Camera Quote #268

Nikon F2AS

Nikon F2AS

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

Dorothea Lange
1895 – 1965


Camera Aphorism #171

Nikon F3 and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S

Nikon F3 camera and Nikkor 50mm f2 Ai lens

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”


My old workhorse camera and old time, sharp, normal lens. R.I.P.

What was your favorite pre-digital and all metal SLR camera?

Bokeh #100

What is bokeh?

Bokeh is a Japanese word meaning blur or haze. In photography it means the aesthetic quality and feeling of the smooth, fuzzy, blurred, hazy, out-of-focus background or foreground not competing with the main subject. Bokeh could be defined as the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. Very subjective quality and difficult to describe. When you see it, you know it.

Bokeh depends on:

1. Large aperture of the lens: f/1.8. f/1.4, f/1.2

2. Focal length of the lens: 85mm, 105mm, 200mm

3. Nine diaphragm blade lens

4. Distance of subject

5. Distance of background

Some lenses have famously excellent bokeh, including Nikon 85mm f/1.4 D or G (The cream machine), Nikon 105mm f/2.0 DC (defocus control), Nikon 135mm f/2.0 DC, Canon 50mm f/1.2, etc.

Let us look at a couple of sample images.


f/1.8, 1/2500 sec, ISO 100, 85mm

Notice the smooth, blurred, pleasing background. The blur circles have smooth edges.


f/3.2, 1/320 sec, ISO 100, 85mm

Look at the nice fuzzy foreground and background here.

Here are some great sites for further reading:$file/cln35_bokeh_en.pdf

In summary, Bokeh is a great photographic tool to make your pictures unique and


#71 “The nifty fifty” Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 G (no aphorism)

Little shining star

The new benchmark with an aspherical element

Everyone must have one of this gem

Pros: fast, sharp, silent AF-S with manual override, 1 aspherical element, decent bokeh, great ergonomics, light, cheap, 5 year warranty (just complete & submit the form!)

Cons: 58 mm filter (I don’t use any), plastic, no aperture ring (sight…history in digital age)

This guy outperforms the kit zoom in every respect. Faster (f/1.8), sharper and lighter. This is a must have lens and every photographer ought to have one in his or her bag. Before digital the 50 mm lens had been the standard. The cheap, slow kit zoom lens is the product of the digital era marketing and you give up picture quality for convenience. You learn to take pictures with a 50 mm lens and you use your legs to get closer or further away from your subject. Period.

However, keep in mind that on FX (full frame sensor) it is a standard lens, great for walk around, and on DX (cropped frame sensor) it is a short telephoto lens, perfect for head and shoulder portraits. Then you can buy  the big guns, two fixed aperture zooms, such as a 14-24 mm f/2.8 and a 70-200 mm f/2.8.

Forget the kit zoom. You waste your money. Buy the nifty fifty as your first lens and you will not look back.

I bought mine here: