Sunday, March 20, 2011

My new 28mm Nikon lens

These are some unedited photos I have taken with my new lens.  I have taken better pictures, I

The only true "editing" done was resizing them for faster upload.

 Picture of the first thing I could find with my lens straight out of the box.  The Bernina Record old as I am (literally) and probably one of the best machines ever for sewing cloth diapers.  ;)  People must find it useful for other things too, because in 30+ years it hasn't lost its value.

 This is a comparison.  The picture above is taken with my new lens, the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8.  Because the entry-level DSLR cameras have  a smaller sensor on them (vs. a "full frame" sensor equivalent to film cameras), this changes the focal length of the lens.  Instead of 28mm, what I actually get is more like 42mm.  If I had this lens on a full-frame camera (read: more expensive), even MORE of the background would fit/show in the picture.  That's what we call a "wide angle" lens.  

In contrast, this picture was taken with my favorite lens, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8.  On my camera the equivalent focal length is 75mm.  Which means that if I need to fit more of my subject in the frame, I have to take some steps backwards.  Well, taking pictures in tight places or of lots of people (like my big family) means that I'm rather limited with the 50mm lens.  So that's one reason I wanted the 28mm lens.  

The second reason I wanted the 28mm lens (rather than just using my 18-55mm zoom lens) is aperture level.  Check out the background in both pictures.  It's blurry.  The subject is in focus, and the background fades away.  Love that?  The blur called bokeh, and it is caused by a shallow depth-of-field, which is controlled by the f-stop setting on the lens.  The second picture is the best, and that's because the f-stop goes all the way down to 1.8.  The new 28mm lens only stops down to 2.8, but that is better than my 18-55 zoom.  What does this mean for me?  Not just bokeh...which is great...but it means that it lets more light into the lens so that I can take a picture without a flash even when the lighting is not perfect.  (more on flash stuff later as I keep learning)

Tirzah's working on learning to go potty, but I'm not officially "potty training" her yet.  She still stays in diapers all the time, but every now and then we set her on the potty (especially when she strips down to her bare butt in the middle of the living room and shrieks to go "potty").  Every now and then she actually pees!  When she does, she gets an m&m.  Yay!  Our bathroom is very dark, so I used the flash on this picture.  The white-balance is terrible, and the picture over all is not great.  The subject makes it cute.  If you zoom in for a closer look, you will find that Tirzah's face is actually out of focus and the toilet seat is in sharp focus.  I want to get better at this--at all of it--the lighting, the white balance, the focus, the composure.  It's so much fun!  Notice the background is not all that blurry. Why?  Because I'm standing so far from my subject, and there's not a lot of depth-of-field in the bathroom anyway.

Maybe I'll talk more about depth-of-field and f-stops one day when I know more about it, but let me say that when you are doing a shot with more than one person in it or with a background that you want to be IN focus (such as landscapes), then you want to crank that f-stop up so that the background is not blurry.  Or so that one person is not in focus with everyone else being slightly out of focus.  Yeah...hate it when that happens to me!

Ok, because I just can't leave it this way, here are some pictures that are better, may be edited for sharpness, and were taken with either the 28mm or the 50mm lens...

 My attempt at a self portrait...easier with the 28mm and nearly impossible with the 50mm.

 We had over 114 straight days with at least 1" of snow on the ground (straight...meaning no days in between where there was NOT snow on the ground...grass is a sight for sore eyes!).

The kids are so sick of me taking pictures, I can hardly find a willing subject.  Even Tirzah.  When I say to her, "Tirzah, smile, say cheese," she just continues looking at whatever she is playing with and obligingly says, "cheese", without even looking up!


  1. I just love reading your blog! Those were beautiful pictures.

  2. The focal length of your lens never changes, no matter what size the camera sensor is. But what does change, is the field of view. That's vitally important to understand - but sadly it's probably the most misunderstood concept (especially on the Internet) in photography.