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Noct-Nikkor 58 f1.2 AIS vs. 50 f1.4 AF-D

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by stealthman_1, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. I got out to do some night time twinklie lights testing tonight. Not a lot going on in the big town people wise so I just shot the lights. Quite an interesting experiment. Judge for yourself if one is worth 10 times the other...:eek: 
    I'm only going to show the highlights here, the rest is on my flickr page linked in my sig line. Both lenses shot wide open with a D3 unless otherwise noted.

    Scene 4
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    Scene 4, 50 f1.4 crop
    View attachment 240659

    Scene 4, Noct crop
    View attachment 240660

    Scene 6
    View attachment 240661

    Scene 6 50 f1.4 crop
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    Scene 6 50 f1.4 @ f2,0 crop
    View attachment 240663

    Scene 6 Noct crop
    View attachment 240664

    Scene 7 50 f1.4
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    Scene 7 50 f1.4 @ f2.0
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    Scene 7 Noct
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    Note the distant clock tower circle on the right edge of frame.
  2. And that ladies and gentlemen is why you pay 2000+ on a noct haha :) 
  3. Sandro Bravo

    Sandro Bravo

    Nov 18, 2005
    You pay 10 times more for that and.... for superior bokeh that is visibly better than a 85 F1.4....for sharpness at F1.2 that the 50mm won't deliver at F1.4....and for getting a lense that had only 12.000 units made and most likely there won't be anything like it ever made...:wink:

    P.S: and the chances are that if you sell it, you'll do so with a profit...
  4. To some the advantage of being able to shoot @F/1,2 is well worth it. To me it certainly isnt.

    The crop clearly shows NO advantage for the noct as far as contrast and sharpness goes (@ F/1,2 vs F/1,4)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2008

  5. Well, on my screen I see a fairly distinct difference between the scene 6 crop at 1.4 and the Noct and the scene 7 at 1.4 and the Noct.

    I don't know what's going on with the chandelier in scene 4 - it almost looks as though the focus was missed a tad with the Noct, or there is some camera shake going on.

    In scene 6 the 1.4 wide open is displaying its usual slightly hazy quality, particularly around highlights (which disappears quickly when stopped down). The Noct is not really displaying this to anywhere near the same degree. I believe this has quite an effect on the perceived contrast.

    In scene 7 there appears, to my eyes, a greater degree of sharpness, particularly around the window area, when comparing the Noct to the 50 at 1.4. This difference seems to have disappeared by f2.

    There also appears to be a greater range of gradation of tones in scene 7 with the Noct, than the 50 at 1.4. Again, this has disappeared by f2. To be fair minor differences in exposure could be responsible for this, so may be a red herring.

    I don't think the Noct is simply about being able to shoot at f1.2.

  6. I was refering to the first images.

    And yes after close inspection (of the small images)i agree that in scene 7 there clearly is a diffrence @F/1,4 vs 1.2.

    Its hard to evaluate since the images arent that big.

    The only reason i would buy a noct was if i wanted to be able to shoot @F/1,2. There is not much else that is attractive in that lens for me other then that. Now i should confess i dont shoot night scenes at all. :) 
  7. Hummm

    To be fair a test should be done using a tripod from the same distance... there is an 8mm difference and that's what interest me more than anything else... Needless to say the NOCT obviously handles night lights better at 1.2 than any 1.4 lenses at 1.4 or f/2 ... No doubt. I am still looking for one until then I do have two excellent night lenses, the 14-24/2.8 which handles night light like nothing I have ever tried and the 28/1.4 which renders images stunningly...
  8. I hauled a tripod all day...I wasn't hauling one last night!:biggrin: Shutter speeds here were 1/100 - 1/200, chandelier was 1/1000 and 1/1250. It was shot at an angle through glass so that certainly could impact the sharpness, I was hoping to bring on the CA...and it worked!
  9. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    feel pretty good about my 50 1.4 after seeing these...;-)
  10. Which means what?
    a. The differences between the two lens are generally subtle and when there is a significant difference, it affects very few shooting situations
    b. Your copy of the 50 f1.4 is better than mine
  11. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    means i paid less than $300 for it brand new and consistantly get shots like this @1.4
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    certainly not saying the noct isn't better, everyone KNOWS it is..but 2-3k better?
  12. The Noct looks nice, if I ever win the lottery one will find its way into my bag. For now my 50 1.4 will have to do.
  13. Nice one Nute! I agree with you 100%, the various 50 f1.2, f1.4s are all very good lenses and make a whole lot more sense than the Noct.

    Dude. I love the 14-24 at night too except for the flare. It is wonderfully free of CA though and it gives great perspectives.
    Madrid, Spain, 14-24 @ 14 f2.8, 1/10th hand held.
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  14. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    The Noct's superior coma and CA suppression makes it good for shooting stars wide open. It also has very nice and smooth bokeh. But people have said over and over that it's optical qualities like sharpness and contrast is not any better than the regular 50/1.4 lens. The Noct is really a specialty lens.
  15. mchung


    Sep 17, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    Agreed -- the difference in coma suppression is pretty noticeable in the lights in the last bunch of pictures. That's where the big price tag comes from (similar to the 28/1.4). It's a lot more noticeable than I'd figured it would be. But would most people notice? Probably not unless you pointed out what to look for.

  16. cobrakai

    cobrakai Guest

    Never seen any good examples of the 58mm f1.2 at suppressing aberations, thanks. Puts my 50mm f1.2 to shame.
  17. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    No I don't think most people would care much about the coma suppression, mostly I've seen the Noct used for portraiture, where its background rendition is COMPLETELY different from that of any of the 50's. Everything is just so SMOOTH. It is creamier than the 85/1.4 Cream Machine, though the Cream Machine handles background highlights better.
  18. No its not where the price tag comes, from. Remember what the 28/1,4 reatiled for before it got cult status ?

    The fact that you got a collectors item, is why people pay the ammount they do for these lenses. The price does not really reflect the performance, but the availability and popularity.
  19. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    I agree that performance and price do not correlate. Regarding the original price however, adjusted to inflation, I think the Noct originally sold for quite a high price also, maybe even higher than they do today. And the 28/1.4 originally costed $1200 new didn't it? Adjusted to inflation that's still over $2000.
  20. LOL not in Sweden, the inflation didnt compensate for a 3-4x price over 2-3 years, the lack of availability certainly did though.
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