This review is a work in progress and will be updated.
Overall: 4 out of 5
Price (New): $320 USD
The screw-type AF version of the 50mm f/1.4 is a good deal new for $110 USD less than the AF-S version.
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-D
Taken with Nikon 105mm f/4
|Hard Infinity Stop?||Yes|
|Built in Hood?||no|
Image quality is very similar to older versions of the lens. Wide open it’s a tad soft (relatively speaking), with some chromatic aberration, though that’s controlled better than in previous versions of the lens. It sharpens significantly by f/2. I have no issues with the bokeh, though I think all renditions of the 85mm f/1.4 look better in that department. Flare can be a problem wide open as is expected with a fast lens like this. The only other nits to pick is some coma at f/1.4 and some vignetting, which is easily compensated for.
D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 af-d, ISO 2500 @f/2
Autofocus is quick, but not in the same league as the best af-s lenses. But, for normal lenses I tend not to come across situations in which I’m limited by the AF speed. The focusing ring is rubbery and turns ⅓ of the way around the barrel and is perfectly usable, though it feels a bit cheap.
D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 af-d, ISO 640 @f/2
I have a brief comparison to the much older Nikkor-S f/1.4 50mm f/1.4 pre-ai in that review.
D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 af-d, ISO 4000 @f/1.4
A 50mm f/1.4 is a lens everyone should probably own. It gives a very neutral perspective that works for a variety of situations, and is the one fast lens that can be bought cheaply. If you’re looking at this lens, you’re probably also looking at the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S, and maybe a manual focus version, like the 50mm f/1.2 AI-S, or 50mm f/1.4 AI-S.
For $110 more the 50mm f/1.4 AF-S will get you the ability to override AF without switching to manual focus, which is a great thing to have. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of the aperture ring (if you care about that) and worse yet, it uses a 58mm filter ring. Nikon’s normal lenses traditionally all take 52mm filters, which means you can buy a set of filters and use it across a number of normal lenses. having the non-standard filter size is a major pain to anyone who uses filters regularly. It’s less important in the digital era, but a circular polarizer and ND filters at least should still be a part of most arsenals.
If you’re looking at manual focus, the 50mm f/1.2 has wonderful IQ and is ⅓ stop faster but costs significantly more. The other MF versions offer similar performance with better focusing rings. Of course you’ll have to set the lens data manually on a camera that supports non-chipped lenses, and there will be no metering on cameras that don’t.
I wouldn’t recommend against any of Nikon’s 50mm f/1.4s, it’s merely a choice as to which one fits your needs. This is a very solid choice if you want AF and use filters or don’t need to manually override AF too often.
More Photos with this Lens
D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 af-d, ISO 200 @f/3.2
D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 af-d, ISO 2500 @f/1.8