(almost) in love with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G

Started May 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
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harry99
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(almost) in love with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G
May 20, 2011

Let me explain how I came across this lens : I tried a 50mm f/1.4 Ais about three years ago on the D700 and was disappointed by the softness below f/2.8; but most of all the field of view was closer to a small tele to me. I tried a 35mm f/1.4 Ais that was excellent street photography but unfortunately not very flattering to people. I ended with a Voigtlander 40mm f/2 that suited me well, until I recently realized I was slightly cropping a lot of shots (especially horizontal portraits). But most of all the DOF wasn't thin enough and the bokeh was sometimes on the nervous side. Soooo I decided a 50mm f/1.2 Ais would do great but I couldn't source one quickly (still looking for it though) and went across a "like new" AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G.

I was pleased by the weight of the lens. It's 100g heavier than the Voigt (you barely notice it) but it's better balanced because a bit of the weight is shifted on the lens whereas with the Voigt it's almost if the body was naked.

The AF-S sure is slow but coming from MF lenses, it's better than nothing in some situations where you cannot look in the viewfinder, when hanging the body above the crowd for example or close to the ground). It's also ok to use the rim for MF although it's much less pleasing than those of the Ai lenses

I read some reviews before and the lens does exhibit CA and LoCA wide open but it's very controlled and it's hard to tell if you're not a pixel peeper. The global sharpness at f/1.4 is really good and the pictures are a little overexposed and lack contrast, but again in a "soft way". By this I mean the shot is perfectly usable and a few PS tweaks will do. One thing that is well corrected is the vignetting (even wide open with hood) and that is a shame because I loved it on the Voigt and now I have to add it in LR3...

All in all the lens is a great all rounder for the money, not in the same league that the 24, 35 and 85 but can't be too ashamed either. Even if I get the 50mm 1.2 (or the Noct), I think I'll keep it also because it's much more useable for my girlfriend and friends.

wide open, almost PC lenses 3D look !

a little bit of distortion on the horizon

slight distortion again and slightly de-saturated colors

nice shallow DOF with no busy background even in strong light

and last but not least, low light portrait lighten by candle light (it's a bit blurry but the speed was very low... VR anyone ?)

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