I am a DSLR newbie who mostly shoots his one year-old fast-moving daughter. I work late, so most of the time I shoot her indoors in poor lighting conditions. Since she is low to the ground SB-400's bounce flash doesn't help much. Diffuser does help, but not too crazy about the look of the shots.
What I do now is I shoot with my basic 18-55mm kit lens at high ISOs (1600) which results in fun, but grainy images. Nik dfine 2.0 (trial version) / APE 6.0 do help, but to a point.
Another idea I had was to get the Nikon 50mm F/1.8 D glass. It's affordable, sharp, lightweight, fast and small.
Here are my questions:
Since this lens won't autofocus with D40, and my daughter is moving fast, wouldn't I have tough time focusing manually quickly with this lens (thus rendering this lens useless for my purposes)?
Would I have to only focus myself or I will have to user fully manual mode in terms of Shutter speed / correct aperture?
What is the green focus-assist light?
What else can I do to improve the quality of those shots?
#1. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
I use the 50mm f/1.8D on occasion to take great portraits of my son. Admiddedly, manual focus while chasing a busy 4 year old around can be a challenge. But, when you get that "money shot", the results are spectacular. The round, green auto assist indicator on the bottom left can help, but is not fool proof-it should stay green when you are focused-keep watching it as you adjust the zoom ring.
The D40 will work in the other modes (Aperture, shutter, programmed auto, etc), as well as manual. It meters properly, as it is a CPU based lens, and communicates nicely with the D40's on board computer.
As far as improvement? My only advice? Keep shooting, and practicing. The portraits I have taken of my son and printed as enlargements hanging throughout my home stand out from those taken with the kit lenses, or my 18-200, although I have taken amazing shots with those lenses. But the colors and the sharpness, and the nice shallow depth of field, all shine on the 1.8. The lens has paid for itself 10 times over with the results I have received. And oh, one more thing- if you wear corrective lens for glasses? Make sure you have them on when shooting with this lens. You'd be amazed at how many shots look sharp when you are "chimping" through the LCD, yet are out of focus upon reviewing your downloaded results.
#3. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 2 Tue 12-Feb-08 03:05 AM by maxwell1
All great questions. The D40's kit lens would fetch little to no "resell" value on the used market. It is a fantastic little lens, so it is best to keep it, even as a back up. Which is why I kept mine. I would indeed recommend keeping it. Heck, I even kept my 55-200. The 18-200 is a nice "all purpose" lens, but the kit lens and the 55-200 do yield better results in their given focal lengths.
The 50mm f/1.8 is a wonderful lens. Yes, we all know it's manual focus on the D40. but it really is a perfect little combo with the D40, and they both together, really teach you a lot about photography.
The D40 and the SB400 are a perfect match for each other. However, I do a lot of indoor photography of my son, and all of my lenses, while great in their own way, are not the fastest (brightest) due to their limited maximum apertures. With the D40, you need a SB800 as a master flash to remotely trigger an SB600 as a slave flash. The SB400 does not have slave flash capabilities. And, the SB600 does have a lot more firepower. But again, used flashes do not fetch a lot of cash. So I keep it as a backup.
#4. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
> Since she is low to the ground SB-400's bounce flash doesn't help much.
My experience is that bounce flash helps a lot. I use an SB-800, which may be the difference - it's a lot more powerful. Or you might have darker walls to use for bouncing. But many - probably most - of those shots are well lit, and I can shoot base ISO and f/5.6 or f/8 if I choose to. And most people would never know that they're flash pictures, either.
The 50/f1.8 is a great lens, but if your daughter is moving fast, you'll have a chore keeping the focus, even with the green dot. (I didn't have a choice when my kids were that age - there wasn't an AF camera then!) I choose to use MF a lot, but this is one area where I wouldn't do that if I could help it.
At least the lens does meter properly with the D40.
I would try some more with bounce flash and AF, possibly upgrading to an SB-600.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#5. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
Livermore, CA, US
With good eyes and some practice I'm sure you'll get some winning shots of your daughter using the 50mm f/1.8D. It's your personal preference, but I know with my eyes, my keeper rate would be very low using manual focus.
Another lens you might consider, in fact I think much better for your application, is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM. You get full function on your D40 including autofocus, a half-stop faster aperture, and a focal length that's IMO a much better general-purpose length on a DX camera than the 50mm. Unfortunately it's 4x the price.
To see what focal length you prefer, set your 18-55 at 50mm and frame your daughter, and then set for 30mm and see if the wider field of view is more useful. I have the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 & 35mm f/2.0 and I find the 50mm a good portrait lens, and 35mm a much better for general purpose indoor use.
The green focus indicator is a dot in the lower left of the viewfinder. It shows solid when the AF system is happy and IIRC flashes when you're not focused. You can view this using your kit lens.
#6. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
maxwell1 - thanks, it all makes perfect sense. When I saw SB-600 I though I would see an SU or SB-800 somewhere to control it remotely - that's why I was a bit puzzled.
Thank you Brian and Larry,
Actually, what I didn't like about bounce flash is that the pictures came out "too bright" since my ceiling is white and (relatively) low. For some reason I didn't think about dialing flash compensation down a bit. Once I did, voila!
I did compare 30mm and 50mm like you suggested Larry, and I do prefer 30mm to 50mm since my rooms are (relatively) small. The price might be a bit high for me, though - I am planning to buy 18-200mm sometime very soon. I still like the idea of 50 1.8D to "improve my composition skills and get better bokeh / low light shots for only $100." Something to think about.
#7. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 6
Livermore, CA, US
IMO hold off on the 18-200 and instead get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the Nikkor 55-200 VR. This will cost about the same as the 18-200 and get you a great deal more capability, however at the expense of having to change lenses more.
#9. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 8
Livermore, CA, US
>Trying to manual focus the kit lens is a nightmare, but >focusing on the 50mm isn't bad, imo.
Like I said, it's all up to personal preference and how well you can manually focus, which is on the individual. It's not a question of whether or not it is possible, but how good your hit/miss ratio is.
>And as maxwell said, >when you get that money shot it's all worth it. >
But if you find yourself deleting the money shot, due to poor focus, now that Sigma's not looking so expensive anymore.
#10. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 9 Wed 13-Feb-08 01:27 AM by MarkNYC
I am definitely getting the 18-200mm. I've been thinking about for the last 6 months or so on a daily basis. It's just not healthy.
I can't resist the allure of walking around with this "covers-95%-of-my-shots-and-it-has-VR" lens. Even my wife doesn't mind as much anymore - she said I stopped looking at other women and only look at Nikon strangers' lenses now. That's not right.
I know that 17-55mm 2.8 is better - I am not on that level to be able to appreciate the difference yet. Nor could I afford it at this time.
#11. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 10 Wed 13-Feb-08 07:03 AM by MotoMannequin
Livermore, CA, US
>I can't resist the allure of walking around with this >"covers-95%-of-my-shots-and-it-has-VR" lens.
The 18-200 is a truly remarkable lens for what it is and all it does. I just wanted to remind you that you're not taking a big step up in image quality, just a big step up in convenience, and that convenience is coming at a price. Part of that price could be a very fast, autofocus lens that will allow you to take available light pics of your child, which the 18-200 will not do well. But now it sounds like that's not more than 5% of what you shoot so you have your priorities in order.
I'm just playing devil's advocate here, and trying to think clearly about the actual choices and compromises are. This is just free, practical advice from someone who's taken a lot of pictures with quite a few different lenses.
In case you couldn't tell I'm not a big fan of the 18-200. After 6 months on a waiting list, I had one for a couple days and it quit working during an important outing, and after that I really got a bad taste for this lens. It never became the one-lens solution I thought it would, since over the time I was waiting I expanded my lens collection both wider and longer than the 18-200 would go. I typically do hikes with 10-20, 18-70, & 75-300 so even with 18-200 I still carried 3 lenses. I was extremely disappointed that build quality was sub-par to all 3 those other lenses, all of which are <$500. The pictures certainly weren't any better, just with 18-200 they had more distortion. So, you pay a price for an 11x zoom. That's not to say the 18-200 isn't great, it actually much better than it has any business being. At this point I have to say I don't really get the appeal of buying an SLR only to then rush to a one-lens solution that's a compromise at best.
#12. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 11
Thanks Larry - this is really helpful. From what I've read, the earlier editions of this lens had some issues that were fixed. Have you tried Nikon's "new and improved" version of the lens, circa 2007 or you have the 2006 edition?
Also - is 18-200mm really worse than the kit lens 18-55? I thought they were they roughly the same.
The reason why I need telephoto to begin with, really, is to take pictures of my daughter from (far) away (when good light is available) because when she sees me taking pictures of her, she drops whatever she is doing and comes up to push the buttons or look at shots of her on the LCD screen. Interestingly enough, she is not interested in my sister-in-law's Canon as much.
Here is the real reason why I like the idea of 18-200mm so much. Last year, my wife, child and I went to Europe for 17 days (Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest). When we all walked around and I frequently stopped to take pictures of the city, my wife was rolling her eyes a bit. I just can't imagine her waiting for me to change 18-55 to 55-200 so I could get a shot of a gargoyle figurine I like.
Same story here in New York City.
In summary, yes, in time I will be building a collection of lens as my skills improve and as I can afford more expensive glass, however now I just can't imagine walking around with three-four lenses. I do, think about 30mm Sigma more these days, though
#13. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 12
Livermore, CA, US
>Interestingly enough, she is not interested in my >sister-in-law's Canon as much.
Travel lens is the real strength of the 18-200. In terms of distortion the 18-200 is the worst of all the mid-range zooms, and really bad in that at the wide end it gives a complex w-shaped wave that's impossible to completely correct in software. The 18-55 is surprisingly the best of the bunch, probably because it's only a 3x zoom and therefore much simpler to design. My 18-70 gets a really wacky curvature at 18mm but it's a simple curve which is easy to correct. I also didn't like the zoom creep of the 18-200 which made tripod work at funny angles impossible. For a hand-held travel lens though, it's fine.
The only time last year I wished I still had that 18-200 was in the Death Valley sand dunes, where I wanted to do wide-angle and telephoto shots without changing lenses due to very windy, blowing sand conditions.
I'm in the market now for a zoom to hand down to my wife with my D50 (just got a D300 ) and I'm interested to see reviews on the new 16-85VR since I love to shoot wide, I think the extra 2mm wide would be more useful to me than the extra 115mm long, but it will depend on reviews and price. The initial MSRP puts it at $650 which I can't imagine would be the street price since the 18-200 is going for $680. I think the 16-85 has to go for $500-$550. Otherwise the 18-200 might just be the ideal lens for her.
Anyway... Whatever decision you make I'm sure you'll be happy with your choice, and even moreso knowing a lot of thought went into it.
#14. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 13
Thanks Larry and congrats on your new D300!! (I promised myself, not going to cry.. *sobs* oh this is so beautiful)
Since I really enjoy shooting on the wide end, I will make sure to test 18-200mm extensively before deciding to keep it (once I buy it). I read the same comments from other people, and some people said it not too bad. For example, I tested J&R store's display copy of 18-200mm four hundred fifty six (or so) times, and had never experienced a lens creep even when pointing the lens either up or down completely. And I am sure I am not the only one who tests that lens on a daily basis (j/k, but I do visit the store often since I work nearby)
#16. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 15
I don't want to blown your decision ( and mind) furthere more! But this is my story of getting lenses. I also very new with D40x, having it just for 45 days!. After geting the D40x with 18-55mm kit lens,( which I regret that I should order the body only), then I got the 50mm f1.8D ( since there are so many good reviews about it. I did not know it does not AF on my D40x at that time). I skip 18-200mm VR to order 55-200mm VR last month. I think the quality of pictures made by this 55-200 VR can not be beaten at this range of price. I'm so impressive about this 55-200VR.( Porobaly I will get 18-200 years later but I will miss this one). Then yesterday, I decided to get Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 HSM after a long time thought about a fast-wide-zoom lens .Even I dreamed it!Can't not wait anymore although I have a very tight budget!
18-200mm VR is agreat lens for convenience as I have learned ( and agree) from quite many people. I agree with the ideas that I will not improve pictures' quality ( which I need) by this lens,instead it's just for not changing lens in comparation with the kit lenses. I agreed so I look toward a large aperture lens. I understand f2.8 zoom lens is very expensive to me but I think I need a AF/wide/fast/zoom lens working greatly in low-light situations on my D40x to take picts of my active sons.Like your daughter, my 11-month-old son always moves so fast torwad me whenever he sees my camera,that why I give up manualy foccusing on him. But again, whenever my son does not move ( rarely !), then the 50mm f1.8 is a champion! Now, I think Sigma 18-50mm f 2.8 and Nikon 55-200mm VR is a great couples for my all-around needs. Last, now....my wife does not remind me stop looking at another girls anymore, instead ,she reminds me stop looking at B&H, Adorama, Amazon....!( this's really hard, isn't it?).
#17. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 16
Yep - I definitely have NAS. I am in between jobs at the moment (starting a new one on Feb 25th); meanwhile, when I am not spending time with my little one, I am looking a lot lately at Nikon Porn http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikonporn/pool/ and similar sites (sorry for posting a link to an outside gallery).
#20. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
I just wanted to follow-up in this topic in case other people are having thoughts about getting this lens....
I bought a D40 about 6 weeks ago after shooting with a Leica D-LUX 3 for about a year. I am new to DSLR, but even then, I knew I wanted a fast lens to be able to control DoF in my pictures. So a week later, I bought the 50mm f1.8. After 2 weeks with the lens, and missing a lot of shots because of the autofocus issue, I almost, almost, almost decided to return the D40 and get the D80 (also because of off-camera flash issues), I had it boxed back up, had the receipt on top of the box and was ready to head to the store. For whatever reason, however, I decided to keep it.
So now that I have had some practice focusing manually, I have to say I prefer focusing manually. I can now take pictures of things in motion (nothing great mind you, but at least what I want in focus is in focus) without problems. For me, it makes me think about the shot in advance and set it up properly before the action happens, if that makes sense. So not only have I learned to focus manually, accurately, and quickly, it's kind of developed my composition too.
So I guess my point of all this is, if you practice, you can get it. I always kept thinking that great photographers back in the day only had manual focus, and rangefinders only use manual focus. Not only that, it may develop peripheral photo skills (positive externalities in economic terms).
#21. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 20
Interesting you should say that, because I was thinking the same thing. Using the manual mode and a manual lens is teaching me a lot about composing and exposure. Since the reason why I bought a D40X was to learn how to take better pictures with more control, I figured there would be moments of exteme doubt in my newly still acquiring skills.
Have fun with your new camera!
I am waiting for the camera store to get the 50mm f/1.8 in stock. Hopefully next week!
#23. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 22
I am the father of a fast moving 5-yo and a quick 11-mo old. I work and go to school and have no time or inclination to learn the art of photography. What I want is to take pleasing photos of my children that I can share with family and record memories for the future.
To that end, my D40/18-55/18-200VR/SB-600 have provided me with all the camera I need for now to accomplish my shooting objectives. I have traveled with this rig and have taken over 8,500 exposures in a year and although I do not consciously seek the artistic shot, a fair number have turned out stunning. Of the rest, I get many requests from family and grandparents for prints, prints, prints (typically 5x7 and smaller).
Manual focus would be unacceptable. All the framing I do, I do by racking the lens and not the foot zoom. Hell, who wants to trip backwards over a Barney doll? We live in a small house and it is tight in here but even so, I find myself in the 24-120 range when shooting indoors. As fast as a fast lens may be, it'll be no match for a standard lens and a good flash. To test this, I bought a Sigma 50-150 F2.8. You know what? Too large, too heavy, but better than the 18-200 in medium light. With flash, no benefit. In truly low light, again no benefit but clobbered by the 18-200VR on still subjects (like a daughter intently reading). I get reasonably sharp shots at 1/8 second The bokeh on the Sigma was gorgeous but don't be misled that you need F2.8 for good isolation and background defocus. You can get a reasonable effect even at F4-5 depending on the shooting environment.
I suspect my viewpoint isn't in accord with the more serious photographers but that's ok because that's not what I endeavor to be and I'm comfortable with that. My setup is cost effective and its capabilities complement my imaging needs perfectly. It gets the heck out of my way and lets me do what I want to do which is capture those myriad of precious, fleeting moments for the future.
Wilkey a practical contrarian
PS. I've considered many "next" lens purchases but honestly, I can't justify any based on incremental capability over what I presently have and use. About the only lens I might consider is the Sigma 10-20 HSM. A true wide angle would be handy for travel.
#24. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 23
Really, really good post. I absolutely see your point, however if there were out there a 30mm lens that would take ultra-sharp fotos in poor indoor light without bumping my ISO to 1600 every time under $200 I would have jumped on it like Michael Strahan did on Tom Brady in the XLII Superbowl :)
Therefore.. will work on my bounce shot with diffuser technique
#25. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 24
>Wilkey - > >Really, really good post. I absolutely see your point, however >if there were out there a 30mm lens that would take >ultra-sharp fotos in poor indoor light without bumping my ISO >to 1600 every time under $200 I would have jumped on it like >Michael Strahan did on Tom Brady in the XLII Superbowl > >Therefore.. will work on my bounce shot with diffuser >technique > >Mark Hi Mark,
That Sigma 30mm F1.4 is a sweet lens and were it not for the price, I'd have it already. 30mm is really a good focal length for indoor shooting and I think the 1.4 even stopped down to 2.0 or 2.4 would give you a tangible benefit over your other lenses, even the F2.8 zooms like the Sigma 50-150. I guess some things might be worth saving for.
Oh, and don't forget that at such large apertures, grabbing focus on the EXACT point you're interested in will be challenging, especially if it's a fast moving little girl. Her earring may be in focus, but her eyes might be out of the shallow plane of focus. IMO, the 3-point AF on the D40 is not sufficiently capable of reliably grabbing fast motion even in bright light. For example, to get a few good photos of my little one on a swing in the afternoon sun, I had to shoot well over 70 images. Part of the challenge was that I had to learn to anticipate the shot while compensating for shutter lag and also making sure the subject was on a focusing point.
Well, enjoy, whatever you decide on.
On a final note, I find that the difference between shooting one's children and any other subject is that the subject will always be entrancing to us even though the composition and focus may not be technically-perfect. It's not just craft but the meaningful content of these images. Perhaps that makes us daddy-snappers overly forgiving in the assessment of the technical and artistic merits of our photos but there's an intrinsic goodness to these images that must be acknowledged.
#26. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 25
I forgot to add that you might want to try the SB-600. I have both the SB-400 and the SB-600 and the increased power and flexibility of the flash more than offsets the added weight and cost. I still use the SB-400 but only when I'm traveling ultralight.
#27. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 26 Fri 22-Feb-08 10:42 PM by MarkNYC
Thanks again Wilkey - you are absolutely right - no matter how "bad" the shots of my little cutie from the "what is a good photograph" perspective, those photos are always look GREAT to me because she is in them! (I am currently researching the shotgun models out there - so I know which particular model I will be attentively cleaning in the living room when she will be bringing her first dates in 13-15 years or so. It doesn't matter if it actually shoots - it's just has to be large and scary-looking.) :))
I do not know anyone who has tried one. I'd consider it a special purpose lens with respect to the D40 body. This may not be the case for D80/D200/D2+ users but for the beginning d-SLR user who is the typical visitor to this sub-forum, it certainly is an uncommon choice.
As for Ken Rockwell, he certainly is a polarizing force. Beginners hold him and his plain talk in high esteem. Serious photo hobbyists seem to disdain the opinionated aspect of what he delivers in his style. Truth be told, taken with a grain of salt and considering his specific shooting objectives, he often delivers practical information. Like most humans, he is neither a god nor a demon. He's just a photographer who makes the most of his bully pulpit to share his ideas and perspective.
With respect to his review of the Sigma 1.4, of his "bad news" bits on the lens, 1) is really a non-issue for the casual shootist who'll either set MF or use AF-A, 4) is something you'll no doubt have learned is something you're going to have to do any way with the wacky exposure metering on the D40. I use +0.7 for flash, as low as -0.7 for out doors, and -0.3 for flash in moderate natural light., 5) duh, 6) dinky if you're used to handling 30-70+ ounce Canon L or Nikon pro glass but just fine for the rest of the world, 7, 8) ???
So while I have bought and avoided products in the past on his recommendations, in this case, I find the nits he picks here don't hold water, at least not for the way I would intend to use it.
And besides, did you notice his three demo images (not the test images) were shot at ISO 1600. If I bought a 1.4 lens I'd plan to be using it in settings where I could get away with ISO 800 max, and 400 preferably and at 1/30 or faster. Otherwise, what would be the point? Slap on the SB-600 and bounce to take a great. If you're going to shoot in dim light, then expect grain, even with an F1.4. Me, with the mere 6MP the D40 has, I need the highest quality possible and that means flash at ISO200.
#30. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 29
>I think that's where I was wrong all along - somehow I always >thought that when you shoot at 1.4 you get tack-sharp shots at >ISO 400 or so. > >So what's the point of primes, then? They allow you to shoot >in low light without a flash while other's don't at all? Plus >better shots at F4+ (better bokeh, sharper)?
Sharpness is a hot button concept. Some shooters hold sharpness in tremendously high regard almost to the exclusion of any other measure of image quality or relevance. I always strive for clarity, and not necessarily sharpness. Clarity must be judged whereas sharpness can be measured.
An image taken at f1.4 on an f1.4 lens may not deliver the sharpest results. Most will tell you that to optimize lens sharpness (MTF) you'll need to stop down. So maybe you'd be shooting at f2.8 or f4.0. The point being, a faster lens stopped down will generally be sharper than a comparable lens that has a maximum aperture of that same value. So, f1.4 stopped down to f2.8 will probably be sharper than an f2.8 lens wide open.
And as I mentioned in an earlier post, at f1.4, whatever is in the plane of focus may be sharp but move off that razor thin plane and you rapidly move into defocus...sort of the point of shooting a fast lens, for the subject isolation. But remember, whereas you may envision the subject to be your child's face, the lens may only render things in the plane of the tip of her nose in focus and sharp.
I can't get into the discussion about primes versus zooms because primes don't serve my needs and I understand this. I also understand that as a result, I've developed a technique for composition that makes full use of the capability of zooms. It works for me. Primes can serve a meaningful function as training aids in the development of classical technique and technical understanding of framing, perspective, focal length effects, etc. but when it comes right down to it, I find zooms much more practical.
As for shooting in low light, it comes down to the maximum aperture of the lens, zoom or prime. Bokeh is a function of many lens factors. You really have to shoot a lens to see what the bokeh looks like.
I'm sure you know the saying "Fast, cheap, or good...pick two out of three." Well your shooting situation is sort of like that, a compromise. You can get all over tack sharp images at ISO400 or even ISO200...just not in dim light, just not at f1.4, you get the point I'm going for. Decide what kind of image and effect you seek, then let the experienced folks tell you 1) if it's possible or impossible, 2) if it's possible, give you the options so you can decide whether or not you're willing to pay the price for it.
#32. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 29 Mon 25-Feb-08 05:52 AM by blw
> always thought that when you shoot at 1.4 you get tack-sharp shots at ISO 400 or so
Sometimes, sometimes not. I have several f/1.4 lenses, and I quite often end up pushing the ISO pretty high. There is a lot of the world that is not very well lit (from a photography point of view). And it's almost intoxicating: once you can shoot f/1.4 at ISO 400, you push things and then you find yourself shooting at f/1.4 at ISO 1600. I imagine I'll end up shooting at f/1.4 at ISO 6400 with the D3.
Time for some pictures.
This was shot at ISO 200. It's taken at f/1.4, 1/125th, ISO 200. However, I doubt most folks would call it tack-sharp. That wasn't the intent though: I wanted to portray the kid in a dreamy way, which I think came off well precisely due to the very wide aperture and total lack of DOF. (It is pretty sharp at the point of focus, but given total DOF of under 1.4", the image as a whole does not convent sharpness.) There are no zooms that I know of that can pull off this shot.
The second shot was taken at f/1.4, 1/30th, ISO 1600 - only barely hand-holdable even given the extreme ISO and aperture. Of course, it was almost 11pm, and despite the fact that this is the Roman Pantheon and a major tourist attraction even at night, there simply isn't a lot of light around, necessitating the extreme measures. Again, this image is pretty sharp at the point of focus, but again with minimal DOF (two feet, but what other choice does one have in the dark?) the whole image does not convey as sharp. Still, this was almost literally a shot in the dark, and an f/2.8 zoom would have required a 1/8th second exposure and a tripod. The 18-200VR is f/4.5 at 35mm, necessitating a 1/3 sec exposure, and probably even VR-II could not have stabilized it to even this sharpness in a single try. However, at f/4.5 I'm not sure that the background would have been softened to this degree, which was intentional - the subject is the couple, not the site.
Finally, the third shot was taken at f/11, 1/200th, ISO 200, basically in full daylight. It's hard to see just how sharp this is in the 100k version, but the raw file is incredibly sharp. I have some sharp zooms, but none of them can compete with this, even though f/11 is actually past the point of optimum sharpness with this lens. Maybe the new 24-70/f2.8, but I don't have that one. (Yet.)
All of these were taken with the 35/f1.4 AIS Nikkor, which is decently sharp wide open and downright dangerous stopped down to f/4 or smaller.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#33. "RE: D40 and Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D questions" In response to Reply # 0
Pictures help a lot. Here's an image shot with bounce flash. Yuffi is not much taller than small children - and the best thing about dogs is that neither they nor their owners care much about having their portraits posted on the Internet. You can tell that the shot has flash, because there's a catchlight in her eye, but I doubt that anyone would realize that this is mostly lit with flash in any other way.
I shot this one with an SB-800, but unless the SB-400 runs out of power, I doubt that the results would look much different.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#35. "I like the Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D" In response to Reply # 8
>but focusing on the 50mm isn't bad, imo.
I agree - but then, I only got my 50mm 1.4 lens today - went to the local camera store - was going to get the Sigma 30mm HSM so I could have autofocus. But the only Sigma they had was for a Canon, so it wouldn't have worked. They did let me try it with a Canon however, and it just didn't feel right to me - maybe it was the camera (grin).
But then I tried the 50mm 1.8 on a D40 in the store (I have a D40X) and the manual focus was no big deal. And the resulting shot was SHARP - much better to my eyes than the Sigma at the same aperture. They even printed a picture from each camera out that I had taken - (they were also trying to sell a printer, I think) - approximately same shutter speed and aperture - and the 1.8 was better - (again, to my eyes). I wanted a 1.4 opening lens, but the Nikon 1.4 costs quite a bit more, and I can use this 1.8 until Nikon or someone comes out with a lens that will autofocus on my D40X and look as good without costing too much more.
I've already taken about 40 pictures, and I'm really liking the 50mm 1.4!!!