Nikon 50mm 1.4 G review
Official name – AF-S Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G review
The official name is AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G
Legend – Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G review
G – no aperture ring, auto aperture setting by the camera body, the lens provide distance information
AF-s Silent wave motor, quicker and quieter, the motor is in the lens, not in the camera, not compatible with older cameras
f/1.4 brightness, quite bright lens
Introduction – AF-S Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G review
The 50mm lenses was always special. This lenses called normal lenses on a Full frame camera. On crop sensored cameras the lens is more in the portrait range, with significantly narrower view. In film era most photographer only had an 50mm lens for all kinds of tasks. The general opinion about the Nikon 50mm lenses that the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 version lens is better than the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 version. Such lenses for example the best choice for weddings. The bright aperture helps in dark Temples or wedding rooms. The 50mm lenses are famous for their high picture quality.
Specifications – Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G review
Max aperture: f/1.4
Lens design: 8 elements in 7 groups
Weight: 280g (9.88 oz.)
Closest focus distance: 45 cm
No of aperture blades:9 rounded
Filter size: 58mm non rotating
Angle of view: 39.6 degree (Full frame) / 27 degree (DX)
Nikon HB-47 hood
The lens produce nice, sharp, contrasty images. The lens is sharpest at f/5.6 aperture. At wide open aperture the pictures has reduced contrast, and soft corners. The lens starts to get really sharp around f/2.8.
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens f/1.4 ISO 100, 1/6400s Nikon d7000
If I go a little closer the depth of field becomes more narrow f/1.4 1/1250s
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens, ISO Nikon d7000, sharpness and contrast is reduced compare to middle apertures, but still usable, and has artistic feel
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens At f/4 the lens starts to get really sharp
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens f/4 1/50s ISO 100 Nikon d7000 camera body
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens f/9 1/250s ISO 1000 Nikon d7000 camera body
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens f/1.4 1/1250s ISO 400 Nikon d7000 camera body
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens f/9 1/250s ISO 2500 Nikon d7000 camera body
Autofocus is Af-s silent drive, but not as quick as many other lenses. The manual focus is nice because it has a long path to precisely adjust. Full time manual override is possible.
The bokeh is very nice, wide open perhaps a little nervous. The beautiful bokeh makes this lens capable of extraordinary pictures.
The lens is small, and light and has reasonable build quality.
What is it good for ?
On a crop sensored camera I don’t find many use for this lens apart from wedding, portraits, or low light which I don’t do very often. I prefer more longer (85-800mm) or wider(8-18mm) lenses. The picture quality is very good at middle apertures, but at wide apertures (f/1.4-f/2.8) better at close distances, if we make pictures from longer distances, the weakness of the lens is more and more apparent. I like the brightness of the lens and the small size, and light weight which is very useful. The lens is also very capable for artistic shots with it’s nice bokeh.
On Full frame cameras
Strong vignetting (app. 2 EV) is expected on Full frame cameras, on Dx cameras the vignetting is well controlled. If you are after quality, perhaps newer Sigma “Art” lenses has deserve a look, because this lenses are really sharp even wide open. This lenses (18-35 f/1.8 Dx, 35/1.4 50/1.4 Fx) are bigger, heavier and more expensive, but if you living from photography perhaps picture quality is the most important. They have reported focusing issues though here and it is better to check in the shop, not having front or backfocusing copy. There is a separate docking machine available for Sigma lenses if you have more copies.
There is only one switch, the Af-Mf switch.
Main rivals :
The new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art is better optically, but significantly bigger, heavier and more expensive, but the Nikon 50/1.4 is not a bad lens either. But if we are after picture quality at open apertures, the Sigma is definitely better. Sigma also has an older version of the 50/1.4 lens which is also a good performer. The newer Nikon 50mm f/1.8 version is also better, has quicker autofocus, less vignetting and cheaper. The 50mm f/1.4 is not a bad lens, but the newer 50mm f/1.8 seems a better option unless you absolutely need the f/1.4 max aperture. I like to play with f/1.4 aperture though because the bokeh is better, and I like the additional brightness, which allows to make sharp shots in darker situations. The f/1.4 makes brighter image in the viewfinder as well, which is better in low light situations.