NickTrop's reviews

  • Nikon 24mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Size, weight, cost, rendering
    Not as well-corrected as modern lenses, lower resolving power at wider apertures

    Stop! I don't own this lens, which I'm sure is a fine lens. However, I am a "D"-series Nikkor fan who prefers the smaller size, lower cost, and the way older lenses render despite not being as well-corrected and having generally less resolving power wide open and own several. In this focal length, I opted for the competing Sigma 24/2.8 Superwide II macro. Actually I just lied. I own the Quantaray Tech-10 24/2.8 macro, which is the exact same lens, rebadged. Why? It's cheaper (was "a lot" cheaper when I bought mine but word is apparently out on this lens. Still a good bargain.) . It is a true macro lens -- granted, you may question the value of a wide-angle macro lens but I'm surprised myself at how often I used it. At the very least no concern over how close to the subject your lens is. And finally, Photodo gives the Nikon a solid 3.8 rating. The Sigma/Quantaray? That rates a very good 4.0. Which lens is "better" is splitting hairs, really. But if you're looking for a fixed lens in this focal length, it merits trying to find this lens, which also is a screw-drive autofocus. This lens, though a bit obscure and overlooked, should definitely have appeared under "Alternatives" in this Image Resource review -- same size, same specs, same era. In fact, no doubt, in its day it was THE alternative to the Nikon. Either way, the Nikon or the Sigma version makes a great pairing with the Nikon 50/1.4, 1.8 AF-D for a light-weight and unobtrusive two-lens combo. Oh -- always use a hood with these old lenses.

    reviewed June 12th, 2018 (purchased for $60)
  • Nikon 35mm f/2D AF Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    3D-pop, color rendition, sharpness stopped down, aperture ring, low element count, size, weight, cost, screw drive auto focus, close focus capabilities, fast F2 aperture, center sharpness, versatility
    Border sharpness at wide apertures

    A sensible lens and a breath of fresh air. As good technically as it needs to be. The borders and corners do lag on this lens more than normal at all apertures, especially at f2. For the life of me I don't know why this is such a big concern to anyone other than pixel peepers. The subject never is placed on extreme edges and it's simply not noticeable, in my experience, unless you pixel peep. If you're shooting wider with an isolated subject, the corners are blurred out anyway or they're dark. Like all lenses everything sharpens up stopped down a stop or two. For whatever reason -- some say it's due to fewer elements, this is one of those lenses that has 3D pop -- a nice non-quantifiable qualitative property. Love the natural color rendition of this lens, has a film-y quality on digital cameras. I totally dig its small size, weight (and reasonable price tag) compared to the modern expensive behemoths in this focal length. I prefer screw mount lenses because I don't trust the durability of the tiny silent wave motors built-in to virtually all newer lenses both made by Nikon and 3rd-party. This lens remains a favorite among food photographers for its close focus capabilities. It's a natural for events and because it's so small it can turn a D600, D610, or D750 (the smaller Nikon full frame cameras) into viable street shooters. Small enough to pop in your bag (or pocket) and not worry about it -- you won't think twice about taking it along. Look at 500px and see some samples of the beautiful output this classic Nikon is capable of before spending much more on the larger more modern 35's. This is a shooter's lens, not an "internet MTF chart obsesser" lens.

    reviewed June 8th, 2018 (purchased for $174)
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    F stop value = T-stop value no light absorbed by adding too many light/information absorbing elements: 1.4 = 1.4, a true "f1.4" lens, sharpness, cost, brilliant image quality, size, weight, cost, durable in-camera screw drive auto focus (not tiny in-l
    Some have said there is a hot-spot in the center of the frame at f16, which is especially evident shooting IR film. I have briefly tested for this on my digital camera and did not observe this. But I rarely shoot f16 and have not shot any IR film in a dec

    One of the few lenses I've observed that transmits all the light -- and the information that light carries, to the sensor or film plane. Its maximum aperture value is equal to its T-stop value. F1.4 = F1.4, this according to DXOmark. Very sharp by f2.8, and razor sharp by f5.6 and beyond. Great color rendition and 3-D pop. I'd describe its output as painterly. Simply put -- this is a timeless Nikkor with a classic optical formula that renders beautifully and should be in every Nikon shooter's bag. I regard it as the poor man's Summilux. IMO every Nikon shooter should have this 50/1.4 prime, and it's a true bargain on the used market with plenty of them around. Skip any and all 1.8's and get this (stretch if you must) 50/1.4 for full frame or film. It may very well be the only lens you'll ever need. It is my favorite prime period of the many, many I have owned in various mounts. Like all classic "D" glass, it's sensibly sized, weighs nothing, with a reasonable element count, and is affordable new and very affordable used.

    reviewed June 8th, 2018 (purchased for $178)
  • Tokina 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX SD

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Cost, Build Quality, Size, Sharpness Stopped Down, Very Low Distortion
    Sharpness wide open

    Know what? If you don't want to blow a wad of cash on a wide angle zoom, this is your lens. This is a landscape lens or used to shoot interiors with a Speedlight. I always shoot such lenses mounted on a tripod, stopped down to f8, f11 where they're all about the same in terms of resolution. This is a special purpose, not a general purpose lens -- no need for speed in such a lens, therefore no need to spend three times as much for one if you're stopping it down to f8, f11 anyway and mounting it on a tripod to shoot a landscape or real estate interiors. Well-made as are all Tokinas. This Tokina also boasts impressively low distortion for its type. Build-quality belies it's comparatively low cost, and because it's a sensible (for such a lens) f4, it is smaller and lighter than most other FX wide angle zooms. A sensible, budget-friendly choice for its intended purpose.

    reviewed June 8th, 2018 (purchased for $399)
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image quality and overall sharpness, wide-open sharpness, size, bokeh, weight, cost
    Build quality could be better

    One of the sharpest prime lenses Nikon has ever produced. Sharp even at f1.8. Very nice bokeh as one would expect. This is a worthy successor to the venerable "D" version of this lens. A new classic 85 portrait lens in F mount. Reasonable price, especially compared to the 1.4 version, build-quality could be better but is adequate. Size and weight is also good, a definite advantage over shooting portraits with 1.4's, longer tele's, or zoom lenses -- you might actually toss this one in your bag rather than leave it home.

    reviewed June 8th, 2018 (purchased for $400)