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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nikon 85mm F1.8 AFD Casual Field Test

After a brief hiatus, I am back with some more Nikon 85mm F1.8 pictures from yesterday's casual photoshoot. As they say "A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words", so maybe I have a few thousand words to say today! Haha! Jokes aside, we had dreary drizzly weather that day, but that did not dampen the spirits of my online friend, who showed great patience and enthusiasm to model for me. From my experience, I feel the single most important element in a portrait photoshoot would be Chemistry between the Photographer and the Model. Since we have only recently just met, I believe we can only get better as time comes along. Selecting the correct tool for the photoshoot for today's gloomy weather is also important, and of course the 85mm F1.8 is a fast prime lens that is suited to low light environmental portraits. You can opt for a little fill-flash to open up the shadows a little, or use a reflector for softer fill in effects, but I did not have an assistant to help me out.

I am always a sucker for greenery because maybe I like nature in flora and fauna. The lens performed very well at F2.8 for half body shots, giving a very nice bokeh effect for both foreground and background interest. No evidence of the harsh bokeh effects as stated by some internet reviews. I have heard about a redesigned 9 bladed rounded aperture version. Maybe that makes for smoother bokeh. Whatever, judging from my current real world samples, I am pleased because I find my lens bokeh okay! Hehe!

As mentioned before earlier, the 85mm focal length provides sufficient isolation of the environment for full body shots, but leaves enough clues to make out what the background is like, rather than blur out the background beyond recognition, which I feel defeats the purpose of environmental portraits. Here I dialed in a touch of flash from my built in flash, set at minimum output manually, to counter the backlit subject. I did not use any external flash or reflector cause yes, I tend to be rather lazy at times, haha! Aperture was set at F2 since the full body shot requires me to stand futher from the subject, making me compensate for a bigger aperture to still achieve sufficient degree of bokeh. You won't believe the difficulty we had in getting this shot on a friday evening when everybody is starting to knock off from work!

Here is a picture taken wide open at F1.8 with highlights in the background to test for the rendition of bokeh highlights. ISO was bumped up to 800 and like above, a touch of fill-flash was added to lift her face up a little from the shadows. The bokeh is quite neutral in this image, and the circular highlights were rendered beautifully as expected. Its Bokeh may not be as beautiful as a specialised portrait lens, but at least it is still quite pleasing and not at all offensive as compared to some lens. Its a big thumbs up for me!

3 comments:

Senile Citizen said...

The colours in the first pic looks abit washed out.. The leaf also cast a wierd shadow and colour on the face.

I prefer the colours and bokeh in 2nd pic.

Bokehman said...

Thanks for your comment! Did some slight editing and removing of the green cast due to the reflection from the nearby leaves.

Kupcake said...

Nice shots. Looking out for a copy of the 85mm f1.8, looks impressive!

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