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50mm... f1.8 vs f1.4 focus ring.

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by chewbacca7, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. chewbacca7


    Aug 7, 2008
    Lynnwood, WA
    I have a D40 so manual focus is my only option with either of these lenses... The thing is, I've had a 50mm f1.8 lens for about 3 months and the focus ring was BUTTERY smooth to turn.

    I just sold that lens last week and ordered the 50mm f1.4 to replace it. Optically, I love the lens... but I'm wondering if I may have gotten a defective product.

    The focus ring on the f1.4 lens "clicks" as I turn it. It almost feels like a volume knob on a car stereo where you feel little "bumps" as you turn the knob...

    Is this normal? I've had some people tell me it's normal... while others tell me their focus rings are totally smooth.
  2. I just compared (I have both) and the 1.8 is smoother to focus than the 1.4. I'm assuming what you're feeling is normal if it's a subtle thing. It's not a huge *bump* as I turn it, but I do feel some *bumpy-ish* resistance. Hope that makes sense.
  3. chewbacca7


    Aug 7, 2008
    Lynnwood, WA
    Yes, it is a subtle feel. Definitely not a click-stop like that of the aperture ring. The f1.8 focus ring felt like a thoroughly oiled ring, whereas my f1.4 feels almost like there are little gears turning.

    I just wanted to make sure something hadn't broken or come loose internally during shipping.

    Thanks for checking!!
  4. Mine seems to be the same. Definitely not as smooth. I never knew since I can't see to manually focus anyway, LOL!
  5. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    If you like smooth focus rings I suggest you check out the older AI and AIS Nikkor lenses, my 28mm AIS has a wonderfully smooth action.

    They're far better to manually focus than modern lenses designed for AF.
  6. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    The focus ring is linked to the AF "screwdriver slot" via a series of rod, gears and cams. When you turn the ring, what you are feeling is the gears turning. I guess the AF 50/1.8 is smoother because the gears are lighter, or maybe made of plastic instead of metal.
  7. luke_28


    May 12, 2008
    I've owned two copies of the 50mm f/1.4 AF-D and both copies did exactly what you describe in the feel of the focus ring. One was a little more pronounced than the other, but they both had it.
  8. My 1.8 had a very, very loose focus ring that made for difficult manual focusing. It just came back from a Nikon service visit and is much better, though still a wee bit looser than I care for. I prefer a little bit of resistance.
  9. chewbacca7


    Aug 7, 2008
    Lynnwood, WA
    Thanks for the all the replies... After using my 1.4 for a couple days, I actually like the resistance and geared feeling of the focus ring. Before with my 1.8, it was easy to ruin the focus by accidentally touching/grazing the focus ring before shooting. But with the 1.4, I notice the focus ring does a better job of staying put.
  10. LXShooter


    Feb 28, 2008

    Mine does the same thing too. It has a clicking sound when the focus ring turns.
  11. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    My 35/2 AF lens is smooth as silk when manually focusing. Very similar to the 50/1.8. Not sure what bearing this might have on the overall conversation.
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