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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G review

December 2013 | By Andy Westlake
Buy on Amazon.com From $1,696.95

The AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G was announced in October 2013, and designed primarily as a premium 'normal' prime for FX format SLRs. By 'premium' we mean, of course, expensive - the most immediately striking feature about the lens is its $1700 / £1600 price tag, which means it costs more than most of the company's SLR bodies. With the very decent $440 / £290 AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens also in the lineup, the 58mm needs to be pretty special to justify this kind of money.

The 58mm focal length may look like an odd choice, but it's deliberately evocative of a legendary Nikon lens - the manual focus Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 from the late 1970s. Indeed Nikon's marketing material draws a parallel between them, saying the new 58mm's 'design concept' pays homage to the old 'Noct'. Stripped of its marketing-speak, this translates to a lens design which goes to extremes to minimize peripheral aberrations such as coma at large apertures, while also paying specific attention to the rendition of out-of-focus regions of the frame, or 'bokeh'.

To this end, the 58mm employs an optical formula that's more complex than typical 50mm F1.4 primes, with 9 elements in 6 groups including two aspherical elements. The diaphragm is made up of 9 rounded blades to give a circular aperture. The optical unit is located deep in the lens barrel, giving natural shading against peripheral light, and Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat is used to minimize flare and ghosting. Autofocus is driven by a 'Silent Wave' ultrasonic motor which allows manual adjustment at any time.

Intriguingly, Nikon is at some pains to suggest that the lens' imaging qualities can't be fully measured by conventional methods such as MTF measurements. In this review we will, as usual, be looking closely at real-world images alongside lab test measurements, to try to work out what this is supposed to mean. In short, does the 58mm produce pictures which justify that price tag?

Headline features

  • 58mm focal length, F1.4 maximum aperture
  • 'Silent Wave' focus motor with full-time manual override
  • 0.58m closest focus, offering 0.13x magnification
  • Nikon F-mount for DX and FX SLRs (or 1 system mirrorless cameras using FT-1 adapter)

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the angle of view on FX and DX SLRs (taken from our usual position). On full frame the 58mm is a somewhat long 'normal' lens; on DX cameras it behaves like a classic 85mm short telephoto 'portrait' prime.

Full frame (FX) 1.5x DX (87mm equivalent)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G specifications

 Approx Price  • $1700 (US)
 • £1600 (UK)
 Date introduced  October 2013
 Maximum format size  35mm full frame (FX)
 Focal length  58mm
 35mm equivalent focal length (DX)
 87mm
 Diagonal Angle of view  • 49.9º (FX)
 • 27.4º (DX)
 Maximum aperture  F1.4
 Minimum aperture  F16
 Lens Construction  • 9 elements / 6 groups
 • 2 aspherical elements
 Number of diaphragm blades  9, rounded
 Minimum focus  0.58m
 Maximum magnification  0.13x
 AF motor type  • Ring-type ultrasonic 'Silent Wave' motor
 • Full-time manual focus (M/A mode)
 Focus method  Unit
 Image stabilization  No
 Filter thread  • 72mm
 • Does not rotate on focus
 Supplied accessories*  • Front and rear caps
 • HB-68 hood
 • Soft pouch
 Weight  385 g (13.6 oz)
 Dimensions  85 mm diameter x 70 mm length (3.4 x 2.8 in)
 Lens Mount  Nikon F

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.



If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 414
1234
Steve oliphant

Well at least it's not a Pentax lol.....

1 upvote
fakuryu

Yeah, luckily Pentax primes are better.

20 upvotes
Der Steppenwolf

Actually Pentax Limited primes are WAAAY better. And I shoot Nikon.

4 upvotes
Sir Corey of Deane

I never listen to sales people especially when they lol.

0 upvotes
fakuryu

Looks nice but not really impressed. My 30yr old Pentax M 50mm f1.4 albeit a manual lens looks sharper at 1.4 and produces as creamy bokeh and bought it like new for just US$100.

As like what somebody already posted, the 50mm f1.4G looks like a like a bargain compared to this.

4 upvotes
Richard Schumer

I use the same lens, maybe even older (it's a Pentax-M) which I've used for at least 30, probably closer to 40. It's had a rough life, what with the front element's coating wearing off in spots and some scratches and even gouges on the surface.

Nonetheless, it's hugely sharp when stopped down beyond f:2, anyway. It and a Tamrom 90mm macro may be the sharpest lenses I have ever used. Though the old 135mm F:2.5 is up there, too.

0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee

After reading this review there is only one question to ask - Why Nikon made this lens so expensive ?

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

If it were as good as the Zeiss 55mm Otus, would you think Nikon right to charge $4000?

And I don't particularly like this Nikon lens, and think the $725 Zeiss 50mm 1.4 much better, but I see what Nikon is trying to do and acknowledge that some people would pay good money for that bokeh.

0 upvotes
new boyz

The Otus is also sharp(sharpest normal lens so far) in addition to the ability to produces creamy bokeh. It is also very sharp wide open. So I don't think this Nikon is even comparable. Otus set a new standard(unfortunately very expensive and manual focus only).

4 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

n b:

I'd bet the new Leica M 50mm F2.0 is sharper than the Zeiss Otus. Just saying.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

It's Nikon. So there will always be apologists. Always. No matter the price, there will always be something, somewhere (in this case the completely unrelated Zeiss lens) that costs more, making Nikon's offering yet another bargain.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

AbrasiveRed:

How is a 55mm 1.4 Zeiss MF lens "completely unrelated"? More pricey yes.

0 upvotes
Nishi Drew

So basically, better bokeh...

2 upvotes
samfan

Well slap me silly, I just checked the Zeiss test... http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/11/22/lens-reviews-update-test-data-for-the-zeiss-otus-1-4-55

Just shows how much out of whack Nikon is. The price difference between Zeiss and NK 58 is much easier to justify than the difference between NK 50 and 58, at least in EU, around 3000 vs. 2000 Eur. (Neither the 55 or 58 are widely available in EU right now so we'll have to see how the prices settle.)

I never though the 50/1.4 is a particularly great purchase, but now it seems like a bargain within the Nikkor brand. Maybe that's the purpose of the 58. To sell the 50/1.4 by showing how cheap it is compared to other overpriced Nikkor stuff.

9 upvotes
samfan

Zeiss 55 review worth seeing:

http://kristiandowling.com/blog/2013/12/8/nikon-df-and-zeiss-otus-55mm-f14-apo-distagon-first-impressions-and-image-samples-part-2-the-lens

This shows what people expect from a premium 1.4.

1 upvote
new boyz

"Maybe that's the purpose of the 58. To sell the 50/1.4 by showing how cheap it is compared to other overpriced Nikkor stuff."

Genius!

0 upvotes
Steve oliphant

Do you know what modulation is ,i'm thinking not ..we see fuzzy edges at hight contrast like black on white sorry i can't spell worth crap now a focus chart looks like black and white triangles pointing at each other the centre of this will show modulation we tend to shoot from 1.4 to f8 to see how good the lens is, there is lots of other test a guy can do but this one you would do on a 1.4 type lens...and just so you know this was developed buy the army to test lenses for the air force and thats where you got MTF reports from...

0 upvotes
Steve oliphant

Sorry to say but i tested this lens you should test it your self at 1.4 on a high contrast target like a focus cart with bright light on it ,there was way to much modulation transfer, the 50 1.8 G lens is a much better lens at 1.8 thats you best bet , the 58mm 1.4 is a real peace.... of doo.

0 upvotes
Matthew Miller

That... makes no sense. The words you are using do not mean what you apparently think they mean.

10 upvotes
nicolaiecostel

What are you on about ?

0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel

@samhain:
What other Nikon lens displays focus accuracy problems except the 50 1.4G ? Which I have and I'm pretty happy with.

This lens seems to have gorgeous bokeh, I'd save just for that. If they would have corrected the lens so that it would behave perfectly, they would have ruined the bokeh, I bet ! So a little softness might not be the end of the world.
However

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
///M

Really? "if they wanted to deliver a lens that was also really sharp wide open" Why pay more then $100 for a lens like this? Why can't DPreview pan a dud? A 50 /1.4 is not very fast, either. And this comes from the company that brings a 36mp sensor to market without AF able to accurately focus to take advantage of all those pixels. Try to capture the decisive moment with live view contrast detection manual focus, Good Luck!

5 upvotes
fotokeena

It's just a plain ripoff.

7 upvotes
Zeisschen

suddenly the Sony Zeiss FE 55 1.8 looks like a bargain.

0 upvotes
t.c. marino

no disrespect to the "mighty" 58mm 1.4..with NANO coating..but my old 50mm 1.8d af nikkor ($99 us dollars..plus tax) is very,very sharp once i step it down to 2.5 and stays sharp all the way up..best 99 dollars i ever spent .sorry nikon..not impressed with the 58 1.4g

4 upvotes
The Davinator

, this lens is about character, no sharpness.

3 upvotes
samhain

A Nikon having focus accuracy issues- big suprise lol.

6 upvotes
The Davinator

You mean like a decade of front/backfocus issues from Canon?

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

They've both had focus problems. The difference is that if you have a focus issue with Canon, it's a problem. If you have it with Nikon, you're blowing things way out of proportion. You're exaggerating. BTW, where did they get all those refurbs from?

2 upvotes
samfan

Nikon continues the tradition of good, but absolutely insanely overpriced products. Whenever they realize they have something interesting on their hands, they think it's fine to charge an arm and a leg for it (see N1 or D3x for example). It's been a while since any photo company was so out of touch.

The bokeh is nice, I like it. However lenses as (un)sharp as this one are easy to have good bokeh, as seen in a ton of older lenses. It's more difficult to have both good sharpness and nice bokeh. For $1700 one would expect that Nikon tries harder.

13 upvotes
samhain

@DPR 2 stellar ideas for future reviews:

1. Post a manufacturer's response to the review: as in- send the review to the mfg and get their take/retort on the review.

2. Give said reviewed camera/lens to a pro photographer- basically a 'Stig' like on Top Gear, to show what the product is capable of in the hands of a pro. (Most pro's would be happy to do this for free, soley on the fact that it's awesome free advertising for their name).

both of these ideas are free of charge- Happy new year!

3 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer

<desperately trying not to mention the one person who should not be the photographic Stig>

1 upvote
calking

I seriously doubt DPR is allowed to just "give" a review lens they don't actually own to a "pro" photographer to go take test shots with, much less that a "pro" photographer would have the time or inclination to do so.

Here's an idea for those who wanna complain about the sample shots and lens tho .... Go rent one yourselves, shoot with it a week, and then come back and post your link here so those of us can see what a remarkable photographer can do with this lens.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

It's a great idea. But since Nikon usually doesn't acknowledge problems, how could they respond?

0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff

btw. if you want a nice bokeh with similar sharpness on the cheap, you can adapt a $30 55mm SMC takumar for M42 mount. The main downside will be chromatic aberration, but at 55 times less money it's hard to complain about that.

5 upvotes
samfan

I don't think you can use M42 lenses on Nikon F comfortably.

By adapting do you mean swapping the bayonet?

0 upvotes
Henderson May

Yes, m42 on Nikon mount requires correction lens, otherwise cannot focus to infinity. Also smc takumar will not work on conversion mounts (it will get stuck), you will need super takumar but then most of the 50/1.4 super takumar nowadays suffers from yellowish inner elements (oxidation?)..

0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff

That's true, there is this 1.04mm flange focal distance difference. I forgot about that. That's too bad, this lens is very impressive, especially for the price. I had much better luck with it than with a couple of 50mm F1.8 nikkors.

That being said, it should focus close to infinity, since the M42 adapter can fit inside the mount, at least for Pentax. It could work fine for portraits within a few meters of a range.

0 upvotes
wherearemyshorts

And it weighs only 3.6 oz

The 1 got dropped before the 3.

0 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer

Nice review and interesting results. I'd be tempted to get this lens, but I have an AF-S 60/2.8G Micro-Nikkor which I suspect is close to producing the quality and bokeh of this lens.

2 upvotes
magneto shot
0 upvotes
Tom 13

"Very hazy indeed." Silver Award.

Emporer's new clothing.

6 upvotes
noirdesir

Are there any bokeh comparisons with the Sigma available? AFAIK, it had the best 50 mm bokeh until the Nikon arrived.

1 upvote
Nukunukoo

Nice lens. Wouldn't mind having one. But with the performance/pricing Sigma is coming out with (and most recently, Tamron), it's really hard to justify the price.

3 upvotes
claudio 1973

Happy with my far, far less expensive 50/1.4

0 upvotes
FinDERP

The sharpness is only bad when you don't consider how superb the bokeh this thing produces is!

I have a 30+ year old Pentax 50mm f1.7 that is sharper and has a flatter field than this at seemingly all apertures and it only cost me £20. However the Pentax lens I mention cannot even come CLOSE when it comes to the delicious out of focus rendering this thing displays. Don't mock it; it fulfills its desired role rather well (and hopefully in 30 years I'll pick one up for around £20!!)

All lenses are compromises, and this is no different

7 upvotes
Apewithacamera

Thanks for the review as I found it to be very informative!

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
kewlguy

Even though we can always say "sharpness is not the only thing that matters" - still, a $1700 lens with poor sharpness? Does it get better stopped down? yes, but for the price, IMO, not good enough. I tried it for a day and my first thought was the awful plastic build. Yes, it produces 'unique' rendering, but the fair price should be $700 less.

12 upvotes
marike6

According to the Sam Hurd review below, the 58 f/1.4G is metal. It also has much, much better bokeh than most other fifties, not to mention high color/contrast that you'd expect from a professional grade Nikkor.

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

kewlguy:

Wide open the Leica Noctilux isn't exactly sharp. Costs a bit more too. And yes a good bit sharper than this Nikon.

And that Nikon lens sure doesn't feel like a plastic body.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
samhain

@HowaboutRaw you know the Noctilux is a good bit sharper than this Nikon because you've tested them? Please tell us how you mounted the Noctilux on a Nikon body.
Or are you just making general assumptions?

Nowhere can I find the 2 lenses directly compared online...

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

samhain:

As you may know it’s not possible to mount M lenses on a 35mm SLR body.

However I’ve shot with the current Noctilux on a M240 and then shot with two examples of the Nikon 58mm on a D800 (guess that the D800E would have been a tad sharper). And this Nikon lens just isn’t particularly sharp. The Noctilux is when stopped down a bit.

There now the information is “online”, you can believe or live in the land where one can mount an M lens on a F mount DSLR body.

The Nikon lens has nice bokeh, not great colour though. And it’s not a colour problem that can be fixed with PhotoShop/ACR.

0 upvotes
Claudio NC

I do not argue on the high price (that probably is also for produce an optical having no coma distorsion), but the outer good quality plastic polymer is a blessing when working in cold environments, outdoors, not only in winter, when you are in difficult situations and just touching a few moments something metal, to cool fingers that become insensitive and aching ...

The physical appearance and design are important, but the practicality and usability all around is even more and more important!

0 upvotes
Wenetu

I'd like to see a real world images comparison between Sony A7R + Sonnar 55/1.8 and Nikon D800 + Nikkor 58/1.4G.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
harold1968

look at the MTA graphs of the 55mm on slrgear and your question is answered.
To those that say sharpness is not the only thing I think you will find that the T* zeiss sparkle adds the other

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
marike6

Here's a nice mini review from photographer Sam Hurd with samples images.

http://www.samhurdphotography.com/2013/gear-reviews/nikon-58mm-f1-4-lens-review-and-comparison-with-detailed-sample-images

3 upvotes
harold1968

To try and move away from Leica, one needs a f1.4 50mm lens that's sharp at f1.4.
It seems that Leica is the only game in town with a well run second of the excellent Canon 50mm f1.2.
Of course the Canon 85mm f1.2 is sharp at f2, and the Olympus 75mm (150mm) is sharp at f1.8 and the Nikon 85mm f1.4 is sharp at f2, but 50mm is that unique combination of a less claustrophobic view with thinness of field which can capture an artistic ideal for many types of photography, people and objects.
Sadly this is not the Nikon equivalent I was hoping to mount on a 610 or 800E.
Leica Summilux is still the king (and noctilux is still the emperor) and for them you need a M240. Oh well, bang goes the second car then ....

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Don't think the 0.95 Noctilux that sharp wide open--great colour though.

Right, the $7300 50 f/2.0 M is very sharp with excellent colour. But if you already own a D800E, why not try out the Zeiss Otus 55mm? Or is it that the 5mm turns the lens into something you don't want?

3 upvotes
magneto shot

u dont need the m240. Sony a7,a7r has come into the world ...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

magneto:

The A7 does NOT have a curved microlens array in the sensor plane.

So it is simplistic to say one can just substitute a different full framed mirrorless body for the Leica, best if you're going to go with a substitute to use an APSC sensor body to avoid vignetting. But then there are other compromises, like the 50mm lens is now 75mm.

0 upvotes
Scottelly

I wish they would just update the 50mm f1.2 AIS lens into an auto-focus G lens with nano-crystal coatings (to slightly improve the image quality) with the EXACT SAME optics in all other respects. That would be AWESOME. Of course, maybe they already considered that, and they decided not to mess with a good thing (they already have the 50mm f1.2 AIS, and it works great). This lens certainly gives people more choice, doesn't it?

0 upvotes
samhain

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think Nikon's lens mount would allow an AF lens faster than 1.4 (hense why there isn't one).

0 upvotes
Scottelly

I am no expert on lens mounts, but I don't see how the mount has a significant affect on the size of the aperture in the lens. Isn't it the lens barrel diameter in relation to the focal length of the lens that limits the aperture? Here is another point: If the mount allows for an 85mm f1.4 it must be "big enough" to allow for a very large opening in the lens aperture (approximately 60mm in diameter I believe), so a shorter focal length lens like this new 58mm lens could be made with the same ability, making its aperture to focal length ratio greater. In fact, it could be an f1.0 lens, if it were to open up to just 58mm instead of 60mm, but apparently the aperture in this new lens doesn't open up as wide as the aperture in the 85mm f1.4 G. I wonder why.

Please educate me, if I am wrong about this. A link to some educational material would be great.

0 upvotes
Jan Madsen

To Scottely: You must distinguish between front pupil and rear pupil. The front pupil is detemined by focal length divided by aperture, so a 200mm f2 lens is 100mm (big!). Rear pupil is almost 100% dependent on aperture, not focal length. So a 200mm f2 and a 24mm f2 have rear pupils about the same size, and thus require about the same amount of mount diameter. All this is a simplification, but it is an easy way of describing things. So as aperture, not focal length, is the important parameter at the rear, there is a limit on how large an aperture can be handled by a particular mount, irrespective of focal length - limited by the mount diameter in conjunction to its distance from the sensor. Most mounts are limited to around f1.2, inlcluding the Nikon mount, but Nikons electrical contacts gets into the way for f1.2, unless you cheat by letting them cover a little of the rear lens. Canon does the same for f1.0, the contacts sits on a platform over the edge of the rear lens.

0 upvotes
Scottelly

I don't buy your answer Jan. Sorry. If Canon makes an 85mm f1.2 auto-focus lens, why can Nikon not make a 50mm f1.2 auto-focus lens? Is there THAT much difference in the diameters of the mounts? (more than 30%?!?) I don't believe there is. Besides, Nikon makes an auto-focus 135mm f2 lens. It must have a REALLY big rear pupil, I guess. From what you are saying, the same size pupil at the rear of the lens in a 67.5mm lens would be big enough to allow an f1.0 aperture, would it not? Also, why is an 85mm f1.4 possible, but a 50mm f1.2 not possible? I mean if the rear pupil of the 50mm were the same size as the rear pupil of the 85mm f1.4 then it should be able to have a larger aperture ratio, right?

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Scottelly

I'm sorry Jan, I did not catch what you wrote about the rear pupil being the same size in a lens with the same aperture. That is wrong though. If it were right, the rear pupils of the Canon 85mm f1.2 and 50mm f1.2 lenses would be the same. They are not. I just did a little research. I looked at photos of the rear pupil on Canon 85mm f1.2 and 50mm f1.2 lenses (at B&H). I see there is a big difference in the two. This makes me think that if Nikon can make the 85mm f1.4 G work, they can make a 50mm f1.2 G auto-focus lens too. I wish they would. I'd also like to see a 45mm f1.0 lens, but maybe THAT would be impossible. Certainly a 45mm f1.1 would be possible though, and that would be pretty cool. Since the 50mm f1.2 AIS fills a need for a super wide 50 for now, maybe Nikon should make a 45mm f1.1 G. How cool would THAT be . . . if they make it sharp and good, of course.

I'd also like to see a Nikon 24-90 f2 VR, even if it costs $3,000.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jan Madsen

Scottelly you need to view the rear pupil with the eye approximately where the sensor is - everything else doesn't make sense - photos of the rear pupil are from far away, and will show wildly varying sizes. Put your eye close to the rear of the lens, and the f/1.2 pupil will look nearly the same both for a 50mm and a 85mm. And yes, the Canon EF mount is substantially larger, so that f/1.2 is easy, and f/1 is just possible. Furthermore, the smaller Nikon F mount is further from the sensor (enough space for a Nikon->Canon converter ring), making things even worse.

0 upvotes
12345ccr

this lens should not have gotten 84%. The rating is absolutely ridiculous. In the sharpness test, the 50mm F/1.4 is sharper at most, if not all F stops. Plus, it's between 3-4 X as expensive as well. The most i would give is a 60%. As a Canon shooter myself, i can get a faster and better lens for less money and im sure Nikon users can as well.

8 upvotes
marike6

This is a better lens than the 50 f/1.4G, hands down. Sharpness is but a tiny part of photography. This lens has professional color/contrast that high end Nikkors and L lenses are known for, great bokeh (dramatically better than the other 50s), and a solid metal barrel professional build quality.

See the Flickr stream from my comments below and the above review and get back to us. :-)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
harold1968

I agree. In terms of the previous comment, sharpness is not everything, but you can always scale it back, never add it in PP.
Lenses that aren't sharp aren't sharp if you see what I mean

4 upvotes
marike6

Lots of wide open samples here. At close range at max aperture there is tons of detail from this lens. Like the 50 f/1.8 and f/1.4G lenses, 1 or 2 EV from max you'll have all the sharpness you'll ever need. But this lens had much better color/contrast that the two other current Nikon 50s.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25916089@N04/11093741885/in/set-72157637657388713/lightbox/

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer

If you really want professional build quality, great bokeh and all-metal construction, you can get a 50mm 1.2 AIS for $700, or $500, gray. No AF concerns, either.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
quiquae

A MF lens is superior because "no AF concerns"? Is that like how a wheelbarrow is superior to a car because "no engine concerns"?

5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

q:

If the wheel barrow can run at 70 MPH for 3 hundred miles, and carry four people, and requires little more effort to use than a 4 passenger car, sure then one could easily go with the wheel barrow, may even be "superior". That manual focus 50mm 1.4 Zeiss sure has better colour than anything from Nikon, not the sharpest lens.

0 upvotes
Scottelly

They seem to be pretty new at reviewing lenses, so while I agree that it seems like a high rating, it is far from the highest rating they have given to a lens at this point (Sigma 35mm f1.4 A lens at 89%), and we really can't tell what they would give the Canon 50mm f1.2 L (which might garner an 86% or something like that). I think a comparison against other lenses is the only way to determine where this lens should be rated. On the Nikon D800 DXOmark rates this new 58mm f1.4 G lower than the 50mm f1.4 G, with a score of 28 vs. a score of 32 for the 50. The Canon 50mm f1.2 L gets a 29 when mounted on a 5 D Mk III, but I think the D800 would help it achieve a better score. So maybe this lens is not so good. I guess time will tell. It obviously has a few fans already. Just so you know, the 85mm f1.4 scores very high at DXOmark (using the Nikon D800), beating all other Nikon lenses with a score of 40. (The 85mm f1.8 G actually ties for first place with a score of 40 also.)

0 upvotes
patcam7122

You must really be smoking something good, "Joe", if you think these photos are any better than can be produced by a run-of-the-mill 50mm/1.4G.

1 upvote
RichRMA

I would compare the colour error and sharpness with the 50mm f/1.4 and then figure out if the extra $1200 is worth it. Seems like for what they are charging, they could make a lens that would peak in performance around f/4.0 and not f/8.0 like any run-of-the-mill $300 prime.

2 upvotes
Scottelly

Good point!

0 upvotes
Piggy the bad

Costs $1699 Today £1 = $1.59. $1699 = £1068 Nikon uk screwing the British to the tune of £630 Absolute pi** take, shame on you nikon.

1 upvote
rrccad

i guess you forgot VAT in your calculations

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer

I'm sure there's £630 of some sort of added value that we in the U.S. aren't getting. But we'll be getting it soon enough...

1 upvote
jhinkey

As a night shooter the coma wide open is simply too much to justify the cost of this lens - was expecting better for the price.

I also wonder why Nikon chose to release this lens now when not that many will be sold and there are so many other primes that need updating that a lot more people will buy.

6 upvotes
io_bg

It's a cheaper Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 alternative ;)

0 upvotes
Timbukto

Other cheap alternatives to coma -
1. Stop down and be happy that you have noise performance that was unheard of 5 years ago.
2. Stop down and shoot a longer exposure.
3. Stop down and shoot multiple shorter exposures and blend in post.

In fact the Otus is so expensive you can buy *two* sets of bodies, tripods, lenses, and fire them off side by side at the same time and blend for lower noise just to be utterly absurd and still come out ahead in $$$.

Plus DPReview clearly shows that regardless of the $$$ difference, if you want star bursts you need to stop down regardless.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

io_bg:

That Zeiss Otus is a good bit sharper, better colour subtlety too. Yes, I've shot some test shots with both.

0 upvotes
MikeF4Black

I've had this lens on my D800 for some two months now (I'm actually on my third sample now, which front focuses a lot less than the first two), and it is by far the best portrait lens I have ever used. The 58mm focal length is actually great for head and shoulder portraits, and the rendering can not be described in a graph. Colour, contrast, bokeh, transition from in focus to out of focus, all have a quality that is very special.

It is not extremely sharp, my sample still has a bit of front focusing so I should do some AF finetuning, and it is not a very practical walk around lens.

5 upvotes
CFynn

It may have very special rendering, but if customers have to go through three copies of a premium lens just to find one that doesn't front focus too much, there is something lacking in Nikon's QC.

This doesn't give me any confidence to purchase one.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
magneto shot

maybe it was for the same reason why i paid for the 24 mm 1.4

http://marcuslowphotos.com/2013/12/27/elaine-crimson-jewel/

1 upvote
RichRMA

The bokeh defocused images of lights at the edge of the field are still comatic (oval), like the 85mm f/1.4. It gives the illusion of a spinning movement, which is kind of distracting. Out of focus lights should be round.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Samuel Dilworth

This is caused by vignetting and therefore can’t be avoided with very fast lenses.

0 upvotes
marike6

Before theorizing on this lens, I would urge everyone to see the below image set from this lens.

This lens has about the creamiest bokeh of any normal lens. It is absolute butter. And like all N coated Nikkors, color/contrast is extremely high, something that these kinds of "tests" don't always tell you.

Clearly for professionals wedding shooters, portraitists, and general shooting, this lens is a no-brainer.

Anyway, in case you haven't seen these, have a look at this set of 58 f/1.4G images from Joe Marquez that he made in Hawaii. Lots of wide open portraits made in this set, and they look terrific.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25916089@N04/sets/72157637657388713/with/10923025833/

10 upvotes
new boyz

"This lens has about the creamiest bokeh of any normal lens. It is absolute butter."

Creamy? Yes, absolutely. Creamiest ? No. I've seen creamier.

"color/contrast is extremely high, something that these kinds of "tests" don't always tell you."

Contrast can be measured - that's what MTF is for. As for color, although lens design has an effect on the final result(how it manipulates certain range of wavelengths), other factors also contribute something - like sensor's color filter array and most importantly, post processing.

4 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff

nice bokeh though.

1 upvote
new boyz

True. Very smooth. I really like it.

0 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff

Looks like it suffers from the Nikon's usual soap-smudged images wide-open. When I first saw that, I thought the 50mm F1.8 was broken.

Other than that, looks like a nice lens. It seems better for real world use, than for photographing test-charts.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Absolutic

you can still buy the 58/1.2 Ai-s which IS sharp wide open AND it does very plesant bokeh. Except it is going to cost you $3K for a used copy on ebay. I think dpreview reviewers should have thrown that one in as well, as it is still cheaper than the zeiss, yet faster and a better than its modern counteract. I understand Nikon says they cannot make a F/1.2 lenses with AF these days since they won't fit inside the F mount. Too bad. 58/1.2 Ais was a quite special lens.

0 upvotes
ButterflySkies

Nikon do have a few AF-S 50/1.2 patents, so I don't think nikon would put them out there if it was an impossible lens.
Nikon made it 1.4 because of better quality wide open, and 1.2 is just 0.3 stop away, not that much.
The 58/1.4 is also just as sharp or sharper than the 58/1.2 noct. The 58/1.4 also have better coma control and better colors.

1 upvote
sharkcookie

Actually that is not true. I made the mistake of thinking the old 50/1.2 manual focus lens is great and bought it. It sadly isn't. It's not anywhere near has sharp wide open and the bokeh is not pleasing at all. Yes it's very blurry but the bokeh (=quality of the out of focus areas) is not good. Manual focus is also a huge issue. Even on a full frame camera with a great viewfinder you have trouble nailing focus at f/1.2. A well performing AF is not a bonus but almost a must for wide primes. Most AF 50 mm lenses I tested (Sigma, Nikon, Canon) all had a slightly disappointing hit rat on focus. The 58mm has the highest keeper rate (in terms of nailing focus).

0 upvotes
Scottelly

I think the focus "hit rate" you refer to is a function of user error. It's very easy to make a focus error with such shallow depth of field as you get at f1.4 with a subject fairly close. I had a great deal of trouble with focusing my 50mm f1.4 on my Canon 5 D, while shooting head and shoulder portraits. Eventually I just gave up trying to use auto-focus with that lens and concentrated on using manual focus and moving in and out a little to achieve a "fine" focus. That's why I like the idea of manual focus for wide aperture lenses now. I am not expert with wide aperture photography though. I think my eyesight just isn't good enough maybe. Since that time I've found that I prefer to shoot at f8 and produce a short depth of field by using a zoom lens and changing camera to subject to foreground and background distance relationships. ;)

0 upvotes
intruder61

overrated by amateurs and over priced....but the hoo haa continues

3 upvotes
JF69

Most amateurs will never afford it, & most who berate it will never afford a lens half this price; so it's a moot point.
I hope both camps realise this ASAP & stop the useless bla-bla

0 upvotes
Timbukto

Are you joking? Amateurs will never afford it? What fantasy world do you live in where pro photogs must have the highest levels of disposable income? I'm sure the cream of the crop earn a decent living, but hey the cream of the crop basketball players or golfers earn a lot too.

Large sensor cameras, wide aperture lenses are *marketed* to amateurs. If all photographer gear was resigned to only 'pros' the entire market would instantly evaporate into fumes.

Do the news of more and more publications eviscerating their photojournalist staffs completely escape you? The fact that 'pros' can make a decent living marketing themselves and selling workshops to amateurs show that you have no idea what the market demographics consist of.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
10 upvotes
Scottelly

I totally agree. I think there is no reason this lens should be more expensive than the 85mm f1.4 G. (Of course, I don't think the Canon 85mm f1.2 L should be anywhere near the price that thing fetches either.)

0 upvotes
slncezgsi

Well, let's look at it this way - compared to Zeiss Otus it is a bargain, even if the image quality is a bit ... dreamy ;)

On the serious note - I am pretty sure that Nikon wanted to produce this king of performance that should remind of the Noct lens and not a 'perfect' (aberration free) lens (what would have been probably possible at this price for Nikon even if the lens would get a bit bigger)

0 upvotes
Tilted Plane

Hmmm...read the comments and I want to pipe up and say "nice review!" You dance around the issues because they might in fact not be cut and dry, and I like that. The info is given, the comparisons great (though throwing in the Otus would have made a LOT of sense here). Much appreciated!

4 upvotes
Antony John

As DXO have already tested the Otus I see no reason for not having done so - except that it would be embarrassing I guess.
The 60 Micro also acquits itself well against the Nikon 58mm too.

1 upvote
PerL

This is a lens for pros that wants the special look it provides, for the same reason Canon photographers gets the very expensive 50 1.2. Of course it seems overpriced for lot of people, but they are not the market for these kind of lenses.

4 upvotes
zeev kirshenboim

That is correct, but even pros will struggle with the focus issue.

3 upvotes
Timbukto

Oh please...wide open performance is not only for 'Pros' but some holy grail of gratification for gearheads with plenty of money and it has *always* been this way. When people shot film, pro's typically never went nuts about wide open performance because the likelihood of getting an unusable OOF shot is too high. Digital has changed things but lets be real, the amount of cliched terrible amateur wide-open shots taken with this lens will probably exceed the amount of professional paid for images taken with it.

10 upvotes
Kinematic Digit

Very confusing review.... you guys generally gave it a luke warm review with a few stand out performance points like bokeh and coma, then proceed to give it 84% and a silver award??

By the sounds of the review, it's good for one type of shooting, wide open, portrait distance and in the evening. Seems like a very specialized lens for $1700.

From a consumer perspective, as a Nikon users, it just doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money for limited use. Although if Bokeh is the only reason, then perhaps it is worth the extra premium, but experienced shooters will tend to be at F/2 where it appears that the 1.4G is still the value choice.

For a new consumer, the difference of buying a D610 + 58 vs a D800 + 50 (or even a Dƒ +50 ) becomes a pretty obvious choice for value and image quality.

The score you folks put out there make sense if you're that tourist on the ski hill that goes to the shop to buy new gear and has no experience skiing.

3 upvotes
olakiril2

" The score you folks put out there make sense if you're that tourist on the ski hill that goes to the shop to buy new gear and has no experience skiing."
Thats the target audience.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton

The review is more than just the score. There is plenty of discussion of the lens' real-world performance characteristics in here, and a full samples gallery for you to make your own mind up based on the images.

5 upvotes
jimi1127

Here's a link to 145 58 1.4G snaps - as mentioned, night shots bring out the best.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/joejosephs/sets/72157638060288654/

2 upvotes
zeev kirshenboim

I am using this lens with D800 and D4. I got so many pictures out of focus that I thought that something is wrong with my lens. I placed a question in the DPR forum about it.
In this excellent review I got the answer.
When the focus is OK, the pictures are just beautiful thanks to attractive background blur.
Is it worth the 4x the price of the 50mm 1.4 lens? Absolutely not!!
If Nikon can do something in software to correct for the focus issue, then maybe.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
sharkcookie

Open the camera manual and find the section that explains AF micro adjust.

1 upvote
stuntmonkey

If you've never used it, then it's not worth the money. If you've used it, it's still not worth the money, but you have to use it at night wide open to really know what this lens is all about.

0 upvotes
Timbukto

The Nikkor 50 1.4G like the Canon 1.4 is not usable wide open with light sources at night due to coma smear. However lets assume you want to nail a certain exposure duration at night...it becomes a possibility to stop down (which may make the image better anyways in terms of DOF or star bursts), and apply multi-shot NR in post to have same effective noise performance (at the cost of capturing more scene movement). So like many things you are paying a premium for *single* shot wide open performance (because you can always stop down at night and take a longer exposure, or reduce ambient light bleed by taking multiple exposures of shorter duration and blending to reduce noise).

2 upvotes
Der Steppenwolf

@stuntmonkey
Right, you keep on repeating that to your self, after enough times even you might believe in it.

1 upvote
stuntmonkey

I don't have to. I've actually used it to know what I'm talking about. I wouldn't actually buy it for myself, but there are people who will have a proper use for it.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nickkessler

I've used my nikon 58 1.4g on 2 d800 bodies and 2 nikon Df's next to my 50 1.4

in my opinion. my strong opinion there sample was not focusing perfectly on the d800. the d800 is notoriously difficult to nail focus in my opinion.

on both my d800's even -20 didn't get the af where it should be.

on the df -2 and it is razor sharp at 1.4.

0 upvotes
imsabbel

Well, the Bokeh REALLY looks nice. Honestly, astonishingly good.

To bad that the subject in focus doesn't seem to, if you get it into focus...

2 upvotes
Total comments: 414
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