Nikon D700 - 50mm AFS f/1.8G accuracy not as good as my 35mm AFD f/2
I hope I can keep this short and straight forward. I'm a very experienced photographer but I'm hoping there is some user error someone might be able to point out.
I have two Nikon D700s, both configured the same. With all lenses I find they perform brilliantly. The AF accuracy is good and I can handhold them well (35mm AFD, 85mm AFS, 70-200 AFS VR1 and 20-35 AFD).
My settings are generally single shot mode, sometimes moved to continuous for moving subjects (at weddings for example, walking down the aisle). Generally I don't use dynamic area AF but if I do I usually have it set at 9 points. I use the focus points to focus rather than focus and recompose as I find for myself I get better more accurate results than focus+recompose.
I find the lenses above have very good hit rates, and pick out the 35mm f/2 as my 'star performer' in lower light, even allowing for the wider angle = greater depth of field at same aperture as the 50mm f/1.8G at f/2. It just focuses much quicker, much more accurately. I am finding the AFS 50mm f/1.8G really does hunt back and forth, even using the central AF points (15 of them) which are cross types.
I have tried AF calibration but I think at zero it is accurate, but it just sometimes completely fluffs the shot. In lower light it can become quite hopeless, whereas in AF-C with the 35mm f/2 AFD it nails it.
Does anyone else find this with the 50mm f/1.8G ?
I have tried so many things, but also tried not to change my shooting style too much because it seems to work fine for everything else but it deters me from using the 50mm (which is a shame, it's a great lens when it nails focus).
Sorry if this is a bit vague, I don't even know if I may have a slightly duff copy, the AF does sound very hesitant on it compared to my other lenses (e.g. the 85mm f/1.8G just nails it at f/1.8, and the 70-200mm is just magic).
I have always found that AF-D lenses were snappier but less precise. My experience with AF-S lenses are reverse; slower but more accurate. The 50 1.4G is quite slow but more precise. It's performance wide open is another topic for another time. The 50 1.8G improved on this and is a slightly faster focuser. If you live near a store, it might be an idea to compare your 50 to one on display. I haven't heard of any 50 1.8G lemons but I don't doubt that they may exist. In my experience , all things being equal, the 50 1.8G should trump the 35 f/2D optically. At f/2 it lacks contrast and sharpness and improves greatly at 2.8. So 50 at f/2 should easily beat the 35 at f/2. Good luck finding your answers.
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