by dan Havlik
Eyes Of The Beholder
NOTHING BEATS A GOOD PIECE OF GLASS
Say all you want about the latest cameras but they don’t mean nothing without a top-notch lens attached to the front. Every
photographer has his or her favorite, go-to piece of glass just a short reach away in their camera bag. Here are three of our favorite
new pro lenses that offer the looks we want when we want them.
NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 85MM F/1.4G
If there ever was love at first sight with us, aside from when we met our wife, it would be when
we first laid eyes on images shot with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G. Nikon has never created a
portrait lens quite like this one and that’s saying something. The replacement for the legendary Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF launched back in 1995 and the new 85mm f/1.4G doesn’t break
any significant new ground and that’s a good thing. First off, there’s that fast f/1.4 aperture,
which produces an extremely shallow depth of field and gorgeous background blur (aka
bokeh) to make your subject pop. In portrait sessions, your clients will love the effect the lens
creates, making the center of the face, particularly the eyes, look dramatic. The biggest difference between the new 85mm f/1.4 and the old one, is the addition of Nano Crystal Coating,
which helps cut down on ghosting and flare, making it easier to shoot back-lit images. The
new lens also uses Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC), which is designed to improve the
way it receives light to render color more consistently with less flare. Focus is also smoother and
quieter thanks to the addition of Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM). And because the new Nikkor
85mm f/1.4G has internal focus, the barrel length doesn’t change when you lock in. But the real reason you’ll
want this lens is because of the stunning portraits it can create, particularly when shot wide open. Swoon.
SIGMA 120-300MM F/2.8 DG OS APO HSM
Let’s say you have long-range needs and you want a long-range lens. The Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS
APO HSM (yes, that’s a lot of letters) has got quite a lengthy range, making it a flexible piece of glass for
sports and wildlife photographers. This fixed-aperture telephoto combines Sigma’s new “F” Low Dispersion
(FLD) glass with a splash-proof build to protect against water spatters. The lens also has O-ring seals to
keep out dust and moisture. A noteworthy feature is Sigma’s own Optical Stabilizer system, which Sigma
says lets you shoot handheld at shutter speeds approximately four stops slower than the previous model.
Although we hadn’t had a chance to test out this lens at the time of this writing, the specs and design
looked impressive. The Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 also has a Hyper Sonic Motor to quiet focusing noise
while still allowing full-time manual focus override.