Rich - RICH Photography
Mar 14, 2017

The Nikon 50mm 1.4G - REVIEW


Edited: Jun 12, 2017

Yes...the higher end 'G' version.


Im in 2 minds about this lens, one day I love it and the rest…well Im actually not sure if I like it.


The 1.4G was the most expensive 50mm lens at around R9500. So its quite pricey for a fixed zoom lens that gives you very few styles of will soon see what I mean with 'very few styles'...key the nifty fifty lovers in 3 2 1...


Im going to keep this review short and be blunt.


The only reason you would buy this lens is for the aperture, 1.4 gives you awesome bokeh (blurry background). But as much as Nikon says its a great portrait lens, I completely disagree, at 50mm you still get far too much distortion on the subjects face. Also using it at this range (portrait on your subject), an aperture of 1.4 may have 1 of the models eyes in focus but the other (if he/she is angled slightly) is already out of focus. The aperture is way too fine for the range...lift the apeture you say? Well then buy a 24-70 and shoot it at 70mm at 2.8?


So I decided to step back a little, get more of the body in, I even took a few full length shots, and this lens is very soft at this range and far from sharp!

Shortly after this I bought myself the Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 and realised that zooming in to 70mm and photographing your subject in a portrait crop has way less distortion and the aperture at 2.8 is much more pleasing as it is much sharper.


The 24-70mm 2.8 is 3 to 4 times the price at around R27 000 (March 2017) however its versatile due to its zoom range and far sharper. Even the build quality is superior.


My 50mm sits in my bag and never comes out, I have not yet used the Nikon 85mm 1.4 however I can imagine that this truly is the ultimate portrait lens based on the zoom at 85mm (very little distortion) and a massive aperture of 1.4

Nikon…if you have one spare, my bag has one empty spot ;)


But if you thought that the 85mm was the pinnacle for portraits…have you thought about the 105 Macro 2.8? (this will be a story for another day)


So the conclusion for this lens and my advice, its really not a great lens and isn't worth changing lenses at a shoot. You would probably get a much better portrait of a model using a 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 DX lens zooming in at 200mm with enough bokeh in the background. (Im just referring to bokeh, not about the extra stops of light)


Save your R9500 and add it to your purchase of the Nikon 24-70mm 2.8!


If you haven't yet watched the video in the Lightroom category about Chromatic Aberration, I suggest you do so if you want to buy a 50mm...they are absolute chromatic aberration lovers (hence I havent used mine in ages).


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