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MF, non-cpu, ramblings...

posted Jan 8, 2010, 5:02 AM by Jose Velasquez
For some reason I thought this would best be posted here than at one of the Flickr groups I belong to. Some people think that having the greatest lens money can buy is all there is, and the rest are sub-par performers that only starving college students should use. While I agree to some extent (the more you spend on a lens the more technically superior it will be), that's not the whole story.

A case in point is the kit lens (18-55 DXII non-vr). The kit lens is good, very good, so good we use it for family pictures. Ken Rockwell, who many people love to bash around, was actually right on the money about this lens.

For my own work I prefer the 20mm f4. While its MTF chart pales in comparison to the 17-35 pro glass, or the older 20-35 pro glass, there is something that neither of the heavy, big nosed, pro-grade, glass can capture. The 20mm f4 is small, light, pocketable, and it's just a fun lens to shoot with.

One thing I always remind myself is that there is more to photography than MTF charts (the rest of the story that people sometimes miss)...there's composition, lighting, timing, dof, bokeh, color, contrast, movement, and the result I'm aiming for.

While highly technically superior lenses have their place, so to do older, MF, non-cpu lenses. I prefer the older lenses as they are smaller, cheaper, and can take as good and sometimes better images than what people give them credit for. Here's an example from a photog from a group I belong to who used his 20mm f4 on a D700. And here's one I took using my FE. Technically inferior to today's optics? You betcha! Completely useless? No. Those pictures should be evidence enough of that.

MF, non-cpu lenses aren't for everyone. Most younger photogs and pros prefer AF, cpu, let the camera do most of the work type glass. Others prefer using their noggins' a little more, or their light meters, or their histograms. It's a matter of what you're comfortable using, and the result you're aiming for.