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Which 50mm lens?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by bill-e, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. bill-e


    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Nikon 1.4D or 1.8D?

    The price isn't really the driver. I think I want the 1.4 but want to make sure everyone's happy with the quality of that lens. I saw a review of the new Nikon 1.4 AFS on Tom Hogan's site and he kinda bashes the 1.4D a bit.


  2. I'd get the New AF-S 50mm. Very nice. I need to use it more.

    Alot of people here like the Sigma 50mm, but I for one did not like the size and weight of it.
  3. Sang Tran

    Sang Tran

    Oct 31, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Here are a few pictures from 50mm afs. Taken with D200. Hope these will help you decide.

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  4. Why not the Sigma 50 1.4? You don't seem afraid of Sigma!
  5. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    bill, give the search a try. There's been quite a few threads asking about and comparing the 1.8D, 1.4D, and 1.4G AF-S. I've owned all three and my preferences are 1.4G/AF-S, 1.8D, and then 1.4D, although I don't think my 1.4D was the best copy.
  6. niksig30


    Oct 11, 2008
    if weight dont matter try the sigma50,better wide open,better af speed. and if you get a focusing prob,just send it for calibration,then you'l see how amazing that lens can be.
  7. Preston


    May 2, 2005
    Reno, NV
    Both Sigma & Nikon 1.4's are excellent. Get one and enjoy!
  8. bill-e


    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire

    I'm not afraid of Sigma (check my equipment list :) ) just started out this search thinking the Nikon was better. I have done a lot of searching and what I've found is a lack of consensus. I think some of that is clouded by the cost difference between the 1.8D and the rest.

    So I am thinking it's between the AF-s and the Sigma but I haven't decided which yet.
  9. isayx3


    Apr 12, 2008
    Corona, Ca
    I have the 1.8D and the 1.4D. The 1.4D is one of the worst lens I own. The frindging (or CA) is so bad if you are anywhere around bright light. I've read it is fairly common so I have no idea why people recommend this lens. Here are samples:

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    This image below..look closely at the "100mm" text. The 1.4 is softer and has a slight purplish glow. (these were both taken at f1.8)
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    If you want a 1.4 I would look into the sigma or the new 1.4G
  10. Varmint


    Apr 21, 2009
    Boston, MA
    And it's heavy enough you can whack annoying civilians with it.

    The 1.4D seems too expensive to bother with (now that the 1.4G is out) if you don't already have one.
  11. ora-et-labora


    Mar 15, 2008
    Did you considered to get the 60mm/2.8 AFS micro? It's a very capable lens with (IMO) a more desirable FOV, nice bokeh and very good results from 2.8. But yes, it's just 2.8, this might be the show stopper...
  12. MMPG1


    May 10, 2009
    Also have a look at the Zeiss ZF 50 f/2 macro. Though being manual focus, it`s an exceptional lens (sharpness, contrast, bokeh).
  13. wow! that is evident. I have the 1.8 only and can not offer a comparison
  14. dgh3


    Mar 13, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    A couple of comments. First, you can get some good objective information from Dpreview, which has reviews of all of these lenses, with very detailed charts, graphs and interactive resolution/f-stop displays. The bottom line is that Sigma is sharpest. But, many users complain of hit-or-miss AF accuracy. With the razor thin DOF at 1.4 (which is all that matters - why else get one of these anyway?) that means that the resolution advantage may be meaningless.

    BTW, in your comparison shot above of the two cameras, I don't think I'd compare the "100mm" text, as, clearly it is out of focus in the 1.4 pic - that is, it is not the sharpest text around the lens. Rather, I'd compare the text "Series E", or the numbers "19" which are more in focus. Then the differences are not nearly so dramatic.

    The G version is a tad sharper than the D, but not much, and some reviewers conclude that it may not be worth the extra price.

    As to purple fringing. I think it is very easy to misunderstand that a color shift may be unavoidable because it is due to being out of focus. Again, the 1.4 DOF is so thin that most of the pic is out of focus. Distant bright edges are going to shift to blue and nearer ones shift to red (as I recall). Below is a picture (100% crop) with two bright edges, the near ones (around the glass's rim) are in focus and with no color shift, the far edge (top of balding head) shifts to blue. If the lens were inherently prone to CA, then I think you'd see a similar shift everywhere. The shot is somewhat low in contrast, which I think shows its tendency to reflect internally a bit, which, perhaps, the G version with its nano-coating might minimize.


    The second pic is a 100% crop, and more than sharp enough for portrature.


    I've been very pleasantly suprised with this lens. I had the 1.8, and, overall, the 1.4 is preferable for me. The lens performed so well that my friend's wife immediately gave the go-ahed for a 50mm 1.4 purchase by him after seeing the pics from it I took with it that day.

    Dave Harris
  15. AndrewQ


    Mar 25, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Great post, Dave. I learned something from reading that.
  16. isayx3


    Apr 12, 2008
    Corona, Ca
    Those were just 2 examples I had onhand. I have used this lens for over a year and the CA and the softness is so common....It is an issue I never have with any other lens.

    The issue I have is when there is bright light. I can shoot indoors with it fine, but introduce bright sun or flash and it goes down hill. I can shoot someone with the 1.8 with their back against the sun no problem..with the 1.4D i will get a purple glow all around them...not just at f1.4 but up to f3+.

    This shot was impossible with the 50mm 1.4D (i tried...the CA was bad around the hair I had to swap it out with the 35mm F2).
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2009
  17. bill-e


    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Thanks for the great posts folks.
  18. I just bit the bullet and bought the 50/1.4G AF-S. I had the old 50/1.8D and 50/1.4D. Despite Nikon's MTF charts and Photozone's review, I found the 50/1.4D sharper at f/1.8 and f/2 than the 50/1.8D. It just goes to show that there is some sample and testing variation -- SLRGear.com's test had the opposite results than Photozone's.

    The 50/1.4D did exhibit purple fringing but otherwise was a nice lens.

    I looked very carefully at the comparisons between the Nikon AF-S and Sigma lenses. Mark (Bourboncowboy) posted two side-by-side examples that I actually interpreted differently than some. While the Sigma looked a little sharper and the bokeh was a little better wide-open -- it wasn't a huge difference. And not enough to offset the risk of playing Sigma roulette. Not that Nikon samples are perfect either -- Photozone's copy was very slightly decentered!

    The size/weight of the Sigma is another factor in a desire for a small prime.

    The final factor for me is that I would like a prime that is wonderful corner to corner at smaller apertures, something that I valued with the old 50/1.4D and 50/1.8D. I know the mantra is "I don't buy a fast lens to shoot stopped down" but my own reality is that sometimes I do stop down a fast lens.

    Speaking of sample variation, Thom Hogan's test had the Nikon slightly sharper in the center wide-open than the Sigma. That's not consistent with other tests.
  19. bill-e


    May 10, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Any Siggy 50mm pics you want to share?
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