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Customer Review

155 of 173 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 AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR 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
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 1, 2009, 1:55:13 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2009, 12:50:28 PM PDT
J. Heizman says:
It appears that he does address that in his review, he mentions it not being an issue on the D3 or D700. Although, while your point is a valid one, if someone has purchased a full frame (FX series) camera, with the low-end starting at $2300, and is "confused" by this, then they probably shouldn't be buying a $2300 digital camera. I wouldn't go so far as to say "Many" cameras are full-frame quite yet.

More importantly, this lens would still work for those folks, although it would defeat the purpose of having a full-frame sensor. So the only folks who might get "confused" would be the ones with a DX series for whom the 1.5x crop factor does in fact apply.

Posted on Oct 24, 2009, 10:30:12 PM PDT
VR really isn't needed at this range. It'll just add to the already high price.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010, 7:54:32 AM PST
Great review! Thanks for sharing. However I wanted to clarify the misconception about VR. VR and IS are there to reduce blur due to movement of the camera, that is it detects the small shaking of the lens itself and try to correct it. This feature will not help in anyway w/ taking picture of the moving subject. If you need to take photo of fast moving object then you will have to resort to 'faster' lens and/or higher ISO to try to keep shutter speed reasonable.

Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2010, 7:38:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2010, 7:42:44 AM PST
Jotz says:
My experience with this lens seems to be different from yours. Auto-focus is quite a bit slower than most other lenses I have. The only time it is relatively fast is if you focus on something and then focus on something else that isn't too far away (not to far in front or in back) from your previous focal point. But if you focus on something a few feet away from you and then focus on something further away this lens is slow to auto-focus.

Posted on Jan 1, 2011, 9:33:35 AM PST
This is NOT an expensive prime lens. The Nikkor 24 1.4 prime goes for ~$2,000 and their 85 1.4 for ~$1700. So this is a bit of a bargain at $434.

Posted on Mar 4, 2011, 1:37:56 AM PST
Herman A. says:
QUOTE - "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)."

QUOTE - "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.
"

The reason they put VR in 16-85 and 18-55 plastic lens is that they have small and variable aperture and they are targeted towards beginners, and the fact that those are DX lenses that you still need to apply a 1.5x multiplier to get a fast enough shutter speed to get a sharp image. We're talking about a 50mm F/1.4 here that's 4 stops faster than that F/5.6 on a plastic 18-55 F/3.5-5.6 @55mm. So there you have it - No, not having VR on this lens is perfectly fine and it's not a con. Not to mention this is one of the cheaper prime lenses around and it's not "on the high range for a prime lens" as you mentioned in your review. Being a 75mm on a DX body it's closer to a 85mm F/1.4 so it's more like a portrait lens if you use it that way, so no it's not "odd" as you think it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 1:30:20 PM PDT
M. Stenzel says:
I agree with this statement. This is a great buy for the quality of the lens you get.

Posted on Jul 18, 2014, 4:36:07 AM PDT
cyn229 says:
I have a question, if you can answer. Is this compatible with the Nikon D90? How can I tell which lenses will work with my camera? Thanks for your reply.

Posted on Oct 30, 2014, 10:14:42 AM PDT
will this pair nicely with the d3300 and d5200?
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