A Simple Sunset with an Antique Lens

This was a really easy sunset picture to make; apart from cropping the all-black bottom off it’s exactly as recored by the camera.  No coloured filters or Photoshop adjustments.  Camera autoexposure systems are generally very good at recording sunsets and that’s the case here.  The technical details might interest some of you: ISO400, 1/8000 f/8.  Because there’s a lot of light about (the sun is still well above the horizon) a high shutter speed is available and there’s no need to use a tripod with the 200mm (=300mm on my camera) lens.

And you should know about the lens; it’s a manual focus Nikkor I bought around 35 years ago which qualifies it as an antique in camera terms – but for many purposes it’s far better than a modern replacement.

Firstly being a non-zoom lens it is extremely sharp, secondly it has an f/4 aperture which is good for a “300mm” lens, thirdly is is far more compact than the nearest modern equivalent, fourthly while it doesn’t have autofocus, for subjects at infinity such as the picture above it’s better than autofocus.  I simply turn the focus ring to the end stop and that’s infinity; none of this Buzz Lightyear going past infinity stuff, and no hunting; some autofocus units find it very difficult to focus when a large bright sun is in the frame.  Plus it has a built-in lenshood, takes 52mm filters, and is far more robust than a modern lens.

It is fortunate that a 35 year old Nikkor lens still works on their latest camera; all credit to Nikon for making this possible.

So my advice is to look around for a good used one and give it a try, you can always resell it if you don’t like it.   They seem to be going for under £100 at the moment on eBay.

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