Etikettarkiv: lens

Nikon F mount celebrates 50 years

Yes, indeed, the longest lasting 35 mm camera system lens mount is now celebrating 50 years of existance. And 50 years of remarkable compatibility I must say, of all the well known brands for small frame cameras the Nikon F mount is the longest lasting and surviving mount that is still around.

There are many advantages to this of course, any lens made since 1956 or so can be used on modern cameras wich means the used lens market is huge. You might not get metering or autofocus but if you are prepared to do some of these things in manual mode then this is for you.

Canon changed their mount with the introduction of the digital cameras to their EF mount. There are even two types of EF mounts, one for the small APS-C sized digital cameras and one for their ”full frame” counterpart, the reason being that because of the tightness between the lens aft parts and the mirror some lenses designed for the 1,5 crop format would actually touch the mirror when it flips up if mounted on full frame cameras.

I have used older lenses with mechanical autofocus on my Nikon D70s and D300 cameras and both makes great use of them. I have even tested fully manual lenses and they work pretty well if you take the time to focus properly or use a sufficient large DOF of course :-)

The drawback is that the standard F-mount puts the lens a bit further from the focal plane than Canon and some other makers does, this means that it is not possible to use say Canon lenses on Nikon bodies while the reverse can be done with some success.

So happy birthday F-mount!

Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

This lens has quickly become one of my favorite lenses. The 70-300 is very versatile and it is a lovely walk-around lens for street photo as well as nature photography. It is also useful for portrait work when you want to shoot a little more from a distance. Perfect for candid shots in the crowd.

Full designation: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f / 4.5-5.6 G ED-IF

Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

Review: Nikkor 16-85 f/3.5-5.6

This is a wide-angle-to-normal zoom lens that is ideal for street and general walk around photography especially if you keep a longer lens, such as the 70-300 as a possibility. If you already own the 18-55 or 18-70 lens you may wish to spend your money on something else. This lens is different in some ways but generally it is the same family as those two lenses. This lens is meant to be a replacement for the 24-120 on a digital body and does a good job.

Full lens designation: Nikkor AF-S DX VR 16-85 f/3,5-5,6G ED-IF


This lens uses the Nikon silent autofocus motor so it works on all digital bodies, even those without focussing motor built in. It has low-dispersion glass and internal focusing meaning there is no rotating of the front lens (great if you use polarizer).


The lens have a very obvious barrel distortion at 16 mm which is normal for this wide angles, but I was surprised how much more distortion it had compared to the 18-200 mm lens or the old trusty 18-70 kit lens that used to be delivered with many cameras in the past. The distortion is kind of fun and can be used in interesting ways but when shooting straight lines such as buildings you have to be careful how you point the camera or it looks like the buildings are leaning back (or forth).

This type of distortion is not difficult to correct in photoshop, GIMP or some other editing software but I feel it is a little more than what I had expected at these focal lengths. Once zoomed out to 25 mm and beyond the distortion is much more normal and actually becomes more of a pincushion distortion than a barrel type.

Vibration Reduction

The Vibration Reduction (VR-II) works great. I hardly ever think of it any more but it is there and I have done some serious long exposure time shots hand held with it and there is never a problem. Turn it off when you use it on a tripod however, it can sometimes act really weird when you have a tripod fixed camera and happen to forget to turn VR off.


The sharpness of this lens is good in the middle and average in the corners. It is however better than the 18-200 in almost all comparable focal settings and I have to give it a pretty decent rating because of this. I always considered the 18-200 very soft and the 18-70 is good but this lens is even better. The sharpest setting for this lens are apetures centered around f/8. Fully open it gets a little soft in the corners but stay remarkably sharp in the center. It is also extremely sharp on the smaller apertures, up to f/20 or so it is still really good and this is unexpectedly well performed by a lens in this cost range!

Sharpness is better than the famous 18-70 and much better than the 18-200 lens which is well known to be quite soft at any aperture outside its sweet spot around f/8-f/11. If you are looking for sharpness then this is your lens.


This lens have a easily seen vignetting. Fully open at f/3,5 and focal length of 16 mm the corners are at leas one full EV darker than the center section of the lens. When stopped down 1 stop it is much better alright and two stops down it is not noticeable any more. The vignetting is worst at 16 mm and becomes better the further along to 85 mm you zoom. I guess this is the price to pay for the excellent sharpness of this piece of glass.

Chromatic aberration, flaring and ghosting

I have not seen any problems with this, I would say it is better than average.

Build quality and feel

Excellent. It feels like the much more expensive pro lenses would. The zoom will not ”creep” like the 18-200 would do and all movements are nice and smooth and precise.

The lens takes 67Ø filters so this is fairly standard and the same thread diameter as the 70-300 which is a gread second lens to this one. I still favour the 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens because of less distortion as a walk-around lens but the added wide angle of 16 mm is great sometimes.

Positive sides:

  • Light
  • Very sharp for a zoom, comparable to a prime in some aspects!
  • Same filter diameter as the 70-300 which is a great companion lens
  • You get VR with it!

Negative sides:

  • Vignetting is strong when fully open on the widest angles
  • It’s not a really cheap lens
  • The distortion could be better actually, compared with the 18-200 or the 18-70 it is much more pronounced at the wide angles.

Shooting handheld with long exposure

As everyone knows the trick is to keep the camera steady and this is easier said then done. When the exposure times goes up to 1/30s and more most people run into problem. There is a simple formula you can use to calculate the slowest exposure for a given focal length and it goes like this:

t = 1/f

t is your exposure time (shutter speed) and f is the focal length you are currently shooting with.

Some people also say there should be a 1.5 factor here because of the crop factor of the APS-C sensor in most digital cameras. That’s not my experience and I believe the explanation is that the smaller the sensor, the less the camera shake is noticeable. Anyway, I have never had a problem shooting handheld with this formula.

This means that for a 200 mm lens you need 1/200s in order to shoot sharply handheld. This is a good aim but sometimes you can not get that because the light is not goot enough and you don’t want to bump that ISO setting because it produces far more noise in your pictures.

On a 50mm it says you should be able to take sharp pictures handheld down to about 1/50s which is a pretty low shutter speed. This is definitely possible but for the best result you can practice the McNally Grip, also known simply as ”Da Grip”. This requires you to be a left-eye shooter and is easier for right-handed people.

It’s not always practical to carry or even use a tripod. If you are doing street photography with a tripod in certain places you know the police may take an active interest in what about you are up to. Basically this is the same technique as when firing a rifle, you keep it well tucked in, steady and squeeze the trigger as you slowly exhale. Same thing here, just a camera trigger.

Ubuntu ColaUsing this technique most people can shoot about 1-2 EV lower than they would otherwise. This means that if you can just about do 1/50s with a 50 mm you may be able to get tack sharp pictures down to 1/25s or even 1/10s which is really really good!

This is handheld only in lamp light in the metro line of stockholm city (focus is deliberately on the Ubunty cola poster to the right hand side):

The reason I took this is because Ubuntu is also a Linux distribution.

I happen to be both so I love this.

McNallys blog post here >>>

Or you can watch his video here directly if you like.

Review: Nikkor DX AF-S 55-200 f/4-5.6G ED

This is what the lens looks like half-extended.

This lens is usually bought as a step-up lens from the kit lens with the entry-level digital SLR cameras from Nikon. I got one as well before my first trip to Öland because I was still waiting for my 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens to arrive in the mail. As it turned out I would have to wait for more than six months for that beauty so I had some time to use the 55-200 and get aquainted with it.

Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor DX AF-S 55-200 f/4-5.6G ED

Nikon D90

The rumours have it that Nikon is about to reveal the D90 camera. It is said to have the following features:

  • 4.5 frames per second shooting speed
  • 12 megapixel resolution sensor
  • live view with video recording capability (and thus the camera is fitted with a microphone as well)!
  • a new kit lens, 18-105/3.5-5.6G with VR-II vibration reduction capability

I am sure that more information will be hitting the presses soon…

Nikkor Lens Designations


There is a lot of confusion among people on the net who recently bought a Nikon digital camera. So I was trying to clear up this concept once and for all. Please link to this site if you run a mailing list or similar where this question comes up now and then.

Nikkor is the brand of lenses produced by Nikon corporations. A lot of people refer to them simply as Nikon brand lenses or Nikon lenses. Don’t get confused, the trading name these lenses are sold under are Nikkor. Fortsätt läsa Nikkor Lens Designations