Customer Reviews


275 Reviews
5 star:
 (204)
4 star:
 (44)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


305 of 313 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent all-purpose lens
This lens is very well-made and takes wonderful pictures. To address the most common questions people ask before they take the plunge:

Price: No, it's not usually this expensive. I paid around $400 for mine, but I got it a couple of months ago. Apparently Nikon is having a hard time making enough of these. Rather than rewarding the greedy opportunists who...
Published on March 2, 2009 by J. Thompson

versus
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you plan on using it professionaly, look elsewhere.
Quite a disappointment. I got this lens thinking I was upgrading from my trusty 50mm f/1.4D
I was wrong. While the f/1.4D is a speed demon that almost never fails to lock focus, this thing is atrociously slow. And when I say it's slow I don't mean it in comparison to my pro f/2.8 glass, I mean in comparison to any, any glass I've ever owned or had a chance to use...
Published on December 19, 2011 by Truth Be Told


‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

305 of 313 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent all-purpose lens, March 2, 2009
By 
J. Thompson (Orlando, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
This lens is very well-made and takes wonderful pictures. To address the most common questions people ask before they take the plunge:

Price: No, it's not usually this expensive. I paid around $400 for mine, but I got it a couple of months ago. Apparently Nikon is having a hard time making enough of these. Rather than rewarding the greedy opportunists who are now charging exorbitant prices for this lens, I suggest calling local and smaller camera shops - they are much more likely to have one sitting on the shelves. It's absolutely worth about $500, but I wouldn't pay more than that. The Sigma (very similar, see below) is a better value at that point.

Image quality: Great. Slightly soft and glowy at 1.4, but that's to be expected. Gets quite sharp at 2.8. The Sigma is even softer at 1.4 than this lens, so if wide-open sharpness is important to you, this is your lens.

Bokeh: Nice, but a little jittery at 1.4 on specular highlights. This means that if you have any light sources or sharp point reflections in the out-of-focus area behind your subject, you will see little light rings around the round blob. These disappear at f2, and they don't really bother me. They are a side effect of correcting spherical aberration in the image - lens manufacturers have to make tough choices sometimes, and Nikon apparently chose wide-open image correction over the absolute best bokeh possible in this circumstance. Compared to other lenses: not quite as nice as the Sigma 50/1.4 wide open, but you get a sharper in-focus area, so it's a trade-off. Not really able to compete with the 85/1.4 or the 105/2 DC, but that's not surprising - those lenses have a much longer focal length.

Focusing: Fast and precise. To be sure, at 1.4, the depth of field (especially at closer focusing distances) is RAZOR thin, so focusing just isn't possibly going to be spot-on every time. I frequently use manual focus, and even a TINY, TINY nudge on the focus ring moves the plane of sharp focus about one-half inch at those distances, so it's extremely hard to get perfect focus exactly where you want it to be. Be prepared to have some patience, or use live view, if you plan to take close-up shots at 1.4 and you want perfect focus. Most amateurs won't notice if things are slightly out of focus, so not generally a problem unless you're a perfectionist. If you're a constant autofocus user you will not even be aware of this issue. Speaking of up-close focus, I will mention that I feel this lens has a fairly short focusing distance, which is nice - you can really get in nice and tight on subjects and come up with some really attention-getting compositions with neat depth-of-field effects. It's no macro, but I'm constantly amazed at just how close I can get to things.

Low-light performance: Stellar. That's really why I bought this lens, as I already have several amazing lenses for portraiture/bokeh. I love this lens for events where I have room to move around (it's a little long in focal length for tightly-packed spaces) because I hate using flash if it's not necessary. This lens and a slight ISO boost is all you need to take flash-free pictures in many settings.

Build quality: Good. Not like Nikon's professional-grade lenses, but very sturdy - I can't foresee any possible problems. The plastic hood is a twist-on bayonet type, and it works well but can be slightly annoying at times.

Lack of VR: Not a big deal - you shouldn't need VR for a 50mm lens at this aperture; it is easily possible to get to a reasonable shutter speed so that shake isn't a problem. On an APS-C sensor, I'd aim for at least 1/60 second if you want blur-free images. At 1/125 second, you'd have to be going through an earthquake to see any shake with this lens, because it just doesn't have enough focal length to make that a problem. Besides, would you really want to pay $200 more for a 50mm prime? Nikon would have to make this a 1.2 for that to make sense to most people. I think the decision to leave VR off this lens was a good one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


257 of 289 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, December 22, 2008
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Intro
I was eagerly expecting this upgrade from Nikon since I have not been very pleased by the old AF-D version. The Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor Lens was a performant lens with careful handling and focusing of static or relatively static subjects. However, for action shooting AF with the D version was lacking the kind of snap needed for those "razor sharp" details. Moreover, very prone to flare and coma and with somewhat low contrast rendition of images, the 50mm f/1.4 AF-D was never my lens of choice even for portraiture. During 2007 I got a Voigtlander 90mm f/3.5 APO Lanthar (in Nikon mount), manual focus, that gave me the pleasure of portraiture as I wanted to be (really, for the money that lens is awesome).
However, having a better focusing less flare-prone, high contrast 50mm prime was tempting and, as rumours about an AF-S version started to appear, I decided to sell my old f/1.4 and get the new AF-S version.
However, even this upgrade did not entirely match my expectations. I try to detail below some of my findings.

Subject isolation, sharpness, DOF and bokeh
One of the reasons of getting a large aperture lens is isolation of subjects. Subject sharpness, smooth transitions on D0F interval and pleasant bokeh (see below) is the triad that, usually, influence purchase of such lenses. I have another one: ease of use and reduced weight. The third: getting a prime that has usable AF on D40/D40x/D60 (yes this can be used). Moreover, I am more and more tempted to use fixed focals for general photography and walkaround, thus I lack a performant 35mm prime that will act as a normal focal for my D300 to use most of the time (like back in the old days of film when I was less lazy and spoiled by zooms).
The new 50mm f/1.4 does an excellent job at isolating the subject and sometimes you have to take a lot of care about focusing exactly on those portions of the image that you want to be sharp since even slight deviations might defocus quite severely. The custom stop difference for DOF blurring between a DX and FX is about one stop, which means that a f/1.4 on DX achieves the kind of DOF that you will get with a f/2.0 lens on a FX. However, those of you who wish to get that "magic, almost 3D look of images" should keep in mind that this subjective perception of the image is a combination of subject isolation and peripheral perception of the eye of the blurred background - thus, the higher the quality of the bokeh, the better the "3D" look of the image.
Unfortunately, the extreme sharpness of this lens - even wide open, at f/1.4 - comes at a price, a bokeh which, in my opinion, is not so pleasant. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM produces a better looking (smoother, with no harsh artifacts due to diffraction on aperture rim) bokeh, but with lower sharpness overall. In the end, all comes to your personal preference: sharpness or excellent bokeh ? You cannot have both as a consequence of optical constraints. Nikon tried to launch a rasor-sharp wide opened prime (which it is), with good DOF capabilities, within an optical formula and glass specs that do not generate a tremendous amount of smooth blurring of the background (bokeh). Please remember that depth of field only gives an estimate of blurring of a subject which is in the focus interval, i.e. how blurred the image will be just outside the DOF interval. DOF does not correlate with the DEGREE of blurring of objects placed at SIGNIFICANT distance behind the subject in focus. If the background is far enough (which translates: outside the depth of field) and the subject if close (inside the hyperfocal distance) the DEGREE of blurring is related to the absolute physical size of the lens aperture. That's why the bokeh is better with large diameter glass and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 has "better" bokeh (smoother)than the 50mm AF-S. A basic rule of thumb (that you might consider in your "bokeh-oriented" purchases) when comparing lenses of same focal distance is that the quality of bokeh is directly proportional with the result of: (glass frontal element diameter)/(aperture value F). For example, for a 50mm f/1.4 with a 25mm frontal element that proportion will yield apx. 18; for a 50mm f/1.4 lens with a 50mm frontal element, the result would be apx. 35. You would expect a doubling of of the blur with such large glass.
However, large frontal element and better blur comes at the price of heavy optics and more aberration-prone lens which translate in lower sharpness and reduced microcontrast. The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S Nikkor excels at sharpness and microcontrast (which is not the case of Sigma), thus you will have to choose based on your personal shooting preferences, which lens to pick in the end. Maybe a Zeiss ?

Color accuracy
The lens is on the cool side and this means that colors will be perceived by your eyes as more natural. Remember that what our brain interpretes as pure white (and make you think "this is white") is something that has quite a lot of blue in it. This is why, in bygone days, they were adding blueish bleaching stuff when doing laundry: the sensation of perfect white.
However, this slight tendency to the cold side has a consequence when shooting with flash: try to compensate a bit the color temp and make it a bit warmer, otherwise soome magenta casts will appear especially in shadows.
Under natural light the color and contrast are almost perfect with well defined hues and very good to excellent separation of colors (something which the old 50mm AF-D did not display) and a wonderful, absolutely wonderful microcontrast.
Used under overcast, the lens will retrieve images that have a slightly dramatic, "journalism-like" look, with deep blues and blacks (excellent as density for printing) and well defined details.
The color rendition does not change with aperture values, just your perception of better contrast will increase as the aperture narrows (due to increased sharpness per field).
Due to the relative small glass element diameters, the lens behaves like a planar, thus very low distorsion (close to absent) at the minimum shooting distance can be observed making it ideal for closeups. This is more obvious on DX format.
No vignetting observed by me, both on DX and FX.

Build
The lens uses plastic, but a very good quality one. Is bigger and heavier than the old AF-D (weight: 8.1 oz (230g) AF-D vs. 10.2 oz (290g) AF-S; length: 2.0 inch (50mm) AF-D vs. 2.1 inch (54.2mm) AF-S; diameter: 2.6 inch (66mm) AF-D vs. 2.9 inch (73.5mm) AF-S), but not as heavy as the Sigma (18.3oz (520g); 3.33in x 2.69in (84.5 mm × 68.2 mm) );
The focusing ring is acceptable damped but not for precision MF, in my opinion.

Overall rating and conclusions
Yes, I recommend buying this lens due to its exceptional sharpness wide open, color rendition contrast and compactness. Moreover, owners of D40/D40x/D60 finally have a cool prime they can use on their AF crippled cameras (no internal motor) which - I believe - is the primary reason this lens was launched on the market.

However, bokeh lovers should look elsewhere, in my opinion, or carefully select scenes and compositions if they are looking for the ultimate blurring of the background. If I'd had enough to invest I would take both: the Sigma for the bokeh and more poetry in my images, the AF-S for studio shooting, sharpness and subject isolation.

The choice is yours.

Highly recommended.

Dec 22, 2008 (I made myself a birthday present)

----------

Update: February 2nd, 2010

Some updates on image quality. Actually not true one of the comments to my review in what concerns the bokeh on a full-frame. I have a D700 now and the bokeh of this lens at F/1.4 is far less pleasing even than the DX 35mm f/1.8 in DX mode on D700. By the way, the 35 DX is one of the best lenses (image-wise in what concerns sharpness AND color rendition) I ever bought. Not to mention the stellar APO LANTHAR 90mm at 3.5 (a 90mm lens, though) - unfortunately an extinct bird, such a pity !

The issue is that physics cannot be cheated: large glass diameter = better bokeh. That's it. But this AF-S G 50mm has some other advantages, especially on a FF. For example, better focusing under incandescent light. Not dim, incandescent (focus accuracy is heavily dependent on wavelength). Or as a perfect companion for going out "light" - reminds you of good old days of fixed focals. Or the very good correction of curvature (reacts almost as a PLANAR and recommend it for portraits), at the expense of CA, of course - but this is easily correctable in pp. For example, the sigma 50mm f/1,4 is very sharp but with a curvature that reminds of a 35 mm FF lens. Overall, the most pleasant bokeh (IMO) on any Nikon lens is on the 200mmf/2. But that's another league. I am a lucky person: I have access to a wide array of lenses and I can test them. I hope I will have enough time to spend to post these opinions on my website. Finally, would I buy this lens again knowing what I know now ? Of course. It is a very welcomed update in the aging nikon lens lineup.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


119 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best lens for portrait and low light photography. Autofocus will also work with D40, D40x and D60 cameras., December 31, 2008
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
This Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens produces sharp pictures and great color and contrast. It is also perfect for portrait and other general purposes (semi-macro etc). This lens also produces nice bokeh. The picture quality and bokeh quality are comparable with the other (older) Nikon 50mm lens which are famous for being sharp. Overall, this is a very versatile lens.

Many of us (including those who already own 50mm f/1.8D AF or 50mm f/1.4D AF as well) have been waiting for this lens for a long time, and overall it is worth the wait, and it is worth the upgrade to this 50mm f/1.4G AF-S. If you don't own any of the earlier version of the 50mm lens then you should definitely get this lens over the older 50mm non-AFS lens (especially if price is not much of a factor for you or if your camera body is a D40, D40x, or D60 which the autofocus with will work with those cameras as well).

Some of the limitations of this lens are similar to the other 50mm lenses (but some big benefits are added in this lens):

First, being a prime lens, you will need to move your feet a lot to compose your picture. If you are used to zoom lens, don't underestimate this limitation. It takes me a while to get used to it, and sometime I still find people looking at me wondering why I am moving forward and backwards. the good news is that most of the time, they don't think I'm weird, but they are actually wondering if I'm a professional photographer.

Secondly, the focal range of 50mm, which is considered the normal lens and great for portrait lens. but on many DSLRs which is not full frame (unless you have a full frame Nikon DSLR like the D700 or D3, then 50mm is 50mm), this lens become a 75mm equivalent which is in the border of a short tele lens. I actually like the 75mm equivalent though I often have to move backwards when taking picture of a group of people.

While this lens produces very sharp images at f/1.4, the corner show lower contrast. Sharpness and contrast increases further as you stop down to f/2, f/2.8 and f/4.

The big plus with this lens over the older 50mm lens is the AF-S feature which is auto focus system that is internal to the lens, very fast and very silent. This lens will please a lot of people who currently own D40, D40x, and D60, as they now can benefit from the autofocus.

Another big win is the manual override on autofocus mode (M/A mode), which will allow us to change the focus without having to change the mode to manual mode (this is pretty standard to most Nikon newer lenses but it's a first for the Nikon 50mm lens series)

I'm a bit surprised that Nikon didn't include VR in this lens since they add VR to many of their newer lenses including some of wider angle lens (e.g the 16-85mm, and the 18-55mm) which would be perfect when taking handhelds shots during low light environment (like concert, indoor sports, etc). And the price (current price) will be perfect too if this lens have a VR feature (otherwise it is a bit expensive).

If you are wondering whether you should get a fast lens or a lens with VR (Vibration Reduction), here's my take: In overall, VR does help a lot (as it will reduce camera shake) and will produce better/sharper picture than equivalent lens without VR (especially if the object is static). If the object is moving fast (sports/action) then VR feature alone might not help (depending on how fast the object is moving and how much light is available), and a fast lens often end up being a far better solution, even without VR feature as it will allow much faster shutter speed to freeze motion. Using tripod (and a remote) will substitute for the need of VR feature. In general I would recommend getting a fast lens with VR feature (and usually it is expensive) such as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR, but if one can only get for one or the other, then find out what do you want to use the lens for and then use the guideline mentioned here.

If you are wondering whether you will get the benefit of buying f/1.4 lens over a f/1.8 lens, just remember that the f/1.4 lens is about 60% faster than f/1.8 at its widest aperture setting. With this information, you can decide if the additional speed will justify the additional cost. The bokeh is nicer as well in f/1.4 lens but I think speed is usually the main factor in deciding whether to get the more expensive f/1.4 lens.

Here are the summary of pros and cons for this Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens:

Pros:
1. AF-S AF-S AF-S (very fast focus, internal focus, and very silent)
2. M/A mode (manual focus override available on autofocus mode)
3. Very fast lens (f/1.4)
4. Very sharp pictures
5. Great for sport/action photography
6. Great for indoor and low light situation
7. Great for portrait
8. Bokeh is almost as good as many expensive Nikon tele-lens
9. Perfect for wedding photography (or low light with no-flash event). However, also check out the following lens for wedding photography (17-35mm f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, 17-55mm f/2.8, 28-70mm f/2.8 or the other two 50mm nikon prime lenses)
9. 75mm equivalent which can be considered a short tele lens (If you need more zoom, you can get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.4 or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #9 pros is not applicable.
10. Did I mention very fast and very silent focus?

Cons:
1. Being prime lens, you need to move your feet a lot to adjust/compose
2. Being a G lens (no aperture ring available), this lens will not work on manual focus camera where you need to set the aperture from the lens)
3. Price is a bit on the high range for a prime lens
4. No VR. As VR will be useful for taking handheld shots on low light (especially if the object is somewhat static or if the photographer doesn't have steady hands when taking photograph)
5. 75mm equivalent with 1.5x multiplier on non full frame DSLR (many people find this is an odd range for normal lens). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #5 cons is not applicable.

Bottom line: This lens is so versatile that I think everyone should own this lens (or at least one of the other 50mm lenses) in addition to all the lenses that they already have. Being a very fast lens, it will allow people to take action shot in low light that otherwise wouldn't be able to be do. And now, with AF-S, there is nothing to dislike about this lens (though in my opinion, this lens might attract even more interest if it has a VR feature).

Happy Photographing!

Sidarta Tanu
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best lens for portrait and low light photography. Autofocus will also work with D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D5000 cameras, August 23, 2010
This Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens produces sharp pictures and great color and contrast. It is also perfect for portrait and other general purposes (semi-macro etc). This lens also produces nice bokeh. The picture quality and bokeh quality are comparable with the other (older) Nikon 50mm lens which are famous for being sharp. Overall, this is a very versatile lens.

Many of us (including those who already own 50mm f/1.8D AF or 50mm f/1.4D AF as well) have been waiting for this lens for a long time, and overall it is worth the wait, and it is worth the upgrade to this 50mm f/1.4G AF-S. If you don't own any of the earlier version of the 50mm lens then you should definitely get this lens over the older 50mm non-AFS lens (especially if price is not much of a factor for you or if your camera body is a D40, D40x, or D60 which the autofocus with will work with those cameras as well).

Some of the limitations of this lens are similar to the other 50mm lenses (but some big benefits are added in this lens):

First, being a prime lens, you will need to move your feet a lot to compose your picture. If you are used to zoom lens, don't underestimate this limitation. It takes me a while to get used to it, and sometime I still find people looking at me wondering why I am moving forward and backwards. the good news is that most of the time, they don't think I'm weird, but they are actually wondering if I'm a professional photographer.

Secondly, the focal range of 50mm, which is considered the normal lens and great for portrait lens. but on many DSLRs which is not full frame (unless you have a full frame Nikon DSLR like the D700 or D3, then 50mm is 50mm), this lens become a 75mm equivalent which is in the border of a short tele lens. I actually like the 75mm equivalent though I often have to move backwards when taking picture of a group of people.

While this lens produces very sharp images at f/1.4, the corner show lower contrast. Sharpness and contrast increases further as you stop down to f/2, f/2.8 and f/4.

The big plus with this lens over the older 50mm lens is the AF-S feature which is auto focus system that is internal to the lens, very fast and very silent. This lens will please a lot of people who currently own D40, D40x, and D60, as they now can benefit from the autofocus.

Another big win is the manual override on autofocus mode (M/A mode), which will allow us to change the focus without having to change the mode to manual mode (this is pretty standard to most Nikon newer lenses but it's a first for the Nikon 50mm lens series)

I'm a bit surprised that Nikon didn't include VR in this lens since they add VR to many of their newer lenses including some of wider angle lens (e.g the 16-85mm, and the 18-55mm) which would be perfect when taking handhelds shots during low light environment (like concert, indoor sports, etc). And the price (current price) will be perfect too if this lens have a VR feature (otherwise it is a bit expensive).

If you are wondering whether you should get a fast lens or a lens with VR (Vibration Reduction), here's my take: In overall, VR does help a lot (as it will reduce camera shake) and will produce better/sharper picture than equivalent lens without VR (especially if the object is static). If the object is moving fast (sports/action) then VR feature alone might not help (depending on how fast the object is moving and how much light is available), and a fast lens often end up being a far better solution, even without VR feature as it will allow much faster shutter speed to freeze motion. Using tripod (and a remote) will substitute for the need of VR feature. In general I would recommend getting a fast lens with VR feature (and usually it is expensive) such as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR, but if one can only get for one or the other, then find out what do you want to use the lens for and then use the guideline mentioned here.

If you are wondering whether you will get the benefit of buying f/1.4 lens over a f/1.8 lens, just remember that the f/1.4 lens is about 60% faster than f/1.8 at its widest aperture setting. With this information, you can decide if the additional speed will justify the additional cost. The bokeh is nicer as well in f/1.4 lens but I think speed is usually the main factor in deciding whether to get the more expensive f/1.4 lens.

Here are the summary of pros and cons for this Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens:

Pros:
1. AF-S AF-S AF-S (very fast focus, internal focus, and very silent)
2. M/A mode (manual focus override available on autofocus mode)
3. Very fast lens (f/1.4)
4. Very sharp pictures
5. Great for sport/action photography
6. Great for indoor and low light situation
7. Great for portrait
8. Bokeh is almost as good as many expensive Nikon tele-lens
9. Perfect for wedding photography (or low light with no-flash event). However, also check out the following lens for wedding photography (17-35mm f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, 17-55mm f/2.8, 28-70mm f/2.8 or the other two 50mm nikon prime lenses)
9. 75mm equivalent which can be considered a short tele lens (If you need more zoom, you can get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.4 or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #9 pros is not applicable.
10. Did I mention very fast and very silent focus?

Cons:
1. Being prime lens, you need to move your feet a lot to adjust/compose
2. Being a G lens (no aperture ring available), this lens will not work on manual focus camera where you need to set the aperture from the lens)
3. Price is a bit on the high range for a prime lens
4. No VR. As VR will be useful for taking handheld shots on low light (especially if the object is somewhat static or if the photographer doesn't have steady hands when taking photograph)
5. 75mm equivalent with 1.5x multiplier on non full frame DSLR (many people find this is an odd range for normal lens). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #5 cons is not applicable.

Bottom line: This lens is so versatile that I think everyone should own this lens (or at least one of the other 50mm lenses) in addition to all the lenses that they already have. Being a very fast lens, it will allow people to take action shot in low light that otherwise wouldn't be able to be do. And now, with AF-S, there is nothing to dislike about this lens (though in my opinion, this lens might attract even more interest if it has a VR feature).

Happy Photographing!

Sidarta Tanu
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this lens.!!!!!!!!!, February 23, 2009
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I own a Nikon d700 and had a D300 before that. The lens worked beautifully on both. What swayed me to buy it is the fact that it is sharp and contrasty wide open at 1.4. The competitors and older version is not.

I read many reviews before buying it, people saying the good things and bad things about it. Most complaints seem to be about its focus speed and bokeh. I think the Bokeh is beautiful, I tried it against the Sigma and the older D version. I found the Sigma to be less sharp and the older D version to be way less sharp and contrasty. As far as focus speed, it's fast enough, not bad enough that I notice it. I will update my firmware with my d700, supposedly it supposed to help in focus speed, but this was never a complaint anyways.

On the argument of saving money and getting a 50mm 1.8. I have one and honestly would not go back, I definitely prefer the 1.4, I love the shallow depth of field, and the extra stop basically allows me to shoot in almost pitch black dark with my d700. It seems to render colors more naturally as well, my 50mm 1.8D always seems a little warm which I have to fix in post process or use a custom White Balance. Don't get me wrong, the 50mm 1.8 is the best bang for your buck, I keep mine as a back up, but the 50mm 1.4g is better. I'm not wealthy so I don't try to buy the most expensive gear, I'd rather buy the cheapest if it works, but once I tested it, I had to have it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Everything Lens, September 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I shoot all Nikon on a D300s body (DX), multiple speedlights (SB-700's and an SB-900), and the full array of Nikon pro glass. This lens is the "holy grail" due to it's mid-range focal length (about 75mm on DX), large aperture, compact size, and light weight. However, some people moving from a kit lens and used to a consumer level DSLR body (slower focusing, different expeed engines, no AF Fine Tuning), may run into some issues.

Before I go further, please accept this review as a pragmatic, rather than technical review. I focus on end-user usability in the consumer to intermediate range. Other's like to focus on numbers and other technical aspects and they do a great job for nerds like me.

This lens will surely appeal to consumer level shooters considering "moving up" in glass. These are shooters that typically spend less than $1,000 on a DSLR body and start with a "kit lens." Larger apertures such as the 1.4 are not panacea's for every shooting situation, whether you shoot with a DX or FX sensor, or a D700 or D300s or D3100. Yes, you will be able to shoot in lower light. However, significant depth of field considerations now come into play. So, shooting your daughter's ballet recital is more likely possible w/out flash (most don't allow use of flash) but you may have significant focusing issues, especially on a body like the D3100, which focuses much slower than a D300s. So, you could expect more blurry shots when dealing with a moving subject and shooting at 1.4,even when using continuous focus. Outdoors in daylight, these considerations are mitigated, but some remain. For example, moving subjects shot at 1.4 may have the wrong area in focus and the rest out of focus due to depth of field, leaving you with an image that cannot be salvaged through post processing. And, the 1.4 aperture will typically yield soft focus, while arguably preferable for portraits, but not so for landscape.

Many people also believe a 1.4 aperture eliminates the need for outdoor fill flash or, any flash. I find this to not be the case unless I am going for a specific type of shot where natural soft light source is illuminating my subject from the front (think window illumination). With this particular lens, you will want to shoot in the f2.8 to 8 range for most situations. Since I prefer shooting at ISO 100 or 200, this means I will probably have to rely on at least one speedlight. This lens provides good color rendition at a contrast level to be admired. However, it is a lens best shot in manual mode and under complete user control. You will want to integrate post processing distortion and sharpening control to play it safe. So, shoot in RAW format whenever possible to provide maximum flexibility with this lens (a good idea anyway- I always shoot RAW). This lens provides nice compression for portraits at an equivalent of 75mm, while wide enough, even on a DX for landscape. It's size and weight serves as a great all around lens for travel. For me, it's a choice between my Nikon 17-35 or this lens. I usually take this lens.

Side note: Many people seem to have complained about the AF accuracy of this lens. I would suggest you test for AF accuracy and then use AF Fine Tune if your camera has it (D300 and above do). Every lens can have particular quirk's when paired with a body. Nikon offers the best quality control in the industry, but they cannot pair for every DSLR body differential. It is possible to get a bad copy of the lens, especially if Amazon shipped it in a large box with no packing.

So, in summation, if you are moving from a kit lens on a consumer grade body, this is a great pro level FX/DX lens to consider. But I have to wonder of the cheaper Nikon 50mm 1.8 DX Lens(Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras) would serve you just as well. I would definitely compare the two for your needs.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you plan on using it professionaly, look elsewhere., December 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Quite a disappointment. I got this lens thinking I was upgrading from my trusty 50mm f/1.4D
I was wrong. While the f/1.4D is a speed demon that almost never fails to lock focus, this thing is atrociously slow. And when I say it's slow I don't mean it in comparison to my pro f/2.8 glass, I mean in comparison to any, any glass I've ever owned or had a chance to use (including cheap kit lenses). This is literally the slowest focusing lens I've ever seen!
Shooting quickly moving subjects was an impossible task with this lens without prefocusing.

Just to be sure that it wasn't a bad copy I checked the professional online reviews for similar experiences and looks like it's the norm. If you plan on using it mainly as a portrait lens and a walk around lens then go for it. Otherwise I would suggest the older f/1.4D as long as your camera has a built-in autofocus motor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A careful balance of performance and cost, March 4, 2010
By 
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Through a rather unique set of coincidences I actually wound up owning two of these lenses at the same time: one that I'd purchased brand-new from B&H, the other a used sample that had been back to Nikon for calibration and found to be within specification. This gave me the fortunate opportunity to test and shoot with two lenses to ensure that the results I was getting were representative of the design and not the result of a particularly good or bad sample.

I did find some differences between the two. More on that later.

I can pronounce the lens unsurprisingly competent on all major counts. I don't think this lens is going to compete with the high-end lenses from the niche manufacturers like Zeiss for ultimate crispness and contrast at large apertures, and it doesn't raise the bar in that regard, necessarily, in comparison to its predecessors - but it is a capable lens that can be used with confidence all the way to its maximum aperture. It is approximately as sharp at f/2.8 as Nikon's best zooms at that aperture, which in the case of Nikon's pro zooms is quite a high standard. It is increasingly fuzzy as f/1.4 is approached, but not, unlike some other lenses I've used, to such a degree that it becomes nearly unusable. It's f/1.4 center acuity is a good match for the pixel pitch of a D700 or D40, and it looks quite sharp on those bodies, but not perfect. On a higher-resolution sensor such as a 12mp DX body or of course a D3X, the sensor is out-resolving the lens by a significant margin and much more sharpness could be used. For the special purposes for which f/1.4 will be used, however, it is more than acceptable. In the other direction, at f/5.6 is has reached maximum sharpness and is slightly sharper than it is at f/2.8: again, quite excellent.

If I seem slightly disappointed in its large-aperture performance, it is because so many of Nikon's recent lenses have been standouts. Nikon's consumer zooms of recent years, the 35mm f/1.8G, the recent fixed-length macro lenses, and almost all Nikon pro zooms for at least a decade now, have been genuinely outstanding lenses in terms of image quality, even near max aperture. I can't quite say that the 50/1.4G is equal to the best of them, but it is good enough that in most ways any differences amount to useless hair-splitting. It is, however, quite possible to nitpick this lens' image quality as it approaches f/1.4, and if you intend to shoot detailed subjects with this lens and then display the results in large size, it will be best to have some discipline as to what apertures you shoot at.

On the more important point of practical real-world photography, these differences really don't matter, most of the time. What is likely to matter much more is the lens' usability, the quality of its focusing system, the coatings that improve contrast and reduce flare: and in all these areas this lens is pure, modern, AF-S Nikon - which is to say excellent. I can point the lens so that direct sunlight grazes its front element, or include the sun in the frame, and the most I'll get is a few subtle ghosts and a small reduction in contrast. It focuses with spot-on accuracy every time, even at f/1.4, a feat that eludes lesser lenses. It is also contrasty, although I will need more experience with the lens before I come to a final opinion on whether it is quite the equal of the best Nikkors on that count, especially near wide open. Differences in color rendition and contrast between lenses are subtle enough that they take time to fully appreciate.

If Nikon got the major points right with this lens - and they did - I still don't think they quite put everything they could into it. It is, for example, already somewhat notorious for slow focusing. The argument has been made that slow focusing might be a necessary trade-off, in an f/1.4 lens, for accuracy: but I don't really buy that argument. The pro zooms, for example, have massive, powerful focusing motors that snap into focus almost instantly, yet they manage perfect focus as well, even at much longer focal lengths where the challenge at f/2.8 is far greater than it is at f/1.4 and 50mm. I suspect the difference is mainly a matter of cost control. In addition - and I know a lot of people will disagree with me here - I think a lens like this could use VR. I realize that the old school would rather make their images sharp with careful planning and good shot discipline than with a gimmick like VR, and yet I grew up shooting film cameras at ISO 64 myself, and I love what VR can do for a lens' versatility. If VR is so useful on my slow 16-85mm VR zoom, and if it has been included on the new FX 16-35mm f/4 zoom, imagine how useful it would be to be able to shoot an f/1.4 lens, hand-held, at 1/4" shutter speeds - especially at the high ISOs today's DSLRs are capable of. It would immediately become an unmatched tool for low-light photography, and I would be happy to pay extra for such a capability. Also, even though it is a brand-new design it lacks Nikon's premium "nano-coating," which is being applied to most of today's top lenses. I suspect that is another cost-control measure, which undoubtedly causes some diminishment in performance compared to what it could have been.

The point is that the 50/1.4G, like anything else, has been built to a price, and although it is not an inexpensive lens it is priced moderately when taking into account its FX optics and full AF-S feature set. It seems likely to me that Nikon has made the decision quite consciously to make this a competent, solid-performing lens, representing an update and a modest improvement in overall performance in comparison to its predecessors, rather than to hit it out of the park. That's good enough: it's a fine lens, and I recommend it. I give it four stars on the basis that it gets every important aspect of lens performance right, carries the very useful technical advance of AF-S focusing, and has no flaws of any real consequence.

Notes:

- Sample variability: I'm confident that I received two good samples of this lens: one had been specifically accounted for as such by Nikon while the other one, brand-new, was even better. The lesson here is that sample variability does exist. The better of these two lenses is noticeably, but slightly, sharper than the other one at each aperture from f/1.4 through f/5.6. It also seems slightly contrastier, which is a logical complement to the higher sharpness. The difference is not large. Compared to some lenses, in which I've noticed large variations between samples, it is relatively insignificant.

- Vs. zoom lenses: Years ago, prime lenses were universally better in terms of image quality than zoom lenses. That is no longer the case. In comparing this lens with my 16-85mm VR DX zoom, an excellent lens that I use as a reference for such purposes, it seems to my eyes that the zoom has a slight advantage in sharpness at f/5.6, which is pretty close to wide open for that lens. The zoom is also at least as contrasty as the prime. This brings me to reiterate something I mention in most of my reviews of prime lenses: the advantage of a prime over a zoom today is not one of sharpness or of overall image quality at all, but of control over depth of field and of low-light applicability. The zoom is versatile in ways that the prime is not, but on the other hand the prime can do things that the zoom lens can not do. For portraiture, still-life subjects and the like, the 50/1.4 gives a critical dimension of artistic control, and for low-light shooting of moving subjects, it is about as good as lenses get (with the slow focusing as a caveat to the latter). For everyday shooting, for landscapes, for low-light photography of non-moving subjects; it has no advantage aside from its compact size and relative simplicity. The same comments would apply equally well in comparison with any of Nikon's recent pro midrange zooms. The corollary to this line of reasoning is that performance at wide apertures is the single distinguishing quality of an excellent fixed-focal-length lens: without that quality any number of excellent zoom lenses can do pretty much the same job.

- Vs. Nikon 50mm AF and AF-D f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses: These lenses are among the worst for sample variability, in my experience. I happen to have a couple of good samples of the f/1.8 on hand at the moment as well as an average sample of the f/1.4D, and the differences in sharpness are very small between those and the f/1.4G, except that the f/1.4D is poorer near f/1.4 (I have seen some that were better). I have separately reviewed the f/1.8D as a three-star lens, primarily because they are so variable and often quite mediocre at wide apertures, and I prefer the newer lens for its AF-S focusing and handling improvements over the old lenses. However, if you get a good sample of one of the older lenses, there is very little to choose from between them and the newer lens in terms of overall image quality. Let your needs and your willingness to spend the extra cash be your guide: if the cost difference is of significant consequence, find a good AF or AF-D sample in your chosen flavor and be confident that your images will in practical terms be the equal of those you'd make with the newer lens.

- Vs Nikon 35mm f/1.8G: This is mostly academic since these lenses are of different focal lengths and designed for different formats, but it is interesting to me as a matter of pure curiosity since these lenses are of such similar vintage and apparent design. The 35mm doesn't have the focus distance scale that the 50mm has, but it is a sweet little inexpensive lens with great performance. In terms of image quality my feeling is that the 35mm has come out being the better of the two by a slight margin. Probably because it's designed with a smaller image circle for DX, and because it doesn't need to open up all the way to f/1.4, it manages to lose less acuity as it approaches max aperture. At f/1.8 through f/2.8 the 35mm is distinctly sharper than the 50mm. The 35mm is remarkably sharp wide open and I'd happily use it at f/1.8 any time, whereas with the 50mm I'd prefer to stop it down beyond that unless I have a good reason not to. The 50mm is good enough at f/1.8 and below, but the 35mm is better than good enough. The 35mm remains my easy pick as the one truly no-brainer prime lens that any DX shooter should have.

- Filters: This lens has a 58mm filter ring, which is unusual for Nikon. If you're looking for a reason other than price to stay with the older lenses, their standard 52mm filter sizes would be a good one. As it is, buying this lens either means buying a spectrum of new filters to use with it, or resigning oneself to using a step-up ring, possibly to 67mm, which precludes the use of a lens hood. This isn't a new dilemma but it certainly doesn't make things any easier.

- Bokeh: I've probably saved this for last because I know, unfortunately, that I have little that is positive or useful to say about it. This lens doesn't have good bokeh. It's not awful; not as bad as some - but depending on what's in the background, if you're shooting close subjects at large apertures you might wind up with some unpleasant out of focus elements in your frame. Personally, with a lens like this, I prefer not to try to throw the background way out of focus: longer lenses are far better for that purpose. A subtle degree of background blur, one that allows you to emphasize the subject while still placing it in a recognizable environment, is my preference - and for that type of photography the quality of the blur is not usually all that important. So for me, this lens' bokeh is moderately poor, but still acceptable. There are times when it can catch you off-guard, though; tree branches and grass being two of the things that can take on quite a distracting look in certain instances. Another special case comes into play when using the lens to photograph close-up subjects, in which case the background will be well out of focus. That type of use is consequently not this lens' forte.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing beats a fast prime lens., April 29, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I always used to have a 50mm f/1.4 on my old film SLRs. But then I started getting seduced by the "zoom" phenomenon. And when I first went digital, I got a 12x zoom point and shoot. Yes, a super zoom is fun. But my pictures never seemed as good as the ones I took with that old 50mm f/1.4. So when I finally decided to go back to my photo roots and get a digital SLR I got the Nikon D60. It came with the kit lens (18-55 zoom) for almost nothing over just the body alone but I splurged (It cost about the same as the D60/lens kit) and got this lens too hoping I'd like it as much as my old ones and could get back to basics with it. I've had it now for a few weeks and haven't put the 18-55 zoom on the camera yet! This lens works so well with the D60 especially in aperature priority mode. I usually set it to wide open or maybe f/2.8 to get that fantastic subject isolating small depth of field and beautiful bokeh (cool new photo word). And when the light is dim, I can still take great shots using available light which is almost always nicer than flash. The D60's "Auto ISO" makes this even better. And the manual focus and Auto Focus override works so well it completely solves any problems where the fast and quiet Auto Focus can sometimes get fooled. What a fun lens! I've taken more great photos of people and scenery in the last three weeks than I did in the 5 years before that. I LOVE this lens and camera combo. (See my separate D60 review.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inferior to the Nikon 1.8g that is 1/2 the price, August 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I own the Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens and thought it would be awesome to have the 1.4 version of my beloved prime lens, especially since I shoot a lot indoors. I was surprised that the Nikon 50mm 1.4g was inferior in pretty much all ways to my 1.8! It's much slower to focus, and wide open (apertures wider than 2.8) the images were very soft. I thought I had a bad copy and shared my findings in a group, and it turns out this is the case with many who own the "g" version of the 1.4. I don't know if the 1.4d 50mm is better, but I ended up returning the 1.4g and sticking with my 1.8.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0x9d67fd80)

This product

Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.