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Friday, 09 November 2012


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But when you compare this Nikkor to the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 ZF.2,the Nikkor is small :).

I suspect you will eventually overcome progeny resistance. However, there may be an abundance of grimaces which will challenge your ability as a photo editor.

The Xenotar 80/2,8 for Rollei...the best normal lens, almost forgotten...

I really hope Nikon releases a 35mm f/1.8 AFS lens. The 50mm and 85mm are superb on the D800E. The 28mm is pretty good, but not quite as good. I could be very happy with just the 35mm and 85mm lenses for most days shooting.

The 35mm f/2 AFD really doesn't look good on this camera, where as I found it pretty decent on a film body.

Heftics? Any camera/lens combo this size I'd want to be paid for lugging it around.

Hey Mike,
what happened with Tokina 35mm macro from your post from October 11, 2011:

wouldn't that be great match for D800E?

yours "sick in bed coughing and sneezing" Bojan

Mike if you like the angle of view the 60 macro is super sharp and a good match size and price wise.

Shoot the 28mm using the 4:5 crop, similar results (as far back as I can remember) as when I shot a 135 Nikkor W on my Linhof.

That combo was graduate school at San Francisco State University with Jack Welpott and Don Worth.

Memories anyone?

"Heftics? Any camera/lens combo this size I'd want to be paid for lugging it around."

No, you'd lug it around with great pleasure. With your printing skills and clear vision, you'd love it. To death. Seriously.


Interesting that you mention the lack of VR on the 35mm f/1.4, as Canon has put stabilization on their wide angle primes lately (they just announced a 35mm f/2 IS for example).

But before that announcement, the only way you could get stabilization in a full-frame body with a large aperture lens was with the Sony a900/a850/a99 (they have in-body stabilization for all lenses, even old Minolta ones).

From a photographer's perspective, it boggles my mind as to why Canon and Nikon haven't introduced in-body stabilization yet - instant VR on all lenses, no matter how old. A great feature!

From a business perspective though, it's quite clear - they sell more new lenses to upgraders, and crush the used market, by putting the new features in the lens, not the camera. And that's where they make money - the profit is in lenses and accessories, not in bodies.

Sad that it's that way, but that's the way it is.

Hello Mike:

If I were in your shoes, I would wait and check-out the new Sigma 35/1.4. It probably won't be too long before Roger has some to rent. Maybe you should check-out their 85/1.4 as well. Heck, for the price of that Nikon 35/1.4, you could get both of those Sigmas. Could the Nikon really be that much better?

I think it's time we take a collective stand against the ridiculous prices that Canon & Nikon have pulled out of thin air.

Whichever way you go with the lenses, I am sure you will enjoy working with that Very Fine photo kit.

Cheers! Jay

Mr. Hogan's D800/D800E guide is a good one. I was asked by a new D800E owner to help with her new camera at very short notice and the Hogan sped up my own learning a lot. She was happy and so was I.

My favourite tests in car magazines were always the long-term tests; I hope that you'll like the D800E enough to buy one and use it enough after that to keep writing about it and showing us pictures. I have a feeling that you will.

I expect these have crossed your mind already, but the new Sigma 35/1.4 looks promising and Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/et al have a very good and inexpensive manual focus 35/1.4. (I hear, though, that the D800 isn't friendly when it comes to alternative focusing screens.)

The D800s 1.2x crop mode gets your 28 pretty close to 35mm and you get to see the crop outline in the viewfinder. Now that I have a D800, I want to reshoot all my old images with it, because when I compare old images to my new images, it feels like the separation between B.C.E and C.E.

You need to get out shooting this thing.

This is not on topic, but have you ever had the opportunity to compare the Schneider-Kreuznach and Zeiss 80/2.8 Rolleis? I own the latter, along with a 6008i, and wonder about Schneider vs. Zeiss. I guess both are great, I would just love to know what the difference is in characteristics.

"If there was a 35mm ƒ/1.8G lens, I would have rented that one."

There is a 35/1.8G, and it's less than $200; but unfortunately, it's a DX lens, meant for APS sensors. The Tokina that Bojan brought up also suffers from the same deficiency...

Mike, I have both the lenses you referred to the 35/1.4 and 85/1.4, and love them both; however, when I got the D 800 (no E), I also purchased the 28-300 lens. I have to tell you that is a terrific lens, and generally the one I carry with me when I shoot. Especially when I go out to the woods to shoot nature and such. I would strongly recommend the lens on the d800 or d800E. You wouldn't be disappointed.

"have you ever had the opportunity to compare the Schneider-Kreuznach and Zeiss 80/2.8 Rolleis? I own the latter, along with a 6008i, and wonder about Schneider vs. Zeiss."

Considering all the German 80mm Planar-types I've used or tested over the years, I would guess that sample variation would be a greater determinant of final quality than the manufacturer would be. I've tested great and not-so-great Schneiders, and great and not-so-great Zeisses. Of course the vintages and conditions varied as well. But that's my best guess.


Mike replies: Not to be selfish, but be sure you take it out of your cart and re-select it before you actually do the inevitable, or we won't get credit for it...we don't get credit for anything you buy that's already in your cart, ever, even if you put it there during a session that originated from TOP. Only things that you both select and also buy during a visit directly from TOP get counted in our column. And it really does help, so many thanks [/business mode].

Wow Mike, I didn't realize about the cart situation. That is good information, as it pays US in 'reading dividends'to have your site up and running.

Zeiss makes a 25/2 lens in F-mount, assuming that manual focus in a $1700 lens is ok. Although these days given the high-ISO capabilities of cameras there's a 2.8 version to consider too.

I too have been loving the D800 and 28mm f/1.8G combination. I've used the two to do a light of night photography -- both on tripods at low ISOs and hand held at high ISOs.

I've been extremely impressed in both situations. The D800 easily outperforms the medium format backs I've shot, especially in low light situations that require high ISOs or long exposures.

I like it so much that I am selling all of my film gear: I just can't see myself lugging around a 4x5 when I've got these guys. For better or worse.

FWIW, a few years ago when I was in the smartphone making business, "haptics" was all the rage. Wasn't aware that Puts uses the term, though.

That said, haptics is what prevented me from buying the Nikkor 28/1.8. It's a rational man's lens: reasonable price, good quality. But it feels like plastic, is slightly big and is ever so slightly soft at large apertures. So I bought the Zeiss 25/2, the irrational choice: costs more, weighs more (but is smaller) and has no autofocus. But it has smooth tactile feel and the image rendition is sharp and contrasty at all apertures. Can't say I have looked back, the Zeiss is really great.

As for balancing, I've been lately using a Voigtländer 90/3.5 with my D800 and while the lens is quite small in size, it feels quite good on the D800: no front heaviness, easy to turn the focus ring and the camera is large enough to feel comfortably balanced. I've actually ended up liking that combination a lot more than I thought I would.

For my new D800 I passed on the 35mm f2D in favor of a clean used 35mm f2 AIs, manual focus, but from what I have read it approaches the Zeiss 35mm f2 (also manual focus) at a quarter of the cost.

Sounds like the camera is exciting you Mike, and you just want to use it. Good for you !
i remember your post about having difficulty connecting with the Olympus OMD-EM5, which I thought was a very good article because we just have to want to use the bloody thing and sometimes it just doesn't take to us, or vice versa. I am enjoying your responses to this Nikon.

Mike, there has really never been a better 35mm SLR on the planet. Lenses are what they are, and the E version of the camera requires that you keep the F stop at or below F5.6 to get the most from a E variant of this wonder.

Don't bother with ISO above 1600 in camera, Nikon's approach seems to be flat on shadow lift above that iso, better done is PS or ...

Try out the trial, just contact them for one, is Picturecode's PhotoNinja. It's the best RAW developer I've seen yet, and Jim is quite open to comments and suggestions. I've already made a few suggestions/bug fixes that have been done. In my view, it's the best RAW converter when you care about quality, not quite the easiest or fastest yet, but that s/b fixed in a month or two.

well worth looking into. Enjoy your rental, I'm sure you will buy one.


As a D3 shooter, I never thought the D800 felt particularly big. I thought it was solid. Then today, for reasons I don't feel like explaining, but which I swear to God are totally legitimate, I went into a mall in Albuquerque and shot a photo of a bigger-than-lifesize photo of a Victoria's Secret model, dressed in diminutive underwear. (Apparently the poor girl can't afford full-sized underwear.) The camera felt like it was the size of a cannon; I felt like one of the world's leading perverts, just waiting for a mall cop to tap me on the shoulder and ask, "Exactly what are we doing here?" I took a half-dozen shots with the 85mm 1.8G, and fled. So, I'd like to suggest than in addition to the purely scientific measure of camera size, in ounces or grams, there is also a subjective size, which becomes larger under some circumstances.

Like the Marilyn Monroe statue that populated downtown Chicago a while back, the D800 is beautiful, but just too darn big. I predict a love affair lasting no more than 6 months, followed by dalliances with smaller, lighter cameras that end in a divorce from the Nikon.

[Dan, I haven't decided to buy the thing yet. It's frighteningly expensive. --Mike

Back on the business side, if we put stuff on our Amazon or B&H wish list, go to TOP, click through, select off the wishlist and buy, you get credit, right? That's the way I've been doing it, so I sure hope it's been working.

[Clay, unfortunately, no. If something's in your wishlist Amazon considers you already their customer. It's only things that you both select and purchase after linking from TOP that we get credit for. --Mike]

I used to shoot the Canon EF 1.4/35L on a EOS 1-V HS. With the grip that combination approached the size of a miniature Speed Graphic. Great lens, great camera, but far too big a contraption.

I've noticed that prime lenses are growing rapidly in size. The new Nikon 1.8/28 and 1.4/35 are good examples, as is the upcoming Zeiss 1.4/55, which is bigger than a can of soup, but smaller than a pay phone. I recently purchased a Zeiss ZF 2/35 Distagon, which is roughly the size of what a 90mm or longer used to be.

We have seen a similar trend in bodies, which is why I finally jumped on the D600, when it was released.

I really don't want to be forced to use a backpack to carry two FF DSLR bodies and three primes (28/35/50). Hopefully this trend will reverse itself, but given the life span of prime lenses we are going to be stuck with this latest batch for some time.

I love that Xenotar 80. It is a really great lens. It is smaller than the Zeiss 80. Some pros believe the Xenotar 80 is better than the Zeiss 80. I love them both but my fav Rollei 6008 lens is the Schneider 90/4. I regularly use my Rollei 6008.

I hope I get time to play with my D800E this weekend. No money to buy any Nikon lenses though.

Mike, what I want to know is what do prints look like? Will a 12x18 knock my socks off like an 8x10 contact print does? If so, I will find a way to buy one and move my D700 which I am VERY satisfied with aside

[Dale, unfortunately, printing for me has to wait. I know nothing about that yet. --Mike]

Regarding the 35mm f/1.4 AF-S G Nikkor you wrote, "And I've yet to find a weakness with it. Still looking. " Well...how about the very strong longitudinal CA it exhibits at wide apertures? I gave a sample of the lens a trial, and the 35/1.4 suffered from horrific longitudinal CA...a veritable purple- and green-festival. Pretty dismal flaw for a $1600 + lens designed for wide-aperture shooting.

[Derrel, I would assume that's sensor-specific--or maybe sensor-and-converter specific--I have seen almost no evidence of it so far. But I have to cram a lot of shooting into very few days, and I'm only trying this one single combination. --Mike]

It's pretty unsettling that Nikon would pull such a move. I don't get it- philosophically, economically, technically... particularly when so many people try to mimic the look of film. Is film somehow deemed an unfair advantage, or a medium that can no longer compete?

Whatever the reason, it sends the wrong message- if anything, photo giants like Nikon should throw a few coins to both acknowledge and promote the legacy and continuation of film in the digital era.

While I know the comment on the Nikon photo contest was just a side note it immediately conjured up a picture in my mind.

I see the director of Nikon film camera production sitting at a desk in the basement of a Nikon plant. Muttering to himself because they just took his red stapler.

If Nikon burns down we know the answer.

"Will a 12x18 knock my socks off like an 8x10 contact print does? If so, I will find a way to buy one and move my D700 which I am VERY satisfied with"

Dale -- I've still got my D700 as well as my newer D800, and in my experience printing on my Epson 3880, I'm very hard-pressed to see any difference between prints from each of those bodies at 12x18.

At 17x22, I believe I can see what the D800 brings to the table, but the D700 is already giving me a lot of pixels to work with, and if I don't press my nose against the print, I'm happy with both images.


I dearly love ultra-wide, so my walk-around kit is Nikon's 24mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4G. I really, really love the 24mm for wide portraits, though I have to be very careful in framing to make it succeed.

I was tempted by the 35mm, but I sometimes toss the 50mm into my bag to fill the gap in between the 24 and the 85, and the 35mm is just redundant. But it sounds like a beautiful lens.

Glad to see you trying the "big dawg", its fun to see how it holds up.

Years ago you wrote about the 6000 series and those Schneiders, and I've been using them ever since. The 60 Curtagon and the 80 AF just find details, much like you did with your Nikon sojourn. Their magic also holds up in digital work, surprisingly, although sometimes CA is an issue.

That premium film SLR costs more than a Nikon D600.

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