Nikon 50mm f/1.8D Review

I just got my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 yesterday and I’ve been playing around with it on my D40. Overall, I find it fun to play with, probably because it’s a very simple lens. With no way to change the focal length, you’re left with playing with the aperture and focus.

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The Nikon 50mm f/1.8. Got this 2nd hand for RM308 plus shipping.

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It’s a considerably thinner lens and it weighs next to nothing (Official weight is 155g).

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It looks right at home when fitted to a D40.

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It’s shorter than the kit lens and it makes the D40 feels lighter and more compact to bring around.

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Focused at infinity. When the focus is turned to near focus, the front filter ring protrudes out by about 1cm. The ring does not rotate during focusing. Perfect for those who want to using polarizing filters.

The 50mm f/1.8 lens with its large aperture is perfect for precise depth of field control. At f/1.8 with the subject 0.5 meter away, the depth of field is paper thin at just 1cm. I can see that it will be great for portrait shots also because it will be able to blur out the subject’s background while keeping the subject in sharp focus, therefore bringing the viewer’s attention to the subject.

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Batteries place about 2.5 inches apart. No blurring done during post processing. Shot at wide open (f/1.8).

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It’s a pain to focus and shoot and hold the flower at the same time. Again, the large aperture keeps the subject in sharp focus. Shot at wide open (f/1.8).

One word describes the low light performance of this lens: incredible. Shooting at wide open, you can easily take blur free photos (1/80) at ISO 200 indoors. In dimmer conditions, ISO 1600 will be more than sufficient. This will no doubt be a good lens for indoors and for night time photography.

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Comparison of shutter speeds at different apertures. All shot at ISO 200. At f/1.8, you can easily shoot at 1/30 whereas if you are using the kit lens, at 50mm you would have to use a f/5.6 which will probably give you a shutter speed of less than 1/10. If you ramp up the ISO to 800 where noise levels are still good, you can easily shoot using 1/100 and above, giving you virtually blur free photos.

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Barrel distortion is almost non existent on this lens. Shooting at my test chart shows very straight lines even on the edges of the frame. The photo on the left is shot with the 18-55mm kit lens, and the one on the right is shot using the 50mm at wide open.

The sharpness of this lens is also exceptional. Its sharp even at the far corners. The 3 photos following the photo below are cropped 100% from the areas in the red boxes. Original photo was shot at f/9 on a tripod with focus approximately on the forward latch of the dry box.

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Original photo resized to fit here.

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The crops are still relatively sharp. But you’ll never have to blow them up this big unless you’re printing a large photo (roughly 45x70cm).

The only shortcoming of this lens when mounted on a D40 is the lack of autofocus. Although the green focus light comes on when the subject is in focus, you are very likely to miss shots while fiddling with the focus. When mounted on bodies that supports autofocus on this lens, focusing was fast and accurate. No hunting was evident.

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Conclusion: If you love playing with depth of field and frequently shoot in low light or do portrait shots, then this is a lens that you should get. It’s so cheap that there’s no reason not to get one. For D40/D40x/D60 users, you might want to think twice about the lack of autofocus. Like I’ve said, it’s not a real problem but you may miss some shots while focusing. But for me, this lens will probably be a permanent resident on my D40 from now on. Continue reading

Port Dickson Trip 2

Strange but true, we decided to go Port Dickson again after Lina and Asyraf’s wedding even though we were there last weekend. This time, it was impromptu so we didn’t bring any extra clothes, towel or anything for a swim. So we went and bought swimming pants, towels and spare underwear. Everything cost about RM15. Good fun since the sun was hot and the ocean was refreshing.

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Got the idea for this photo from smashpop. He took a similar photo a while ago. 1/15 @ f/22.

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Freaking hot day. The ocean never looked more inviting.

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Near sunset view. We didn’t stay till the sun went down.

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Another shot of the sunset.

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Focus is on the reflection of the bike’s handle.

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Cyclist shot from a moving car.

Initially we decided to have bak kut teh at Sunway, but then since we were passing by Kajang we decided to pay Haji Samuri a visit and eat his satay.

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Haji Samuri Satay House at Kajang. It’s always packed. TV was showing Lee Chong Wei’s match against Lin Dan.

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Succulent cucumbers with ketupat.

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And the irresistible satay sauce. Eating ketupat with the sauce while waiting for our 100 sticks of satay to come.

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One of the 3 plates of satay. We ordered 50 chicken and 50 beef. Should have ordered less beef because it wasn’t as good as chicken.

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Almost managed to finish all the satay. Next time 10 sticks per person and more ketupat.

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Sunway Pyramid Lion. Shot this from a moving car. 1/50 @ ISO3200. Love the low light performance of DSLRs.

Next post:

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Plenty of DOF fun. Continue reading

Lina and Asyraf's Wedding

Just came back from field football and I realized that my stamina is not as good as before when I used to play everyday after school. That’s what happens when you get old.

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Signs to the bride’s house. GPS helped as well.

Last Sunday was Lina and Asyraf’s wedding. This is as far as I can recall, my first time attending a Malay wedding and my first time shooting a wedding. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Mainly because I didn’t understand the flow of the ceremony, and I didn’t get into the correct places to get the good shots, and I think the lack of flash was pretty evident in some indoor shots. I would have loved to use a telephoto to get a close up of the bride and the groom with nice DOFs but that wasn’t an option with the kit lens. Anyways, there were 2 or 3 official wedding photographers there so all is good.

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Early birds get the curry rendang.

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Some of my friends from work.

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The beating of the drums signaled the arrival of the groom. The groom was followed by a procession carrying the various wedding gifts for the bride.

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Aysraf trying to be serious when I was snapping away.

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The groom goes through the “kenduri” tents and into the bride’s house to greet her father.

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The ceremony is still a mystery to me. But I think they were performing a prayer here. You can see 2 photographers on the far side of the room. Another photographer is on the left.

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Exchanging wedding rings.

After the ceremony, the groom and the bride will have lunch at a specially prepared table with the groom and bride’s family.

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Priceless expression. Forgot what he was pointing at.

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I asked for a photo and he gave me this pose. Why so serious?

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This turned out better.

But really, I can tell that he’s pretty nervous on that day. I’ve never seen him like that before (maybe when he was flying a RM80k RC jet) but I guess it’s normal since your wedding is probably one of the biggest event of your life. Mine should still be years away so plenty of time to think about how I’ll feel on that day.

After the wedding, we had an impromptu decision to head somewhere. But where? Jeng jeng jeng jeng… come back tomorrow to find out!

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Hint hint. Continue reading

Free Weekend

Exams just over so this will be a very free weekend. My mum and brothers are in KL so I’ll be away at 1U for the weekend. Will update this post with more photos when I get them.

Update: The free weekend turned out to be more free than expected so I’ll split the post into Saturday and Sunday.

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View of 1Utama. I was at 8th floor of the Royale Bintang family suite for the weekend.

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On going construction. Long shutter with small aperture.

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Going to the lobby for breakfast.

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No time for IKEA this time round.

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Karting at Shah Alam Stadium.

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Watched the Dark Knight again at Cineleisure Damansara. 12am-3am movie.

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A RM700k Nissan Skyline GTR. I witnessed it roll out smoothly without a sound. What a sight.

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Coconut at “lorry” for RM2. Great thirst quencher on a hot day.

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Don’t try to race with this car. It has turbo.

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Under the pyramid of Sunway Pyramid. Skating was part of the agenda for the day. But on Saturday, they were having some performance at the skating rink.

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Love how their purple lights reflect off the cutlery.

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Went to Kim Gary to try out their special cheese on rice pork chop. Can anyone tell me what cheese they use?

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Forgot what this was.

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Reached home on Sunday morning at 3am after the Dark Knight. We left the next day at 10:30am for Lina and Asyraf’s wedding.

Wedding photos and more to come. Stay tuned! Continue reading