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Test of Nikkor 50mm 1.4

Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by bagpuss, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    Oskar has a Merlin engine? :D
  2. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Scrub that! (Eee, I do talk sum sh1te at times! :D)

    In the cold light of dawn (or a little while after) I had another go at fitting it and it went on just fine. Since then I've had the most (photographic) fun in a very long time - snapping round the garden, trying to drag back long-lost 'technique' (?!?) and being knocked out with some lovely first-time 'spot on' results and plenty of 'OK second time' exposures!! (The sun's in and out like a fiddler's elbow here, today!) Surprised and pleased to find also that you get focus confirmation on this early lens - although that's a bonus, it ain't an 'essential'!

    Manual *everything* on the lens with shutter speeds set in the camera, very easy to see/focus in the vf and the indescribably blissful advantage of an instant preview of the shot, allowing adjustments and further shots on what is effectively an endless roll of film (over 1K frames on a 2GB card) with NO processing costs!! Incredible!

    That's a 'no' for now - for the same money I could get a quarter of a ton of interesting non-AF lenses on eBay!! :D
  3. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Yep - focus confirmation works regardless of whether the lens is AF or not. Sort of opposite to my Canons - with those I can meter using any Nikkor lens but the AF won't do the focus assist bit......... :( Swings and roundabouts I guess.

    BTW does the D40 still have the arrows that show which way to turn the lens to focus?
  4. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    No focussing arrows and, as before, I didn't notice the focus confirmation for a while. (I don't rely on it and actually 'overrode it' a few times.)

    I'm delighted with the results I was getting after so long a layoff from 'manual' - there were enough 'right first time' shots to confirm I hadn't entirely lost it and it didn't really take more than three shots to get any of them about right. Many were two shots, which is fine when you ain't using film, but I wasn't too unhappy given that the sound was in and out all the time!! :)

    Here's a typical three shot sequence of nothing very much (but good for test shots):


    Still No!


    The lens is a good 'un (unfortunately - the owner doesn't want to sell it) - sharp enough with good contrast and rendering nicely saturated colours. What tickled me, given that I had to fiddle with both lens and camera from shot to shot, is just how precisely I reframed the subsequent shots without giving it a thought!

    Not sure I'd trust myself with only a manual lens at an event or on a trip, but it's a ton of fun compared to 'auto everything'! ;)
  5. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Stop it!!!

    Your making me increasingly tempted to pick up a used D40 or similar....... :D
  6. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Noooo...!!! Don’t do it!

    First you’ll end up doing this this:

    Spending Demon got me! :D

    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Then you’ll waste your life dodging the downpours in a pointless exercise like I have done, just now, with an old Vivitar 100-300mm zoom (which the same guy with the Nikon zoom *will* sell me)!

    Here’s the setup (makeshift tripod - I don‘t trust the tripod bush with the weight of this mutha hanging off the front):


    100mm Setting (full f5 aperture):

    100mm First

    100mm Second

    100mm Third

    Then at the 300mm setting (still at full aperture - gasping):

    300mm First

    300mm Second

    300mm Third

    (Note the fringing - ain't no Nikkor, is it? ;))

    Finally, a quick 'handheld' at 300mm (which is 450mm on the D40X):


    (No cropping/post processing, needless to say!)

    About as much use to me as a chocolate ashtray, really, but if he don’t want more than a tenner for it, I suppose I’ll have to have it!

    (Fat chance...! ;))
  7. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Too late!......... The Demon bit years ago............ :D

    Which is why I have enough Nikon flavoured glass to cope for a while.... :)

    The fringing on the Vivitar is not bad for an old film lens especially at full aperture and the sharpness looks pretty good too. Shut down by a stop and a lot of the fringing would disappear (there are also Photoshop tweaks for getting rid of it as well). Performance looks way better, especially at 300mm, than my 100-300 Canon - is it by any chance a Vivitar Series 1 lens as they were among the best glass available in their day. Might be worth bashing the bank again if it is (not that I'm trying to encourage you or anything - you don't seem to need that! :D).......
  8. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Those ‘tests’ were a bit quick and dirty - too much so (didn’t help being bombed with unrelated questions by the next door neighbour as I was setting up and the weekly ‘Fresh Grimsby Fish‘ van turning up and backing into the shot!!) But, seeing the cars always parked in the same position from day to day, it amused me to recall that these snaps were not unlike the lens test photos of the ship (HMS Belfast?) in AP , when I were a lad!! :)

    Anyhow, the Vivitar is not a Series 1 - it ain’t too bad, as you say, but I have no real use for a lens like that (dim, long and heavy) unless it was a gift. (It’s owner ‘owes’ me for a freebie pair of brand new speaker drivers!) Apart from anything else, the focussing scale goes the ‘wrong way’ and I don’t want to end up getting my Nikkors in a twist!! :D :D :D

    I want to keep it simple with only a couple of MF lenses for some ‘sunnyf16’ work for now - preferably ’wide’ enough so that I don‘t have to fiddle with shutter speeds at full aperture to get anything of an exposure (like on the Vivitar) and primes because I don’t need the extra faff of focussing *and* zooming!

    Working without a light meter of any sort is interesting and a challenge and made much easier with an instantly available reviewing screen! I love the ‘richness’ of colour that has already appeared in some of the shots (mild underexposure?) which seems a bit more dramatic than the camera can/would produce. (I haven't even looked at exposure compensation yet!

    There’s a couple of very nice shots here which illustrate my point:



    Roll on the ‘nifty fifty’….!!

    (Which is where this thread began! ;))

    Oh and a little sun would be nice...!! :D
  9. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Now you're just in fantasy land........ :D
  10. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    OK, my secondhand eBay 1.8/50mm Nikkor arrived today; it's on the verge of being a bit scruffy (well-used, I'd say), but the glass is pristine, the blades are clean and it functions pretty good.

    Earlier this evening, with the Nikkor fitted, I had a bit of a snap round in the house to try and rediscover the art of manual/'Guide No.' flash on a manual focus (ie auto *nothing*) setup. (Gotta be nearly two decades since...!!)

    So, here's two quick rounds of nothing much, snapping what I saw - you can tell where each one began by the black frame where I forgot to pop the flash up!! :eek: :D

    See links DSC-0765 to DSC-0779* on my Show N Tell webpage:


    Warts and all (no editing/cropping, other than mungeing the address on a label for 'security' reasons) in number order with, as they say, nothing left out and nothing 'set up'! ('Er indoors was playing with her toms, which she had to rescue from the blight today, apparently)!

    It's been donkey's years since I had failures like some of these and I'm loving it! :D

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