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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4G review

June 2009 | By Andy Westlake
Buy on GearShop$424.94

The AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4 G is Nikon's latest take on the classic 'standard lens' concept, and was introduced in September 2008. It's a replacement for the older AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D which we reviewed last year, with revised optics to better meet the demands of modern high-resolution full frame sensors. The optical formula is an updated version of the classic 'double Gauss' design, with an additional element placed towards the rear to give an 8 element, 7 group configuration. According to Nikon, this improves correction of off-axis aberrations, which promises better performance towards the edges of the frame particularly when using large apertures.

The AF-S designation indicates that the lens features a built-in 'Silent Wave' motor for fast and quiet autofocusing, which also provides full compatibility with Nikon's entry-level DSLR bodies such as the D60 and D5000. A further benefit afforded by this ring-type motor is the 'manual priority autofocus' mode, which allows the user to adjust focus manually after autofocusing. There's also a circular aperture design which employs 9 rounded blades, for a more natural rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds.

Of course all these improvements over the older lens come at a price, and the AF-S 50mm F1.4G is significantly more expensive than its predecessor. It also has to compete with the other new kid on the block - the impressive (if slightly more costly) Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM. So lets find out how it compares to these two lenses, and whether it's worth your hard-earned dollars.

Headline features

  • 50mm focal length; fast F1.4 maximum aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor allows autofocusing on all Nikon DSLRs
  • Full-time manual focus override

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the angles of view on FX (35mm full frame) and DX camera bodies:

50mm (FX 35mm full-frame) 50mm (DX; 75mm equivalent)

 

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4G specifications

Street price • $485 US
• £300 UK
Date introduced September 2008
Maximum format size 35mm full frame
Focal length 50mm
35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C) 75mm
Diagonal Angle of view (FF) 46º
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 31º 30'
Maximum aperture F1.4
Minimum aperture F16
Lens Construction 8 elements / 7 groups
Number of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Minimum focus 0.45m
Maximum magnification 0.15x
AF motor type • Ring-type SWM
• Full-time manual focus
Focus method Unit
Image stabilization • None
Filter thread • 58mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories • Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood HB-47
• CL-1013 Lens Pouch
Weight 290g (10.2 oz)
Dimensions 73.5mm diameter x 54.2mm length
(2.9 x 2.1 in)
Lens Mount Nikon F only

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

Foreword / notes

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our 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 author, we recommend that you read the entire review before making any decision. Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of them, click to display a larger image in a new window.

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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the 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 also A, B and C.

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Comments

harvestmedia1
By harvestmedia1 (4 months ago)

Can anyone help me to find a suitable lens for my Nikon camera? I use the camera mainly for video and looking for a wide angle lens which is good in low light with VR option and also which can cover wide area in focus. I already have a 18-105 lens.
Thanks in advance.

0 upvotes