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A Castle, A Park, The Marina and Two Lenses (with many images)

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by TMR Design, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. Hi All,

    I had the pleasure of borrowing and shooting with 2 lenses today. The first was an old 20mm f/3.5 UD and the other was the infamous and legendary 85mm f/1.4 AF-D.

    I took the opportunity to go shooting at an old nearby castle, then I went over to one of my favorite local parks and finally ended up at a marina where I go to relax and shoot quite often.

    Both lenses performed superbly and the only negative thing I can say is that as much as I love wide angle lenses, 20mm begins to have a bit too much barrel distortion on vertical lines for my taste, but anything longer would not have gotten the shots and I got over the distortion very quickly when I saw the quality of the images.

    I tried an 85mm f/1.4 once before but didn't have a chance to really shoot and enjoy it. Today that changed and I was in heaven. I'm not all about shooting wide open and paper thin depth of field doesn't do anything for me. Give me an f/2 lens and I'm tickled :wink:. , but I love good bokeh and there's no getting around the fact that in low light f/1.4 is very nice to have.

    It was a gorgeous day and I think I captured some pretty nice images from both lenses. All images were shot with my D300 and have absolutely no post processing or post-sharpening applied. I shot JPG Fine using the standard picture control, imported to Lightroom, croppped and exported.

    I hope you enjoy my morning and afternoon as much as I did.








    You can view the whole Coindre Hall Castle gallery HERE

    OK, on to the park.

    All the images from the park were shot with the 85mm except for the plaque on the rock and the bronze sculptures, which were taken with the 20mm.








    Lastly, the marina using the 85mm.




    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2009
  2. Robert I like what I see! Some really nice shots.
  3. Thank you Tony. I appreciate that. :smile:
  4. Hi Robert

    Those are really excellent shots. Great architecture on the castle.

    It is just my opinion and I know that you did not process these. I think that the shots could be even greater if you could bring back a little more detail in the highlites. I think that quality images such as these, are worth doing a little PP.

    I took the liberty of opening up the pic of the girl and the gent looking into the lake with PSE4. A quick adj. with the highlite/shadow tool brought out the detail of her white shirt tremendously. And the detail of the gray, wooden planks really showed up nicely. There is much info. left in these images.

    Wonderful shots.

  5. Robert,
    wow, what a great series, your castle shots are very colorful and sharp as well showing all the intricate details.
    Kevin P.
  6. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    Nice images, Robert. It's a shame that you didn't enjoy the 20mm that much. Don't you just love the IQ of the 85, though? Did you try MF-ing it at all? Thanks for sharing your experiences, Robert. :smile:
  7. Thanks Mike. I agree about the processing. I wasn't saying that I don't or won't process these images. I was just trying to show how good things can look without processing, demonstrating what CAN come right out of the camera with great glass.

    As I think you know I had so many issues with my D300 and had questioned the differences between consumer or good glass and GREAT glass.

    I do generally process my images but I got caught up in the color and how much detail was there without doing anything. :biggrin:

    This gave me the chance to prove those differences for myself and I'm thrilled by the results.

    Thank you again.
  8. Thanks Kevin. I agree. Some of the detail in the brickwork and copper are incredible. I found this experience very exciting.

    The shots from the marina are nothing special. I was just so excited by the apparent sharpness or everything and more impressive than the boats or detail in the masts and rigging is the huge white house in the background of the second marina shot. When I look closely on my computer I can see great detail from that far away.
  9. Hey Francis,

    Thanks man. I didn't mean to sound like I didn't like the 20mm or that I wasn't impressed. I had a ball using it and the images are beautiful with wonderful color. I just don't care for the distortion. I've always felt that way about lenses below 24mm.

    On the other hand, give me landscapes and shots like the plaque on the rock where I was standing 3 feet in front of it, or the bronze statues that I shot from about 6 feet away and the distortion doesn't reveal itself.

    I haven't ruled out picking up this lens and adding to my arsenal.

    Regarding the 85mm. What can I say? It's as incredible a lens and even better than I imagined. I never doubted others that rave about it but most of what I've seen from it have been wide open shots, as everyone seems to want to demonstrate the bokeh and ability to shoot wide open.

    I enjoy that aspect but I found that at f/2 the lens moves into a completely different class and the high IQ just blows me away.

    I actually made a point of switching to manual focus and it is as I thought. Usable... not bad... nothing special, but no fun factor and the MF ring still feels a little cheap.

    If I do pick this lens up, that is the least of my concerns but at least I know I can MF with it should I want to do so.

    I'm done all my homework and now shooting with the 85mm shows me exactly how it would fit in to my kit and my shooting style.

    I'll be shooting an event with it this coming weekend and putting it to the test as a candid, 'fly on the wall' lens.
  10. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    Gotcha - it's the distortion you don't fancy.
    Well, I am glad you like the 85, I don't suspect there to be too many who dislike it. I've been able to shoot wide open on lenses before but this one poses a bit more of a challenge. I don't know if it is because of the focal length or what. At any rate, I'm glad you enjoyed it and look forward to seeing some of your shots with this upcoming shoot.
  11. Francis,

    I'm going to do some tests to compare the field of view from the 20mm to the 24mm. If it's significant then I'm thinking of grabbing this 20mm f/3.5. It really is a beautiful lens and in virtually mint, brand new condition. I'm giving it serious thought. :cool: 
  12. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    nice shots Robert ....;-)
  13. you sure did exercise those lenses to their fullest potential. I enjoyed looking. Great work.

    On a side note, you got to borrow those two, I got to borrow the 200 f2, along with the 1.4 and 1.7 extenders and his new ball head. Ahh, now if I only had as much free time as you. ;) 

  14. Thanks Mark.
  15. Thank you Mark. I had a ball shooting with both lenses.

    I'd be curious to hear your opinion and see images from the 200mm f/2. Have you ever shot with that lens before?

    That's one amazing chunk of glass, isn't it? :cool: 
  16. Based on the serial number, my ai'd 20/3.5UD was manufactured in 1969, and it's focus ring still is buttery and the aperture ring clicks solidly into the selections.


    Here's a few samples taken with it on my d700.

    NIKON D700    ---    20mm    f/3.5    1/60s    ISO 3200

    NIKON D700    ---    20mm    f/3.5    1/60s    ISO 1800

    NIKON D700    ---    20mm    f/8.0    1/100s    ISO 400

    NIKON D700    ---    20mm    f/11.0    1/125s    ISO 1600


    NIKON D700    ---    20mm    f/5.6    1/60s    ISO 640

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2011
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