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Looking for a fast night-time street lens

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by jczinn, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. I'll be going to Rome in April and I want a fast lens that I can use for night shots. Right now my fastest lens is the Tamron 17-35 2.8 but I'd like something faster--and smaller is better for carrying around at night, too. I had been thinking, of course, of the 50 1.8 or 1.4 but thinking about it, realized that 50=75mm is not going to be great for shots of the monuments at night...I need to go wider.

    So now I'm thinking the 35 F2. Anyone have opinions on this lens? I am going to want to use it wide open at F2 and wonder how sharp it is.

    Also, any other alternatives I should be looking at? I don't want to spend a fortune--so the 28 1.4 is not really an option right now :( 
  2. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  3. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Janet, like you I want the 28 f/1.4 but just cannot justify the expense at this time (maybe later tho...) But on the other hand I LOVE the 35 f/2, not only for it's optical charms (which are plenty) but also for it's tiny size and easy handling.

    I've made many photos with it, as it has become the lens most often found on my camera. While I still use the 24-120vr for assignments, due to it's versitility, I think I like the 35 more.

    Here are some examples:

    And at the risk of measurbating, here is a n examination of the question of "Can it be used wide open?" (The answer is yes, but it's much better one stop down.):

  4. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Janet :

    Like MontyDog, I was dubious about the 28mm f/1.4 until I used one, and then I was converted. Hanging with Ron R. will do that to a guy... :wink:

    I used it extensively in Japan and Korea this last autumn, and many places since. I'll be using it next week to shoot Alice's new museum show opening. It's just about the best darned thing I can think of for this sort of thing, except, maybe the Noct (which doesn't seat on a D100 :x ).

    The 35mm f/2 won't have sufficient WA for the street shots, IMO. I tried one before the Asia trip, and wasn't pleased. From what I've read, the lens isn't at its best at f/2, but I didn't get to perform any extensive tests.

    If we were in the same place for a week or two, I'd loan you my 28mm f/1.4 to test, but I don't think any of my business trips take me through NYC in the next month. (checking) Nope. Heck, if you took me to Italy with you, I'd let you use the the lens as much as you like ! :p 

    I thought I saw something on this forum about a 28mm f/1.4 for sale... (pondering) Yup. See : https://www.nikoncafe.com//forums/viewtopic.php?t=935 . You might chat with Patrick, if he hasn't put it up on eBay yet.

    There's just not a lot of inexpensive fast glass with wide angle capability. The 24mm f/2.8 might suffice if you shot with a tripod, but that's right in the range of your Tamron, eh? You might just want to have a really lightweight monopod with you to shoot these things with, or do a lot of "ground steadying". As you know, I've done a fair bit of that with the 12-24mm DX, and it can work (within limits).

    For really fast glass, the price is high, no doubt at all. Any of the alternatives for less than, say, $700, won't give you the speed and wide angle you're after or won't be appreciable better than your Tamron.

    Wish I had a better answer for you.

    John P.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. Well you guys are all just EVIL :evil: trying to tempt me to buy that 28 1.4!! Bad bad bad! But, honestly I'm not tempted, not even a little bit. I just know that my use of this would be limited and I could better spend the $1600 (say, to put to my D200 fund :wink:

    Chris, your results with the 35 F2 are impressive and your resolution tests extremely helpful (although a bit discouraging, as they do show it to be pretty soft at F2.) Still, this seems to be my best bet.....and I was about to bid on one I saw on Ebay....

    EXCEPT, that I just found out about the soon-to-be-released Sigma 30mm F1.4. Now that sure sounds like an interesting lens! I have no idea what the price may be, and while they are saying March or April release, who knows if it will be released in time. I may just wait and see, though. I have till the end of April before I have to buy something. This Sigma may be the perfect combo of focal length, speed, and size (it seems smaller than the 28 1.4)
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    And your point is ??? Our job is to entice, envegle, or otherwise draw you down the road of lens lust, dear Janet ! And it seems that we're succeeding...

    Hmmm... Well, the 28mm f/1.4 does appear used for well less than $1K from time to time. Also, refurbished models hit the market as well for good prices. The Sigma will be good, no doubt, but if you're going to spend on a specialty lens, you may want to stretch a bit. :twisted: :p  :twisted:

    John P.
  7. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Janet,
    In October I got a refurbished 28 1.4 (10 condition) for $1099 from B&H.

    It has worked perfectly and I love the lens.

  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    Get ahold of regit. He got all the dope on da lenses.

    Good going gal
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gaye :

    I knew there was a reason I liked you. We think alike. I got mine the same way last year.

    Beauty and brains ! What a combo you have to apply everywhere !

    John P.
  10. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi John,

    Two Great Minds !!! That 28 1.4 is the gem of all gems in my estimation. I enjoyed your post :lol:

    By the way, I used to think I was pretty smart until I started photography last spring.. I don't think I have the time left in my lifetime to learn it all.. That's why it's such a great hobby..

    Sure wish Janet could try our 28 1.4 lenses.

  11. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I want to see the Sigma 30 too.

    On the Nikkor, remember, those test shots are at 100%. In practice, it looks fine wide open at 4X6 prints and stopped to f/2.2, it'll go 6X9 before showing any fuzzies. By the time you get to f/4, it's perfect at large enlargement ratios. Perfect. Most $300 lenses need f/8 or 11 to look this good. Not just sharpness, but contrast too. There have been a few times though, when I would pay dearly for just one more stop. I've got the baby vr lens, but subject movement ruins a lot of my nite shots as it is, and I often shoot at iso 3200, so more aperture is my only option.

    Maybe that Sigma will do well below f/2. And be inexpensive. Hmmm, looking at the description, probably not inexpensive.
  12. Yeah Chris, the price really is the big question mark on that Sigma...I've not even seen a hint as to whether it will be priced like a pro lens, or what...

    But, I think I am going to wait. Patrick did offer me his 28 1.4 at an excellent price but I AM NOT GOING TO BE TEMPTED :evil: Not that it isn't tempting, but I WILL BE STRONG!! :lol: I can give it till mid-April and if the Sigma isn't out yet I will probably get the 35 F2.
  13. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Janet :

    Be tempted.

    Once you shoot with the 28 f/1.4, you won't settle for the 35mm f/2. I can't think that the Sigma will be much less then $600 - $800. In all truth, the 28mm f/1.4 has been everything that everyone said it would be for me. Had I delayed purchase, I would have lost a lot of neat shots.

    Why delay gratification ? :twisted: :twisted: :p  :p  :twisted: :twisted:

    John "I'm so evil" P.
  14. John, you are MEAN!

    Janet, he's right.

    The other thing I am going to insert into the arguments is that you would be in shock how much you would use this lens. It seems as if it would be a specialty, luxury item that would get little use, but this is *THE* perfect travel lens for places with narrow streets, interiors where you cannot use a tripod, etc. It also is *the* night lens, par excellence. You might leave several other lenses behind, but you won't leave this one if there is even a chance of doing low light work, museum shooting, etc. It's sharp as a tack wide open beyond about 4 or 5 feet, it exhibits excellent geometry, it handles bright lights predictably and well with almost no coma wide open, and if you stop it down you get really cool rays that get longer as the aperture gets smaller. The defocused character is just like the 85/1.4D. I can't say enough.

    John, I guess I'm mean too :^)

  15. oh great, now I've got Ron on my case too :evil: :evil: :!: :!: You guys are killing me!!! :twisted: :twisted:

    Talk about peer pressure.....

    okay, okay, I'll sleep on it! Sheesh! :roll:
  16. Perfect. It's a low-light situation [dreams, low-light -- chuckle].

  17. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    And your point is, Ron ???

    Janet, he's right. I am mean. But in a good way...

    But I'm also right because I listened to Ron's counsel on this. I could accuse Ron of many things (and plan to the next time we sit over a beer together), but I'd never accuse him of recommending equipment that delivers anything less than sterling results.

    Janet, this is exactly the discussion you needed to have made by someone here. I guess Ron is just plain better at putting these ideas forward than I am. Everything he says has proven true for me. I've looked at almost every lens I've bought and later questioned my thinking in the purchase. Every lens except the 28 f/1.4 .

    Let me put it in other terms. I think that the 28mm f/1.4 will prove to be of as equal use to you as your valued 80-400mm VR is, once you accept it as a part of your kit. I know what kinds of incredible results you've derived from the 80-400mm, so this isn't an idle comment (nor meanly intended, FWIW).

    And your point is, Ron ??? {ducking quickly}

    John P.
  18. 28 mm f1.4 lens

    Go for it Janet. Patrick has made you a great offer. :)  :D 

    I shoot all of my firefighting stuff with my 28-105 f 3.5-4.5., and I find myself using it at 28 mm most of the time. It is not the fastest lens in the world, but it is just right for what I do. Also, it has a reasonable macro capability.
  19. Check out the

    28 mm f/2 Nikkor [AI] for very little money you can get a nice lens, it wont meter on your D100 and MF otherwise it is a very nice lens

    and the 35 mm f/1.4 Nikkor [AIS]

    The can be had at times on Ebay for very little money. There are several 35's up there right now and 2-3 28's as well
  20. Yeah, I'd love to own a 28mm f/1.4 too, but it's too rich for my blood. :D  I'm like Chris. The 35 f/2 will have to do for me. :D  I'm thinking to add the Sigma 20 f/1.8 also, but that's probably too close to the Tamron 17-35 to be worthwhile.

    But one thing though, do y'all really think 28mm is wide enough for shooting monuments in Rome? I've never been to Rome, but somehow, I've gotta think it won't be wide enough many times.

    If I were Janet, I'd probably just stick w/ her Tamron 17-35 and bring a lightweight tripod for the monuments if that's doable. Maybe see about the upcoming Sigma 30 f/1.4 -- it might not be *that* expensive since their 28 f/1.8 is quite cheap and even their 20 f/1.8 is under $400 -- or settle for the 35 f/2 when the extra couple stops are needed at that focal length.

    But yeah, I can certainly imagine the 28 f/1.4 being as indispensible to a street photog as something like the 70-200VR for many people. But a street photog doesn't typically shoot large monuments and other such large scale scenics though.

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