Nikon 50/1.4 AF-S Owners: No VR a problem for you?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by aldrich, May 17, 2009.

  1. Hi all,
    I ordered my 50/1.4 AF-S, and it should arrive by the end of the week. The only thing I don't like from what I've read is that it doesn't have VR.
    If you own this lens, has the lack of VR become a problem for you? I know the point of a 1.4 or 1.8 is for fast enough shutter speeds to not need VR (plus the creativity factor, which is why I'm getting it), but I'm just seeing what people think. Also, any other input on what to expect from the lens would be helpful. It will be used on a D60 and D90. Thanks!
  2. Ryan
    I have both lenses with VR & without. This is a lens which does not need VR. I would find VR distracting on it.
    Lil :)
  3. I agree with Lil completely.
  4. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    This is the only lens I have without VR and I do not have any problem.
  5. Wouldn't it depend on HOW you were using it and for what? If you can use a tripod, no problem. If you can shoot above 1/125 sec., no problem. If you are trying to shoot 1/15 sec. handheld, might be a problem! When I eventually get around to buying a D700, I will likely buy either the Nikon or the Sigma 50mm f1.4. I'll mainly only use it when my f2.8 zoom isn't fast enough though. For me, it's a special purpose low light lens only, period.
    Kent in SD
  6. It's neither slow (in fact it's very fast) nor have a long FL. The lack of VR shouldn't be a problem.
  7. there is no f/1.4 lens made which currently has VR.
  8. Not a problem for me either. With f/1.4, don't you guys think the lens is bright enough to afford a faster shutter. Also, if they did offer a VR version side-by-side with this I would still choose this lens. It's as compact as it can get and still have excellent optics. Having a VR version, in my opinion would greatly increase the overall size and be unattractively bulky for a single 50mm prime.
    On a side note, was there a discussion already on why this lens didn't receive a "gold ring" for the performance and price? Is it because it's made in China and not Japan? Just wondering.
  9. Although I have VR lenses I don`t find it of great use... most of the times motion at lower speeds, even at the limit when VR is interesting, gives slightly unsharp images that is a nuisance to me. IMHO the 50AFS is as good as it is, the VR feature would make it even bigger and heavier.

    "what to expect from the lens... " well, this are my impressions:

    Very slow AF operation feel, although very accurate. Looks like Nikon decided to offer accurate focus over fast focus. It works.

    Softness at wider apertures. To get supersharp photos you must be at the f5.6-8 aperture. At f2.8, it`s great for sharp, shallow DoF images with nice bokeh.

    It has a different, perhaps odd "signature" to my liking. I`m trying to know why all the pics taken with the 24-70 looks absolutely sharp all the time under all conditions and those from this lens sometimes looks... well I`m on it. Shoot at f5.6-8.Don`t know if it`s the color rendering, focus shift or anything inside my brain.

    You know that NX2 has a CA correction feature (enabled by default, I think). It makes wonders with this lens. I found very interesting to check how it works.

    If you have "ordinary" 62mm filters, they will work perfectly with a 55 to 62 adapter. The hood can be removed with. With 72mm filters don`t.

    I`m now so happy with this lens, my other 50s are currently on the shelf, and is probably my most used lens.
  10. "Shoot at f5.6-8"
    hmm, not what i would buy a 1.4 lens for. how is it from wide open to 2.8?
  11. I think it's a good thing that they didn't make it bigger, more susceptible to flare and ghosting, and more expensive by introducing superfluous features like VR. The 50mm f/1.4 AF-S is unusual in that it can be used safely wide open without questions about focusing accuracy or sharpness in real world situations. A great available light people photography lens as well as a general purpose lens. It seems to have some distortion at close distances which is unfortunate (the 50mm f/1.8 doesn't), but then I suppose I could use my 60mm micro for those shots.
  12. To Eric: wide open this lens is soft. Of course it is usable, but don`t expect higher resolution at f1.4 than e.g. a 50/1.8AFD at f1.8. Personally, to have a sensation of sharpness (subjective affirmation, I know) I must close it up to f2.8 (there is not a precise point, but I have my camera set to whole apetures and this is the one I use for "minimum sharpness" requirements).
    Anyway, for many reasons I prefer this lens over other options.
  13. Thanks so far everyone.
    Jose: Isn't it a 58mm filter thread? This will be my first of that thread size so I just purchased 3 or 4 filters for it. Re: Filter steps: I gave up on that. I have 52, 62, 67 and now 58mm's just as expensive to buy four separate step-ups. Also, I plan on mostly leaving the hood at home. The only lens I use the hood on is the 70-300 VR.
    I agree with those who are questioning the use of the lens at 5.6 - 8. I'm sure I will use it plenty at all apertures, but I'm paying for it because currently my fastest lens is the 18-55 VR kit lens, at 18mm only, at f/3.5. I'm not counting my 50/1.8 AI, because I can't manually focus the dang thing unless I'm shooting a sleeping sloth. It was either this or the 35/1.8 AF-S, but I promised myself I would never buy another DX lens, since they are not worth it on FX or film.
  14. To Jose " wide open this lens is soft." Mine isn't - I have tested identical shots at f1.4, 2.8 and 5.6 and they all look pretty much the same to me (bokeh aside). I have not done any brick wall tests.
    This lens will allow you to shoot subjects with movement at lower ISOs than you could with most other lenses. For stationery subjects in very, very low light, a tripod willl do the job. While VR is effective and would be for extremly low light shooting of stationery sujbect matter, personally I prefer a tripod (when it is possible to use one) even if I have a VR lens.
  15. Photographers shot for more than 100 years without VR. How did they do it?
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have used the 50mm/f1.4 AF-S for a little while. At least for me, this is a lens for available-light hand held type shots, so you don't exactly look for absolutely sharpness anyway. f1.4 lets you use a resonable shutter speed to stop motion under dim light. VR is pretty much useless since your bigger concern is subject movement.
    The problem is that f1.4 gives you very shallow depth of field; slightly off focus it becomes blurry in a hurry. The one I used looks quite sharp at f1.4 hand held. I wouldn't even bother to put it on a tripod and test for sharpness at f1.4 as that shouldn't be a typical usage for this lens. I have brought it down to f4 to f8 on a tripod and I use that set up to compare sharpness between a D3X and a D700. Sharpness is certainly excellent a few stops down from maximum.
  17. Ryan, I`m sorry, you`re right; it`s 58mm. I had on mind 55mm because it was the only odd closer size I found on my photo gadget box... I didn`t have anything on 58mm too. I bought a cheap Kenko step-up ring.

    I don`t want to mean that this lens is unusable wide open, of course it can be used at any aperture and wide open is good enough for my needs, but to the question "what to expect... " I remind myself being dissapointed because I was expecting for something closer to the latest Summilux-M... I know I was nuts. Now I have touch down again and I`m enjoying the lens, which I like a lot.
  18. To Elliot: I have found the first and only "brick wall test" I did with this lens: the reason of this test was my surprise while checking focus accuracy, just received the lens. Wide open it reminded me older versions softness, and I run to perform this fast dirty test to check what was happening. Check it by yourself.
    On real life shooting, this is not even a nuisance. As mentioned, shallow DoF makes focused areas to pop, and masking tools makes the rest. Bokeh is also better, making things easier. I have many 50s, and I prefer this version over the previous ones.
  19. To made this test I needed to equalize exposures... the pics has been taken at different shutter speeds with fixed apertures (the first one could be very very slightly underexposed). RAW converted to TIFF in NX2 and then to JPEG in Ps.
    Here it should be the pic:
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jose, how much of the entire frame are you showing and how far were you shooting from those film boxes? As the way it is, it appears like you were shooting macro with the 50mm/f1.4.
  21. In response to the original question.

    No it doesn't bother me. I chose the Nikon 50 f/1.4 AFS over the Sigma because of its more compact size. VR would probably make it quite a bit bigger. I also don't think that VR is really needed at this focal length.

    However, the 85 f/1.4 could probably use an upgrade w/ AFS, and at that focal length I might find VR handy. Same with the 180 f/2.8.
    Unfortunately, it seems that the direction that the market is going is zoom, zoom, and more zoom-zoom, with a couple of exceptions. Personally I like primes and would prefer to see upgrades of some of the older lenses, but then again I'm not the typical consumer.
  22. You won't be disapointed with this lens. It is fast, sharp, and on my camera 90% of the time. I only get blur at e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y slow shutter speeds.
    Enjoy your new lens!
  23. I missed to include some info here... it is a 100% crop.
    Shooting distance was aproximately 2,5 to 3,00 meters, the film box was taped to a glass door. Diffuse daylight, cannot remember if mixed with a tungsten bulb. Camera on a 1325? CF from Gitzo with a really huge head.
    I took a lot of pics, I repeated the test several times to get the same exposure on all the pics... if was a bit long because both lenses gave different densities at the same settings. I set the camera to aperture priority, and shot at different shutter speeds. I used the histogram on the camera. I selected the pics with closer densities.
    The box was placed in front of the central AF sensor, although I focused using Live View mode. Delayed shutter activation.
    The 50/1.4AFS was just arrived, the 50/1.8AFD was my very old one, heavily clapped-out.
    I cropped the shown areas in NX2 from the NEFs, converting them to TIFFs without any kind of post processing. The camera was on "normal" picture setting, I think. On Ps I cutted and pasted the four TIFFs, adding titles and unifying this four shots on one, 8bit JPEG.
    I wish I`d have better lights but it was just a dirty fast text. On the measuring tape, checking focus accuracy, the lens seemed to me softer than expected.
    Once I started to use the lens in real life, I never was bothered again about this issues.
    Out of curiosity, I wish I`ll have enough free time to compare this lens to the 24-70 soon.
  24. When shooting FX, I enjoy the fast aperture and the lack of VR so the lens can be smaller and lighter. When I use it on DX, VR might be nice, but I work around those issues with either a tripod, shallower DOF or an increase in ISO. I don't agree about the comments of slow AF. You'll love this lens as soon as you get it!
  25. That the problem with DX. A 50 becomes a 75, which is getting close to being good for portraits. But 50s were not designed with really good bokeh for that purpose. Get an 85 or 105 for that.
    I've never bought a vr lens as most of mine are primes and 2.8 or faster.
  26. VR? only when I take pictures when I am on a treadmill or an elliptical machine.
    My 50 1.4 is one of the sharest lenses I have and many would agree. Great lens choice for DSLR, you will use it a lot.
    There is not much magnification so you are not enlarging any shake. I call it air to ground speed. Thats why most telephoto's are equiped with VR. I am sure it helps.
  27. Usually I think VR is only needed on longer or slower lenses. I own the 1.4D and the need has nevered entered my mind.
  28. As per laws of optics, normal and wide lenses don't need VR.
  29. VR would be pointless on this lens. It's one of the smallest and lightest lenses in the Nikon line-up. You can get sharp pictures holding it one-handed.
    VR is intended for slow, long or heavy lenses. Definitely not required in small primes. And by the time you added VR electronics and sliding lens assembly and gyroscopes the lens would end up weighing more and being heavier... thus cancelling out the benefit.
  30. There are so many Nikon Lenses without VR, AFS50mm certainly no needs, 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 85mm f1.4 has no VR, however they are great lenses!
  31. Hi again everyone,
    Thanks for all the input. I have received the lens and did a portrait shoot with it yesterday. I'm off to work, but I'll upload some shots later today possibly. Overall, I'm pleased. The problem I'm having is getting the right area to autofocus. That's the camera though, the D60's 3 AF points are terrible at best, although I must say, I can't remember having as much trouble as I did yesterday with other lenses. I found myself using f/2.8 most of the time, and f/5.6 on any shots where there was intentional movement. Absolutely tack sharp at f/4 and f/5.6. It's a learning process.
    Thanks again everyone!
  32. Congratulations, Ryan. It's a really great lens and a good investment in the future when you decide to move up to a full frame sensor as well.
  33. Excellent lens. I had to stop this shot to 2.8 to cover DOF due to kitten movement. Slight sharpening, thats it :)
    Thanks again everyone.

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