Tag Archives: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

Two new Nikon lenses!

The latest announcement from Nikon is that they are introducing two new pro lenses!  This comes just in time for me as I was starting to really crave a high quality, wide angle, fast, prime lens.  I’m not picky or anything!

With my Nikon 50mm f/1.4D being my most used lens, I often wish for something a bit wider but just as fast.  When Nikon announced the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX, I really thought I’d have to pull the trigger.  While I’m sure it’s a great lens (the reviews have been really favorable), I’m a bit put off by the DX designation in case I were to ever go full frame.  What’s more, it’s not really what I would call wide on a DX sensor.

Today, Nikon announced that they will be offering a AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G.  Talk about the perfect lens for my shooting style!  Unfortunately, the price tag is well out of my reach at $2199.  Oh well!  Still, it looks perfect and will be available in late March, 2010.

The other lens that Nikon is releasing here at the end of February is much more affordable at $1259.  Still out of my price range, but more reasonable.  This lens, the AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR fills a gap that many photographers were complaining about.  A relatively wide angle zoom with vibration reduction.  I can see this being a great walk around lens!

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What’s New for 2009?

Having given some serious thought to my article writing lately, I’ve decided to re-commit myself to writing down some of my thoughts.  While I really don’t know how many people actually find these articles useful, I figure it can’t hurt to continue to jot down my thoughts — if only for myself!

2008 was a great year.  Exactly one year ago today this web site and photography business was merely a dream.  While I can’t claim complete success with regards to turning my photography into a full time job, I can say that I’ve had a great time, taken more and better photos than ever before, and actually made a few sales here and there.  I’m overjoyed and continually amazed that my work is considered good enough by some to hang on a wall!  For that support, I say a huge Thank You!!!

In other news, I’ve been slacking in my photography over his holiday season.  The last real opportunity I had to take some photos was when I traveled down to Washington DC to meet up with some family.  We had a great time, and I got some really interesting photos!  Check them out here.

NIKON D200 @ 18mm — ¹/10 sec, ƒ/3.5, ISO 100 | zoom in
Winding Staircase

Due to the rather gloomy weather we had all day, we were ducking in and out of restaurants and museums in a somewhat vain effort to stay dry.  While the above shot isn’t perhaps a photographic accomplishment, I really found the winding staircase visually interesting.

NIKON D200 @ 50mm — 4.5 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Capital Building at Night

The above shot of the Capital Building is one of my favorites.  It was taken in almost total darkness with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D.  I actually dialed in a full +1 2/3 exposure compensation to get the lights to stand out.  Overall, I find it very striking.

Nikon’s Newest Lens – It’s about time!

Nikon just announced (well, about a week ago now I guess) the new Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens.  This is pretty much the same lens as the older, built to last Nikon 50mm f/1.4D that I have except that it adds an internal focusing motor as well as a slightly new internal design.

History

Up to now, there have been numerous 50mm designs by Nikon.  This lens replaces the venerable Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D lens which has been a staple for low light photography since 1995.  I own this D version.  It’s phenomenal.  For low light photography, fast lenses can’t be beat.  I can’t imagine how well this would work on a D700 or D3 with their incredible high ISO performance.  You could shoot in just about any lighting conditions.

However, over the past few years, Nikon has removed the focus motor from some of their consumer level dSLR cameras such as the D40, D40x and D60.  This means that a lot of the really good older lenses such as the 85mm f/1.4 which is touted as one of the best portrait lenses ever, is not usable by these entry level cameras.  In my opinion, these cameras were designed for the DX market of lenses which all had the focus motor built into the lens.  They were not designed for working professionals which might use these really good, but more professional lenses.

What’s New

Aside from the more obvious internal motor (which also allows seamless manual focus override by just grabbing the focus ring), they’ve made the lens a bit more complex by adding an additional lens element.  Therefore, the new lens has 8 elements in 7 groups as opposed to the older lens which had one less (7 elements arranged in 6 groups).  What this should help to fix is the softness in the corners when shooting wide open.  Not that this was very apparent, but Nikon claims that this new design will decrease this.

Also, the new lens boasts a new 9 bladed diaphram which may give a nicer look to the bokeh than the older 7 bladed diaphragm which sometimes gave a somewhat jagged 7 sided spotty look.  I’ll be curious to see how the reviews rate this newer lens.

For all these new features, the price of the new lens is over $140 more than the older version at $440.

My Opinion

As much as I enjoy the idea of the AF-S design with the real-time manual focus override, I really have no performance issues with the current version.  In fact, I use the lens so much that I rarely remove it from my camera.  Therefore, I really don’t think paying for another one is really worthwhile since I have no problems with what I have.  Plus, I usually make a distinct choice to go from manual focus to auto focus so I think I’ll live with what I have.

Plus, the version I have is really solid and should last for years.  I’m not so sure that all the newer lenses are quite as durable.

However, I do wish that Nikon would step up and start filling the holes in their current prime lens lineup.  With very few wide prime lenses still in production, I really think that those of us in the Nikon camp are feeling a bit neglected.

Photography Motivation

It’s odd.  I know that with any art form there is always the need for motivation.  And normally, I find that I enjoy the act of photography so much that I really don’t struggle with getting out to take pictures.  Hence, why I tend to take a lot of nature photography.  I enjoy being out in nature, and find it rewarding to record those moments in a form where I can share them.

But lately, it seems that I just haven’t found the time to get out and shoot much.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been working a ton of hours.  I’m not really sure what.  But regardless, I have very few new photos to submit to either stock or to blog about.

Regardless, I’ll be attempting to get ou tand shoot more over the next few weeks.  I’m thinking of attempting some form of project.  I’ve always wanted to get better with certain lenses and therefore, I think I’m going to attempt a two week stint of only using the Nikon 50mm f/1.4.  It’s a fixed length lens so it will force me to really think of my composition.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Lancaster Train Museum

On the same trip where we visited the Lakewood Gardens discussed here (part 1) and here (part 2), we also visited the Lancaster Train Museum.  Not only were there plenty of historical photos discussing the history of trains in the United States, but there was a huge warehouse sized building with actual steam engines, cabooses and passenger cars and much, much more!

NIKON D200 @ 50mm — ¹/10 sec, ƒ/1.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Train Wheels

I was intrigued with the designs under many of the trains.  All the cogs, push rods and wheel spokes seemed like a wonderful photographic opportunity.  Not a lot of my photos came out well, but I particularly like that one.

NIKON D200 @ 50mm — ¹/40 sec, ƒ/3.2, ISO 100 | zoom in
Blue Contrail Train

I really liked this bright blue train.  Unfortunately, I had only acquired my D200 a couple months before I had purchased the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens a couple weeks before.  this resulted in some very oddly exposed images!  The ceiling is overexposed and there are some dark parts of the train which are underexposed.  Luckily, with Lightroom 2.0 and the new selective adjustment brush, I was able to add a layer mask with an exposure mask of -1.0 to the ceiling and it doesn’t look too bad.

NIKON D200 @ 50mm — ¹/50 sec, ƒ/3.5, ISO 100 | zoom in
Pennsylvania 4465

I had the same problem with the overexposed ceiling here, but to a lesser degree.  Much easier to correct using the same technique.

NIKON D200 @ 50mm — ¹/60 sec, ƒ/2.5, ISO 100 | zoom in
Old Fashioned Controls

I finally got my act together for this last photo.  I used some fill flash dialed way down to just lighten some of the shadows.  While it may not be a great shot, it’s at least exposed correctly.  I can’t imagine being an engineer on one of these things.  Very complicated!  Unfortunately, they had to go and ruin it by putting a “NO SMOKING” sign in the middle.  The fact that there was no smoking anywhere in the building apparently didn’t deter people enough.

We’re supposed to head up to the Syracuse Zoo tomorrow.  Hopefully, the rain holds off and I can post some good shots of animals tomorrow!