50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!

Started Jan 4, 2014 | Questions thread
BarnET Veteran Member • Posts: 3,570
Re: 50mm Prime with Resolution for a D800? Come on Nikon/Sigma!

Nexu1 wrote:

BarnET wrote:

light_bulb wrote:

One of the reasons I went for the D800 was higher resolution. However we all know that (Nikon) lenses are for the most of it not really up to the task.

This has been demonstrated by the Zeiss lenses 100 2.0 Macro Planar, 135 2.8 APO Sonnar and lately by the 55 Otus which resolve (way) better than most/all Nikkors.

My best buy from Nikon was the AFS 85 1.8 G which optically is very good indeed, however AF precision is so so. Not knowing what prime to buy in the 50 mm range, I have bought an AFS 50 1.8 G to buy some time finding a better option. I use it for full body shots in studio as well as for city/landscaping and in particular for these purposes I would like a lens that resolves significantly better.

The 50 1.8 G is not at all bad at its price point and most likely sufficient for a D610 but it is not exactly what I wanted to have. By know, I have not really come accross a good alternative except for the Zeiss 55 Otus (well of course without AF, but quite some bulk and on the pricey side).

Nikon´s 50 1.4 is in some regard better and in others worse. The Micro Nikkors fail to deliver the kind of resolution one would expect from macro lenses. At the same time, macro lenses are often not good as general purpose lenses. While Sigma has got a very good alternative as a 35 mm prime, in the 50 mm range the last resort seems to be the Otus.

Is it really that difficult to build a not too fast 50 mm prime lens that can hold a candle to the D800/800E? When I started with photography in film days, a good 50 mm 1.8 came as a kit lens.

It is kind of funny that the money I would have to spend for the Otus would buy me a Sony A7R plus FE Zeiss prime lens to get the kind of resolution I want (instead of just larger but somewhat mushy files).

Have I missed to notice any existing alternative, even though I have done my homework? What has Sigma on its Art roadmap?

Thanks for any useful hints that may help me out of this.


It looks like you are right. The 50mm f1.8g is a great lens for the money. But It just can't resolve enough detail. The sigma 35mm seems to be the best blend in sharpness AF and cost. The zeiss with an mediu m format.

Nikon 50mm f1.8G: http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/631-nikkorafs5018ff?start=1

Sigma 35mm f1.4: http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/792-sigma3514dgfx?start=1

Both peak at 3900-4000.

That was on the d3x not an more demanding d800. And those scores were stopped down to f5.6

The sigma is sharper at f1.8 till f4.

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