I’ve mentioned before that it’s a good thing I’ve got two camera bodies, because I haven’t taken the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 off one of them since I got the lens. Last night I took both cameras and my full complement of “theater lenses” to a dress rehearsal of Reunions, a pairing of new musicals running for a couple of weekends here in Ojai. 22 of the 30 final images were shot with the 85. I never removed the 70-200 f/2.8, my previous theater go-to lens, from the camera bag. The 85 is fast and sharp, and a wonderful companion to the D7000′s high ISO and broad dynamic range.
Even from the back of the theater, the 85 f/1.4 provides shallow depth of field to help isolate subjects.
However good the lens, though, it won’t make microphones disappear. Sigh.
There is truly something special about the way this lens renders a scene. I don’t have the vocabulary to explain it, but I love the look.
Reunions is in fact a pair of one-act musicals. The second act takes place in a park in Spain, as elderly strangers realize they may share a powerful common bond from their past.
Highlights held, shadow detail visible (although perhaps not in these web versions), sharpness where I want it and only where I want it. The D7000 and 85 f/1.4 make an awesome theater rig.
That said, I’ve lost no affection for the 17-55 f/2.8, which offers many of the 85′s charms with a bit of wide-angle zoom versatility. Not quite so good for isolating subjects, but I’d never have gotten this group shot with the 85, even from the back of the theater!
Of course, if Nikon really does release the fabled D600 “entry-level” full frame camera body this summer, I might go back to shooting theater regularly.