AF-D or AF-S?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by arthur_gottschalk, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. I'm trying to decide between a 50mm F1.4 AF-D or AF-S lens for use on my F6. I'm perfectly happy with my older AF-D lenses, but now I'm wondering if the newer S versions might be better. It seems to have better AF, but I'm used to having an aperture ring even though I rarely shoot in manual mode. I value light weight, and the D lens is almost 2 oz lighter. And the S takes 58mm filters, while the D takes 52mm like my 24mm AF-D. Also, the S seems to have slightly more distortion (barrel and linear) even though this might hardly be noticeable. The S lens is somewhat more expensive. All in all, is the S lens a better choice?
  2. IMO, on an F6 you won't notice any difference between the two.

    The AF-S focuses faster and quieter, and optically is a bit sharper. I doubt you're using your F6 for anything that needs fast focusing(maybe you are?) and of course you can decide if the fairly quiet focusing small 50mm even in D form is quiet enough for you, or if it's worth paying for the AF-S to get slightly quieter. Optically, I doubt you will see the higher resolution on film, and most newer lenses pay less attention to distortion since on digital its easy to fix in post.

    As you said, the old Nikon rule of 52mm on almost everything possible is nice, since it saves you carrying a mess of filters and/or step rings.

    My only AF 50mm f/1.4 is the much-maligned non-D version with the thin knurled focusing ring. I've been happy enough with it to not feel it needed to be replaced, even with a D version.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Unless you prefer to use the aperture ring, I would get the AF-S.

    In case you have any future plan to get a Nikon Z mirrorless body, at least the current FTZ adapter can only auto focus with AF-S lenses. You can mount an AF/AF-D lens with screwdriver AF, but that lens becomes manual focus only on Z. Maybe in the future there will be an FTZ adapter to AF with AF-D lens, but even so, it won't be convenient to use.
  4. If you plan to use extention tubes or bellows, then the AF-D version is preferrable , you need an aperture ring, if not then the AF-S is quicker to focus, and more accurate on autofucus
  5. I find the barrels of some of the AF / AF D Nikkor primes to be too wobbly for my taste, my 50/1.4D was more stiff to focus (and noisier) in vertical than horizontal orientation, as the barrel leaned differently. I find in this respect the AF-S primes to be better built, with no barrel wobble.
  6. MM Never noticed any sign of "woblyness" on my 50mm F/1.4 ( no "D" or "S' , this one is from just before the "D" versions..), also no difference in speed or AF noise between portrait and landscape usage..
  7. I would take the AF-S version unless I can get the AF-D version that is made in Japan. All the AF-S I think made in China.
    I think the optical quality is about the same but the AF-S has larger focusing ring and you can hold it while shooting. Since you use the F6 there is no advantage of using the aperture ring in the AF-D version.
  8. That depends...
    If you plan to use it for macro utilizing either Bellows or extention rings, you need an aperture ring, otherwise there is no way to close the aperture before shooting...
  9. I use a Novoflex tilt/shift bellows which has an F-mount adapter that allows aperture control of G lenses.
    c.p.m._van_het_kaar likes this.
  10. Arthur, Own the AFS 1.4 and recommend it. Not fully convinced there is much difference in acuity or autofocus speed/accuracy. There are a number of objective and subjective reviews on both lenses. The most critical comments on the D version coming from Thom Hogan when comparing it with the AFS and even though he did not gush over either lens, he pointed out the flaws of the D version when shooting wide open that is the very reason to buy a 1.4. The AFS is larger and a little easier to hold IMHO and B&H sells a refurb for about the same price as the D version. If you are ever planning to upgrade to a Z system body then think seriously about the AFS. As a proud owner of a complete set of aging Nikon auto extension tubes and dual element filters it is fair to say that backward compatibility is more of a personal decision where as compatibility going forward into the eventuality of mirrorless is more of a necessity. I would recommend the AFS for that reason. Still have two F4s film bodies, action finder, data back and such and a now 30 year old underwater housing that was last used 16 years ago to photograph great white sharks but it was a couple of Brits on that trip with Fuji S2s who won me over to digital permanently. Sad to say have not looked back but looking at the price of film and processing not complaining. Like the machine gun sound of 9 frames a second that the f4s could never muster mirrorless has silenced that as well. Good hunting.
  11. I'm not sure if George Orwell would be proud, horrified, or both to see his prediction of Newspeak coming true.

    What was wrong with the phrase 'in future'? Surely everyone realises that time only goes forward?
    2Oceans and c.p.m._van_het_kaar like this.
  12. Everyone but Quantum physicists - CPT symmetry. :)
  13. Everyone , except mr.Spock... :cool:;)
    bgelfand likes this.
  14. Rodeo your probably right.
    bgelfand likes this.
  15. The AF-S is reportedly a bit sharper wide open, and you get circular out of focus highlights and silent focusing. It's compatible with all Nikon dSLRs, the later AF film SLRs that have command dials for aperture control, and the Z adapter (I'd be very surprised if there's ever a screwdriver AF Z adapter).

    However, the AF-D is smaller, has less distortion, and is compatible with all the film SLRs as well as the dSLRs with screwdriver AF (which excludes some low-end bodies). Out of focus highlights are circular wide open, but become heptagonal when you stop down a bit.

    Contrary to some of the suggestions above, comparative reviews report the AF-D focuses significantly faster:

    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G Review
    Nikon 50mm AF-S vs AF-D
    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor Review
    Focus speed testing - Nikon 50mm lenses (D vs G)
  16. The AFS lens is more future-tolerant, but if this is just for shooting film, I don’t think there’s a heck of a lot of difference. I have plenty of frames from the D lens on my D800 and my F100. On 36mp digital you can find its weaknesses, but on 35mm film it looks really good.
  17. Arthur, I use 50mm lenses quite often. I still keep many of them.
    IMHO both options are right.
    -The main advantage is that the AFD is noticeably smaller, sort of the 24/2.8 AFD you already have. Better if you like to go with a smaller package.
    -The AFD focus slightly faster, but although the AFS is slowish, in the (my) real life, I don't find it to be issue at all. When I want to shoot fast I just took a 2.8 zoom. I use 50mm lenses just to run lighter&smaller.
    -The AFS "is" an IF design (-just put a filter on it-). No moving barrels, no open gaps. With the hood, it is even more compact&protected (the hood on the AFD is that outdated design that punish the front (moving) barrel). Drawback; size and weight gets bigger.
    -There is not huge advantage on the focus rings, both are annoying for fine hand focusing, maybe the AFS has a slightly wider focus throw while the AFD a more positive grip. Again, not an issue at all, I rarely focus manually.
    -Both focus up to the same distance, not too close. I always miss a shorter lens to focus closer.
    -Both have that plastic feeling, although on different designs. I prefer the AFS, looks nicer, maybe.
    -Image sharpness and bokeh are almost the same, splitting hairs better on the AFS. Not enough to make a choice in this respect.
    So, given that the F6 is AFS technology, if I were buying again, my choice would be the 50/1.4 AFS G. Since then, my AFD versions get unused inside the closet.
    If you want to save money, the 50/1.8AFD is a cheap, supersharp option. I used it a lot up to the advent of the AFS version, despite its ugly bokeh.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 3:38 AM
  18. Correct me if i am wrong her..:
    If i understand the OP's question well, the OP allready has an AF-D 50mm f/1.4, and is questioning wether he should replace it by the AF-S version.

    I think, comparing and reading all of the above that it is not worth it, and i would keep on using the AF-D version..
  19. How do you like the F6?
  20. Love the F6. Many great features, but many of them are rather complicated and I doubt that I'll ever use them. No, I don't have a 50mm lens at this point. But I do like the compact specs of the AF-D. What's more, I see nothing "digital" in my future. I'm an old film dog with few if any new tricks. Thanks for all the tests and reviews. I'll read through them but at this point I'm leaning toward the AF-D.....

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