The Nikon nifty-fifty 50mm f1.4G. Probably my most useful lens taking price & size into consideration. For a fast f1.4 lens, this weighs only 280g & is a good choice for a first prime lens. Priced at around £255 in the UK, this lens is great for street photography, general walkabout or even a holiday/vacation lens. It can also be used as a portrait lens for 3/4 or full length & small group shots. (On a DX crop frame, the 50mm becomes an excellent portrait lens at 75mm, but perhaps not so useful as a walkabout.)
Sharpness is equal to my Nikkor 105mm f2.8 & Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G. At the widest aperture of f1.4, the 50mm f1.4 has a sharp area in the centre, with softness out to the edges (great for portraits). The central sharp area gets bigger from f1.8 through f2.0 & at f2.8 the lens is sharp edge to edge. Despite not having the magic Nano crystal coating, colours are good & there are no issues with flare. With 9 rounded aperture blades, Bokeh is good with no nasty surprises in the highlights.
Autofocus is not pro-level, but perfectly fine for regular use. Minimum focus distance is 0.45m & construction is mostly plastic. It doesn’t feel as though it could be dropped too many times, but it’s not a pro lens & doesn’t cost £1k!
The first example using this lens was taken at Tynwald National Park, St John’s, Isle of Man. Details are Nikon D810 + Nikkor 50mm f1.4G @ f2.0, 1/1500 sec, ISO 100, handheld. I love the soft colours in this shot & the Bokeh is soft & not distracting.
This next image was taken in Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man. Details are Nikon D810 + Nikkor 50mm f1.4G @ f2.0, 1/60 sec, ISO 220, handheld. In this shot, I love the soft stained glass windows in the background against the candles & the cross. The colours again are very good.
This final example image which was taken at Grove House Museum of Victorian Life, Ramsey, Isle of Man. Details are Nikon D810 + Nikkor 50mm f1.4G @ f2.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 160, handheld. One of the guides had created some beautiful arrangements using flowers from the garden. I was very close to this vase & depth of field is narrow allowing the period hobby horses in the background to be blurred.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post & I hope you enjoyed the images.
Soon after I bought my camera, I decided to take some macro images. I needed to find a way to do this without harming the creature.
It was mid-September & we sometimes found insects trapped inside the house, banging against a window. One day we found a wasp & decided to keep him overnight. It was a spell of good weather & with a good forecast for the next day. After catching him in a jar, we then put the covered jar in the fridge to cool him down overnight.
The next morning, it was bright & sunny, so I set up my camera & tripod outside with a little set (a slice of lemon on a mirror) arranged on a stool. It would have been easier indoors where I could have controlled the lighting & also kept him cool, but I wanted him to be able to fly away when he was ready. I didn’t expect him to be ready so quickly!
When the set was ready, we brought out the jar from the fridge & carefully placed the wasp on the lemon slice. We were very careful that we didn’t damage his limbs.
Once in place, I started to take a few shots & within 30 seconds or so, he started walking slowly, then vibrating very quickly to warm himself & after a minute, he flew away. I managed only 3 or 4 shots, but I was very happy with the results & pleased that my model appeared to be undamaged from his overnight stay.
The resulting image was shot on a Nikon D810 with Nikkor 105mm micro f2.8 lens at f11, 1/125sec, ISO 100. The full size image can be seen here.
The Sound by Moonlight.
With so many stunning landscapes to enjoy on the Isle of Man, I found that the Island also has 26 official Dark Skies locations. I was inspired to try some night photography at some of those locations & chose the Sound in the South of the Island as my first try. The Sound is the name given to the water channel between the Calf of Man & the mainland.
With a useful resource called The Photographer’s Ephemeris, I was able to check the position of the moon & noticed that it was due to be directly over The Calf during the night. At 1am in the night, I gathered my Nikon D810 camera, Nikkor 24-120mm f4 lens, tripod & a torch I headed off to The Sound.
Wandering around at the dead of night is a little spooky, but I found a location that matched what I had in mind & set up my tripod. There’s a flashing beacon on the small rocky islet called Kitterland between the mainland & the Calf. I decided to use the Thousla Cross to obstruct the beacon & also decided to light the cross in honour of the men involved in the French schooner Jeaune St Charles rescue in 1858.
I tried a few test shots & settled on using my lens zoomed out to 24mm, with manual exposure. A shutter speed of 6 seconds, wide open at f4 & ISO 1600 seemed to work well for the shot. Part way through the exposure, I flashed my torch at the cross to create the lighting effect. It took a few tries to get this how I wanted. Checking the camera’s LCD screen, I was surprised to see how much colour was in the sky, despite it being nearly 2am. The moon had a lovely effect on the almost purple sky & I was excited with the results.
The full size image is here, I hope you like it.
This is my first ever blog & if you found this little story interesting, I’d love to hear your thoughts.