Nikon Just Df things, seen by M shooter

William Lewis

Veteran
Location
Hayward WI
Real Name
William Lewis
Only the young and inexperienced Nikon shooters have a lens or two that are must-haves.

We old/experienced Nikon shooters will gladly make a list of 20 or more lenses that are "Must Haves", especially for Nikon Df.
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH
I'm a young Nikon shooter and _I_ can give you an off the cuff list of at least 10 "Must Haves". Those will be the same as you'd hear BrianS tell you to buy. Then I'll tell you the OTHER 10 "Must Haves" as far as I am concerned and the odds are none of them will be on his list.

(Hint: No matter what ANYONE says, get a 105/2.5 Nikkor-P. Get one that was made Pre-AI and have it modified. You'll thank us all later.)

Canon made a good decision when going from FD to EF.
Nikon also made a good decision to stay with the F mount.
Take those two statements as you will :laugh1:
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I think the next F lens I'll give up is the Samyang 20 mm f/1.8.

UWAs are wonderful but this one is very big and heavy. Accurately focusing with OVF is not working well and the optics aren't that great anyhow. There are no focus distance scales on the lens and the lens goes beyond infinity all too easily.

It's a shame because wide-angle TTL is a wonderful thing. Especially good close-focus is great, can't get that on a Leica M. The bittersweet duality of using UWAs on a rangefinder. Wonderfully accurate to focus but the long MFD loses so much potential of the lens. So much. On a TTL it's the opposite.

Leica M with its inherent limitations has taught me to take 35mm as my wide-angle view and it's not a bad position to be in.

Because the Nikon's DRF dot works best with longer FLs and Leica M covers my normal FLs I think I'll trade it for a 105/2.5 Pre-Ai as suggested by many. My Nikon lens collection is shifting towards mid-tele options. That's fine by me, it means the camera has a more solid "slot" in my arsenal: Leica handling 35-50 and Nikon handling 85+ mm. No conflict of interest between the cameras.
 
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rayvonn

Hall of Famer
I think the next F lens I'll give up is the Samyang 20 mm f/1.8.

UWAs are wonderful but this one is very big and heavy. Accurately focusing with OVF is not working well and the optics aren't that great anyhow. There are no focus distance scales on the lens and the lens goes beyond infinity all too easily.

It's a shame because wide-angle TTL is a wonderful thing. Especially good close-focus is great, can't get that on a Leica M. The bittersweet duality of using UWAs on a rangefinder. Wonderfully accurate to focus but the long MFD loses so much potential of the lens. So much. On a TTL it's the opposite.

Leica M with its inherent limitations has taught me to take 35mm as my wide-angle view and it's not a bad position to be in.

Because the Nikon's DRF dot works best with longer FLs and Leica M covers my normal FLs I think I'll trade it for a 105/2.5 Pre-Ai as suggested by many. My Nikon lens collection is shifting towards mid-tele options. That's fine by me, it means the camera has a more solid "slot" in my arsenal: Leica handling 35-50 and Nikon handling 85+ mm. No conflict of interest between the cameras.
See if you can hire a Nikkor 20mm F1.8G for the day and see what you think.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Df has been on the back seat for some time now. But I decided to dive deeper in the world of F! This little "blog" shall also continue now.

This renaissance has been partly thanks to my experimentation with Panasonic G9. What a camera it is! But all the more, it painfully reminds me what I actually love about photography and how G9 doesn't always give it to me.

I finally spotted Sonnar lenses on Kameratori so I went ahead and bought 4 new lenses; 2 Ai-S zooms and the 2 Sonnar primes that people know. My F lens collection is thus growing from 3 to 7 lenses, only two being autofocusing ones. I think this is the direction I want to take.

Let's start small and say that one bit of appeal about G9 was its weather sealing. All good, no problem.

I didn't quite remember that of course Nikon DSLRs are also somewhat protected from the elements. Df + a beater 50 G lens should provide a cool lightweight setup for the rainy day, don't you think? I don't have many WR lenses for my Panasonic either so it goes even.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Of the four new lenses I'm surprisingly drawn to the 35-200 lens that was a total impulse buy. I was looking for the Sonnar primes and the cheap series E zoom lens but then I just threw this also on the cart. I thought this zoom would be the one I'd be returning but now I think I'll keep them all.

An early super zoom, it doesn't go quite as wide as I'd prefer (28 would have been perfect). The lens is also quite sizeable and a bit on the heavy side, of course it's a lightweight when compared to any G lenses of similar caliber, I am sure.

The lens, I have to say, renders rather nicely and doesn't have that "zoom look" nearly as much as some of the other zooms of prior. I can tickle some of that ugly look out if need be but overall I am pleased.

The biggest compromise on this lens has to be the close focusing distance. Throughout the zoom range the lens maintains a minimum of 1.6 meters or about 5 feet. There's a macro setting to be sure but you are much more limited in focal lengths. It's a pretty narrow view that you can focus in closeups but you do get to 1:4 which is plenty for me personally.

This limitation is a big one but that aside, I am surprised how much I actually enjoy the lens in the end. It's very well made, quality Ai-S lens with a pump-action zoom that doesn't creep much at all. Having said that, a zoom lock would have been nice nonetheless.

2021-03-25 (Thu) 12-09-02.jpeg


2021-03-25 (Thu) 12-45-41.jpeg
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I'll be waiting for the focusing screen until April at least.

Meanwhile I am thinking of enhancing my grip on Df. Sadly it seems that the Df hype train has come and gone, the after market hand grips and all that stuff is mostly sold out it seems.

Gone are the artisanal bamboo wood grips and most half cases, what's left is a dead cold aluminium grip from China. Or perhaps there wasn't a huge 3rd-party offering for Df to begin with.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
While your waiting, why not get yourself an 85mm Planar - then your comparison with the output to an M camera can really begin.
I already conducted some tests with 50 and 55 mm lenses head-to-head last summer.

My hit rate with the Micro-Nikkor 55/3.5 was very poor indeed. The lens is so geared towards the macro end it's just impossible to nail focus anywhere further than 5 meters. Focusing close was easy though.

The few shots that I did nail were surprisingly comparable to what Leica + CV50 Heliar did. When you nail the focus, all at sudden you can't notice any adverse effect from the OLPF or anything. But thanks to the focusing mechanisms of Df, the hit rate was abysmal compared to the 99%+ of Leica.

Another fun finding from the head-to-head was that Nikon Df at its native ISO 100 is as sensitive as Leica M at its native of 200.

Recalling this experiment I don't need to do another head-to-head just now.

What I indeed have to do instead is to have that focusing screen installed and perhaps have the service give a checkup and calibration, because I just have this visual impression that when I see things in the sharpest focus in the viewfinder, that's usually not when the ERF dot agrees.

In fact I'd better conduct these tests by myself so that I can report on my findings to the service to save time and potential headache. Use my tripod and focus a lens to a target using three different methods.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Today I will stroll with the last new lens that hasn't seen outside action yet. The 135mm f/3.5.

The new lenses I will rank as follows, based on my early impressions, best to worst:

  1. 75-150 f/3.5 Series E. Great stuff all around. Super sharp: there's no need to close the lens down. The pump zoom is loose but it's technically an "internal zoom" so the overall dimensions of the lens don't change, still so it doesn't matter much at all. Focuses also pretty close. For the money paid an absolute winner.
  2. 135 f/3.5 Sonnar. Super sharp and beautiful. Much more lightweight than my 135 f/2.8 Q. Has a certain something to the images. Hopefully I can grab some interesting shots in mid-afternoon light today.
  3. 35-200 f/3.5-4.5 AI-S. A bit heavy but not too heavy. A real nice pump zoom with sturdy mechanics. The close focus is a mild downer. While the lens can do a very nice 1:4 reproduction, wide-angle closeups aren't in this lens repertoire. Judging by the looks of it, in macro mode the lens is 70mm and up.
  4. 105 f/2.5 Sonnar. The copy is a bit poor in focusing feel, some play, loose components react to mirror slap. As I have already got accustomed to 135mm primes, this 105 feels like an inbetweener. To my surprise this currently ranks at the bottom of the bunch.
Do I return some of these lenses? That's a hard one to say. I have to make a trip to Helsinki anyway, in theory I could return some lenses without extra hassle with shipping anything.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
This lens... I like it.

I was worried for a second on my walk because the 75-150 replicates the focal length and aperture while being so very sharp and pretty. Unlike the 105/2.5 I immediately notice a good thing going on here.

2021-03-27 (Sat) 14-58-46.jpeg
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
How frustrating limitation, on Df's software.

Scenario: M + auto-ISO. I have my selected aperture and shutter speed and let the camera choose ISO for me.

If I enable AE bracketing, the camera will bracket, guess what, shutter speed. What?!

For fuck's sake
 

mpeterson

Regular
Location
US Midwest
Real Name
Mark Peterson
I've owned the Df either 3 or 4 times over the years. I really like the camera overall, but it has its quirks. It would be interesting to see if other Nikon bodies do the same with this combo of settings. I don't have one at hand at the moment or I'd check....
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I've owned the Df either 3 or 4 times over the years. I really like the camera overall, but it has its quirks. It would be interesting to see if other Nikon bodies do the same with this combo of settings. I don't have one at hand at the moment or I'd check....
I googled about this issue and it appears to be a common Nikonism. At least D850's user manual describes the same behavior.

Funny how this thing can be so difficult to some designers. Maybe it is, maybe how I'd use these things always falls off of the common path.

A decade ago designers struggled with auto ISO: there were weird design decisions regarding the concept of minimum shutter speed, there were weird restrictions regarding the use of auto ISO in manual mode.

Nowadays with the benefit of hindsight things couldn't be any clearer. Not everybody still gets it though. :(
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Still waiting for the grip to come.

Today I placed on order some lens caps because sooner or later they're needed.

Someone is selling 28/2.8D and 50/1.8D as a package deal for 200 € which doesn't sound too bad. I wonder if I should hold further purchases for a moment or go for it. I fear that if I keep buying more and more, it never ends. But price appears to be good to be sure and at least the 28 has a hood also included.

Another deal I saw was a Nikon F301 with three lenses: 35-70, 80-210 and a Tamron 300, all for 115 €. Perhaps not the lenses I'm particularly looking for, but surely wouldn't cost an arm or a leg.

My camera came with two Nikon branded batteries but they're both quite tired and the other discharges very quickly and the other also. Wondering whether to go the OEM brand route or select some third party options. I would also like to get a dual charger so that I can at least keep the tired ones charged. Some charger-GAS also in the air as I am thinking of the nicely designed Hähnel CUBE charger which costs a dear penny (50 € more than the cheapest USB-powered dual charger).
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
But price appears to be good to be sure and at least the 28 has a hood also included.
I did further investigating and the price wasn't actually anything special so I dropped this endeavor.

The 28mm Nikkors have been a lot on my mind the past few days. They say that 28 AF and Series E lenses aren't super well corrected (but they have that low-element-count deal going on for them). Of course my search lead me to the 28/2.8 AIS that is "the Deal". Then I really got into the 28 f/1.4 AF-D and subsequently the 28 f/2 AIS.

Honestly I think the Series E 28/2.8 would be plenty good for my needs.

Overall I treat my Nikon Df as a low-fidelity camera because it's no match for Leica. Why buy the best corrected stuff for a low-fi camera? :)

Bokeh is bokeh, so I got excited about the 28 f/1.4 AF-D that goes for about the same money as the 28 f/1.4 G, on used markets.

I watched one review that raved about the virtues of the 28/1.4 D but he compared the lens against the 28/2 AIS and to my eye the worse bokeh of the f/2 was actually more of my cup of tea. The f/2 AIS lens is about 380 €, the 28/2.8 AIS is about 350 € and the f/1.4 lenses way, way over a grand. Still nothing can match what things cost in Leicaland.

But I won't touch wide angles until I have the camera serviced.
 

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