1 prime

Yesterday I bought a prime lens for my Nikon 1 V1. That was a little bit of a surprise even to myself because I have not written very positively about V1 here in my blog. I would like to give a chance for that camera though. I looked through Ivan Radic’s Flickr stream which is full of great shots with V1 and Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 prime. Superb stuff and lots of high ISO shots too. So, I went to a local camera store and bought the 18.5/1.8 prime.

The lens is solidly build (plastic with a metal bajonet), light-weighted, and just right in size. It is not any pancake lens which I find good because you can get grip from lens barrel easily and stabilize the camera better in that way. This lens has no image stabilization which I find a pity because it is 50mm equivalent and IS would have been nice for a “normal” lens. I have to say this lens is very sharp wide open. This is very nice because f/1.8 lets lots of light in and provides just nice DoF. And you can get quite nice background blur and bokeh with it too. I think I am going to use it mainly wide open. This will be possible with Nikon 1 V1 also in outdoor use in good lighting because V1 has an electronic shutter option which allows you to use shutter speeds of 1/16 000 s.

In my earlier posts here I complained about the poor ISO performance of Nikon 1 V1. Now I shot many photos with the 18.5/1.8 prime lens wide open with ISO 800 and was very pleased actually. So, what happened? I think the answer is that I was able to use shutter speeds in the range of 1/125 – 1/250 s indoors which provide sharper shots much easier than slower shutter speeds (with same ISOs) with my 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The noise grain is (at least with ISO 800) quite pleasing looking actually. If there is even a slight camera shake (because of too slow shutter speed), it tends to exaggerate the noise and make the noise grain “mushy” looking. Indoor shooting was one of the reasons I decided to get this prime lens and it seems it performs well. Next I will test it at ISO 1600 (and even 3200).

Now that I have V1 with the two lenses (18.5mm and 10-30mm) it seems more possible that I will take this combo with me for our forthcoming vacation. I have no problems with 10-30mm zoom outdoors in good light and 18.5mm will cover indoor shooting (and of course it will be used outdoors too).

Here are few test shots from yesterday. All at ISO 800, wide open, and shutter speeds 1/125 – 1/250 s.

Ivy Thinker Headphones on a stand

Should I zoom in?

I’ve been pondering lately to buy a zoom lens. Oh my, I am a prime only guy. But now there is one zoom lens I may want to have. Namely Fujinon 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. It seems to be highly praised almost everywhere. And it really provides that tele reach (83-300mm) which I am missing time to time. It is about 730 euros, so not bad for the build quality and IQ it provides.

Should I go for it then? I have developed some kind of a zoom barrier in my head. Very difficult to use anything else than prime lenses. Quite funny. Nope.

Why can’t Fuji introduce a 135mm (200mm equivalent) f/2 prime? I would buy that one instantly. Or at least 85mm?

Oldies goldies

Not songs this time but lenses. I got yesterday Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 55mm F 1.8 and Super-Takumar 135mm F3.5 lenses (M42 screw mount) to use with my Fuji X-Pro1. The lenses are from 1960's and they still are in a very good condition. Metal and glass only, smooth focus rings and tactile aperture rings. Just fantastic feeling. With that kind of manual focus lenses it is so easy to focus manually (no AF, of course!) because the movement of focus ring is just right and precise. Of course I have to practice more to get more tack sharp keepers but I was happy when I was using them first time. I was happy. No frustration whatsoever.

I will write my impressions of them later on when I'm having more experience of them.

Below are one shot of the lenses and one of the first shots taken with the 55mm lens.


Just a short post about the AF speed of different lenses in m4/3 system. As I stated earlier the current generation of Olympus M.ZUIKO lenses are blazingly fast to achieve the focus. The situation is not the same with Panasonic lenses, unfortunately. My Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH lens has quite mediocre AF when used with Olympus OM-D body. Huge difference when compared to M.ZUIKOs and there is also quite much focus hunting too. The shot below was taken in reasonable indoor lighting (due my standards) with Lumix 20/1.7. M.ZUIKOs will focus instantaneously in those conditions having no hunting at all. Lumix 20/1.7 was instead hunting a lot. Not good. I am now thinking to get M.ZUIKO 17/1.8 lens to replace the Lumix. Many reviews report that the 17/1.8 has a really fast AF and has also more pleasing bokeh than 20/1.7.

My Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN is much faster in focusing than the Lumix 20/1.7. I think Sigma is very well acceptable even if not so fast than M.ZUIKOs. Also the focus hunting is very minimal with the Sigma. Very nice performance for so cheap lens!

All in all, some lenses are behavin', some are not.

You can feel the quality

You can feel the quality, originally uploaded by Jonne Naarala.

My new Voigtländer Apo-Lanthar 90mm F3.5 SL II. Pre-Christmas present for myself. 😉

I really love all my Voigtländer lenses. I have now Color Skopar 20mm F3.5 SL II, Ultron 40mm F2 SL II, and this newest one, Apo-Lanthar 90mm F3.5 SL II. That’s a quite nice combo of manual focus lenses. All Voigtländers are built like a tank and their manual focusing is so extremely precise and all of them are very sharp lenses and they produce so pleasing bokeh. I actually am able to shoot sharper photos with these manual focus wonders than with my AF lenses (of course moving objects are a different story). It is a real joy to use lenses which have been manufactured so that you really can feel manufacturers’ love for photography.

I hope to write a short mini-review of all my Voigtländers in the near future, so stay tuned!

I would like to thank my Flickr friend Morten (Flickr name MoSHa*) for introducing this wonderful lens to me. Please, check his great photostream!

Voigtländer Nokton 25mm f/0.95 – my next lens?

Since I bought Voigtländer lenses (Ultron 40mm f/2 and Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5) for my 5D MkII, I have been very interested in Nokton 25mm f/0.95 for micro four thirds system. I have found Voigtländers very pleasing lenses which are extremely sharp and which produce very beautiful bokeh.

I posted here earlier that my next camera may well be Fujifilm Finepix X-100 but now I am reconsidering that because of this wonderful Nokton lens is haunting me all the time. It would be very nice for my E-P1 or any other m4/3 body later on.

Here is one short review in German (includes some nice pics shot with it).

And here is a Flickr group for this Voigtländer.