Finding a Happy Medium
Yep, I got the manual offline, as well as Ken Rockwell's guide. I had not seen Phil Askey's review, I will be reading that tonight. You all know how it is..... When all else fails, read the manual.
I had figured out how to get to aperture priority mode, but I was trying to chose my aperture with the lens ring. Same as I used to do on my X-700. I guess a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I never expected the camera would tell the lens to open up or close down as well. I have found that with this particular lens I can use the lens ring to set the aperture in aperture priority mode, as long as I have the ISO set to automatic. Otherwise, it balks. Speaking of that...... I'm loving the automatic ISO setting. That's better than a penicillin dispenser in a Tijuana bordello!
The lens works great and focuses fast at its designed focal length. It's when I go manual and try to make an 85mm lens focus at 18 inches that it is a little tough to turn the focus ring. Probably just the way an AF lens is when used manually though.
Chris, you are absolutely right. I need a UV filter on that glass. Problem is, the rim has taken a couple of smacks before it came to me, and it is no longer round. I use UV filters on all my Minolta glass, and am a believer in doing so. If I can not safely straighten out the rim, I will attach a black foam lens hood to help protect the glass. Yes, I have an Op-Tech Pro strap on the way too. At present, I'm using an old hippie strap. It sucks.
When I was learning to use a manual camera, I would take trips to the Ueno Zoo in Japan and take endless photos of the gorillas and orangutans. They were willing, non-curious models with a neutral background of concrete. The concrete was a suitable distance behind them to place it out of focus with an open lens. At present, I am using the dogs as models while I learn. They are ever willing and patient models with a lot of activity to give the auto focus a workout. Most of these images will be deleted into pixel dust, as they are for learning the camera only.
The Nikon D-200 has three image sizes, 3872 X 2592, 2896 X 1944, and 1936 X 1296. All are humongous in comparison to my needs for online work. Fortunately, I have a pretty good photo editing program and can crop the images down and compress them as needed. With a manual film camera, I often used a zoom lens to crop prior to having images developed, that is no longer a concern now. The best thing, in my opinion, is that I can control the image, allowing only what I want to be in focus. Manipulating the depth of field to accentuate the subject matter has always been a major consideration for me. I can tell that this particular lens will be a favorite of mine. I will likely use it to photograph my daughter in theater, for portraiture, and for candid shots.