Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘AFS

Life at 1.4

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4G

There’s a place in my bag as well as my heart for both zoom and prime glass. I don’t think I could shoot exclusively with just one or the other, because both types can accomplish different things in various situations. For ultimate depth of field control and maximum speed, however, you can’t beat a fast prime.


When I use any of my prime lenses, I really like to take advantage of what truly sets them apart from my zooms, so I almost always leave them wide open at f/1.4 all day long.  Sure you can shoot a lens like this at f/5.6 and get great results (yaaawn), but I love shooting at 1.4, just because I can! Every shot you see in this post was taken at f/1.4.


At f/1.4, your camera becomes an absolute light bucket, even compared to a “fast” f/2.8 zoom. This allows you to shoot at night or indoors under low lighting with ease. In general, the wider your focal length, the lower shutter speed you can hand-hold. So shooting wide open with say a 24mm f/1.4 lens in front of a full frame sensor means you can happily keep snapping away under a moon-lit sky. Amazing stuff.




Let’s not forget control over depth of field with a super fast lens! Getting your subject pin sharp while the entire background melts out of focus gives you images with a unique sense of dimension and depth that, at least for me, never gets old. Many fast primes, like Nikon’s incredible 24mm f/1.4 AFS lens, are also insanely sharp wide open. Just be careful with your focus; the limited depth of field you get at really wide apertures means you have to nail your focus perfectly.






I’m all about wide angle lenses. If I had to pick one focal length as my absolute favorite, I’d have to say 24mm. To me it’s just wide enough to make a powerful impact on the perception of depth in an image if used correctly, and it’s a great focal length for everything from landscapes and street photography to portraits (yes, portraits!). Here’s a few more images from my catalog from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!













These images are part of a new gallery I’m putting together on my website called “Random Moments.” It’s a less directed gallery compared to my others, very open and creatively free. It’s an expression of my life through the lens as I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. At least for now, it’s a gallery of images I’ve taken with prime lenses. Check it out at gallery.jonathanflemingphotography.com!


My favorite lens ever….really!

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f1.4G  and Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

December 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII: First Impression

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A year or so ago I was taking a look at a Canon 5D MkII with a 24-105 f/4L IS lens mounted. Loved the range, the constant aperture, the stabilization. I thought to myself, “why doesn’t Nikon make something like this? If they did, I’d SO buy it….” Well, they finally did.

So I took the plunge. I’m the proud new owner of one of Nikon’s latest lens releases, the Nikkor AFS 24-120mm f/4G VRII. This nano-coated beauty arrived yesterday, and I’m excited to start putting it through its paces. As soon as the lens was announced I was immediately drawn to its appeal. Previous generations of the 24-120mm don’t exactly have the best reputation, but with a new optical design, better build, and constant f/4 aperture throughout its zoom range, I felt safe enough giving Nikon the benefit of the doubt.

Originally the 24-70 f/2.8 was on my hotlist, but  first off, I’m big on image stabilization for hand-held shots at very low shutter speeds, a feature the 24-70 lacks. This lens has a more flexible focal range as well, and is lighter and smaller. Sure, you lose a stop of light gathering with the smaller f/4 aperture, but I rarely shoot wide open anyway. I think this is the general purpose/travel/event lens I’ve been looking for.

It’s only slightly larger than my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, a much loved lens on my crop sensor body. Focus is much more snappy than my Tamron, and while the 24-120 is not an all-metal build, it feels solid and very well built. Coming from the Tamron, the Nikkor’s zoom ring placement is throwing me off! It’s going to take some getting used to.

Zooming out to 120mm extends the lens barrel, just about doubling the length of the lens.  Not a big deal.

So how does it perform? I’ll know for sure with this lens mounted on an FX body. Yesterday I had my D300s with me at work, so I picked Suki up in the afternoon and took a few shots of her with it last night. This is one of the first images I took with the new Nikkor:


Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 24-120 f/4 VR at 78mm f/5.6, 1/30 second ISO400

Did a quick test that same evening to test the effectiveness of the lens’ image stabilization:


Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 24-120 f/4 VR at 120mm f/4, 1/8 second ISO800

This is hand-held at a full frame equivalent of approximately 180mm, at 1/8 of a second. Guess the VR works! Well, that’s all I got for now. Will be taking this lens on a trip next week and hope to use it extensively for about a week. We’ll see how it does!
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UPDATE: Just shot a wedding over the weekend and used the 24-120 f/4 on a D700 for many of the images. Loved the result! Check out the post here.

Also, see some casual shots I took in NY with it here.

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UPDATE (11/9/10): Just read a killer review on the 24-120 f/4 by Todd Owyoung, an awesome concert photographer. Lots of sample images as well as pictures of the lens itself. He has a lot of great things to say about the lens. Check it out at this link!

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UPDATE (11/14/10): Used the 24-120mm f/4 today for some on-location portraiture. Check out my latest post!

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UPDATE (11/29/10):  Legendary wildlife photographer Moose Peterson loves his new 24-120 VRII, check out what he has to say about the lens at this link.

Lens Images: Nikon D40 + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Suki and Me… [and video on the D300s!]

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Some people who only know Suki from her photos tend to think that she’s a larger dog. I’ll admit that I try to use angles and perspectives that make her appear larger than she is, but Shiba Inus are definitely small dogs. Not lap dog small, but not big either. I say they’re perfectly sized! The image above should give you a clear view of Suki’s relative size. Suki and I were strolling through the city when this reflective glass caught my attention. I actually like how the dirty glass distorted the photo and made it hazy and low-contrast. Looks sort of “filmy.”

See? Suki is pretty little. This image is sort of an optical illusion, however, as the parking meter is a few feet closer to the camera than she is, making it appear much larger than her. The whole reason we were taking a stroll through town with my camera was, of course, to catch an image of her for week 30 of my 52 week project. We used the art we found on this wall here for the final image. Check it out here!

And now for more randomness. Got together with some good friends last night. When the dancing started, I decided to skip the stills and give video a try again on my D300s:

I’m obviously not much a videographer, but for casual clips, it’s great having video in my DSLR for the simple fact that I can use any of my lenses. Notice the shallow depth of field I achieved using my 50mm f/1.4 wide open for the video, which made focus very difficult but added a lot of depth to the recording (just make sure you switch the video to 720p resolution). Now I wish I had brought my fisheye to the party!

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Images and Video: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

August 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

Paisley’s Photo Shoot

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Spent this past Sunday afternoon with this adorable little girl and her family. Can someone be any more photogenic than this? My strategy for this shoot was: no strategy. Just follow little Paisley around and see what happens. The result was an amazing little adventure all around the house, climbing different surfaces, discovering her favorite toys, and capturing the cutest little expressions.

Paisley is just gushing with life, joy, intelligence, energy, and curiosity. She has the most wonderful spirit I have ever seen in a child. The first shot I took of her that day I immediately showed to her. She understood right away what the camera was all about, and every so often during our time together, she’d stop, walk towards me, and make me turn my camera around to show her the result. It’s like she was my model and my art director =)

Kept the gear simple, using one lens the entire time: The new Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G that my wife just bought me this past week. Great timing, as it’s the perfect lens for the job. If you’re a crop sensor shooter that likes taking portraits, especially in available light, the 50mm is a must-have. Brought in a camera-mounted flash for fill at times, and that was it!

Please See more images of the shoot on my website here: Paisley’s Photo Shoot

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

July 26, 2010 at 10:47 am