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Nikon 85mm f 1.8 Free to Right Home - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Nikon 85mm f 1.8 Free to Right Home [Aug. 25th, 2008|05:46 am]
kyle cassidy
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[music |the drownout: that song that keeps mentioning the telephone]

Nikon 85mm f 1.8 Free to the Right Home

For you photographers out there -- in an amature's camera bag there are a very few lenses that do Most Things okay. And in a professional's camera bag, there are a whole bunch of lenses that do One Thing extremely well and other things not at all. We sometimes call these the "wow" lenses. They're the fish eyes, the super telephotos, things of that nature. This is one of the wow lenses and I want to give it away to the right person. I want to find the person who was me 20 years ago -- filled with ideas and opportunity but completely broke.

If you think you're that person, read on.





Click for a larger image


IF THIS LENS IS SO AWESOME, WHY ARE YOU GIVING IT AWAY?

There are some caviats to this lens.

1) It's manual focus. I've replaced it in my camera bag with an auto focus version.

2) It's ugly. Its been beat up. The glass is perfect and it's razor sharp, but the exterior is missing a lot of paint. I used it like a pro for a number of years and I bought it from an LA Times photographer who had used it like a pro for a lot longer. It might have been made before you were born. I like to think that it's condition automatically adds credibility to you. Anyone who has a lens that looks THIS BAD must be a pro.

3) The focus is very stiff. About 10 years ago at a party someone spilled a bloody mary on it. And rather than tell me, they hid it behind the sofa in a box filled with napkins. (The caliber of my friends has improved drastically in the last few years I suppose.) When I finally found it, the tomato juice had solidified and it was an unuseable mess. phillforrest using his mad camera repairman skills brought it back from the dead. He disassembled it and restored it but it never got it's smooth focus back. You could probably have a professional repair person this, or do what I did for the next two years and just use it.

4) The lens hood is at the bottom of the Nile.

We won't go into that.

HOW DO I GET THIS AWESOME LENS?

I'm not just going to give it to the first person who asks. (You must answer me these questions three, ere the lens you see...)

Here's what you have to do:

1) You have to have a camera that it will work on. If you're not sure, check the nikon lens compatibility chart.

2) It needs to fill a real and recognizable gap in your current equipment.

3) You need to send me your three best images. Send me links via email or post here. (kyle at kyle cassidy dot com is my email address.) All images must be resized to 800 pixels along the longest axis and they must have your name on them as a watermark. If they're not done like this you won't be considered. It's not so much that I want to be a pain in the rear, it's that I want you to understand what the art world is going to expect of you in the future and I don't want to have to resize everybody's images all day long.

4) You need to write an artist statement which describes a project you want to work on or are working on for which this lens will be helpful. I don't want a list of reasons why you need an 85 1.8, rather I want to be sold on your project, why it's a good idea, why you're driven to do it -- don't talk about lenses. ("I know a lot of hot men/women/dogs/horses/ballet dancers/hair dressers." Is a perfectly acceptable project, so is "I've just taken a job in a hospice and I feel compelled to record the lives of the people I see every day.") I don't know how long your artist statement needs to be, but I think 300-700 words would probably cover anything I needed to say in any of mine. If you need help writing one, there are lots of on-line and in-print resources.

I'm also happy to critique your artist statement and let you know what needs to be fixed.

5) After you get the lens you need to produce work with it. Within 6 months after getting it, you must produce a chap-book (which you can do at blurb or macbooks or you can do it at Kinkos and staple it together) which must be made available for purchase to people who read this blog -- you keep all the money, I just want people to be able to benefit and enjoy your images. 50% of the photos in your chap book should be taken with this lens.

AND WHY SHOULD I JUMP THROUGH ALL THESE HOOPS FOR A STUPID LENS?

You have a lens and a completed project to be proud of, the world has your art, and I have a tiny bit more shelf space where I can hang up a photo of trillian_stars

Some photos from the 85 1.8 -- now you know why you need it.







WHATS THE TIME FRAME ON THIS?

I don't want to make everybody freak out and start writing right away. I'm thinking I'd like to get this lens out the door on my birthday, which is October 31. That gives everybody two months and change to get cracking. If by October 31 nobody has submitted the killer proposal, I'll either extend the deadline or sell the lens on ebay and give the $$$ to City Kitties. (I also reserve the right to end the competition for any foolish reason I want before that time or to change the deadline. This is just in case the lens gets damaged or destroyed somehow before then or someone comes up with an amazing project that is extremely time sensitive.)

Questions? Comments? Demands for clarification?


*** FEEL FREE TO REPOST THIS IN YOUR OWN BLOGS OR ANYWHERE YOU THINK APPROPRIATE ***
*** I MEAN, I WANT TO SEE THIS ON SNOPES A MONTH FROM NOW, THAT KIND OF REPOST IT ***
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2008-08-25 01:29 am (UTC)
What a great way to put a fire under everyone! I'm tempted to follow your instructions just to keep me motivated for the next couple of months (can't afford to sign up for school this quarter--ah well. And no, that's not a play for the lens, it's not compatible with anything I have.)

I hope to see a lot of great work coming through here from folks shooting for the glass.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 01:32 am (UTC)
it would tickle me to no end if people who weren't vying for the lens did all this anyway. we should all do it, all the time.
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[User Picture]From: travelbug27
2008-08-25 01:44 am (UTC)
Excellent idea...
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2008-08-25 01:46 am (UTC)
What a great way to give both the lens and a budding photographer a new life.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:02 am (UTC)
it sure as heck ain't doing me any good sitting on this shelf. that's fo shizzle.
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[User Picture]From: ysobelle
2008-08-25 01:53 am (UTC)
Do you think this is something that might be appropriate for Ryan, my amazing young minion?
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:01 am (UTC)
if she's got a nikon that will take it, it might be.
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[User Picture]From: hhbarmaid
2008-08-25 01:57 am (UTC)
Kyle, you rock.

The lens is not for me but your spirit always motivates me to move forward in my life.

Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:10 am (UTC)
always motion towards. everything you do.

like the chess players say "every defensive move should also be an attack"

(but, like, of course, without attacking anyone)
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[User Picture]From: patrickandraste
2008-08-25 01:59 am (UTC)
that would be right at home mounted on my F3HP
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:01 am (UTC)
it sure felt that way when it was mounted on my F3HP ....
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:08 am (UTC)
then it would be TWICE AS AWESOME!
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[User Picture]From: bellahdance
2008-08-25 02:07 am (UTC)
This seriously warmed my heart.



I'm taking my first photography class this semester starting Tuesday - and I'll totally be studying your work.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:23 am (UTC)
you've no idea the amount of head-swell that happens when someone writes and says "we've been studying your work in photo 101" -- trillian_stars has to deflate my head with a marinade needle.
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[User Picture]From: misterfrank
2008-08-25 02:08 am (UTC)

This is cool

Now I regret buying a point-and-shoot. Oh, well. I wish i could enter. Good luck to everyone.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:11 am (UTC)

Re: This is cool

when you've outgrown that point and shoot, whoever gets this lens will be ready to upgrade it to an autofocus and you may just get another go at it. who knows -- they may get rid of it the same way.
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[User Picture]From: blackwell
2008-08-25 02:11 am (UTC)
What a wonderful project Kyle! I hope that this lens finds it's way to the right home. I look forward to seeing the chapbook that comes out of this!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:12 am (UTC)
we just watched an ingmar bergman film and there was this actress in it -- and at the same time trillian and i pointed to the screen and said BLACKWELL!

i hope it finds its way to the right home too. it's got a lot of life left to give.
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[User Picture]From: piss_and_ink
2008-08-25 02:34 am (UTC)
I'm away for the next three days tops, so I don't have access to the photos on my computer. I shoot with a Nikon d80, and only have one lens, the Nikkor 55mm. I will give the rest of teh information once I am back with my own computer and my own photos. You seem like a really cool guy to do something like this for a budding photographer.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:39 am (UTC)
i'm only a cool guy because years ago other people opened up their closets and gave me equipment they weren't using anymore and spent time answering my questions and critiquing my photos, and showing me how to set up lights, and loaning me books, and telling me about their favorite photographers -- i'm just the next link in a long, long chain. and i hope you'll be the one after me.
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[User Picture]From: hellziggy
2008-08-25 02:46 am (UTC)
This is such an awesome thing you are doing! I can't try for the lens because my cameras are the wrong species (Canon) but I've reposted this in my LJ in case any of my friends are shooting Nikon. I'm looking forward to seeing what people post and what the winner produces!

Edited at 2008-08-25 02:47 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: winter_in_asia
2008-08-25 02:48 am (UTC)
I shot a bunch of stuff with the AF f/1.4 version of this lens at our last wedding (LINK!) and loved it. If I weren't looking to get the AF-S 85mm f/1.4 they're talking about putting out, I might take you up on this.

theamazingjosh got me hooked (after one wedding, no less!) on using primes for all the non-ceremony stuff.

Edited at 2008-08-25 02:49 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: dd_b
2008-08-25 02:51 am (UTC)
Are they talking about an AF-S 85? About time! Where are the rumors circulating, I've only heard them in the vaguest form that's really more of a "we're hoping they'll do this".

Also an AF-S 50/1.4. Please!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 02:55 am (UTC)
read the post -- no decisions made till october 31st. you have two months and change.
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[User Picture]From: lolareina
2008-08-25 03:05 am (UTC)
I have a Canon, but I still wanted to thank you for your generosity. It's people like you who make learning how to be a better photographer fun.

Thanks, Kyle.


- Mandy
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2008-08-25 03:10 am (UTC)
much appreciated. nikon users have lucked out over the years in the 80's and 90's when the pro's all ditched their gear to switch to canon -- which left this glut of pro equipment in the used market -- that's how i managed to get this lens from the LA TIMES. It was raining lenses for a while.

thanks so much for taking the time to post -- i haven't seen your name before that i remember.
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