Which 50 do you like on FX and why?

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Chad Gladstone Senior Member • Posts: 2,608
Re: Which 50 do you like on FX and why?

smallcams wrote:

I'm contemplating a Nikon FX camera and 50mm prime lens.

It's got to have AF so, as I understand it, that leaves 4 lenses currently available.

Irrespective of price (shouldn't be much), which one do you prefer as a primary camera lens?

FWIW, this lens would be on camera about 90% of the time. I tried a friends 50/1.8D and it was very quick to focus. He said it was the fastest to auto focus of all of the other Nikon 50's.

I have a love/hate relationship with them all and find the 50 1.4g the best compromise between focus accuracy/size/weight/sharpness and bokeh. The sigma is better all around but substantially larger, both the af-d lenses focus faster but accuracy tolerances are too coarse for demanding high resolution sensors.

The new 1.8g is faster focusing and has marginally better flare resistance, but its bokeh is marginal. Also, 1.8 is not fast enough to differentiate it from the extremely capable 2.8 zooms in this FL length. So when I use this lens it is because I need the most accurate focus, and the most light gathering, thin DOF and pleasing bokeh in a compact package. There are no great lenses in the 50mm except the sigma, but it is just too large for a fast 50. I would not be surprised if the 50 is reenginered with gold ring, nano coating and in a 1.2 variant, but until then I will stick with the 1.4g when I need to shoot 1.4 and use the 24-70 when I don't. If you are not bothered by the size, consider the sigma. Then again, the 50 1.8g is a real gem and inexpensive - except for the harsh bokeh and the light gathering limitations it is a real bargain. I have the other two 1.8's in the modern 1.8 trio presently (and they are really good and inexpensive).

My 50g is by far my least used FL on FX, but when I use it I am always pleased with the output when the subject are fairly static and light is at a premium. I am a sucker for MTF resolution, and according to lenrentals tests on the 50g's, the 1.4 edges out the 1.8 in the center where the subject is more likely to reside for my shooting style. I you want a nikon, you are must balance your need for focus speed, size and flare resistance with less light gathering/ marginal bokeh but sharper corners (the 1.8g), and the 1.4g with almost a stop more light gathering, better bokeh, having to use the supplied hood to reduce flare, and noticeably slower (albeit accurate) focusing and the sharpest modern nikon 50 with good center (but not great corner sharpness). Both are compact and inexpensive. Pick your poison.

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Chad Gladstone

 Chad Gladstone's gear list:Chad Gladstone's gear list
Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +7 more
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