Wow, what a few weeks it’s been.
I’ve sold my Nikon D80, crop mid range zoom and wide angle zoom to fund an upgrade to a D700.
I absolutely LOVE the low light performance and robustness of the new camera body.
I’ve lost a lot lens and focal length range!
So, on a recent family getaway, all I had was my 50mm. At first I thought it was going to be very restrictive and I would not be able to get the shots I wanted, but in the end I think it’s been a very liberating experience!
No more having to play with 2 variables of distance to subject as well as zoom for viewing angle. No big heavy zoom to lug around. And I found having no zoom has FORCED me to be more creative in my shooting and composition. I was very happy with the results and don’t think I missed out on too many shots where I needed a different focal length. It forced me to think more about the shot and pre-visualise it instead of just standing on the spot and twisting the zoom ring. And now it’s really made me think twice about whether I should get the 24-70 f/2.8 at all.
The only complaint about the Nikon AF-D 50mm 1.8 is that the bokeh can sometimes produce circles with quite a hard circumference line in conditions with spots of light coming through (like light through the leaves of a tree). Besides that, it’s extremely good value and every Nikon shooter should have a 50mm!
Here are a few of my favourites from our trip away…
Last weekend, the Perth Swing Dance Society held its annual Lindyhop Exchange – called Hullabaloo! It’s a fantastic long weekend of swing dancing, classes and social get togethers. People from all over Australia come to Perth to socialise and dance!
Unfortunately, wifey and I don’t do many of the events or classes anymore – in the last few years we’ve just turned up for one social dance night only. I guess we’re getting “over” it a bit. Plus it’s hard to find babysitting. Yes – I thought it would get easier when the kids got older, but they just end up with more extra-curricular activities!
We did get out to the Saturday night dance – it was the Hullabaloo Hop in the wonderfully character North Perth Town Hall. The Hullabaloo Hop is the traditional night when they hold the Jack and Jill competition – basically a social dancing fun competition where entrants get paired up with some other random entrant, and you are judged on how much fun and connection you have with each other. Entrants wear a number on their back to identify them. We also had an extra special treat – the local Oz Big Band swung the house with many Basie and other swinging charts!
I took the opportunity to take my new Nikon D700 out for a spin. Armed with my 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses, and looking forward to using 3200 to 6400 ISOs, I had a ball! The D700 performed better than I expected – photos even at 6400 ISO were usable with not as much noise as an 1600 ISO image from my old D80. And there’s something about the D700 sensor – the colours just seem so much nicer.
Here’s a selection of some of the photos from the night!
I have a bag with a range of lenses – but sometimes months go by and I haven’t touched one of them for ages! So over the Christmas summer break, I stuck on my Nikon 50mm f/1.2 lens on to play for a few days again. It was fun – sort of like getting re-acquainted with an old friend.
It brought back memories – firstly, that it was an ALL MANUAL lens! Manual exposure and focussing. But the results were AMAZING!
Yep, a bit of inconvenience to get the exposure right, but I only need to do that once per setting. I’m so glad I’m using digital that lets me choose the ISO and preview shots. Imagine if I was using this on film? I could stuff up a whole roll!!
The manual focus thing is a pain, but made me learn to shoot with my hand on the focus ring the whole time – as well as really looking at what’s in focus before I press the trigger. The tiny depth of field of this lens at 1.2 aperture made this a really challenging lens to use, especially for portraits.
I really love the bokeh on this lens too. It’s just silky smooth compared to my 50mm f/1.8.
I don’t recommend using this lens to shoot kids. They move about so much that the chances of getting something in focus is REALLY LOW! Nearly every shot was out of focus. But here’s a good one of my niece that I managed to get 🙂 Even so, only her eye on the right is in focus!
Using this lens really makes me think I need to get a 50mm f/1.4 to replace my 1.8. I just love the effect of the narrow depth of field!
Last blog post about this: https://jasechong.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/nikkor-50mm-f12/