Saturday, January 8, 2011

The D700 Gets A Lens

The D700 with the 50 f1.4 AF-D Nikkor lens.

First thing, my lens arrived yesterday, which means that, if time weren't an issue, I'd have all the time in the world to take pictures. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, which means that I haven't been able to do all the picture taking I would have liked. However, from playing around with the lens, I can still draw some quick impressions.

The 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lets in four times as much light as my Tokina 28-70 f2.8, but is only a fraction of the zoom's size. Go figure. . .

The Nikkor 50 f1.4 AF-D is a solid little lens. In fact, when looking at the 50 f1.4 and my giant 28-70 f2.8 zoom, I truly wonder why slower zooms are just so freaking huge/how opticians can cram so much open aperture into such a tiny package. Anyway, until I get a second lens, probably an ultrawide or a macro (whichever I come across a deal on first), the wonderfully versatile 50 will be living on the camera.

As to performance, the AF on the D700 is dead-on, almost silent, and just about instantaneous. Personally, I think it's funny how people are willing to spend $100 more for the newer AF-S version just to get full time manual focus (and almost universally recognized slower AF!).

The 50 f1.4 is acceptably sharp in the center right from the get go, but there is some CA at f1.4. Fortunately, stop down to f2 (or post-process aw I did), and you can make it disappear (and make the lens sharper, too).

Optically, the lens is very sharp in the center straight from f1.4 and the sweet spot spreads out stopped down. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to do any proper sharpness tests with it so far. In terms of vignetting, there is definite shading in the corners in FX mode when shot wide open. Looking at the shading, though, there should be no such problems on a crop cam.

Look in the top and bottom left corners to see some obvious vignetting.

Fortunately, I should have some free time in the coming days to play around more with the D700 and start getting into its trick features (double exposure, in-camera editing, etc.) so, expect something of a running review in the coming days. Some of the things to be addressed will be:

12 vs. 14 bit and sRGB vs. Adobe RGB
Live view capabilities
Vignetting correction
CA correction
Multiple exposure
Image overlay
White Balance Performance
Active D-Lighting (boost DR)\
In-Camera Retouching

In all, there's a lot to look at with the D700 and even that list doesn't address all that the camera is capable of doing. Believe me, when your digital camera has a 443 page instruction book, you know that you've got quite an imaging machine in your hands!

Now, how about a real picture?

Tree tunnel with D700 and 50 f1.4 stopped down to f8. More to come soon!

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