A while ago I bought a film camera. I have no intention of ever using it, as it would cost me a fortune in developing costs. It was for sale on eBay for under £50. Now to me that was a bargain. Not for the camera, as I have no use for it, but due to the 2 lenses that came with it. They are both Nikon Manual Focus Primes. A 50mm f1.8, and the one I was really after, a 28mm f2.8.
I hadn’t used them, but thought it was time I did. So I took them with me to Cardiff, to see how good they performed.
As I came out of the train station I put the 28mm on my D750. This is the view. Well a raised view. The bus station has been knocked down and the new BBC TV studios are under construction, so there is boarding all the way around and I had to shoot over that. I was standing in shadow from the station behind me and the sun was blasting over the top and hitting Stadium House, BT’s offices in Cardiff and one of the supports for the Millennium Stadium. (Sorry I stand corrected there. It is now known as The Principality Stadium, the name of its sponsors. I think it will be a good while before people start calling it that.) This was the first shot I took with the 28mm. I left it in colour so you can see the beautiful colours this lens picks up.
From the station I walked along the boardwalk next to the Millennium Stadium. The boardwalk overlooks the River Taff, from the name of which, any Welshman in another country gets their nickname “Taffy”. Not somewhere I usually walk as it is quite deserted on a normal day when there are no events. However as I find my style of shooting is changing, going to places like this is becoming so enjoyable. I took a couple of shots of the flag poles as I waited for the two guys to get closer.
As I walked on, the tones of the Stadium supports in the sunlight looked fantastic.
Although these are manual lenses, that is just for focussing. The camera takes care of the exposure. When attaching the lenses to the camera they do not show any information, the aperture shows as f0.0. However with the D750, as with most other newer Nikons, you can put the lens on and set the camera to recognise it, by inputting the focal length and maximum aperture. The details of the aperture then show correctly in the viewfinder.
As you get passed the Stadium you encounter the hoarding that is at the back of the Arms Park. So many people think that is what the old Stadium was called before they demolished it and built the Millennium Stadium. The truth is that it was actually called the National Stadium. The Arms Park is the ground right next to it and the home of Cardiff RFC.
I hadn’t seen this Street Art before as I usually stick to the other side of the ground where the centre of the City is. I had to get this shot for my friend Tina, otherwise she would have been annoyed at me.
This is the last shot I got with the 28mm. I must say I am very pleased with the results of these shots, and will be putting it in to my bag to take out with me more often in future.
As I got to the end of the Boardwalk I swapped the 28mm for my usual 85mm, and headed along the road to my usual hunting ground.
After an hour of shooting with the 85mm, I thought I should try out the 50mm. I was on The Hayes, the area where, as I have mentioned in the past, the Gestapo Security Guards come out and move people along.
I must say the clarity of this shot is superb. It was hard looking for subjects here as I’ve seen it all, but I focused on the two guys talking and had the aperture set to f1.8.
Another shot in the same area with the big flower pots. This time focusing on the guy with the phone and the aperture set to f5.6. The sun had disappeared by this time so the light wasn’t as good as when I had the 28mm on. I can’t wait to use it in good light.
The one thing you really notice after shooting with modern auto focus lenses is how hard it is to capture the movement in the street. I believe this would get better with practice, but you are so used to the camera adjusting your focus, that with the manual focus you have to pre empt what people are going to do even more. Also turning the focusing ring until you see that little white dot in the viewfinder. It is many many years since I have used manual focus, and you forget how skilful those photographers who use it are.
I did take a few shots of people moving, but found that by the time I got the focus spot on that the composition was lost as they had moved in the frame. However I was pleased with this one.
The final image using the 50mm before switching back to the 85mm. The woman had so many bags and was so engrossed in her phone that she didn’t know I was there, but the woman who was coming out of the shop to the left of me did see me and kindly waited whilst I got the shot.
Summing up on the two lenses, they worked beautifully as the shots above show. With more practice I am sure the results would become even better.
As I said earlier I bought these on eBay. They were originally made around 1983. The optics are so clean, with no dust or scratches, which is excellent for lenses that are over 30 years old. I suggest you get onto eBay and see what you can pick up.
A little tip, don’t go searching for the lenses, but for Film Cameras. People selling lenses hike up the price, but people selling the film cameras, to get rid of them and make a couple of pounds in their pocket, forget the value is in the lenses not the cameras.