Woohoo! IV (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nikon)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Martin Francis, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Can one person have the same lucky break twice??

    My first Woohoo, some time ago, was when I acquired a near-mint FM3a (Black)
    from work for a bargaintastic £100, which I sold shortly after to make quick
    £££s to fund more important things. Well, this time it's the same camera,
    but chrome... for the same price, and the same great condition!

    So all my Leica/Contax wonderings are evaporating- if it was good enough for
    me before, it's good enough now. All I need to do is decide which lenses to
    get... I have a hankerin' for some fine f1.4 glass....
     
    Martin Francis, Oct 22, 2004
    #1
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  2. Martin Francis

    Gordon Moat Guest

    If you get another FM3A, there are a few good f1.4 choices in older Nikon
    manual focus lenses. The 35 mm f1.4 AIS is quite nice, yet a little tough to
    find used at a good price. If you find a clean example, that is one of the
    nicest lenses for available light use.

    The 85 mm f1.4 AIS is another excellent choice, though it is a heavy lens with
    a 72 mm filter mount. I find the 85 mm f2.0 much more compact, and nearly as
    good at anything other than really close range, or shots needing that extra
    stop open.

    With the 50 mm f1.4, I went through four AIS versions before finding one I
    liked. This might be sample variation, quality control, or just bad luck. I
    have read about many people complaining about the 50 mm f1.4, but I think once
    you find a good example, it is a nice lens. My favourite of the Nikon 50 mm
    choices is the slightly older 50 mm f2.0 AI long barrel design, which has very
    nice defocus rendition.

    Then there are exotic choices in the f1.2 realm from Nikon. Only the 58 mm f1.2
    Nocturnal, which is somewhat rare and expensive, is really an excellent lens.
    The 50 mm f1.2 actually performs worse than almost any 50 mm f1.4, with more
    light falloff towards the edges of the image plane. The prior 55 mm f1.2 Ai is
    okay, but not much of a change from a 50 mm f1.4 AIS in illumination.

    Enjoy your search.
     
    Gordon Moat, Oct 22, 2004
    #2
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  3. Ta, Gordon. I've my heart set on the 85/1.4, a 180/2.8 AF (maybe not yet)
    and i'm 90% convinced I want a 45/2.8 (I used to have the old-style long
    barrel 50/1.8 which was optically identical to the old 50/2, and hence
    fantastic- if I find one, i'll get one too). Wides are the issue- I want the
    35/1.4, but I admit the 35/2 I used to have was a nice lens. If I could
    afford it i'd sacrifice a couple of stops and get the 20-35/2.8...
     
    Martin Francis, Oct 22, 2004
    #3
  4. Martin Francis

    Alan Browne Guest


    Steady lad. (and I just got back from the woods and the colors and the E100VS
    behind a Carl Zeiss 150 f/4 on a 500CM... too bad I don't own the damned thing...)

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Oct 22, 2004
    #4
  5. Martin Francis

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I rented several 180 mm f2.8 versions prior to buying one. I found virtually no
    detectable difference between final images from any of them, though the weight
    and focus feel differences were noticeable. If you want to manually focus one
    of these, the autofocus versions feel very loose, and not precise, the AIS ED
    version has a fairly short throw, and the AI or earlier seem to have a slightly
    longer throw. I suggest trying one out prior to buying one. Also, if you get a
    chance, try using one with a PK-11 short extension tube. That extension tube
    allows for a slightly closer focus, and can be interesting for head shot
    portraits.
    I have large hands, so I did not like the really short lens barrel of the 45 mm
    f2.8. If that does not bother you, having one on the FM3A would almost make it
    a jacket pocket camera.
    The Tamron 17 - 35 mm zoom really surprised me in a comparison with the Nikon.
    While I am somewhat anti-zoom, the newest Tamron manual focus is almost exactly
    the same in rendition as the more expensive Nikon zoom.

    The 35 mm f2.0 did nothing to impress me, though the 35 mm f1.4 would be nice
    to have on hand. I have only rented the 35 mm f1.4, and it is great for low
    light photography. I actually think it is noticeably better than the 50 mm
    f1.4. The only 35 mm I currently own is a PC-Nikkor 35 mm f2.8, which actually
    works incredibly well unshifted, and at f2.8. The PC-Nikkor is actually more
    expensive than the f1.4, so unless you want to do architectural images, and can
    deal with using a pre-set lens, stick with the 35 mm f1.4.

    If you are not going to quickly be getting the 85 mm, you might want to try the
    105 mm f2.5. While it is tougher to use in low light conditions, I have found
    that the 105 mm f2.5 is so good that you might not want to use any 85 mm. There
    are many of these on the used market, so prices are somewhat low. If I was told
    I could only have one Nikon lens, my choice would be the 105 mm f2.5 AIS.
     
    Gordon Moat, Oct 23, 2004
    #5
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