Nikon Df and one of my stranger lens combinations.

I'd bet quite a lot of money that I'm the only one who has ever gone out to create photographs with the combination I used yesterday. A Nikon DF camera body, Nikon 24-85mm AF-S G and Nikon 55-200mm VR APS-C DX lenses. The 24-85mm is an older (and sharper) version of Nikon's current 'full-frame' kit lens and the 55-200mm is of course the telephoto kit lens for their DX cameras. (APS-C size sensor) This latter lens may cause the most surprise, but long-term readers will know I've used this lens before on Nikon FX cameras, such as my D3, D3X, D700, D600, D800, D800X and now my Df and D750. Because, by accident or design, it does work on a 'full-frame' / 35mm size sensor with minimal, easily fixable in Photoshop, vignetting.

Image on the left is OOC jpg. and the image on the right is after about a minutes work in Photoshop. As you can see I've 'cloned' out the vignetting, without having to crop the image, adjusted the levels and got a perfectly acceptable image. From the original you see how the 55-200mm almost covers the full-frame sensor and this is typical of how the lens performs. At some focal lengths and apertures the vignetting is more severe, but I've been doing this a while so can always get the final result I want. There are some other Nikon DX lenses that do this, most notably the 35mm f/1.8G DX and Nikon have created an 1.2X crop image size to handle this in some of their newer cameras. (The D750 has it) However, under most circumstances I shoot the full frame, knowing that I can 'clean up' the vignetting very easily.

So why do this? Well, weight, size and price. The 55-200mm DX zoom is 335g, a decent size to handle and this copy cost me £119. So a smaller mirrorless type telephoto zoom lens for a 'full-frame' sensor camera at a ridiculous price. See the attraction? When you add in the 24-85mm, which is 411g and cost me just over £200, you can see that I have a surprisingly mobile DSLR outfit. And no, these lenses aren't the sharpest that Nikon produce, but with a bit of sharpening in Photoshop, that becomes irrelevant and I have an outfit that I can walk miles with, that has all the DSLR and full-frame benefits, covers a very wide focal range and creates high quality images for my stock photography websites.

As I constantly write, the ill thought out stereotyping of DSLR's is just that, ill thought out. Under the circumstances I use the above outfit, I don't need fast, wide aperture lenses. In fact due to the amazing ISO performance of the Df, most of the images I shot were at ISO 400 and f/16 to f/29. I wanted as much depth of field as I could get and though these aren't optimum apertures for any lens, again some post-processing Photoshop sharpening and correction sorts that out quite nicely. I was even able to upsize the Df images to 24MP with no problems. All of this is the result of checking things out on the photographic internet, trying things out, not being afraid to experiment and learning how Photoshop can enhance and correct images.

As mentioned above I've been doing stuff like this for years and using some 'inappropriate' gear to get results few would expect. I realise that not everybody wants to do this, but for me the value of this experimentation is obvious. I've got an easy to carry full-frame DSLR outfit, that weighs and costs far less than you might expect and yields excellent results. Plus apart from anything else, I've never allowed myself to be influenced by the short-sighted, rote recited dogma and closed mind thinking that permeates the photographic internet. Because, while you'd never guess it from much of what's written there, Photography is supposed to be a creative art and being 'creative' with the gear I use is one of it's attractions for me. And if it wasn't I'd probably be earning my living in a different way.