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Friday 14 March 2014

Quick Test of the D40x with its new 35mm F1.8 DX lens

So I inherited Audrey’s 5 year old D40x as she upgraded to a new and better camera but I decided to invest in a nice prime lens to see if being forced to stick with a classic frame while gaining quite a bit of speed would help me take better pictures. I can but dream I suppose but it is a nice toy I think. The D40x has a decent enough sensor and although it’s only 10Mpixel it has all the manual options I want for this exercise. If I find I can actually take decent pictures in the end I might decide to invest in something with more oomph but this is more than enough for what I want to do at the moment.

Now this is an awesomely boring subject but I wanted to cobble together a few things to play around with difficult lighting targets ( metal, glare on wood will do nicely ) and depth of field.

New AF-S DX 35mm F/1.8G Prime.

The foreground was a coaster that the camera was resting on, the iPhone 5 charging cable is aligned exactly with the far edge of the second 20 cent count. and the keys on the right are angled towards me but the tip is parallel with the vertical coin.  The coiled cable all bokehed into the mist in the background is about 10 cm behind the coin.

ambient lighting is very bright fluorescent, some fill provided by LEDs. White balance set to Auto, whatever that actually means. Exposure was 1/80th sec @ F1.8. ISO 100 that was slightly underexposed. This is a 4Mpixel crop, with a 10% brightness bump to counter the underexposure but no other enhancements.

Not bad overall I have to say, some odd fringing on the key, noise is pretty obvious when you zoom in but the source image was JPEG not RAW so I’m hoping this will get much better once I get a decent image handling tool chain in place.

Quite happy to be honest.

As a comparison I tried to replicate the conditions with the kit lens ( 18-55mm F/3.5-F5.6 ) set at 35mm. Didn’t quite get the framing right so the crop here is smaller and the comparison isn’t totally fair as a result but you can see that there is a dramatic difference in any case. The best the stock lens could do in this light was 1/8th sec @ F4.5 so just on that alone the new lens really does shine in low light situations (Ha!).

Original 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens

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