My new old lens; direct from Japan

November 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Gotta love the Japanese. Even on eBay they shine. Bought a used—probably well-over-15-years-old portrait lens for my Nikon D610. Couldn't afford the $800+  that would have cost me, so I went for something tried and true, though nowadays considered "old". Besides, Vincent Versace called this "the best portrait lens you will ever, ever find", and added "if someone is silly enough to want to sell it to you, do them a favor and relieve them of it."

How could I resist? Not only was it ridiculously cheap ($AU150+$AU35 for postage), but it arrived days before the promised date—and I'm still trying to find the "dust particles" that are supposed to be lodged inside the lens. Not a scratch, packaged up with an eye to safety and damage control and with a little note from the sender, including a picture of himself and his wife holding their new baby. Talk about 'connecting'!

I mounted it on my Nikon D610 and it worked. Insanely fast focusing (using the D610's focusing motor; which means it won't focus on my D3200, but in former days one used one's hand to focus), built like a tank (means, yes, it's heavy) and a tad noisier than the fancy modern plastic ones with built-in focusing motors. Also no motion stabilization, but I've lived with that for decades and, seriously, who cares? There's something called "appropriate shutter speed" and modern cameras have insanely good high-ISO performance.

Haven't had a chance to try the lens out on portraits, but there was that storm building up as I drove home, so I did a panorama. The tiny motes in the clouds on the right are birds.

70mm, hand-held, ISO 400, f 16, 1/400 (manual, matrix-metered on the right-most photo of the pano, which has the brightest spot, and using the histogram to make sure that doesn't blow out—which it doesn't though the medium-quality jpeg you see here may suggest otherwise).



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