Nikon AF-Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D review
The AF-Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D is Nikon's current version of their fast 'standard' prime lens, and while this specific model was introduced in 1995, the basic optical design dates back to the manual focus 50mm 1:1.4 AI of 1977. It features a traditional layout of 7 elements in 6 groups utilizing spherical surfaces only, which Nikon claims will deliver distortion-free images with superb resolution and colour accuracy, plus high contrast even at maximum aperture. The 50mm focal length classes it as a 'standard' lens on the FX format, with none of the 'perspective distortion' characteristic of wideangle or telephoto lenses, whilst on the vastly more popular and widespread DX format it behaves like a short telephoto, ideal for portraiture.
The 50mm 1:1.4 is one of the older lenses in Nikon's lineup, and this is reflected in several aspects of its design. The lens features a traditional aperture ring, which will no doubt be appreciated by photographers who grew up with mechanical manual-focus 35mm SLRs such as the FM range (although the only DSLRs on which it can actually be used are the high-end D1-D3 and D100-D700 bodies); however autofocus is 'screw-drive' from the camera body, and therefore won't work on the entry-level D40, D40x and D60.
Like the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM which we've recently reviewed, the Nikon 50mm 1:1.4D commands a hefty price premium over its little brother in the range, the AF-Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D. It's also up against stiff competition in the shape of the impressive new Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM and the Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F1.4 T*, although both of these lenses are considerably more expensive, and the Zeiss is manual focus only. So what does the Nikkor have to offer in this day and age?
- 50mm focal length
- Fast F1.4 maximum aperture
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-Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D specifications
|Street price||• $290 US
• £190 UK
|Maximum format size||35mm full frame|
|35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C)||75mm|
|Diagonal Angle of view (FF)||47º|
|Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C)||31º|
|Lens Construction||7 elements / 6 groups|
|Number of diaphragm blades||7|
|AF motor type||• 'Screw drive' from camera body|
|Image stabilization||• None|
|Filter thread||• 52mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
|Optional accessories||• Lens Hood HR-2|
|Weight||230g (8.1 oz)|
|Dimensions||64.5mm diameter x 42.5mm length
(2.5 x 1.7 in)
|Lens Mount||Nikon F only|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
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