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Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:56 pm    Post subject: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

Now that i've got a Nikon to EOS adapter, i am wondering about buying MF nikkor 50mm F1.4

but there are so many Smile

Which one is the best... and not so expensive ?

thanks


PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, without knowing which body you are going to use it on, it's tought to say but I would say go for almost which ever 50/1.4 you can get. If you get a non-AI version and are going to use it on an old film body, you just need to shoot. For more modern film bodies and DLSR bodies you need to convert it to AI spec either by replacing the aperture ring or milling the existing ring.

The difference between the 50/1.4 non-AI and the AIS version is so small that using it on a digital body you will not see a difference since the lens will easily exceed the sensor's capabilities, especially on lesser DSLR bodies.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

larsr wrote:
Well, without knowing which body you are going to use it on, it's tought to say but I would say go for almost which ever 50/1.4 you can get. If you get a non-AI version and are going to use it on an old film body, you just need to shoot. For more modern film bodies and DLSR bodies you need to convert it to AI spec either by replacing the aperture ring or milling the existing ring.


Well, that advice is correct for some Nikon DSLR (D70/80/90/100/200/300/700/2/3/) but there is no need to AI a pre-AI lens for other Nikon DSLR (D40/40x/60/3000/5000) and for non-Nikon DSLR using a Nikon adapter, I believe (but would like to know for sure) that it makes no difference if the lens is AI or not.

larsr wrote:
The difference between the 50/1.4 non-AI and the AIS version is so small that using it on a digital body you will not see a difference since the lens will easily exceed the sensor's capabilities, especially on lesser DSLR bodies.


I'm afraid that is incorrect also. The older ones, while sharp in the centre from f/2 onwards, have much less sharpness at the edges and corners (even on crop DSLR) until f/8 or so.


Last edited by ChrisLilley on Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:27 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:26 am    Post subject: Re: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

Nelson wrote:
Now that i've got a Nikon to EOS adapter, i am wondering about buying MF nikkor 50mm F1.4


So this is for your EOS 350?

Nelson wrote:
but there are so many Smile

Which one is the best... and not so expensive ?


Depends what you are looking for - softness and wide-open OOF? Sharpness stopped down a bit?

Do you like a long focus throw for accuracy, or a short focus throw for speed?

Personally I like the sharpness stopped down, the f/1.4 is just to have a bright viewfinder to me, and i like a precise, long focus action. So I chose the Nikkor AI 50/1.4. The AIS version might have slightly better coatings but is smaller (depending on the version) and more cheaply made (in come versions) and has a much shorter focus throw. So for me, the AI version was the ideal one. I got mine for 50 euro.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:58 am    Post subject: Re: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

ChrisLilley wrote:
So I chose the Nikkor AI 50/1.4. The AIS version might have slightly better coatings but is smaller (depending on the version) and more cheaply made (in come versions) and has a much shorter focus throw. So for me, the AI version was the ideal one. I got mine for 50 euro.


Interestingly, I chose the Ai version for pretty much the same reason! It's a pain to focus a fast f/1.4 lens, and the shorter throw of the Ai-S version makes it even more difficult. I managed to get one for $64 (it was inscribed by the previous owner, so less than perfect cosmetics).

However, I don't think there were ever more than one version of Ai-S 50/1.4. Nikon had, I think, four or even five different versions of 50/1.8 - and that's not counting the 'Series E' thing.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject: ... Reply with quote

i think than the best Nikkor 50mm f/1,4 is this:
Nikkor S-Auto 50mm f/1,4 with lens schema "B"

italian language:
http://www.luciolepri.it/lc2/marcocavina/articoli_fotografici/Nikkor_50_1,4_S_Auto/00_pag.htm

english language:
http://translate.google.it/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=it&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http://www.luciolepri.it/lc2/marcocavina/articoli_fotografici/Nikkor_50_1,4_S_Auto/00_pag.htm&sl=it&tl=en

pro:
very good is the response in the edges at every @f
very good is the abolition of the coma

from lucio lepri - marco cavina website


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

aoleg wrote:

However, I don't think there were ever more than one version of Ai-S 50/1.4.


Actually, based on Roland Vink's data, there are four versions of which two are limited edition and two regular versions. They all seem to share the same optical construction though.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lot to read in your answers Shocked

Yes it is for the 350D.

I'd like a fast lens, sharp a little stop, very sharp when more stoped, a little soft wide open is not a problem, but don't want a creamy picture.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nelson wrote:
There are lot to read in your answers Shocked

Yes it is for the 350D.

I'd like a fast lens, sharp a little stop, very sharp when more stoped, a little soft wide open is not a problem, but don't want a creamy picture.


All nice, I had good experience with Non-AI and AIS, my AI copy was a lemon.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
my AI copy was a lemon.


what does it mean ?


PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nelson wrote:
Attila wrote:
my AI copy was a lemon.


what does it mean ?



Unsharp at wide open and it did make so so images. I believe it was tampered or some I don't think so all AI version same low quality. In general I have best experience with AI and AIS lenses from Nikon, there is some exception of course. I rate high really Nikon QC. 135mm f2.8 NON-AI and Nikkor-H 85mm f1.8 Non_AI.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This comes a bit late, but better late than never :)

ChrisLilley wrote:

Well, that advice is correct for some Nikon DSLR (D70/80/90/100/200/300/700/2/3/) but there is no need to AI a pre-AI lens for other Nikon DSLR (D40/40x/60/3000/5000) and for non-Nikon DSLR using a Nikon adapter, I believe (but would like to know for sure) that it makes no difference if the lens is AI or not.


Okay, while it is true that mounting a pre-AI lens on the lesser bodies you mentioned, there are several opinions whether the lenses are mountable on lesser bodies. The D40, at least according to some, seem to be able to use pre-AI lenses no problem, but others such as D50/60/70/80/90/3000/5000 would not. It is said that the tab in the side of the mount of the non-AI lenses will push against the metering tab on the body and chew on it. Naturally, if you don't need to swap lenses too often, then you might be fine using them but if you find yourself swapping lenses more often than not, you might run the risk of damaging your body.

I can't find fact on Nikon's site about this, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, and this is why personally I would not take the chance, at least with all pre-AI lenses.

ChrisLilley wrote:

I'm afraid that is incorrect also. The older ones, while sharp in the centre from f/2 onwards, have much less sharpness at the edges and corners (even on crop DSLR) until f/8 or so.


There is indeed a difference between wide open and f/2 but after that, both lenses seem to stay sharp up until f/11, and then at f/16 performance decreases again. Also, sample variation has to be taken into account too. But at least according to tests (run on a D700) by Jean-Marie Sepulchre, his findings show no general noticeable differences between f/2 and f/11. I also have his results, conducted on a D3 body, but if my memory serves me correct, even on that body the differences were near non-existent.





But - as it is, sample variation can indeed produce other results, as for example Bjrn says that the performance on his 50/1.4 F (S-C -model) drops after f/8..

So, in a sense, generalizing that there is performance differences and best performance is acquired at between f/2.8-f/8~11 is correct, yes. I still think, however, that for beginners and non-pixel-peepers there is not much difference.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

larsr wrote:
This comes a bit late, but better late than never Smile

ChrisLilley wrote:

Well, that advice is correct for some Nikon DSLR (D70/80/90/100/200/300/700/2/3/) but there is no need to AI a pre-AI lens for other Nikon DSLR (D40/40x/60/3000/5000) and for non-Nikon DSLR using a Nikon adapter, I believe (but would like to know for sure) that it makes no difference if the lens is AI or not.


Okay, while it is true that mounting a pre-AI lens on the lesser bodies you mentioned, there are several opinions whether the lenses are mountable on lesser bodies. The D40, at least according to some, seem to be able to use pre-AI lenses no problem, but others such as D50/60/70/80/90/3000/5000 would not.


I posted the correct compatibility list already. The list you just posted mixes up those which can and those which can't. Please do not post information that is incorrect.

And please, Attila, can we have a sticky on this subject since it turns up with monotonous regularity and each time it does, there is the same three pages of people posting random guesses and inaccurate information and eventually the correct stuff gets argued over again and again while meanwhile the original poster wanders away bored.


larsr wrote:
It is said that the tab in the side of the mount of the non-AI lenses will push against the metering tab on the body and chew on it.


I suggest you look at previous postings on this subject instead of relying on "it is said". I also suggest actually examining the min-aperture sensor switch on a wide range of Nikon DSLR, and talking with users of AI and pre-AI lenses on a wide range of Nikon DSLR. Then a clear pattern emerges.

Non-AI lenses don't have 'a tab' and cameras like a D50 or D70 don't have a 'metering tab' (but are still not compatible with pre-AI).

larsr wrote:
Naturally, if you don't need to swap lenses too often, then you might be fine using them but if you find yourself swapping lenses more often than not, you might run the risk of damaging your body.

I can't find fact on Nikon's site about this, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, and this is why personally I would not take the chance, at least with all pre-AI lenses.


I guess if you never remove the kit lens and always use that, you will be even safer.

larsr wrote:
ChrisLilley wrote:

I'm afraid that is incorrect also. The older ones, while sharp in the centre from f/2 onwards, have much less sharpness at the edges and corners (even on crop DSLR) until f/8 or so.


There is indeed a difference between wide open and f/2 but after that, both lenses seem to stay sharp up until f/11, and then at f/16 performance decreases again. Also, sample variation has to be taken into account too. But at least according to tests (run on a D700) by Jean-Marie Sepulchre, his findings show no general noticeable differences between f/2 and f/11. I also have his results, conducted on a D3 body, but if my memory serves me correct, even on that body the differences were near non-existent.


I'm looking at two of Jean-Marie Sepulchre's ebooks right now, one where he tests 110 lenses on a D3 and one with 91 lenses on D300. I can see that,, on both bodies, the Nikkor-S does not give center, thirds, edge and corner sharpness until f/5.6. I suggest you purchase those ebooks if you are interested.

larsr wrote:

So, in a sense, generalizing that there is performance differences and best performance is acquired at between f/2.8-f/8~11 is correct, yes. I still think, however, that for beginners and non-pixel-peepers there is not much difference.


Sure, if someone is not much bothered by quality then most lenses are good enough at any aperture. One would expect more stringent quality requirements on a forum dedicated to photography, however.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

aoleg wrote:
ChrisLilley wrote:
So I chose the Nikkor AI 50/1.4. The AIS version might have slightly better coatings but is smaller (depending on the version) and more cheaply made (in come versions) and has a much shorter focus throw. So for me, the AI version was the ideal one. I got mine for 50 euro.


Interestingly, I chose the Ai version for pretty much the same reason! It's a pain to focus a fast f/1.4 lens, and the shorter throw of the Ai-S version makes it even more difficult. I managed to get one for $64 (it was inscribed by the previous owner, so less than perfect cosmetics).


I got mine for USD75 (EUR 50 at the time) and am fairly pleased with it. It does noticeably better at wider apertures than the Nikkor-S.C 50/1.4 which I used to have.

aoleg wrote:
However, I don't think there were ever more than one version of Ai-S 50/1.4. Nikon had, I think, four or even five different versions of 50/1.8 - and that's not counting the 'Series E' thing.


You are right, I was thinking of the assorted short and long body 50/1.8 AIS versions.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Re: ... Reply with quote

metallaro1980 wrote:
i think than the best Nikkor 50mm f/1,4 is this:
Nikkor S-Auto 50mm f/1,4 with lens schema "B"


That comparative review has lots of interesting detail, thanks for posting it!

Unfortunately it fails to test the Nikkor AI 50/1.4 so I would not say on that basis that the Nikkor-S is superior. The only other Nikon 50/1.4 he tests is the AF version, which the tests show is really not very good.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes

Chris, I don't know what ticked you off - I was striking a conversation, not flamebaiting. Moving onto PM..


PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to read. Somebody not far from my home has a Nikon 50:1.4 for sale. Mailed him already. It's an AI-converted one. Highest bid currently 35,-- (yesterday I saw 50, but those might have withdrawn them). It's not in perfect condition, which I actually don't expect from a 37 year old lens: http://link.marktplaats.nl/318796515

According to what I read above the lens seems to be quite soft wide open, but I would like a nice DOF for portraits. Maybe I should give it a try, but seller wanted to wait until the end of the weekend with respect to bidding. Then I'll decide after the weekend. Don't want to spend more than 40 euro's actually on an 'old' lens. Wink


PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hooked again.... just bought a Nikkor SC 50/1.4 converted with AI kit in near new condition for 129... Laughing


PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NikonD wrote:
hooked again.... just bought a Nikkor SC 50/1.4 converted with AI kit in near new condition for 129... Laughing


I have the Nikkor-S. It;s decent, it shouldnt disapoint you.


PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since 50mm is my favorite focal length and I'm a Nikon system user, I thought I'd share my view on how I rate all the 50mm lenses that I own (or have owned). Feel free to agree or disagree, this is a heated subject and everyone has a personal favorite.

Top 4 I have bought (and use a lot because I like what I see)

Nikkor 50/1.4 Ai-S - top position if detail and 3D is the preference. My copy is the Japan only -version made after it was discontinued globally. Lens version has serial range 600xxxx

Nikkor 50/1.4G AF-S - top position if usability in low light is the preference. Very very nice bokeh, if not the best then at least in the top 3 bokeh 50-so lenses (50/1.2 Ai-S, 50/1.4G AF-S, Nokton 58/1.4)

Voigtlnder SL II 58/1.4 Nokton - enjoys the benefit of being narrower perspective, but nevertheless: well corrected, beautiful bokeh followed up with exquisite build quality and handling feel.

EDITED/UPDATEDTopcon Auto-Topcor 58/1.4 limited version in Nikon mount, Cosina manufactured 800 copies of this lens. Don't pay the 1200 to 1700 EUR eBay sellers ask for this rare lens - it is optically identical with the Voigtlnder SL II 58/1.4 Nokton which you can buy for about 300 EUR on eBay!!!

Nikkor 50/1.2 Ai-S - top position if bokeh and fingerprint is the preference. Performance declines close-up though, and wide open is modest but useable - saved by the fact that immediately at f/2 it is excellent. My copy is Japan only version, manufactured after it was officially discontinued (lens serial range is 400xxx )

EDITED/UPDATEDIf Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2 Ai or Ai-S lenses were available on eBay for the same prices that the 50/1.2 Ai/Ai-S fetches, it would definitely place itself in the top 5. However, given the outrageously inflated aftermarket price of 1500 to 2500 EUR, it won't even fit the top 10. It's a good lens with wonderful bokeh, but if you scroll down you'll see that it's far from the Holy Grail and certainly not performing for more than 300-400 EUR worth lenses.

Bubbling below the Top 4

Nikkor 50/1.4D AF - great overall performer but wide open or f/2 not as good as 50/1.4 Ai-S or 50/1.4G AF-S. Bokeh highlights are polygons, G-series makes bokeh balls out of highlights.

Zeiss Planar T* 50/1.4 ZF - so sad that razor-sharp detail is ruined by restless harsh-edged bokeh and optics which are unsatisfyingly corrected for CA. I'm a big ZF fan and thus biased, which makes the disappointment even harder to take.

Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50/2 ZF - At the loss of one f-stop you get better detail and no CA, as compared to the Planar T* 50/1.4 ZF. Top performer, I would place it in Top 5 if it were not one f-stop slower.

Nikkor 50/1.4F - Ai-converted. f/1.4 to f/2 good only for web pics (if lucky), then suddenly at f/2.8 it is a top performer? Don't buy if you're shooting wide open or f/2.

Nikkor 50/2 Ai - unsatisfying corner performance when compared with other choices. Not a bad lens, but just not as good as the other Nikkor 50's available (discontinued or new).

Nikon 50/1.8E "pancake" flat. Tried it a few times, never felt a need to buy it. Worse build quality than Nikkors, kind of kills the idea of buying it when same (or better) performing better built 50's available at almost same price. Nikon-E users swear to its image quality, likely because low price = lower expectations.

Nikkor 50/1.8 Ai-S - for shooting only wide open this is a good choice, but the dimensionality in images as well as bokeh (especially highlights) is not au par with other versions available.

Nikkor 50/1.8D AF - flimsy plastic thing which never has appealed to me, build quality worse than cheap kit lens.

Nikkor 55/1.2 F - down right awful CA and most geometric distortion of any Nikkor 50-so I have used. Not a bad lens when compared to many but in this competition you need at least some area to shine in.


Last edited by Esox lucius on Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:18 pm; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Nikon 50mm f1.4 : which one ? Reply with quote

Nelson wrote:
Now that i've got a Nikon to EOS adapter, i am wondering about buying MF nikkor 50mm F1.4

but there are so many Smile

Which one is the best... and not so expensive ?

thanks

It's a difficult choice, which is part of the reason I have four Nikkor 50mm lenses, ranging from my early '70s vintage 1.4 S-C AI-converted to a brand new AF-S G. By everyone's reviews and tests of these lenses, the 1.8 AI should be the sharpest, and the 1.4 AFS should be the best. But, when I pick out a 50mm to work with, I usually choose the ancient S-C (unless I'll be working in dim light or need the autofocus). The S-C is not very good wide open, but stopped down a bit, it's as good as anything else I have, it focuses easier than any of my other 50s (on any of my bodies that can use it, including the D700), and it simply feels "right".

Several times I've put it in my 'to sell' box, but I just can't seem to sell it. Oh, well. I only have about $40 in it, so I'll just keep it a while longer.

As to which one you should buy...If you plan to shoot wide open a lot, I recommend you not buy a pre-AI version. I don't have a 1.4 AI or AIS to compare, but my 1.4 AFS G is quite a bit better wide open than the old S-C. Stop it down to 2.8 or so, then it seems like a toss up.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes.. definitely never shoot images with soft lenses, always use the best and most expensive glass available. Also remember to use 1/1000-1/2000 shutter speeds if you absolutely must shoot handheld with a 50mm, otherwise a tripod is mandatory to exact all the sharpness.

Honestly.. when I first time see a 35mm picture which would have been better if shot on bleeding edge glass, I start caring about sharpness ಠ_ಠ


PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just picked up a Nikkor-S f1.4 in absolutely beautiful condition. It's the fastest lens I've ever had. Here are a couple of shots this afternoon with an F2, wide open, plain old Kodacolor 200 with dismal Walgreen scan.

By the way, I have a Series E 50, and I'd rate it pretty sharp -- not to mention compact!






PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My father in law lent me his non-Ai Nikkor-S.C. f/1.4 and I have to say I was a little dissapointed with the quality compared to the Pentax-M 1.4 that I have as a comparison. The Pentax was smaller, lighter and sharper. I'm aware that the 'M' lens wasn't the best 50mm f/1.4 Pentax produced either.

I would guess (but have no comparison to prove this) that the newer 50's from Nikon would probably give better performance. In the Nikkors defence, I thought the pictures gave a rare 'vintage' look, whereas the Pentaxs of the late 70's look thoroughly modern.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

keyser1884 wrote:
My father in law lent me his non-Ai Nikkor-S.C. f/1.4 and I have to say I was a little dissapointed with the quality compared to the Pentax-M 1.4 that I have as a comparison. The Pentax was smaller, lighter and sharper. I'm aware that the 'M' lens wasn't the best 50mm f/1.4 Pentax produced either.

I would guess (but have no comparison to prove this) that the newer 50's from Nikon would probably give better performance. In the Nikkors defence, I thought the pictures gave a rare 'vintage' look, whereas the Pentaxs of the late 70's look thoroughly modern.


Your guess is right. For what it's worth, above you'll find my view on how the different versions compare to each other. The oldest version Nikkor F 50/1.4 is not that great a performer wide open, to be polite.

Esox lucius wrote:
Nikkor 50/1.4F - Ai-converted. f/1.4 to f/2 good only for web pics (if lucky), then suddenly at f/2.8 it is a top performer? Don't buy if you're shooting wide open or f/2.