Super wide angle test, moiré palace: Nikkor 18-35mm G f3.5-4.5 on the Sony A7 and A7r

Super wide angle test, moiré palace: Nikkor 18-35mm G f3.5-4.5 on the Sony A7 and A7r

shot with the Sony A7 and the Nikkor 18-35mm G f3.5-4.5 ED

So far I am having a blast shooting with my Sony A7 and the more I use it the more I like it! The A7r loaner arrived and I grabbed the Nikkor 18-35mm G 3.5-4.5 and headed down to the moiré pallace on the LES
more after the break

Please remember, this is by no means a scientific test. I simply wanted to find out how this lens performs on the A7/A7r and how it would affect my work, moiré can be a problem when shooting collections with fine fabric patterns and architectural structures. I hope some of you will find this info useful.

The reason I ended up getting the Nikkor 18-35mm G f3.5-4.5 was the 77mm filter thread. I don’t shoot super wide on a regular basis and whenever a job requires one, mostly for video work, I need to have the option to attach ND faders. rated this lens very highly (on par with the Zeiss Distagon 18mm 3.5!), excellent center resolution, very good borders and the price is right. The build quality is quite good for a consumer zoom, nothing wobbles, focus and zoom ring are well dampened, perfect for occasional use. After getting the Sony A7 this lens got my attention again because it only weighs 385grams, for a super wide full frame zoom, that’s nothing. Compare that to the Nikkor 14 24mm f2.8, which weighs in at a whopping 1000 grams. 385 grams for a full frame super wide zoom, only 90 grams more then the Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens, which weighs in at 295grams. This makes it a great match for the Sony A7/r. Of course you still have to add in the adapter, which adds another 90grams. Now this wide angle zoom adapter combo weighs about the same as the soon to be released Zeiss FE 24-70mm f4 OSS lens!

The reason for this quick test was to find out if
A) can the A7r really top the D800E’s resolution
B) any border problems shooting at 18mm?
C) which of the three cameras produces the worst moiré.

All shots where taken from a tripod, shot raw, default processing in LR:

Let’s start with the D800e, shot at f5.6 @18mm (click on the image for the full 100% crop, use the back button to return to this post)

next up, the Sony A7r with the Nikkor 18 35mm G at f5.6 @ 18mm

and the Sony A7 with the Nikkor 18 35mm at f5.6 @18mm

To my eye, the Sony A7r produces crisper files then the D800E with this particular lens, with excellent border performance at 18mm f5.6, a bit more CA (building tree branches) then the D800E (easily corrected in post).

Equally great results from this lens on the A7, however, it is quite obvious that it can’t keep up with the higher resolution sensors. A little less CA on tree branches/building edge then the A7r, but we have moiré on the electric transformer poles. Neither the A7r nor D800e have it, not even a hint.

If my job would encompass shooting industrial buildings or other subjects prone to aliasing, then I would steer away from the A7. Although I shoot fabrics with fine patterns and moiré can and does occur, a minor change in distance/angle/light usually gets rid of the problem, a slight change in position however won’t work for industrial buildings.

My conclusions from this quick test:
Until Sony introduces a ff super wide angle , this reasonably priced ultra wide Nikkor gets the job done and delivers impressive results on both and it feels nicely balanced due to its light weight.
Industrial landscape shooters producing huge back lit displays or large prints, get the A7r. See Dierk Topp’s guest post

As you can see in the b/w opener, moiré isn’t necessarily a problem, esp when downsized or converted to b/w. As for my needs, I will keep shooting and enjoying this little beast.

That’s it for now, I will keep posting my impressions shooting with the A7/A7r and the bargain RX10 I just picked up, stay tuned.
Equipment used and mentioned in this article.
Sony A7/r
Nikon D800E (great deal here at BH)
Nikkor 18-35mm G 3.5-4.5 ED
Nikkor G to Nex adapter
Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens
Zeiss FE 55mm 1.8
Zeiss FE 24-70mm f4 OSS

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3 thoughts on “Super wide angle test, moiré palace: Nikkor 18-35mm G f3.5-4.5 on the Sony A7 and A7r

  1. Tomas

    It would be nice to see some pictures of the A7/r with the Nikkor 18-35G attached…I’m a little concerned about the size. :-)

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