Sunday, March 8, 2009

Skull Study #3

I've been shooting tests with the AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 D to see if I can make it work for portraits on the D700.  Where 85mm is the theoretical perfect focal length for portraits on DX format cameras, I like the slight additional flattening effect of the 105mm.  Most of the time I like a very shallow depth of field for portraits, which in turn makes bokeh an important consideration.  

From 1975 until 1984, most of my 35mm beauty shots were through an ancestor lens, the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f4.0s, which is razor sharp and has pretty good bokeh.  Like all Micro-Nikkors, however, it is little tiresome to because the effective aperature drops dramaticly when focusing closer than twelve feet.  I switched to a vintage Leica M2 and a Leitz 90mm f2.8 Elmarit, which seriously raised my appreciation for the contribution a velvety bokeh makes to a portrait.  

The bokeh in this picture is moderately harsh, I think.  At least, it isn't as objectionable as I predicted based on earlier highlight tests.  I'll be looking for portrait volunteers for additional tests... 

Technical: Nikon D700, ISO 200, AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 D, f/5.6 @ 1/90s, available window light, hand held.  Processed in Lightroom 2 with Mike Lao's "300" preset as a starting point.

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