Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lensography part 1

Low light shooting. It is par for shooting at night. Low light shooting presents challenges, and the solutions tend towards finding faster glass. Right now I’m trying to find faster glass. With my job ending soon, that means faster glass for cheap. There are ways to get more light for your dollar, and they tend to lead towards normal lenses.

Canon 50mm f1.8 mk 1 – I bought this used for $100 dollars. F1.8 is considerably faster than f2.8, and it was much cheaper and faster than an f2.8 zoom. It was a lot of bang for your buck. Where can you get f1.8 for less? The cheapo mk 2, sure. Ironically I bought the mk 1 for the build quality (metal mount and distance scale), but it broke after about 2 years, so it wasn’t worth the extra 20 bucks was it? Still, about the fastest autofocus lens for your dollar.

However, there are places to get f1.8 or faster for less than 100 bucks.

Nikon 50mm f1.4 pre-AI – I bought this used for $30. Throw in the adapter cost, and more like $40. Still, for such little money I got quite a lens. It is all metal and solid as a brick. It is fairly fast, and is respectably sharp and also has respectable contrasts; wide open of course. After all, I'm not buying these lenses to use stopped down.

Canon 55mm f1.2 FL – I bought this for fewer than 100 dollars. This was a project; to adapt it to an EF mount. It failed. Others succeeded, but I did not. Too bad; though not as sharp as the Nikkor wide open, it has better contrasts. It is a lovely lens, but it doesn't function focus to infinity on an EOS camera, and so was a failure for me.

Canon 28mm f1.8 – Ok, so this is the most expensive of the lot. Where else can you find a lens that wide and that fast for that cheap? It was around 400 dollars. Other lenses in the 24-28mm range faster than f2.8 tend to cost over a grand. So this is really the fastest wide angle for your dollar, and when shooting on a crop camera it becomes necessary to have one fast wide lens for indoor shooting. 50 is just too long inside.

So I have 3 normal lenses. One is broken. One doesn’t focus past 10 feet. So really I have only one, right? Therefore, when I buy my next 50, I won’t look like some weird 50 guy, right? I really hope I don’t end up with a collection of a dozen 50mm primes.

New friends

lensography: Nikon 50mm f1.4 Nikkor (pre-AI) s-Auto @ f1.4, 1/40 sec and ISO 800

And of course inside shooting


EF 28mm f1.8 @ f1.8, 1/25 sec and ISO 3200

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