Black's BBQ on Guadalupe St. in Austin.
I'm having a blast with the Nikon D700 camera and a small assortment of lenses. Nothing is new, nothing is luxe and nothing would turn heads if I was sporting it over one shoulder at a workshop or expo.
One of the lenses I picked up recently was a nicely used 24mm f2.8 AF-d lens that was languishing on the used shelf at Precision Camera. I'm betting that if I made an enormous enlargement after shooting the lens wide open and I looked into the corners with my handy, dandy Zeiss 5x loupe I'd probably find the extreme corners to be a little soft. I wouldn't care because the lens seems to be nicely sharp and well behaved for the situations in which mortals photograph.
I took the lens and the D700 camera with me when I went to Black's for lunch with art director/friend, Greg. The sliced brisket sandwich was sublime and the sausage link filled in the few empty spots not assuaged by the sandwich. Oh, the lens? I shot a couple of handheld shots of my lunch, just like a hipster, and I'm happy with the way it looks, works and focused.
As is my habit, whenever I have acquired a new lens, I took a spirited walk around the Austin downtown area, snapping away with the same camera and lens. I find it to be a nice combination even though I am usually averse to using wide angles for my personal work. I am thawing toward the wide angles and, at the same time I am softening on the whole issue of optical view finders. I still hope Nikon launches a professional camera with an EVF and that they decide to keep the current lens mount but I'm not holding my breath and I'm not holding these views against the D700 because it's from another era....
The other lens I'm having a good time with is the now elderly 24-120mm f4.0 zoom (the newest version). It's funny, when I use this zoom I sometimes check the focal lengths I am using and typically find that I'm normally hanging around in the 35-70mm range. That's fine with me. I keep the longer and shorter focal lengths in reserve.
All the images below are from the 24/120mm f4.0. The lens has a plastic shell but is dense and seems solidly constructed. It's also pretty heavy but the zoom doesn't droop when you walk with it dangling by your side from a strap. Optically it's nicely sharp but does have ample distortion at the wider angle settings. The distortion should be correctable in Lightroom or PhotoShop but as with all camera and lens combos a software corner correction always spreads pixels and lowers sharpness. Starting with a high resolution sensor is preferred if you care passionately about perceived corner sharpness.
The image just below is a handheld image from the long end of the 24/120mm. Again, I'm sure that a giant enlargement might show up all sorts of issues but anything smaller than 20x30 probably won't trigger your criticism.
Nikon D700 + Nikon 24-120mm f4.0. At the long end.
All the images below were done with the D700+24/120mm f4.0. It's a pretty fun rig. I don't mind the weight when I'm shooting for $$$ because there's so much else we're bringing along on a shoot that the heft is meaningless to me. But after spending a week getting used to the bigger Nikon stuff it was a relief to grab a Panasonic GH5 with which to shoot the product photo at the top of the blog post and to also take along to coffee in the late afternoon. Viva la difference.