My first post here although it feels I know many of you – this thread is a very special resort on the Internet, full of inspiration, encouragement and a lovely tone of voice. Thanks to Curtis for starting it, and to all you others for contributing!
I am presently in Havana, Cuba, since a few months, for work(!). Before going here, I agonised for weeks on what equipment to bring. Small & inconspicuous seemed to be the right recipe. Then, luckily, the Nikon D600 was released a couple of weeks before we left. I bought my copy of this amazing camera on the day of release and sold my D7000 a week later. This meant I could now reconsider what to bring, and this was really a feast!
Suddenly, all my little wideangles made sense. Not only that, as I tested them on the D600, it turned out most of them performed surprisingly well.
My intent was to be able to walk around in Havana and other parts of Cuba with the camera in my hand, one little lens attached to it and another lens in my pocket, or in my wife’s handbag. But I could bring a few more than two and select what two to bring, depending on where we were going.
So this is what it all boiled down to:
From left to right:
Nikkor 18 mm f/3,5 Ai-S
Amazing lens on the D600, excellent at all stops, excellent all over from f/5,6, very low distortion and I also have had no issues with vignetting. I chose between this lens and the 20 mm f/2,8, both the Ai-S model and the AF-D. I hope to get back to the details and differences later.
Nikkor 24 mm f/2,8 AF-D
Works fine on the D600; a favourite focal length. I chose between the 24mm f/2,0 which has a lot of personality and the 24mm f/2,8 in both manual and AF versions. Finally I chose the AF because it tells the D600 to correct for distortion and because I felt that one AF lens among the MF ones was perhaps a good idea.
Nikkor 28 mm f/2,8 Ai-S
This lens is even better than its rumor… for some obscure reason, I never miss focus with this lens and, just like the 18mm, it is excellent at all stops, with almost no distortion. When documenting brick walls, it has one flaw – the outermost 2-3 mm of the image are still a little soft at f/5,6 and perhaps even at f/8 (or is this just my copy?) Therefore, if you look only at the centre and the corners you might be led to miss its greatness. Bokeh, from what I have seen on this thread, is more relaxed than the 2,0 version but I have never tried that one myself. I did choose between this lens and the very compact E version, though. Hope to be able to get to details later on.
Nikkor 35 mm f/1,4 Ai-S
A magnificent lens with a split personality. Wide open, dreamy and creamy. Stopped down, bitingly sharp, one of my sharpest lenses. Very simple focusing. I chose between this and the 35mm f/2,0, both the Ai and Ai-S versions (they are different) and the 35mm 1,8 DX.
Nikkor 50 mm f/1,8 Ai-S
The little compact pancake. Strange to say, the focusing is excellent, absolutely one of the best I have had, smooth and damped. The optics are fine but I find focusing difficult and shy away a little from using this lens. Strangely, on the D7000 I could not even manage to get a sharp shot despite trying all I could + using the green dot. I chose between this lens, a 50mm f/1,4 AF, a 55mm f/3,5 Ai Micro-Nikkor and a 60mm f/2,8AF-D. The pancake won on the merits of its compactness and weight.
This is the lens mounted on the D600 in the photo - I did that in order to be able to post on this thread!
Nikkor 105 mm f/2,5 Ai-S
I have had this lens before on my Nikon FA and was not really impressed by its sharpness. Today, I believe this may be due to my problems focusing this lens – I often miss by a trifle. My eyesight is excellent so I have been a little wondering about this. Any others have this problem? I chose between the 85mm f/2, 85mm f/1,4, 105mm f/1,8, the 100mm E and the 75-150mm E. The brightest two were ruled out due to size and weight. Will be happy to get back to the differences later on.
Nikkor 28-200mm G
A one-in-all solution to add a little tele extension, a little close-focus and a little AF… ok lens when stopped down somewhat. Amazingly small, even pocketable! Haven’t used this lens much.
One of the stunning things about the Nikon D600 and these lenses is how they work as a system. So amazed was I that I started writing a blog about it, called Nikonsystem - I am trying to cover this, and a lot more than I can ever write in a forum on FM and besides, the blog allowed me to post a few pictures here on FM. It is not commercial, but just written for my own fun and I will add at least a handful of more posts on other things you can do with a D600. If anyone is interested the blog can be found here: http://nikonsystem.blogspot.com
The other main content of the blog is about the D600 body. I am not sure that everyone fully understands what the Nikon D600 (or D800) are capable of in terms of image quality. In fact, I believe that if you are a raw shooter, and maybe one who prefers to set your ISO manually, you may have missed the point of this camera.
The D600 is not an evolutionary camera, the way I see it. By improving the sensor output to the extent that Nikon (& Sony) have done in the D600 and D800, the output has entered a new territory where it is possible to use these two cameras in a completely different way than we have been used to.
Exploring my new D600 and a few of these new aspects of using it, I also found that they (as far as I can find out) are new to the collected Internet wisdom on these cameras.
Much of what I found is related to the jpeg output. As a start, you can push shadows an extra couple of steps even from your jpeg pictures.
This is a jpg straight out of the camera, Nikon D600, 50 mm f/1,8 Ai-S pancake lens shot in A mode @ f/2,8.
Matrix metering, no exposure compensation. Camera chose 1/3200 s and ISO 100. ADL set to Auto, picture control Standard, Saturation +1. The picture was taken in Stockholm, September 2012, afternoon light with strong backlight and very harsh contrasts which is the reason that it came out a little underexposed. (Or maybe the exposure is fine, this depends on what you want - we cannot allow histograms to decide our exposures, can we?)
This is the same jpeg picture 12 seconds later, pushing shadows:
I am planning on writing a lot more about this, and also other aspects of the D600 (+ D800) jpeg capabilities, as well as my experience with other MF lenses.
Edited on Jan 15, 2013 at 09:19 PM · View previous versions