The Joy of Using Prime

Since my purchase of the Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS a few years ago, I was hooked with the joy of shooting using prime. Not that I am against zoom lens. I have 70-300, 24-85 and 17-35 zooms and I found them very versatile. But using single focal length makes my life easier. You have less control to worry about: the focal length setting. And most of the time it’s lighter, too.

I have more fun experiencing the single focal length and work out the framing under any circumstance the event has to offer. You do not have luxury to change the framing by rotating the zoom ring. You need to walk closer to or farther from your subject and decide. Most of the time you even do not have that option making the situation more challenging.

My favourite combo is FM2N with the 28mm AIS. I love the angle of view. I use it for landscape, snap or even informal portrait, although you wouldn’t like the result if you are too close with the subject. For travelling this light combo also suits perfectly for travelling.

My other combo is D2X with Nikkor 85mm f1.4 AF-D. This is great for tight head shot and if you’re lucky to have more space outdoor, by using relatively large aperture this lens can produce very nice full body shot with very nice bokeh. The relatively heavy lens is balanced very well with the D2X. You no longer feel the weight. It’s just felt right in my hand. For close focus though, beware of using large aperture. The very narrow DOF can make your subject’s eyes sharp, but the ears will look blurred.

I still use my 50mm f1.4 AFD from time to time. I am not sure why everytime I took the D2X for portrait, the 85 is the one that came along.

Sometimes I am lured to get either the Nikkor 35mm f2 AFD or Sigma 30mm f1.4. The latter is very tempting.

The image at the top was made using Nikon FM2N with 28mm F2.8 AIS + circular polirazer. Film was Provia 100F.

The image below was made using Nikon FM2N with 50mm f1.4 AFD. Film was Kodak ProImage 100.


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