Light is Everything!

Posts tagged “AF-S 50mm f/1.4G

Gear Sale

UPDATE: April 11, 2017

I’ve still got the 2 SB-600s up for grabs as well as the mini soft box. Everything else is sold!

It’s all in Oxbow, SK Canada and shipping can be arranged. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

Next I’ve got a couple of SB-600 flashes.ย They are a perfect starter flash for someone new to photography & may not want to spend a pile of money. They are in really good shape, a few scuffs and dings. They come with original box, all manuals, stand, protective bag. They do TTL and manual control and work with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS). Asking $200 each but will accept reasonable offers. (As they are discontinued now, they are going for around $250 on eBay. Manufacturer Info Here.

I’ve also got an Aurora LiteBank mini softbox for a speedlite. I’ll throw it in for free if you buy an SB-600. Or it can be yours for the low low price of $15 bones.

 

 


Nikon Df with old Manual Lenses

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My Nikon lens kit is a pretty basic, do anything kit. I don’t have any of Nikon’s Holy Trinity f/2.8 zooms because they are extremely heavy and expensive. Instead, I picked up the newer, sharper, cheaper, lighter & slower f/4 zooms. 16-35 & 70-200. I don’t have the 24-120 as to my eye, there is nothing interesting happening in those focal lengths. Same goes for the do-it-all, ever versatile, ready for anything 24-70. I’ll never buy it. Too close to uncle Bob’s kit lens focal lengths. Nothing cool optically is happening there. Wide and telephoto is where it is at.

That being said, I’m primarily a prime shooter. I just like them better. A little sharper glass. Lighter in the hand. Easier to transport. Etc, etc, etc #PrimePraise. So for my prime kit, I have a Nikkor 50mm 1.4G & 1.8D, 85mm 1.8G & 105mm 2.8G Macro (And the Fuji X100s at 35mm equivalent f/2). I didn’t have a fast wide angle lens though. I thought about picking up Nikon’s new 20mm 1.8G. It looks awesome. Nassim just got his review done, check it out here. It’s affordable and awesome, a true winner. But I am honestly tired of spending money on photography gear. And, even more so, I didn’t want the 1.8 form factor. The new G lenses are larger and bulkier. Optically better, but just also bigger. I didn’t want that.

I wanted to pretend I had a Leica. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I love the smaller form factor of the rangefinder systems, another reason I love the Fuji so much. But I also have my trusty Nikon Df with all of its awesome old school film inspired manual controls. So I started to think about picking up an old school lens to match. Nikon made some really killer glass back in the day. No AF. No weather sealing. No Magical Nano Crystals. Just glass & metal. So I looked at a couple of fast(er) primes and I settled on the old 28mm Nikkor f/2.8 AI-S. The old lenses in this form factor take the small 52mm filers. They are light and pocketable, much like Fuji’s X-series lenses, but fit full frame sensors.

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It’s a sweet gem of a lens. It’s eagle talon sharp, even wide open. Very little lens distortion. Hardly any Chromatic Aberration (unlike much of Nikon’s new G stuff). It as hard stops on each end of the focus which is great for locking the lens into infinity focus for landscapes and astro photography. It’s all sweet, smooth manual focus baby โ€“ which is a rather sucky experience on Nikon. They do give you the green-dot-O’-focus but it’s not as good as using focus peaking on the mirrorless cameras. However, the focus and distance marks are still engravedย on the old lenses which is awesome, especially for a technique known as zone focusing.

I’d never heard of this before but stumbled across it while looking into the Street Photography Genre. Suffice it to say, in a world without modern Auto Focus, how would photogs get sharp shots in the fast paced, ever changing world of the street? They would stop down and preset the focus on their lenses. This would essentially give the photographer a “zone of focus” – an area in the photo that would have an acceptable level of sharpness. Say f/8 at 5 feet away. This gives you roughly 6 feet of in focus area to work with, 1.7 feet in front of the subject, 4.2 feet behind. You just had to get good at manually guessing how far your subject was from you when you made your shot. If they were in that 5 foot range, you’d nab the shot. It’s actually quicker than auto focus because you just pointed the camera and clicked the shutter button. That’s how they did it.

I wanted to try it out. But I don’t really live near any streets. LOL. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I’ll try it for real when we go to the city. But it does work pretty good, especially with the Df’s low light capability. I can crank the ISO and still have clean images for the small f/8 & f/11 apertures.

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Just compose and boom!

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It’s a pretty cool technique. And you can do it on the cheap. I picked up the 28mm off eBay for like $250! I was leery of buying glass unseen off eBay and vowed never to do so. But I took a chance and it worked out great. The lens shipped from Japan and was in BETTER condition than what the seller had indicated. It’s essentially brand spankin’ new. Gotta love that!

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Optically it’s really sharp, even wide open. I was blown away by the quality. Even on the D800, this puppy holds up. I thought that sensor would eat it for breakfast but it does a great job.

20141111-28mm-014And it’s got a nice creamy bokehliciousness to it as well. Wide(r) angles aren’t really known for the bokeh. But this is pleasing enough for me! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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Mr. Blue Hands

Life Lesson: Don’t turn your back on toddlers when food colouring is within reach. ๐Ÿ˜ณ


Lite-Brite

Remember when Lite-Brite was the most awesome thing in the universe?!!? I do! ๐Ÿ˜Ž


Crush the Composition

It’s been birthday mania around here for the last few days as our little girl broke the threshold and turned 4. I can’t believe it! Crazy stuff. Time literally flies like a crazy fool. ๐Ÿ˜Ž For one of the birthday celebrations, we went on down to the holy city of Moose Jaw and had us a wee shindig. We took in the Western Development Museum as it was a great place to let the kids rip and tare without really damaging anything of bothering anyone. We had the whole place to ourselves which was great as Pa and I went to work with the cameras. I recently watched Scott Kelby’s Crush the Composition video via Kelby Training and it had some cool pointers about photo composition. It had the basic rule of 3rds stuff, leading lines, etc. But it also encouraged people to break the mould and do some creative stuff. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s move in, get close, take parts of the picture instead of the whole image. That’s it. There’s not much else revolutionary to share about it. The video was Mmkay. So so. ๐Ÿ˜ The title was cool though and it stuck with me as I went around the WD Museum saying, “Reg, if you need me, I’ll just be over here, crushing the composition.” I don’t know if Dad crushed anything or not. He had the 16-35 2.8 on his Canon, whilst I employed my 50 f/1.4 for way cool depth of field. I loves my primes, but it can get repetitive compositionally because basically you’re locked into one mid-range focal length (read: boring). That’s why I don’t have a 24-70 and probably never will. Mid range focal lengths aren’t happening. They don’t stick out like wide angles or sweet telephoto shots. But they can be cool if you’re willing to crush the composition! CRUSH IT! Crush it good. Crush it like Kelby!

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B-Day Bash

We had another big bash on Moir Dr. last night, a combo Birthday Party for Big T and Liv. It was the usual pandemonium, but this year it’s 4 big ones! It’s insane for me to believe that. When we first moved to Moir, James & Megan and Livvy came over to our house one night. Liv was being carried cuz she was a few months old. Now she’s 4. THAT’S CRAZY!! Where does the time go? And Tristan too, how can these kids be so big so quick? โ“ Anyways, here’s a few snaps from the party. I love how we were able to end off the night with Barracudas. ย My wife and mother in law will love me for this… ๐Ÿ˜‰


Prime Time!

We went to Moose Jaw Friday night for my Auntie’s 50th Birthday. The threshold hath been crossed. There’s no turning back! 8) It was a metric tonne of fun to see all the relatives even if it was whirlwind visit. It’s nearly impossible to get the whole clan together anymore so it’s always a good time when we can show up and see the fam. I brought along the camera and my trusty 50mm f/1.4 lens. I love that lens. It was the perfect choice for this event, especially later, after everyone came back into the house for drinks and merriment. It was evening and I didn’t bother with any flash setups, going for the more natural candid shots. Besides, my dad had his 580 EX II pocket wizarding all over the place. Another flash and we would have all had epileptic seizures! ๐Ÿ˜‰ So natural light when there’s not much light. It’s truly the realm of f/1.4. You need primes to do this, opening up the camera’s eye as wide as it will go to harvest as many photos as possible. You’re not gonna get these shots with a zoom, even a f/2.8 zoom. (OK, OK, maybe on a ย full frame camera where ISO isn’t as big a deal).ย That said I was still shooting the majority of the inside shots at ISO 1250 – 2000. On a DX body, that’s huge. So the pixel quality starts to look like a cell phone image. BUT the picture quality is awesome. The shots are still sharp and have way cool depth of field. ย When I’m doing candids I’m more interested in picture quality than pixel quality. White balance is a gong show in a house that has a nasty mix of old fluorescents and incandescents, but I still left it on cloudy for the most part. RAW files make switching it a 3 second thing later anyways. But it was a super fun event and a great way to catch up with family and make some cool memories with the ol’ picture mill.

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Moir Kidz

With the on-set of the end of winter, the kids were ripping up the crescent again last evening. I was using my 50mm f/1.4 for the really cool shallow depth of field. f/2 on that lens is tack sharp all the time which is super slick for cool candids. Still love that lens! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Candid Kidz

F/1.4 is pure awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s no other way to laud the sheer quality and sweet bokehliciousness. I highly recommend picking one up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย I’m utterly impressed with my new AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. It’s tack sharp, even when it’s wide open, and it makes shooting inside in natural light a dream. Of course, when you shoot any lens wide open they suffer from Chromatic Aberration – a pink or blue fringe that shows up on the edges of your images. The good news is that you can get rid of it by stopping down a stop or two. Which is the other good thing about f/1.4 – it’s beautiful at f/2 and completely usable. Contrasted to my 50mm f/1.8, it wasn’t at it’s best until f/4 which is sub-par for indoor natural light shots. Anyways, take a look at some of the candid shots, pretty much all shot at f/1.4 (occasionally f/2). ๐Ÿ™‚

Chromatic Aberration

 

 

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Chess Club

Hehehehehehe……. my wife used to be in a chess club. What a nerd! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I probably would have joined one too, cuz I’m cool like that. ย Chess is probably the noblest of all games if you exclude parcheesi. ๐Ÿ˜€ Anyways, we squared off last night with a bottle of our favorite wine (Angus, an Australian Cabernet-Sauvignon) and my old glass chess set that Regan bought me. I’ve always wanted to take pictures of this set and the new 50mm f/1.4 provided the sweet sweet bokehliciousness needed to do it. Normally, one should use a macro lens for this kind of thing, but I’m never taking that 50mm off my camera again! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I thought I would punch the contrast a lot and do some black and whites as the lighting was not super great.

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