More Geeking It Up

When I got my F80 film SLR in 2002, I also got a couple of cheap plastic Nikon zoom lenses – a 28-80 and a 70-300. Later on, I got a fast 50 1.8 “prime” lens. Then over the years, I collected some other used primes – 24, 35, 85. These were all great optics.

The 28-80 went onto a small very light low end Nikon N55 SLR that eventually ended up with my son-in-law. I replaced it with an earlier generation Nikkor 35-80 lens. This one had more metal in it and was a bit better quality. I found that for most of my film shooting I could get by with two lenses – the 24mm and the 35-80.

Well that was then, this is now. My current D5500 digital SLR has its own DX lens system with optical stabilization and in-lens autofocus. These are the everyday lenses I use now, But I still have the 6 older (now manually focused) lenses gathering dust in the closet. They work well on the digital camera so I’ve been experimenting with them recently.

Above is a grandfather clock shot with 35-80. I stopped it down to F11, and focused manually without using the camera flash. The film sensitivity was insanely high. I don’t think I’d want to use it this way, frankly.

Here’s the 35-80 with the camera flash. Still a high ISO sensitivity but a bit better.

Outdoors it’s a bit more satisfactory.

Another 35-80 snapshot outdoors. The DSLR sees the 35-80 as a 50-120 zoom.

Speaking of zooms this is the 70-300 film lens at maximum. This would be equivalent to a 450 mm magnification on a film camera.

The 70-300 is rather a nasty lens to use on the D5500. It must be focused manually, it’s rather soft when at its largest aperture, the focus ring is tiny and fiddly and it has quite shallow depth of field. It probably should be used on a tripod.

So have I learned anything from Geeking It Up part duh? Probably the cheap film zooms should be left in the closet. I can get much better results from the DX zooms that were designed for the camera.

The film primes are a different story. They are light, fast and feature great optics. They are well worth a spin in and around Almonte, if you don’t need wide-angle.

I am thinking right now of a weird photo kit with the autofocus 10-20 DX zoom and a manually focused 35mm prime from 1990. Just for fun of course.

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