Saying goodbye to a beloved lens

I've owned my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR since 2003. It was my first modern (AF-S, VR) pro lens that I bought brand new, at the exhorbitant cost (to me) of $1750. I have had zero regrets on spending all that money, as it has been my go-to lens for events and sports. The lens did have to go in for repair (intermittent AF issue, a "feature" of this generation of the 70-200mm), thankfully under warranty.

The 70-200VR replaced a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-D one touch lens that was a good intro to the world of fast, pro lenses. No comparison between the two as the newer lens has better IQ, faster AF (even on a D2H with the stronger AF motor), and VR. Coupled with the TC-14EII, I used this lens for parades, street fairs, performances, surfing, and drifting. This lens has taken the majority of the thousands of photos that I've taken. I don't think I can think of any other lens that would come close in terms of usage.

So goodbye, old favorite. You have a lot of life in you yet, and I hope your new owner enjoys you as much as I did.

A faster Contax 50mm

It's usually not a good idea to pair two new items at the same time, but I was itching to try the 2.0 firmware on the Z7 and the Contax 50mm f/1.4 AEG that I picked up a week ago. Off to Carnaval SF to see how it all plays together.

First the firmware: I can't say that I noticed if AF was faster or more accurate, but the Eye AF feature didn't work too well for me. It's not that useful on the 24-70mm and shooting events as there are too many faces for it to lock on. I'd like it more if the AF area could be limited to a box instead of the entire frame. I'm curious to see how it performs with surfing shots, and hopefully there will be some waves next month.

Carnaval was wet at the start (first time in over 15 years of shooting at the event), but it eventually stopped raining, and the sun came out every so often. Otherwise it was pretty grey; great for portraits, not so great for making the vibrant colors of the event pop. 

The Contax 50mm f/1.4 AEG has too much veiling flare wide open. By f/2 the contrast is back to normal though, so I mostly shot at that aperture or smaller. No surprises on the IQ, it looks just like the other Contax lenses. I did notice the ninja star bokeh in some shots, but only when viewed at 100%.

Overall, it's not a bad lens, but it's not a great lens either. The quest for an f/1.4 lens continues.

And now for some sample photos.
More photos can be found here.

Life can be a time suck

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Almost six months have gone by since my year end summary. So what's been going on? Quite a bit, although none of it would be considered earth shattering.

Learning the Z7 has been slow. I have yet to get my standard noise reduction profiles created (I probably should just get a new NR plugin). I swapped my HDD for an SSD, and accidentally wiped out a lot of my NR profiles and PS actions. Backup, backup, backup. And don't erase anything until several months after you're satisfied everything is back to normal.

Lens count has grown just a little. I caved and got a Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S to satisfy the native lens craving. It does live up to its reputation for being sharp and contrasty across the frame, although without the isolation I'm used to with an f/2.8 lens. I also found a Contax 50mm f/1.4 AEJ (ninja stars!) that is sadly too dreamy wide open. I'm not sure that it's any better than the f/1.7 (more ninja stars!), and I'm too lazy to do a comparison test.

So that's it for now. My Blogger template (or plugin) is now broken as the slideshow on the right side is gone. Time to hunt for a new template and plugin (suggestions/recommendations are highly appreciated).

Oh, and I've become more active on Instagram; drop by and say hi.