Walking in Ueno Park

One of my favourite subjects is actually people. No, not just pretty girls (who make good subjects, too!), but also older folk whose faces tell stories, couples loving their children, artists painting and so on. Ueno Park, I have found is actually a pretty good place for this and the nearby city streets give a nice taste of new/old Tokyo, though the people are a bit less relaxed once they are back in the busy smoke of the city.

Ueno park has also been refurbished a lot, to make way for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics bid. Of course, I have no idea whether that’ll be successful or not, but I wish the city luck.. Anything which makes the place nicer and more livable is fine in my book and if it costs money, well, that’s the way it is. It’s a fantastic and fascinating place and it would be great to give more people the excuse to discover it.

So anyway, here are some of my park life shots. I actually really enjoy watching people, especially when they are relaxed and having a good time. I’d say it’s quite therapeutic. Whilst nature offers its own glorious, beautiful and inspiring displays, closer to home fellow humans are easier to relate to and have just as much grandeur and beauty in their admittedly smaller lives. I go here pretty regularly. often with different camera and lens combinations, so expect to see more of this!

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Street Candids in Ueno

One of my favourite types of photography is the street type. Capturing the lives of people, with brief snapshots of their lives. Each photo in this field should tell a story, preserving for posterity those fleeting moments that make up so much of the human experience. Generally, for intimacy and inconspicuousness, short, relatively wide lenses are often used for this and also small, range-finder style cameras are prefered.

Yet there is certainly a place for the candid taken from a distance. The intimacy can be just as real, with the space bridged by the lens. I took my Nikon P510 out for a stroll in Ueno. I found the range of images I could capture quite miraculous, all without scaring anyone or feeling like an intruder.

A little note here might be appropriate- I intend to turn this more into a photo-blog, or at least a blog with more photography as an art-based features.

Life With the iPhone 4S

A New Camera (phone)

I’ve only had it for about a week now, but I’m already getting a lot of use out of my 4S camera, just using it around Kashiwa. I haven’t really had much chance to compare the picture quality to my old 4 properly, but I do notice cleaner results at higher ISO and a sharper image overall. The main improvements, though, seem to be in the speed of use.

Ice Cream Colours

The main improvements, though, seem to be in the speed of use.

I’m prepared to take the experts’ word for it that it is indeed a better lens, with the additional elements, filters and more megapixels of detail from the 8mp camera. I think I also prefer the 35mm field of view over the 28mm of the ‘4’, at least for street shooting, an angle I liked on my original 3G phone. Really though, this is a wash, as I was getting quite used to the wider 4 and with a widish prime, a few mm aren’t all that different. I do find the camera itself works a lot better in low light, finding its focus and giving you a brighter picture. Seeing as most hours of the day have less than perfect light, this really is a bit of a Godsend.

Kashiwa Crossing

What makes it for me most of all, though, is the massive bump in speed. The camera opens and takes the shot a lot faster than before, ‘shutter lag’ being much lower. If you include opening the camera app itself, it’s still too slow for many uses, but once started, the shot to shot speed is actually very good, much better than a lot of compacts I’ve used. Along with this is the bump in processing speed. My apps, such as Hipstamatic or Instagram, open a lot faster and compute the result more quickly as well, despite having to deal with more data. Unfortunately, I think the battery is worse and though I’ve never failed to make it to the end of the day yet, I think I’ll be bringing a long a booster, as when it starts to drop it really tends to plummet.

One of the great things about using a smart-phone (I include Android and Nokia phones in this, as they are on the same level, or even more advanced), are the rich processing options and connectivity letting you post a photo as you take it. Not only that, but the reality of social networking means you can get a response a few minutes later: Now that’s communication! As a photographer, I actually like the lack of a zoom. You simply have to compose carefully and move around your subject, ‘zooming with your feet’. This alone could lead to much more interesting photos than many compacts would give you, working with limitations bringing out the best in people.

The Big Winner

Time to Say Goodbye to Your Compact?

The big question today is whether a mobile phone can compare with, or even replace a compact. As said, with no zoom, you have only the initial focal length, which makes the Ricoh GR-IV currently about the only similar model as sadly the high-end compact market has become a world of zooms. Even so, the iPhone certainly makes a convincing case. It’s fast, has good AF, a beautiful LCD (far better than any other digital camera, by the way) and fits in your pocket.

I see it more as a compliment than a replacement to a good compact. Without a means of changing lenses,I can’t get a wide landscape or close-in portrait with this and at 35mm, it seems best for ‘environmental shots’, (whilst the 28mm-equivilant 4 was more suited to landscapes/cityscapes). Also, the AF is pretty slow. Touch to focus works very nicely and it’s faster than before, yet still takes it’s time. As before, focusing changes the exposure settings too, although apps like ‘ProCamera’ fix this by letting you set them separately and also lock the white balance, so when I get more serious, I break that out.

The small sensor has its own limitations for high ISO and varying depth of field. The latter can be fixed a bit with some of the apps out there, but nothing can improve the loss in detail from noise reduction. Well, we could if Raw was available, but perhaps we’ll have to wait until the next iPhone for that. In fact, the lack of Raw is perhaps the biggest limitation, as with that we could fix white balance, noise reduce to taste and fix exposure to a degree. Personally, most compacts I’ve bought have Raw and I always find situations in which I need it. For a quick shot, though, these are limitations but not deal-breakers.

So for me it is a great and wonderful take-anywhere camera. It makes little sense to see it as a replacement for a high-end compact, but quite a lot instead of an entry-level model. I can see the compact manufacturers having a difficult time with this, as their image quality is in many cases not much better (or even worse) and the inconvenience of carrying a second device is too much for many of their potential customers. In fact, I have  friends for whom an iPhone is their main take around camera and they are very happy with the results. Whilst with old-school mobile phone-cams I’d  say they could do better, at this point I’m not so sure.

Shrine in Kashiwa

With compacts iterating so frequently they are also quite scary to buy now, as whatever you get today may well be obsolete in 6 months time. It also seems that image quality is actually getting worse as more mega-pixels and zoom range gets crammed on to compete. After using a Panasonic TZ-7 travel zoom (which is well-respected in its class), I could see that despite the great 24-300mm zoom range, the picture gets very soft when you zoom in and the image stabilisation couldn’t cope very well, needing an ISO 400 washed out by heavy noise reduction to get something sharp. It’s true, I got the shot, but the mushy image isn’t much good for anything, as detail lost can never be recovered. I did get good shots in better light, but they always needed a lot of post-processing as the lens lacks contrast and with all this, the TZ-7 is a camera people still try to find as newer models do much worse! If this is typical, I can see the iPhone 4S and the like killing entry-level compacts, despite their advantages, at least until they get their image quality up again and get networked to catch up, a process that may well take generations.

Conclusion

I can honestly say that after just a few days of use, I am very happy with the 4s and it is already one of my favourite cameras ever. It’s always there and gets great results out of the box. I’d like to have Raw, but I can always bring something else along with me for that, as we ultimately appreciate our tools for what they can do and do well and overlook what they lack. I can see myself using it more than the LX5 and it may well keep me happy until I get a mirrorless camera  (probably the V1). It’s complete, neat, fast, fun and just feels good. It came just I was getting into app-based iPhoneography and speeds this up considerably, meaning less wait between shots and seeing results in a flash. And sharing them.

It’s complete, neat, fast, fun and just feels good.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t replace a high-end compact, or even in many cases an entry-level one. No zoom, no Raw and few controls limit it’s usefulness. Yet in its category, it is a supreme example of good design and forward-looking functionality. Combined with the right apps, I’m sure it will be capable of prize-winning, very much printable photos. Just a few years from the iPhone 3G, on which the camera was the worst feature, to this being it’s killer app, this is quite an achievement and goes to show that mobile phone cameras (or as I sometimes think of it, cameras with a mobile phone) have an incredible potential that I’m pretty sure will one day even catch up with the IQ of today’s DSLRs. Never underestimate the power of miniaturisation to give us portable abilities we’d never have dreamed of before.

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Patterns of Leaves

Never underestimate the power of miniaturisation to give us portable abilities we’d never have dreamed of before.

Big Day Out in the City

Today I decided to keep things simple. Looking forward to a day out in the city taking photos with Ken, I wondered what to take, not wanting it to be a kitchen sink-type operation, where I’d take things just in case I’d want them. I don’t really like using zoom lenses, as despite the convenience and in some cases their great quality, there are just too many options. So I left my trusty Tamron at home. I’m not even sure, when it’s uncalled for, if I really need colour. Getting the colours to match just introduces too much complexity and distracts me from the essence of the scene. Since it would be a day of photography, I wanted to capture people’s expressions, the meaning of their lives in the vast city and experience the phenomena of life myself. I didn’t want to water the experience down with gimmicky lenses or digital trickery. Back to basics, photo-style.

After starting out being (severely) disappointed with the camera on my 3G iPhone, which had about the resolution of a melted blob and a similar inability to autofocus, I ended up loving it despite the limitations, or even because of them. The haziness gave the photos a toy camera effect and being freed from the tension of ‘perfect capture’ helped me to focus on the essence of the scene rather than on the camera capturing it. I loved the ability to take a photo and upload it straight to Facebook and often get a response from my friends within minutes. I liked the angle of view.

Fast forward to the iPhone 4 and now I have the same connectivity, but a sharp, 5mp image, that you can keep for editing later, print, or blog knowing it will look good, or even play around with it on various apps, but still with the delicious limitation of no zoom. Who needs zoom when you have legs? I also found that the angle it offers me, at 35mm in full frame terms, suits me just fine. So, I stepped out into the world with it’s DX equivalent, a little gem known as Nikon’s 24mm f/2.8 prime (see the article for how I hit on that strange length) and boy did I love it!

We decided that Ueno would be a good spot, not too far, not too near. So we headed out into the park, for some park life and the shade of trees. Seeing as Ken was shooting some B&W film, I decided to switch over to monochrome digital, with a simulated yellow filter for a bit more contrast. But I’m a cheat, as it was all going on in RAW, so I could also view the photos in colour if I so desired. Still, just composing in B&W is refreshing and relaxing, freeing me from the complexity of an unnecessarily complex world.

Now for the photos…

It’s a Cat’s Life- We found this incredible, tiger-like cat there, along with his host of admirers.
Buskers

Morning Jazz- Buskers, getting into their thing under the shade of some trees.

Next stop, Ameyayokocho Street.

I ate my sashimi, but I saved some wasabi for you!

Ameyayokocho Street's timeless market sellers.

Fish without supermarkets and imported goodies like tea or nuts without inflated prices.

Some alternative culture. Tokyo now as well as then, (notice the subtle pun on a particular photoblog?)

I was sweltering, it was probably one of the hottest days of the year and even with hat and thermos was glad to make it to the camera shop we were looking for.

Back to the future with this stereoscopic model from the early days of film, something they are still trying to get going in these early days of digital.

A very cute girl who comes from Tohoku and volunteers there. We gave a donation after seeing her photos of helping out there. She is also a musician and it was a delight to meet such a sweet, pure person.

Having had our camera fix for the day, we chilled in Starbucks.

Luckily for us, there was a festival in Ueno that same day! One of the market sellers was good enough to tell us about it. It featured various groups and troupes from Tohoku. I was impressed and moved to see them celebrate the summer months and the wonder of life despite all the hardships up there. I hope things get better there and was happy to support even in this small way.

A Summer Festival

Taiko drums kept the summer rhythm going.

Many generations come out for the festival.

Something more interesting here.

A huge float approaching...

Into the dream…

It wouldn't be much of a summer festival without cheerleaders!

Then dinner- yakitori, salads and drinks out in the open. We met a nice guy and his friend, who is a Leica enthusiast. One day I have to get a lens for mine, hopefully without taking out a small mortgage first! It was good to connect and it all reminded me of my main theme for the day- keep it human, keep it simple and the beauty will reveal itself every day.

 Thanks for viewing!

Prime Lenses on DX- Finding the Right Match

Why Go Prime?

Like a lot of SLR users, after using zooms for a while I decided to go for better photo quality and try out some primes. Zooms make you lazy, they encourage you to let the camera take the picture by zooming in rather than walking over to take a closer look, as you would do normally. They are great for their convenience and indispensable for travel photography, much pro work and just for not needing to change lenses. Yet they aren’t always the best thing for your walkabout, or for focussing on the perfect composition a great photo can have. What follows below is one man’s odyssey in search of the perfect prime lens on DX. Have I found it? I’ll cut to the chase and say not yet, but in the shape of the 24mm on DX, I have found something close enough for me to make me very satisfied with what I have and enjoy casual digital photography in a new way. It’s also a lesson that a wistful desire for something better can sometimes best be satisfied with something that’s been around for a long time.

After enjoying primes on film, the first one I tried on digital was the 50mm f/1.4, Yet I was disappointed to find out with my first DSLR, the D70, it was just a bit too long for walkabout. I soon realised that from being a normal, it had became a nice short portrait lens, though one with good but not amazing bokeh. Liking the function, I then upgraded to Sigma’s massive version,which has been called the ’85mm f/1.4 for DX’. But I still wanted something with a ‘normal’ point of view, so I tried out my 28mm f/2.8. Of course, it was no longer as wide as I’d remembered it, but with the change it became a good, slightly wide ‘normal’ lens for me. In fact, I found myself taking some of my best photos with it, thinking in a way that zooms discouraged, walking up to things and seeing them from their own perspective, which brought out the photographer in me.

One of my most favourite photos. I doubt I'd have composed the same way with a zoom.

When I switched to the D300, I was startled by the increased image quality I was seeing from it’s revolutionary 12MP sensor.I started looking at online lens reviews and saw that reaction to the 28mm I was using was decidedly lukewarm, so I wanted a taste of what I was missing out on. After seeing a lot of positive responses, I tried out the 35mm f/2D. The photo quality was nice, though not quite as exciting as I had hoped for and the bokeh wasn’t so great. I found the images quite soft wide-open and never really all that contrasty, yet there is something about the rendering I like, a sense of quality to it. Also, it’s bigger than the 28 and though not huge, this did eat away at the ‘compact package’ argument and made me think twice about bringing it along.

Looking back on it now, I realise that those extra mm meant it just wasn’t quite the same as the 28. Going out on my walks with it, I found myself painting details, not telling the whole story. Funnily enough, it’s angle of view, 57mm equivalent, is closer to my old 60mm macro than a normal angle, which is actually around 45mm (a classic lens length still occasionally made now, aimed at in Sigma’s 30mm f/1.4 DX). Still, I liked the angle enough to replace it with a smaller, faster 35mm f/1.8DX when it came out. This, especially for it’s price, is a real gem of a lens, very sharp, even wide open and with vivid colours. The bokeh leaves something to be desired, being probably worse than it’s cousin, being quite busy at times, but if you try not to challenge it with complex backgrounds, you can get some great images with it.

I find the 35mm DX good for close portraits, or details.

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4's incredibly creamy bokeh.

So after trying two 35mm I can affirm that both are good, they do differ. The newer DX model is a lot sharper, but with so-so bokeh and the other having better build but producing a slightly dull image, that may be good on low-contrast negative film but looks a bit dated on digital. It’s fine if that’s what you want, but I’m not so sure that’s what I always want. Digital is crisp and detailed, you can always tame that with filters if you want to soften that and I think an optimal digital lens should make use of this, unless you are looking for a special effect, of course. So, basically, I’d give a shout out to the DX version for digital shooters, as it’s not such a big investment, even if you do need to sell it on if you change to full-frame and you have the convenience of AF-S. It’d say the f/2 suits film more, or nostalgic shooters in search of a softer, more analogue look. As far as an affordable f/1.8 G full-frame version goes, Nikon is probably thinking if people can afford FX, they can pony up the dough for their new 35mm f/1.4G, but I think this is more for uber-pros and the super rich than us mere mortals, though I can dream. At that price level, it might be worth it to try out MF with the Carl Zeiss version, which apparently has sublime rendering, giving the feeling of an lens devised more for artists than computer testing.

In Search of Wider Angles (but not wide-angle)

I really wanted a wider angle to shoot with, without necessarily getting that unnatural ‘wide angle look’ that you get at 17 or 18mm on DX. Having lost my confidence in the 28mm, I decided to chose what length I like best. Having shot a lot with Tamron’s 24-135mm lens, I found I was getting some of my best photos at it’s 24mm setting. The same thing was happening with my 12-24mm Tokina. I even found my iPhone 4′, also 35mm equivalent, was giving me great shots and a classic, naturally expressive angle. I found people responded immediately to it’s shots, getting the sense of where i was through them. Had I found a ‘magic length’? Asking around, I found out that 35mm had been a classic for journalists and others for many years, offering a near perfectly balanced viewpoint. A friend had told me he could do 90% of a wedding with one, just moving around to recompose. It wasn’t just me. So I decided that it was time to treat myself. Seeing one sitting around the local Softmap at half the new price, I decided to get Nikon’s f/2.8 24mm.

The iPhone has a great angle of view for street-level photography.

I'm finding the same thing with my 24mm Nikkor

I had some teething difficulties with this, The first held me up for some time, being the relatively poor reviews. Unlike newer lenses, including Nikon’s 24mm or 35mm f/1.4D, or their DX 35mm f/1.8, it isn’t optimized for digital, resulting in relatively poor sharpness wide open, vignetting and people generally people saying their newer zooms do better. Was it really worth spending a lot on a decades-old lens? This had me hung up for months and in fact a couple of times I passed over copies I saw in camera shops, but in the end my question ‘when will Nikon make a cheaper 24mm for DX, like their 35mm f/1.8?’ was answered with a silent ‘perhaps never’ and I realised that a great, lens on the camera now is worth two on the roadmap! Once I did have it i hit another snag, as it back-focused really badly on my D300, so much so that  I took it into Nikon’s service center to have fixed. They did a great job, just by dialing in the right autofocus compensation on the fine-tuning option. The third is the fact that, being an older lens with no built in motor, it can’t autofocus with my smaller D3000 or D3100. This is an annoying problem, as their tiny viewfinders make focusing too hard and despite the D3100 live-view, it is too slow and the screen too low-resolution to use that way. Having the 35mm f/1.8 on that thing is a fantastic little package, fun and light and flexible, so it would be great to have some wider options. Are you listening, Nikon? As far as I know, Nikon has millions of shooters using those models, which brings me too…

A slice of life in the park.

Please Nikon, more Dx Primes, DX primes, DX PRIMES!

The switch from DX from film has in many ways been a great thing for a lot of people, bringing unheard of sharpness, versatility and of course the convenience of unlimited shooting ability, yet the blessing has brought it’s own curse, namely resolution-based shooting that challenges older lenses and a sheer dearth of wide angle prime. There has been great progress in the zooms, with lots of choice of lenses starting at 16-18mm, but for some bizarre reason I can’t fathom, no similar progress with primes. Part of this may well be the difficulty of making a quality wide angle cheaply, even just for DX. To have the quality good enough to rival the zooms it would have to be very good indeed- so perhaps they are avoiding poor reviews by not even trying. Also, many users have already stepped up to FX, especially the pros. In the past, this wasn’t a problem for users, as everyone could use the same lenses in the same way, be it on an F70 or an F5, but with cropped sensors we have a more complex situation, which is still in need of resolution. Will there ever be a full selection of usable lenses for DX, or should those wanting it either get a D700 or leave for another brand, perhaps to use alongside it? Or are the 16mm, 20mm, 24mm AF-S DX lenses ‘on their way’?

With more such primes, the DX format could really be a complete set, even with the smaller bodies like the D3100 or D5100, which despite their limitations, show how convenient this format can get, whilst keeping the same excellent photo quality. Sure, users can mount the older ‘D’ lenses in manual focus, but their viewfinders are too small and dark to do this well, especially on bright lenses with a short depth of field. Live view could help, the same way the LCDs on M 4/3 cameras are a enough for many people, but they are kind of hard to use this way. Now I know they aren’t designed to be pro cameras, but they are enthusiast cameras and Nikon could sell a tonne of wider DX primes to such enthusiasts if they made them. I should note in this context that there is a popular Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM DX avaliable, which I avoided because of their infamous quality control problems, but it does show there’s a market for it, only partially satisfied by the 35 f/1.8 DX.  If nothing else, people want a compact walk-around with quality, which makes this a golden opportunity. Nikon really need to do something about this, or else lose people to M 4/3, who are making much more of an effort to supply affordable high quality primes. People buying the camera might get zooms, but it’s the primes that make them attractive, keeping them so small. I understand that they need to focus on their essential lineup first, the D3100 and D5100 being great advances and the 35mm being a great DX lens, but we really do need more primes, as unless a cheap way to get into full-frame comes along soon, which it probably won’t, there is a very valuable segment for Nikon who aren’t satisfied with beer-bottle 18mm-xxx zooms and want the quality without breaking the bank. It may not be the biggest market, but it is a large and growing one that I think Nikon would be foolish to ignore (which in fact I think they are coming to realise).

What does little ‘ol me know about the market? Well, I do know that M 4/3 is making some of the most attractive, progressive and even best-selling cameras in some regions, being the fastest growing segment in Japan and Europe. What started out as a novelty has become a force to contend with. As I speak their third generation of cameras are coming out, boasting better than DSLR autofocus, which many thought impossible, and a new range of beautiful, exciting primes. this is all with their easy use of legacy lenses through adaptors. For now, their small sensor and lack of built-in viewfinders or EVFs still put me off, but who knows, if we can come to some sort of arrangement, could it be that M 4/3 is shaping itself into my second system, one more suitable for walkabout, with the size and features I desire for that? As I prepare to pack for another long trip, I think again of how I’d like to both travel light and have supreme photo quality. Time will tell, but they certainly need a built in EVF like that in the miraculous Fuji X100 before I jump on board their ship. Nikon, are you listening? It can’t just be me feeling this way.

Unless they are going to make their own version of mirror-less, with DX not going away any time soon, Nikon really needs to get their finger out and make those DX wide primes. Their D3100 and D5100 are capable of such great image quality, that they are really crying out for them. Maybe they are looking at a M4/3 or Sony NEX-like player of their own to indulge these on? I really don’t know, but I do know one thing- if you want to play with primes on Nikon in a serious way, you are going to be very limited by their entry-level models and need to step up to a D90 or D7000 at least. It will be a case of legacy lenses. I really like the DX quality image quality compared to compacts or M4/3, so I hope they can do more to make the most of them, so I don’t have to keep sticking on a zoom I shouldn’t really need. I should add, there is some progress in Nikon-Land. They recently released a new 50mm f/1.8, which despite it’s poor bokeh, at least offers an entry level 50mm, for portraits and candids. Then there is the announced 40mm f/2.8 macro, which looks like having some really nice image quality, especially in terms of both sharpness and bokeh and offers a ‘normal’ a little longer than the 35mm, but at the expense of a stop and a bit, offers you much better bokeh, which seems to be a major flaw of the f/1.8, despite it being an otherwise tremendous lens. I love macro and a beautiful bokeh, but my 90mm Tamron is too long on DX for walkabout use (though great for flowers or bugs), so this may well be my next lens purchase. It may even replace my 35mm f/1.8, which funnily enough I was just starting to feel dissatisfied with, primarily due to it’s poor bokeh with complex backgrounds, but also due to it doing close-up but not Macro. Despite being twice as dark, problems I was only starting to notice have suddenly been solved.

Even this cat wants more DX primes!

Buying Advice, for the Prime-lover

So my advice to Nikon buyers? The most obvious route is full-frame, where of course all primes work as advertised, but like many I am still waiting for the D700 to be updated with more resolution and video before I go that route, to get something like the Canon 5D MkII. Even so, it’s a chunky monkey and I would still prefer something smaller for everyday use. People I know with a D700 often leave it at home due to the bulk; a casual camera it ain’t. Some say full-frame is the medium format of our day and it does seem to hold true for the moment in Nikon-Land, though I expect sooner or later they’ll release a smaller alternative; the new 28-300mm ‘kit lens’ suggests one may come.Whatever camera you use (it really isn’t that important), if you want to know which focal length suits you best and would be worth getting a prime in, take a look at the shots you’ve been taking and see which ones you are happiest with.

I find with my 24, 28, or 35mm, I have great lenses to wander around with, all close to ‘normal’. They focus fast and efficiently, their small size makes me unimposing for street photos and I can portray the same simple world I see it through my eyes. A good prime, blurring the background, can give your photo a 3D effect that you’d rarely get from a zoom. Sure, I’d like AF-S motors and more critical sharpness, which I could get from a lens redesign, but I find it isn’t essential for what I do. The reason I use these lenses is not so much for better image quality, as for their simple, efficient approach, which is something you notice more when taking a photo in the real world than in theory (hence the popularity of rangefinders, which leave out gadgets and get straight to the photo). As far as lengths go, that 24mm is all I need. I might sometimes like to go wider, but for now 24mm does it for me. It may well in many cases be all I need, just moving around to capture different angles. It is my ‘starting point’, a chance to get really great photos rather than just good ones, whether or not the world understands them. You, dear reader, may have another favourite length- if you are lucky, it will be 35 or 50mm, which will give you a world of choices, whatever the format, but I personally like my world a little wider. And you know what, after talking to other photographers, including some pros, I’ve found others saying the dame thing. Which all means, after sitting inside whilst I took out my D3xxx series, my D300 will be coming out to play a bit more.

Note– Edited on 24/07 to improve readability and correct some small mistakes.

Lenses in the slideshow-

1) The first prime lens I enjoyed on DX- Nikkon’s AF 28mm f/2.8D. It gets generally poor reviews for various issues, like CA but I find it can produce magical images for me anyway, just for being so usable. I may well have a good copy. Reputedly, it’s a lot better stopped down.

2) My current favourite, the 24mm AF f/2.8D Nikkor, a classic lens, that really makes the images ‘pop’.

3) The handy AF-S 35mm f/1.8DX Nikkor, one of the best deals in Nikon’s current lineup, in many ways a DX version of their famous AF 50mm f1.8D

4) An oldie but quite goodie, the AF 35mm f/2D Nikkor, a bit soft on digital, unless you stop it down a bit

5) The aging AF 50mm f/1.4 AFD Nikkor, replaced by a slower-focusing G version, which apparently has better bokeh. For this reason, I prefer to use my cream-machine Sigma 50mm, though it is heavy as can be.

Then a few lenses I don’t have…

6) The Sigma AF 28mm f/1.8, an older version as bought by Ken in Ueno, the newer one being a lot larger but having HSM focussing

7) Nikon’s expensive and out of production AF 18mmD, which in it’s poor internet reviews illustrates just why I think Nikon needs to make some new wide, affordable primes to keep up and

8) Nikon’s soon to be released 40mm f/2.8 DX Macro, which I predict will be a more useful lens than many people currently realise. It is apparently very sharp with a creamy bokeh, making it potentially a great and handy lens for portraits.

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Some say I was born high. Others say i'm just simple :)

A Girl and Her Backpack

Living life and packing my backpack to the fullest!

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

clumsyfool

How a weirdo sees the world...

Stephen Liddell

Musings on a mad world

Love 2 Type

because I get off hammering the keyboard

Travel & Liking

With Alex KHOO

Little Orange World

Me, My World, Anything I Love, and Scattered Mind of Mine.

Dorkdaddy.com

misadventures in raising two... wait, no THREE well-adjusted kids in the grandest dork-tradition

Sweet Rains

"He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)

sethsnap

Photographs from my world.

Myau Myau's photo gallery

flower, garden, Japanese temple & cat