Saturday, July 08, 2006

28mm Candids

Girl & Stone Beekeeper

AF-Nikkor 28 f2.8, Program Mode. I was pleased at how close in
I managed to get for this shot; it's not cropped.
If you click on any image, you can view the original on my Flickr site; clicking on "all sizes" will give you access to the full-resolution file

On a Nikon digital SLR, a 28mm lens ceases to act as a true wide angle; its FoV is 42mm, which turns out to be quite a pleasant "wide standard" focal length, taking in a little more than the standard 35mm (FoV 52mm) lens, but not offering noticeable wide angle distortion when used close-in.
My old AF Nikkor 28mm f2.8 is, like most of my lenses, pre D-type, so I was out to see how it would perform in terms of focussing and exposure. Results were good on both counts; the focussing was fast and accurate (particularly impressive on the shot of the stripey couple which was a real whip-round grab shot) and the reduced matrix metering the D50 uses with pre D-type lenses performed well even with difficult backlighting.

Daleks By The Back Door

AF-Nikkor 28 f2.8, Program Mode. The reduced matrix metering coped well with the backlighting; I printed it very hard but there's bags more highlight detail in the original JPEG.


AF-Nikkor 28 f2.8, Aperture Priority @ f8. I saw these two pass me, belatedly noticed the stripes, turned and fired; The D50 focussed in the time it took to depress the shutter release.

Old Lady & Dog

AF-Nikkor 28 f2.8, Aperture Priority @ f8. The camera didn't hesitate but I did;
I missed the optimum shot with the dog looking back at the old lady.

Despite the handiness of zoom lenses in general, prime lenses seem better suited to shooting candids. Partly, they tend to be smaller and make the camera less obtrusive, but also, in circumstances where you have to shoot very quickly, a prime lens gives you one less thing to worry about. If you work with the same lens for a bit, you quickly learn to place yourself at the right distance to get the shot. The pictures above are shown in reverse order of shooting; the first two I took had to be cropped a little, but by the last two (the old people in the buggies and the girl with the beekeeper) I was placing myself well enough so that a step forward or back would get me the framing I was after.
If you don't have a prime lens, you can get the same discipline by setting a focal length and then popping a bit of tape over the zoom ring to fix it in position.

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