I find the internet incredibly fascinating. I really do. Within the past 2-3 days, somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70 thousand people have visited this blog- most of whom were checking out the new Nikkor 85mm 1.4G lens. I've taken a few minutes to view some of the websites and forums that have been discussing the lens. I feel incredibly lucky to have been loaned this lens from Nikon in order to shoot with it, and I can't thank everyone for the kind words regarding my images.
However, I'd like to set a few things straight. I'm not, nor is any other photographer "sponsored" by Nikon. Yes, they occasionally sponsor some of my seminars, which I'm incredibly grateful for, and once in a while I speak at tradeshows they attend- WPPI, Photoplus... etc- which I LOVE doing. I've paid for each and every piece of gear in my bag, and always have- So have each and every other photographer who used Nikon gear. EVERY ONE! Nikon wants us to use the gear because we choose to, not because we're given things.
Secondly, I am not a tester. I'm not someone with the "technical" knowledge with the proper physics background to comment on all of the incredibly trivial nonsense I've seen discussed on certain forums. It's this simple. I shot the lens, I loved the lens, and I'm going to buy the lens. Could I continue to get by with the Nikkor 85D? Absolutely I could, because it's really a killer lens, and it hasn't left my bag since I purchased it. I was asked to shoot the lens because they knew I'd put it to use in real world situations through the rigors of a wedding day.
Can I pick the lens apart like a Thom Hogan or other experts? Hell no! I also have no desire to. Either I like the lens, or I don't. It either helps me produce better imagery or it doesn't. It's sharper, it's faster, and I like the look it gives me. It's got that unmistakable sharpness that the 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200(which may be the best damn piece of glass I ever used) give me.
I use the 85 in some tough conditions and low light. There are times when the contrast is quite low. Sometimes I'll need a cross sensor point in the camera, but it's dead on sharp. The "D" would not have been as fast, and there were times I got frustrated the the "D" even though I loved it.
This lens will apparently be available in a few weeks from what I've read, so many of you glass experts will decide for yourselves. Nikon doesn't have some evil marketing machine that plants gear in the hands of ass kissers and bullshitters. What credibility would I have if the D3 sucked, or if the 70-200VRII sucked? I said the D3 rocked my world when it came out, and the 70-200VRII has helped me make better pictures.
Some forum fodder will continue forever, those who've mistaken me for a lens expert who should be doing science experiments with equipment should know that I'm making pictures for a living- not reviewing gear. All that said, I'll be buying one, and you'd better get on a list if you want one soon!
Here's another pic from today's engagement session. It's the church where this gentleman proposed to his future bride- shot in Princeton NJ. Thanks Gabby and Mike, I had a great time.
Here's the full res verson. D3s, 85 1.4G, ISO 1250, 1/125 @ 1.4- Strait out of camera file with no adjustments processed in Lightroom. hi rez version
The Nikkor 85mm 1.4 has long been a staple in my bag. Any photographer who's seen my work might recognize the unmistakable look of that lens. It's probably been my favorite lens for several years. It's been through some pretty damn rigorous times. I'd hate to be without it... until now. The long awaited replacement for this puppy is here, and I wasn't disappointed.
I'm really honored to have been asked to put this lens through it's paces by Nikon USA. I hope I've done this request justice. I want to thank them for the opportunity to give it a field test.
Following in the footsteps of the 24-70G, the 14-24G, and the 70-200VRII - all with nano crystal coat, the 85mm 1.4G with a silent wave motor will be taking it's rightful place in my bag. Now, it needs to be said that like any 1.4 piece of glass, it takes a certain skillset to shoot ANY lens wide open @ 1.4. It's jut not a given that every image will be sharp. It's all about the plane of focus, and there are just too many distance related variables as well as an incredibly shallow depth of field to produce images in focus each and every frame. However, the only images out of focus with this new lens will be caused by user error.
Whenever I had any contrast whatsover in a given situation, this lens locked on and grabbed hold of the subject. The focus wasn't "jumpy" when trying to lock on. Whenever the lighting situation was flat, and the level of light was quite low, this lens still outperformed the older version hands down. Did I miss? Absolutely. There were some out of focus images, but I was impressed enough to use this lens in critical situation-, like the processional, for example. I cranked the D3s up to ISO 5000 and went available light- which is my usual preference. Now, shooting a processional @ 1.4 is not easy, and I don't recommend it to everyone, but I really love the look and I've even done it with the older version. My point is simple- it's faster. It's also sharper, but I never thought the older version was soft. The nano crystal coat glass and the newly designed elements will increase contrast, decrease CA, and it's practically flare proof. But really, I was ok with the old lens but it's FASTER, much! There were occasions when the far reaching focus points on the D3s made the lens a but unsure, but the scene was quite flat. However, once I found a cross sensor point it snapped into focus right away.
My apologies for not writing an incredibly scientific review. There may be some folks on certain forums that will say that I'm biased. This lens that Nikon has sent me is not mine. It will be returned to them shortly and then I'll be buying one, just like every other piece of equipment in my bag. If you like the 24-70, the 14-24, and the 70-200 VRII, then you'll love this lens. It's going to stay on my D3s for even more portions of the wedding day, for sure.
Incidentally, I take 6 lenses to a wedding. 14-24mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 28mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 60mm 2.8, and the 70-200mm VRII. I use each and every lens at each and every wedding. I use the right lens for the right look. My lenses are an extension of my mind's eye. Sometimes I need something wide, sometimes I'll need compression, other times shallow depth.... When Nikkor comes out with the new 14-300mm 1.4 G lens with nano crystal coat, my bag will be a bit easier to carry!
Here are some images from the weddings I shot this weekend. They were processed in Lightroom, and no additional sharpening was added in the high res images. Here are a few blog sized, with a link to the hi res version after some of them.
hi rez version
hi rez version
hi rez version
hi rez version
hi rez version
hi rez version 1.4 @ ISO 5000
hi rez version
Great to work at the Westin Philadlephia, as always. We had the opportunity to wander about the city for a few, then back to the Westin. It's all about the moments. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to photographers around the world, my message is always the same. We're there for the moments, and we're only as good as our clients. Here's a few moments from Laura and Ari's day. Thank you for allowing me to be there.
I love ethnic weddings. The more tradition, the better. I don't care what ethnicity we're talking about, I just love the aura surrounding them. Shira and Jacob had a traditional Jewish ceremony. The Tish and B'deken, in particular, spark emotions in everyone and allow me to capture these amazing moments. I'm only as good as my clients, as I always say. Here's a few from they're day. We began at the Loews Hotel, then onto the Crystal Tea Room for the rest of the day. Great job by Mark Kingsdorf from the Queen of Hearts wedding consultants, and Carnivale- who provided the entertainment. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like!
Ok, yes, most people know me as a wedding photographer. However, I shoot a slew of family work as well. I don't blog much of the family work, but I couldn't resist with my dear friend Eddie Bruce's granddaughter Maddy. She's so darn easy going. She's truly one of the happiest babies I've ever worked with. I'm so happy for Eddie, and his daughter Sonny. What a beautiful baby. Here's 2 of my fav's of Maddy. If you're interested in any family portraiture, please don't hesitate to contact the studio!