In the pipeline

by Volker Weber

I ordered a very unlikely Nikkor lens today. I wanted a small prime lens which gives me perfect control over depth of field, being able to step all the way from f1.8 to f22. I did not go for the more expensive 1.4 lens, since I don't know yet how often I will use it.

I also decided that I will be perfectly fine with the SB-600 flash. Ken has explained nicely how you can use the D70 in wireless commander mode with a detached SB-600.


50mm 1.8D is an awesome lens (i happen to get it around 3 weeks back). Its apt for low light conditions and the sharpness is amazing. Its a great buy i must say ;-)

Ashish Sidapara, 2005-10-28

The 1.8 is plenty fast enough for almost anything, and it has the benefit of being sharper than the 1.4. (Both will be sharper than the sensor, but looking forward....) And I'm glad to hear you went for the 600 rather than the 800. Shows more sense than I had when I was seriously into photography -- you'd need to go for a Metz, Quantum, Lumedyne or something of that class to get any real advantage in terms of distance or versatility, and none of them have the TTL goodies that the 600 has. (I blew a lot more money than I should have on the "best" that the manufacturer had to offer. Most of the time, it was just heavier and more expensive without actually being more useful.)

Stan Rogers, 2005-10-28

I followed the same guidance regarding the speedlight 600 vs the 800. Curious, what do you plan on shooting with the 50mm? I often debated getting it but the majority of what I'm shooting with now is the 18-50mm Sigma 2.8 and the 70-200mm Nikon 2.8 VR AFS. Though I do feel that zooms make you lazy, perhaps discipline can be formed so that you use your feet to get the shot instead of the zoom.

Ed Saipetch, 2005-10-28

The 50/1.8 is a great lens, but it produces horrible bokeh. Although the focal length makes it a perfect single-portrait lens for DX sensors, be very careful with the background you choose. For example shooting against a treetop will produce a lot of medium-sized, sharp circles for each gap between the leaves. Could be pretty annoying.

Anyways, good choice!

Moritz Petersen, 2005-10-28

SB600: Good choice. Wireless mode is priceless if you are into the kind of shooting that requires such controlled remote flashes.

Haiko Hebig, 2005-10-28

Why am I getting the small lens? There is actually a number of reasons:

1. I want it for its compactness and light weight. Sometimes I want to carry the camera without a long lens that needs extra protection. It's also easier to throw it into a bag when it is smaller. I remember using the 50mm/1.4 on my trusty old Canon A1 a lot more than the versatile zoom lens I bought for it. Well, 20 years ago I wanted big impressive lenses. And still used the small and simple a lot more often.

2. What will I be shooting with this lens? Mostly people.

3. Ute never had the chance to learn photography. The cost of developing film was just to high to let her take hundreds of pictures. The interest in photography came back with our SONY Mavicas. She took thousands of photographs, getting better really quickly. She has what many amateur photographers, who are actually only gadget collectors, are missing: She "sees" the picture. This is the more important part. But now it's time to learn the secrets of aperture, depth of field, shutter speed, motion blur and so forth. There is no better way to learn this than a simple prime lens with a wide range of apertures. It also helps that the D70 lets you change ISO really quickly. I expect to see a few thousand more frames on the camera once we have that lens.

As for the SB-600:

1. It isn't really that much smaller than the SB-800. And I disagree with Ken that it is the better flash. He is making the wrong assumptions like "recycle time from a full flash". If he would compare recycle time from a given amount of flash light, the SB-800 would win.

2. Having said that, I am also cheap. If I can get what I need for less money, then I will do just that. The SB-600 is plenty of flash for me. I would probably also settle for an "SB-400". And I think that many people who praise the SB-800 would dump it the minute an "SB-1000" comes out, telling everybody else how inferior a flash the SB-800 is. ;-)

3. I actually have a Metz Mecablitz 45 CT-4 flash. But I never use it, just because it is too huge. Does anybody want to buy it?

Volker Weber, 2005-10-28

Great choice! I am not familiar with this particular lens, but primes in this range are typically optically excellent, small, light weight, fast and inconspicuous, in other words perfect. The focal length on your camera (1.5x) will work nicely for people photography (…and many other areas of interest). I am into available light photography and love my EF 50mm f/1.4 and EF 85mm f/1.8. Have fun!

Ulli Mueller, 2005-10-28

Do you have a LensBaby already? If not, get one today :-)

I can't explain it, it'a bit like "depth of focus on drugs" and certainly a lot of fun, especially doing portraits. Find samples on the Lensbabies website, or here and of course here.

German distributor is monochrom.

PS: With the D70 you have to use manual mode, as the automatic won't work. But that only adds to the challenge.

Ole Saalmann, 2005-10-28

Yes, Lensbabies are great!

Ulli Mueller, 2005-10-28

Although I am on the Canon system...
Check my concert photographs for some impressions of the Canon EF50/f.18 ;-)

50mm lenses for 35mm format are the most underestimated lenses with stunning results you can get on a budget. Nearly no matter what system you're using. You pay next to nothing (compared with f2.8 zoom lenses) and get the whole deal: colors, contrast, detail, bokeh.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2005-10-28

It is a good lens. Be aware, though, that at f/22, you will lose a significant amount of sharpness (if sharpness is your concern).

35mm lenses lose sharpness due to diffraction at very small apertures. The sweet spot is almost always in the f/8 to t/16 range.

Eric Hancock, 2005-10-29

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