Nikon 50mm F 1.4 Vs 1.8

By | 10/08/2022

Ever since I published my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G review, where I showed that the lens outperforms pretty much any other Nikon 50mm lens, including the more expensive Nikon 50mm f/i.4G, I accept been getting a lot of questions from our readers. Some wonder if perhaps I made errors in my assessment of the lens – information technology seems hard to believe that a cheaper lens would outperform its bigger brother. Others wonder if the 50mm f/1.8G truly is that practiced, why Lola and I continue to employ the 50mm f/1.4G lens for our work (it is also listed in the outdated “Our Gear” page).

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

After many years of defended service, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G finally went kaput on united states (it has all kinds of focus issues, probably as a outcome of field abuse, and then it is on its way to Nikon for repair). I had no intention of selling the older 50mm f/1.4G, because it shows a lot of wear and tear and I knew I wouldn’t get much for information technology anyway. Since Lola cannot live without her favorite 50mm lens, as before long as this one died, I knew that I would be getting the 50mm f/1.8G version.

When the lens arrived, I decided to run another comparative test, only this time in a much more serious and demanding environment. Since all of my previous tests were washed on Nikon D700/D3s bodies with 12 MP sensors, this time I decided to test the lens on the Nikon D800. There have been a lot of talks lately about the D800 and its loftier requirements when information technology comes to lenses. With a 36.iii MP sensor, the Nikon D800 shows the truthful resolving power of lenses, making their weaknesses more obvious than on lower resolution sensors. In add-on, I accept been spending quite some fourth dimension working with Imatest software, which helps a swell deal in quantifying lens resolution, forth with providing all kinds of tools for measuring optical problems such as chromatic abnormality, distortion, etc. Coupled with the ii amazing high-tech tools, I tested both lenses in a controlled environment.

As it turned out, on boilerplate, the Nikon 50mm f/one.8G still outperforms the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G on a loftier resolution sensor. It offers great performance broad open throughout the frame and once stopped down to f/2.8, produces very impressive results that the bigger f/1.4G cannot match. At f/iv information technology reaches its summit performance in the center and its corners also significantly improve. Starting from f/5.half-dozen, however, the lens takes a hit in resolving power and that’s where the f/1.4G takes over, giving slightly better functioning in the centre, as shown in the beneath graphs:

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G used for the above test was a make new sample borrowed from a friend.

Looks similar the strength of the 50mm f/1.4G is above the f/5.6 range, where it shows slightly meliorate performance throughout the frame. In summary, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G resolves a piddling more at f/5.6 and smaller, merely fails to provide good sharpness at large apertures.

When shooting with a normal to telephoto range lenses, why would y’all want to stop down a lens to go the best out of it? Bokeh always looks the best at the widest lens aperture. When photographing weddings and events, the working apertures for both Lola and myself are typically f/1.4 to f/2.8. Nosotros rarely terminate downwards beyond f/2.eight – only when more depth of field is needed. Hence, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G with its impressive wide open performance makes a lot of sense for us.

Sure, there is a ii/iii stops of light departure between the f/ane.4G and the f/ane.8G lenses, but considering that the 50mm f/1.4G delivers rather soft images wide open up, I avoid using f/1.4 anyway. So despite the aperture difference, the 50mm f/1.8G is still a better lens. On top of that, the 50mm f/1.8G autofocuses faster than the 50mm f/1.4G and I discover its autofocus accurateness to be better every bit well. Baloney, ghosting/flares and chromatic aberrations are controlled meliorate on the 50mm f/ane.8G also.

As I accept already pointed out in my Nikon 50mm f/ane.8G review, Nikon shot itself in the foot when it appear the 50mm f/one.8G lens. Not but is it a better buy than the f/1.4G version (costing less than half), just information technology also outperforms it in most aspects, making the older Nikon 50mm f/one.4G obsolete.

The intent of this article is not to bash the Nikon 50mm f/ane.4G lens or its owners. We have been using that lens for years and we have fabricated many beautiful pictures with information technology. If you do non have a 50mm Nikon lens still, then we are only recommending to go with the new, cheaper version. But if you already accept a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, at that place is actually no need to replace it, unless you are very dissatisfied with its wide open operation…

P.Southward. Lola and I will be shooting a couple of weddings this weekend, and so I will ask her to post some pictures from the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G next calendar week. She is loving it so far!
P.P.Due south. Going forward, I will be testing all lenses with the Nikon D800/D800E. Very presently I will put a list of recommended lenses for the Nikon D800, every bit requested from our readers.
P.P.P.Southward. Some other Nikon 28mm f/1.8G sample volition exist arriving next week. This will be the third sample that I test for the Nikon 28mm f/1.8G review. If it shows the same operation, then nosotros can safely conclude that all 28mm f/1.8G lenses suffer from heavy focus shift and field curvature problems…