Nikon DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

 

Nikon 35mm

Here’s a quick look at the Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8G for all you Nikon SLR shooters. Before I kick off I’d like to say that I truly believe mirrorless camera’s are the future. And I do predict DSLR’s will start to lose ground to the mirrorless offerings soon. But right now DSLR’s are still going strong, especially the Nikon and Canon SLR’s. As you know I’m a bit of a Fuji fanboy, but I found the X-E1 too unreliable for professional work. Hence my ownership of a Nikon D7000, for which I had recently purchased a nifty little 35mm (50mm equivalent). This review will be about my experience with this lens, and also the feel of it. I’m not some optical sciences expert so I won’t be talking about any of that scientific mumbo jumbo.

The Feel

This lens has a great feel to it. It’s very light and keeps the entire body in good balance. It’s constructed with plastics but it doesn’t feel cheap. The focusing ring on the other hand does feel like a bit of a trade off. It’s very thin and not very smooth at all. And a note for videographers; If you’re not using an external microphone, you will hear the grinding noise of the focusing ring when using MF. Keep in mind that coming from Fujifilm lenses, this lens will not feel like what you’re used to. But let’s be honest, the cheapest Fuji XF lenses will set you back at least 500 bucks, and this lens comes in just below 200, and in the end it’s all about the images it renders. This lens is also nice and compact. It has a relatively large maximum aperture for its size and weight.

Lens quality

I’m not a pixel peeper, I haven’t used nearly enough lenses to objectively make a proper comparison anyway. But I can tell you some of the things that popped in mind while using this lens. First of all; the image quality.

Most of the images shot below are taken wide open. In my opinion wide open is the most important aperture setting for a lens to properly be able to execute, because why buy a f/1.8 lens if you can’t use the wide open aperture. I’d have to be honest, this lens is not the sharpest in the world when wide open, but the images retain enough detail and sharpness to be very useful, especially when shooting RAW. So it certainly passes my wide-open image quality test. Focusing when wide open is pretty much okay, it can miss the focus on some occasions, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before on much more expensive lenses, so don’t let that deter you. The focusing in general is quick and silent, except when using manual focus, then it sounds like you’re using a belt grinder.

Conclusion

This lens is one of those little lenses that you should just go out and buy. It is very cheap, the images it produces are lovely. And when used properly, this can easily be the only lens in your bag. It will not weigh you down, nor will it let you down when it comes to IQ. Below you’ll find some test shots, most of them shot indoors with poor lighting conditions, see how it handles that.

 

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A little rebirth. Fuji X100 Firmware 2.0

Here’s another post about the Fujifilm X100. This time though, I’m talking about the X100 2.0. The sort of rebirth of the Fujifilm X100.

Even though this trusty ‘classic’ was announced all the way back in 2010 (which nowadays would make most camera’s be OLD) it still doesn’t feel long in the tooth at all. Many happy owners still use the camera even though it has been replaced by the x100s some time ago. It has seen the rise of the X-mount system, the birth of the X-trans, and even the X-trans II sensors, and you would think that Fuji has forgotten all about this little guy. But they have once more proven to truly care about their loyalists. A short while ago they released the 2.0 firmware update for the x100 which makes it a much more usable camera and makes it more than a match for similarly priced premium compacts.

Before I get into the specifics of the new firmware I’d like us to consider for a moment how very nice it is of Fuji to do this. It’s like a little present for X100 shooters like myself, a little pat on the back for being Fuji shooters. It doesn’t make them any money, and quite frankly none of us were expecting Fuji to do this. So it’s not like they had to do this at all it’s not even logical. But they did and I love them for being so very kind. Now the firmware promised to make the camera’s focusing system be more efficient, the minimal focusing distance has now been shortened by 30% (you no longer have to put in macro mode when taking a picture of a person sitting close to you). It also makes this firstborn X somewhat faster when using AF. And for all the people like me, who never used the manual focus on this guy because it was rubbish at best, can do so now because manual focusing is aided by the X100s’ focus peaking mode now, which is nice.

Well, I downloaded it, tested it, and compared it to the old firmware. And it works! I mean it’s still the X100 obviously, it doesn’t magically turn it into an X100s. It’s still the same 12mp sensor (which I love by the way). The output is still the same (nothing wrong with that), but the ease of use has increased quite a lot. I always used to switch back and forth between macro mode all the time. But now I don’t have to do that as much anymore. Also the focusing has definitely improved, it grabs focus slightly quicker and also more often… X100 owners know why this is important right? Because the camera sometimes wouldn’t grab focus at all sometimes. Don’t go using it for sports photography all of a sudden though, it still can’t do that. But its usability for portraits, street photography and all that good stuff is now even better.

All I can say is; thank you Fuji, you’re the best. You can download the firmware here (if you haven’t already): http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/firmware/x/finepix_x100/

Fujifilm X100

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Sigma 30mm F/2.8 DN ART Micro Four thirds Quick Review

The Sigma 30mm DN lens has been around for a while now. Loads of very positive reviews have been written about the optics of this very inexpensive lens. But some time ago Sigma decided to cater those who complained about the build quality. The lens felt rather cheap with its all-plastic body, and even though the internals remain very much the same, the externals have been completely overhauled by Sigma. This is now a very good looking, smooth and stylish little lens. In this post I’ll be reviewing this lens for you in a not so scientific way, I’ll just tell you some of my experiences with it, and I won’t be doing any pixel peeping tests. It’s just me telling you about a lens that I have come to appreciate a lot.

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Build Quality

The build quality of this lens is very good indeed, it feels like a solid piece of equipment, especially at its price point. The lens barrel itself is made of metal just, like the lens mount. This is quite the upgrade from the old version which had a plastic lens barrel. That lens felt like the €170 I had to pay for it, this lens on the other hand feels like something a lot more expensive. The lens is available in two colors; black and silver. I decided to pick up the silver version to go with my silver OM-D. The very first thing I noticed after attaching the lens was that it suited the silver Olympus OM-D very well, the bottom part of the lens is exactly the same metallic color as the OM-D body and the chrome top half just looks very good. All the mechanics seem to work just fine, the focus ring is smooth enough and the focusing itself is very quiet and rather quick.

Performance

As said before, the focusing is quick enough for me. I can really only compare this to the Fujifilm camera’s I had and the Pentax K5 DSLR I’ve used for a long time. So I can’t really be too scientific about it, all I can say is that when paired up to the Olympus OM-D it is one hell of a lot faster than the Fujifilm X100, X-pro1, X-e1 and X10 camera’s (a lot more accurate too). And it is also loads faster than my Pentax K5 with its kit 18-135mm lens attached to it. Even though the OM-D isn’t the latest in AF technology anymore, and this lens still has the same focusing motor as the previous model it is very snappy in my experience.

As I said before, I’m not going to get to scientific. And this is a very short little review. But I wanted to share my experiences with this lens because it’s definitely something to think about for all you Micro four thirds shooters out there. If you own an Olympus Pen or some other Micro four thirds camera, and you’re looking for an inexpensive, high quality prime lens, this lens is definitely worth picking up. I’ve used this lens extensively on my trip through England (In my post about an abandoned UK warehouse you’ll see a bunch of pictures shot with this setup). For me, this is one of those lenses that just feels good to use.

(Below are some sample shots. The two outdoor shots were made in very ugly lighting conditions, it was very grey and cloudy. The lens managed to render it well though)

 

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