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Lack of a decent wide/ normal fast prime...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by xenonsupra, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. I've owned the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-D and f/1.8 AF-D

    I found the 1.4 relatively sharp by about f/1.8, but the lack of AF-S really drove me nuts when I tried to use it for any moving subjects.

    I've been reading up on the AF-S "G" version, which does not seem to get quite as good of reviews in the IQ category, and the Sigma 50 is supposedly sharper but has all sorts of focusing problems.

    Am I only hearing the bad things? Or are most people honestly satisfied?

    I've thought of just using the 35 1.8 in DX crop mode, since 6mp would be big enough for most of the things I would shoot with it.

    Really hoping Nikon would just release a 35mm 1.4 AF-S...hmmmmm....
  2. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    People rag on the lens and say it has "slow" autofocus, but that tends to be the sports shooters especially basketball who need something to rack from near focus to infinity and back again real quick. For portraiture type photos (not sports) and precise and accurate tracking of a possibly casually or even not so casually moving subject, you cannot beat the new G/AF-S version. Its coarse focus adjust speed is not as fast as the old AF-D on a pro level body, but once it's locked on it stays locked and dead-on, even at f/1.4. It doesn't miss.

    IQ and build quality (sample variation) also seem to be a step up from the old AF-D. The old version seemed to have a lot more sample variation. I don't think my copy of it was especially good and felt like I needed to stop it down to at least f/2 like edward mentioned. The AF-S I have no problems shooting wide-open all day long. Bokeh is great, but if you're super picky about bokeh or shooting high contrast night scenes where coma might be an issue, the Sigma appears to be the one to get. I doubt either is sharper than the other. You're talking about sample variation there more than anything, but the Sigma does have nicer bokeh and noct-like abilities in dark scenes with bright contrasting light points.

    radiohead and Rooz and a few others have posted a ton of great samples from the G/AF-S lens in the big thread for it.
  3. Edward, I mainly was basing that off threads I've read on the Nikon Cafe and FM.

    Steve, are you saying you think the AF-D would focus faster on my D700 than the AF-S?

    Thanks to both of you for the detailed comments!
  4. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Coarse focus adjust speed (near to far focus) is probably a bit quicker with the AF-D than the AF-S.

    But fine focus adjust speed, needed for precise tracking wide-open is simply incomparable. The AF-S is better here hands down.

    My shooting is more photojournalist so I need the fine focus adjust speed more than anything since it keeps a possibly erratically moving subject locked in at 1.4. Sports guys and bball shooters need a lens to get from right in their face to half court in an instant, and the AF-D does appear to be geared a bit quicker than the AF-S for that. But it's not as precise as far as fine focusing goes. So take your pick. If near-to-far focus racking speed is what you need, the AF-D is faster. If precision and tracking ability is what you need, the AF-S is better. I've owned all three of the Nikon 50mm AF lenses (1.8D, 1.4D, 1.4G). Currently only own the 1.4G because it suits my needs the best easily.
  5. kiwi


    Jan 1, 2008
    Auckland, NZ
    Interesting, my view as a sportsshooter is that the fine focussing speed is possibly more important too. Once acquired you usually track until the point of peak action until taking the shot - so - it would be critical that it can do this well.

    I think this will be my next lens also.
  6. People on this forum also say the 17-35 is a dog compared to their fancy new nano coated lenses. The 50 1.4 AFS is just fine, I swear people get so hung up for that extra .1 LPI detail while negating the usability aspect of a given camera/lens.

    If I listened to every yahoo on this forum, I'd be flat broke having to buy every multi-thousand dollar lens!
  7. The 50G seems to focus better with DX cameras or cameras with less sophisticated focusing system for some reason.
  8. TommyO


    Oct 16, 2008
    West Michigan
    Why not grab a dirty-thirty - Sigma 30mm f/1.4 ... Mine is sharp as a tack, even at f/1.4 in the kind of light it lives for!



  9. I have the Sigma and absolutely love it....
    tack sharp..very fast to focus..........:) 
  10. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    Maybe because it's not for full frame cameras :wink:
  11. TommyO


    Oct 16, 2008
    West Michigan
    Poop - didn't get that requirement - sorry!
  12. Max Power

    Max Power

    Jan 11, 2009
    St Paul, MN
    Would a 35mm F2 not work?
  13. I find dissatisfied people are always more vocal than satisfied ones. There are plenty of folks happily clicking away with the new AF-S midrange lenses. Bjorn Rorslett is a pretty tough reviewer, and he gives 5/5 ratings for both the 50G and 60G. I use the 60G in PJ mode, and think it's a terrific normal FOV lens on FX.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    If the 35mm FOV is OK, why not go FF and use all 12MP? AF-S isn't a sure thing. Even it's most avid advocates report the 35/1.8 to be a slow focuser. But the full frame 35/2 is very fast and accurate.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2009
  14. Looking at the equipment you already own, you are not flat broke? whow.
  15. I think that review killed the discussion, I want one.
  16. I have the 50 1.4G and it works well with my D700. Also have the 30 f2 and it is OK.
  17. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I guess it would depend on the type of sport. BBall has very erratic/chaotic movement. With other sports where the movement is more predictable or regular it'll do a fine job.
  18. There is no AF 50 mm. currently that is better than Nikon's 50/1.4G. The Sigma might be sharper wide open in the center but the Nikon is better at the corners at all apertures.
    As for fast AFS wides, they should be coming in the next few months. Wait awhile.:smile:
  19. splitpin


    Jul 29, 2009
    i have the g and d in real terms not that much in it

    i use the g as its more modern design and works well with my D700

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