More On Nikon’s Nikkor AF-S 20mm f/1.8G and SB-500

Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G

We briefly touched on the other Nikon releases, so here is a bit more detail, starting with the Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G. With it Nikon has pretty much refreshed and improved a lot of their primes from 20mm to 85mm. All that’s missing is a 24mm f/1.8G. If you told me back when I was still shooting film that for a bit more I could have got a f/1.8 instead of a f/2.8 version I would have said you were nuts.Indeed I still remember the 20mm f/2.8D very fondly, as it was my main ultrawide and it took pretty good photos for its time. One of the upsides for being a f/2.8 lens that was not designed with digital in mind was its compactness – a 62mm filter thread size and a lens length not much bigger than a 50mm!. I am glad that despite the size increase, Nikon has updated the 20mm and given it a larger aperture as well. Nikon mentioned that the 20mm was designed for minimal coma and increased corner sharpness. Comes later this month for US$800.

CK: The old AF 20mm f/2.8D was my ultrawide of choice back when I was shooting film on my Nikon F100 as well. It has great sharpness and very minimal distortion. Unfortunately, it didn’t perform as well on digital bodies. To make things worse, mine has slightly fogged up as well. It’s nice to see that Nikon has finally updated it with this version, though obviously it’s made more for full-frame bodies rather than DX bodies like my D7000.

SB500 Front

YS: The next major release is the Nikon Speedlight SB-500, which is a basic flash that has LED lights for video as well. Unlike most basic flashes the flash head also swivels for bouncing the flash in portrait orientation. Nice. Potentially less nice is the use of two AA batteries to keep the size down. I never had a great experience with two AA battery flashes in terms of recharge times so I am less optimistic in this area. There is also wireless CLS in the form of a slave feature (no master mode in a flash this simple) that lets the SB-500 be in either flash group A or B (no C, and it seems you are limited to channel 3. Here’s the back of the flash:

SB500 Back

 

CK: This would certainly appeal to photographers/videographers who need occasionally needs/want a small continuous light source but does not want to bring along a second light. The LED might even make a nice fill for the bounced flash.

YS: Pretty basic, right? Ships later this month for US$250.

 

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