Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S lens / bokeh King

It’s all about the lens character.





By: Smari S Smarason

Smari S Smarason

This is a high performance lens and is still a production lens from Nikkor.

Sometimes I thing sharpness is not the most important factor when comparing lenses wide open, there is something else, and I thing it’s all about the beautiful dreamy softness bokeh wide open and that special character that this lens have.

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI-S

Advantages of this lens

Maximum aperture f/1.2 and Minimum aperture f/16

7 elements in 6 groups.

9 traditional blades.

@f/1.2. you can capture images with shallow depth-of-field that lets you isolate subjects from the background.

This lens is Manual focus lens with very nice – smooth and much shorter rotation on the focusing ring from closest focus to the infinity than on my Nikkor f/1.4 AI lens.

This is a good lens for video shooters, the lens is very sharp in low light and the focusing ring is perfect on this lens.

The lens have a lot of vignetting Wide open, but it can look good in some cases and is one of the lens charm, and the Bokeh turns into nonacon shape when the lens is stopped down.

When you stopped the lens down to f/2 the vignetting almost disappear and this lens becomes very sharp with great bokeh.

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 is the sharpest of all Nikon 50mm lenses from f/2 to f/5.6.

This 1.2 lens is nothing but steel and glass with focus ring made of rubber.

Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S

What I was most afraid of when I bought this lens was how easily can i get sharp focus Wide open because of the shallow depth-of-field on f/1.2, well it turned out to be much easier than I thought.

You might also like

Nikon 50mm 1.8D Review

Nikon 50mm 1.8G Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4G Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4D Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4 vs 1.8 Review

Nikon is still selling this lens new on Amazon.


Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S…..T stop lens test.

Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S
Nikon 50mm 1.4 AI lens on the left and Nikon 50mm 1.2 AI-S on the right

T stop is the light that is outputted from the back of the lens.

Questions that I found online (the same questions that I have been asking myself)

Is there any practical way to measure the light transmission in a lens?

Someone answered like this.

(You can get a relative value for an unknown lens by shooting a uniform light source with two lenses, one of which with a known the T-stop (several websites provide this value e.g. DXO mark). You can then work out the T-stop by comparing brightness of these two images both lenses should be set to the same F-stop and focused to infinity.)

Well I’m lucky enough to have nine pieces of 50mm nikon lenses and four of them have been Transmission (T stop) measured by DXOMark so I can use them as a guideline to measure the other five lenses that I have.

So I’m gonna call this the real life T stop measurement test.

All the test that I did turned out to give me the same results on both of my cameras D810 and D7000.

My guideline.

( DXO measure the f/1.4D lens to have 1.4 T stop )

( DXO measure the f/1.4G lens to have 1.5 T stop )

( DXO measure the f/1.8G lens to have 2 T stop )

( DXO measure the f/1.8D lens to have 2 T stop )

(This technique is nothing like how the to this at DXOMark, but this test is enough for me and hopefully enough for you)

Test

I use my camera in aperture priority setting in controlled lighting conditions, the first lens is 1.4D and the camera choose 1/1000s @ f/1.4.

So next lens is the 1.4G and the camera is struggling between 1/800 -1/1000s.

Okay next lens is 1.2 AI-S and I start on f/1.4 aperture and the camera choose 1/1000s just like the 1.4D.

Next is f/1.2 aperture and the camera choose 1/1250s so that tells me that the T stop is 1.2 @ f/1.2, and T stop @ f/1.4 is T 1.4 on the 1.2 AIS lens.

I did the same thing with all my lenses and this are the numbers that I came up with.

Transmission – T stop

Nikkor f/1.2 AI-S – T stop of 1.2

Nikkor f/1.2 AI-S @ f/1.4 – T stop of 1.4

Nikkor f/1.4 D – T stop 1.4 (DXO)

Nikon Nikkor – S 1.4 – T stop 1.5

Nikkor f/1.4 AI – T stop 1.4

Nikkor f/1.4 G – T stop 1.5 (DXO)

Nikkor f/1.8 G – T stop 2 (DXO)

Nikon f/1.8 D – T stop 1.9

Nikon pancake E f/1.8 – T stop 1.9

Nikon Nikkor pancake f/1.8 – T stop 1.9

Disadvantages of this lens (in my opinion)

Manual focusing on a moving object is not gonna help you get the job done with this manual focus lens, you will miss a lot of shots, so you are not going to use this lens for professional work were you need to be following kids or pets around were everything needs to be in sharp focus, but this lens is the most fun lens to use for your private work.

Manual focusing is not a problem for landscape photographers or still life photography manual focusing actually make things much easier.

Bokeh Test

Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2

   

50mm 1.2 @ f/2.0
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/2.0

Somehow the 50mm 1.4G renders a little bit bigger bokeh effects like the ones down below then the 50mm f/1.2 lens, I guess that has something to do with the focusing distance of both lenses.

Bokeh Test Nikon50mm f/1.2 vs Nikon 50mm 1.4G Wide open
Bokeh Test Nikon50mm f/1.2 vs Nikon 50mm 1.4G Wide open
Bokeh Test Nikon 50mm f/1.2 vs 50mm 1.4G on f/2
Bokeh Test Nikon 50mm f/1.2 vs 50mm 1.4G on f/2
Nikon D810 - Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 - ISO 110 - 1/100 sec
Nikon D810 – Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 – ISO 110 – 1/100 sec
Nikon D810 - Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 - ISO 110 - 1/100 sec
Nikon D810 – Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 – ISO 100 – 1/100 sec
Nikon D810 - Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 - ISO 64 - 1/5000 sec
Nikon D810 – Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 – ISO 64 – 1/5000 sec

Portrait

To own this lens is like having two lenses, one lens is on aperture f/1.2 to f/1.4 that lens is all soft glow and creamy bokeh, and the other lens is from f/2 and down, that lens is all sharp with a lot of contrast.

Nikon D810 50mm 1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 ISO 100 1/5000 sec
Nikon D810 50mm 1.2 AI-S @ f/1.2 ISO 100 1/5000 sec
Nikon D810 50mm 1.2 AI-S @ f/2.0 ISO 100 1/5000 sec
Nikon D810 50mm 1.2 AI-S @ f/2.0 ISO 100 1/5000 sec
Nikon D810 - Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS @ f/1.2 - ISO 200 - 1/250s
Nikon D810 – Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS @ f/1.2 – ISO 200 – 1/250s

Is there a difference between soft images or out of focus images, yes there is, the Nikkor 1.2 lens it’s all about beautiful dreamy softness wide open and not all lenses can do that.

Sometimes the pictures can look like its not in focus when shooting wide open because of the shallow depth-of-field on f/1.2.

Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2

long exposure

This lens is, in my opinion, is one of the best lens that i have tested for long exposure photography

the images are so crispy clean and sharp, especially around f/5.6 to f/11.

The 50mm 1.2 AIS lens have 9 straight diaphragm blades, but in the older 50mm 1.4 D lens it’s only 7 diaphragm blades, that means for example, Starburst in long exposure photography is gonna be 18 stars on the 50mm 1.2 AIS and only 14 stars on 50mm 1.4D.

Nikon D7000 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/8.0 - 30.0 sec ISO 100
Nikon D7000 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/8.0 – 30.0 sec ISO 100
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/4.0 - 8s.
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/4.0 – 8s.

On the images below there was a neon sign on a building behind me and that’s why the colours are like that.

Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/8.0 - 6s
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/8.0 – 6s
The images below is taken with Nikon D810 / Nikkor f/1.2 lens @ f/2.8
Nikon D810 Nikon 50mm f/1.2 @ f/2.8

Conclusion and recommendation

This lens is my favourite when it com’s to still life and landscape photography – long exposure and low light shooting, but when it comes to professional photo work I like to use the Nikon 50mm 1.4G lens mainly because of the AF-S.

when you hold this lens you can feel the build quality is fantastic. This lens is freaking sharp and one day i’m gonna compare this lens with sigma 50mm art lens.

You might also like

Nikon 50mm 1.8D Review

Nikon 50mm 1.8G Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4G Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4D Review

Nikon 50mm 1.4 vs 1.8 Review

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 lens review