If anyone in the continental US was interested in purchasing my Series-E zoom lenses that I have extensively reviewed, I now have listed all three on eBay. This is the site that I have done literally all of my used lens transactions, both buying and selling. I have yet to run into any real problems, as the buyer protection policy is superb for deterring scammers. I enjoyed all three lenses in varying degrees, but the two telephoto zooms in particular were optically superb. The only reason I’m selling the entire set is that I am a prime guy, and have faster prime lenses that cover all these focal lengths. Here are some links if interested:
Just a quick update post, I have added the three zooms to the page detailing the general strengths and weaknesses of the entire 8-lens Series-E lineup by Nikon. The 6-month journey of photographing with these lenses, beginning with the 50mm f/1.8, has been a great exercise in technical lens reviewing and photographic artistry. All journeys have to come to an end, however, and this one is no different. One of the questions I have been asked on multiple occasions is “what lenses are YOU going to keep?” To be blunt and simple, the 50mm f/1.8 is the only Series-E I will hold on to and still use. The tiny nifty 50 is still the best example of a lens meeting my 4 “shootability” pillars in a legacy lens. Though most of the Series-E’s are optically great, their focal range overlaps with all of my primes that I enjoy using. Despite going through the review process of three zooms, I STILL couldn’t shake my prime-shooting habits. Zooms always stayed either at the wide or telephoto end, myself “zooming” with my feet to get the composition I wanted. So it stands, the other four primes have long been sold, and the remaining three zooms will find their way to eBay soon enough.
That’s all for this post guys and gals, thanks for dropping by!
Whew…it’s been awhile since my last lens review—I’ll admit to that! The rigors of school this past semester have just been too much to handle when combined with the upkeep of personal photography and this website. Even on this short break of mine, sports assignments and a faulty internet connection do their best to keep me from posting new content. I do try to still find free time.
If you are unfamiliar with my review methods, please see this post first!
The 70-210mm f/4 E by Nikon is the last “consumer” zoom to be reviewed in my long journey of working with this series of lenses over the past months. As some readers may know, I have a general negative bias towards zoom lenses. This is not from an image quality standpoint (though prime lenses tend to perform better anyway)—rather, when artistry is taken into account. A photographer can easily get lazy with composition when all they have to do is zoom in and out with the lens rather than their feet. This is more true with the 70-210mm with its 3x zoom range compared to the 2x zoom range of the 70-150mm f/3.5 and 36-72mm f/3.5. Generally speaking, however, this lens is by all means a telephoto (especially on APS-C or smaller sensor-cameras), so its use still is limited.
Supposedly this lens’ optics were used in Nikon’s first autofocus telephoto zoom, the Nikon 70-210mm f/4 AF. Does this mean its performance was superb even by non-Series-E standards? Let’s take a look! Continue Reading
The home stretch is now over. This coming week I go into full-on finals mode. With that comes the promise of few photographic opportunities. I do have one assignment that I look forward to taking and hopefully sharing with you all, though I have to keep my mouth shut on it for now.
But back to this post! I return to a familiar subject for manipulation today: cloud formations. It seems every time I look up in the sky, the combination of air and water vapor always manages to form different shapes and colors—no two days are alike. But as I’ve mentioned before, clouds can be extremely difficult to photograph properly. Usually when they fill the frame the end result is just a dull wish-washy mess with no sense of direction.
Just a bunch of grey…
I know what I saw in this strange sunset cloud formation, forming a natural pattern in the sky. I envisioned a natural cotton blanket in the sky lit from below by the warm sun. Some contrast and saturation adjustments later…and…
Blanket in the Sky 70mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/800
That’s it for this look into what my mind sees guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! I hope to have one more post this week before the series of steady posts returns for Christmas break (70-210mm f/4 and 50mm f/.95…I’m looking at you). Should be fun, and I can’t wait to get back into it!
I’m nearing the home stretch. This coming week is the last week of classes, and the next week consists of one final exam after another. After that? Christmas break! I hope to use this time not just to laze around for three weeks straight: I have all the technical pictures needed for writing the 70-210 f/4 E review, I have been shooting with the 50mm Noktor f/.95 for a while now and hope to thoroughly test it out, and I will post pretty regularly for the duration of the break.
That said, here and now I am still taking photographs, albeit not too many of the “artsy” style I like to capture. Here’s some from this past week I’d like to share. First up, from a Jazz/Percussion concert. Unfortunately, I didn’t see that my 180mm f/2.8 was set to f/4, but the stage was lit well-enough:
It’s funny how one thing can lead to another. Just last night after completing a photo assignment to capture a local food truck…
Roll! 50mm, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/13 (Tripod)
…I walked by a common fountain I see every day and finally got the urge to do a simple long exposure…
Triple Spout 50mm, ISO 100, f/4, .5 Seconds
…and upon crossing the street to get back, a brigade of emergency vehicles came screaming by. I thought, “Hmm…you know what would make a great light-trail? A FIRETRUCK!” Though my mind was racing, I was able to calm my nerves to get all the settings nailed before too many of them passed.
Firemen 50mm, ISO 100, f/16, 5 Seconds
And…maybe a police car?
The Cop 50mm, ISO 100, f/16, 5 Seconds
Yes, yes, I believe they did make neat light trails. Much more interesting than “just a car” driving by, anyway. And to think, had I not been on assignment, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to shoot these. A real shame to imagine that.
That’s all for this post guys and gals, thanks for dropping by. As always, have a great day!
Arguably the most versatile zoom, and lens, in the “consumer” Series-E by Nikon, the 70-210 f/4 also weighs in as the biggest and heaviest. At 25 ounces/730 grams, it’s over twice as heavy as the NEX-7. With that weight comes a useful 3x zoom, a fast f/4 constant aperture, and even a macro mode at 70mm (focusing down to 2 feet/.56 meters). With those features it becomes harder to complain about the front-heavy balancing, but it’s still there.
So far, I’m generally pleased with the optical performance. I haven’t had a chance yet to do any critical testing (or, photography in general) yet, but in real-world use, the f/4 aperture provides adequate depth-of-field control, and images appear pretty sharp straight from the start. With some chart shots, we’ll see just how much pixel-level detail gets resolved.
Until then, I took it out for a photowalk recently around town. I’ll finish up these quick impressions with 9 samples.
The first thing which comes to mind when writing this has to be “why in the world am I taking time out of my schedule to review a $3.22 remote?”
It’s simple, this little infrared remote release is one of the most important pieces of gear to have with you when doing tripod exposures, whether they be long (non-handholdable) or short (easily handholdable). The premise of this remote is pretty simple: make a small rectangular box with an IR emitter that can immediately trip the shutter or delay the shutter by two seconds on an infrared-compatible camera. That’s it. But it’s the simplicity of it that makes it so great. Continue Reading
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
To make a long story short, Sony is getting ready to make many, many announcements for updates to their alpha, NEX, and camcorder line-ups. It was supposed to happen at 5 a.m. London time (15 minutes after this post was written), but the good ‘ole guys at Photographic-Central seemed to have spilled the beans an hour early.
Though the full-frame a99 DSLT, full-frame RX1 (world’s first compact FF camera), NEX-6, and (most likely) the full-frame VG-900 camcorder all look very nice, I was looking forward in particular to the three rumored e-mount lens announcements to accompany the cameras. Thankfully, the rumors were right. In Sony’s press release, there will be a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake powerzoom, a 10-18mm f/4 ultrawide zoom, and a compact 35mm f/1.8. What’s so special about these lenses (despite their obvious specs), is all three will have OSS (Optical Steady Shot).
From some reviews I have seen of current e-mount lenses with OSS, the shutter speed advantage it can give a photographer while handholding seems to fall in-between 2-3 stops. Here’s the kicker, a 35mm f/1.8 will have OSS. This lens will most likely become the ultimate low-light tool for NEX photographers. By following the 1/focal length (in 35mm FoV) rule, a 35mm lens (on APS-C gives about a 50mm FoV) shouldn’t be handheld at shutter speeds less than 1/50. Well, with OSS on, if three stops of shutter speed advantage are given, it should now be safe to shoot at a ridiculously slow 1/13 of a second. With good technique and shooting in burst mode, one could probably push that shutter speed a bit lower. Keep in mind though, any moving subjects will be blurred at these kinds of shutter speeds (OSS doesn’t stop motion, unfortunately).
What should this lens mean for people like me? I’ll now have a fast “normal” lens that is supposed to be very compact (even more-so than the 1-stop slower 35mm f/2.5 E), providing good depth-of-field control as well as fantastic low-light capabilities by keeping ISOs low. Here’s to hoping the lens actually performs well at the larger apertures, eh?
Here’s a picture of the 35mm f/1.8 (mounted on the new NEX-6), taken from Photographic-Central:
All this said, I present a question to everyone, which lens in the e-mount announcements would you like to see reviewed first? I for one will be putting in a pre-order for the 35mm for my NEX-7 as soon as I can, but depending on what my readers want, I may reconsider. Sound off in the comments and/or answer in the poll below!
UPDATE: Amazon has just allowed pre-orders to start for all three of the new lenses (Adorama and B&H should follow soon). The voting is close between the 35mm f/1.8 and the 16-50 PZ, so I went ahead and pre-ordered both for now.