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Sorry I know I am boring (another lens ?)

Discussion in 'photo' started by garyi, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    I have just won another lens on ebay, its a manual focus 50mm e series nikkor lens.

    I was quite surprised to win it for 17 quid, especially as it goes to F1.8 and after a bit of research I find its perhaps because this particular lens is not 'coated'

    The coating apparently prevents loss of light through reflection, my question is presumably although on paper the lens would appear to be fast, will I be loosing most of that speed through the lack of multi coating?
  2. cliffpatte

    cliffpatte Speed camera anarchist


    1.8 is not "fast"

    For a simple 50mm lens a quick one would be 1.4 and an ultra quick dogs bollocks one would be 1.2

    1.8 is "standard" for a fixed focal length lens of this sort.

    £17 seems fair enough to me, although what you would use it for on an autofocus camera I have no idea.

  3. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    hi Cliff.

    I am actually saving right now for a 'proper' AF nikon lens, I am going for a 35mm one which should bring me up to around 50mm on my camera.

    In the mean time I am having a play with lenses to get a feel, and although manual focus, and basically manual everything I think this is good practice.

    I have learnt that my best pictures are coming from using a 28mm Prime lens from Vivitar, I really enjoy having to do everything for myself.

    Here is one I took earlier, apart from the frame I have done nothing to the image, its amazing how much more creative you have to be without a zoom:


    Thanks for the info on speed, I thought 1.8 was quite fast.
  4. cliffpatte

    cliffpatte Speed camera anarchist

  5. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    I have them bookmarked for my 35mm lens.

    A 50mm on my D50 is more like a 70mm, I want something around 35mm to make it 50mm on my D50.

    Its all so confusing!
  6. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s


    50/1.2 lenses are for wankers with more money than sense. In practical terms, the half-stop of speed means diddly squat when both f1.2 and f1.4 lenses are at their sharpest at f2.8 or smaller. And even with digital SLRs, a f1.4 lens is plenty bright when f4 zooms are the norm.

  7. Paul L

    Paul L coffee lounge for me

    The nice thing about lenses like Nikon's 1.8 Garyi is their compactness. Plus they often have the reputation of being as sharp as the much more expensive ones already mentioned or not giving up an awful lot. OOF areas will arguably need a bit of control (depending on number of blades) if you're going to use it as a short telephoto for portraiture on digital. The E range will not have the same reputation as others in terms of build or quality I suspect although it's a while since I looked up the 50mm varieties. I have an MF 1.8Ai and an AF 1.8AF-D.

    As you will have discovered by now, the brighter light coming through the viewfinder of a 1.8 compared with slower lenses and variable zooms is also a nice addition. I don't know how you're focusing though, with film I was dead fussy in choosing an F90X specifically for its port-hole viewfinder. Likewise the F3 and I also replaced the K2 screen with the brighter (FM3a) K3 screen for my FM2N.

    I would probably not cope with focusing a manual lens on a digital letterbox VF or LCD screen. Of course, you can simply pre-focus the 50mm for your shooting, especially portraiture. This is one thing I really like about using my MF lenses rather than my AF ones. Sure you can use focus lock but it's all abuout what you're shooting. I still prefer shooting manual.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P certified Buffologist / mod


    Fast is a relative term. With a telephoto lens, like a 300mm, a maximum aperture of f/1.8 would be considered ultra-mega-hyper fast. In fact, the fastest 300mm every made was the 300mm f/2 Nikkor, a lens so heavy you'd have to be a body builder to use it and so expensive you'd need a defence budget to buy it.


    With a 50mm lens, on the other hand, f/1.8 is not so fast. But f/1.8 is f/1.8 is f/1.8, whatever focal length the lens happens to be. And compared with your 28-85mm and 18-55mm zooms, your 50 is very fast, about two stops faster than those same lenses set to 50mm. It's just that your 50 f/1.8 isn't fast for a 50. (Hope this is making sense.)

    The E-series 50 is coated, it's just not multi-coated, presumable to cut production costs. As long as you avoid sunrise and sunset shots -- and you should -- in practice there's not much difference between the single-coated E-series 50 and the multi-coated 50. That said, the multi-coated 50 is a bit sharper and has slightly better contrast. Incidentally, the 50 to get on a budget is the 50 f/2 AI Nikkor -- it's sharp, contrasty, reasonably fast and cheap. Buy, hey, 17 squid isn't much to pay for a decent lens, which your E-series 50 is.


    P.S. If you get the 35mm f/2 AF-Nikkor, be sure to get the D version. Earlier ones tended to leak oil on the aperture blades, eventually sticking them shut.

    P.P.S. The 50mm f/1.2 Nikkor is worse than the f/2 version at all apertures in common.
  9. Paul L

    Paul L coffee lounge for me

    Joe's post reminds me to add that I never use any lens without trying to use what I consider to be a decent lens hood. Plus trying to avoid flare of course.
  10. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    Thanks guys this information is great.

    So f numbers are intimately related to the mm of the lens, there is no universal 'truth'

    In terms of focusing, I am worried now I am doiong something very wrong, the above picture which although not going to win any awards is to date IMO my best shot ever. A combination of good lighting, a prime lens and I think reasonable subject led to a shot I would feel happy to display with no adjustments in photoshop. For you guys this is probably no big deal (or even a great shot), for me its the shedding of the reliance on 'P' mode or 'Auto' and having a stab myself and getting it all right. To obtain this shot I made an educated guess on what settings I would need, in the end I had to open the aperture 2 more clicks to get to this stage. So I was happy.

    I think the problem for newbies like myself is the inclination is to go to the extremes, fully open or shut aperture and really fast or slow shutter. Its the bits in the middle I am learning that lead to a better picture.

    I am waffling now. What I meant to say was that I have for outside shots in general been putting the prime lens to infinity focusing with little problems, I do notice however if the aperture is fully open focusing looks fuzzy even over 10 feet on infinity. I guess I am learning some more.
  11. Joe P

    Joe P certified Buffologist / mod


    No, I said the opposite. Regardless of the lens's focal length, whether it's a 6mm fisheye or 2000mm telephoto or anything in between, whatever f-stop you set the lens to is a constant -- in other words, at any given aperture the same amount of light is let through the lens.

    f/2 is f/2 is f/2

    Most lenses get noticeably sharper as you stop them down from wide open, but as you approach the smallest aperture the reverse happens because the light is being defracted by the aperture blades. In practice, it means that the middle f-stops tend to be the sharpest for any lens. On cheap, crappy lenses this pattern is obvious. On well-made, generally expensive lenses, less so.

  12. AlexG

    AlexG ...

    iGary - I've bought from Microglobe in the past (via ebay only) and their service has been absolutely superb with their prices very competitive.
  13. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    Thanks Joe. On a prime lens though an f/2 is going to be subjectively better than on a cheap 18-55mm zoom because there is less stuff to get through?

    Alex, thanks for the thumbs up, they are about 40 quid cheaper for the lens I have my eye on.
  14. AlexG

    AlexG ...

  15. guybat

    guybat [+]

  16. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    Thats the one I have my eye on yes.

    I am assuming its 35mm for film camera so would be around 50mm on my D50?
  17. Joe P

    Joe P certified Buffologist / mod


    That's generally true -- a prime will be faster than a zoom and, at a given aperture, a prime will be sharper than zoom. It's not universally true because some very well made (and expensive) zooms and are better than mediocre primes. Basically, it goes like this --

    professional primes > prosumer primes > professional zooms > prosumer zooms > cheap, shitty zooms you shouldn't have bought

    This is generally true within a brand, but not necessarily between brands.


    P.S. I think it's a considered a real word now, but prosumer, elision of professional and consumer, could make it to Alex's word thread.
  18. Paul L

    Paul L coffee lounge for me

    Garyi, I think what Joe is basically saying on lenses and fast f-stops is that (up to a point) anything is possible. So with 300mm, 400mm etc. yes you can find fast lenses but, boy, do you pay for them. Not just in money either but in terms of the amount of glass necessitated by the design and in bulk and weight. So, even in smaller focal length lenses faster is not necessarily better because the slower lens might simply have a simpler design and therefore a quality benefit if executed well.

    I'm crap at landscapes and I like yours. It's the light that does it for me. If you take something like the rule of thirds (and I'm careful to add guide rather than rule) then you can say for example that perhaps the eye is drawn to the centre rather than more towards the right (the argument going that our eyes assess from left to right and are drawn in this way). However, who is to say this is prescriptive.

    Back to the fast vs slow lens. Your kind of shooting (or this kind of shooting) might be f11 with a fairly close minimum focus point. I mostly shoot pics of my daughter and I try and take ahighly personal style of unconventional or non-posed. I don't have a scanner but I'll try and put a link here http://uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ploader@btinternet.com/album?.dir=7ad8&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//uk.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos

    (one day I'll understand computers and get rid of that bloke in the 'tree' picture!)

    Now, I usually shoot at f4 irrespective of shutter speed and I usually use two or three lenses only. My 105mm 2.5Ai (Gauss version but early one, lovely old pre-used heavy lens with scalloped focus ring), my 50MM 1.8Ai, my 85mm 1.8AF-D and my 50mm 1.8AF-D. Well okay, four lenses then. I have others but these are pretty much my thing. So, for my taste f8 is too much background, f5.6 is sometime okay and I constantly want to catch my daughter off-guard for natural expressions. I mostly use pre-focus, try and assess likely compositions for light and then simply rattle off a number of shots. I'm looking for a handful about 4 times each year. Now, if I used a cheap zoom I would be working pretty much wide open and therefore not in the best part of the lens capability. With my lenses I'm able to use them where they should start to work best. I just have to continue to learn to do them justice!
  19. Joe P

    Joe P certified Buffologist / mod


    Sure, there's lots of examples of a slower lens being better than a faster one, but the reverse is also true. Among manual-focus Nikkors, for instance, the 35mm f1.4 is better than the 35mm f/2, which is better than the 35mm f/2.8.

  20. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    "prosumer, elision of professional and consumer, could make it to Alex's word thread"

    So 'prosumer' means unseemly row between two bad tempered old farts who should know better?


    PS I'm thinking of a new lens. Can't decide between the Pentax 40mm Limited or the Voigtlander 90/2.5 SL Close Focus (i know where there is an used one in Pentax mount for £200).

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