Which 50mm lens?

Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
516
Location
New Hampshire
As far as hit or miss Sigma. Amazon sells that lens and their return policy would allow one to freely return it in exchange for another for 90 days. I've used the policy before (though not for a lens) and as long as you call the item defective, they will pick up the price of the return and send out your replacement 2 day air.

I may order one tomorrow but I'd love to see more sigma pics.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
997
Location
Los Angeles, California
All I can say is that the 1.8 rocks, and it costs next to nothing. If I were ever to for another 50, it would be the Sigma 1.4 for wide-open performance and bokeh.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
300
Location
Syracuse, NY
August 9, 2009

To Bill-e:

I own two 50mm F1.8 AF-D Nikkors, and the 50mm 1.4D Nikkor. To be flat out honest with you based on Nikon's own MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) tests, a kind of test where the lens is tested wide open to measure sharpness and contrast, the 1.8 lens has better sharpness and contrast then the two more expensive lenses.

Any photographer who has the 50mm F1.8D Nikkor lens raves about it. I myself, am amazed at the image quality of it, but since I still shoot film, and don't have a computer at home, I can't post images taken with it at this time. While the difference in speed between the 1.4 and 1.8 lenses is in theory 2/3 of a stop, in reality when using both lenses on my Nikon F5 film slr, the differences that I have had in shutter speeds using both lenses wide open has been on the order of 1/10th of a second.

I can't comment on the new 50mm F1.4 AFS-G lens since, I don't own one, but examining all three MTF test charts for these three lenses the contrast and sharpness on the new 1.4 lens is better then the older 1.4 lens, but not as good as the 1.8 lens. The red and blue lines are highest up the scale for the lowest cost lens and somewhat flatter which indicates that the sharpness and contrast are better with this lens.

I suggest that you look at other postings on Nikoncafe for information on the 50mm 1.8 lens and take a look at the quality images that it produces, it is absolutely amazing.

Plus the lens is about $250 to $375 less expensive. The 50mm F1.8D Nikkor sells for around $130.00 new and it will be the best amount of money you spend for a lens that is so high in quality and low in cost when you consider the quality of the images it is capable of producing. Be sure to get the HR-2 lenshood if you get the 1.8D Nikkor, or the 50mm 1.4D Nikkor, the cost is around $20.00. The new 50mm 1.4 Nikkor lens comes with a lenshood to the best of my knowledge, but again it is the most expensive of the three 50mm lenses that Nikon makes.

Good Luck to you.

Steve Zalewski
Syracuse Camera Club Member
Syracuse, NY
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jun 4, 2007
Messages
6,530
Location
Rockville, MD
the 1.8 lens has better sharpness and contrast then the two more expensive lenses.

I can't comment on the new 50mm F1.4 AFS-G lens since, I don't own one, but examining all three MTF test charts for these three lenses the contrast and sharpness on the new 1.4 lens is better then the older 1.4 lens, but not as good as the 1.8 lens. The red and blue lines are highest up the scale for the lowest cost lens and somewhat flatter which indicates that the sharpness and contrast are better with this lens.
That's all true that the 1.8 is the sharpest of the three. Nikon's MTF charts show that, so do Photozone's tests, and such has been the case with my experience owning all three of them. I'd still own the 1.8D today except for one glaring fault. The bokeh on that lens is absolutely nasty and very ring shaped with clearly defined edges which ends up being very distracting in environmental portraits. It's better on the 1.4D, but that's the least sharp of the three, I don't think my copy of it was the best out there, and the 7-bladed diaphragm gives you blocky shaped bokeh also. The 1.4G is sharper, has much nicer bokeh, and the rounded 9-bladed diaphragm gives you more natural looking bokeh at all apertures.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
8,391
Location
LA (Lower Arkansas)
the 50mm f/1.8 might have better MTf numbers at f/1.8 than the f/1.4 lenses do at f/1.4, but how do all three lenses compare at f/1.8

it really doesn't matter if one is better "wide open" if it isn't as fast - they need to be compared at the same aperture

so lets look at all the numbers

at f/2, the new nikon 50mm f/1.4 AFS gets center and edge mtf numbers of 1945 and 1825 and at f/1.8 the 50mm f/1.8 gets 2022 in the center, but the edge is a dismal 1247,

with both lenses at f/2.8 the new f/1.4 gets 2043 & 1924 these are excellent numbers, the 50mm f/1.8 on the other hand is excellent in the center with 2164, but the edges still just make it it to what most would just call good with 1614


so if all you care about is center sharpness the 50mm f/1.8 is excellent from wide open all the way to f/8, but if you care about edge sharpness then you need to get it to f/5.6 before it can be called very good

on the other hand the new 50mm f/1.4 hits very good numbers at f/2 both center and edges and jumps to excellent at f/4 and never looks back

if you want to look at MTF numbers you need to look at all the numbers

I dozed off somewhere around there...

Numbers mean absolutely nothing to me when it comes to calculating the sharpness or character of a lens. I suggest that you borrow/rent one and test it out. If you like it, buy it. If not, pass. Most camera stores will let you take a couple test shots with the lenses, so there's no real excuse not to test them.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
300
Location
Syracuse, NY
August 10, 2009

I don't know where the photographer got the numbers for their MTF test results, but I only went by the charts that Nikon posted on line for each of it's 50mm lenses. I have gotten great results with my 50mm F1.8D Nikkor lenses. I only noticed that the red and blue lines are higher up the charts and flatter for the 50mm 1.8 AF-D Nikkor lens, then for the other two lenses that Nikon makes.

I just want to clarify where I got my test information from, which is Nikon's own site. Go to Nikon.com, click on products and support, then click on imaging products, then click on lenses, then click on normal, then select each of the 50mm lenses on the site, scroll down to the end of the page, and the MTF charts are at the bottom of the page. The MTF charts for all 3 lenses that Nikon makes are posted on that site, I looked at them within the last 90 minutes.

Steve Zalewski
Syracuse Camera Club Member
Syracuse, NY
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
508
Location
Utah
I love my 50 1.8, super sharp wide open. The only downside is that the bokeh is less than stellar. If you value quality bokeh, go for the Sigma, otherwise get the 1.8. If you don't like it you can always re-sell it and only be out a couple of bucks.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
366
Location
Syracuse, NY
A DpReview Review of 50's for Nikons

the 50mm f/1.8 might have better MTf numbers at f/1.8 than the f/1.4 lenses do at f/1.4, but how do all three lenses compare at f/1.8

it really doesn't matter if one is better "wide open" if it isn't as fast - they need to be compared at the same aperture

so lets look at all the numbers

at f/2, the new nikon 50mm f/1.4 AFS gets center and edge mtf numbers of 1945 and 1825 and at f/1.8 the 50mm f/1.8 gets 2022 in the center, but the edge is a dismal 1247,

with both lenses at f/2.8 the new f/1.4 gets 2043 & 1924 these are excellent numbers, the 50mm f/1.8 on the other hand is excellent in the center with 2164, but the edges still just make it it to what most would just call good with 1614

so if all you care about is center sharpness the 50mm f/1.8 is excellent from wide open all the way to f/8, but if you care about edge sharpness then you need to get it to f/5.6 before it can be called very good

on the other hand the new 50mm f/1.4 hits very good numbers at f/2 both center and edges and jumps to excellent at f/4 and never looks back

if you want to look at MTF numbers you need to look at all the numbers
Here you go:

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


Two comments:

First as to the quality of the reviews on which this is based. They are excellently done. The presentation of the data is very helpful, as it allowed me to easily make the comparison. More importantly, I find these results similar to what I've seen at phtozone.de and Popphoto, so I think the reliability is high. The write up was well done and very clear. The full reveiews are all here: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews

Second, the 1.8 beats all comers. The Sigma is level across the image, but was the least sharp in the center. The new G is just a little better in some areas and worse toward the dead center than the D.

I suggest you go there and try out some more f/stops. I found out some nice stuff. Just down to f/2 and you get a large boost in sharpness in the 1.8, but not in any of the others. F/2.2 picked more for the 1.8 and saw a sharp pickup in the 1.4, but not near the 1.8, just better than the other 1.4s. Very interstingly (to me anyway) by 2.8 the 1.4D is past the theoretical resolution limit across 1/2 the lens!!! The 1.8 is second, the G third. All three lenses essentially max out at f/5. The D is almost entirel above the max threshold, the G is second, and the 1.8 and Sigma are pretty similar.

The Sigma is the best of the 1.4s, however, at 1.4. So, if you have to have it, Sigma does fast best. But, give up 2/3 f/stops and the 1.4 D takes over in the center and stays ahead after that.

This matches my experience with the 1.8 and the 1.4D. I haven't tried the others.

It gives me a game plan. Shoot the 1.4D if there is enough light for 2.8, and I don't lose much if I stay at 2. But, the 1.8 seems to be the champ if you can get away without 1.4, but need more light thant f/2.2 really badly.

And to think, I was just about to sell my 1.4D until I wrote this up. No Way Now!

Dave Harris
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
366
Location
Syracuse, NY
I was inspired by the Dpreview data to try out my 1.4D in low light on my D80 to see what kinds of shots I'd get at 1.4, 2.8, and 5.0. The pics are summarized below, shot from a tripod; iso 100; timer release; shutter speeds of 1/13, 1/4, 1/1, respectively.

Left hand pic is 100% crop, right hand size is a reduced full pic - even the a1.4 looks sharp when this reduced. Focus point was the hole in the center of the ball, the small band of lights on the far edge, nearest the opening, are where it's focusing.

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


The results are generally the same as Dprview, and the 1.4 looks pretty good at its focus point.

Dave Harris
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
1,115
Location
New York
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.
I've sent mine in four times already! Still don't have a lens to shoot with. If you want to try Sigma, get it from a good dealer and if it is not focusing right, return it and get another one. Do that untill you get it right! Do not rely on their warranty service!
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom