Frank Petronio photographer


Nikon Lenses

I rented the Nikon 300/4 AFS-G PF-E lens from lensrentals.com (recommended) fully intending to purchase it to replace my aging 300/2.8 AFS-II. I wanted its compactness and lightweight, figuring that I could shoot more. It certainly is a nice size and weight… but compared to the 14-year old giant 2.8 lens it just sucked. Slow auto-focusing, less contrast, and simply not as sharp… it felt kind of dull. Great for consumers and good enough for most things ~ I would have loved it if I never owned the 2.8 lens. (As an aside it’s so foolish that photographers and camera companies dismiss auto-focus performance ~ with the big 2.8 lens I can focus on a running dog (skier or car) and have it “track” so perfectly that I’ll get 8 out 10 photos in perfect focus. Versus the consumer zoom lenses that will only get the first shot in focus or manually focusing which usually does no better. I only use auto-focusing for moving objects and tracking is very important ~ it’s something I can’t physically do as well with manual lenses. Yet camera manufacturers don’t market this aspect (probably because it is too complicated for most consumers) and development lags behind all the bullshit features they attempt to implement.)

Then I bought and sold a Nikon 20/1.8 AFS-G and remembered why I hate the ultrawides as good and crisp as that particular lens is. I also sold the Nikon 45/2.8 AIP pancake lens I had kicking around, it was awfully cute but I didn’t like the old-fashioned Tessar (soft corners) rendering compared to my modern Zeiss. 

For a moment I almost ordered the Nikon 28/1.4 E but decided to wait… I don’t want to introduce a wider focal length into my ongoing projects but I am thinking that if we go to Iceland next year it would be a great lens to use as my primary, helping to make those photos into a distinct project. Nothing wrong with mixing things up but when you have half a project shot you should probably see it out with whatcha got. Still it is $2000 for a plastic-bodied lens and questionable how much better it could be over a $400 28/1.8G

The other lens I’d buy again, this time to keep, is the Zeiss 135/2 ZF2. It’s a beast and an odd focal length, very difficult to focus ~ a tripod and Live View help ~ but what lovely rendering and so incredibly sharp. One of the nicest lenses I didn’t appreciate when I had it the first time but if one comes up for under a grand I’ll get it. 

(The bargain priced Nikon 85/1.8G is also a great lens while we’re discussing lenses.) (I like the 35mm focal length and have tried several but still don’t like any of the current offerings for the Nikon mount.) 

In the end I’m back to where I started, sticking with the D810 bodies using the 50/1.4 Zeiss Milvus and the 300/2.8 AFS-II. 







Windmills

Took a ride out to one of the area’s first modern windmill installations ~ where Alyssa and I got kicked out by the (nice guys) maintenance crew who told us that these were now nearly obsolete. Ten years old.

I haven’t shot with models lately so it was old school fun to meet up with a stranger at a truck stop (we talked on Instagram first), drive out to the upland remote boonies, and watch them take off their shirt and run around with abandon. Smiles, nice. And I don’t care about boobs but damn, she had em. 

Had to check for tics. 


Mid-Fat Bike

For a Mid-Fat Dad. It really rocks on my personal trail loop. 

Base model Specialized Fuse 6 Fattie, only upgrade is nicer pedals… feels a lot faster and plusher compared to my classic 26 XC hardtail. It’s a heavy bike but the gearing is perfect for my home loop, much more confident doing my little low jumps with it. The wider bars, slack geometry, and fat tires make the winding trail a lot more interested too! It whips! 

Next… lights for night? 


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