Nikkor 50mm f1.2 vs. Voigtlander 58mm f1.4

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tony_kukulich, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Can anyone comment on how these two lenses compare to one another? I've been very interested in the Nikkor, but have read very good things about the Voigtlander too. From what I've seen, many similar phrases appear in reviews of both lenses, though I've not been able to find a direct comparison of these two particular lenses. I'm looking for a fast lens for concert and portrait work. Thanks very much for your help.
     
  2. The Voigtlander is sharper. I like the 50 mm f1.8 Nikon, have used it for a lot of photos that will be in an upcoming book. On a Nikon D2x, it is a great performer. It is better in the center of the frame, so on DX it works very well. I recently bought a Canon 5DII, which uses a larger sensor. On this camera the Voigtlander is a better performer across the frame. It certainly exceeds the resolution of the 21 mp sensor. I normally shoot at f5.6 with it using large studio flashes; I'll leave it to others to comment how it performs wide open using available light. Keep in mind that focus at those apertures and light levels can be difficult using a manual focus lens and a moving subject. For this reason the autofocus of the 50 mm might give better results in the real world, even though it's maximum potential sharpness is lower.
     
  3. My apologies. I was interrupted in my post by an important phone call, didn't get to comment on the f1.2 Nikon 50, and some other fast lenses in this focal length. Now I have to bolt out the door. Again, my apologies for this, I will have to repost later.
     
  4. I think the 58mm f1.4 Voigtlander is more uniform across the frame, is sharper, and more contrasty. But the 50mm f1.2 Nikkor has a nicer bokeh. I not only don't use them for the same sort of shots, I don't even use them on the same camera.
    • The 58mm f1.4 is great on a DX camera. It's an 85mm f2.1 equivalent that's got (at least in my opinion) a nicer image character than the 85mm f.18 does on full frame.
    • The 50mm f1.2 is a wonderful lens on a full frame camera, a "normal" with a sort of "dreamy" wide open character instead of the Zeiss look (clinical, and horrible bokeh) of the 50mm f1.4.
    • The 58mm f1.4 on FF and the 50mm f1.2 on DX (75mm f1.8 equivalent) both strike me as "annoying". They're in that region I call the "universal hole", the gap between 50mm and 85mm that has been avoided by camera makers for decades. Too long to be a good normal, too short to be a good tele, they're "sporks", not a good spoon, not a good fork.
     
  5. Tony,
    I have both lenses but the 58mm is the last addition in my kit and I had no chance to extensively test it.
    As a first impression, both have an excellent build quality... it is a real pleasure to work with either one.
    Nikon 50/1.2 is an older design... it's the oldest Nikon lens that's still produced and this says something about it's quality (30 yrs...). I shoot a lot indoor events in available light, sometime very poor light, and 50/1.2 is a great performer in such as situation. I used it wide open in few situations... is performing quite well but the DOF is VERY narrow, unbelievable narrow, so it's hard to get in focus. In general I use it at f2 and sometimes at f2.8. Sharp, crisp images, full of color, nice bokeh, creamy background... If I have to compare, the image quality is similar with that from 85/1.4 AFD. I used in the past the Nikon 50/1.4G and is far lower that 50/1.2 in every aspect, from BQ to IQ. I mention that I used these lenses on D700.
    You'll not go wrong with any of the two lenses... maybe I am biased by my longer experience with 50/1.2 but I guess it is a little bit superior to 58/1.4. I shall see...
    Finally, for concert and portrait work, Nikon 85/1.4 AFD is a good lens too, and the AF sometimes helps...but is also more expensive.
     
  6. Oh, and my comments do refer to large apertures, f1.2-4, in available light situations.
    In studio conditions, with "strobe" apertures like f5.6, 8, or 11, it's pretty hard to tell the difference between a 50mm 1.2, 1.4, or 1.8, a Voigtlanger 58mm f1.4, and a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8. So I tend to go for the latter.
     
  7. Joseph,
    Why f1.4 translates for you in f2.1 on a DX camera? And f1.2 in an f1.8?
     
  8. I've tested both side by side on Panasonic G1 and have used 50/1.2 on D2H. I have to say that 50/1.2 is a very unforgiving lens. It is awfully difficult to nail the focus wide open, even with the excellent EVF on G1. My relationship with 50/1.2 is love and hate one. :) I think 58/1.4 is much easier to use.
    I've found one of the reasons for the unforgivingness of 50/1.2 is its short focus throw. It does contribute to faster and snappier focusing, but fine adjustment is more tricky. Same thing can be said even for 50/1.8. Recently I replaced Ai-s 50/1.8 with Ai 50/1.8 which has longer focus throw (has a "10m" marking on the focus ring) and is very comfortable to focus.
    According to Roland Vink's website, there were a few Ai version of 50/1.2. Focusing shoud be easier on this elusive one.
    As for the image quality of both lenses wide open, 58/1.4 was slightly more contrasty, but the image rendered by 50/1.2 has a little more perspective and was a little more appealing to me. The smoothly rounded aperture of 58/1.4 in f2.0-2.8 range is preferable, though.
    To make it short, it's a very difficult shoice. :)
     
  9. I have the Nikon 58 f/1.4 and the 50 f/1.2
    To me there is enough difference in focal length to make it apples to oranges. I use them on DX and FX cameras. Both of them have a look all there own.
    The 58 being a VERY old design has a much different look to the images then the 50. Both of them can be tough to nail the focus.
    I have the Voigtlander 20 mm f/3.5 so I have a good idea of there build quality. If it where me and I did not already have a 58 and the 50 f/1.2 I would get them both.
     
  10. I have the Nikon 58 f/1.4 and the 50 f/1.2
    To me there is enough difference in focal length to make it apples to oranges. I use them on DX and FX cameras. Both of them have a look all there own.
    The 58 being a VERY old design has a much different look to the images then the 50. Both of them can be tough to nail the focus.
    I have the Voigtlander 20 mm f/3.5 so I have a good idea of there build quality. If it where me and I did not already have a 58 and the 50 f/1.2 I would get them both.
     
  11. Thanks to all for the feedback!
     

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