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Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

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Reviews Views Date of last review
40 159382 Aug 26, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $254.65
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.27
8.85
8.9
1902NCP_180

Specifications:
Fast enough for shooting in just about any type of light.
Distortion-free images with superb resolution and color rendition.
An ideal first lens, perfect for full-length portraits, travel photography or any type of available-light shooting. Accepts 52mm filters.

Filter Size 52mm
Lens Mount Nikon F-Bayonet
f/Stop Range 1.4-16
Minimum Focus Distance 1.5' (0.45 m)
Reproduction Ratio 0.15x (max.)
Angle of View DX format: 30°30'
FX format: 46°
Focus Modes Auto
Manual
Compatible Formats FX
DX
FX in DX Crop Mode
35mm Film
Elements/Groups 7/6
Number of Blades 7
Dimensions (Diam. x L) Approx. 2.5 x 1.7" (64.5 x 42.5mm)
Weight Approx. 8.1 oz (230 g)


 


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James Harringt
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Registered: Apr 13, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness and color rendition are very crisp and contrasty. Light weight, and great for low light
Cons:
Manual focus not smooth, I've exprienced unusual flare in high key settings

This is a recent copy of the venerable 50mm 1.4, and was made in China. Now I've owned other lenses made in China such that were excellent, but in the higher priced Nikon glass I'm surprised to see this. I've also in the past used a Japan-made 50mm 1.8.

The lens is sharp enough for what I do wide open, and just excellent when stopped down. I'm normally burning or blurring the edges and cropping in from the 4 x 6 Dslr ratio to a 4x5 print ratio, so a bit of softness at the eges is not of concern to me and what there is has not been objectionable. The color rendition has the snap and contrast you expect in Nikon's pro line, and is, to my eye, nicer than the 1.8 I have. But that may depend on the user's preference.

Build quality is not what I expected from Nikon. The manual focus is not very smooth. I also use a fairly light Lindahl lens hood in the studio, and the auto-focus mechanism of this 50mm and the D200 can't handle focusing with the hood, I think due to the added weight of the hood. I don't have this problem with the 85 1.8, 80-200, or 20-35 that I also use.

If you are purchasing from a camera store, I would reccomend trying several samples from the shelf and make sure you get one with smooth manual operation, and maybe shoot a few test images to make sure your copy went through good quality control. I didn't do this, but will on all future Nikon purchases.

In high key settings I've found the lens a bit prone to flare. When it's not just been poor light placement on my part, it's been due to brightness on the white background causing the flare. Adjusting the lighting to proper ratios solves the issue, but the 50mm has more flare than my 85 or 20-35.

Outside or in low light, I can't say enough good things about the images I get with this lens. For those of you who still use a D100, as i often do, try this lens on the D100 in low light and high ISO's. The D100's low light performance may surprise you (especially if you were a fan of the high ISO BW films from Ilford and Kodak).


Apr 13, 2007
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FryingPan
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Registered: Apr 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Mar 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $269.99 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, compact, lightweight.
Cons:
It makes the rest of my lenses feel inadequate.

After owning this lens for over a year now, I feel like I can finally write an appropriate review.

This lens is on my camera almost 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, I'm feeling like my other glass just isn't as fun to shoot with. It's my absolute favorite by far. The bokeh is outstanding, the images produced are razor sharp, and the versatility of the wide open f/1.4 aperture is incredible. The 50mm (75mm on a digital body) focal length is narrow enough to force good composition, but wide enough to not be restrictive.

I shoot everything from portraits, landscapes, macros (coupled with extension tubes) candids, etc with this lens. It truly does it all.

Using this lens on a digital body makes for the ultimate available light photography combo.

I truly love this lens, and highly recommend it to anyone.


Mar 24, 2007
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Chipouille
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Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Location: Afghanistan
Posts: 206
Review Date: Mar 22, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Compact lens, very sharp beyond 2,5, nice bokeh under f/2
Cons:
Very from 1,4 to f/2, flare flare flare...

It's my 3rd sample, all of them behaved the same : very soft @ f/1,4, very sharp after f/2,5.
So what's the use of such a wide aperture if you can't use it ? The little cheapo 50 f/1,8 is so much better in this regard, and sharper too at the same apertures.
I don't even mention very bad flare control, a shame at this price.
It was a bit better on film than it's now on digital, and once again, why purchasing such a lens if it's unuseable wide open ?

Disappointed.


Mar 22, 2007
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Carlo r. lopez
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Registered: Nov 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 26
Review Date: Nov 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent optics, compact size, razor sharp depth of field, great low light performer
Cons:
none other than the cheap printing instead of engraving

This is one of nikons finest lenses. dont make its size and price fool you as this is one of the sharpest lenses in my bag. its small, sleek and compact and should be in every nikon users bag. its also darn fast and the bokeh is very appealing. not harsh as others claim it to be. since most can be had for cheap in the used market, i suggest you get it. you wont be sorry

Nov 7, 2006
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panos.v
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Registered: Dec 15, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4096
Review Date: Oct 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp, very fast aperture, fast AF, sharp, contrasty.
Cons:
Bokeh of point light sources can look a bit rough sometimes.

This is my favourite lens. It is small and light and sharp from f/1.4. From f/2 down it is just superb. Contrast is a bit low at f/1.4 but by f/2 it is as good as it gets. I love it for portraits as I can blur the background into a nice creamy nothingness. The only problem is that highlights appear as geometric shapes in the bokeh as it does not have a circular aperture. But really, that is a very minor point, just watch your background if you are that concerned about it.

I just cannot praise this lens enough. It is what I use for most of my shooting, inside or outside. It excells in situations like dark museums or other indoors areas and is great for general shooting outside, giving you crisp, contrasty, beautiful pictures. AF is also fast and precise, although a bit noisy compared to AF-S.


Oct 18, 2006
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John Basic
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Registered: Sep 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 15, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: lightweight, sharp images under specific conditions (for me at least), fast AF.
Cons:
FLARE! GHOSTING! picky focusing

I'm not at all thrilled about this lens -- in fact I'm tempted to sell it and just get the f1.8.

The flare and ghosting I've experienced with this lens is on an unprecedented scale. It's perfectly happy to take very sharp photos under diffused light, or in absence of a direct light source at all, but introduce even the slightest lighting and the entire image fills with flare, spots, and/or ghosted images.

It ought to be labeled a "special effects" lens as far as I'm concerned.

I tried using this lens at night at the Los Angeles County Fair recently, and images that I NEVER have a problem using a moderately fast zoom on are rendered virtually useless with this lens. The neon, flourescent, and incandescent lighting just overwhelms this thing to the point that it's a joke. Tried stepping it down and using a faster ISO -- doesn't help either. It's like you have to point this thing into virtual darkness to get a decent picture.

I've also tried it on landscape and nature photos. Yes, it works, but I spend so much time trying to recompose myself to avoid the flash-ups of stuff I don't want that it ruins the experience.

Further, what's the sense in having a lens this fast if you can't use it in Program Auto or AE without toting a decent flash unit around with you?! I've found the focusing to be both unprecise and unpredictable on both of my camera bodies (even the new D80) under low light conditions, and even with a shutter speed of 1/125th or more at f1.4 I still get many, many blurry images. I'll be damned if I'm going to stick an f1.4 lens on a tripod at dawn or dusk just to get a blur-free image.

And yes, I've been shooting a long time and know all about how to hand-hold a camera and squeeze the shutter to minimize blur. Like I said, I've had better results with lenses 2+ stops slower than this one under the same conditions. In fact I've had better luck with the 18-70 f3.5 kit lens than this thing, and that's the LAST lens one would seek out for low-light photography.

The news isn't ALL bad, though. I've taken some photos with this lens that are absolutely razor sharp. I've also taken a series of the same image in P mode where some are great and others are blurred beyond belief -- even in continuous frame shots.

Maybe I got a dud. Maybe the factory ran out of lens coating goop when my glass went through the spray gun. Who knows.

I'm going to talk to the dealer that sold me the lens and see what his other customers have to say about it. It seems to me that an expensive, "prime" lens like this should be far more predictable and usable than what I've expereinced with it so far. But I can absolutely guarantee that if I had it to do over again I'd just opt for the f1.8 model if this is what's to be expected of today's Nikkor 50mm line of lenses.

p.s. I'm also seriously considering purchasing the 85mm f1.8 Nikkor lens, but I'm almost afraid to dish out that kind of $$$ on another fixed lens if this is what I can expect.


Sep 15, 2006
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williamkazak
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Registered: Jun 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6432
Review Date: Jun 20, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $375.00

 
Pros: Low light ability,compact,versatile focal length especially on digital,works with film.
Cons:
Higher flare levels than 35mm F2 Af and less sharp,especially when used wide open.

After further review-I have been using this lens as a part of a dark reception three lens speed kit.It goes real well with the Nikon 20mm F2.8 AF and the 35mm F2 AF.These three lenses work on film or digital.They can get you dancing pics,cake cuts,intros,garter toss,creative pics,etc.The 50mm can get you headshots or waist up pics in the house and is extremely versatile just to have on the camera and be ready to shoot with.I think it is more versatile on the digital the more I use it because of the extra reach of the digital factor.You can throw backgrounds out with ease with this 50mm if your ISO allows it.
The 35mm F2 is a better quality optic in my personal experience but not as versatile as this 50mm.The 35mm seems sharper to me and has less flare than the 50mm.
I also think that everyone should carry a 1.4 just to see what you can do with it.When the lights go down-the 1.4 comes out to play!


Jun 20, 2006
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williamkazak
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Registered: Jun 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6432
Review Date: Jun 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $375.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very nice lens,especially good focal length on digital and for dark rooms and usable inside.Works on digital and film.Compact.
Cons:
Slight flare in backlight.

I like this lens better on digital for the focal length gets to 75mm and is F1.4 which is not bad for headshots and dark receptions and dancing pics.Maybe better than to carry the 60mm F2.8 Micro because of its ability to shoot in the dark and inside.
Backlit situations outside caude a little concern but not enough to worry about.


Jun 9, 2006
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James Markus
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Registered: Jul 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4708
Review Date: Apr 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, and fast, small and light weight. Very good build quality. This is now my favorite portrait lens.
Cons:
none



Apr 3, 2006
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Pavel
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Registered: Jun 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4974
Review Date: Jan 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $270.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, fast focus and sharp by f 2.8
Cons:
build quality is so so, not a AF-s lens and not very sharp wide open.

It's a good lens. I was disappointed in the softness wide open to the extent that I returned my first copy and went to buy one at the local shop. After looking at two more I chose the one that was best but found that this lens isn't very sharp wide open and it has strong vignetting as well until it's stopped down a bit.
The build quality is not bad but not great.
Despite that I love this lens. It is fast to focus and very versatile with the fast max aperture. The size is also a great plus if you are interested in caryability. All and all - a good lens to have.


Jan 8, 2006
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nikonjunkie
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Registered: Aug 25, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: small lense that does magical things in low light
Cons:
In an age when many like wider angle, this might not suffice.

Excellent lense that should be a part of anyone's bag. It can bail you out in low light, or work as a primary lense. Everyone needs a f/1.4 lense and for the price this can't be beat. Probably the most versatile of the fastest Nikkor Primes in terms of money and performance. Trust me I own all the f/1.4's and the 135mm f/2

Aug 25, 2005
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hyperion
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Registered: May 4, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 770
Review Date: Aug 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colors better then 50mm F1.8 and it has an extra stop. Small and light - easy to carry with you. Much better Bokeh then F1.8 also.
Cons:
Soft at F1.4 but 1.8 is darn good.

Fantastic lens for portraits (all lengths) and indoor shooting. 75mm on a Nikon DSLR but still usable inside. Average build quality but still better then the horrible F1.8 that people rave about. While the F1.8 is cheap and sharp, the out of focus areas are not as smooth and pleasing as that of the F1.4 50mm.

Aug 25, 2005
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Virgil
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Registered: Nov 30, 2004
Location: Austria
Posts: 17
Review Date: Aug 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast, fast, fast, sharp even wide open, nicely build
Cons:
restriction due to 50mm focal lenght

This light (230g), small (64,5 x 42,5/diameter-lenght) lens is really unobstrusive but very capable. Though i would highly recommend to stop it down to f/2.8 even wide open this lens delivers great results. Normally working with the 17-55DX f/2.8 i need to get another handholding as this lens is really tiny but got used to it quickly. Only "limitation" is thatīdue to the crop-factor of my D70 itīs hard to use in narrow environement (eg. museum) - means a lot of running arround.

All in all i donīt regret that i bought it and recommend it to everybody who wantīs the fastest affordable available light Nikkor.


Aug 14, 2005
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patotts
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Registered: Jul 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 406
Review Date: Jun 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: pretty sharp wide open, good AF performance, fairly priced
Cons:
plastic, performance on a DSLR

loved this lens on a film camera, but the performance on a D70 was disappointing, bokeh generated double lines too much so I ended up selling it.

Jun 12, 2005
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rhythmgtr5
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Registered: Mar 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 398
Review Date: Jun 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, Light, Fast
Cons:
Sometimes has issues focusing in low light situation

I like this lens a lot and it comes in handy for many different applications. I find myself using it more frequently than the kit lens.

Jun 11, 2005
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jb_va2001
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Registered: May 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp, fast, inexpensive.
Cons:
While the glass is sharp & fast, the rest of the build quality is not up with the Nikon pro-grade lenses.

Overall a great addition to the Nikon SLR shooter's bag. Small, light fast & sharp. It doesn't feel as rugged as Nikon's pro lenses but well worth the price.

May 18, 2005
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Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
40 159382 Aug 26, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $254.65
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.27
8.85
8.9
1902NCP_180


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