This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, also known as “1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6″ that was announced on September 21, 2011 specifically for the new Nikon 1 system, together with three other lenses and the new Nikon V1 and J1 cameras. The Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR is a general-purpose consumer-grade lens designed for the new Nikon 1 camera system. It is bundled with the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 J1 cameras as a standard kit lens and cannot be purchased separately. With its focal length of 10-30mm on the Nikon 1 CX sensor (2.7x crop factor), its coverage is equivalent to a 27-81mm lens. The variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6 means that its maximum (largest) aperture changes between f/3.5 to f/5.6, depending on the focal length. It is a very lightweight lens, and similar to interchangeable lenses from other compact mirrorless camera manufacturers such as Olympus, the lens is collapsible, which also makes it quite compact for travel and transportation.
This is an in-depth review of one of my favorite prime lenses – the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, which was announced back in September of 2008. For many years the focal length of 50mm lenses was considered a “standard” or “normal” focal length, because it closely resembles the perspective of the human eye. These lenses were widely popular on film cameras and the focal length was ideal for portraiture and everyday photography. As digital SLRs and zoom lenses started taking over the market, popularity of 50mm primes also decreased. The smaller size of APS-C sensors made the field of view of 50mm lenses narrower, while the flexibility of zoom lenses and their low price drove the demand towards convenience. Now that full frame digital cameras are getting more and more affordable, the once forgotten 50mm lenses are regaining their popularity among many photographers. In this review, I will provide a thorough analysis of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens, along with image samples and comparisons against other 50mm lenses from Nikon and Sigma.
The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is a professional-grade lens for enthusiasts and pros that need a high quality lens for portraiture, food and everyday photography. Its large aperture of f/1.4 is great for low-light photography and the shallow depth of field helps isolate subjects from the background, beautifully rendering background highlights, also known as bokeh.
Chromatic Aberration, also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane. Chromatic aberration is caused by lens dispersion, with different colors of light travelling at different speeds while passing through a lens. As a result, the image can look blurred or noticeable colored edges (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, magenta) can appear around objects, especially in high-contrast situations.
A perfect lens would focus all wavelengths into a single focal point, where the best focus with the “circle of least confusion” is located, as shown below:
Focus Shift is an optical problem that occurs due to Spherical Aberration, when an object is brought into focus at maximum aperture and captured with the lens stopped down. Focus shift can lead to blurry images and focus errors, when working with subjects at close distances and using fast aperture lenses. With the lens aperture fully open or “wide open”, incoming rays of light converge at different focal points due to spherical aberration along the optical axis, as shown in the top illustration below:
This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX macro / micro prime lens that was announced in July of 2011. The Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX, also known as “AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G” is a consumer-grade lens for photo enthusiasts that need an affordable macro lens with good performance characteristics. In the current line of macro lens offerings from Nikon, this lens comes at the lowest price point and shortest focal length. With the former being good news, the latter can be a problem in some situations, specifically when approaching subjects very closely (read more on this issue below). With the current great fast aperture prime lens line from Nikon such as Nikon 35mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, one might wonder what the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX has to offer that the other primes cannot accomplish. How does it differ from other affordable primes? In this review, I will talk about the capabilities of the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX and provide a detailed report on its strengths and weaknesses, along with a summary of thoughts about the lens based on my two month experience with it.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2007, along with Nikon D3 and two other exotic super telephoto lenses. In this review, I will not only provide general information about the Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR and its performance, but also how it works with all current Nikon teleconverters (TC-14E II, TC-17E II and TC-20E III) and how it compares to other telephoto lenses such as Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR, Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S, Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and Nikon 500mm f/4G VR. The Nikon 500mm f/4G VR was kindly provided by Pro Photo Rental – a great lens rental company based out of Boulder, CO.
Spherical Aberration is an optical problem that occurs when all incoming light rays end up focusing at different points after passing through a spherical surface. Light rays passing through a lens near its horizontal axis are refracted less than rays closer to the edge or “periphery” of the lens and as a result, end up in different spots across the optical axis. In other words, the parallel light rays of incoming light do not converge at the same point after passing through the lens. Because of this, Spherical Aberration can affect resolution and clarity, making it hard to obtain sharp images. Here is an illustration that shows Spherical Aberration:
As shown above, light rays refract or change their angle when passing through the lens. The ones closer to the top and the bottom of the illustration end up converging at a shorter distance along the optical axis (black/red dotted line), while the ones closer to the optical axis converge at a longer distance, creating different focal points along the same axis. The point of best focus with the “circle of least confusion” is illustrated as the thick green line. Spherical Aberration is not just caused by lens design, but also by the quality of the lens material. Lenses made of poor quality material and large bubbles can drastically impact light refraction.
This is an in-depth review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM prime lens that was announced on March 18, 2008 for Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and FourThirds DSLR cameras. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is a professional-grade lens for enthusiasts and pros that need a high quality lens for portraiture and everyday photography. Its large aperture of f/1.4 is great for low-light photography and the shallow depth of field helps isolate subjects from the background, beautifully rendering background highlights, also known as bokeh. Unlike cheaper DX lenses, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is designed to work on both APS-C / DX and full-frame / FX sensors from many current DSLR manufacturers, including Nikon and Canon.
Like any manufactured product, Nikon’s products are also prone to quality assurance / quality control issues. While Nikon has a very extensive and comprehensive quality control process, some defective products can slip through and make it to the market. Other times, the pressure to increase the production output on Nikon’s manufacturing plants is so high, that the initial shipments of a newly introduced product can be defective or could have other problems not discovered during the initial testing of the product. Unless the defect is of physical nature, the latter is typically addressed through firmware updates later, which Nikon is pretty good about.
In this article, I would like to point out some of the recent quality control issues I have seen in Nikon products. Specifically, on the latest generation DSLRs like Nikon D700/D5100 and some of the newer lenses, like the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. Why am I doing this? Because first, I want to make our readers aware of potential QA (Quality Assurance) issues they might encounter and second, I want to provide some information on how to react to such problems. Please bear in mind that the purpose of this article is not to scare existing or potential Nikon customers. In fact, every manufacturer, including Canon and Sony occasionally have issues with defective parts and products, so this article could apply to other brands as well.
This is an in-depth review of the new, much anticipated Nikon 50mm f/1.8G prime lens that was announced in April of 2011. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is a consumer-grade lens for enthusiasts and seasonal pros that need quality optics of a fixed portrait lens at an affordable price point. Its large aperture of f/1.8 is great for low-light photography and the shallow depth of field helps isolate subjects from the background, beautifully rendering the background highlights, also known as bokeh.