If in ten thousand years a future civilization or intelligent life form discovers the ruins of Western Civilization, I hope they find this lens, the Nikon EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8. I would think that this humble little lens would show them the elegance in precision manufacturing, clean functional design, and a masterful optical achievement, all housed in a durable, no nonsense package devoid of marketing fluff. As a future artifact it would give further clues about our world. The rare earth materials in the coatings and optical elements would probably allow an accurate dating of how long since this was crafted. The language symbols written in clear distinctive letting, with the brand name and the declaration of the location of its creation. The numbers engraved into the aluminum barrel; the optical formula offered as mathematical proof of the complex set of curves finely cut into beautiful glass. This lens would show just far along our civilization got to this point.
Cali, the house cat.
Shot with a D3 and the EL-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 freelensed, that is, no adapter used, I just held the lens in front of the open body. I don’t recommend this technique.
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By popular request, more from the Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/2. Apparently Nikon only made 441 actual lenses, and this lens was the very first one I’ve ever actually seen after 20 years of shooting Nikon. To say I was thrilled to even touch it would be an understatement.
Shot at 2.8 the plane of focus was razor thin, however the smooth bokeh and gentle transition off of the razor’s edge seemed to give quite a bit of leeway if the focus was a touch off. I’m certain this attribute was helpful in the film era, giving photographers and editors the ability to pull a salvageable image of an important event.
This lens also had a unique look in bright light versus a slightly diffused light, with a sparkle and highly saturated colors. I also found the lens to be ever so slightly warm, almost as if some the elements had a bit of yellowing, perhaps from the radioactive decay from thorium in the glass melt. Given that the warmth of the images from the 300 f/2 was very similar to my radioactive Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 N.C and the absolutely insane weight of this lens, I think Nikon has some very heavy rare glass in each of these lenses.
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I have no idea exactly what this means, but I have a few spacey ideas.
Full moon-bow; trees and signal tower. Nikon D3 and 24mm Nikkor lens.
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That’s me behind the rare and ultra fantastic Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/2 ED-IF. Yes the lens is very large and very heavy and very fast for the focal length. This shot by Josh at Hawaii Photo Rental, where for a time this unbelievable lens was a rental.
That’s the famous Dallas Nagata White about to have her Canon engulfed by the massive HE-1 hood extension.
What a lens. Shot at ISO 640 on a Nikon D3s at f/2.8 at 1/40th. That’s my buddy Danny on the left, shot at Tonngs in the rapidly fading light.
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Tags: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/2 ED-IF
The night sky in Tasmania, thirty minutes and 3 seconds into the New Year.
Nikon D3 35mm lens, super slow and low; those dim house lights are miles away. Tasmania is one of the last places with very low light pollution of the night sky.
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People ask me often about my views on digital photography. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.
Digital Photography Makes A Lot Of Stuff. Each time you get a new camera you should get at least 2 new hard drives. Use one for backup. In fact, just go ahead and make a third backup Just In Case. Try to make the camera do more of the work. Examine if you can see the difference in small changes, and if you find they matter to you, be sure to shoot in that manner as often as possible. Make notes as you go; its easy to forget which 50mm lens you used when you have more than one.
The above photo is of Rosa, in the back paddock near Hobart Tasmania. Shot with a digital camera; a Nikon D3 with an old Nikon 50mm S.C f/1.4 and through the magic of digital wizardry, made to look like I shot it in 1988.
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Tags: Nikon 50mm S.C f/1.4, Nikon D3