AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E Mini Review

Well I finally bit the bullet and despite owning the wonderful 85mm 1.4G I went and slapped down rather a sizeable number of notes to acquire the Nikon AF-S-Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E. I had read a number of conflicting reviews about this lens but I went against my better judgement and bought it. Do I regret it? In a word – No… In several words – It is a fantastic portrait lens when it is focussing… extremely irritating when not. You see it just feels horrendously slow compared with a lot of the other modern Nikon lenses (let alone the new crop of mirrorless ones) and its low light performance leaves a lot to be desired for a lens of this price level. It is almost as slow as a medium format lens which would be its direct competition in terms of what it achieves in terms of “look” when shooting wide open. I would guess that for anyone who’s sole purpose is to shoot portraits, it won’t matter as much but for me shooting as quickly as I do it feels really sluggish. Will I keep it despite this? Yes… The results are definitely worth it to me for particular situations.

If you own the 85mm then quite honestly it is a personal decision as to whether you actually really need it. It gives a little more separation than the 85 and its nice to have that if you shoot full length portraits for instance. If you want the absolute best results from a portrait lens then this is up there with the best and arguably better in some regards. It is very sharp wide open and by F2.8 is super sharp. The bokeh is a bit jittery at f1.4 depending on the background but as smooth as you will get but F2.8. It gives great separation to your subject if you shoot wide open with a very nice contrasty image. Its difficult to nail focus perfectly when shooting a portrait wide open so you have to be aware that any movement from you or your subject will throw it out and I do mean any small movement. You have a sliver of depth of field to play with. This lens is not for close focussing as it only gets to about a metre away from the subject.

Shot at F2.8

This is a beast of an optic. It is a very large lens and its not light, although on any pro body will feel well balanced with it. The construction of the lens is solid but it seems that the body is polycarbonate and not metal which is the case with the modern Nikon lenses. For this price level it feels a bit bog standard compared to the build for instance a Sigma Art lens. By comparison it feels plasticy.

So, the bottom line is you should consider this lens if you primarily shoot portraits and dont mind a bit of distance between you and the subject. It will give you some memorable images if used correctly.

I have included a few portrait shots I did recently of a very well built and exceptionally nice chap called Jake Cushway who very kindly let me use them to illustrate this post.

Lensbaby Velvet 56 f/1.6 (Nikon) mini review

 

I bought this lens last year and I must admit I haven’t used it all that much so far. This is mainly due to the fact that for the kind of work I do it is a little bit cumbersome as it requires manual focusing and doesn’t fit into my workflow easily. As far as focussing is concerned – it has a very smooth long travel gearing which does allow for very fine focus adjustments. The barrel is very smooth and as its a Metal lens it feels like a quality bit of kit with a good weight.

The lens has a very nice “Velvety” bokeh and a diffusion in the focussed areas when wide open. This I am told is not out of focus but rather a diffused effect. It is not something one can replicate in photoshop as it is not blur…it is a rather unique aspect to this lens alone.

To really utilise this lens to its best the subject has to be in the centre of the frame as that is the area that remains in focus so if you like to offset things you are photographing then you will have to place the subject in the centre and crop afterwards as I have done on the following images (albeit the subject was not dead centre):

Here is an example of a model full length at around f2.8 to give you an idea of why its not so good for Fashion:

It is however very ethereal for abstract imagery:

On the whole it is an interesting and characterful lens that has some interesting potential applications for creative use. I am sure there are people out there that would find this a very pleasing and interesting tool.

I have included a few images that give you some idea of the transition in the diffused areas of the frame shot at F11, F5,6, F2.8 and F1.6 respectively below:

 

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peak design everyday messenger bag review…

I will start out and say that this bag is by far the best bag I have ever used….bar none! An enormous amount of thought has gone into its design and its materials as well as the quality. Its not the cheapest out there but it is the best.

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The bag is particularly suited to my default travel Olympus Micro 4/3rds kit. I have just about everything I need and there is still room for another lens or two.fullsizerender-6

The back pockets contain a 17″ laptop plus an iPad air2.

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Very clever pockets on either side take mobile phones and keys and the one handed clasp system is secure and a pleasure to use. There are numerous very clever pockets which are very usefully placed such as the red pocket below which I use for passports which is accessible from the quick access zipper on top of the bag. As you can see – the divider system is also very flexible and lightweight allowing for lenses to be stacked.

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As you can see here – all this fits into the bag with ease…5 lenses and a body with grip; iPad air2 and a 17″ MacBook pro with power brick; various batteries; carry strap; iPhone; lots of bits and pieces and a set of keys

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The one thing I forgot to photograph is a very flexible strap system with various configurations that you can see on the Peak Design website

I am so happy with this bag that I felt compelled to tell you all about it. Don’t even think twice about buying one if you are in the market for a new bag.

 

2 Awards in for the same image…

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I just won two awards for the same image – one place from The Association of Photographers and the other from The International Photography Awards (2nd place) for Professional Advertising Fashion. So proud of our team both at Romilly Wilde and my assistant Michael Furlonger as well as Stylist Tania Hamilton and Hair and makeup by Kenny Campbell.

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Here is the Press release:

PRESS RELEASE 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

2016 International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition

Marc Rogoff  was Awarded: 2nd place in Advertising – Fashion category for the winning entry “Romilly Wilde” 

About Winner:
A UK based photographer specialising in narrative based fashion, portrait and advertising work. Having been in the fashion industry for most of his career as a designer and Brand developer, Marc brings a unique fashion twist to his photographic work. He has won various awards including a recent Project Hasselblad Award.  

About IPA:
The 2016 International Photography Awards received nearly 15,000 submissions from 103 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographers’ accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. Visit www.photoawards.com for more details.

Contact:
Marc Rogoff:
marc@marcrogoff.com  
http://www.marcrogoff.com 

IPA Contact 

Linda Dzhema  
Director, International Photography Awards 
linda@iawardsinc.com 

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An interview with me in Ragazine…

Marc Rogoff  Interview:

From Bosch to Hopper

by Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret

Contributing Columnist

 

Marc Rogoff : The Capgras Invocation, London, 2016

With “The Capgras Invocation” Marc Rogoff invents a story where there woman is prey or an executioner in a theatrical game of shadow and light. The legs of the black angel become the elements of the dream within the “material” light. The riddle crawls within ambiguous and noxious places. The ” pact of photography” (Denis Roche) is in the service of mystery and of doubt. The world is suspended. The borders of the reality are disrupted to allow an uncertain crossing of an eye labyrinth where innocence is no longer appropriate.

(Avec « The Capgras Invocation » Marc Rogoff invente une narration où là femme est proie ou bourreau dans un jeu théâtral d’ombre et de lumière. Les jambes de l’ange noir deviennent les éléments du songe au sein de la « matière » lumière. L’énigme rampe au sein de lieux équivoques et délétères. Le « pacte photographique (Denis Roche) est au service du mystère et de doute. Le monde est suspendu. Les frontières du réel sont disloquées pour permettre une traversée incertaine d’un labyrinthe oculaire où l’innocence n’est plus de mise).

Rogoff 5Q) What makes you get up on morning? 

A) I guess the thing that gets me up every morning is the opportunity another day on earth presents me for discovering more about life, the universe and everything. I am lucky enough to be able to pursue a creative career that enables me to explore and learn and that is something that drives every minute of my day.

Q) What happened to your dreams as child? 

A) I wanted to be a pilot like my grandfather and it was a shock to discover at the age of 16 when I was put in front of a career counselor at school that I did not have the qualifications to pursue this. In retrospect I am quite glad I didn’t as my life would have taken an entirely different turn.

Q) What did you give up? 

A) If you are asking ‘me what I gave up in terms of my career – nothing. I transitioned my career to what I do today. If you are asking what I have given up in life then again I would say nothing. I don’t really give up – I am an extremely determined person so if it looks like I have given up something then rest assured it was done on my own terms.

Q) Where do you come from? 

A) I was born in South Africa and went to boarding school in England from the age of 11.

Q) What is the first image you remember ? 

A) It was a print of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch (a depiction of heaven and hell) that was hung on a wall of our house in South Africa. I used to stare at it for hours… I still think it influences me today.

Q) And the first book ? 

A) My first book I can remember reading was “The Magical Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton, which was a book about a series of worlds that existed at different levels of a tree. This probably still influences me to day too!

Q) That is what distinguishes you from other artists? 

A) Not sure I am able to answer that. I think each artist is an individual and if you put 10 photographers in a room together and asked them to photograph an object you would end up with 10 very different photos. My collective experiences inform everything I do subconsciously and I do have a very strange set of experiences to draw upon to make me different.

Q) Where do you work and how? 

A) I work in the UK primarily and spend a lot of time on various locations for shoots.

Q) To whom do you never dare write ? 

A) I can be pretty outspoken so if I feel that I need to write to someone I will do so if I feel that I am able to engage from an intellectual perspective.

Q) What music do you listen ? 

A) I have extremely varied taste in music ranging from Rock through Ambient, to Indie as well as Classical.

Rogoff 2Q) What is the book you love read again? 

A) “The Buddha in Daily Life” by Richard Causton

Q) When you look yourself in a mirror who do you see? 

A) I am like a mirage. I can’t see myself clearly – I change from moment to moment. I think I reflect the basis of all reality in that way. Nothing is static and nothing lasts. I sometimes scare myself by looking into my own eyes too long!

Q) What city or place has value of myth for you? 

A) I love the city of Capetown in South Africa. It is a city that has limited space to develop as it is stuck between Table Mountain and the ocean. It is the city that is most connected to nature that I have been to. It’s all around. You can smell the sea from an office block and get in a car and within 10 minutes be in the wilderness. I love that.

Q) What are the artists you feel closest? 

A) I guess I feel closest to Edward Hopper. I feel that if I had pursued painting that he would have been the kind of artist I would like to have been. At the same time I love Dali for the depth of exploration of the mind.

Q) What film make you cry ? 

A) Toy Story (no idea what that says about me?)

Q) What would you like to receive for your birthday? 

A) An end to Rhino poaching in the world.

Q) What do you think of the sentence of Lacan: “Love is giving something that we don’t have to someone who does not want”? 

A) I feel that that this is a rather depressing view of Love as this suggests that love is unattainable. I am a romantic so believe that love is taking a risk by giving the most intimate and personal part of yourself to someone and saying “Guard this well”….and hoping they do.

Q) And w. Allen: “The answer is Yes but what was the question?” 

A) Would you go through this life again?

Q) What question I missed ? 

A) Where do we go from here?

 

Marc Rogoff was interviewed by Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret, June 2016.

See more of Marc’s work at: www.marcrogoff.com