A number of our readers have been asking us for some information regarding the new Nikon 35mm f/1.8G FX lens, requesting a review and a comparison with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (see my in-depth review). While the review is definitely in the pipeline, I thought it would be nice to provide a preview of my observations so far, along with some image samples from my recent trips. At $600, the full-frame Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is another “value” lens from Nikon when compared to its super expensive brother, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G. It is $300 cheaper than the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, and both significantly smaller and lighter in comparison. So for those that are looking for a lightweight alternative to the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G FX might be a great lens to buy. Let’s take a look at the lens in a little more detail.
My D7000, Nikkor 500mm and I have had some wonderful times together – the shots of a Peregrine chick jumping off the ledge for the first time, the yoga-stretching Osprey that made Audubon’s Top 100, and who can forget the Night Heron flying past with a baby alligator in it’s mouth. But like all relationships, it seemed the initial pizazz was fading. I began to notice how she had trouble staying focused and got noisy when I pushed an issue. Furthermore, with 190,000 clicks under her belt, well, let’s just say her shutter curtains were starting to droop a bit. It was time to move on, but don’t get me wrong, we’ll always be friends. Now I hate to admit it, but I’d been having an online affair with the new Nikkor 800mm for almost a year – I’d link over to her B&H page and run my finger gently around her buy now button. Oh how we teased each other… Then one day we went all the way.
Next week she was there in front of me, the ten pound, one ounce Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR OMG BFF. However, when I unpacked my new lens, it was obviously lacking a proper rear lens cap. How inconsiderate of Nikon not to include a D4s to keep the rear element clean. Nothing a few years of crippling debt couldn’t solve. I dusted off my backup credit card and a few days later the D4$ showed up. So without further ado, my first 29 hours testing the 800mm/D4$ combo for reach, handholding, buffer, burst rate, high ISO ability and general BIFiness.
Let’s start at the end of the day and half of testing – 800mm of reach allowed me to maintain a non-threatening distance from this Common Black-hawk posing in front of the moon sneaking through the clouds. 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 2500, 800mm, D4s. I cut loose with some artistic experimentation with this – embrace the post-processing noise – it’s pretty much the last you’ll see in the article:
I have been playing with the new Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED FX lens for a week now and have taken it out a few times when the weather got a little better (it has been snowy and extremely windy during the past week here in Colorado). So far the lens seems like another winner. It is small, lightweight and is capable of rendering images with beautiful colors and high contrast. While I have not performed any lab tests, judging from the images I have captured so far, it seems to be very sharp optically, from the center to the corners at infinity:
I thought I would post this short and sweet article with my experiences so far with the new Nikon 800mm f5.6 Lens. This lens is just an engineering marvel, but then that is not the purpose of this short article. I mainly just wanted to share my experience with it so far and a few sample photos taken with it in the field. I have actually hand held this lens in a couple instances where the action happened in such a manner there was no time to tripod it or the bird was moving way to erratically.
First, here is a photo of the 800mm attached to the Nikon D4, all dressed up and ready to go. I have many Lens Coat products and I must say they have done a marvelous job on the lens coat for the 800mm, almost every inch of this delicate baby is totally covered and protected, more so than the lens coat for my 600mm.
The Arca handle is a nice touch when dragging this thing around in the field. For those that are interested in side stories, I named the lens Conan which is a play on words as its the biggest lens Nikon has, but yet in Irish it means ‘little wolf’ or ‘little hound’, both of which I find appropriate.
It has been a while since I have cleared out my stack of camera gear. After going through everything last week, I decided to put a few items that I no longer need on sale. Although I initially thought about keeping most of it, I just hate to see lenses and cameras gathering dust for too long – I am sure someone else could find better use for it. Most of the money will be used for upgrades and other equipment for the business. If you are interested in multiple items, feel free to make me an offer via the contact form. I am the first and only owner of all below items and I have all the original manuals, boxes, soft cases, warranty cards, etc. A few extras are included, see more below.
Shipping: while I can ship internationally, my preference is to sell to US customers, since it is less risky. Credit card / PayPal fees are included, but shipping and insurance are not. Colorado residents are welcome to contact me for a face to face sale. All sales are final and are on first come first serve basis.
1) Nikon D3s (SOLD)
The Nikon D3s has been my wildlife workhorse and Lola’s favorite wedding camera for the past couple of years. Its ISO performance is amazing – as good as on the D4 (see this ISO comparison) and the shutter speed fires like a machine gun at 9 fps. Autofocus is top notch and the build quality is Nikon’s best. But I have not been using it as much lately and Lola already chose the Nikon Df as her wedding/portrait camera. That’s why I want to sell it. See my detailed Nikon D3s Review for more information.
I had the opportunity at the end of 2013 to re-visit New Zealand for three week self-drive holiday and take a wide range of photos. Since New Zealand is on the ‘bucket list’ of many photographers, I thought I would share some thoughts on which areas of the country provide some of the best photographic opportunities. All of these suggestions are based on personal experience, having spent about 6 weeks driving thousands of kilometers throughout the country on a couple of different trips.
Lothlórien or Mordor, depending on whether you consider Nikon “the dark side” I guess! Been shooting with this combo for about a week now and I am amazed by the results. The Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G (see our lens page in the database) is just one of a kind…very few Nikkor lenses are capable of rendering such beautiful images. Lots of depth, color and beautiful bokeh, as illustrated in some of the images below. Sharpness in the center is also excellent when you nail focus, even wide open. Lola was a bit hesitant about the Df at first (she rarely parts with her Nikon D3s + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G combo), but once she used it a couple of times on commercial shoots, she quickly changed her mind.
Image quality is stunning, especially when shooting in low light situations. Armed with a fast f/1.4 lens, you could literally shoot in dark with the Df and get amazing results. These are some of the images that we have captured so far and I am planning to take the Df to much more challenging lighting conditions this weekend and within the next couple of weeks. I am currently busy writing the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G review (now published). By now I have plenty of image samples to showcase its performance, along with other accompanying lab test data. The Nikon Df review should be posted within the next 2 weeks.
We are back again at reviewing some of the lens classics and this time we have the Nikon NIKKOR-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Ai modified), which was first manufactured way back in 1962. One of our readers, Joe Ridley, was kind enough to send a number of Nikkor classics, and this lens is the second one that we are reviewing. Nikon has made so many different 50mm lenses its in 80 years of optical history, that the list of just 50mm lenses can get quite overwhelming. Many of us look at the modern 50mm primes without realizing that among all manufacturers, Nikon has the longest history of making these lenses. In fact, the very first Nikkor 5cm lens was made in 1937 specifically for Canon rangefinder cameras! And it is also worth pointing out that Nikon invented the very first 50mm f/1.4 lens after the World War II. This particular NIKKOR-S classic was designed for Nikon’s rangefinder cameras. Today, it is hard to find a converted version that works on modern DSLRs (mostly non-Ai versions), but you can snatch one for about $50 and get it converted for another $20-30. Or if you bought the new Nikon Df, you will be able to use this lens without having to convert it!
1) Overview and Specifications
The NIKKOR-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 is one of the early, Pre-Ai Nikkor manual focus wide angle lenses for the F mount. With its standard focal length of 50mm, the lens was designed as a general-purpose lens on early manual focus rangefinder cameras like Nikon S2 and S3, although its fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 also made it very suitable for low-light situations (especially on B/W film). With 7 optical elements in 5 groups, the NIKKOR-H 50mm f/1.4 has a simpler optical design than the new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. However, similar to some of the old Nikkor classics, this lens is not about top notch sharpness and rich features. Its corner vignetting, beautiful bokeh and a boatload of optical imperfections is what gives the lens a certain “character” that is so hard to find on modern lenses. As one of our readers pointed out, it is interesting that some people try to imitate such imperfections in post-processing today, because their lenses are so sharp and corrected. Still, despite all its flaws, the lens can produce excellent sharpness results even on some of the best DSLRs like Nikon D800E, once stopped down to f/2.8 and smaller, as demonstrated further down in the review.
Thanks to your support, we will be publishing a lot more reviews of the old Nikkor classics that we either purchased on auction sites, or loaned from our readers. This is a review of a true classic, the Nikon NIKKOR-H Auto 28mm f/3.5 (Ai modified), which was manufactured way back in 1959. One of our readers, Joe Ridley, was kind enough to send a number of Nikkor classics, and this lens is the first one that we are reviewing. Please note that such reviews of classic lenses will be limited to one page, with a small number of image samples. Still, full lab measurements will be performed on each lens for thorough analysis and comparisons.
1) Overview and Specifications
The NIKKOR-H Auto 28mm f/3.5 is one of the earliest, Pre-Ai Nikkor manual focus wide angle lenses for the F mount. Initially launched in 1959, this lens went through several iterations overtime with slightly different optical designs. The lens is available in various auction sites including eBay, but an Ai-converted version is really hard to come by. If you do decide to purchase one, you have to get the lens Ai-converted to properly mount on modern DSLRs. If you do not do this, you risk damaging your DSLR, since the non-Ai version could either break the metering tab / lever on the lens mount, or could get stuck on the mount and potentially cause other damage.
Our readers frequently ask us about the performance of classic Nikkor lenses, some of which were kept from the film days, some inherited and others acquired at an auction or a garage sale. Considering the high cost of modern Nikkor lenses, older lenses can be of great value, especially AF-D and Ai-S manual focus models that could be snatched for 3-4 times less than their modern counterparts. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I never owned those older classics or had any access to them, I have never been able to test and review them. While building our lens database, I realized that it was very difficult to obtain information on older lenses and almost impossible to find product images. So I decided to look at local product listings and auction sites like eBay to find old lenses of good value. Not the hard to find / rare items, but the ones that are commonly found everywhere. Thanks to the gracious support of our readers, I was able to find a few good deals and use some of the money to fund this project.