↑ Nikon D850 + Nikon 28mm f/1.4 E.
I’m going to request your assistance today with an admittedly niche “problem” regarding the Nikon 200mm f/2 that I haven’t been able to solve despite some research and a little trial and error.
What I’m trying to figure out is: What is a suitable lens cap for this lens?
Nikon ships the 200/2 with this:
It fits over the lens (and the reversed hood) and cinches closed.
The trouble is that it requires two hands to either place over or remove from the lens, and although that doesn’t sound like something to worry about, it is a real practical hindrance out in the field.
A replacement cap that is often recommended is the Don Zeck cap:
The Don Zeck is placed inside the lens barrel. Admittedly, it looks a little goofy with the loop “handle” but some people swear by it. Others say it’s a little rough around the edges (figuratively and literally) and it either scratches the inside of the lens or doesn’t fit well (too loose or tight). Given the current price of this plastic piece of engineering is US$75, I’m not inclined to take my chances and order it.
The second lens cover often recommended is the AquaTech soft cap:
This cap looks promising in that it is soft/flexible and also fits inside the lens barrel (with the unfortunate attention-seeking logo facing outward); it is removed by pulling on the lip in the top portion.
The cost is a more “reasonable” US$40. The trouble with this one — despite the manufacturer’s claims — is that the cap can sometimes contact the front lens element and leave an oily residue.
The third solution that some people recommend is the Kaiser push-on cap (size 120mm) from B&H:
The price of this is a relatively low US$18 (though I’m sure it costs $1 to manufacture). What I don’t know is how well it fits on the lens, and — more importantly — whether it is prone to being accidentally knocked off (since it fits over the lens). Lastly, I have no idea whether the 200/2 lens hood can be placed over it and, if yes, whether the Kaiser can then easily be removed. I would be tempted to bite the bullet and buy it anyway but factoring in the $CAN-$US exchange rate, the price for delivery, and customs charges, the price for this simple piece of plastic would more than double.
The last recommendation is the Folgers instant coffee plastic cap that is legendary in internet folklore:
I’m not kidding… the internet says this is the best and most economical solution to place in front of your exotic telephoto lens (by the time you start considering this one you will have been secretly repetitively cursing at Nikon for not shipping a proper lens cap in the first place).
Well, it turns out the internet is wrong. Or its information is out of date. I canvassed two large stores with various sizes of Folgers coffee cans and none of them had the correct-sized lids.
I won’t even tell you about the Tupperware lids I tried 😩
So I’m humbly asking for your input.
I’m wondering if the Kaiser cap is ultimately the one I should get, or whether there is something better out there.
This all came about because the winter here has really decreased my photo opportunities lately and in my restlessness to do something creative I decided go back and revisit some old images of mine. As an aside, this is a good thing to do from time-to-time because it inevitably leads to some form of insight (though I must admit that I haven’t been good about engaging in photographic self-evaluation lately).
Specifically, I was looking at this image from last summer:
↑ Nikon D500 + Nikon 200mm f/2 G ED VR II.
… and realized that, in my haste to post-process it along with 100 other images from that day, I had probably not optimally processed it.
Post-processing has been on my mind lately because a reader of this blog recently shared a photo with me (taken by another photographer) that he considered “over-cooked”. I have written about such over-zealous post-processing in the past and I heartily agreed with him.
In looking at the photo above, I wondered whether I had shown too much restraint — whether I had, in fact, under-processed it. I subsequently fired up Lightroom and played with the settings to arrive at this alternate version:
The two versions are not drastically different (remember, I’m still trying to be cautious) but I believe the re-worked version is better than the original.
I will take what I learned from experimenting with this image and most certainly will apply that knowledge to my images this year, and it will probably make a bigger difference to my output than any gear-related change I could potentially make. I’m therefore glad that the winter weather forced me to pause and reflect.
As a second aside, I can’t wait for spring to arrive so I can use this combination of gear (D500 and 200mm f/2) again; I only had one chance to use the lens before the baseball season ended.
For those interested in a how sharp the Nikon 200mm is @ f/2, I’ve provided a crop:
Did I mention that I can’t wait for spring?
Normally I avoid tilting the frame as I’ve done here.
Of course, I didn’t have the instant feedback of digital to guide me (besides, this was the shot anyway — there was never going to be a do-over).
I only became aware of the problem after developing and scanning the film. Correcting it would’ve resulted in cropped edges and an altered composition.
So, it remains as it was photographed, with the lean.
↑ Leica M3, Leica 50mm Summicron Dual Range, Kodak Tri-X 400, and Plustek 8200i.
I’ve been using the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E for almost 6 months now and it has become my favourite lens of any focal length, from any manufacturer.
It renders in both a sharp and smooth way and achieves the perfect balance between the two for environmental portraits (and this is my main use for it). I’m sure it is also more than capable for landscape photography, but I haven’t used it for that purpose yet.
Contrast and micro-contrast are excellent.
Colours are saturated and rendered with great clarity, for lack of a better word.
Distortion is limited.
The lens vignettes at f/1.4 in a very pleasing way; I will rarely correct for it during post-processing because I find the photos are better with it than without. In fact, I will rarely correct for anything with this lens.
My particular copy required 0 (zero) focus adjustment with my Nikon D850; it worked perfectly right out of the box.
Lastly, this is one of those lenses that imparts a je ne sais quoi quality to its images. Most lenses that are technically proficient tend to render in a very sterile fashion (perfect for photographing brick walls, not so good for photographing people) but the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E is one of the few lenses I’ve encountered that gets both the technicals and intangibles right.
I’ve included a few sample images below, mostly from indoors.
I can’t wait to photograph with it outside when the warm weather arrives.