The Power of M

9 06 2008

Yesterday we went to the annual gymnastics exhibition of my daughter’s school and I took the chance to shoot a few pictures and put the D60 through its paces. My impression is that the camera is a good performer, but the kit lens wasn’t up to the task, given the poor lighting, the fact that subjects were usually moving quickly and I couldn’t get close enough to them most of the time. This is not an indictment of an otherwise fine lens, but you cannot get much light in when the maximum aperture at 55mm is a meager f/5.6. Even at 800 ISO (1600 is still usable, but loses a lot of crispness and what good are sports photos that aren’t crisp?) I couldn’t set my shutter speed faster than 1/20s generally, which is too slow to capture the quick movement of gymansts.

Well, since I am not prepared to spend a grand or so on a fast zoom yet, I dusted off my old 50mm f/1.4 and took a few shots with it. This is a lens from circa 1976, it’s totally manual and pre-AI, which means you get no metering whatsoever, you just have to guess exposure.

As luck would have, even though the lighting of the place is poor, it is pretty uniform. Focus wasn’t much of a problem even at large apertures—the D60 has a good focus indicator in the viewfinder—at least for subjects that weren’t moving towards or away from me.

What really made it hard to get good pictures, however, was the difficulty of finding a good position to shoot from: I had to take most of them from too far away, with the camera wedged between two glass panes and elbowing my way between other parents armed with cameras and camcorders. So I have been able to save just a handful of them worth of uploading to Flickr, like the one below:

Gymnastics

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5 responses

11 06 2008
Paolo

this is the reason why you should have bought at least a d80. Can’t be able to use at 100% all these old but good lens is truly annoying, and I know it because I’m a d40 user 😉

12 06 2008
mauro

Ugo why every year or two i find you popping up in things i am interested in ? 😀

hope you’re well.

an old friend.

Mauro

12 06 2008
ugo

Paolo, those lenses would work just the same on a D80, i.e. totally manually, they are pre-AI.

12 06 2008
ugo

Mauro, if you are who I think you are, I hope you are doing well too 🙂

12 06 2008
Paolo

That specific lens, but I’m talking about AF and AF-D lenses. By the way buy a Nikon d300 and forget this annoyance 😉

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