After mowing for a while Wednesday night, I noticed that some of my peaches and cherries were beginning to ripen. It’s been a great season for my trees, and it’s exciting to see so much fruit on the branches. For years before I got married, I imagined how great it would be to have my own garden and orchard, and having them now is one of the great gifts of being married.
Of course, I wanted to photograph them, so I very deliberately chose one of my favorite lenses, as it has been for more than 30 years: the 180mm f/2.8. I’ve owned four iterations of this lens over the years, including the one I used Wednesday, the AF-Nikkor ED 180mm f/2.8 D. Prior to the autofocus era, most professional photographers had one version or another of the manual focus 180mm.
This lens has few vices. It is lightweight, bright, sharp and has fairly nice “bokeh” wide open. Its only failings are its older autofocus system (non-AF-S) and a tiny bit of chromatic aberration. You might also cite the fact that it’s not a zoom lens, which can seem a little old fashioned, but as it turns out, non-zoom (”prime”) lenses are making a huge comeback, especially large-aperture lenses like this one.
It’s possible to get a decent bargain on a used 180mm on sites like eBay, particularly if it’s ugly on the outside but still has good glass on the inside.
It felt good in my hands, and I remembered why I like it so much.