Nikon 50mm lens: f/1.4 or f/1.8?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Unclaimed Mysteries, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. I recently shot a band in the usual dimly lit club setting with the d70
    18-70 kit lens and some images turned out quite well. I'd love to
    improve the ratio of the keepers to the deleted, and of course that
    means a faster lens.

    More than one contributor on a web forum said that the best results with
    either lens in this application come around f/2 something something. So
    is there a compelling reason to pay a couple hundred more for the
    fastest of these lenses?

    I call upon the Multiple Nobel Prize Winners of to
    weigh in on this matter of choosing either the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 or the

    It Came From Corry Lee Smith's Unclaimed Mysteries.

    "And now, They have even got a machine that can tell if you're thinking.
    It's called a TV. If it's off, you're guilty." - Rev. Ivan Stang
    Unclaimed Mysteries, Sep 3, 2006
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  2. "Unclaimed Mysteries" asks:
    The (Japanese) reviews at hand have it that the Nikon 50/1.8 is slightly
    better than both the Nikon 50/1.4 and the Canon 50/1.8. No need to spend the
    extra money, IMHO.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Sep 3, 2006
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  3. I recently picked up a Nikon 50mm F1.8 on E-Bay for £18. Nearest F1.4's were
    in the £90-£120 range. Not worth it IMHO.

    Dennis Pogson, Sep 3, 2006
  4. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Roy G Guest

    "Unclaimed Mysteries"


    I have used both, and there is no doubt the 1.8 is the sharpest.

    The 1.4 is still a very good lens, but there also seems to be a problem with
    the focussing helix wearing. I know of 2 with exactly the same symptoms,
    lateral movement between the front and the back of the lens.

    I sent mine in for repair, and was told it would not be economic to fix it.
    It still seems to work Ok.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Sep 3, 2006
  5. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Jim Guest

    "Unclaimed Mysteries"
    Only people who don't mind paying all that extra money for about 2/3 stop
    more light and who don't mind that the faster lens is not quite as sharp
    should buy the 50mm f1.4 lens.

    Jim, Sep 3, 2006
  6. For a digital SLR, I'd go for the 35mm f/2. The 50mm is a little on the
    long side for indoor use.
    Andrew Koenig, Sep 3, 2006
  7. Unclaimed Mysteries

    JohnR66 Guest

    Photozone does detailed tests on the lenses
    Stopped down, the Nikkor 50/1.8 pegs the top of the chart, but the edge
    performance is not nearly up to par. Similar for the 1.4.
    The Canon 1.8 does not peg the top of the chart, but is still in the
    excellent range with better edge performance.
    JohnR66, Sep 3, 2006
  8. That's why you get the 85mm f/1.4D and 28mm f/1.4D to pick up the slack for
    the 50mm f/1.4D. The 50mm f/1.4 really isn't a bad lens and I like my

    =?iso-8859-1?Q?Rita_=C4_Berkowitz?=, Sep 3, 2006
  9. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Bill Guest

    No, Photozone does irregular tests with different people (no
    consistency), and they are often dissimilar and non-comparative. The
    tests should be done on the same basis for all similar lenses, and
    checked and confirmed by another party.

    How can you compare one 50mm lense to another in tests if charts and
    crucial information is missing from one test to the other?
    Where are the matching CA and vignetting information?

    The charts do not always match real world performance, so the source of
    the tests are suspect (I haven't used the Nikon 50 f/1.8, so I can't
    comment on its performance, but I'm sure it's quite good from what I've

    I'm not saying Photozone is intentionally fudging the tests, but there
    is often bias that needs to be mitigated and checked from another party.
    Too many times I've read through Photozone tests that do not reflect
    actual usage.

    Bill, Sep 3, 2006
  10. Unclaimed Mysteries

    bmoag Guest

    Nikon makes two lenses that are great price/performance values: the 50 f1.8
    and the 18-70 dSLR kit lens. It is an unwise Nikon dSLR user that does not
    take advantage of these stellar bargains.
    For low light shooting both the lens and the D70 are an issue.
    Although the f1.8 should let more light in when used with the D70 you are
    still looking through a dark, tiny image that is virtually impossible to
    manually focus in anything other than bright light and the autofocus system
    has issues at lower light levels as well depending on the subject.
    I may just pop for the D200 but if the D80 has the promised bigger and
    brighter viewfinder . . .
    bmoag, Sep 3, 2006
  11. Unclaimed Mysteries

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I got a 35/1.4 MF Nikkor on Ebay for around $150 a number of years
    ago. It will work and meter on the D200. The D80 needs AF lenses and
    the closest AF counterpart to the 35/1.4 is the 28/1.4 AF, which costs
    something like $1800--and you can get a whole D200 for that. There
    -is- a Sigma 30/1.4 AF DX in the $500 range, but its reviews haven't
    been that great. I donno why Nikon doesn't have something like this.
    Paul Rubin, Sep 4, 2006
  12. Unclaimed Mysteries

    jeremy Guest

    "Unclaimed Mysteries"

    I use Pentax, and the f/1.8 normal lens is sharper than the f/1.4.
    jeremy, Sep 4, 2006
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