Hello everyone, first off I would just like to comment on how much I enjoy reading this page daily. I am fairly new to photograhpy and this page has given me years of knowledge in just a couple of months. I would like to thank the all the exprienced members for taking the time and having the patience to respond to some of the more novice posts.
The question I have is I have decided that I will need to add faster glass to my Nikkor colection(you can see it in my profile). I thought a normal prime lense would be great for general portraits indoors in low light. I have have narrowed it down to the following three choices. Each one has it's own pro's and con's in my view. I would love to know your views and why.
1. Nikkor 50mm AF f1.8 - COST/fast/no "D" tech.
2. Nikkor 50mm AFD f1.4 - faster/"D" techno./similar to above
but almost twice the price
3. Nikkor 60mm Micro AFD f2.8 - slower/will allow me to venture
into close-up photography/"D" tech./costs a bit more than
above but could be used as double duty lense.
Weight is not an issue, but obviously cost is.
#1. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 0kmeinerth Basic MemberTue 08-Aug-00 06:15 PM
The D technology is great for Flash photography. Don't think you need it for much else.
If you're going to use a tripod, then the speed difference between the 2.8, 1.8, & 1.4 probably does not make that big a difference.
All depends on what you are going to take pictures of & how. Most professional lenses are 2.8.
I have the 50/1.4 & love it, but I have heard great things about the other 2 also.
#2. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 1avm247 Charter MemberWed 09-Aug-00 10:53 AM
I have the af 50 f/1.8. This is a great lens, tack sharp, good contrast and color rendition. As far as Nikkor glass goes, this is definately a "best buy" when cost vs. performance is a concern.
Good luck on your choice. In any case, you can't go wrong with any of your choices.
#3. "injecting "speed" into line up" | In response to Reply # 0
Looking at your profile, there may be another way to go rather than just the 50mm route.
Two fast lenses... one within the range of each zoom lens would be a bit more versital. I'd go with a 35mm f2.0 for the 28-70, and an 85mm f1.8 for the longer zoom. This would give you great ability to do environmental portraits (35mm) and better head and shoulder shots (85mm) than the 50mm. Some photographers use these lenses extensively, and they have evolved into real optical gems.
That said, if you are after only one fast lens, the 50mm is probably the way to go. The 50mm f1.8 is, as stated previously, one of the best deals in the Nikon line up, but if your desire is for "true" speed and you can afford it, the f1.4 will give you 3 full stops over the short zoom at the 50mm setting, (f4.2). This lens is fully capable of being used wide open, and if closed down to f2.8, will exceed the zoom in performance, but with better speed. You won't believe how bright your finder gets either after using those slow zooms... it will be enlightening (pun intended).
#4. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 0
I found that my 50mm 1.4 lens was the least used in my camera bag. I personally don't find the focal length very interesting and the speed just isn't that important for my photos.
It is nice to have a reasonably fast lens, however, and I went with the 60mm Micro for the "two birds, one stone" idea. I'm very pleased with this lens and find its macro capability superb. The reasonable price and handy size of this lens are also attractive points in its favor.
The 50mm 1.8 is inexpensive enough that I'd consider adding it for just the low light performance. The missing D functionality is a concern, however. This lens is a natural to use with a flash and it seems silly to leave the flash performance on the shelf. If Nikon chooses to update this lens to a D-series, I'd consider it, but the 1.4 is too expensive for the scant use I'd give the lens.
Salt Lake City, UT
#5. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 4Tue 29-Aug-00 03:10 AM
I'm going to jump in here and support Al's advice in favour of two really fast non-zooms.
Any zoom lens is a compromise between flexibility and performance. You save your feet from blisters caused by walking back and forth, and you don't have to lug the weight of two lenses around. Or do you...? I recently bought a Nikkor 80-200 f-4 AI... man, talk about heavy! I might have been wiser to buy a fast 80mm, and a fixed 200mm, which together would be less weight. (my wife told me I need to exercise more...)
The other factor against zooms is the slower F-stop: the difference between F-4 on a zoom and F-2 for a prime lens may not sound much, 2 stops, but it'll one day make the difference between taking photos or packing up. You can easily hand hold an 80mm lens at F2 at 1/125th, but if your zoom is wide open at f-4 you're stuck with 1/30th - tripod time!
Non-zooms are less prone to flare problems when you start aiming towards the sun - zooms have a lot of air-to-glass surfaces. Amazingly, even Nikon zooms suffer from this, and it can be very frustrating.
There's a lot to be said for a really bright viewfinder - something zoom owners have never seen!
#6. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 5f5fstop Basic MemberTue 29-Aug-00 07:37 AM
>There's a lot to be said
>for a really bright viewfinder
>- something zoom owners have
I'm a zoom owner and I have seen very bright viewfinders with and without zooms.
"Take only photographs, leave only footprints"
#8. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 7
#9. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 8Tue 29-Aug-00 09:38 AM
All part of the service, here on Nikonians! Tell you what, if you buy a nice, fast, Nikkor and have trouble with all that bright light in your viewfinder, I'll send you a pair of plastic glasses that I have left over from the last solar eclipse... e-mail me your address!
#10. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 7f5fstop Basic MemberTue 29-Aug-00 01:46 PM
Just kidding, it was early and only one cup of coffee had been consumed and I was killing time before going to work. I totally agree that one advantage of a fast lens, be it a prime or a fast zoom is the added brightness in the viewfinder. Not only does it give you a brighter view, it also gives the AF sensors more light to work with.
Most people (and I mean the newer people to SLR photography), don't understand that the maximum aperture is what they see when viewing through the viewfinder, and the camera stops down to the selected aperture when the shutter release button is pressed.
Now about them welding goggles.....
"Take only photographs, leave only footprints"
#11. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 0
Well I broke down and ended up buying the Nikkor 50mm f1.8. I found a used one at a reputable camera store and haggled the price down to $60.00CDN which is around $40.00US. At that price there was no decision to be made considering they cost about $190.00 new.
NOW I CAN SEE THE LIGHT!
Thanks for all your suggestions.
#12. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 11Mon 18-Sep-00 04:25 PM
Congratulations - you won't regret it! A lot of folks claim the 50 is boring, just because the angle of view is the same as our own eyes. And I guess with a whole bag full of wideanglerey, zoomery and telemetry to choose from, the poor old 50 can easily end up right at the bottom, covered in dust. But, you know, I've been using good old fashioned human eyeballs for a tad over 45 years now.
A couple of years ago I rediscovered Twin Lens Reflex medium format cameras, after a twenty year break. Most of these have only the 'standard' optics - in this case 80mm, same as 50mm for 35mm. It can be enormous fun and a real challenge getting unusual views and interesting shots using just one single focal length. You'd be surprised how limiting your choice of lenses to one can actually make you more creative, not less! I've been having tremendous fun with my old Rolleiflex lately, and it's meant relearning the way I see things.
Apart from the very fast lens speed, there are a couple of other bonuses with a 'standard' lens. First, since this is the lens that usually gets tested by all the photo magazines when a new body comes out, manufacturers tend to make their 50 as optically perfect as possible. They drag all their top optical engineers, glass polishers and rocket scientists into a room, fire a couple of the junior ones just to encourage the others, and say, look, guys, this lens has to be GOOD! We mean like REALLY good. Like so sharp that even the most sceptical critic shooting Pan-F can pull 60 lines a millimeter at the edges wide open, and over 80 at the middle. And stopped down, our lens has to be sharp enough to blow up "Copyright Acme Lens Testing Co Ltd." at the edge of the chart to a 20 x 24! If not - DONNER UND BLITZEN!!
So off they go, shivering with fear for their pensions and company cars, with a Bible in one hand and a copy of "The Japanese Practical Lens Builder" in the other, and after six months of working 16 hour days plus Saturdays and Sundays, the result is the best lens in the entire range. And it makes no difference if they work for Kwanon, Nikon or any of the Famous Five, you can bet your last pair of socks that the 50 will be a cracker!
For some reason, the 50mm f-1.8 AI Nikkor is a touch better than their 1.4, with Olympus it's the other way round, the 1.4 was better. Makes no difference, I've used them all, and all of them are top performers.
It also weighs almost nothing compared to even the most featherweight zoom.
If I ever get arrested for taking a politically compromising photograph, and the judge were to sentence me to get rid of ALL my photo equipment except for ONE camera and ONE lens for the rest of my life, it would be a tie between the Nikon F3 and 50mm f-1.8, or the Rolleiflex.
#13. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 12Mon 18-Sep-00 06:05 PM
Damn Mike! You almost made me buy another one... what a case you made.
Seriously Joe, seek out two books for an education on the value of a lowly 50mm lens. The first is "THIS IS WAR!" by David Douglas Duncan. He covered the Korean war with a Leica screw mount camera and Nikkor 50mm lenses of that early 1950's vintage. While some can make the argument that "only a fifty" is limiting, there is no denying the impact of his photos. Every shot but one was made with the fifty, and in the heat of combat! The book is out of print, (it was reissued on the anniversary of the war in 1990), but should be in the library.
The other book is anything by Henri Cartier-Bresson. he made his whole career with a single camera and a 50mm lens. His photos are both dynamic and varied... (his feet were his zoom). he also insisted that the lab print full frame... no cropping.
Instead of limiting, this minimalist approach makes it impossible not to know exactly what the framing looks like for your lens... therefore you just find yourself in the right place. I recommend as an exercise for you to go out and shoot 8 to 10 rolls of film only with this lens. It will be awkward at first but by the last roll, you will be amazed at the intuition you seemingly developed. You will truly be seeing.
Good luck. give us some feedback.
#14. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 13Tue 19-Sep-00 02:20 AM
I'm glad to see we seem to be on pretty much the same wavelength photographically. I read Duncan's book many years ago - brilliant!
As for the exercise value of a shoe-leather zoom, it can really help to develop muscles if combined with driving a car with a manual transmission and no power steering! Best fitness training machine I ever had was a 1962 Land-Rover...
#15. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 12bgs Charter MemberSun 24-Sep-00 02:48 PM
really enjoyed your posting. Ever thought about being an author? I feel like you on the issue that you are forced to become more productive with a 50. I use my 50/1.4 a lot, and it's really lightweight with brilliant optics.
Thanks for all of your cheerful postings in our community Mike, it's always a pleasure "reading you".
Bo (Nikonian in the Black Forest/Germany)
My profile and My gallery
Bo Stahlbrandt - Founder & Administrator. I am mainly located in Bratislava, Slovakia.
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#16. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 15frankie Basic MemberSun 24-Sep-00 05:26 PM
It's such a strange thing. Most people I know really like their 50mm lenses... I personally don't own one for my Nikon, but I used it for a long time on my Spotmatic. I was never really convinced that the angle of view of a 50mm lens is similar to that of the eye. I always felt that it was too narrow and would opt more often for the 28mm. For portraits of people I'd usually strap on my 105 (and now my 28-80 zoom).
I just got my Tokina 17mm and love the wide angle. Contrary to what I've read, it's not as "soft" as others seem to say it is and is very useable. I dont use 50mm lenses any more though. It's hard to include a "reference" in your picture with a 50mm, and it's not easy to get a good "near-and-far" content range.
As young as I am, I always used to look at pics by Edward Weston and Cartier-Bresson and sort of say "So what" because I'm bombarded by photojournalism that tends to be "wide" in its picture angle. It's something I really like because I can get real "close" to something and the picture becomes more intimate.
#17. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 16Mon 25-Sep-00 02:55 AM
Thank you, kind Sir, for the compliment - and also for providing such a wonderful forum for so many of us to meet up every day! For me, it feels like meeting a bunch of old friends over a coffee - folks I've never met, from countries I've never been to. This is always my first stop when logging on in the mornings, and I have a feeling I'm not alone! As for authoring, yes, I'm working on a book. Not on photography, though, sorry...
Frankie - you're right about the angle of view. We humans have much wider peripheral vision than the limited field of view provided by a fifty, even though the view presented in the finder comes pretty close. But we miss what we see at the edges.
I believe that because the image is cut off compared to what we actually see, it's easy to think we're being cheated. Maybe that's why the "standard" lens on most pre-autofocus compacts was usually around 35mm. I went through a phase right in the beginning where I thought a 35mm wide angle was the answer to my quest for photographic bliss - probably because I'd just bought one! Utterly useless for any kind of portraiture unless you want your subjects to suffer from what I call the "Greyhound Effect". Greyhounds have long noses and small ears, and the wider the angle, the larger the noses and the smaller the ears...
Anyway, I took up the habit of leaving the 35 on my camera. Yes, I'd bring back SOME good shots, but I ended up with a lot of rubbish, too. My next aquisition was a 24, still in use today, and one of my favourites. It did take me a while to learn to use it properly, because the "WOW" effect you get with a very wide angle lens can fool you into thinking you're getting better pictures. When I saw my first slides on the light table, I though, "My God - what happened to that castle? It's only eight grains wide... that's not what I wanted. But it looked so cool with all those clouds in the background when I shot it..."
I still stand by my fifty. Great close-ups if you're not shy, and a terrific wide angle if you don't mind a bit of a walk...
#18. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 17
Hi Everyone ,
I am quite new to this unigue gathering of "friends" of which I am proud of.
It seems that the original question of Joe was about deciding b2in a 50/1.8 50/1.4 and 60 micro. Since he allready desided I ll just follow the line of conversation.
For 20 years I was , and will be still using my 50s 90% of the time. My first camera was an OM1 , followed by an OM4 using a 50 1.4. Lovely combination having a super light body with a marvelous spot system. I knew what I was getting on print or slide the moment the shutter was released. After seeing the prints/slides I was feeling great , coz I got them with my "cheap" 50 mm. After my OM "got Ill" by exposing it in humid atmosphere , I got my Love ... An FM with a 50 AIS 1.8. I did try zooms , wide angles ...yet , using my FM and 50 I feel like I am stopping the time , stealing something from somebody , produsing more with less.
The picture is beeing captured by the lens , and the lens Alone.
If I was given an option to have ONE and only one thing from my bag , I would choose my 50 , and attach it to a black painted shoebox.
All manual Anemos
#19. "RE: What would you do?" | In response to Reply # 18Wed 27-Sep-00 02:59 AM
Hi Anemos, and welcome to Nikonians!
I guess the price of new and used AI Nikkor 50mm f-1.8 lenses is about to rocket through the ceiling - after reading this thread, people are going to be standing in line outside photo shops all over the world trying to snap one up! Nikon will have to re-tool for a further production run, and by next week you won't see a single one on e-bay under $100!
Nifty Fifties I've used have included the East German Pentacon, (amazing - it focused down to 33 cm, almost a macro lens) Canon, Minolta, and Olympus (excellent!). But my prize for ultimate sharpness goes to a non-Nikkor, sadly as far out of my income bracket as my wish for my own aeroplane.
A local photographer lent me a Leica M4 rangefinder with its 50mm lens to play with for a day. I wish he hadn't. I ran some FP4 through it - man, was it ever sharp! I made a point of shooting either wide open or stopped down to no more than f-5.6 for most of my shots, and I shot a lot of textures like walls and canvas cloth. Is a Rolls-Royce worth the extra money? Of course it's not. BMWs are faster, Audis more comfortable, and for a luxury package the new Cadillacs are most impressive. But none of them have that special feeling of being in a Rolls-Royce. Or a Leica...
About the shoe box - you're on the money! The lens takes the picture, not the camera. Nobody will ever know what camera body took the picture. Unless it's a Hasselblad - their film magazines have two tiny notches on the edge, so that potential slide buyers can tell the shots were done on a Hasselblad. Big deal. Idiotic, and anyone choosing a sloppy Hasselblad photo over a better Bronica shot deserves all they get! (I borrowed a mini grinder from my friendly dentist once, and put the same two notches into my Yashicamat 124-G. Wow! A Hasselblad!! The pictures were suddenly much "better" - unmistakably Hasselblad!)
Time for some coffee...
#20. "My list" | In response to Reply # 19Wed 27-Sep-00 10:56 AM
Since you brought up the list thing... Here is mine. Lenses I have currently in the "normal range".
Nikon 50mm f2.0, non AI (original) Quality for the Dollar.... The best!
Nikon 50 mm f1.8, AIS (Non AF, Non series E)... Outstanding! 2 stops down, nothing in Nikon Line up can touch it.
Nikon 50mm f1.4, AIS... Fully usable wide open, great after f5.6, but f1.8 is better over more f stops.
Nikon 55mm f2.8 micro... If you don't need the speed, you can't get a sharper lens. Very fast to focus in the normal ranges.
Rollei TLR 75mm Zeiss Planar... My favorite Medium format lens, great tonal range with B and W.
Leica 50mm Summicron f2.0... All my Nikkors are great and can't be faulted, but when I use my Leica and really do the technical things right, I am paralyzed over my light table when the slides come back. This is a Nikon forum, so this might not be politically correct, but if I lost everything and could only have one replacement... It would be this one.