Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 6, 2009

Just fooling around

Filed under: backyard, digital benefits, light, Non Birds — richditch @ 4:15 pm
Backyard bottles

Backyard bottles

I’ve been using Nikon gear since I started in photography in 1970, and over that time I’ve made changes in my gear as I’ve upgraded bodies and built a kit that gave me good coverage for the subjects that interested me at the time. And since Nikon has kept the same physical lens mount over all these years I still use a couple lenses I purchased over 20 years ago on my current digital bodies.

But the smaller DX sensor used in most Nikon digital bodies means that the coverage of any particular lens is equivalent that that of a lens 1.5x the focal length used on a full frame (film) body. So, my 105/2.8 macro that was great for portraits in my days of film is like a 157mm lens on my D200 and a bit long for portraits. As a result the collection of lenses I had before switching to digital was not as ideal as it was for film. The 1.5x factor was great for my long lens as it made my 300 with 2x work like a 900mm on digital instead of as a 600 on film. But the wide end was a problem, so I sold my 20/4 manual focus lens and ends up with a 12-24/4 zoom to give me the same wide coverage of the 20.

The mid range was more problematic. I sold a 75-300 AF zoom and decided to rely on my old 105 and 200mm macros for those situations needing them, but I seldom carry them around with me unless I expect to need them. This has led to situations where I didn’t have the proper lens as with this day at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

I think I’ve finally solved that problem – I found a reasonable deal on an entry level Nikon lens to fill the gap that is so small it can be carried easily in a pouch or pocket when I’m out with the big lens and not planning on anything else. The lens is the Nikkor DX 55-200 AF-S non VR model. Yes, it is mostly plastic and has a modest f/4-5.6 maximum aperture. But its only 9 ounces in weight and jsut a couple inches long, and it takes 52mm filters so I can even use my old Nikon polarizer if I want to. It arrived via UPS yesterday, so I did what anybody gear head would do and went out in the back yard to play with it.

I mounted it on the old D70 since that’s probably the body that will be used with it the most, set the ISO to 400, and grabbed a small lightweight tripod. These blue bottles that my wife decided to put on sticks in part of her garden caught me eye and looked nice in the soft light we had at the time.

I’m happy with the performance of this modest lens and think it will serve my needs well. I don’t need an f/2.8 lens in this range, nor do I need the weight of bulk of a lens that will spend a lot of time in my pocket until I might want that focal length option on a long bird walk.

What I also reconfirmed with this test is that there are good photos all over the place if we just bother to look, and having an open mind and time to fool around can produce some enjoyable images.

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle


1 Comment »

  1. Rich,

    Congrats on the new lens, it looks like you will be able to get the use out of it that you desired. I like the blue bottle images quite a lot, both of them.

    Carrying extra weight is an issue for me too, and the light weight of this lens makes a great deal of sense.

    Comment by Mia — March 6, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

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