Nikkor lenses have always been known for their sharpness and quality throughout their history. I started my photography on a Nikon 35mm film camera in high school and stuck with the camera system and lenses over the years. With the photo walk at the North Market and a free weekend, I wanted to take out a camera system and figured, why not take out a Nikon full frame and a few lenses to shoot around Columbus? Thanks to our rentals department, I was able to snag the D600 which you can rent for a weekend for $125!
Now, if you’re shooting environmental/street photography, lugging around several lenses is not a good idea, especially a 105mm lens, but for the purpose of this blog, I figured why not compare a few lenses? I ended up taking 3 primes out- a 20mm, 58mm, and 105mm Nikkor lenses.
All of these lenses have a silent wave motor, M/A mode, and a nano crystal coat. The silent wave motor allows the lenses to focus quick but also with very little noticeable noise. The M/A mode, popular in Nikon lenses, is the mode that allows users to switch easily between manual and autofocus quickly regardless of the autofocus mode the camera is set in. The nano crystal coat cuts back on reflections within the lens that cause lens flares or ghosting. This is important because some reflections may not be noticeable until you import the files on your computer.
First up for review, the 20mm Nikkor lens. If you’re looking for a sharp, wide-angle prime lens, you should check this one out! I’ve used a lot of zoom wide-angle lenses and was pleasantly surprised by this one. In my usual set up, I have a prime portraiture lens and a 24-70mm lens, so this was a little different for me to use. If you’re looking to shoot environments, retail, etc. this lens gets the job done! For being uncomfortable with street photography, I liked this lens because I was able to use the “shoot-from-the-hip” method. Although, I’ve not used this method before so I didn’t get the greatest result, but the compact lens was less noticeable, and was able to capture the environment and interactions between vendors and customers.
For some more diverse shots, I went to the Park of Roses in Clintonville to shoot another wide angle shot of nature. The weather was perfect, and there was still snow and ice to shoot!
The 58mm Nikkor lens is beautiful for portraiture. The sharpness even wide open at f/1.4 was impeccable and the bokeh effect of the lens is exactly what I look for in a good portrait lens. A neat feature with this lens is also the light falloff control. Usually the light falls off in the image, but this lens has even, natural brightness. This lens I was more comfortable with as it’s relatively close to my Nikon 50mm portrait lens I have so I’m used to shooting it. This was good for getting closer to the subject, in this case, portraits of the vendors. I also did a home shoot with two of my roommates (black and white picture below) using two house lamps and a grey curtain to show off this portrait lens.
The 105mm lens was my challenge. Because the lens is so large, many vendors were uncomfortable and I couldn’t get the natural shots I was wanting. I, however, was able to shoot down on the market with the upstairs dining area looking out over it. These were some of my favorite shots that wouldn’t have been as natural/possible from ground level. I also thought it was an interesting, new perspective that I usually don’t use/am unable to get that perspective. I was also able to get shots of vendors from farther away with the 105mm being a telephoto lens. Although it’s great for sharp telephoto, this lens is made for macro up close shots, which I decided to do with the melting ice and leaves at The Park of Roses.
Here’s a side by side comparison of the same shot with the three different lenses:
Come by the shop to check them out!