Bokeh of 50/1.4 is ugly; is the 1.8 better?

Started Oct 10, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Strawberry Pie
Forum MemberPosts: 90Gear list
Bokeh of 50/1.4 is ugly; is the 1.8 better?
Oct 10, 2007

I have had the 1.4 for some time and found that in general, it performs beautifully, especially in indoor lighting situations. Colors and clarity are beautiful. But on occasion, it seemed like the rendition of out-of-focus areas in the background ended up harsh, jittery, and downright ugly. This weekend I was testing lenses (really for another reason), and discovered that it really does have ugly bokeh and it is not difficult to demonstrate it. Here is what I mean. In the following overall photo,

notice the rendition of the background. Here is a 100% crop of the area:

Other people may disagree, but IMHO this is not pleasing.

Now, my reason for this posting is not really to bash the 1.4, but to ask the following question. Is the 1.8 significantly better in this respect? And are the other aspects such as contrast, color, and general "pop" the same as (or close to) the 1.4? I don't really need the 0.4 difference in aperture, and all other things being equal, I would be perfectly happy using the 1.8. So far I have not found side-by-side comparisons under identical conditions, so it is hard to know what would be lost by going with the 1.8.

Thank you for your time and comments.


 Strawberry Pie's gear list:Strawberry Pie's gear list
Nikon D300 Olympus E-M1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3-5-4.5G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +3 more
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