Nikon 50mm f1.4G AFS announced

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by james_symington|1, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. About time...

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092201nikkor_50mm_1_4glens.asp
     
  2. Yeap!
    http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/jpn/whatsnew/2008/0922_afs50_01.htm

    Now we need an AF-S 85 f1.4G
     
  3. By the way, in Japan it has the same retail price as the Sigma 63,000 Yen but it seems the stores are giving a better price
    for the Nikon 53.500 Yen than for the Sigma 56.700 Yen. I think that is strange.
     
  4. What's more it's not just a repackaged version of the screwdriver version; there's an extra lens element. Filter size is up from 52 to 58 mm too.

    Nikon UK say it's an IF design while dpreview say all lens elements move during focusing - odd.
     
  5. The issue here is its performance wide open. With eight elements and a modern design it could be on pair with the very best 50s, we will see (I`m thinking on the Summicron-M asph....).
     
  6. > "Nikon UK say it's an IF design ..."

    No mention of IF at Nikon Global, which would indicate to me it is NOT an IF design (which make little to no sense for a small normal prime anyway).

    http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/lens/af/normal/af-s_50mmf_14g/index.htm
     
  7. Direct quote from Nikon Global product page:
    "Although all lens groups shift during focusing, the lens barrel length does not change"
    So it's not an IF design, although I guess you could say focusing takes place "internally". :)
     
  8. Hmmmm....58mm filter size.


    One wonders why the 45mm f2.8 P Nikkor size could not be 'enlarged' a bit for the AF-S 50mm f1.4 lens design? Perhaps larger makes the price feel better?
     
  9. Looks good. It'll be interesting t see some test reports. The current 50/1.4 is a very fine lens, and if this AFS 50 is even better, wow!
     
  10. This I am sure is a dumb question, but what does the "G" refer to.
    Also I have the Sigma 30mm 1.4 HSM that I keep on my D40 almost all of the time, would this be a good addition to have as a prime or would moving up to an 85MM be better. I will be putting these to use on a D90, soon I hope.

    Thanks,
    Phil B
    Benton, KY
     
  11. Phil.... G is the designation that Nikon uses for lenses without an aperture ring!

    I noticed that neither sites mention any ED glass. I was also expecting on Nikon new lenses some Nano coating glass but
    this one seems not to have any. Is there a reason why they wouldn't use Nano coating for a prime?

    Looks like a nice Xmas present anyway! :) Rene'
     
  12. What this means to some of us: I was planning to upgrade from my D40 (my learning model). I was thinking D80 all the way -- even when the D90 came out, and the only reason for going that way would be the autofocusing capability with fast prime lenses. This new lens means I can go D60 instead -- keeping the compact feel I like so much about my D40.

    Will
     
  13. According to Nikon, nano coating cannot be used in the consumer lens manufacturing process. Apparently the 'bots
    are a little rough in the assembly and the new coating isn't durable enough for this. Or this is what I gathered
    from an interview I read.

    If the new 50 were partly assembled by hand, then I would expect a significant price increase. The 50s aren't
    that prone to ghosting so benefits would be small. The same may be true of the ED glass; at least the 50/1.8 has
    incredible detail from f/2.5 to smaller apertures, little color fringing and has no ED glass. While some benefit
    would result at wide apertures from adding ED to the 50/1.4, the result might not conform to the price that
    Nikon thinks a mass market 50 can be expected to sell
    for.

    Anyway, I am not sure I need this. I would be happy to see a 28 and a 35 with AF-S and improved optics. My 50s
    are great as they are.
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    At least to me, the good news is that this is merely the first indication of more AF-S primes below 100mm will be added. I would assume that it'll spread to a 85mm and perhaps 35 and 24mm AF-S lenses. It is priced to much higher than the AF-D version of the 50mm/f1.4, at least initially, but it is indeed odd that it seems to be cheaper than the Sigma. In other words, the price for the Sigma has to drop. Compare other 50mm/f1.4 prices at B&H:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=search&A=search&Q=&ci=0&sb=ps&sq=desc&sortDrop=Relevance&ac=&bsi=&bhs=t&shs=Nikon+50mm+f1.4&ci=8456&basicSubmit=Submit+Query

    I find the 58mm filter size very odd (not odd for Canon but odd for Nikon).
     
  15. Great! I hope this will also bring the price of the Sigma 50 1.4 down. It will be interesting to see the comparison. Hopefully this will mean more AFS primes to come soon!
     
  16. This is by definition an IF lens. The question is whether it also has a floating element design. There have been several threads on the Canon FD forum concerning the design of the current 50/1.4 Canon EF lens and whether it is significantly different from the last 50/1.4 FD model. With Leica having redesigned both its 50/1.4 M and R lenses and with Zeiss redesigning its 50/1.4 (now also in EF mount) it will be interesting to see whether Canon will introduce a new 50/1.4 EF.
     
  17. Jeff, Nikon's web page says: "Although all lens groups shift during focusing, the lens barrel length does not change". All groups move => not an IF lens, period.
     
  18. > "This is by definition an IF lens." The info at Nikon Global infers that the entire optical group moves as a unit. That's focusing by extension (the only difference here is this apparently takes place within a fixed outer sleeve, much like the AF 80~200/2.8 D ED). There are no icons shown on the product page to indicate internal focusing [IF] or floating elements [CRC].
    00Qvuq-72667584.jpg
     
  19. This is good news if for no other reason than it makes us hopeful of more AFS short lenses as Shun has indicated.
    I'd buy a new, great performing 24mm f2 AFS the day it became available. Ditto a 35mm 1.4.

    A new 50 might be tempting, IF it performs well at f1.4 and f2, IF being 2/3 of a stop faster than the 1.8 is important,
    if 50mm is a preferred FL, IF the $ difference is insignificant (to the buyer), IF your camera body needs AFS. Could it
    perform better from 2.8 to f8 than the 50mm 1.8? That WOULD be impressive!

    Regarding filter size...yes, 58mm rather than 52 is startling on a 50mm Nikkor but strikes me as a wise choice for a
    1.4.
     
  20. I hope that the info on dpreview is correct, since IF is a big no-no for me in this focal length. What this boils down is really its optical performance for me to consider it and I'm quite skeptical about the claimed good bokeh. The size and price are a bit larger than the predecessor's, not having an aperture ring is a mild annoyance, but having an 58 mm filter size is downright weird. Does Nikon now feel the need to copy German lens manufacturers?-)

    I would be more interested to see modern, high-performance, small and light wideangles, but improving the 50 is not bad.
     
  21. If you go to the specs page on Nikon's USA site, it states explicitly that this is _not_ an IF lens:

    http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Camera-Lenses/2180/AF-NIKKOR-50mm-f/1.4G.html

    BTW, I think that it is great and all that we now have a 50mm with AF-S and updated optics. A boon for some
    D40/D60 owners. But I'm curious about the price point. That is, owners of prosumer bodies may not flinch at the
    notion of a ~ $400 normal prime as many are willing / used to paying money for high-end optics that are on par
    with the cost of their camera bodies. Relatively speaking, the cost of the new 50mm will be palatable.
    Rhetorical question: do many of you out there think that a lot of D40/D60 owners are of the same mindset?
     
  22. Scott, I am of that mindset, but I recognize that I might be in the minority of American DSLR users who think that way. The key word there may be "American." When I worked for a couple of other Japanese camera makers back "in the day" I was always amazed at the things that turned on Japanese or European camera buyers that didn't mean diddly to the American buyers. I'm hinting that maybe Nikon will sell a boatload of the new primes to D40/40X/60 users in Japan, but only a smattering in the U.S.

    Will
     
  23. This lens looks interesting- I shoot with Canon, but was told there are adapters that can be used on a Canon EOS body, with Nikkor lenses. Is this true?
     
  24. Brian, yes it is true but I have only seen rumors of an adapter to allow use of Nikon G-type F mount Nikkor lenses on Canon D-SLR bodies.

    Like nearly all Canon EF mount lenses Nikon G-type lenses use a control wheel on the body to control aperture selection. The Nikon F mount lenses : AF-D, Af, AI-S, Ai etc. can be used via adapters on Canon EOS bodies. I've got two of those adapters in fact which allow me to use my sparse collection of Nikon AI-S lenses on My Canon EOS bodies. No auto focusing obviously and you have to manually stop down the lens but they do work.
     
  25. I am extremely hopeful about an 85mm afs lens. I hope they don't make it only in the 1.4, though I suspect they will. My 50 focuses more than fast enough on my d300 (faster would be better, but I'm find with its performance). The price of an 85 1.4 AFS...that would be a lot.
     
  26. I didn't hear anyone complaining about the price of the Sigma lens. I don't know what the prices are in the US but as I
    said before it seems they will be selling the Nikon lens for less than the Sigma here in Japan. That would be really funny
    if people complaint about the price of the Nikon one.

    Will... I understand what you're saying but I would think that Japanese using D40~60s won't buy a prime. I am sure they
    will stick to the zoom kit lens. Most people I KNOW using these cameras here they basically don't care about speed
    (they use flash), they don't care about DOF, they mostly snap shoot on the green P mode. Their cameras are just big
    P&S cameras.

    For other people with more advance cameras and who are more patient to try to get a better shot the price difference
    won't make any difference. Life in Japan is very expensive and if the difference in price between the AF and the NEW
    AF-S (key word NEW) is only 150 USD that is just pocket change. You can't barely buy anything with that money so we
    don't think there is a big difference. It's so weird but when I expend 100 USD in Japan I feel I am just spending like 10
    USD. Does it make any sense? So I expect a very big market for that lens here in Japan.

    Now look at Brian, Canon user and interested on a Nikon lens. Yeah! there will be market for it and price won't matter.
    Rene'
     
  27. Hi Ellis, I shoot with film bodies not digital.
     
  28. Rene,

    First, thanks for contributing your excellent photos to the 11-16 review!

    For me, I would NOT pay an extra 150 for an AFS 50/f1.4 over the old AF-D, unless the image quality is WAY better. (Of
    course, I live in the US, where our economy is not exactly soaring...)
     
  29. Peter... He!He! Look at it this way, I live 2.5 hours from Tokyo. If i drive my car to Tokyo 150 USD won't pay for the round
    trip. Just to pay for the toll of the expressway would be over 100 USD and the gasoline another 150 USD. So when you
    look at it that way, here 150 USD is just pocket change.

    Oh! The review, good job! no wonder those pictures look familiar!
     
  30. Will this lens work with the Nikon D80?
     
  31. Will this lens work with the Nikon D80?
    Yes, it is an AFS lens, so it will work with any Nikon DSLR, including the D80. ~Phillip
     
  32. Isn't the "extra" $150 the difference in price for this new lens, as the MSRP? I would think, a few months after its release, the price will undoubtedly come down.
     
  33. I still don't understand why this isn't an IF lens and why that would be either good or bad. Most of my IF lenses are manual focus types. They include lenses like the Vivitar 28mm f/1.9 Series 1, the Minolta 300/4.5 MD and the 300/5.6 Canon FD SSC. All of these are floating element designs but I don't know where it's written than for a lens to have internal focusing it must also have floating elements. Some of my lenses which have floating elements do not have internal focusing. These include lenses like the 24/2.8 Canon FD SSC, 55/2.8 Micro Nikkor AIS, 28/2 Canon FD SSC, 200/4 Canon New FD and 50/3.5 Zuiko. I have read many threads on the pros and cons of using teleconverters with telephoto lenses which have IF designs. Standard lenses like a 50/1.4 are not used as much with teleconverters so I don't know why this would be a big issue either. The only difference I can see is that most IF lenses have a different effective focal length at their closest focus settings than at infinity. Both the 200/4 Canon New FD Macro and the 200/4 Micro Nikkor manual focus lenses will have a different working distance at 1:2 than they would have if they were focused at infinity and then extended with tubes or a bellows to reach 1:2. A 50mm f/1.4 standard lens is not often used for macro work.
     
  34. Maybe IF is just not needed for such a lens. It's a pretty simple design.
     
  35. "Hi Ellis, I shoot with film bodies not digital."

    Brian,

    Are they Canon EOS bodies?

    If they are EOS film bodies, what I said still holds : there are adapters from sub $20 ones on eBay to $200 adapters made by Stephen Gandy and Novaflex made to use Nikon AI, AI-S and AF-D (non G-type) lenses on EOS bodies. If it is a Nikkor lens and has an aperture control ring on the lens you can use these lenses on your Canon EOS bodies.
     
  36. >"I still don't understand why this isn't an IF lens ..."

    An internal focus lens (sometimes known as IF) is a photographic lens design in which focus is shifted by moving the inner lens group or groups only, without any rotation or shifting of the front lens element.
    (link)
    >"... I don't know where it's written than for a lens to have internal focusing it must also have floating elements."
    It isn't. Two completely unrelated optical design properties.
     
  37. Sorry to butt in guys, I'm new to photography and was planning on buying a Nikon 50mm F/1.8 lens to use on my D60. Having read a bit more, I'm wondering whether it would be wiser to save a bit longer and get the 50mm f/1.4. I would be using it mainly for portraits. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Pete.
     
  38. I'm European and I don't think most European DSLR users are likely to spend for this. People don't spend so much on photography (be it services or camera gear) as in the US. But let's see. I think Nikon does put a significant markup on the lens, since it's one element more, no exotic glass and looks like a fairly plastic build. One can buy zoom lenses with elements in the double digits, aspheric elements and ED glass for similar prices.
     
  39. Short answer, Peter: yes, I'd wait (if you anticipate having the budget for it, or for the Sigma, depending on how the actual test results come out). If you use an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens all the way or nearly wide open, the depth of field is very shallow... which is part of the appeal. Your D60 won't AF with the 50/1.8, of course, so you'd be focusing it manually. If you're doing portraits, and your subject moves their head very slightly, you'll lose focus on the eyes, in a very noticeable way. A quick AF can really help to nail that down, and allow you to concentrate more on your subject, instead of watching the green focus indicator dot in your finder, or trying to resolve focus in that relatively small view. So, this new 50/1.4 or its Sigma counterpart is very compelling for your camera, that's for sure.
     
  40. Thanks very much for your very informative answer Matt - just what I wanted and yes, having learnt that these new lenses are about, I will wait and see what others who are more qualified than I think about them. Thanks once again.
     
  41. gah I'm hoping for the slower lenses to be AFSed I'm kinda worried now. As a D40 user I would be able to hold off on an upgrade for several more years if I could get a 50mm and 85mm 1.8 and a 28mm 2.8. But I worry that these "cheap" primes may be overlooked since these new afs lenses with an eventual D3X will be targeting the portrait guys with the big bucks! with the $500 price tag on this one though I'm going to have to think long and hard.

    I suppose nikon never intended anyone to be ENTIRELY happy with a d40/60 though...otherwise there'd be no reason to upgrade and SPEND MORE MONEY!

    blast!
     
  42. From the review: "a circular aperture diaphragm for more attractive background blur". Is 9 blades enough? In any case, why did Nikon wait decades to give people a 50mm with near-circular aperture? If it doesn't matter (and of course it matters!), then why now?

    Don't worry folks for those who shoot film: you still have the Zeiss 50.
     
  43. The reason they put the circular aperture in is because nowadays a lot of people use 50mm lenses for headshots (on DX).
    So the bokeh is a more important characteristic of 50mm lenses than it used to be. In any case improved bokeh is a higher
    priority in Nikon's lens design nowadays than it was in the 80s and 90s.

    I think the 50/1.8 is more generally attractive and I would've preferred Nikon to put AF-S in that first. But the 1.4 has higher
    margins, probably, so it comes first. I am sure that eventually, once Nikon has all their other autofocus lenses with SWM,
    there will be an AF-S 50/1.8 ;-) Just like with D, it comes last.
     
  44. I'd be very, very interested wrt bokeh wide open... this is potentially a very good portrait lens on on a DX body.
     
  45. Here's hoping that the 50mm F1.4G AFS is the first in an updated line of AF primes from Nikon. Most of Nikon's AF primes date back to the early 1990's when they were introducing their AF systems. A lot's changed since then and it's time for the lenses to catch up with the new bodies - especially the D3 and D700.

    I'm guessing that the filter size increase from 52mm to 58mm will allow Nikon to use a common filter size across a wide range of focal lengths of fairly wide apertures (28mm f1.8, 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2.0, etc.) similar to what Canon has done with their line of AF primes. Now that Nikon is commited to FX bodies, it's time to update the lens lineup as well.
     
  46. Another likely benefit of the 50 AFS should be better dust sealing to keep our sensors nice and clean.
     
  47. Jose said:
    >The issue here is its performance wide open. With eight elements and a modern design it could be on pair with the >very best 50s, we will see (I`m thinking on the Summicron-M asph....).

    I hope not or else my $3000 Summilux Asph (f/1.4) would be considered an expensive paper weight. :)

    Some talked about the missing ED elements but if Zeiss can do without any special rare earth elements in its 50mm ZF, I am sure Nikon can also do likewise.
    Ditto with the "missing" aspherical element.
     
  48. This is a REALLY good sign of Nikon's thinking and I hope somebody there is reading my say-so! Canon tends to go full speed blasting into the ultimate extremes of expense and bulk when they make a new lens - their 50mm "L" lens is just waaay too big and heavy and EXPENSIVE for the difference between its 1.2 and Nikon's 1.4! Big deal! Especially when such high, clean ISOs are available now. Nikon is right-on if the ultimate goal is USEFUL!

    Now I'd like to see a 28mm f2.0! Doesn't have to be a $3000 f1.4 boat anchor.....
     
  49. Nice to see, though like Ilkka I would have preferred to see an f/1.8 AF-S first. However, it does make business sense to get the f/1.4 out
    the door first, catch those who don't need the speed but are careless with their money, then release the f/1.8 for those who stubbornly
    refuse to fork out for the f/1.4. But it's good news for those who would choose the f/1.4 even if an f/1.8 lens were on the market.

    This lens embodies some interesting design choices. Notably, it's clearly still a double-Gauss variant. I reckon it's either very ambitious or
    foolish to attempt double-Gauss designs at f/1.4 in 2008! It doesn't use an aspherical element, so wide-open performance will probably
    compare unfavourably with the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 or a nature-defying design like the Leica 50 mm Summilux ASPH.

    The good thing about laboriously optimised double-Gauss designs—which this one surely is—is that they're wickedly sharp and practically
    CA-free when stopped down a bit. They also don't require fancy glass types (ED, etc.). Traditionally an f/1.4 lens was on the ragged edge
    of what was possible with the double-Gauss paradigm, and therefore lagged a bit behind slower designs even at f/8. But we've had a couple
    of decades of design and manufacturing experience since the last f/1.4 Nikon fifty, so I'd give Nikon the benefit of the doubt and assume
    this new lens has state-of-the-art performance at f/5.6.

    The new 50 mm f/1.4 Nikkor is therefore interestingly positioned compared to the new Sigma. The Sigma will undoubtedly be better wide
    open (if you can get it to focus reliably), which is often the point of these fast lenses. But a price had to paid for that performance in terms
    of size, weight, stopped-down performance, and dollars.

    The Zeiss ZF 50 mm f/1.4 is also a meaningfully different lens, giving Nikon photographers a third 50 mm f/1.4 lens to choose from. This
    one is built to an entirely different quality standard (metal filter rings, etc.), and for not much more cash, but is probably not much better
    optically (if at all) than the new Nikkor, and notably worse than the Sigma wide open. It's also manual-focus only, with the benefits and
    drawbacks that entails.

    I have a feeling the new Nikkor will appeal to many though. Compact dimensions, top-notch performance stopped down, better wide-open
    contrast than Nikon's old lens, reasonably priced for a new f/1.4 design, and guaranteed autofocus accuracy. The one thing that gives me
    pause for concern is the phrase "ultra-compact Silent Wave Motor" in the press release. And of course the plastic filter rings.

    Regarding the 58 mm filter ring: this is likely the new standard for Nikon primes. It looks odd now but it won't in a couple of years.

    Good start Nikon! Now let's see equally attractive 24, 28 and 35 mm lenses please.
     
  50. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Arthur, Leica has just announced a new DSLR that uses a 37.5MP sensor that is larger than FX.
    Unfortunately, I am sure that your 50mm/f1.4 Summilux will vignet on it because of the "reverse crop factor."
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092301_leica_s2.asp

    Save your pennies. :)

    If you would like to discuss the new Leica, please visit this thread:
    http://www.photo.net/leica-rangefinders-forum/00Qw8h
     
  51. I thot you were kiddin.
     
  52. Hmm, I am not too impressed with the MTF for the 50mm AF-S ...
     
  53. Wide-opened, it seemed like it is still pretty soft beyond the 10mm mark. Even in the center, it is not achieving 0.9.
     
  54. "The Sigma will undoubtedly be better wide open..."
    Samuel, I'm curious about this, can you elaborate?
     
  55. While this is "only" $150 more than the current AF 50mm 1.4, keep in mind that that optic is more than twice the AF 50mm 1.8. I am perfectly happy with my 1.8 and see no reason to upgrade.

    Btw, clearly this is not an IF design. Why does Nikon make a distinction between IF and RF?
     
  56. bmm

    bmm

    One observation and one question...

    Observation - this seems to me to be the ideal lens to go in kit form with D700.

    Question - do you guys think that the second hand market is about to be flooded with used 50/1.4 AF-Ds?
     
  57. " Rene' Villela [Subscriber] [Frequent poster] , Sep 22, 2008; 04:30 a.m.

    Yeap! http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/jpn/whatsnew/2008/0922_afs50_01.htm

    Now we need an AF-S 85 f1.4G"

    Yes, and AF-S 35/1.4 ...
    ;-)
     
  58. I have a screwdriver 50mm/f1.4 made in Japan (what about the others?)...it makes a lot of noise (if while focussing it is not held horizontally), but delivers good images from f2 on. The old manual 50mm/f1.2, nevertheless, seems better at f2 (according to some resolution chart I found on the web in the past...I attach it for convenience but cannot remember the source)..so I was flirting with the 50mm/f1.2 for some time. For me the most important criterion to switch to the new 50mm/f14 would be its optical performance from 1.4 to 2.0. If it does not better than predecessors, then I go and get the old manual f1.2. However, the silent-wave motor of course is a convincing argument for D40/D60 owners. Why not the 1.8 1st? Well, for two reasons (mentioned above already): you do not want the D40/D60 owners to get the sigma, and, they are likely earning more when selling the new 50/1.4 in comparison to a hypothetically cheaper new 50/1.8.
    The 50mm/f1.4 Nikkor described in the chart below is the AF-D version, not the new AF-S.-- S.C.
    00QwUn-72821584.jpg
     
  59. just recovered the source --> http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/008ymx (sorry then for posting it again).
     
  60. You can mount and use Nikon G lenses on Canon bodies with this adapter.

    http://www.16-9.net/nikon_g/
     
  61. That chart just wants me to wait more for the 1.8, which reaches equal sharpness and surpasses the 1.4 by f2.2
     
  62. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Please keep in mind that the chart shown above does not including the new 50mm/f1.4 AF-S G lens, which is the subject in this thread.

    That chart was post several years ago (and probably originated from even before that). The 50mm/f1.4 described in the chart is the AF-D version, with screwdriver AF.
     
  63. Walt,

    I've seen that too but also read reports that he wasn't delivering. But it is a product I am interested in. Do you or anyone else know anyone who has this adapter?
     
  64. Ellis - I don't have it or a Canon body but a quick google shows that various people on dpreview have bought it and it's not fake or a scam. The catch? They ordered and received the adapter 7 months later... Based on what I have read the creator of the adapter is taking an existing Nikon->Canon adapter and has to modify each one by hand. I have no idea how it would stand up to professional use.
     
  65. I thought it would have been a 1.2 to compete with Canon. Rather disappointed at the Nikon news from Photokina.
     
  66. Looks like I'm late in jumping in on this threat, but I'm glad to hear that Nikon is releasing updates to these awesome lenses. I'm looking forward to seeing some real life test results when it comes out.
     
  67. Well, at least, there's one thing I like about this lens: it is the recessed front element (like the old 60mm
    Micro). That would help to cut down a lot on the lateral flare on the image.
     
  68. All I know is if it's optically superior to the current one, then I'd replace that little meat-grinder in a
    heartbeat.
     
  69. To answer your earlier question Sp, I think the Sigma will beat the new Nikon wide open because it's already proved vastly better than
    existing Nikon fifties at f/1.4, and this new Nikon doesn't seem like a radical improvement (though probably a substantial improvement
    nevertheless).

    Granted, the Sigma has its problems, not least the massive size and weight, and Sigma's usual focus problems. But optically it's better
    at f/1.4 than anything in its price range.

    I like the sound of this new Nikkor. It's sized right, priced right, and an entirely new optical design. I suspect somewhere deep in the
    bowels of Nikon photographers and lens designers agitated for the full resources necessary to give this all-new fast fifty the design
    priority it deserves. It's not for nothing that Nikon made the 50 mm f/1.4 its first AF-S general-purpose prime, and announced it on the
    75th anniversary of the Nikkor brand. Optically it will probably be about as good as a lens of its specifications can be.

    But an aspherical element makes a massive difference to the wide-open performance of a 50 mm f/1.4 design, and if you give a lens
    designer a huge volume to work with, an optically better lens will result (especially in terms of vignetting and geometric distortion, but
    also wide-open contrast). Sigma gave its lens designers both those advantages, and I find it inconceivable that Nikon's lens designers
    could have overcome the strict limitations imposed upon them for this new lens.

    I place a high value on small size and am not fussy about vignetting wide open on a 50 mm f/1.4. I also like traditional double-Gauss
    designs. The conceptual elegance of honing a spherical design to the limit of what's possible against the monumental challenges of f/1.4
    is appealing too. In fact, I've always appreciated economy in design. What Zeiss achieved with the spherical designs for the Contax G
    system is a beautiful thing even today. For all these reasons and more I'll likely end up buying the new AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4G. But I
    don't think it will perform as well as the Sigma at full aperture.
     
  70. Thanks Samuel, I almost exclusively shoot with a 50mm so I can directly compare the current Nikon 1.4 to 3 other other lenses that I've liked over the years: An old Pentax SMC, a last generation Summicron (f 2.0), and the Sigma 30 (used on a D200 and loved). All three lenses delivered in their own way.

    I shoot a lot of the time wide open and don't think the current Nikon lens is bad but it sure grinds away like a truck compared to the Sigma. I also like a small lens so I'll have to checkout the Sigma to see how big it really is on the D700.

    I don't suppose you (or anyone, I suppose) have any thoughts on the 28mm F 2.8? That's next up on the list.
     
  71. The Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 is staggeringly big when you see it in person. Seems like you could fit about five Summicrons in
    there! A lot bigger than the 30 mm Sigma, which I've used a bit and also like, though it's also on the bulky side. Then
    again, the D200 and D700 aren't exactly petite.

    This list you talk about: is it your purchasing list or Nikon's design list (an AF-S 28 mm)? The current AF-D 28 mm is sharp
    in the centre but rapidly degrades off-axis, which isn't ideal for a wide-angle lens. Worse, it doesn't sharpen up across the
    frame even at f/8. The older f/2.8 AIS design was actually much better optically (and mechanically of course). It's still a
    fine lens by today's standards, though not quite up to the best Leicas or what have you.
     
  72. Samuel, I expect from Nikon the same work on its new 50 AFS than Zeiss did with their 35/2 ZM. No aspherical
    surfaces and a more interesting lens (at least for Erwin Putts) than the 35/2 asph from Leica. It is true that the Zeiss
    is a 9 element lens and the Leica use "only" 7 pieces of glass...

    Out of curiosity, the very best 50 (Summilux M 50/1.4 asph) use 8 elements, a floating group and one aspherical
    surface. Looks like the new Nikon need at least one element more or an aspherical one to be on par.

    We will see if the new Nikkor is a money-maker design (cheap construction+high selling price) or the state of the art
    in optical design.
     
  73. Samuel, I currently have the Pentax, the Summicron, and the Nikon 1.4. The Sigma is in the capable hands of some
    local thief who, with the assistance of a crowbar, helped himself to all of my digital gear a few months ago. No
    matter though as it wouldn't have been what I wanted for the D700. So now the only other lens I'm looking for is
    a fast 28mm.
     
  74. Samuel Dilworth said: "Optically it will probably be about as good as a lens of its specifications can be."

    This is a tautology isn't it?
     

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