Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tokina 11-16 2.8 lens for Nikon Review

I have been using this lens since July
 and absolutly love it. I learned about it on kenrockwells site and ordered it before it was available. Trusting Ken's review I sold my nikon 12-24 for $750 before the value started to drop and even before I had the tokina in my hand. Thus I was able to pocket almost $200 and have a superior lens. The only thing I miss is the longer zoom range of the nikon. The 2.8 aperture and the fact that I maunly use it pinned to 11mm make this not so hard to miss. That said if you ever walked around with a 35mm lens on a film camera you know how versatile that focal length is. This is about 20-23mm on a DX nikon and I wish nikon made a super fast 20mm lens with no distortion. When traveling light I carry this tokina and my 35mm F2. 
Everything turned out to be true with this lens. perhaps the most notable thing is that it actually focuses correctly on infinity. The Nikon always left distant objects out of focus because it focused past infinity. 
Next best thing is the minimal distortion. Look at this image at left. I think that there is no distortion worth correcting. The image is sharp with only minor softness and falloff in the corners. Best of all this is at 2.8 1000 iso  and 1/8. I shot three images in C mode and picked this one as it had no blur. Pushing the shutter button shakes the camera so let it fly and pick the best image. 
Anyone that doubhts the value of fast lenses should do this test. Shoot say a 18-70 at 50mm at 5.6 in dim light that calls for 1/30 of second. Now take the same shot with a 50mm 1.8 lens using f5.6 as well. The differance is staggering. Try the same in bright light and it will not be as noticable. Want to see more from this lens try this link.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home made Panorama Bracket

Here are photos of my my homemade pano bracket. Note that it is designed to position the focal plane behind the tripod attachment. Expensive brackets are designed for specific lenses and get the nodal point exact. This allows panoramas with very close objects in the foreground. Very rarely do I expierience a problem with my bracket. I shoot 8 or nine images with this lens (11-16 tokina) and use the viewfinder marks as a guide. I shoot then turn CC to line up the next shot with the right vertical line where the left verticle was. This works great.
If you want to be fancy and use the 10.5 fisheye lens you can shoot 6 shots and use your tripod as a guide. First shot on leg second between legs. Problem is you will have to straghten images in Nikon NX before stichting in CS3.
If I have not mentioned it panos must be shot verticle. Camera must be as level as possible.
I will be adding to this post as I have other great pano ideas. The panorama shown has a car only 2 feet from the lens and it stiched fine.