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4.3 Rating
Nikon F-Mount

The Nikon F-mount makes a host of lenses available to photographers.

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4.8 Rating
Going Solo: A Two-Wheel Photo Journey Across Asia

Photojournalist Eleanor Moseman documents vanishing cultures

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4.4 Rating
For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

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4.2 Rating
How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
Benefits of Using the AF-ON Button for Autofocus

Three pros discuss using the AF-ON button for AF control

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4.4 Rating
Fast Frames: A Quick Guide to Bird Photography

Matt McRay discusses how to get birds to visit your yard so you can…

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4.0 Rating
Benefits of Using Fast Lenses in Low Light

A tip from Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman

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4.3 Rating
Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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4.3 Rating
Bright Ideas: Tips and Techniques for Photographing Jewelry

Jody Dole on photographing jewelry

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4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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4.2 Rating
Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

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Second Time Around

The Past Made Perfect

I like the new stuff—the cameras, lenses and Speedlights. I like learning about them, working with them and figuring out how they fit into what I like to shoot and the way I like to shoot it (and sometimes, how they change the way I like to shoot). But every once and a while I get an updated classic to play with—a proven winner, useful, versatile, now with added features from today’s technology.

Recently I got three of those: the updated versions of our classic f/1.4 primes—the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G,
50mm f/1.4G and 85mm f/1.4G.

I’ve got a special attachment to the fast primes. My first camera was an F2, and because I wore glasses I had trouble with ground-glass and even split-image rangefinder focusing. So I favored fast primes because they were so bright that I could focus in almost every light condition. As I got more serious about my photography I realized there were other things to like about those lenses—like great results in low light and isolating my subject from the background with the shallow depth of field they provided. And I learned the value of the photojournalist’s technique of using depth of field to call attention to a subject.

Then came autofocus and versatile zoom lenses; the former solved my focusing problems and the latter showed me that carrying one lens was easier than carrying three.

But what goes around comes around, and when we introduced the new 35mm, 50mm and 85mm primes, it was time for me to find out how today’s technical advances matched up to focal lengths from the old days—advances like Nano Crystal Coat (an antireflective coating developed by Nikon that virtually eliminates internal lens element reflections), aspherical lens elements (for sharper results), ED glass (for optimum correction of chromatic aberrations) and AF-S silent wave motors (a responsive motor system for instant start-up, highspeed AF and incredible accuracy).

And I wanted to see how those lenses performed when matched with the advanced imaging sensors of today’s Nikon D-series cameras.

We’d also updated one of my favorite zooms—the 24-120mm that’s been in our lineup for over a decade with its f/3.5 (at the wide end) to f/5.6 (at the tele end) variable aperture. What’s the improvement? Well, you’ll note from its complete nomenclature—AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR—that we’ve added vibration reduction technology and given it a constant aperture of f/4 over the entire zoom range. We also gave it Nano Crystal Coat. It’s an FX-format lens that when used with DX cameras provides a magnification factor that makes it the equivalent of a 36-180mm zoom.

Of course, despite my shooting theme of old is new again, I couldn’t resist adding a new zoom range lens to my current traveling bag of goodies: the AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR, an FX-format lens (the equivalent of a 45-450mm zoom when used on a DX camera) that’s ideal for...well, travel.

So those are the new and improved lenses I’ve had my hands on recently, and let me tell you, improved really means improved when the gear’s capabilities are advanced by current technologies while care is taken to preserve the features that made the classic a classic in the first place.

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