If you haven’t been able to tell from my recently lowered volume of posts lately, I’ve been busy. Classes getting into session and photography assignments are making it difficult to keep up with the website (such as working on the 36-72mm review). Fortunately, I still have a bit of time to share some of my assignments with everyone, such as the first soccer game of the 2012 season. Coincidentally, this was actually my first time photographing soccer. It’s a whole ‘nother ball game (no pun intended). Unlike baseball and basketball, where there are general areas I can pre-focus on to get near the action, soccer is quite literally all over the field. Let’s just say it is testing my manual focus skills, heavily. Though, I’m sure I’ll get much better as the season progresses and I get back into the swing of things. After all, it’s been 4 months since my last time photographing sports. Hopefully I’m just rusty. 🙂
All of the following taken with the NEX-7 and Nikon 180 or 300mm f/2.8 AI-s ED. Lighting was dull due to clouds (it was actually spitting rain most of the time), but at least it made it easy to keep exposures consistent. 🙂
Eye on the Prize
300mm, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/1000
Seen here, the left hand is supporting the lens. Very important!
Despite its heft, size, and even cartoonishly disproportionate appearance, the Nikon 180mm f/2.8 AI-s ED is an odd, yet intriguing lens in use. It is one of the few hand-holdable, long, and FAST prime lenses that I know of, especially those made by Nikon (the only other one out there is the autofocus version of this lens!). What usually comes to mind for nowadays’ fast telephotos are the bulky 200mm f/2’s, the monster 300mm f/2.8’s, and even the gargantuan 400mm f/2.8’s. Though these lenses are indeed fast and long, they are far from being walk-around lenses; the main (if only) times they will be seen deployed in the field is on a monopod or tripod. The cost is nothing to sneeze at either, google any of these focal lengths and apertures and you will find lenses in the multi-thousands of dollars, even used. Though the 180mm is “only” an f/2.8, it is still very, very fast for its focal length.
Hello everyone! I didn’t want to leave anybody out in the cold with my absence these past few days. I’m busy finishing up the Nikon 180mm full review, will hopefully post that up by tomorrow afternoon. Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, just hang tight. 🙂
You know, it’s really not that big!
In an attempt to keep the review train chugging and rolling along, I finally acquired another long, fast, telephoto a couple weeks ago to fill the range in between my 105mm f/1.8 (review seen here) and 300mm f/2.8 (impressions/review coming later). This lens is the slightly-odd Nikon 180mm f/2.8 AI-s ED. It’s relatively small, not too heavy, and is pretty fast for its focal length. You put those three things together, it wouldn’t be expected to perform well wide open, right? Wrong! The “ED” abbreviation in the lens name stands for Nikon’s Extra-low Dispersion glass, which basically is just special glass that is extremely useful in long, fast telephotos to reduce secondary chromatic aberrations (notably purple fringing). My 300mm f/2.8 has an element of this glass, and it enables use wide-open, no problem! Purple fringing, compared to other fast primes without the ED glass, is negligible. This sort of performance is what other fast telephoto lenses can only dream of. Other lens companies can try—my old Tokina 80-200 f/2.8 that I no longer own had its own version of ED glass—but it wasn’t near up to the level of this lens at f/2.8 (though, in fairness, one lens is a zoom, the other a prime).