joi, 22 noiembrie 2012

nikon 50mm f1.4 review


this is a superbly built lens. it's a simple and sturdy design which delivers stunning results. It's all metal and glass with a nice rubber grip on the focusing ring.

the optics are great and are capable of delivering very usable pictures even at wide open. the problem I experienced at f1.4 was a slight glow in the contrasty parts of the pictures. but I really didn't mind it as it gave the picture a little bit of a glamor look.
the bokeh is very smooth and pleasant. this is what really sets it apart from the nikon 50mm f1.8 lens.
the depth of field is very small. if, for instance, you focus on the nose when shooting a portrait, the eye will be visibly out of focus. this can become a real problem as far as I am concerned. it is almost impossible to get a clean focus. at least not with the nikon D90 body. you cannot rely on the in body focus confirmation of the DSLR. the depth of field is far shallower as the tolerance of the focus confirmation. you can test this on your own DSLR if you focus on an object and then move the camera back and forth. you will probably notice that the focus confirmation will be on for a distance of 10 millimeters and up to 10 centimeters depending on how far away you are from the object. now with a depth of field of just 2-3 millimeters at wide open this is obviously too much in order to get clean focus when relying on focus confirmation with this lens. It is also very hard to rely only on your eyes when focusing. even with the quite large viewfinder of the D90 body you cannot be sure about the results. out of 10 pictures I took only one was really in focus where I intended it to be. I had to ask the subject not to move at all and use the magnified live view in order to get a good focus on the eye. But this way you can't compose your picture and you also loose the capability of taking candid pictures. and those are the pictures you really want to take with a small lens like this.

although I really like the lens I decided to sell it in the end as I wasn't really able to use it at wide open due to the focusing problem. Unless you are a very good manual focus-er you should try and get a version with AF. you could also consider the  nikon AF 35-70 F2.8 D as an option which also has a superb bokeh but also has auto focus as well as a zoom.

here are a few pictures taken with the nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. all except the second one which is shot with the nikon 180mm f2.8.





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