AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4G VS AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by javier_gutierrez|1, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Greetings folks. Currently I have the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G. I use it as my street lens on my D750. Up until I have started to use my Sigmas at F/1.4 on DX bodies, (DX Versions)A few weeks back, I never thought I would see a reason to get the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4G. My question is simply this. How does it perform compared to the very good AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.8G? I am sure there are folks who have both here. I shoot the 1.8 version wide open all the time and it is sharp as a tack. Would it be reasnable to think I would get decent photos from the F/1.4 version as well?
     
  2. I have been happy with the 1.4G. I cannot compare it to the 1.8G but I have no problem with sharpenss at wide apertures. These two lenses have been compared extensively. I think the big question is whether you want f/1.4 or happy enough with f/1.8. I mainly use the 50mm f/1.4G for people photos and like to use it wide open. Focus speed is not especially fast but accuracy is good.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I happen to have both versions but also haven't compared them much. IMO if you already have the f1.8, in most cases the f1.4 is unnecessary. Both lenses are about the same size, but the f1.4 is noticeably heavier, although it is still not a heavy lens (unlike the Sigma Art lenses, which are quite heavy for their sizes due to a lot of metal parts).
     
  4. I've always seen the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkors as compromised - good, but still not perfect, and quite expensive for what they are. (The AF-D is plain soft away from the centre at wider apertures, which is okay if you like the blurry look and really not if you don't; the AF-S is sharper but much pricier.) The 50mm f/1.8 AF-S is certainly also compromised, but the reduced cost and weight made it more tempting to me.

    On a DX body, I've always recommended the (older) 50mm f/1.4 HSM Sigma over anything else. Within the DX frame, it's really very good, and I believe the bokeh behaves better than the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S. Unfortunately, on FX, the corners are pretty ugly - which always put me off buying one (though I've borrowed one in the past). I wouldn't really see the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S as an upgrade over the HSM Sigma on DX.

    On a D750, I'd say the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S has a slight advantage in the corners of the frame, at the cost of not being quite as good near the middle compared with the Sigma. It also has, I believe, slightly iffy bokeh and quite a lot of LoCA. It's never seemed worth the trade-off to me, but you may disagree.

    I now have the 50mm f/1.4 Art Sigma lens. It's exceptional, but also twice the price (and weight) of its predecessor. DxO comparison here (on a D810, so you can see what I mean about the corners). For a D750, I'd save up for the newer Sigma (or an Otus) and skip the f/1.4 Nikkor, if you already have the f/1.8. But YMMV - I've never been all that fond of 50mm lenses anyway. (Though somehow I ended up owning five...)
     
  5. I don't have a pony in this race, but Photozone.de is almost always a fair, and objective, place for comparisons of these sorts of lenses.
    For the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G see
    http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/413-nikkor_50_14g
    the f/1.8 at
    http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/631-nikkorafs5018ff
    You can compare the charts, etc.
     
  6. Just for simplicity, a correction: JDM's 50mm f/1.4 review link was for the D200, making it a bit hard to compare. Here are Photozone's D3x analysis pages (which should be a good match for the D750) for:

    The 50mm f/1.8 AF-S Nikkor
    The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S Nikkor
    The 50mm f/1.4 Art Sigma
    The 50mm f/1.4 HSM Sigma

    For what it's worth, I see a larger difference between the "Art" Sigma and the 50mm f/1.8 (the two of these that I own) than Photozone would suggest - my subjective opinion agrees with DxOMark's that the "Art" Sigma is substantially ahead at wide apertures, although it seems it's not quite up to Otus standards at f/1.4.
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The only Sigma Art lens I have is the 35mm/f1.4, which is an excellent lens, especially stopped down a bit to f4 or so. Personally, I don't pay much attention to how well a lens performs at f1.4 or even f1.8. At such wide apertures, your depth of field is very shallow. At least I see little point to worry about how sharp it is, etc., since if you move over a tiny bit, it will not be entirely in focus anyway. However, I am well aware that not everybody feels that way.
    Therefore, unless you have very specific needs, I think Nikon's 50mm/f1.8 AF-S is a perfectly fine lens at a reasonable price.
     
  8. I mainly use the 50mm f/1.4G for people photos and like to use it wide open. Focus speed is not especially fast but accuracy is good.​
    Thanks Chip. This seems to be the consensus. This is exactly what I plan to use it for. I have discovered late evening shooting where Low light performance is crucial. I am super happy with Nikons Performance. It amazes me that they still focus almost in NO light situations. So the larger apertures are very much needed.
     
  9. (unlike the Sigma Art lenses, which are quite heavy for their sizes due to a lot of metal parts)​
    Thanks Shun. I own 2 Sigma Art lenses. The 30F/1.4 DX and the 35F/1.4 FX. Both are killer sharp wide open and amazing all around. But yes, they are heavy and the weight does matter to me as I am an old bird with a bad surgically repaired knee. My walks average 3-5 miles and the weight becomes an issue during the last couple of miles. But wow are they good.
     
  10. Thank you for the very thought out response Andrew. Truly I appreciate it very much!
    (The AF-D is plain soft away from the centre at wider apertures, which is okay if you like the blurry look and really not if you don't; the AF-S is sharper but much pricier.)​
    I do have the AF-D version and it is good, but in my opinion, not close the the 50F/1.8-s in terms of contrast and sharpness. But it does seem to focus faster. But the 50F/1.8-s gives me more keepers.
    I now have the 50mm f/1.4 Art Sigma lens. It's exceptional, but also twice the price (and weight) of its predecessor. DxO comparison here (on a D810, so you can see what I mean about the corners). For a D750, I'd save up for the newer Sigma (or an Otus) and skip the f/1.4 Nikkor, if you already have the f/1.8.​
    Tempting, but the weight as I said earlier does matter to me. What is an Otus?
    I've never been all that fond of 50mm lenses anyway. (Though somehow I ended up owning five...)​
    LOL...If this is not the truth!!!!
     
  11. Just for simplicity, a correction: JDM's 50mm f/1.4 review link was for the D200, making it a bit hard to compare. Here are Photozone's D3x analysis pages (which should be a good match for the D750) for:

    The 50mm f/1.8 AF-S Nikkor
    The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S Nikkor
    The 50mm f/1.4 Art Sigma
    The 50mm f/1.4 HSM Sigma

    For what it's worth, I see a larger difference between the "Art" Sigma and the 50mm f/1.8 (the two of these that I own) than Photozone would suggest - my subjective opinion agrees with DxOMark's that the "Art" Sigma is substantially ahead at wide apertures, although it seems it's not quite up to Otus standards at f/1.4.​
    Wow Andrew. Thank you again. Perhaps that Sigma is the way to go and put up with the weight, or better yet, for me to continue to loose weight.
    I did notice that the test were done on old bodies and these new sensors are much more demanding. Thanks for the update.
     
  12. Personally, I don't pay much attention to how well a lens performs at f1.4 or even f1.8. At such wide apertures, your depth of field is very shallow. At least I see little point to worry about how sharp it is, etc., since if you move over a tiny bit, it will not be entirely in focus anyway. However, I am well aware that not everybody feels that way.​
    Thanks Hin. I agree about the no room for error at F/1.4 or even F/1.8. But since I am usually back about 10-15 Feet or so, that is usually less of an issue for me. Since my subjects are big, that too gives me more wiggle room. I also have started to shoot with faster shutter speeds 1/1000-1/2000 and use only the release in focus mode. It hits pretty good most often. Especially the D500 and D750 with the group focus.
     
  13. Ah - sorry, Javier, I may have misunderstood which Sigmas you already own (unless you have a 50mm HSM as well!) The 50mm Art is appreciably bigger and heavier than the 35mm, although I find it somewhat easier to focus. I struggle with both to get perfect focus at f/1.4 using conventional autofocus, though - despite using the dock on them. If I'm shooting at a wide aperture, I tend to give up and use live view. The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S is bigger than the 1.8, but it should be less painful than these.

    For what it's worth, my 50mm collection includes (most recently) a 50mm f/1.8 E-series. Manual focus, optics only as good as the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, but featherweight and nearly as small as the camera grip. And a fraction of the cost of the official "pancake" 45mm, obviously. If you're after a light 50mm... (The 50mm f/1.8 AF-D is still much smaller and lighter than the AF-S version, which is why I still have both.)

    I'd always assumed the weight of the Sigma was because it was solid glass. The diagram on Sigma's site does show that quite a lot of it is solid. The Nikkors have relatively little glass buried in the middle of the lens - although the f/1.4 isn't as ridiculous as the f/1.8, which appears only to have about a third of its barrel width dedicated to optics.
     
  14. I did notice that the test were done on old bodies and these new sensors are much more demanding​
    The test on the D200 was both lower resolution and also DX. The ones with the D3x are full-frame 24MP, and should be very close to what the D750 produces. The DxOMark tests let you configure the camera you want to test on - although Photozone has the advantage of showing things like bokeh and LoCA directly.
    Tempting, but the weight as I said earlier does matter to me. What is an Otus?​
    Even heavier. :) On this occasion, I was referring to the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4. Manual focus, ridiculously expensive, big and heavy - but also the best optics of any fast normal lens out there, by most measures. It sounds like you're even less in the market for one than I am!

    Anyway, best of luck - and glad to have helped (or at least tried!)
     
  15. Andrew, careful not to assume heavier = more quality. I recall Shun's anecdote about the use of lead weights in phone handsets to imply high quality. I do agree the Sigma lens diagram shows more glass compared with the Nikkor though. I don't care so much about weight with my lenses (my reptile brain likes the feeling of a heavy lens) but I do care about bulk. The Nikkor 50mm 1.4G is nice and compact (the D version is even smaller) and I often use it without the hood when I am trying to keep my kit as small as possible. The lens barrel provides a decent amount of front element protection sans hood.
     
  16. I never saw anything from the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lenses to convince me to spend any extra over the 50mm f/1.8G; the Sigma's may test better and objectively perform to a higher standard, but there is something about their rendering that doesn't work for me.
    The f/1.8G is not my favourite 50mm, but given your uses I won't get started on the manual focus goodies. For AF lenses, in my view, it's pretty hard to beat the 50mm f/1.8G. The only AF lens I'd probably want over it would be the 58mm f/1.4G (no, it doesn't test as well in formal tests, but its rendering is much more pleasing to me than those 'better' lenses) and that's a pretty hefty price-tag.
     
  17. i have the older Sigma 50/1.4 HSM, which has been replaced by the Art lens. it's very sharp in the center and does produce great bokeh. but unless you're a bokeh fanatic, i wouldnt swap the Nikon 1.8G for it. i also dont think the Nikon 1.4 is worth switching for. if you're a fanatic about 50mm, the clear choices are the Sigma Art or the Otus. But the Nikon 50/1.8G appears to be "good enough." ive always been curious about the Voigtlander 58/1.4; the Nikon version seems a bit overpriced for what it does.
     
  18. Andrew, careful not to assume heavier = more quality.​
    Don't worry, I don't! Especially in a 50mm - I'd appreciate smaller and lighter, believe me, although I do appreciate that the bulk of the 200mm f/2 offers some VR beyond the electronic version. Nikon did just make their superteles lighter in the latest versions, after all. I do remember thinking that the 135 f/2 DC is remarkably heavy, but it never really worked for me. Obviously it's important to Nikon that cheaper lenses are light, because shipping becomes an issue in the cost, but I weight far too much myself to find the weight of camera kit to make much difference either way.
    I recall Shun's anecdote about the use of lead weights in phone handsets to imply high quality.​
    As a Samsung employee (disclaimer: personal opinion and all that), I feel I have to weigh in, as it were. That may have been true of corded phones; for a mobile, people generally seem to prefer added lightness (Lotus-style), so I doubt anyone would deliberately add weight to a cell phone unless it was part of making the case feel more premium (with metal or glass). It's true that people found what appered to be metal weights in Beats headphones, which may have been there to make them feel more substantial - but to be fair, they may also have been to balance them and stop the band pulling them off the head (a problem I have with my Monster headphones). I'd be a bit surprised if camera manufacturers were weighting things down artificially.
     
  19. Many of the cheap premium "give-away" plastic cameras shaped to suggest more expensive cameras (e.g., Link), did use weights to "stabilize" the camera. :)
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    But the Nikon 50/1.8G appears to be "good enough."​
    I think the 50mm/f1.8 AF-S is more than merely "good enough." It is a very good, modern lens, but it is certainly not among the very best. For example, when I used the Sigma 35mm/f1.4 Art, I was really impressed and bought one when Amazon had a brief $200 discount for it during the holiday season a couple of years ago, even though I don't really need that lens. The 50mm/f1.8 doesn't fall into that category.
    You may spend 5, 10,or 20 times as much money to get a state-of-the-art 50mm lens, which could be a bit better, but IMO it is not always easy to tell the difference in real-life images. And at least I don't buy lenses in order to shoot test charts. Therefore, I don't particularly care about any test-chart results.
     
  21. JDM - I stand corrected, but not entirely apologetic about it. :) To be fair, I believe the F5 has a counterbalance on its mirror mechanism to reduce vibration - but I doubt it makes much difference to the weight of the camera! I actually quite like a fairly solid camera body, but only when I'm shooting - less when I'm trying to carry it up a hill.
     
  22. Incidentally, since I've just come across the review, Thom Hogan claimed that the 50mm f/1.8 AF-S is slightly behind the f/1.4 in the f/2-f/5.6 range, particularly off-centre for FX, so the f/1.4 is a bit better on a D750. He also says it's focal distance-dependent. But he also says there's not much in it. I'd stand by the Sigma recommendation if you can cope with the weight. (There's also the Zeiss Milvus, but that seems to be a little behind the Sigma optically, depending on how you like your rendering, and it's nearly as big as the Otus.)
     
  23. Folks,
    Thanks a bunch for all the wonderful advice and dialogue. I have learned allot. I did decide to just stick with what I have. It really does not make much sense, especially since high ISO is so good these days. I am happy with how it does wide open at F/1.8.
    If in the end, I do decide to get a 50, I will go with the Sigma, weight and all.
    Thanks again.
    Javier
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, by the time you indeed want to get another 50mm lens, maybe there will be yet another version of the Zeiss that costs $20,000 and takes 95mm filters. :)
     

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