50mm f/1.2 AIS vs. 35mm f/1.4 AIS-Help Me Decide

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Hello all,

Want to make my way into manual prime glass. Something about the AIS and older non-G glass warms my heart. The build quality and feel of my 85/1.4 and 135 f/2 DC convinced me to seek more. Real aperture rings, distance scales and infrared dots turn me on :biggrin:

Now looking for my first manual prime, either the 50 1.2 or the 35 1.4. It's possible I could end up with both eventually, but which one to start with? Either one have any attributes that makes going manual focus any easier? Both would be mounted on a D700. The 35 f/1.4 would replace the 35/f2 AF. Mostly low light shots of street scenes, interiors and landscape. The 50 would be for the same plus portrait work, which I do a lot of. It would supplement the 50 f/1.4G, and be used with the 85, 135 DC and 180.

Those that have gone manual, what do you suggest?

James
 
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I'd get the 35 1.4 personally. Better walk-around focal length. 50's are boring to me. The 35 is wide enough for mild wide angle shots and long enough to get wide portraiture shots. Plus with the wider focal length you can shoot at slower shutter speeds, compensating for the 50 1.2 faster aperture in low light. Either way, you'll probably have to stop down both lenses since both will exhibit CA.

For my taste, I just stick to the 35 1.8 G. I can use that lens as a low light FX lens, wide open with AF, SWM and no CA at all. Plus it's faster to focus than any of the 1.4 Nikkors. It has dark corners and harsh bokeh, but that doesn't bother me. :smile:
 
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I would probably go for the 35, but that's more due to the focal length which I prefer over the 50.
A 35/85 is a good combination to have as a walkaround kit
 
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For my taste, I just stick to the 35 1.8 G. I can use that lens as a low light FX lens, wide open with AF, SWM and no CA at all. Plus it's faster to focus than any of the 1.4 Nikkors. It has dark corners and harsh bokeh, but that doesn't bother me. :smile:

This is a DX lens. Know you have a D300S but you use this on the D3 or D700? How does that work, never tried on of the DX lens on the D700

James
 
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It's a DX lens. I primarily use it for natural/low lit situations, so even with dark corners on FX, it's not too noticeable. I was thinking of switching to the 35 f2 AIS, but after testing the two against each other the 35 DX wide open is sharper and with no CA. Even with the 35 f2 AIS, you still get slight vignetting. Plus having a kid, AFS focusing is a godsend! I also owned the 35 f/2 D, and I still opted for the DX version. The fact I can shoot the lens at 1.8 with no need to stop-down was enough for me to overlook any slight vignetting or soft corners.

Also I think the 35 1.8 is slightly wider, maybe closer to a 33mm?

Here's a sample with the 35 1.8 on FX:

karma_smirk.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Joined
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A 35/85 is a good combination to have as a walkaround kit

I agree with you on this, that is why I want to upgrade my 35 f/2. My new walkaround kit will be 35, 85 and 180. Digging in to this a little deeper, I came across this review.

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-35mm-f1-4-review/4

The review is on on the new 35 1.4G. Comparing it to the older AIS model, which did not fare well, the reviewer said this:

"The 35mm AIS is optically inferior to the 35mm AF-S and as you can see from the examples above, its performance at large apertures is poor across the frame..... All in all, the new Nikon 35mm f/1.4G outshines the old 35mm in every aspect. Old optics just cannot compete with the new optics and modern technology."

Ouch! The softness at f1.4 and color shift really bother me. Why pay extra for a 1.4 lens if you can't reasonably use it at that aperture? Any 35 f/1.4 AIS owners care to chime in?

Maybe I should be looking at the Zeiss 35 f/2 instead of the Nikkor 35 f/1.4?

James
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2005
Messages
358
Location
Fallbrook, Califorinia
It's a DX lens. I primarily use it for natural/low lit situations, so even with dark corners on FX, it's not too noticeable. I was thinking of switching to the 35 f2 AIS, but after testing the two against each other the 35 DX wide open is sharper and with no CA. Even with the 35 f2 AIS, you still get slight vignetting. Plus having a kid, AFS focusing is godsend! I also owned the 35 f/2 D, and I still opted for the DX version. The fact I can shoot the lens at 1.8 with no need to stop-down was enough for me to overlook any slight vignetting or soft corners.

Also I think the 35 1.8 is slightly wider, maybe closer to a 33mm?

Here's a sample with the 35 1.8 on FX:

http://www.inhousephoto.com/personal/karma_smirk.jpg

Jonathan, you have a beautiful child!

Is this photo cropped, hard to tell with the dark background? How big are the dark corners, are we talking 5 to 10% of the frame, or is it more?
 
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I agree with you on this, that is why I want to upgrade my 35 f/2. My new walkaround kit will be 35, 85 and 180. Digging in to this a little deeper, I came across this review.

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-35mm-f1-4-review/4

The review is on on the new 35 1.4G. Comparing it to the older AIS model, which did not fare well, the reviewer said this:

"The 35mm AIS is optically inferior to the 35mm AF-S and as you can see from the examples above, its performance at large apertures is poor across the frame..... All in all, the new Nikon 35mm f/1.4G outshines the old 35mm in every aspect. Old optics just cannot compete with the new optics and modern technology."

Ouch! The softness at f1.4 and color shift really bother me. Why pay extra for a 1.4 lens if you can't reasonably use it at that aperture? Any 35 f/1.4 AIS owners care to chime in?

Maybe I should be looking at the Zeiss 35 f/2 instead of the Nikkor 35 f/1.4?

James

I would have to say, from my experience with my 35 1.4 AIS, it wasn't the best performer at 1.4, it was hard to nail the focus down. For critical sharpness, I think the 35 f2 was a better lens. But for me, it was these imperfect profile of the 1.4 that made it unique and a joy to use. The bokeh was a little crazy, but I liked that.

In the end, it depends on what you want from your lens. Critical sharpness and even performance, then I think you're best going with a 35 f2, but if you want a lens with a unique character, that is imperfect but with it's own style, then the 1.4 is excellent in my opinion.
 
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Shing, thanks for your comments. You said for critical sharpness the 35f2 was better. Are you referring to the Zeiss or Nikon d AF? Got to believe it is the Zeiss, as my 35AF is not that great.
 
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Shing, thanks for your comments. You said for critical sharpness the 35f2 was better. Are you referring to the Zeiss or Nikon d AF? Got to believe it is the Zeiss, as my 35AF is not that great.

Yeah, I was referring to the Zeiss, I used it for about a month from a very kind friend, and I would have purchased one for myself before going the route of 35 1.4G :eek:
 
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Jonathan, you have a beautiful child!

Is this photo cropped, hard to tell with the dark background? How big are the dark corners, are we talking 5 to 10% of the frame, or is it more?

This link shows better samples regarding dark corners on FX with the 35 1.8 DX:

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/takany_/e/48e460ad1f9af00eead7ce336b6d4faf

Basically wide open it's pretty great, stopped down not very good. But why get a small fast prime to shoot stopped down? I like shooting always near to wide open. I think the rule of thumb on FX with the 35 1.8 is to shoot wide open and set vignetting control on 'High'. Though if you're a stickler for corners or obsessed with technical perfection, probably the Nikon 35 1.4 G or Zeiss is the better option. I would say a lot of the older Nikkor MF primes aren't technical superior, but offer character lacking in modern lenses. It's like analog vs digital! :wink:
 
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Buy a 35 1.8 DX. Brilliant lens for DX. I would not think of using it on FX and I don`t care what everyone says.

I have most all the MF NIkkors and the new G lenses are better everytime. Deeper richer color and more contrast and less flair. Knock your socks off and focus them manually if you want.
 

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