Sunday, February 13, 2011

The new addition to the camera bag

The new kid on the block
Originally uploaded by Ahmad Ihsan
Do first impressions matter that much? In most cases, without a doubt! My first impression of my new lens, the Nikon 85mm f/1.8D was positive, mostly. It didn't have the superb build quality of my CZ 2/35, not its manual-focusing feel, nor does it have a world-renown lens element inside it like the T* coatings in the CZ 2/35. But, it does have a metal lens hood, which to me is better than the one that came with the Zeiss. At first I thought it was silly to have a plastic lens with a metal lens hood. It is, but what if the lens is made of metal too? No thank you! $$$$

Another thing I quickly noticed (while I was at the shop trying the lens itself in fact) was that there is no damping whatsoever when it comes to focusing! I know this even before I went to the store, but of course, after comparing it to my CZ 2/35, I wasn't pleased. But that's something I have to live with. After all, I am thinking of shooting portraits with this lens, and fast auto-focus is the way to go for me when it comes to portraits, and boy does this lens deliver on that front! Really fast focusing indeed. Might not be as fast as the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, but think about the price difference between the two.

The thing I found most depressing was that this lens is really really boring to photograph!! When I was working on my review of the CZ 2/35, I had fun taking photos of it. The markings on the lens is beautifully engraved and had that 'wow' factor. It also forced me to be more creative and to work more with natural light. In the end, I captured a lot of photos of it in a matter of minutes. But that wasn't the case with the 85 f/1.8. It was just too boring and I didn't enjoy taking pictures of it. It was like I had to pay someone to take pictures of the lens, and I wasn't excited about it one bit. The end product? I captured a lowly 5 photos of it.

However, that is not why I bought the lens. So, I have to slowly love this lens and make full use of it. The CZ 2/35 was easy to adore, it was very inviting and carried the whole package. The Nikon 85mm f/1.8D, not so much. It plays hard to get, and carries with it a lot of surprises. We'll see how the relationship develops!

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