It was rather nice weather yesterday, so we all popped out to Cotehele House for a walk around the gardens. I took along two lenses -both my new ones; the Canon 85mm f1.8 and the Samyang 8mm. Didn't use the 85mm very much but I'm still rather smitten with the 8mm. there are some additional pictures in the Fish Eye Fun Gallery. Now the 85mm lens is rather wonderful, I've been using in the evening sessions in the studio and rather enjoying both its speed of focus and wide aperture - however the one thing I really dislike are these rather poor Canon Lens Hoods. Not only do they make you pay extra for them but they have a truly horrible 'clip-on' method of mounting them. Thing is I do consider a lens hood to be an essential item, so you then to get double wammied here, being overpriced and a poor design!
As in my previous entry, if you click here it should open a picture of the focus test sheet (it's about 4 meg so may take a little time & use your 'explorer' back button to return here). For an explanation of what is what, go to Tim Jackson's Nikon D70 site, for details and a pdf download of the necessary documentation. Again I must stress that I didn't intend to do anything more than a 'quick-and-dirty' test (test sheet not perfectly level, camera not at a measured 45 degrees...) - life to short, but the results were good enough for me to know there isn't a focus issue between camera and lens.
Anyway, in the studio this evening the lens proved to be a joy to use, fast and responsive focus with a nice bright image in the viewfinder. Expect some narrow depth of field pictures to start appearing in the galleries as I explore the uses of this lens - it's Bokeh potential. Bokeh (BOK-hay) is a Japanese term which is used increasingly these day in photographic circles and means the way that out-of-focus parts of the picture are esthetically rendered (or not!). Quite often the limited depth of field obtainable by wide aperture lens allows the subject to 'pop' out of the picture by ensuring the rest of the picture is sufficiently blurred.
Ordered on Monday from Flash Camera, arrived on Tuesday so great service. Now as with most modern lenses I always seem to get that initial slight disappointment regarding build quality for the money. Don't get me wrong here, I know that modern plastics are a good material and the inner electronics and glass are probably top notch, but compared to say the recently purchased (Korean) Samyang 8mm, the Canon just feels cheap! Anyway, in-line with the modern paranoia regarding AF lenses and back/forward focusing issues, the first thing I did was set up a test shot and of course it's spot-on and nice and sharp :-) If I remember I'll post a picture of the test chart, results. To be honest I not to rigorous with my testing methodology its just a printed page at 45 degrees to the camera on a tripod with the lens wide open and at about minimum focussing distance (MFD). A little later along with the test picture I'll post up a link to the document where you can down load the target and instructions if anyone is interested? Although perhaps for many ingnorance is indeed bliss and if you are happy with the performance of your current lenses, why would you test them?
Anyway, looking forward to giving this a good test drive in the studio tonight.
Keeping busy & getting a bit of a change of perspective, I'm doing some structured studio photography in the evenings at the local College of Arts. First thing I needed to come to terms with is that my Sigma 18-125mm definitely has a fault and now continually to miss-focuses and my older 35-70mm is just to soft at wider apertures! So it is time for another lens and whilst I will either send the Sigma in for repair or repalce it with the newer Optically Stabalised (OS) version, this is a good excuse to get a fast(ish) portrait lens. Now in the old film days my favourite focal length for portraits was 135mm which on a crop sensor equates to about an 85mm as near as. So just placed an order for a Canon 85mm f1.8, which hopefully will be here intime for the next session.
Born in 1956 (so getting on a bit now) I'm married and have two wonderful children we all live in Devon in the South West of England - on the Cornish border.