The AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4 G is Nikon's latest take on the classic 'standard lens' concept, and was introduced in September 2008. It's a replacement for the older AF-Nikkor 50mm F1.4D which we reviewed last year, with revised optics to better meet the demands of modern high-resolution full frame sensors. The optical formula is an updated version of the classic 'double Gauss' design, with an additional element placed towards the rear to give an 8 element, 7 group configuration. According to Nikon, this improves correction of off-axis aberrations, which promises better performance towards the edges of the frame particularly when using large apertures.

The AF-S designation indicates that the lens features a built-in 'Silent Wave' motor for fast and quiet autofocusing, which also provides full compatibility with Nikon's entry-level DSLR bodies such as the D60 and D5000. A further benefit afforded by this ring-type motor is the 'manual priority autofocus' mode, which allows the user to adjust focus manually after autofocusing. There's also a circular aperture design which employs 9 rounded blades, for a more natural rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds.

Of course all these improvements over the older lens come at a price, and the AF-S 50mm F1.4G is significantly more expensive than its predecessor. It also has to compete with the other new kid on the block - the impressive (if slightly more costly) Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM. So lets find out how it compares to these two lenses, and whether it's worth your hard-earned dollars.

Headline features

  • 50mm focal length; fast F1.4 maximum aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor allows autofocusing on all Nikon DSLRs
  • Full-time manual focus override

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-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4G specifications

Street price • $485 US
• £300 UK
Date introduced September 2008
Maximum format size 35mm full frame
Focal length 50mm
35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C) 75mm
Diagonal Angle of view (FF) 46º
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 31º 30'
Maximum aperture F1.4
Minimum aperture F16
Lens Construction 8 elements / 7 groups
Number of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Minimum focus 0.45m
Maximum magnification 0.15x
AF motor type • Ring-type SWM
• Full-time manual focus
Focus method Unit
Image stabilization • None
Filter thread • 58mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories • Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood HB-47
• CL-1013 Lens Pouch
Weight 290g (10.2 oz)
Dimensions 73.5mm diameter x 54.2mm length
(2.9 x 2.1 in)
Lens Mount Nikon F only

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area