I had only 20 minutes to shoot some backyard snaps today as Life has decided that the week I received my D3 would be the most constrained time in months in terms of free time to shoot!
These images of Aesculus Californica nuts (Sept 23) were taken with the Zeiss ZF 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, one of the very finest lenses I’ve had the pleasure of shooting (see Zeiss ZF Lenses and also Sept 28 blog entry). The 100 Makro has oodles of reserve resolving power, well beyond what the D3 is capable of.
Depth of field with the D3 is extremely shallow, yet stopping down beyond f/8 shows reduced contrast due to diffraction. Fortunately, shooting wide open with a lens like the 100/2 Makro Planar can be a purely artistic choice in terms of lens performance; depth of field is part of that artistic choice (and the Makro-Planar is unique among macro lenses in offering an f/2 maximum aperture).
Images were processed in Nikon Capture NX, using Picture Control Sharpening = 5, fairly strong, with a modest sharpening for the full-frame downsized samples (no further sharpening done on the actual-pixels crops). D3 images need strong sharpening.
Mouse over the image below to see f/2 vs v/2.8. Then click on the image to see more, including actual-pixels crops. Ask yourself if the f/2 aperture is worth it—I think it yields a distinctly different possibility than f/2.8, something not available with Nikon or Canon 100mm macro offerings. If the Zeiss ZF lenses interest you, then see Zeiss ZF Lenses.
Nikon D3 + Zeiss ZF 100/2 Makro-Planar, ISO 200, f/2 <=> f/2.8