I have an old Nikon 50mm 1.4 that is all manual settings. It's not the AIS, etc..it's just the standard 1.4. The Df has a small lever you can pull back out of the way when shooting manual lenses. I'm still researching all this but I've been doing my usual shoots with the D4 and state of the art 70-200 and 24-70 2.8 lenses, then before the shoot is over I use the modeling lights from the strobes and shoot ambient with the Df and my 50mm 1.4. The focus took some experimenting. It's manual and that takes a while to get use to since I'd not used one for over 20 years! I went all digital back in 1998 or 1999 and then when I got my first DSLR it was around 2005 or so. All the lenses were Auto Focus….
I love the short Depth-Of-Field with this 50mm, and the soft golden light. I shoot a bit more shots to make sure I have the focus just right as it's very critical! I'll focus, shoot, focus, shoot….to make sure I got it. But since I'm not setting off any strobes it really doesn't matter as I'm not wearing them out, and don't have to wait for them to refresh, etc…
Usually the background gets totally blown way…especially at 1.4, 2.0 and 2.8 settings. I've found that the 1.4 setting isn't very sharp so I just go to 2.0 or 2.8 for better results.
Shot above: Michelle Parris. Df, 50mm 1.4, ambient light from modeling light Alien Bee strobe with 63" Octobox diffuser. Blueish light coming from the left if from two large glass doors (which are tinted) with shades open to daylight.
My newest old toy showed up today. I got a Nikon 35-105mm 1:35-4.5. It has a micro setting as well. Seems everyone is so set on getting the latest and greatest such as the newest 105 AF lens that no one wants this lens anymore. Well, they don't want to pay much for it. I got this one for $59. It looks and works like new so that's a big plus since I got it on eBay and you take your chances. I just now put it on my Df and I love the size of it…..very small compared to my other monster zooms. It looks about the size of one of those 2/3rd's lenses…really! You pull out the barrel to zoom….works very well. One drawback I'll have to get used to is that it's closest focus range is about 2 feet! Even the micro setting you have to be about 1.5 feet away before it focuses……In most cases this should't be a problem. I have a cheap 2x teleconverter: Nikon TC-200 2x that I also got on eBay. Again, everyone is after the full AF assessors and no one is looking for the manual focus items. I put this on the Df with the 35-105 and it doubled it's range. I have to still be about 2 feet back but I can now fill the frame with whatever I'm focusing one! Can't wait to try this out outside on some plants and insects!
Meanwhile here is a look at the lens on my Df:
Here is a shot taken with the Df using the 35-105 3.5-4.5 lens with the Teleconverter TC-200.
Don't just go for the latest thing! Experiment! And you can get very sharp lenses for very little $$. Don't be fooled by the need for 1.4 or 2.8 only lenses as most of the time the sharpest settings are not at the lowest apertures anyway.
Next I'll talk about a 200mm lens I also got cheap on eBay. I thought it was the cheaper micro version but turns out its even older than that. I'll still play around with it for a bit and give you a full report when it arrives.