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Subject: "Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??" Previous topic | Next topic
Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Wed 16-Jan-08 01:16 PM
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"Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"


Monroe, US
          

I have been looking at some lenses for product photography which would be done in my studio under lights, tripod etc. I was looking at the Nikon 105 mm AF VR and while reading Thom Hogan's review he also said if you didn't want to shell out the money check out the Tamron 90 mm Di. Well that lead me to look at the Nikon 85 mm f/1.8D. I know it won't autofocus on a D-40 but will everything else work meter etc. I currently have 2 lenses, the 18-55 kit lens and a 70-300 mm VR both are fairly slow glass. I "think" I want a faster lens that I can uses for product photos and low light type shots when we travel. Am I beginning to catch NAS?? Would this photo have looked better if it were taken with the nikon 85 or Tamron 90 than with nikon kit 18-55, with everything else being the same?

Besides the type of photos mentioned above I travel alot and like to take pictures of anything in nature, macro to zoom. What, in your opinion, would be the next logical lens to add?

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roy_g_biv
22nd Apr 2007
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22nd Apr 2007
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22nd Apr 2007
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22nd Apr 2007
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22nd Apr 2007
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16th Jan 2008
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22nd Apr 2007
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23rd Apr 2007
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23rd Apr 2007
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29th Apr 2007
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roy_g_biv Registered since 25th Feb 2007Sun 22-Apr-07 01:01 PM
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#1. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 0


CA
          

the photo looks very nice as it is, the only change i would have made would be to stop down to get the strings in focus. they are quite distracting because they are out of focus.

the 85mm f/1.8 is a great performer, extremely sharp, and a great model lens. but, shot wide open, it would only make for a worse image (in that setup, with a different picture it could make the shot.) it depends what you want to shoot.

for product photography i would go for the 105VR, the tamron, or an 85mmPC (might be another option for you if you dont mind spending the money, i forget the price.) its almost macro, 1:2, its nice and sharp, f/2.8, and it has tilt/shift.

anyways, those are my thoughts. hope they are of some help.

chris

chris

sometimes i chimp, in the RAW!!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 22-Apr-07 01:17 PM
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#2. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 1


Richmond, US
          

The 85PC is a stunner of a lens, but it's around $1300.

I don't think that any of the aforementioned lenses would make this particular image look any better. I agree that more DOF would make the strings sharp, but any lens could have done that. This image would not have benefited from good bokeh - there shouldn't be any OOF areas, per se.

If you have an interest in macro photography, one of the ~100mm macro lenses would probably be the next good step. That would be one of the set Nikon 105/f2.8 VR, Tamron 90/f2.8, Sigma 105/f2.8, Tokina 100/f2.8. Only the Nikkor will AF on the D40, but at least for macro work that is not much of a consideration: only a very small minority of macro images are AF. Those are flitty things like butterflies. Everything else is focused manually due to the very short DOF associated with macro work. All four of those lenses are excellent, with the Tamron and Nikkor being the best of the best. (There is a considerable difference in price between the two - $400 vs $760).


_____
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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Sun 22-Apr-07 01:18 PM
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#3. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 1


Monroe, US
          

What is an "85 pc"?

www.barrydudley.com

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 22-Apr-07 01:49 PM
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#4. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

It's a perspective control lens, which offers a limited set of functionality that comes from a view camera. By allowing swings and tilts, it gives you greater control over depth of field than simply stopping down, and it allows you to control perspectives such as converging lines, etc. In exchange, it makes a Nikon work at a view camera pace, too It is a manual focus lens, and it also has a form of manual diaphram, too, although it does have a CPU chip so that all of the cameras will meter with it. Article is here.

_____
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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Sun 22-Apr-07 01:54 PM
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#5. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 3


Boston Area, US
          

What is an "85 pc"?

http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5&productNr=1458

It's a specialty 85mm lens with tilt and shift features, which help you to control perspective and the placement of the focal plane. The traditional way to accomplish the same thing is to use a view camera.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Wed 16-Jan-08 01:16 PM
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#23. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 5


Monroe, US
          

Thanks for th information. Would a full shot of the instrument benefit from say the Nikon 105 or th Tamron 90? A shot like this? This photo drives me crazy because it is slightly crooked.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

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tronic Registered since 02nd May 2006Sun 22-Apr-07 04:08 PM
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#6. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 23


US
          

I can't really add much to this discussion. But I can say that these are very fine looking instruments. I now also know exactly what one of my university's calculus textbook cover photograph was of, years ago.

I will add just one other thing: imperfections can sometimes help the composition of a photograph. It is a natural human reaction to want to 'balance' everything; it's just something that happens in your brain. But what grabs people's attention is 'something different'. That can mean taking a shot from a different perspective. Or off-center. Or from a different height (either above or below). Or a different angle. Or a different lighting condition. Or all sorts of things. Same sort of general thought process involved in mass advertising, for instance.

The trick is to get rid of imperfections that gets in the way of enjoying the full potential of a photo, and at the same time, let creative or artistic imperfections draw in lookers. This is more of a judgement and artistic call.

P.S. I personally loved your first photo. The fact that strings aren't in focus doesn't really bother me. Because they are not, they indirectly draw attention to the beautiful wood grain and other key features. They also make me indirectly more curious about the colors, leading me to want to know more about the subject. You also explore the wood visually in more depth with that one photo than the other photo which captures the entire instrument. I think the first photo is a great photo to give some weight to perhaps several others in a body of work.

  

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Sun 22-Apr-07 08:18 PM
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#7. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 6


Monroe, US
          

Thanks Tronic. Most violin customers are interested in the color and texture of the varnish and the wood, shape of the "F" holes etc. but I understand the advice about the strings and I appreciate it. The next time I will increase the DOF to bring the strings into focus and see how it looks. All of the advice that I have recieved is greatly appreciated ...it helps me to "think" like a photographer and not a violin maker.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 23-Apr-07 12:58 PM
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#8. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 23


Richmond, US
          

This photo wouldn't have looked much different if taken with another lens. It would probably be sharper, but I would say that for the intended use, this one is probably plenty sharp as it is.

However, I'm pretty certain that you would have found it more logistically difficult to make the same shot, as the longer focal length would have had you standing back further - perhaps twice as far, depending on what focal length you used.

If you think that your images would benefit from additional sharpness without having to have that extra working distance, you might consider the 60/f2.8 Micro-Nikkor, the Sigma 50/f2.8 Macro, or even the new Tokina 35/f2.8 macro. You might find that the additional sharpness of such a lens would render, say, bits of rosin that had fallen onto the instrument, or wear on the strings. Someone looking at the image might think "it's an open window" - but you may not need that in a product shoot.

_____
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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Mon 23-Apr-07 01:22 PM
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#9. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 8


Monroe, US
          

Brian I see you understand something about violins too! I do have a few shots that show the rosin dust on the soundboard and the fingerboard. More clarity would be a good thing I would think. Again I am trying to learn from you folks how to think like a photographer, not a violinmaker. I appreciate your answer. You have helped me understand more about what I might want to consider for this subject matter. In your opinion would the fact that those lenses would not AF with my D40 be a problem? I would not think so because I have the time to focus manually but is there more to consider than just the manual focus?

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 23-Apr-07 03:03 PM
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#10. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 9


Richmond, US
          

Yeah, I know something about a violin. I suppose at this point it's been thirty years since I've played seriously - just too many other things in the way.

> would the fact that those lenses would not AF with my D40 be a problem?

Not in the least.

> more to consider than just the manual focus?

Not with the lenses you've been discussing; they all have chips and circuits in them that inform the camera what lens is mounted, what aperture and focal length, etc. You're just "choosing" to use them in MF mode. (The other AF bodies also allow you to choose AF with these lenses.)

However, if you go back another generation, to a true manual focus lens, you'd have other considerations. As an example, consider the 55/f2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor. This lens is easily available for $100 - I think I paid $95 for mine. It is a very sharp lens, in most ways very suitable for this type of work. This one doesn't have an AF mechanism at all, so it is MF on any camera. It also does not have those circuits inside, so it also does not meter with most DSLRs (or most recent film SLRs). If the light changes quickly (obviously it won't in these violin pictures), you may not like this, because the only way to get the exposure right is to take a shot, look at the histogram on the LCD, adjust, take another one, etc. After you do it a bit, this is actually not hard at all. But it is definitely more work than a fully functional lens. On the other hand, $95 for a top-flight macro lens is a pretty good bargin...

_____
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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Mon 23-Apr-07 03:30 PM
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#11. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 10


Monroe, US
          

Thanks Brian. Like always you seem to answer the question asked. For $100.00 if you only used the lens for the one purpose and it produced great photos it is worth it. Taking the shot, looking at the photo and histogram and making the necessary adjustments is not really a big issue. I have a Sigma f/8 600mm mirror lens that a friend let me use and I have to do the same thing. It is a little more trouble because of the subject matter you normally shot with a 600mm but Ican do it with out any problem. I think I have enought information now to make an informed lens choice and not just spend the money and hope for the best.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Mon 23-Apr-07 07:49 PM
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#12. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 11


Monroe, US
          

One more questionin this thread. Would the Nikon 50mm f1.8D be a good choice? It can be had for around $100.00. All the reviews I have read say that regardless of the price it is tack sharp.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

visit my gallery

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Mon 23-Apr-07 09:06 PM
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#13. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 12


Livermore, CA, US
          

Hi Barry,

You do not need a macro lens for this kind of work, although a macro lens would work fine. In macro work you're generally trying to photograph something roughly the size of your sensor, so even with a macro lens you won't be using the macro range to take these pictures.

As I was reading this thread I was starting to think that the 50mm f/1.8D would be a better lens for your application, and probably what I would choose from my kit to take this picture. You might not be happy to hear this, but your kit lens should do just fine, and you could benefit more by learning to take better pictures with it.

You need more depth of field to get these images to appear sharp. When I say "appear" sharp, it's a psychological trick our brain plays, even the in-focus area would appear sharper if the whole image was in focus, including the strings. You should stop down at least to f/8 to get enough DOF to shoot the violin, so you have no need for an f/1.8 or f/2.8 lens. A longer lens means you move back, and again this reduces your DOF. You don't have any background to blur so again a large aperture isn't needed.

What I recommend:
Get a good tripod, ballhead with a level, IR remote shutter release. These will help your sharpness better than a new lens. Add maybe a tiltable speedlight like the sb-600 or sb-800. Shoot aperture priority, f/8. For accurate color, use color mode Ia with no saturation and get a gray card to set your white balance. If you have any money left over, then you should have gotten a better ballhead Seriously the 50/1.8 would be a nice lens for this but I really don't think this picture would benefit.

A word of warning, if your customers are judging color based on pictures you post on the web, then you are at the mercy of their monitors, and some will render your pictures so badly you'd get sick to your stomach if you saw it. The only way you can control the color of your pictures is to print them and distribute the prints. I'm sure your customers will expect some pictures online, but be aware of the limitations of that medium.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery New (and improving): PMA 2007 Road Trip

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Mon 23-Apr-07 10:42 PM
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#14. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 13


Monroe, US
          

Larry, thanks for that truthful answer. Your explaination about DOF=clarity, in a manner of speaking, makes sense to me. That is something I can play with and see the difference by increasing DOF. If I am not going to REALLY gain anything I can use my kit lens until I find something that would make a difference. I would rather work on my technique and skill than buy something I really don't need. Macro is alltogether different. I was just thinking if I was going to get another lens I would try to get one that would do both.

I have looked through your gallery and you have some great photos. There are several of the Canyon in AZ where the sand is flowing like and hour glass...VERY cool. And the B&W of the Fallen Giant redwood is terrific. Also several of your animal shots are great.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

visit my gallery

Visit my Nikonians gallery.


Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradibarrius

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Tue 24-Apr-07 02:44 AM
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#15. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 14


Livermore, CA, US
          

>I have looked through your gallery and you have some great
>photos. There are several of the Canyon in AZ where the sand
>is flowing like and hour glass...VERY cool. And the B&W of
>the Fallen Giant redwood is terrific. Also several of your
>animal shots are great.

Thanks Barry!

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery New (and improving): PMA 2007 Road Trip

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Thu 26-Apr-07 11:24 PM
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#16. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 13


Monroe, US
          

The shot you took of the Heidelburg Castle at night with the 50mm f/1.8...could you have taken that shot with you 18-70 DX? Great shot by the way. I tried taking a similar shot of the Alhambra at night witha point and shoot but no luck. I have tried the same with several palce we have been where there were great night shot but at that time I didn't have the camera. Now I want to make sure I have the right lens. We are going on a trip in June that will have some good photo ops and I want to be prepared.

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

visit my gallery

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Fri 27-Apr-07 04:45 PM
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#17. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 16


Livermore, CA, US
          

Hi Barry,

That shot in Heidelberg was taken at 50mm f/8 so yes the 18-70DX would have done fine for that, the only drawback to the 18-70 in that situation was... I didn't have it with me.

I had gone to Heildelberg that night with the intention of doing some low-light street photography of the Frohes Festival (Christmas Festival) and some night cityscapes, so I was carrying a very light kit of fast primes which included my D50, 50mm f/1.8D, 35mm f/2.0D, Sigma 10-20mm, and a Bogen 3007 mini-tripod with RRS-BH25 mini ballhead, which is a favorite kit of mine when I want a light kit good in low light.

That shot was taken by setting the mini-tripod on a stone wall which allowed as long an exposure as I wanted (8" in this case) with no worries about camera shake. The stone wall was more stable than a full size tripod. The mini-tripod, which easily fits in my pocket, was the most important piece of kit to get this shot, because it holds the camera steady, and did not interfere with my ability to walk around in the crowded festival later.

With respect to the 50/1.8, really with respect to all fast/pro glass, you'll find that the average shot probably any modern lens can take and render great results. It's when conditions become more difficult, i.e. low light, moving subject, moving camera, etc. that last 10% of shots, when the pro glass makes the difference between getting or not getting the shot. The f/1.8 was not needed for this shot, but the 18-70 would not have worked as well for the night street shooting I did later.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery New (and improving): PMA 2007 Road Trip

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Fri 27-Apr-07 06:18 PM
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#18. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 17


Monroe, US
          

Good!

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"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

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HookdOnEDGlass Registered since 18th Feb 2007Sun 29-Apr-07 11:41 AM
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#19. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Barry,

I would suggest using the kit lens you have and instead investing in Nikon Capture software. The kit lens will take very sharp photos, and it's apparent that the lighting you have is very good! You can use Capture to "square up" the picture and fix any minor camera tilt issues, as long as you leave enough space around the violin in the original image. Capture is incredibly easy to use and really allows you to fix minor camera position or exposure flaws, and crop perfectly for your needs.

All the best,

HookdOnEDGlass

  

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readmore Registered since 20th May 2007Mon 21-May-07 01:21 AM
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#20. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 0


Bartlett, US
          

Hi Barry,

Long ago in pre-digital days I used to shoot with a Tamron 90mm macro on my Pentax. I dabbled a bit in product photography too, although not enough to become a pro. With a macro lens, the main thing you get besides close focusing is even sharpness from corner to corner. Most lenses are sharpest in the center and fall off a bit toward the edges. The 90 macro was sharp from edge to edge, which made it great for shooting things like postage stamps while leaving enough distance beween the subject and camera for the light to get in without casting shadows. With the fast aperture (I think mine was f 2.5) the biggest benefit was more light to focus by.

In the studio with good lighting, a sturdy tripod and unlimited digital film, a lot of those benefits are negated. Your violins would probably look better photographed with more depth of field, giving a zone of sharpness from somewhere in front of the surface and extending to the back. With plenty of light, you can stop the lens down to f8 or f11 or so to get that depth.

The lens's color accuracy and ability to render fine detail should be at their best at those f-stops, too. Most lenses aren't really at their optical best when used wide open, or at the very smallest apertures like f 22 to f 32. Your kit lens or an inexpensive prime lens like the 50mm f1.8 or the 35mm f2.0 that someone mentioned should give you excellent results when used at their mid-range f-stops.

Before you spend anything on a new lens, invest in a tripod and some good lighting equipment. Try some different backdrops to find what brings out the colors of the wood the best. Your local camera dealer probably has some you can rent before you buy. You should probably try lighting that's softer and more diffused than a flash, because the flash makes reflections in the violins glossy finish. Even, diffused light from all sides should allow you to get the details of the wood grain. You'd also want a setup that allows you to position the camera as nearly parallel to the surface of the wood, to get the maximum shaarpness with less falloff toward the edges. And of course set the file quality settings in the camera to maximum. If you find you still can't get the detail you need, then it might be time to look at a macro lens.

Best regards,

--BG

  

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Stradibarrius Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Mar 2007Mon 21-May-07 12:49 PM
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#21. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 20


Monroe, US
          

BG Thanks for your information. Since I first posted this thread back in April I found a used Tamron 90mm and it is a great lens! I am working on a couple of violins for customers now and will soon need to take photos of them. Of course I have been playing with it taking shots of my wifes orchids and other things and it is a SHARP lens. I also learns that 90mm focal length is about the same as what my eye sees through the viewfinder. Not from fiels of vision but as far as size goes. Does that description compute?

www.barrydudley.com

"Generalizations are made because they are Generally true"

visit my gallery

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readmore Registered since 20th May 2007Mon 21-May-07 01:22 PM
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#22. "RE: Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D for a D40??"
In response to Reply # 21


Bartlett, US
          

Yep, that computes. If I remember, the magnification factor is almost 1:1, so it's like the subject is full size there in your viewfinder. The Tamron is a fun lens, it was my favorite most of the time -- I really enjoyed close-ups of flowers and other things in nature. It's biggest strength is the ability to resolve fine detail that other lenses just can't see. I may have to get another, now that I can blow the images up on-screen at no cost.

30 years ago with print film, every shot cost about 50 cents. Figuring 500 shots at high resolution on my 2GB SD card, by the time I fill it up twice I'll have saved enough in processing to pay for the D40. And every time I enlarge one onscreen, I save another $5 to $10.

In fact, if I shoot enough pictures, I should be able to save enough to quit my job and support myself on the savings! (Somebody better at math than me should probably check my figures on that).

--BG


  

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