Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D lens

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D


I've written quite extensively here about how useful the Nikon D5100 is. With its high quality sensor, excellent handling and build quality, combined with its light weight and relatively small size, its getting close to providing all the advantages of a DSLR with those of a Compact System Camera.

It would seem an ideal vehicle to use some of Nikons small prime lenses on. However due to the fact that it has no AF motor in the body, which keeps down the weight and price, lenses like the 24mm f/2.8D pictured above are manual focus only. 

Even if you then choose to go with that option, the camera doesn't make it easy. In common with many Nikons there is a focus confirmation white dot in the viewfinder. Its very small and only shows up when the lens is in focus. Again like many Nikons its a bit unreliable when lenses are used wide open.

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D
The two shots above were fine, and by the time you get to f/4 or so its pretty accurate. I did however get a few shots at f/2.8 that were significantly out. 

Another alternative is to use the live view and the magnification button. However because you have to leave the lens on f/22 for the automation in the camera to work, whenever you move the aperture ring to a wider aperture to help the manual focusing, a large warning notice fills most of the screen, and won't go away, thus making this somewhat difficult.

By now you're beginning to get the impression that Nikon are discouraging you from doing this. "OK, OK I give up. I know my place. I'll go back to the kit zoom!!"

However there is one very useful way of working that can be achieved with this camera and lens.

Like many D lenses, when the lens is set at infinity focus, it is genuine infinity focus. There is no point beyond that, which is normally found in modern lenses to allow the lens to AF quickly. Consequently using the hyperfocal distance, or zone focusing is very accurate. The Olympus 12mm f/2 has made a lot of people aware of this, and how useful it is.

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D

The 24mm f/2.8D only has markings for f/11, f/16 and f/22. I used f/11 yesterday as shown. As you can see everything from just over 3 feet to infinity will be in focus at this setting.

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D

Nikon D5100 24mm f/2.8D

Very useful for landscape and street photography. As you can see it from the above examples it works very well. 

It is a very handy way of creating images with the maximum depth of field for the aperture you are using. It obviously works best with wide-angle lenses and small apertures.

I suspect the above combination would work very well as a "street photography" camera. Though with the current situation on the streets in many UK cities, don't expect to still have it when you return home! 

Like many others I've been sitting watching on TV the appalling scenes of what's been happening in my country. For those of you in other parts of the world, I would like to state quite catergorically that the people who do this are a (very) tiny % of our population and totally untypical. Fortunately, in some twisted attempt at notoriety, they have been filming and photographing themselves and posting the results on the internet, thus making it easier for them to be caught. Its a different and perverted form of street photography and the idea of filming and photographing yourself and your friends engaged in destructive, violent and criminal behaviour is beyond understanding to most of us. Its only advantage is that it will enable many of the perpetrators to be brought to justice.