From: David Ruether on

"Michael Benveniste" <mhb(a)murkyether.com> wrote in message
news:58o3845mhcm1lrb2u8v98bi8c7b4cvf6up(a)4ax.com...
> On Fri, 18 Jul 2008 21:48:37 -0700, C J Campbell
> <christophercampbell(a)hotmail.com> wrote:
>>On 2008-07-18 05:18:59 -0700, "Michael Benveniste" <mhb(a)murkyether.com>
>>said:

>>Really? Have you ever even seen the 13mm, let alone used one? I highly
>>doubt it. Nikon only made something like 500 of them, each to special
>>order. The lens is unique for its characteristic of having absolutely
>>no distortion. None.

> Is Ken Rockwell your source for the "zero distortion" and "Shinto
> priest" claims? If so, Ken himself states: "While often inspired by
> actual products and events, just like any other good news organization,
> I like to make things up when they make the site more fun."
>
> Nikon made fewer than 300, and yes, I have handled one. And not even
> Nikon claims "no distortion" for the 13mm:
>
> http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/technology/nikkor/n09_e.htm

I do own the Nikkor 15mm f5.6, and from the description and samples
of the performance of the 13mm f5.6 given in the interesting site above,
it appears that they may be (not surprisingly) similar. One of the unique
characteristics of the 15mm f5.6 Nikkor (unlike the f3.5 version) is
that it has extremely low linear distortion. I would not be surprised if
the 13mm were similar in this characteristic, as it is with the other
described performance characteristics...

>>Bet the Sigma 12-24 doesn't do that. Neither is the Sigma a professional
>>quality lens.

> Have you tried the Sigma? It does surprisingly well in terms of
> distortion.

That may be - but at least when directly compared with the 15mm f5.6
Nikkor and 12mm Voightlander it doesn't, nor is it as sharp as either
of the other two, especially near the FF image corners.

> As for "professional quality," it's a term I find more amusing than
> useful. Could a pro use a Sigma 12-24mm and produce salable work? The
> answer is clearly yes, but as Galen Rowell and others showed, the same
> is true of cheap "kit" lenses. Is it an f/2.8 lens? No, but it's
> faster than the 13mm. Does the Sigma 12-24mm use plastic? Sure, but
> because it doesn't have the huge front element of the 13mm f/5.6, I'm
> willing to bet it's less fragile.

All of the above may be true, but if you want the highest possible
quality (read, "least limiting of shooting possibilities"), then better is
better...;-). BTW, GR did sometimes use cheap lenses, but they were
outstanding ones regardless of price, like the Nikon E 75-150mm f3.5.
And, no one, if they know what they are doing, shoots with a super
wide at wide stops (the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 and 16mm *f3.5*
excepted) if they want good lens performance, regardless of the lens
quality or maximum speed, so maximum aperture is generally irrelevant
with super wides (which, due to their lower subject magnification, can
be hand held at very slow shutter speeds, compensating for the use of
smaller apertures - and "guess focus" is quite accurate with them, so
there is no wide aperture advantage there either).

>>Bet you don't get your Sigma lens blessed by a Shinto priest when it
>>is personally delivered to you at the factory, either. But the 13mm
>>f/5.6 AIS was.

> If I wanted a lens blessed by a religious leader, I'm sure I could
> arrange it, but I've never felt the need. How does it help the optical
> characteristics?

Good point! 8^)

> The 13mm f/5.6 was quite an accomplishment for its time. But the
> designers chose not to use either ED glass nor aspherical elements in
> the design. Given the tools available to them, perhaps the design
> was too complex, or they couldn't reliably produce ED glass of the
> required shape.

If the performance of the Nikkor 15mm f5.6 and 8mm f2.8 are any
indication, neither may have been required...

> Sigma had the advantage of more than 25 years of advances in computer
> aided design. It uses seven "exotic" lens elements. The aspherical
> elements are either molded or hybrid, neither of which were available
> techniques in 1975.

So why is its performance so mediocre? I would not own one. It is
not terrible, but it is not really a very good performer, even with all its
hyped "new technology". BTW, the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 is truly
amazing (but then, so is the price...).

> Custom-ground asphericals could, in theory, do even
> better, but they are so expensive that Nikon discontinued all F-mount
> lenses which used them.

>>One can only wonder what wonders in specialized lenses like this that
>>Nikon could produce today if they put their minds to it.

Um, the 14-24mm f2.8...? ;-) And the 17-35mm f2.8 is quite excellent
(but even it is outdone by the 14-24). The 8mm f2.8 are 16mm f3.5
were no "slouches" either, and these didn't use these latest advances.

> Indeed. I have zero doubt that Nikon could produce a substantially
> better 13mm FX-format lens today. The 14-24mm f/2.8 shows just how far
> the state of the practice has advanced.

Yes. Even to the point where, but for a silly 1mm difference, why
produce a 13mm now?

> Look past the mystique and the rarity for the moment. From a marketing
> standpoint, lenses like the 6mm f/2.8, 13mm f/5.6, and 360-1200mm f/11
> were "brand aura" lenses. They sent the message, "no matter what your
> photographic needs, at Nikon we're ready to go one better." They were
> made first to attract customers to the product line and as photographic
> tools second.

I used to own the Nikkor 6mm f5.6, a quite remarkable lens with
unique imaging possibilities (see an image here, looking straight down
a bell tower - at www.donferrario.com/ruether/6mm-Nikkor.htm).
I liked the Nikkor 8mm f2.8, which covered, sharply, a true 180
degrees (see - www.donferrario.com/ruether/8mm-Nikkor.htm).
I also used the Sigma 8mm f4, which was quite good, but not fully as
wide - www.donferrario.com/ruether/8mm-Sigma.htm). Both could be
used in combination with the Nikkor TC14A for a sharp larger image
(see - www.donferrario.com/ruether/8mm-Nikkor-TC14A.htm). The
12mm Voightlander could be used for "straight" work, or for "fun"
images (see - www.donferrario.com/ruether/12mm-Voightlander.htm).
I did use the 15mm quite a bit (I like wide angles) - see an image here
taken with it, at - www.donferrario.com/ruether/15mm-Nikkor.htm.
Another favorite Nikkor was the nearly perfect 16mm *f3.5* fisheye
(see - www.donferrario.com/ruether/16mm-Nikkor.htm), with
excellent performance everywhere in the frame even wide open, and
no flare, ghosts, etc. - an amazing lens. It also was fine on the TC14A
(see - www.donferrario.com/ruether/16mm-Nikkor-plus-TC14A.htm).
I wasn't so much into tele lenses, but the 80-200mm f2.8 Nikkors
were outstanding, and for a really long lens, I liked the *older*
version of the Nikkor 500mm f8 mirror (see -
www.donferrario.com/ruether/500mm-Nikkor.htm). This mirror
was also good on the TC14/14B converter (see -
www.donferrario.com/ruether/500mm-Nikkor-plus-TC14.htm), and
not bad even with the TC 14/14B and TC200/201 combined - see
www.donferrario.com/ruether/500mm-Nikkor-plus-TC14-plus-TC200.htm
I've owned a lot of Nikkors, and tried a lot of others, and, well......;-)
BTW, my "SUBJECTIVE Lens Evaluations (Mostly Nikkors)" is
at - www.donferrario.com/ruether/slemn.html. As for values, I'm
(mostly) with "Rita" - I've rarely lost money with the purchase (used)
of a Nikkor, and then the later resale of it after enjoying its use.
Some lenses appreciated spectacularly, like the 6mm, 8mm, and a
superb 300mm f4.5 ED non-IF - and I shoulda kept that 58mm
aspheric longer...;-). As for use, Nikon was the brand that had what
pros with unusual work needs wanted, whether someone who
specialized in "from top of building", "from inside rediculously small
spaces", "things W-A-Y far away", or anything else - it was not just
marketing (which Canon has always been far better at anyway...;-).

> Did it work? At the time Nikon adopted this strategy, they were the
> dominant brand in professional 35mm gear. By the time they discontinued
> it, they were a distant second to Canon. Myself, I'd rather Nikon skip
> the sideshow and spend its efforts making products I'll buy and use.
> --
> Michael Benveniste

I suspect they do, if you would look...;-)

--David Ruether
www.donferrario.com/ruether
d_ruether(a)hotmail.com


From: Michael Benveniste on
On Sat, 19 Jul 2008 13:17:00 -0400, "David Ruether"
<d_ruether(a)thotmail.com> wrote:

>> Have you tried the Sigma? It does surprisingly well in terms of
>> distortion.
>
>That may be - but at least when directly compared with the 15mm f5.6
>Nikkor and 12mm Voightlander it doesn't, nor is it as sharp as either
>of the other two, especially near the FF image corners.

Pop Photo tested the Sigma at -0.2% (barrel) distortion at 12mm. The
Voigtl�nder came in at +1.3% pincushion using the same methodology.
Other tests put the Sigma at -0.257% and -0.958% at 12mm.

As I said, the Sigma does surprisingly well.

Once you stop the 12-24mm down to f/5.6, it matches the Voigtl�nder in
sharpness and beats it in light falloff. I would be glad to match the
Sigma against either 15mm Nikkor "head-to-head" at that focal length and
f/5.6.

How's flare on the 15mm? That's the biggest weakness of my copy.

>All of the above may be true, but if you want the highest possible
>quality (read, "least limiting of shooting possibilities"), then better is
>better...;-). BTW, GR did sometimes use cheap lenses, but they were
>outstanding ones regardless of price, like the Nikon E 75-150mm f3.5.

.... plus the 28-80mm f/3.5~5.6D, 80-200mm f/4.5~5.6D and 70-300mm
f/4~5.6 ED. Two of which you didn't bother to rate, and the last you
said was "not up to Nikon's usual standards." See:

http://www.mountainlight.com/rowell/gr_camera_bag.html

>> Sigma had the advantage of more than 25 years of advances in computer
>> aided design. It uses seven "exotic" lens elements. The aspherical
>> elements are either molded or hybrid, neither of which were available
>> techniques in 1975.
>
>So why is its performance so mediocre? I would not own one. It is
>not terrible, but it is not really a very good performer, even with all its
>hyped "new technology". BTW, the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 is truly
>amazing (but then, so is the price...).

I have two gripes against Sigma. The first is sample variation. A
friend of mine ended up returning his first 12-24mm after comparing it
against mine. The second is compatibility. I own two Sigma lenses, the
12-24mm and a 28mm f/1.8. Sigma recalled both for different issues of
D200 compatibility.

But in all, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the Sigma. We
are, after all, comparing a zoom to primes, one of which is a
rangefinder lens and the other with a 10 degrees narrower field of view.
I know I wouldn't find sufficient use to warrant buying a 12mm, 13mm or
14mm prime, but I do find a 12-24mm zoom quite useful for both film and
DX-format digital.

I haven't had a chance to try the Nikon 14-24mm, but I don't find the
price out of line given the quality or the f/2.8 aperture. The 12-24mm
DX is a stop slower and casts a smaller image circle, yet still sells
(and sells well) at $900.

>I've owned a lot of Nikkors, and tried a lot of others, and, well......;-)
>BTW, my "SUBJECTIVE Lens Evaluations (Mostly Nikkors)" is
>at - www.donferrario.com/ruether/slemn.html.

Your site is an excellent resource, which I've quoted in the past. Thank
you for it.

>> Did it work? At the time Nikon adopted this strategy, they were the
>> dominant brand in professional 35mm gear. By the time they discontinued
>> it, they were a distant second to Canon. Myself, I'd rather Nikon skip
>> the sideshow and spend its efforts making products I'll buy and use.

>I suspect they do, if you would look...;-)

Um, I use Nikon gear and do own a few Nikon lenses myself. I think the
count is 20, including 2 dreadful IX-Nikkors, an early 35mm f/2.8 PC, at
least 3 of the lenses you mentioned positively here and 3 large format
Nikkors.

But even without the "aura lenses," Nikon's marketing strategy has, over
the years, ranged from opaque to outright bizarre. Let's just look at
this year's gaffes. Nikon Belgium lists the 17-35mm and 80-200mm f/2.8
lenses as discontinued despite current manufacture. Nikon's produced an
astounding array of variable aperture "normal" zooms over the years,
including new 18-55mm and 16-85mm DX VR's, yet got stuck pairing the
D700 with the outdated 24-120mm VR. The Nikon 6T filter is listed as a
current product, but Nikon hasn't shipped any for at least 2 years. And
the tilt-shift lenses and long VR telephotos that did ship this year are
literally years late to market.

--
Michael Benveniste -- mhb(a)murkyether.com (Clarification required)
"The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and
switchblades." Alice Cooper
From: David Ruether on

"Michael Benveniste" <mhb(a)murkyether.com> wrote in message
news:f6d484pckt4q4tkpcedd8av026o7kglnbd(a)4ax.com...
> On Sat, 19 Jul 2008 13:17:00 -0400, "David Ruether"
> <d_ruether(a)thotmail.com> wrote:

>>> Have you tried the Sigma? It does surprisingly well in terms of
>>> distortion.

>>That may be - but at least when directly compared with the 15mm f5.6
>>Nikkor and 12mm Voightlander it doesn't, nor is it as sharp as either
>>of the other two, especially near the FF image corners.

> Pop Photo tested the Sigma at -0.2% (barrel) distortion at 12mm. The
> Voigtl�nder came in at +1.3% pincushion using the same methodology.
> Other tests put the Sigma at -0.257% and -0.958% at 12mm.
> As I said, the Sigma does surprisingly well.

Distortion, especially for retrofocus lenses, given in single numbers and
rated near the long frame edge, is often misleading since the "moustache"
type is often used there to minimize apparent (or measured) distortion -
yet a bit back from the edge, linear distortion can become quite high. A
good example of this is the Nikkor 24mm f2.8, which looks fine along
the FF long edge, but which has considerable linear distortion away from
the frame edges. I'm not saying that the above it true for the 12-24mm
Sigma (I did not check it thoroughly - I was more interested in how the
three lenses compared in sharpness, particularly edge/corner FF sharpness),
but I did find the linear distortion of my Voightlander quite low (though it
is
hard to find continuous distant straight lines long enough to check
this...;-),
and the 15mm f5.6 linear distortion is VERY low all over its frame (and it
was sharper than the 12-24mm sample of the Sigma I tried, as was the
12mm Voightlander [which is for sale, BTW...;-]).

> Once you stop the 12-24mm down to f/5.6, it matches the Voigtl�nder in
> sharpness and beats it in light falloff. I would be glad to match the
> Sigma against either 15mm Nikkor "head-to-head" at that focal length and
> f/5.6.

The 15mm f5.6 is so-so at f5.6 (but why use it there?), but suprisingly
even to the corners, but performance improves gradually as the lens is
stopped down and peaks near the center about f8-11 and in the corners
about f11.5. It is not the sharpest super wide I have ever used, but it
is good, with even illumination, even sharpness, and reasonable freedom
from other problems. It does meter 1/2 stop off, so exposure must be
compensated, and it is slightly yellow compared with other Nikkors.

> How's flare on the 15mm? That's the biggest weakness of my copy.

It is VERY sensitive to a side light sources that go past the shade
and hit the front element. I made a shade to prevent this - see
http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/VX2000_odds.htm, 2nd to last
image, for a description and photo of it. This was quite effective, and
easy to carry separately and install quickly. The 15mm f3.5 was
sharper over most of the frame, but the FF corners were worse, as
was the linear distortion.

>>All of the above may be true, but if you want the highest possible
>>quality (read, "least limiting of shooting possibilities"), then better is
>>better...;-). BTW, GR did sometimes use cheap lenses, but they were
>>outstanding ones regardless of price, like the Nikon E 75-150mm f3.5.

> ... plus the 28-80mm f/3.5~5.6D, 80-200mm f/4.5~5.6D and 70-300mm
> f/4~5.6 ED. Two of which you didn't bother to rate, and the last you
> said was "not up to Nikon's usual standards." See:
> http://www.mountainlight.com/rowell/gr_camera_bag.html

I didn't bother with lenses of such speed/FLs as 70/80mm f5.6 and
200/210mmf5.6 lenses (too slow for non-tripod use, unlike similar
speed super wides), and I require that a tele be fine FF wide open
(for hand holdability) which most older Nikkors (including tele zooms)
were. If you mostly use tripods, the "game" changes (the 70-300mm
wasn't very good at the edges wide open compared with earlier
versions - and I was disappointed with it).

>>> Sigma had the advantage of more than 25 years of advances in computer
>>> aided design. It uses seven "exotic" lens elements. The aspherical
>>> elements are either molded or hybrid, neither of which were available
>>> techniques in 1975.

>>So why is its performance so mediocre? I would not own one. It is
>>not terrible, but it is not really a very good performer, even with all
>>its
>>hyped "new technology". BTW, the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 is truly
>>amazing (but then, so is the price...).

> I have two gripes against Sigma. The first is sample variation. A
> friend of mine ended up returning his first 12-24mm after comparing it
> against mine. The second is compatibility. I own two Sigma lenses, the
> 12-24mm and a 28mm f/1.8. Sigma recalled both for different issues of
> D200 compatibility.
>
> But in all, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the Sigma. We
> are, after all, comparing a zoom to primes, one of which is a
> rangefinder lens and the other with a 10 degrees narrower field of view.
> I know I wouldn't find sufficient use to warrant buying a 12mm, 13mm or
> 14mm prime, but I do find a 12-24mm zoom quite useful for both film and
> DX-format digital.

I may have seen a so-so sample of the 12-24mm Sigma (but no
misalignments showed, a common problem with zooms and some
other lenses), but I did not like what I saw (it would have been fun
if it had proved superior to the other two lenses, but it didn't). BTW,
although the Nikkor 12-24mm f4 for the DX format appears to be
the best of its type, I did not like it either...

> I haven't had a chance to try the Nikon 14-24mm, but I don't find the
> price out of line given the quality or the f/2.8 aperture.

An aperture that is essentially useless. It cannot be used for limited
DOF photos due to the lens width, it doesn't do much for MF (guess
focus is more accurate at these FLs), super wides can be hand held
reliably at shutter speeds that would be rediculous with longer lenses,
and (usually) considerable stopping down is useful to optimize
performance. The odd exceptions to the last are the 14-24mm
Nikkor (but would that it had been a smaller/lighter/cheaper f3.5 or
f4 with the same performance) and the 17-35mm f2.8 Nikkor (but
this one is not great at all FLs at f2.8, it improves noticeably
throughout with stopping down, it is not very wide on DX, and on
DX the 17-55mm f2.8 probably makes more sense).

> The 12-24mm DX is a stop slower and casts a smaller image circle,
> yet still sells (and sells well) at $900.

I think it is WAY overpriced for its specs. and performance, but even
so, it appears to be the best of a poor bunch.

>>I've owned a lot of Nikkors, and tried a lot of others, and, well......;-)
>>BTW, my "SUBJECTIVE Lens Evaluations (Mostly Nikkors)" is
>>at - www.donferrario.com/ruether/slemn.html.

> Your site is an excellent resource, which I've quoted in the past. Thank
> you for it.

Thanks.

>>> Did it work? At the time Nikon adopted this strategy, they were the
>>> dominant brand in professional 35mm gear. By the time they discontinued
>>> it, they were a distant second to Canon. Myself, I'd rather Nikon skip
>>> the sideshow and spend its efforts making products I'll buy and use.

>>I suspect they do, if you would look...;-)

> Um, I use Nikon gear and do own a few Nikon lenses myself. I think the
> count is 20, including 2 dreadful IX-Nikkors, an early 35mm f/2.8 PC, at
> least 3 of the lenses you mentioned positively here and 3 large format
> Nikkors.

Ah....;-) BTW, the last 35mm PC was a different breed (quite excellent,
though the early f2.8 wasn't bad), and the large format lenses were
excellent. I owned the 90mm f8 (great even with considerable shifts on
5x7 - it almost covered 8x10 stopped well down), the 135mm f5.6
(it covered as well as most other's 150mms), and the 200mm and 300mm
Ms (what can one say...? ;-). I like sharpness!

> But even without the "aura lenses," Nikon's marketing strategy has, over
> the years, ranged from opaque to outright bizarre.

No argument here! ;-) You would think Nikon would learn from Canon
how to market gear, but Nikon never seemed to quite "get it" in marketing
terms. It has been interesting to watch Canon do things like give out
gear to school newspapers (get 'em hooked while they're young, just like
Mac does with its big discounts on school computers...;-), make the long
teles white so they stand out in a crowd of sports photographers and make
sure those photographers are using them, do good "Canon = good-times"
and "Canon = good-photo" associating advertising in all the right places,
and, gosh, even sometimes listen to what people want...! ;-)

> Let's just look at
> this year's gaffes. Nikon Belgium lists the 17-35mm and 80-200mm f/2.8
> lenses as discontinued despite current manufacture. Nikon's produced an
> astounding array of variable aperture "normal" zooms over the years,
> including new 18-55mm and 16-85mm DX VR's, yet got stuck pairing the
> D700 with the outdated 24-120mm VR.

I made the mistake of selling my rather good 24-120 in anticipation
of buying the new lens, but three of the VRs later, all had been returned
or sold. The 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 was better than all - but it is now
discontinued (after a short run) in favor of the slightly faster but larger,
heavier, more expensive, and inferior 24-85mm f2.8-4. It makes no
sense. In fact, such things are stupid. And, others have noted the blanks
in the Nikkor line of lenses, like a 70-200mm f4 (Canon has an excellent
one), fast AF-G moderate wides and normals (like a 35mm f2 and a
50mm f1.4) if we are going to get stuck with that "G" mount, another weird
thing (it first appeared on "el-cheapo" Nikkors, then on the most expensive,
limiting for the first time, backward-forward body-lens compatibility
and now the line is in a bit of a shambles, and, "No, this lens will not
meter
on that body, or AF on the other" nonsense exists. Am I ranting, yet? 8^)

> The Nikon 6T filter is listed as a
> current product, but Nikon hasn't shipped any for at least 2 years. And
> the tilt-shift lenses and long VR telephotos that did ship this year are
> literally years late to market.
> --
> Michael Benveniste

Yup....
--David Ruether
www.donferrario.com/ruether
d_ruether(a)hotmail.com


From: Paul Furman on
Michael Benveniste wrote:
> C J Campbell wrote:
>
> Nikon made fewer than 300, and yes, I have handled one. And not even
> Nikon claims "no distortion" for the 13mm:
>
> http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/technology/nikkor/n09_e.htm
>
>> Bet the Sigma 12-24 doesn't do that. Neither is the Sigma a professional
>> quality lens.
>
> Have you tried the Sigma? It does surprisingly well in terms of
> distortion.
>
> As for "professional quality," it's a term I find more amusing than
> useful. Could a pro use a Sigma 12-24mm and produce salable work? The
> answer is clearly yes, but as Galen Rowell and others showed, the same
> is true of cheap "kit" lenses. Is it an f/2.8 lens? No, but it's
> faster than the 13mm. Does the Sigma 12-24mm use plastic? Sure, but
> because it doesn't have the huge front element of the 13mm f/5.6, I'm
> willing to bet it's less fragile.

The Sigma has a metal body and very low distortion. I can't wait to try
it on a D700.

--
Paul Furman
www.edgehill.net
www.baynatives.com

all google groups messages filtered due to spam
From: Michael Benveniste on
On Sun, 20 Jul 2008 11:26:55 -0400, "David Ruether"
<d_ruether(a)thotmail.com> wrote:

>I didn't bother with lenses of such speed/FLs as 70/80mm f5.6 and
>200/210mmf5.6 lenses (too slow for non-tripod use, unlike similar
>speed super wides), and I require that a tele be fine FF wide open
>(for hand holdability) which most older Nikkors (including tele zooms)
>were. If you mostly use tripods, the "game" changes (the 70-300mm
>wasn't very good at the edges wide open compared with earlier
>versions - and I was disappointed with it).

The 70-300mm ED is not particular sharp at 300mm, and the light weight,
slow speed, and lack of a tripod mount makes it difficult to get
whatever there is out of the lens.

Yet that same light weight enabled Galen Rowell to get to shooting
positions and create images that no one else did. I suppose a cliche
image shot from the side of the road with a tripod and heavyweight gear
is more "professional," but I know which image I'd rather have hanging
on my wall.

>> The 12-24mm DX is a stop slower and casts a smaller image circle,
>> yet still sells (and sells well) at $900.
>
>I think it is WAY overpriced for its specs. and performance, but even
>so, it appears to be the best of a poor bunch.

For what it's worth the Tokina seems to be a non-AFS clone at about
half the price. OTOH, the last price I saw for a 15mm f/3.5 was over
$1300.

>Ah....;-) BTW, the last 35mm PC was a different breed (quite excellent,
>though the early f2.8 wasn't bad), and the large format lenses were
>excellent. I owned the 90mm f8 (great even with considerable shifts on
>5x7 - it almost covered 8x10 stopped well down), the 135mm f5.6
>(it covered as well as most other's 150mms), and the 200mm and 300mm
>Ms (what can one say...? ;-). I like sharpness!

The three I own are the 120mm f/5.6 Nikkor-AM, 180mm f/5.6 Nikkor-W and
the 270mm f/6.3 Nikkor-T. I can only hope I ever become as good a
photographer as these lenses.

>... Am I ranting, yet? 8^)

If it's a rant, it's one I've seen over on Nikonians many times. Canon
has two excellent 70-200mm f/4L's, but at over $1000, the IS version is
a bit dear. I couldn't resist an 80-200mm f/4 AI-s at $125, but the
75-150mm f/3.5E and the 80-200mm f/2.8D see far more time on my cameras.

You're dead on about Nikon's neglect of shorter primes, and the Nikon
body/lens compatibility matrix runs about 3 pages long (and with the new
tilt/shift lenses, just got longer).

My own rant is the lack of a fast portrait lens for the DX format. 50mm
is too short, 85mm a bit long, and the 60mm's only open to f/2.8...

--
Michael Benveniste -- mhb(a)murkyether.com (Clarification required)
"The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and
switchblades." Alice Cooper
--
Michael Benveniste -- mhb(a)murkyether.com (Clarification required)
"The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and
switchblades." Alice Cooper