IMPORTANT: If you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please reference this post first!
Ahh…back to writing another lens review. It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote my last one back in January. Though I can attribute most of this delay to a lack of free time, another part of it is due to the fact that old man winter decided to hang on a little past his welcome this year. As a macro lens, the Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 AI-s has a penchant for taking close-ups of flowers and what-not—with plant life just now starting to come back to life, the photographic subjects are slowly increasing.
But the neat thing about a macro lens is that they tend to be well-corrected at all focus distances. Combined with its fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, the 105mm micro might be a strong performer for landscapes, portraits, or even sports. The question is, can it deliver outside its forte of close-focusing? Let’s find out! Continue Reading
105mm, ISO 100, f/4, 1/160
So…I thought I would be able to finish my 105mm f/2.8 Micro review this weekend; I even set aside some time to work on it. One delay ran into another, and now I’m only about half done writing it. As such, I also haven’t had the time to look through the photographs I have taken this past week. There’s a lot of sports going on lately (especially lacrosse), so next week’s update should be chock-full of action taken with my NEX-7.
In other news, Sony contacted me regarding my peeling NEX-7 and claim that it is, in fact, my camera (hmm…). How they messed the LCD screen up—and left the sensor cleaning dysfunctional—is beyond me, but they are trying to make amends; I’ll be receiving a loaner NEX-7 from them in the mail soon and will send my camera off yet again. Who knows what they’ll do to it this time…
So, in closing, if I can find the time I’ll have that 105mm review up by tomorrow night. If not…well…it’ll get there when it gets there.
Take care guys and gals.
105mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/640
Now that plants are starting to bloom (though this technically is a weed), I will be able to get much more sample shots for when I can make time for the 105mm f/2.8 Micro AI-s review.
To make a long story short, I am in a bittersweet mood about my NEX-7 finally being back in my hands. I’m happy I finally have a “real” camera again, but am a little disappointed that A)The sensor cleaning function still doesn’t seem to work and B)The rear LCD turned out to be peeling when I took the plastic off (when I sent it in, the rear LCD was immaculate). I believe Sony has sent me a refurbished NEX-7, instead of my own camera. Not too keen on getting back a camera in worse shape than when I sent it in for repair, so I’ll be contacting them this week to see what the deal is.
But in the meantime, I’ve been busy! I photographed everything from tiny flowers to the sky this past week and managed to shake off my “camera blues” from not having my NEX-7 for over three weeks.
First up, I learned a little bit more about light painting in my photography class. Though I feel this genre is overdone and cliqué in many ways, I tried to be as original as possible Continue Reading
I must apologize for being a day late on my weekly update, the time got away from me this past weekend. Nonetheless, I do have some news on my experience with Sony Laredo Repair regarding my NEX-7. Unfortunately, as most of you know, Sony decided to overnight my NEX-7 the night that I left for Spring Break. I got to Florida, while my camera arrived at my university. Tough luck for me. At any rate I picked it up today and found to my surprise that Sony seemed to give my NEX-7 a makeover. It almost feels like a new camera (it’s not though, I remember a few scratches unique to the camera)! The viewfinder is spotless, the screen has either been replaced or heavily cleaned (a protective film was over it), the entire body was wiped down, and the IR glass filter in front of the sensor is brand-new (the reason I sent it in). With everything covered under warranty, and the sensor brought back to essentially new condition, I am—finally—a pretty happy camper. I can’t wait to get back in the swing of all things photography: I’m learning some techniques for light painting this week, photographing a few sporting events, and will make time for a photowalk if the rain/cold briefly clears up.
Plans aside, last week down in sunny Florida was a blast. I chose the stress-free option for break, staying far away from any sort of partying. Instead, relaxing on the beach and catching up with/making new friends took up the majority of my time. That little Canon point-and-shoot I brought along did an O.K. job, at least for a 5 year-old camera. I definitely had to take a step back and focus on getting exposure, white balance, and composition right: with only 8 megapixels of low-quality JPEG to work with, there isn’t any leeway for post-processing!
Pardon the dust/sand.
As I mentioned last week, this PowerShot has a nice macro mode at the wide end, allowing for some SUPER close focusing that gives me some good control over depth-of-field. As such, there’ll be a lot of macro shots in this post. To work out your own equivalency in focal length/field-of-view, this camera’s 6-60mm lens covers the 36-360mm field-of-view in 35mm-format terms. Simply take the mm’s listed in the following picture’s EXIF data and multiply by six.
6mm, ISO 80, f/2.8, 1/160
I do not consider myself a “gearhead”–that is, one who salivates over the next big thing and cannot wait to buy/try it. That said, as a photographer trying to become as flexible as possible, there are certain additions to the camera bag that I have found essential to better photography.
Some items of gear make the most obvious sense—a tripod is necessary for many, many situations to get better photographs. By “better”, I mean it in the technical aspect: an image taken at base ISO with a longer exposure will always look better than taken handheld at a jacked-up ISO and faster shutter speed (better dynamic range, less noise, etc.). Also, panoramas are much easier to shoot on a tripod (even if you aren’t using a dedicated pano head), since you don’t have to worry about keeping your arms level when turning. Continue Reading
It’s that time again, the weekend update, right? Not exactly! Unlike previous weeks where I either haven’t had the time to go out on photowalks or have been taking pictures with multiple lenses, I looked back through my Lightroom catalogues and found that nearly every photograph I took this week was with the stunning Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s! So, I’ll treat this post as a first impressions of the lens; though you’ll soon see, photographs here cover the typical gamut of my weekly style.
To sum up what the 85mm f/1.4 is in three words is simple: fast, long, (and) sharp! The maximum f/1.4 aperture provides not only excellent depth-of-field control, but also a lot of light to work with in all conditions. The 85mm focal length normally covers the “short portrait” field-of-view on a full-frame camera–but on APS-C, a very nice “long portrait” view, similar to a 135mm lens. Finally, this lens is killer-sharp, even wide-open! There are only two problems I’ve seen shooting at this exotic aperture, both of which are related. The difficulty in nailing focus is hard enough, but the gotcha is that anything that is even slightly out-of-focus is prone to heavy longitudinal aberrations. Thankfully, they can mostly be edited out, but it’s something to keep in mind. I’ve found the 85mm f/1.4 to really hit a sweet spot at about f/1.8, where it’s not only easier to focus, but the aberrations are also very manageable.
Also, the bokeh is simply beautiful. Hands-down amazing.
All of the following taken with the NEX-7, ranging from formal portraits to street photography to sports photography to stage photography (in that order!). What a mouthful!
85mm, ISO 100, f/2, 1/200
It’s been another busy (and cold) week here in Lexington, but not one where I have neglected photography. Allow me to get you caught up.
All of the following taken with the NEX-7. First up, Valentine’s Day was this past Thursday. I hope you all were able to spend it with your special someone!
105mm, ISO 100, f/4, 6 Seconds
Apart from holidays, I also took the stellar 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro Nikkor along for another photo-walk downtown. This one had to be cut short due to biting winds, but I still managed to find some interesting subjects and patterns along the way.
105mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200, 1:2 Magnification
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
Winter’s chilly grasp has taken hold recently. Combined with my sickness (which I’m almost out of the woods with), any photography outside of assignments has been mostly a wash this week. However! I did want to at least get one photograph with that 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor. Before I move on to the rest of the post, I’m working on a project 52 (speaking of which, I will share all of them upon its completion), and this week’s theme was “Still Life”. Being a college student, I do not have the luxury of drapes, wooden bowls, and picture perfect fruit at my disposal. Looking into the meaning of still life photography–that is, the depiction of inanimate subject matter usually as a small grouping of objects–I glanced around my room and got as creative as I could. I had one banana, a few chocolate turtles, and some paper.
Let’s combine them all.
105mm, ISO 100, f/8, 8 Seconds
Another week has come and gone and I still haven’t had the chance to take a close look at my Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro. Though I attribute that mostly to being sick with laryngitis and the busyness of school, that macro has just been breathing down my neck for a long time now. Hopefully soon, we’ll see.
In other news, despite my sickness and schoolwork, I still had many photo assignments to take care of, all of which were enjoyable to photograph. First up, this past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which my university participated in as the MLKJr. Day of Service. Around campus we had multiple stations with service projects for students and community members to volunteer to help out the community. These ranged from areas to make Valentine’s cards for veterans…
35mm, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/40