Reviews and Problems with Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
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Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4G
1 February 2014
Summary: In 2008 the Nikon 50mm f1.4G introduced a new benchmark for affordable performance from an f1.4 standard Nikkor lens. It easily outperformed its predecessor. But how does this lens hold up today, is it still a worthy investment to photographers who are seeking a large aperture normal lens (on...
Pros: The most affordable f1.4 prime from Nikon., Great image quality on DX and FX bodies., Quiet and reliable AF operation., Small and light., Weather sealing at the lens-mount.
Cons: Longitudinal CA can be outright nasty., Coma shows in high-contrast situations., Some nervousness in background Bokeh., No image stabilization.
Conclusion: The AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G was, at its introduction, hailed by Nikon as 'redefining the standard lens concept'. It turns out that in many ways that was no idle boast - in almost all respects the lens is clearly improved over its predecessor, the AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D .
Pros: Extremely even image quality across the frame, even on FX, Improved image quality over 50mm F1.4D at large apertures, Exceptional image quality when stopped down, Essentially no lateral chromatic aberration, Near-silent AF-S focus with full-time manual override
Cons: Slightly soft at large apertures, Somewhat susceptible to flare, Longitudinal (bokeh) chromatic aberration, most visible at large apertures, Vignetting at large apertures on full frame (essentially disappears by F2.8), Slower autofocus than the screw-drive AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D
Excerpt: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G is the latest update to the venerable Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D. The Nikon communality has been expecting this lens for quite some time now, considering that the previous version of the lens was introduced in 1995 and has not seen any updates since then.
Excerpt: The newest version of Nikon's storied 50mm f/1.4 boasts a redesigned optical formula for more effective flare prevention. A 75mm equivalent on Nikon smaller-sensor DX bodies, this $500 (street) full-framer also has a circular-bladed aperture for smoother defocusing. HANDS ON
Summary: After shooting hundreds of images, mostly pictures of people, we fell in love with it. It is more expensive than the zoom lenses that come as standard kit with DSLRs, which gives an idea of the relative quality of each lens type. A good prime beats a mediocre zoom any day.
Pros: The sharpness, colour fidelity and contrast of this lens, and the complete absence of distortion, make it a perfect optic for portraits. The closest focus distance is 0.45m, so it is not a macro lens, but the brilliance of the images means they can be cropped and enlarged without loss of detail.
Cons: The auto focus seems, for want of a better word, languid. It is always accurate and the mechanism is indeed silent, but the lens cruises, rather than snaps, into sharp focus.
Summary: Having owned the older AF-D version for some time, I can say this update is a welcome one. The build and silent focusing are welcome refinements, even if the focusing speed does seem a little slow.
Pros: Excellent optical quality, Good build quality, Light weight, Good value
Cons: Focusing speed lower than previous version, 58mm filter size not common for Nikon prime lenses.