Saturday, December 28, 2013

#11 More Lens Tests + Learning From YouTube.

Here are a few shots I took as a test of an old Nikon 35mm-105mm 3.5-4.5 lens that I got from eBay.

I added a bit of sharpening and some HDR effect (just a little) to the last shot.
I really like this lens as it is so small and light. Seems to be very sharp at all settings. The last shot of the apartments with palm trees you'll notice the foreground is sharpest. I would of had to have a smaller aperture setting (f8, f11 or f16) to of gotten the whole view in focus better. The mountain shot I was zoomed to 105mm and had the focus to infinity. The top shot is where I set the lens to it's Micro setting and I added a TC-200 2X Nikon teleconverter. This lens works great but you have to back up as close focusing up close is about 2 feet away. With the 2X converter you are still about that far back but now you can fill in the frame of the object you want. Without the converter that lens was just a part of the scene and not filling up the frame. I'm going to do more experiments outdoors with the Micro setting, with the 2X converter and see what I can get.

While working on photos I have my iPad nearby and I've been watching (mostly listening to) a series on photography called FILM. There are three photographers (one girl is mostly a stylist/MUA) and they really seem to know their stuff. The girl with the dark hair is very good at working with couples and the guy is very good at one-on-one shooting with a model. They all have their strengths and work well together. I've seen 8 episodes and can't wait to see all of the rest. Sure, they shoot film and I stopped shooting film back around 1998 or so, but I love learning how they work!

Let me know what you think about that series.

Friday, December 27, 2013

#10 New toys that are old…...

Since I got the Nikon Df, I've been playing a lot more with old lenses, teleconverters, bellows and slide duplicating attachments.

I have an old Nikon 50mm 1.4 that is all manual settings. It's not the AIS,'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.