AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4G lens Review
The AF-S 50mm f1.4G is a very reliable workhorse, very sharp and quick to focus.
When I’m doing professional work that requires 50mm lens I always pick up this lens.
Advantages of the 50mm lens.
50mm lens on FX DSLR camera captures a scene with a perspective similar to the way we see the world,
so the 50mm focal length is what we call normal, that is not because other focal lengths are abnormal, because this focal length captures the scene in front of your camera with a perspective that appears normal to our eye
I use the 50mm lenses mostly for – Cityscape photography – long exposure – Landscape – Parties – wedding – Portrait – Still life photography and Video.
50mm f/1.4G single-focal-length lens with a normal picture angle
Maximum aperture f/1.4 – Minimum aperture f/16.
Lens construction is 8 elements in 7 groups when the older 50mm f/1.4 D lens has 7 elements in 6 groups.
The No. of diaphragm blades in the 50mm 1.4 G lens is 9 and all rounded, but in the older 50mm 1.4 D lens it’s only 7 diaphragm blades and none rounded, that means for example, Starburst in long exposure photography is gonna be 18 stars on the 50mm 1.4G and only 14 stars on 50mm 1.4D, all rounded means The 50mm 1.4G lens have almost circular bokeh effects on all apertures and the 50mm 1.4D lens have heptagon-shaped bokeh effects.
Closest focusing distance 45 cm/1.5 ft.
Filter/attachment size 58mm.
Weight Approx. 280 g/9.9 oz.
The Bokeh on this lens is really good thanks to 9 rounded diaphragm blades, only one other Nikon 50mm lens have 9 diaphragm blades, the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS.
The 1.4 G lens has Silent Wave Motor SWM / AF-S making it possible to use on entry-level Nikon DSLR like D3000 and D5000 models.
@ the maximum aperture f/1.4, you can capture images with shallow depth-of-field that lets you isolate subjects from the background.
The 1.4G lens have almost circular bokeh effects through all aperture because of diaphragm blades in the 50mm 1.4 G lens is 9 and all rounded
I have done bokeh test on this lens vs the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS wide open and the AF-S 50mm 1.4G lens have a little bit more (bigger) bokeh effect like those on the image below.
That has something to do with the closest focusing distance of the lens, the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS can focus closest to 0.5m /1.7 feet, when the Nikon 50mm 1.4G can focus closest to 0.45m /1.48 feet I did a test on 9 Nikon 50mm lenses and the 1.4G have the biggest bokeh effect of them all.
Sharpness and Bokeh
In the Photographic world, all lenses used properly have sharpness.
Sharpness in lens performance is usually overrated and you need to find your own way and see what is good for you.
But this is my definition of sharp and Bokehlicious lens (something that I’m looking for) is a fast lens that has been stopped down from Maximum aperture of any kind,
for this example f/1.4 lens that has been stopped down to aperture f/3.5 for portrait shoot, the background is Bokehlicious and my subject is sharp and really pop from the background, it literally looks like my subject have been photoshopped from another photo and replaced into my new photo (the 3D look) I want to see strong and perfect separation between my subject from the background.
Of course, my subject needs to be in the desired distance from the camera and the background, lighting plays a big role here too.
The best lenses for this type of photography (lenses that I have and own) Is
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
Nikon 50mm 1.4G
What do all this lenses have in common, they all have 9 diaphragm blade for beautiful bokeh effect, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 – Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G have 9 rounded diaphragm blades, and when you look add all the Nikon most expensive lenses, they all have 9 diaphragm blade in common, other lenses like Nikon kit lenses have 7 diaphragm blade in common, I’m not sure if this is the reason why these lenses are sharper than the others, but I like to thinks so.
The images below show a perfect separation from the background @ f/3.5
Lens flare is the light scattered in the lens mechanisms, usually unwanted.
But lens flare can also be useful because it adds a sense of realism in images or video, meaning that the image is a non-edited original photograph of a real-life scene so it is more up to you what you want or needs.
All lenses suffer from some imperfections especially old cheap lenses.
Almost all modern lenses are coated to minimize flare so when you use some of the old lenses you should always use a lens hood, the lens hood will help eliminates flare if the bright light is slightly off to the side.
But it won’t help if the light is directly in front of you.
Nikon 50mm 1.4G has newly developed optical system effectively corrects sagittal coma flare and coma aberration, I can clearly see that newly developed optical system is working well when I compare this lens to other Nikon 50mm lenses, I have nine pieces.
I’m not saying that this lens cannot get flare because you can get flare with this lens, but it’s very difficult.
If you like lens flare then you should buy Nikon 50mm 1.8D it’s very easy to get lens flare with the nifty fifty, especially on maximum aperture.
Using the AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G for portraits
I usually do not use 50mm lens for close up portrait photography, the 50mm is more shoo-table for a full-length portrait, for example, I have a small home studio and I usually use 85mm or 70-200mm for close up portrait and 50mm for a full-length portrait in my studio.
I usually use Flash when I’m shooting a portrait.
I used flash on the first images below, but not on the next two after that.
There is only one difference that I found between the 50mm 1,4G and 50mm 1,4D lens in long exposure photography and that is the starburst that appears on the street light, in my opinion the starburst looks better on the D lenses.
Conclusion and recommendation
This lens is a very reliable workhorse, very sharp and quick to focus, therefore I like to use this lens for professional photography.
The biggest reason why this lens is more expensive then the Nikon 50mm 1.8G is The No. of diaphragm blades in the 50mm 1.4 G lens is 9 and all rounded, you see this in all pro lenses from Nikon.