Saturday, March 3, 2007

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF Lens is wonderful for the pictures we are taking of the Bengal Brothers, outside but it is too long for inside.

This lens got many rave reviews as a good inside lens when the light is less than optimal but a flash is not appropriate. A couple of the reviews also said that the f/1.8 was prefered over the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Lens because the f/1.4 offered such a shallow depth of field that it made Auto-focusing difficult unless the camera was specifically calibrated, beyond the factory calibrations. This lens stops down to f/22 for additional depth of field control.

Additionally, the f/1.8 is way cheaper, almost 3 times less $.

Why I like this lens, outside.
1) it is small! (currently I'm use to point & shoot, so the size feels right.)
2) its physical length does not interfere with the built in flash (mostly needed indoors), doesn't stick out much farther than my hand (photo below).
3) it is light weight! [5.5 oz. (155g)]
4) I don't have to think about zooming a zoom lens
5) I just shoot and with the high quality pictures and high resolution of the D80, I have plenty of extra pixel data to zoom in on my intended subjects, and still get a perfectly good 100Kb blog picture. I'm shooting at "Fine" and "Large," so the jpgs I get are 4000+Kb to start with.

The size is "right" for me.

The above, admittedely poor quality picture is good for illustrating my point. Tanji, spotted fore ground, was about 20 feet away and Uschi was about 175' away. The blow-up of Uschi isn't great quality but you can see what I'm getting at, there is information there. I did not do extensive touch-ups (no filters, sharpening, etc.) in Photoshop. A 50mm lens isn't the tool for trying to take a picture of a small subject 175' away, but I can capture subjects close and "far", good enough for a blog photo. The original picture (L) is 4650KB and the composite (15"x4.5", 72dpi) picture posted here is only 113KB.

Why I don't like this lens, inside.
50mm is actually to long of a lens for me inside. Even in our relatively large room (21'x30'), the action is always too close at hand for 50mm.
Through a 50mm lens subjects viewed with the camera appear about the same size as when viewed with the human eye, which is one of the reasons why 50mm lenses are called normal. But with the digital mutiplier of ~1.5, due to the DX format CCD, the 55mm becomes equivilatnt to an 82mm. This is too long for me to take pictures of small, fast, jumping subjects 2'-10' away.

Inside I have been "forced" to use our very nice Sigma 28mm-70mm f/2.8. This is a great lens but it is relatively heavy, big (72mm filters), and at 28mm it blocks the built in flash such that we get a curved shadow at the bottom of the pictures.

Sigma 28mm-70mm f/2.8 AF (at 28mm)

My current goal will be to get a Nikon 28mm f/2.8D AF Lens for indoor shots of the Bengal Brothers.

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