Pics from Puerto Rico

Despite bad weather and very limited amount of time, I somehow managed to capture over 1000 images in Puerto Rico. It took me a while to go over everything and pick the images I like the most, so I now need to extract a few images and post them here :)

I took three lenses with me to Puerto Rico:
1) Nikon 24mm f/1.4G
2) Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G
3) Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II + 1.7x TC

I tried to use the 24mm f/1.4 the most in different lighting conditions and apertures. Despite what others are reporting about this lens, specifically its focusing issues, I have not seen a single image where the focus was incorrect. Whether I shot something up close or a distant object, all images came out tack sharp from center to corner, as reported in my Nikon 24mm f/1.4 Review. Not sure if there is a batch of bad 24mm lenses out there, but mine is working flawlessly and I did not notice any problems at all.

Here is the first picture I took at the El Conquistador resort in Puerto Rico:

El Conquistador Pools

NIKON D700 @ 24mm, ISO 200, 1/500, f/2.8

And the last image of the resort on the day of departure:

El Conquistador

NIKON D700 @ 24mm, ISO 200, 1/250, f/8.0

The above image is a panoramic image stitched with 4 vertical images. I did not have to correct any distortion issues before stitching the panorama and Photoshop did a pretty good job in aligning everything together. More to come!

  • Pasquier

    Hi Nasim,
    With pictures like that – the weather couldn’t have been all that bad…. :)
    Look forward to seeing more taken with the 24 f1.4 – seems like an amazing lens.
    Best, P.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Pasquier, the last day of the trip saved me – that’s when I took over 800 images at the resort + old fort of San Juan :)

      And yes, the 24mm f/1.4 is an amazing lens. Looks like I will have to get myself one, since I returned the B&H copy already…

  • Aaron Priest

    Great panoramic, with the crop (same image dimensions) it looks like a wider lens and I would never have guessed it was stitched. Any idea what the effective focal length would have been? 12, 14mm? The weather looked good that day!

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Aaron, when I need to get plenty of resolution for large prints (25+ Mp), I shoot 4-5 vertical images and stitch them in Photoshop. The results are pretty good most of the time, but I need to get an RRS panoramic head and start using my tripod more often :)

      In terms of an effective focal length, I would say somewhere between 10-14mm with no distortion :)

      • Aaron Priest

        The RRS “Ultimate-Pro Omni-Pivot Long Package” is VERY nice for multi-row panoramics, but definitely call them first before ordering to be sure you get a long enough vertical rail for your camera. The included CRD-Rail is too short for the added vertical shutter grip on my D700 if I want to do a full 360 (I can’t point straight up, the vertical grip hits the bar, works fine without the grip but then I’d need another L-bracket). The D3 is shorter than the D700 + vertical grip, so I don’t know how much clearance you’d need. RRS is happy to substitute the CRD-Rail for a longer CB-10 rail for me though. I can connect the two CB-10 rails by splitting up the included mini-clamp package, putting the B2-mAS half between the CB-10s and purchasing another quick release clamp (B2-40 LR) to attach to the B2-FAB half. This would make getting the camera off and on the rig much faster with a quick release clamp than the default screw-type clamp. It’s much simpler than it sounds!

        I love ball heads for most applications (I’m very happy with my RRS BH-40), but they are infuriating to level when doing panoramics or indoor real estate. I’m constantly needing to level just one axis and knocking another axis off bubble whenever I loosen the ball head. I think this solution will be much faster/easier for level panoramics and I hope it fits the RRS pano equipment well, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. It’s not in stock anywhere yet that I’ve found, but I’ve read the two models will be $230 and $290 MSRP. The website has a few videos on it.

        • Nasim Mansurov

          Aaron, thank you so much for the detailed info. I will definitely follow your recommendations!

          As far the ballhead, why do you need to adjust it? Isn’t there a way to move from left to right without touching the head?

          • Aaron Priest

            When doing interior real estate or architecture in a 14-18mm range, it is critical to be perfectly level. Your verticals are the most important. If you angle up or down (pitch) then verticals will look like trapezoids. You can correct this somewhat in post, but then your height or length will be incorrect in scale. Lens distortion is easily corrected with software like PTLens, but you’ll have a lot less work if you are perfectly level first. Roll is the second axis that must be level. With a single frame, this is easily corrected in post with PhotoShop’s level tool, but you’ll be cropping just a little. With a panoramic its more important or you’ll get a wavy or curved stitch, or you’ll need to crop a lot out of the final image. Yaw is not important. With a single frame there is none, with a panoramic it’s how you pan left to right, hopefully on the exit pupil of the lens to avoid parallax errors and “ghosts”.

            A tilt/shift lens would resolve some of the pitch issues as you could change the focal plane to match the angle of the camera and keep your verticals straight. I’d love one for interior real estate, however I’ve not found one wider than 24mm and I need at least 16mm wide, preferably 14mm for most small rooms. Stitching several photos usually results in curved or stretched horizons, which is a definite real estate no-no.

            So, in a nutshell, when leveling a ballhead for this application it can get frustrating. You get almost there with a bubble level or a small tri-axis level mounted on the flash socket of the camera, but you do your final composition through the viewfinder or using liveview. I often need to adjust just a degree or so, and when getting the roll correct, the pitch will slip, and vice versus. It’s like trying to balance on a bowling ball. :-) Having independent control of each axis without affecting the other would be very useful to me for panoramics and architecture. I hope the Induro head I mentioned above is built well, it looks very tempting for my application.

            • Nasim Mansurov

              Aaron, I really appreciate the long explanation, now I understand why it is a problem :) Seems like I will need to get plenty of education once I get the RRS setup. So far, I have been stitching panoramas from hand-held and tripod shots and parallax has not been a problem, because I rarely photograph panoramas with foreground objects. But it is a whole different story when you shoot multi-row panos and close objects in architectural photography…

              A tilt/shift lens is my next experiment. I really love some of the photographs from tilt/shift lenses and how they can blur one area, while bringing another area in focus in a focal plane. Nikon has some killer tilt/shift lenses, but you are right – none that are below 24mm. I wonder if it is even possible to create tilt/shift optics wider than 24mm…

            • Aaron Priest

              Apparently we can only reply up to 6 nested levels, so I’m replying up here. :-) I think you’ll really enjoy taking multirow panos with the RRS rig. It really makes things much simpler and easier! I should have done it a long time ago…

              I too would love a tilt/shift lens (I bought an RRS package instead, haha!). Some of the blurring you can simulate in post, but it would be fun for taking shots of tall buildings or just getting things aligned right. I don’t know of anyone that has made a 35mm sized tilt/shift wider than 17mm (Canon has a good 17mm T/S, but it’s not as sharp as either company’s 24mm). There are some medium and large format lenses of course. It must be a real challenge optically or I’d image we’d see a 14mm tilt/shift from someone, or there just isn’t a big enough demand (which would surprise me).

        • Aaron Priest

          RRS just announced a new extender that resolves some of what I was talking about in my previous post. BEX-1.75 for $30. You can see it in action here:

          • Nasim Mansurov

            Nice, thank you for the link Aaron!

  • Игонин Алексей

    Отличного отдыха!:) Последнее фото просто волшебно по цветам, хотелось бы покрутить больший ее размер:) Кстати Ллойд уже добрался и до 24/1.4. Очень сильно его ругает за автофокус.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Алексей, спасибо! Сегодня поставлю Wallpaper version :)

      Я видел что пишет Ллойд…видимо некоторым не повезло и они получили дефектный 24мм. Никон уже продал громадное количество копий 24мм и проблема явно не в дизайне – иначе все бы возвращали свои линзы и Никону пришлось бы делать recall. Думаю многие просто на просто не умеют пользоваться такой оптикой, особенно пейзажисты.

      Nikon 24mm f/1.4G просто офигенная оптика – такого я еще никогда в широкоугольнике не видел.

  • Dennis

    Great photos. You remind me of taking a holiday. Is really sharp. Quality comes with a great price though. And I agree with Aaron Priest, I thought the photo is taken with wide-angle.

    I’m exploring my 24-70mm now. Is really fast and sharp. I got a chance to try on 70-200mm VRII, it is lightning fast but is very heavy.

    Look forward to more photos!


    • Dennis

      Ignore the last sentence. Is my nick though.

      • Nasim Mansurov

        No problem :)

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Thank you Dennis! Yes, the 24-70mm is another favorite lens of mine. The 70-200mm is darn heavy, but I used it with the 1.7x TC and I am very pleased with the results that I have gotten with it, even wide open.

      I will post some image samples from the 70-200mm + 1.7x TC today.

  • Andres Cruz

    Puerto Rico rocks!!! If you ever visit us again , let me know. Your web articles have really inspired me in my photography. THANKS