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Another Look at the Nikkor 50mm f1.4

So the other day doing some of these tests I mounted my camera with the 50mm f1.4 on my studio tripod, and made some test shot.

Later when I wanted to go out to do some shooting on the streets of Athens, I snapped the quick-release on the Manfrotto… To my horror the camera immediately tipped over and hit the floor, bending and locking the UV filter onto the front of the lens barrel!!!!

Horror stories like that are a dime a dozen amongst photographers, but of course this meant that I had to test the damn thing again, this time to work out if there had been any internal misalignment of the elements.

So back I went to my trusty Jade tree, and here is the result. Meanwhile I also updated my D200 firmware to version 2.0.1 and thought perhaps I may share the results here. I have uploaded a jpeg of the shot at 1900 px (horizontally) for the techies amongst you to check out.

It was shot in the shade on a bright, hot sunny Athens day on my balcony at f5.6, shutter speed 100, ISO 125, on the Nikkor 50mm f1.4, in RAW format, with 0.33 over exposure in post processing. No other corrections were made, except for a slight smart sharpen filter in Photoshop, at low settings.

I must say it looks amazing quality to my eyes. It’s interesting to have fallen in love all over again with my by now very basic equipment. Given my strict paring down of my hardware, I become more and more pleased with this rule of less equipment more photography.

As I used to say to my students, commit to the frame, no post cropping, and damn zoom lenses. You want a closer shot, move in closer. I’m very glad that I have not stopped practicing what I have always preached. And now especially since my decision to abandon the automatic mode except in high pressure circumstances, and working strictly with manual mode I am beginning to see the whole package of decisions pay dividends. The gain in control has meant a serious boost in the quality of the final images now, and as I have finally concentrated on streamlining the shooting and processing steps it is becoming a total pleasure again to call myself a photographer. Working with digital need not be a second best to film.

Oh and the lens by the way in great Nikkor tradition is unharmed. All I have to do now is find a tool that can remove the damaged UV so I can put a new one on the front (yep it is well and truly jammed on!).

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