58mm 1.4g Test Shots

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Photo of a Nikon 58mm 1.4g, shot with my 24mm.

I’ve had my eye on the 58mm 1.4g for a year now, and I’m past due on a new lens. I’ve always wanted a 50mm, and this seemed like a really interesting choice. This lens is either loved or hated by photographers.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that I love the way that this lens renders images, but the focal length is boring as hell. 50mm lenses render what the human eye sees, so it’s nothing extraordinary. A lens like this demands the photographer to be more selective and focus on composition, lighting and the story.

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Photo of Noodle’s paws shot at 58mm 1.4.

This lens is best used between f1.4-f2.5. Anything beyond that feels close to a standard feeling you get from a 50mm. It has the most character when things are shot wide open—bokeh is super soft, and images have an almost 3d effect, popping out from the background.

The challenge of shooting wide open is that the depth of field is razor thin when your subject is within 3′. Most of the time with moving objects (like cats), the autofocus isn’t fast enough. I recommend shooting manual for anything within two arms reach. After that, I think autofocus works fine in decent lighting. I can already tell you that I miss at least 50% of my shots in low light with moving targets.

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Noodle at the dinner table looking for food.

One of the downsides of this lens is that the minimum focal length is about 2′ (one arm length away). Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s really hard to get in tight and capture an expression. It’s also hard to use in tight quarters and “zooming with your feet”.

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Photo of Mango and Annie, shot at 58mm 1.4.

As you can see in the photo above, Mango is in focus while Annie is blurred. I think this is a nice effect, but to be really frank, I think that an 85mm would be a better choice for this kind of shot. With an 85mm, I could get in 1.5x closer to create some drama, and it would feel candid. And perhaps for a little more reach, a 105mm could probably get me in even closer for something really interesting.

I’ve seen some people do some amazing portraits with the 58mm… so I’m hoping to find that sweet spot as well. Check out Sam Hurd’s photos for superb examples.

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Test photo of Annie standing in her driveway at 58mm 1.4.

I think this lens could be potentially used to shoot photos of people outdoors–to separate the foreground/background in an interesting way. This photo almost looks like something shot using the Brenizer Method.

This is where I think I can unlock the super powers of this glass. I’ll see if I can make some time tomorrow evening to shoot some more photos to test this theory.

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Self portrait shot driving down Georgia Avenue in Maryland, 58mm 1.8.

I think I could have stopped this photo down even further to help render the background, but I think I like how dreamy it looks.

As I look at this photo, I ask myself: Could I have done this with my 35mm 1.4 or a nifty 50mm f1.8? And the answer is yes.

The 58mm f1.4 didn’t really provide any extra value for this photo… and if anything, I think my 35mm 1.4 would have been more flexible and given more context.

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Photo of the 58mm in front some of my other lenses.

So this is where I have to ask myself: Does this lens deserve to be part of my prime kit? Well, I currently have a 24mm f1.4g, 35mm f1.4g, 55mm f3.5 ais macro, and 85mm f1.8 ais. Out of my current lenses, I use the 24mm the most, but I’ve found myself using the 35mm a little more when I’m shooting photos that have people in it. And the 85mm only comes out when I need to shoot a portrait.

I think that the 24mm and 58mm would pair nicely as a duo kit… but to really take advantage of it, I think I would want to have a second body. As you know, changing lenses on a DSLR is kind of a hassle.

On the other hand, lugging around two bodies is kind of a hassle too. Eek.

Alright, I’ll see if I can capture some decent photos find that sweet spot with the 58mm. Stay tuned.

Mom Cooks a Surf and Turf Meal

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Lobster tail.

My mom cooked an awesome surf and turf meal for us this weekend.

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Lobster, filet mignon, mashed potatoes and asparagus.

She also cooked an amazing lunch that weekend as well. She served home made shumai, egg rolls and congee.

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Freshly steamed shumai.

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Salty black bean fish for the congee.

What an amazing meal this weekend. I think I just put back on all my weight.

Snow in Maryland

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Shot from inside Annie’s house.

Looks like we’re going to be trapped indoors for the next day or two with all the snow. Good thing we picked up some extra food & water before the late-winter storm.

Also, on a side note, this was shot with a 58mm. I’ve just ordered it to give it a test. Not sure how well it’s going to perform—I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m leaning towards keeping it right now. It’s got a really dreamy look, which really adds to the character of a photo. I’m going to do some more test shots this week, so stay tuned.

More Photos of Noodle and Ellie

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Noodle giving her uber-cute look.

These little critters are so photogenic. It’s been a joy taking pictures of them over the last few days.

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Noodle getting a treat from Annie.

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Ellie looking up, giving an evil face.

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Noodle sleeping on her ultra-soft blanket.

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Ellie observing the world from her favorite spot.

Ps. I just ordered a new lens. I told myself that I would add a new piece of glass to my collection every year. It’s been kind of crazy over the last two months, so I haven’t had a chance to invest into some glass. I’ll do a post on it soon. Stay tuned for more cat photos.

Photos of Noodle and Ellie

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Photo of Annie holding Noodle for a portrait next to the window.

Here are some black and white photos of Noodle and Ellie. Everything was shot using my 35mm. Unfortunately half of the photos were out of focus—I was having some sort of back-focusing issue with my camera. I think I fixed the problem though. I was able to make some adjustments in the settings on my D600, so hopefully that resolves it.

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Photo of Noodle walking towards Carrie to get a treat.

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Noodle and Ellie hanging out by the window.

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Carrie holding Ellie.

I probably should have shot this at F2.2—the depth of field was a little too shallow, and the focus was off by about an inch.

Oh by the way, I’m back on the east coast now. I’m hoping that I can get my teeth fixed while I’m here. One of our family friends is a dentist, and he said that he should be able to take a look at everything tomorrow. In the mean time, I’ll be working remotely and hanging out with the cats during the week.

Cycling Accident Update

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Photo of my CT scan.

First off, thank you everyone for all the messages, emails, text messages, and comments. The support has been amazing and I really appreciate it. I’m still a little behind on replying to messages and making phone calls. It’s been a hectic week between trying to recover and visiting doctors.

I wanted to give everyone an update—It’s been a week since my bicycle accident and I’m feeling my better. The good news is that the swelling around my eyes has reduced dramatically, so I can see normally again. As for my lip, it’s still swollen and it’s been a challenge to eat. I’ve stuck to mostly soft foods and liquids over for the time being.

Overall, I’ve made a pretty decent recovery. I got my stitches out (which was f’n painful), I picked up my bike yesterday (which seems to have taken very little damage), and I made a couple trips to the dentist to see what my options were to fix my teeth.

CT scan of my teeth.

I visited a dentist, endodontist and an oral surgeon to determine the damage of my teeth. Right now there’s a chip on front incisor and broke my lateral incisor down to the gum line. They said it’s possible to salvage the teeth by performing root canal, adding a post and crowning them. There seems to be nerve damage, so this will be my best choice.

Another view from the CT scan of my teeth.

I talked to one of my family friends in virginia, and it looks like they might be able to help me out the next time I’m there. I’m hoping that I can get all of this fixed soon. I definitely feel a mind numbing pain (similar to a brain freeze) every time I drink something cold. I’m assuming the nerve damage in my teeth have something to do with that.

I’ll post photos of my recovery in a few weeks. I look much better than before, but my face is still a wreck. *sigh*

Ps. I wanted to thank Annie for coming by to California to take care of me. I think I was able to heal much faster physically and mentally having that support here with me every day.