Sunday, 23 September 2012

Nikkor primes for a DX Shooter

My D90 arrived yesterday and so I took it out for a quick spin after work. Love it! What an amazingly responsive, compact yet solid DSLR. I put on the 18-105mm VR kit lens, and despite my phobia against plastic mount lenses, I was also pleasantly surprised at how well this lens felt and performed. Very good 'walk around' combo.

Nikon D90 with 18-105mm VR kit lens. B&W conversion in Photoshop

With any new body, I start thinking lenses. And whatever I choose, it's always a compromise between features, image quality and price. I'm always looking for the best 'bang' for my buck. I want the best image quality I can get, for the least amount of dollars.

I'd love a Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8G, 24-70mm f2.8G, 70-200mm f2.8 VR, 500mm f4 etc, but my kids wouldn't eat, my wife would kill me, we'd loose our house... you get the idea.

So I start looking around at the hidden (or not so hidden) 'gems' in a manufacturers line-up, to see if I can build a decent (cheap) kit from there. The only lens I'm keeping from my recent kit, the Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5/4.5 is, I believe, one such 'gem' of a lens - with a fairly handy walk-around focal length too. This will form the 'basis' of my new lens kit. But what to add next?

Nikon's 'Nifty' 50!
Actually, that's a pretty easy question to answer - it has to be the 'nifty fifty'. And this time, it was even easier to answer, because a 50mm f1.8D came with the Nikon D90 I bought. Sweet.

With the 1.5x 'crop factor' of a DX body like the D90, a 50mm lens becomes a 75mm f1.8 - a pretty decent portrait lens. The 50mm f1.8D is my 'go to' lens when I'm with the bride as she is getting ready. I can get in nice and close, but still maintain a reasonable working distance, and get beautifully smooth out-of-focus backgrounds at f1.8. All-in-all, a classic 'must have' low-light portrait prime for a DX system, which also happens to be Nikon's cheapest lens. Can't go wrong really.

The more I considered lens choices for the D90, the more I found myself toying with the idea of a 'prime' lens kit. I'm seriously thinking of stopping weddings - and find the idea rather freeing in terms of lens choice. I would never have had the nerve to take an all prime lens kit on a wedding with me, worrying too much that I might not have the 'right' lens and miss an important series of shots. But if I'm now only shooting for myself, a lot of that fear goes away. And if I am just shooting for myself, I want to keep the weight down as much as possible. So a couple of small, light primes makes a lot of sense to me.

Nikon's 'new' 35mm 1.8'G' prime
Enter the Nikkor 35mm f1.8G lens -  a Nikon DX prime lens that gives us back the 'standard' field of view. Attach this to a D90 and you get a 52mm f1.8 - close enough to the 'normal' 50mm lens of old.

Because it's a newer model AF-S (Silent focusing) lens, it's not as cheap as the 50mm f1.8D, but at $300NZ is still a reasonably cheap buy. But it is a DX lens, so you want to be sure that you are sticking with the DX system (I am), since it won't work on an FX (full frame) body.

A mint condition 35mm appeared on Trademe a few days after I won the D90, and I snapped it up. This will give the start of a prime lens kit, with a 35mm and 50mm - with the 17-80mm zoom lens thrown in as my back-up/wedding zoom.

I'm not much of a 'telephoto' shooter - don't really shoot sports, nature, birds etc, or anything that requires a lot of pulling power. Although having said that, when I do shoot the odd sporting event, I really enjoy it. But it's hard to justify owning a big expensive telephoto for a once-a-year sports shoot.  If I'm serious about sticking with primes, then the telephoto end won't be a problem. Nikon have that covered in spades... and I can see an 85mm, 135mm or 180mm in my future at some point. But not at the moment.

When I go out to shoot for myself, I concentrate mainly on landscapes, so it's in the wide angle area that I really need to be looking for my next lens. But if I want that lens to be a prime, then Houston, we have a problem. Nikon (or any other company to be fair) don't make a DX wide angle prime - something like a 17mm f2.8G - and maybe they never will? They do make a 20mm prime (for $1k) but with the crop factor this only really gets us to 35mm - not 'really' wide enough. Something like a 16mm (non-fisheye) or 17mm would be ideal, as this would give us DX shooters a truly wide angle 24mm lens - hopefully with a reasonable price tag to go with it. Is that asking too much?

With a 16mm DX lens (or there abouts), a 35mm and a 50mm (and maybe an 85mm thrown in for good measure), I'd have all my shooting situations covered, with super fast sharp primes - for around half the price of a 17-55mm f2.8G.

So how about it Nikon? When are we going to see a truly wide-angle prime lens for the DX faithful? What's wrong with a 17mm f2.8G?

I for one am going to start lobbying Nikon for just such a lens. It would be a sure fire winner - wouldn't it? How many Nikon DX shooters are there in the world? 1 million, two million, ten million? There's got to be a market for this lens, doesn't there? Or is it just me?

If it's not just me, then I suggest you start lobbying Nikon too. Let's all ask for a wide angle lens for the DX format - something like an AF-S 17mm f/2.8G so that we can finally go wide with a DX prime lens. And oh yeah, at about the same price as the 35G please. Thanks

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again