It’s Hard to Sell a Lens

I used to own a 1972 Datsun 510 Wagon. It was my first personally owned car, although, to be fair, my dad bought it for me. I beat the heck out of that car, and every few years decided that I needed to sell it. Preparatory to running an ad, I would deep-clean and detail the car, fall in love with it all over again, and keep it for another couple of years.

This week, I’ve been going through something similar with my old 85mm f1.8 lens. I would like to sell it and my 35mm f2.0 lens so I can justify buying a 105mm f2.8 micro lens, but instead, I fine-tuned the focus on my Nikon D300 and took some pictures. I liked them. Then I looked though my files at other images I’ve taken with the old 85. Sigh. This is going to be tough.

The 85 1.8 sat in my closet for years after I lost interest in film photography, and was one of the lenses in my collection that spurred my interest in digital photography when the Nikon D70 was introduced. As you can see in this image, the bokeh is good. It's not legendary, like the Nikon 85mm 1.4, but it's still quite good at 1/3 the price!

When I got back into photography, the 85 1.8 was my go-to lens for concerts. Fast, sharp, and compact, it allowed me to make portraits of people while they were performing. This is Chris Jay of Army of Freshmen.

Today I wanted to show some friends the new grip I put on my Smith and Wesson Centennial. The 85 was on the camera, so I put it on a tripod and got the shot in available light. 85mm lenses are popularly known as portrait lenses, but really, they are quite versatile - who says a portrait has to be of a person anyway?

After fine-tuning the focus on my D300, I stepped outside and saw one of my favorite models posing for no one in particular. The trade-in value really doesn't justify getting rid of this lens.


Note: Never leave your mini-studio unattended.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Motivation, Portraiture

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