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Nikon 58mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor

Review Date: Aug 14, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Gorgeous bokeh. Fast autofocus. Solid feeling. Super light. Built-in hood (sort of). Perfect focal length for portraits. Weather sealed. Did I mention bokeh-licious?
Soft wide open. Not the sharpest lens, until you stop down past 2.8.

Nikon, you silly guy/gal. This lens is the big pink elephant in the room. It's been knocked up by most reviewers and set aside by everyone else just on the outrageous price alone. Is it really worth $1500+ dollars? In a way yes, but to most people, no.

Hmm.. let's see. It's not sharp below F2. It's got a ton of CA and sagittal flaring. The microcontrast is non existent... There's really very little to love about it in technical terms.

But it's that pink elephant in the room that everyone will learn to love!

For some reason, there must've been an engineer at Nikon who said, "F" everyone and their desire to build the best technical lens and hurrah to beauty, art, and love. The glass on this lens no joke and you can see that when you stop down to f2.8 and down. So it's definitely capable of being a great technical lens, but the project manager said to the engineers, "Screw all that! let's design a lens we think is best for photographers!" And so they built the perfect portrait lens, according to Nikon's philosophy on art, love and all things beautiful...

The bokeh on this thing is gorgeous. Depending on the subjects distance, it casts a buttery, curvature that rainbows behind its subject. The contrast may be low, but it allows the subject to truly "pop" above the buttery, creamy, bokeh.

For what it's worth, it is actually very sharp wide open at the very center of the frame. Perhaps it was Nikon's subtle way of saying that they wanted to create something very unique, and different that goes against the grain and only rewards those who are willing to follow.

So at a cost, it truly does reward the photographers who desire art over technicality, beauty over sharpness, love over pomp.

Thanks for reading.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM "A"

Review Date: Aug 14, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $949.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid build quality. Very quick, silent auto-focus. Great style and balance. Hood works very well. Nice cushy carrying pouch. Ultra-sharp wide open and sharper stopped down. Great microcontrast.
Very heavy! Focus isn't consistent across all distances. Bokeh is a bit too contrasty and at some distances can be jittery and nervous, which is very distracting. No weather seal.

Sigma has been a compromise for me lately. They're doing amazing things in terms of lens design and competing in the market. But there are a few things that just drive me completely insane, which I'll get to in just a moment.

First off, Sigma has done it again. The lens design and quality is first-class. Their art series has blown me away and I hope they continue to push themselves across the whole spectrum. The sharpness, contrast, distortion and CA control is great! I can't believe how well they've designed these things. The focus ring is nice and smooth. The focus mechanism is uber quiet. The elements are big and bold. I can't give their engineers and design team enough credit for making another knockout lens.

Now... for the niggling details that push me away from feeling completely satisfied. What's with the metal?! We're not in the olden days anymore. Let's lighten up the load and stick with a high-quality plastic. Where's the weather sealing? A small rubber gasket at the mount would make me a happy camper. Last but most importantly, get those focusing algorithms correct! Don't force the consumers to buy a USB dock. Although it can be heavily debated that even Nikon/Canon lenses miss focus at times, it's not nearly as bad as Sigma's. Even after microadjusting this lens several times, it just never feels reliable. It's almost like it has its own temperament. Sometimes it focuses great, sometimes not. I guess if I stopped pixel-peeping, it probably wouldn't bother me so much, but what's the whole point in having one of the worlds sharpest lenses when the focus isn't spot on?

I digress... It's still an amazing lens for what it's worth. Kudos to Sigma!