Monday, January 28, 2013

Nikkor 28-300mm ƒ/3.5 - 5.6 can replace the Nikkor 85mm ƒ/1.4

Nikon D4, 28-300mm (300), ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/25 - Off camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900.  The Flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5 and being triggered by the Mini TT1 on the Camera with the AC3 to control the output of the flash. Flash is -2 EV and the camera is -1 EV.
Bokeh 

Bokeh originated in the Japanese word [boke], which means blur. Today many photographers are going out and buying the ƒ/1.4 lenses to get that silky smooth background for when you shoot the lens wide open.

If the reason I am reaching for a lens based on getting a silky smooth out of focus background I might be wasting my time. You see so much of what I shoot is with the AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and to take the lens off to put on my AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF I could be just creating an unnecessary step.  

If you compare the lenses at the same aperture and focal length then it would make more sense to grab the 85mm ƒ/1.4. As you can see in the photo below shot on the 85mm @ ƒ/5.6 the background isn't all that silky Bokeh.

Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/50 - Off camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900.  The Flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5 and being triggered by the Mini TT1 on the Camera with the AC3 to control the output of the flash. Flash is -2 EV and the camera is -1 EV.

Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/2, 1/50 - Off camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900.  The Flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5 and being triggered by the Mini TT1 on the Camera with the AC3 to control the output of the flash. Flash is -2 EV and the camera is -1 EV.
Shooting however at ƒ/2 you are seeing a major difference on the 85mm as compared to itself. But now compare it to the first photo on this blog shot with the 28-300mm when the lens is zoomed in to 300mm and shot wide open at ƒ/5.6.  I am having a really hard time seeing any difference in the Bokeh.

Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/50 - Off camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900.  The Flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5 and being triggered by the Mini TT1 on the Camera with the AC3 to control the output of the flash. Flash is -2 EV and the camera is -1 EV.
When shooting at ƒ/1.4 with the 85mm the depth-of-field is tad bit more shallow than the 300mm @ ƒ/5.6.

This is where you might just be scratching your head as I was after doing this little test.

The trick to getting that really silky smooth background has as much to do with how close you are to the subject as the ƒ-stop.

I would argue that if you are wanting that shallow depth of field with a creamy Bokeh you can do it with the 28-300mm ƒ/5.6 and not have to buy another lens to carry around.

There are other reasons you might want an 85mm ƒ/1.4 in your bag--stay tuned in for that post later.

4 comments:

Daemon said...

So just how far from the statue are you? That would make case for whether the zoom lens really might be a replacement for the 85 1.4. If you can get that kind of bokeh from the zoom at a working distance of 8 to 5 feet from your subject, then yes, perhaps you might be saving some $$ and effort with the single lens.

Stanley Leary said...

With the 85mm three feet. That is as close as it will focus.

The 300mm between 4 - 5 feet. The 300mm will focus closer than the 85mm. The lens focuses at 1.6 ft. (0.5m) throughout entire zoom range.

scottishsoldier said...

Are you recommending that the 28-300 would be a replacement for the 24-70 and 70-200?

Stanley Leary said...

Scottishsoldier:

Unless you need the extra ƒ-stops this lens covers those ranges just fine. Ken Rockwell and Moose Peterson say pretty much the same thing I am saying.

Some folks are just carrying the 16-35mm in a pocket rather than a camera bag when doing street shooting with this lens.

I am not saying there is never a reason not to own a faster ƒ/1.4, ƒ/2 or ƒ/2.8 lens. I am saying for the most part you can get away with this lens.

Any distortion in the lens the cameras will correct for when shooting JPEGs and if shooting RAW the software Lightroom will correct for making this a great lens for digital.