24mm and 50mm, or just 35mm?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
patricksmith32
patricksmith32 Contributing Member • Posts: 863
Re: Photo Audit

I have had just about every modern Nikon lens at some point. To list a few of the normal or wide lenses, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 24mm f/1.8, 20mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.8, and 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8, as well as 58mm f/1.4! Today I only own four lenses, and they are by far the best lenses I’ve ever used. They are all near perfect optically and still impress me each time I use them. I currently own the Tamron 35mm f/1.4E SP, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E VR FL, 24-70mm f/2.8E VR and Nikon 500mm f/4E VR FL. I happened to apparently get somewhat lucky with my copy of the 24-70mm VR, as it’s sharp corner to corner wide open. I’ve heard others who only get the same results at f/4 or above, so apparently there is some sample variation.

Before settling on the current kit I have as far as the wider two lenses, I also compared the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E to the Tamron 35mm f/1.4 SP. Both are honestly so good it’s impossible to declare a winner, so it’s down to what focal length you like better and for myself that’s definitely 35mm, so I kept the Tamron and returned the Nikon. Unfortunately there really is no comparison amongst other lenses including the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G or the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art. The Nikon 28mm f/1.4E and Tamron 35mm f/1.4E SP are without doubt the very best lenses at their given focal length. The Sigma 40mm f/1.4 Art is definitely close to the image quality of the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E and Tamron 35mm f/1.4E SP, but it’s quite large and somewhat of a weird focal length. Having said that it’s also a great lens and many people love it and praise it. I tried one and it was impressive but not for me. I rave about the Tamron 35mm f/1.4E SP, it’s by far my most favorite wide to normal lens I’ve ever owned or used. It’s near optical perfection, it’s as close to perfect as a lens can be. I’m not only a photojournalist/newspaper photographer, but I also buy and sell gear on the side. Being an NPS member and buyer and seller of gear, I’ve had the opportunity to test nearly all modern Nikon lenses. That’s dating back to 1998 and not many lenses from back then still hold up to today’s standards except for the AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D ED-IF and the super-tele AF-I or AF-S lenses.

My point is that today there are many great lenses and even the 1.8G primes are very good. But if you want the best of the best, I would only recommend the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E, Tamron 35mm f/1.4E SP or the Sigma 40mm f/1.4 Art. Those three lenses are really on another playing field. I’m sure there might be a Zeiss Otus lens that is also extremely good optically, but I need autofocus. So for me and in the normal focal length range those would be my top three choices. You’ll be blown away by image quality coming from a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G! Which is not a terrible lens, it’s just old and not nearly as sharp as the more modern and more expensive professional level lenses I recommended.

 patricksmith32's gear list:patricksmith32's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F4E FL ED VR Nikon 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR Nikon D5 Nikon D6 +2 more
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