort later on.

I assume the power pylons are tall. This means a tilt-shift lens may be the right tool for this job. Nikon makes 34, 45 and 85 mm prime TS lenses. I have no idea what TS options are possible for the M mount. But Live View would be most helpful as the optical RF would be useless to fine-tune "perspective control" (Nikon's marketing term for TS adjustment).
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Old 01-10-2016   #9
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I'm always amazed that people take on jobs before they know how to do them of if they can. I'm also amused at some responses of how to do them. Wow! I'm not trying to put anyone down but I am amazed and I never take on assignments I don't know how to shoot.

Most likely if artist has to do an accurate model he or she will go to the engineering drawings to reference for precise scale. The power company will have these drawings and most certainly the fabricator of the steel. Most likely the photos are for texture, color and shadow. I'm married to an artist and that's how she would do it.
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Old 01-10-2016   #10
Bill Clark
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I would use one of my trusty Manfretto tripods.

Either camera.

Sounds like a fun gig!

Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2016   #11
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I finished up using the 240 and a 50mm lens at a distance of around 70 metres. Then split the tower into four segments using a 200mm prime for detail pics that should give him all the info he needs. And as someone pointed out he will probably be working from a set of plans from the people who build the towers ... this just gives an idea of actual construction and finish.

It was smoking hot out there in the sun at midday today and the flies were horrific.

Not exactly a glamour shoot but it was quite challenging and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for all the sound advice.
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