J R's Images & Ideas
home    images    ideas    words    websites    contact    resume    links    meta    prices   DallasArtsRevue

D200 Steep Learning Curve:
180mm f/2.8 lens

Amazing after all these years

<70-300mm   Index   17-55mm>

Red-winged Blackbird Chase - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Redwing Chase  1//500 @ 11 iso400 P pattern metering
cropped from center section below.

Redwing Chase Full Frame - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

I bought my 180 f/2.8 lens in the late 1980s, while I was a 35mm film photojournalist. At the time, it seemed a risky purchase. Autofocus lenses were new then, and I still thought I could out-focus any AF motor. I probably could have out-focused this one then, but I'd heard and read about the remarkable quality of this legendary 180 for many years, and I wanted the latest version.

It's a classic lens, one of Nikon's best from any era. But it is not fast-focus. Over the years, I periodically checked prices paid for used Nikon lenses, and had given up ever being able to use it on a new digital camera. But I kept it, anyway, and I am glad I did.

Launching Row Boat - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Launching Row Boat - approximatesly a 15% crop, and this sucker is sharp!
1/250 @ 7.1 iso100 spot HH

For the first month using my brand new D200, this was the only AF lens I had, and I used it often. Once I got the 70-300mm zoom, I used the 180 less, because it lacks the reach of the zoom, but it's so sharp, I go back sometimes, especially if what I am shooting is not that far away.

It may be that images shot on the 180, even when they're far from filling the frame (meaning I have to use a small crop, as in the image above), are sharper than shooting them directly with the 70-300mm zoom. That's a scary thought, but it might be true. It is nice to be able to zomm in and out, but for sharpness, not much can compare with the trusty 180.

Two Lions - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Two White Lions Protect the Neighborhood  1/250 @ f/3.2
iso250 FF (full-frame) HH (hand-held)   pattern (metering)

 

Nasty Masking - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

1/320 @ f9     iso200 FF HH  pattern   11:33:23  OX (masked quickly)  matrix  OX

It's a big clunk of glass, nearly twice as heavy as the 70-300 I use more often.

weighs 27.1 oz.
min focus 5 feet
72mm
hood built in (unlikely to pop off)
Bill & Susan pix - happened to be there with only this one lens, so I juxtaposed hers and his art from as far away as I could get in the big gallery. There were aspects of both artists' work that was essentially similar although visually distinct, and the only way I could show it without sounding like an art goon was to put both works in the same photograph.

The One Leg Duck Dance - copyrignt 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

The One Leg Duck Dance   1/250 @ f/8     iso200 7% crop HH  center

 

Bill Verhelst sculpture & Susan Leckey painting juxtaposed - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Dense shapes and vivid colors — details of Susan Lecky painting (Beyond, Before
and the Memory of Now
) and Wilbert Verhelst sculpture (Enigmatic Blues,
above), together in Color, An Exploration at the Bath House through March 28

 

Orange Flower - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

180mm lens f/8 1/640 iso400 spot FF HH

 

 

top