Quite the week for music at the Starlight in Waterloo. I was told that they had been trying to get Lee Fields to play the venue for two years and finally it worked out that he could come. A phenomenal singer with a phenomenal band.
D700 with Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8. Mostly wide open at ISO 3200.
Last night I got to try out the D700 in a concert photo shoot at the Starlight in Waterloo. Danny Michel brought the Garifuna Collectiveup from Belize for a tour as his backing band. They were simply amazing and definitely a contender for Top 5 acts seen in my 14 years in Waterloo. Danny and band traded off between his songs and theirs every two numbers to keep the night flowing and dynamic. Coolest thing of the night was the turtle shell and donkey jaw percussion.
The D700 performed as I had hoped it would. Fast AF, low noise, great dynamic range at ISO 3200 and 4000. The photos below were taken with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8.
It’s hard not to gush about Andrew and Erin. Andrew and Erin are great people with great friends and great family. Andrew and Erin are two of the kindest and most considerate people I have ever met. Andrew and Erin threw a fantastic wedding last month and I (and Mike) had the privilege of being their photographer. Andrew and Erin pretty much ARE Waterloo and it will be sad to see them move on to other places after their extended honeymoon.
Here are a few highlights from the wedding, keeping in mind that they will be seeing these for the first time (internet access is spotty in the nooks and crannies that they’re visiting). So, enjoy! And Andrew and Erin, there will be plenty more to see when you get back 🙂
Yes, this is a DX lens and I shouldn’t expect its image circle to cover the D700 sensor… but let’s try anyway. Here are images of my ceiling at f/2.8 at 11mm through 16mm with no lens corrections applied:
If we add lens correction to the 16mm image, it doesn’t look that terrible!
16mm with lens correction
Here are a few examples at 16mm. They aren’t perfect but I would consider the lens useable in a pinch… at least until I figure out what to use for my wider-than-35mm lens.
The 85mm G has a reputation of being one of the sharpest Nikon lenses out there and I see no reason to argue with that. For it’s price it really does a great job with bokeh, sharpness and colours. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
In this post I’ll show some examples of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 on my new (to me) D700. Like the Sigma 35 from the previous post, this lens is great on the D700. The bokeh is lovely and it’s nice and sharp. I’d say the only complaint is inconsistent exposure; it tends to over expose much of the time.
Here is a series of the bicycle subject at close distance from f/1.4 to f/5.6:
That’s right, friends! I finally made the jump to full frame. I found a near mint D700 at Henrys with a grand total of 1100 actuations on it. I really had no choice, did I? To be honest it was a bit of a toss-up between the D700 and a new D600. Each have their advantages and disadvantages but in the end I went with the body with a more pro build, better AF system, reliable QC and an interface that I really like. In fact the interface is nearly identical to my D300s and after an hour setting the D700 up I can pick up either body and it will act identically. Plus the grip and batteries work on either.
Needless to say, all of my lenses have a new character to them. In the next few posts I’ll show some examples I took over the past 5 days with each of my FX lenses, plus some extras. Let’s start with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. This focal length combined on full is the main reason for making this whole decision… after getting a taste for a true 35mm on my N80 film body. The FOV is totally natural to me.
Here is a series of shots from f/1.4 to f/5.6 with a close subject. I challenge anybody to find a problem with the bokeh here. I find it glorious.
As promised, here is a side-by-side comparison of the absolutely wonderful Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art and the well-respected Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX on a cropped sensor camera. What I found amazing is how close the two lenses are in sharpness. The bokeh, distortion, fringing, chromatic aberration and vignetting are clearly better in the Sigma but the Nikon really does hold its own.
Do I regret buying the Sigma? Absolutely not.
Below is cropped in from the above image.
The Nikon definitely shows more fringing in extreme contrast.
This past week I visited Denver and Boulder Colorado for my cousin Simon’s wedding. The trip was fantastic and I’ll have lots and lots of images and stories to share over the next couple of weeks. To start things off, here is a photo of one of the highlights of the trip. My aunt Glynis took me to this church, near Allenspark, after a long drive into the mountains at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Chapel on the Rock deserved a full HDR treatment (otherwise the mountains and sky would have been completely washed out).
I shot this with the D300s and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX. Five shots at f/8, each separated by 1 stop.