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  Reviews by: Josh Bennett  

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Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Review Date: Dec 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $270.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp at f/4. Small, light, compact. Relatively fast autofocus despite being driven by on-body motor. Inexpensive.
Lots of flare at f/1.4 & 2.0. Clunky, sloppy build quality. Loose center barrel. Non AFS. With my copy, it looks like contrast starts to fall at f/5.6 and smaller. Vignettes pretty bad at f/1.4 on FX

I use this lens a lot for work. I know I can rely on it to perform when I need it to. I use it at f/4 for critical work when I need absolute image quality.

Not bad in the studio.

Nikon D3

Review Date: Dec 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: FX sensor, signal strength and clarity of pixels - image quality is very high, screen is amazing and very useful, autofocus is great and the new invisible overlay is awesome. Viewfinder better than DX. Dual CF compartment.
Price could have been closer to $4k IMO. But I am grateful they didn't go higher than $5k! I wish they had implemented an on-board RF signal controller to wirelessly control their (hopefully-one-day-radio-controlled) CLS.

I really was amazed at the amount of leeway the D3 files give you in regard to pushing. The Dynamic range is improved and helps but the ability to pull shadows back up after shooting to save the highlights is incredible.

Sometimes when the image is really out of focus and the camera does hunt, it will stop while it is OOF and just hang there. All of my other cameras do the same thing but it would have been nice if they had made it more actively/enthusiastically pursue focus. It's like they search and then if the camera can't focus, it gives up. "Well, I tried. I'm done."

That said, the new AF module is pretty awesome. It is very fast and much more reliable (than the D200). The outer focus points are VERY much improved. I am sorry, I can't compare it with the D2Xs as I never owned one. I am sure their cross-type sensors on the outer edges performed much better than the line-type the D200 had. I do like the new grouping even though it doesn't reach the far edges of the frame. I was very critical of it when I first saw the viewfinder display and the AF layout but after using it, I don't find myself wishing they were further out (yet.)

I have been waiting for a full 135 sensor Nikon body for a long time. I am glad they provided and did so in a VERY well executed manner. The D3 is simply SUPERB. The framerate, build quality, user interface, and especially image quality are almost more than I expected. Nikon definitely did it right the first time.