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Old Aug 22, 2010, 8:10 AM   #1
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Default D5000 "auto distortion control": how effective is it reducing

I am currently using a Tamron 18-270 lens with my Nikon D5000 and am frustrated with the marked barrel distortion it has (which I realize is a trade-off with any zoom lens of this sort).

In the shooting menu, there's a setting for "auto distortion control" which is greyed out (probably because the feature only works with Nikkor lenses). I have tried it with a 105mm Nikkor macro lens that I also have, but cant really notice any difference with that lens.

Can anyone comment on how effective this feature is with removing lens distortion on the popular Nikkor 18-200 lens? Would love to see a "with and without" comparison...
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 8:53 AM   #2
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Your Nikkor 105 macro lens doesn't distort much anyway, so you wouldn't see any difference there.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 9:24 AM   #3
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Rather than changing lenses (which would cost you more, not to mention you'd lose some focal range), you may want to consider a software correction solution instead. CS5, Bibble Pro, DxO Optics and others have the ability to correct for many lens issues now.

It looks like your Tamron is included in the available modules with DxO Optics Pro when used with a D5000 body.

http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/news/1...Optics-Modules

More about lens correction features here.

http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/dxo_op...ry_corrections

Bibble 5 has some similar features:

http://www.bibblelabs.com/products/b...ools.html#lens

However, I don't see your lens in the latest list there yet (although if you send them some test photos, they can add it):

http://www.bibblelabs.com/products/b...lens_list.html

So, you may want to consider downloading some trial versions of software and see what you think first.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 3:24 PM   #4
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Distortion correction routines work by adjusting the pixels in the corners of the image to adjust the straightness of lines that pass through these areas, either horizontally or vertically. Unfortunately, that process also reduces sharpness, and, unfortuantely, these areas aren't very sharp to start with. For landscape images, you probably won't notice the difference in sharpness, but then, for landscape images, you probably don't notice the distortion either. But for architectural images, you might just be trading errors in rectilinearity for additional softness in the corners. You need to decide if that's a trade you want to make. But if you do it in the camera, you can't go back; if you do it in post processing, you can Undo.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 3:33 PM   #5
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dslr correction is not as good as m4/3. So even though they have correction you will see the distortions still.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 5:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
You need to decide if that's a trade you want to make. But if you do it in the camera, you can't go back; if you do it in post processing, you can Undo.
This strikes me as a bit misleading. The truth is that you can undo the correction if you so desire AND are shooting RAW or RAW + JPEG. ANY in-camera processing done to a JPEG file are not able to be undone, but auto distortion correction is one of the many changes that you can undo on NEF files in post-processing if you so desire. Am I failing to understand what you mean here?
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 7:41 PM   #7
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Yes. My mistake. Thank you. I generally presume that people shoot JPEG, and that's not always true.
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Old Aug 23, 2010, 6:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
dslr correction is not as good as m4/3. So even though they have correction you will see the distortions still.
Yes, this seems to be true.

One other aspect concerns the design process. For example, the Panasonic 14-45mm lens for micro 4/3 was designed with a view to producing quite sharp results center to corner, at the cost of distortion, CA and vignetting. Of course, distortion, CA and vignetting can be corrected, while lack of sharpness can't. Ordinarily, all of these must be traded off against one another.

When shot in RAW, and processed by a 3rd party RAW converter, the uncorrected images produced by the Panasonic 14-45mm at 14mm, is WIDER than 14mm.(it's probably around 12mm)

e.g.
With in camera correction:



Without any correction:



Taking all these things into account, correcting ANY wide zoom range lens in camera (e.g. Tamron 18-270mm in a Nikon D5000) is probably NOT desirable, because the lens design is optimized with a balance of distortion, CA vignetting and sharpness in mind, not optimized for in camera correction.

In other words, Panasonic matches the micro 4/3 camera and lenses to work as a complement to one another. Nikon DSLRs that have correction, generally correct automatically, only for CA, because this is the most consistently easy to correct. So for example, Tokina lenses are mostly designed for great sharpness, low distortion & vignetting at the cost of CA. It means that they are the perfect complement to Nikon in camera CA correction.
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