I may have stated in my last post that there would be no “weekend update” post today. Though that is technically the case, I was able to make some time to go on a much-needed photowalk with a friend downtown yesterday with my NEX-7 and trusty 105mm macro to get some more impressions on the lens for all types of photography. Just as I wrote about my “first” impressions with my 300mm f/2.8, I’ve had this wonderful macro for many months now, and it has been my go-to lens for product shots and “serious” macro work for its crazy edge-to-edge sharpness stopped down (just exactly how sharp remains to be determined via formal testing). However, with it’s fast f/2.8 aperture (providing the same shallow depth-of-field control as the 100mm f/2.8 Series-E), the 105mm f/2.8 can be used for anything from sports to portraits, if need be.
I hope to do some testing on this lens for the next few weeks when I can make some time, so don’t hold your breath for a full review by next weekend. All of the following taken near sunset through a walk in the city with the NEX-7 and this macro, handheld. First up, for most of the photowalk I had this strange fixation on seeing and capturing patterns. I’m not sure why, but so many stood out to me:
105mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/400
The second 2x zoom in the “consumer” rated Series-E lenses by Nikon, the 36-72mm E comes in as the most compact zoom of the three, thanks to its pancake design. When at 72mm (collapsed), the lens is actually about the same size as the 100mm E. Despited my general dissatisfaction with zoom lenses, the convenience they offer to photographers by having multiple focal lengths in one lens makes traveling light easy, and, theoretically, more shots are possible at any given time since composition can be more flexible. In my case, personal habits acquired from shooting prime lenses still carry over even to zooms: I either use this lens at the wide or tele end. Rarely do I zoom to get a shot. As such, I treat it as two prime lenses in one.
As many know, features such as fast maximum apertures, non-distorted lines, and close-focus abilities are often sacrificed to gain convenience, especially in the smaller zooms. The question here then is does the compactness and generally useful focal range (on APS-C) of the 36-72mm E outweigh likely performance drops? Let’s find out! Continue Reading
Well, first off, apologies for being two days late. To make a long story short, I have had some crazy work hours the past 5 days. Each day essentially went eat–>work–>eat–>sleep–>repeat, with no free time in-between. I’ll make up for the wait with some great photographs at the end.
Regardless, I’m back now, and ready to continue my exploration of the Series-E lenses. What you see above is the final prime in the “consumer-rated” series Nikon made accompanying their much more expensive AI-s counterparts. With a semi-wide (more like a short normal) field of view and not-so-fast maximum aperture on APS-C cameras, the 28mm E doesn’t seem to be a lens to write home about. Its close focus is about the same as the 35mm E, but with the wider angle, this lens doesn’t make as good as a “poor-man’s macro”. Unfortunately it also isn’t a very cheap lens either, most copies on eBay go for $100/€82 or more (though, the AI-s version usually sells for at least $250/€204).
What the 28mm E does do, is take pictures with a wider field of view than I’m used to. My previous widest lens was the aforementioned 35mm E, but this new personal record-holder gives photographs a completely different perspective. As some may know, shallow depth of field photography is something I love, but with this lens, getting that shallowness is only possible at, or near, close-focus. As such, framing is crucial. Any objects in normal distances better be appealing, I can’t blur them out even wide open!