First pictures with a Panagor 90mm, f/2.8, 1:1 macro lens (and "my" Nikon D40)

I have a Nikon D40.  It is a relatively old crop-sensor DSLR (announced in 2006!), and it isn't actually mine.  It's my dad's camera.  But I borrowed it and he hasn't needed it back yet, so it lives with me.  It has a whopping 6.1 MP, can shoot up to 2.5 frames per second, and 3 auto-focus points.  It cannot do video.  

However, it definitely works and takes pictures!  

I've wanted a macro lens for quite a long time.  The only thing stopping me from getting one is the cost of macro lenses.  They are, to put it lightly, incredibly expensive.  And I wasn't sure I wanted to invest a lot of money for a nice lens if I wasn't sure I was going to stick with a Nikon body for the future, since I do want to upgrade to a newer camera soon.  

Two days ago, I found a listing on craigslist for a $95 macro lens, Nikon F-mount.  Too enticing to pass up!  I bought it from the seller today.  

Each of these dead flower buds was about an inch wide!  Not super sharp, yay for unsteady hands.

The lens is totally manual.  Aperture and focus are controlled on the lens, and it's so old that it doesn't communicate with the camera at all.  So images don't save with aperture info, and I also don't get exposure information -- lots of test images are needed. 

Here's the lens fully retracted: 

 And here's the lens fully extended.  

My SO made some, ahem, colorful remarks about this lens's ability to elongate so magnificently.  

The markings on the lens are still sort of a mystery to me.  I know some correspond to magnification level, and some appear to be distance to object for focus.  There are still a few I haven't figured out though.  

The focus ring is nice and heavy -- it takes quite a few turns to get from one end to the other though, definitely not something that would be fun to use for a fast-moving subject.  The aperture dial has clicks for half stops as well, and is a little less clicky/heavy as the one on my Rokinon, but still nice to use.  

The lens is in very good condition and works beautifully as a macro lens.  It's a pretty bad telephoto lens, but can produce some passable shots.  Doesn't seem to do portraits well, but would make some interesting photos, I think.  

My main issue in picture-taking is my really shaky hands, and without any stabilization in the lens or in the body, I generally need a very fast shutter speed and very wide aperture to take sharp pictures, plus good light.  (Tripods would help, of course, but they're heavy and slow to set up).  That means very shallow depth of field, and if the subject moves (wind!), the picture gets blurry all over again.  

Right after I picked up the lens, I went out to a fairly secluded area (because COVID) and took some pictures.  It was overcast, and the light disappeared pretty quickly after the first thirty minutes, and it was also pretty breezy, but I did get some nice pictures.  I also got a ton of terrible, blurry pictures.  Have I mentioned my shaky hands? 

 I'm excited to go out again and re-try with better light!  

The very first picture I took (with the "proper" exposure, more or less).  I hadn't bought the lens just yet...

One of the next few, right after I bought the lens!  No blurring added in post, no cropping.  1:1 magnification and slightly blurry, but still awesome.  The plant was a couple feet across and this is just the center.  
Dead flowers.

More dead flowers!  Different type this time.

Dead grass.  (Notice a trend?  It's autumn, everything is dead right now).

Using the macro lens as a "regular" lens.  These are the same flowers as in the first picture of dead flowers.
Go Gauchos!  Trying to mimic a telephoto.  This was the sharpest it wanted to get.  Pretty dang fuzzy, even for the D40.

Better attempt at a telephoto lens.  Taken from the top of a hill, ~50 feet away from the birds. 


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