884 – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby

The Image of the Day is actually from yesterday. I shot it in Carinthia, in the valley called Gailtal, on the road between Nötsch and Hermagor, before crossing over to Italy. This is a part of Carinthia that consistently has much snow in winter. This is just where humid air from the Mediterranean laps over the first range of mountains and hits alpine cold. The result is heavy precipitation, and this winter that meant two meters of snow in the upper part of the valley. I really liked the melting patterns on what is still left.

But now let’s get to something completely different. I promised you kind of a review of the new Nikon AF-S DX 35/1.8G, and I have already hinted at the quality of this lens. Now is the time to show some hard facts. The following images were all shot this afternoon out of the window of my study.

The first image is the original JPEG, taken at f1.8, focused on the group of people.

All these thumbnails link to 100% crops, thus in order to distinguish anything, I beg you to click the images. That will open the original size in a new window. Now let’s have a look at the details. The first question is, shall we look at JPEGs from the camera, or better at images from a RAW conversion?

On the left side you see the original JPEG from the camera, on the right a conversion with Adobe Camera RAW, with a little sharpening added. There is not much of a difference, but the image from RAW has a tad more detail. Thus all other 100% crops will be from RAW.

While the image at f1.8 is already sharp, we gain some micro-contrast when stopping down, but I honestly don’t see much of a difference beyond f2.5.
This is good, really good. Thus the answer to the all important question, the one that is invaribly asked first, “But, is it sharp?”, can only be a resounding YES! Yes, this lens is sharp.

As you could see in the full image, there is some vignetting wide open, but it is neither very strong, nor does it pose any problem in post-production. It goes away when you stop down and is completely gone at around f4.

Center sharpness is one thing, but what about the corners? Well, let’s look at that.

In order to test it, I have focused with the center focus point on the yellow/red advertising sign of the hardware store that you see in the left lower corner, then recomposed. I have taken only two images this time, one at f1.8 and one at f8.

This time I have equalized the two crops with a levels adjustment, in order to eliminate the influence of the vignette at f1.8. The result is reassuring. Of course f1.8 is worse than f8, but the difference is not much greater than it was in the center. Thus I’d say the corners are OK as well.

This concludes part one of my review of the Nikon AF-S DX 35/1.8G. So far that’s not bad for a $200 lens. Tomorrow we will look at bokeh.

The Song of the Day is “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” from Anita O’Day’s 1963 album “Once Upon a Summertime”. Hear it on YouTube.

One thought on “884 – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”

  1. You photograph of the snow is actually one of my favorites … as simple as it is. It has a wonderful abstract quality to it and the tones are just perfect.

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