Nikon Df + 58mm f/1.4G – A Match Made In…

Lothlórien or Mordor, depending on whether you consider Nikon “the dark side” I guess! Been shooting with this combo for about a week now and I am amazed by the results. The Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G (see our lens page in the database) is just one of a kind…very few Nikkor lenses are capable of rendering such beautiful images. Lots of depth, color and beautiful bokeh, as illustrated in some of the images below. Sharpness in the center is also excellent when you nail focus, even wide open. Lola was a bit hesitant about the Df at first (she rarely parts with her Nikon D3s + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G combo), but once she used it a couple of times on commercial shoots, she quickly changed her mind.

Nikon Df Image Samples (5)

Image quality is stunning, especially when shooting in low light situations. Armed with a fast f/1.4 lens, you could literally shoot in dark with the Df and get amazing results. These are some of the images that we have captured so far and I am planning to take the Df to much more challenging lighting conditions this weekend and within the next couple of weeks. I am currently busy writing the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G review (now published). By now I have plenty of image samples to showcase its performance, along with other accompanying lab test data. The Nikon Df review should be posted within the next 2 weeks.

Nikon Df Image Samples (3)

Nikon Df Image Samples (2)

Nikon Df Image Samples (1)

I also have a bunch of other gear that will soon be reviewed, including the Nikon D5300, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Sony A7 and A7R cameras and much more. Just wish there were more than 24 hours in a day!

Nikon Df Image Samples (4)

A quick tip for photographing your family this Christmas. Instead of putting people in front of the Christmas tree, try shooting through it! The first and the last images in this article were taken with a single source of light, an off-camera flash with an umbrella in a shoot-through configuration to the right of both subjects. Lola literally stuck the lens right in between Christmas tree lights and ornaments, which created beautiful highlights, reflections and bokeh. Just make sure to shoot with a fast lens and open it up to its max aperture (Lola used f/1.4 for those shots) to get the best results.

More to come!

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Ananda Padmanaban
    December 19, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Eagerly awaiting your Nikon 58/1.4 review. Pictures in this post are all awesome. Thanks for the tip at the end. Will try that for sure.

    • December 19, 2013 at 4:27 am

      Thank you for your feedback Ananda! Working hard on the review, will try to get it done as soon as possible.

  2. 2
    ) David Thompson
    December 19, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Great pics.
    Do you get the same quality if the lens is used on a D800 ?

    • December 19, 2013 at 4:27 am

      David, the 58mm f/1.4G does really well on the Df, but not that well as far as sharpness on the D800. Still, once down-sampled, there is no difference between the two. Obviously, the Df has the advantage at very high ISOs and its pixel-level quality is amazing compared to the D800, as shown before.

      The 58mm f/1.4G does not focus on extreme sharpness. Its optics are made to shine with beautiful bokeh, practically zero coma and excellent colors. Sharpness-wise, it is a little better than the 50mm f/1.4G, which is not stellar wide open either…Once stopped down, however, sharpness is very impressive. But I would not buy the 58mm f/1.4G to shoot stopped down – my favorite aperture range is f/1.4 to f/2.8 on this lens!

  3. December 19, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Very nice Nasim, question right now I have the D610 and am going to the States in Feb, I will be buying the D800E from there as a second body, the lenses I have now are 24-120 f4, 16-35 f4, 105 2.8 VR and 70-200 2.8 VR II, I am in between the 50 1.8G and now this 50 1.4G, I was also thinking about the 85 1.4G but is kind of expensive and since I have the 105 2.8 VR I can use that, so my choice is the 50 1.4 or the 50 1.8, are they close in IQ? thanks.

    • 20
      ) Ricardo Vaz
      December 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Read massifs review of the Nikon 50 1.8 and you will discover the answer. He said that Nikon shot on it own feet when it launched the 1.8 since it’s sharper than 1.4. So, if you don’t need the 2/3 stops get the 1.8

      • 22
        ) Chris K.
        December 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

        Yes I read that after I replied to this, I am going to buy the 50 1.8G Thanks;)

  4. 6
    ) Sridhar
    December 19, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Amazing pictures Nasim. Thank you for the tips

  5. December 19, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Very impressive pics indeed!
    What a lovely, albeit quite costly, combination.
    Of course, it’s also due to great composition. Well done, guys!

  6. 8
    ) LH
    December 19, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Well those pictures are simply stunning. Superb tones and beautiful detail in the infocus areas and egually none distracting out of focus areas. Looks like the 58mm 1.4 is a superb tool for those who understand how to create beautiful images.

    Shame that the price tag does really make it only feezable for proffesional photographers. I know it hasn’t been out for long, and is a very unlikely to happen, but I wish they would refresh the 50mm 1.4G to be in line with the other G-lenses. Absolutely love using the 50mm 1.4G, but after I got the 85mm 1.8G it did highlight how soft it is incomparison. Still creates great images and the f1.4 really is a life saver in dark dance floors etc.

  7. December 19, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Superb photos, particularly the first one! Do you do your own post production?

    • December 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Chris, yes, my wife Lola does the post-processing for portraits.

  8. 10
    ) Norms
    December 19, 2013 at 5:58 am

    I like the depth of the picture ( 3rd pic…)…

  9. 11
    ) Jaz
    December 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Superb images at class! This makes me drool to own the lens! But I’ll wait for sometime for hopefully the f/1.8G version? :P

    Love those bokeh~ Hohoho, I smell X’mas around the corner when I see bokeh @.@

    Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year 2014 in advance to you Nasim and your family! :D

  10. 12
    ) FrancoisR
    December 19, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Did someone say your photos are stunning? LLoLL… Make me seriouly look again at the DF. I’m back from SXM, my left arm is aching but speaking of bokeh at 200mm… Love the Xmass tree idea!

    Thank you again Nasim and all the best for you, close ones, the team and every photo lovers, whatever the system :) !!!

    Maybe Santa could talk Nikon into a FF mirrorless body?

  11. December 19, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Looks like a great combo! Thanks for sharing! Great holidays! S Novym Godom!

  12. 14
    ) Vince
    December 19, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Hi Nasim,
    A question not related to this post: I know D3s is an old body, but if you had to choose between a D610 0r a used D3s for wedding photography, which would you choose? Thanks! :)

    • December 21, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Vince, a used D3s would be my personal choice, but only if I did not mind the weight!

  13. 15
    ) Dwight
    December 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Very nice images. The Flairs are distracting to me.

  14. 16
    ) Jon McGuffin
    December 19, 2013 at 7:44 am

    As usual Nasim, fantastic images to back up your mini review and add so much legitimacy to you (& Lola), your reviews, and your website in general. Truly wonderful images.

    FWIW, I think in your final review what would frankly be VERY helpful to us, and is not being done too many places, would be to feature the 58mm 1.4 side by side against the 50 1.4/50 1.8 in areas that the 58 1.4 are supposed to have an advantage in so that we can truly see side-by-side examples of what makes this lens a superior product and then for each themselves to justify if the $1700 price is worth it or not. I’m on the fence with this product because I would really like to acquire this product, but not sure if it will truly deliver noticeable improvements over my 50mm 1.8.

    Thank you again!

    • 19
      ) Marco
      December 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Agreed. If claims are made that a particular lens has optical advantages it should be always include a side by side comparison image. This is particularly important if the advantages being cited are intangibles… depth, 3-D effect, and other such adjectives mean nothing in the absence of a comparison picture.

      • 21
        ) Jon McGuffin
        December 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm

        Yes, it’s the intangibles that need to be discussed and reviewed. Not MTF charts, sharpness, etc. We also don’t need to pixel peep in at 100% and explode a view of a corner of an image to show there is a difference. I want to know from a complete picture standpoint, is there an easy visual/discernible difference that is apparent or not.

        Thus far, the best example I’ve found can be seen here:
        http://neilvn.com/tangents/review-nikon-58mm-f1-4g-lens/

        Scroll down a bit and you can see the comparison between the new and old and yes, there is a visual difference here. I’d like to see more comparisons like this. Controlling things like CA are just not that important, RAW/Lightroom takes care of that. Shooting with the sun in the frame? Now that’s something I’d like to see. Will this $1700 lens truly offer greater contrast under those conditions?

        Inquiring minds want to know! ;)

  15. December 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Really nice photos… beautiful color, great sharpness… thanks for posting it

  16. 18
    ) Ricardo Vaz
    December 19, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Great lens with beautiful colors, I just dont think it is worth the money for those who are not pros.

  17. December 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Wow! Thanks for bringing this combo to our attention!

  18. 24
    ) Roland
    December 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    i have a D800 and D600. i use the D600 most during the day and into late twilight. after dark, if there are no light sources to focus off of, i switch to the D800, which will focus where the D600 will not.
    my question is; is there a benefit shooting at night with the DF if it has the same focus system as the D600 which only goes to -1 EV. i am hesitant to spend more money on Nikon at the moment when Sony’s new A7 and A7R offer much lighter weight for the same or similar sensor.
    i have been a dedicated Nikonian for many years now, but i am starting to get tired of being punished by Nikon for not spending $6000 on the D4. the D600 would have been all i needed if it had the D4/D800 autofocus system and viewfinder curtain. yes i spent over $5000 for both cameras, but am considering selling one to try the sony A7 or A7R. if i like them i will be switching to Sony unless Nikon goes the same route.

  19. December 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Great photos. I’m looking forward to your full review of the DF and also the Sony A7 & A7R as I’m undecided about which camera to purchase to go along with my D800(e).

  20. 28
    ) Raghul Nandagopal
    December 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    I am one of the early adopters of Df…
    I switched from D700 to Df – though the image quality has drastically increased – i find the AF capabilities very limiting. I use only the 11 points and choose focus point manually…
    I had a tough time in NY under 6 P.M street light… the only reliable focus point seems to be the center focus. These were non issues in D700.
    Is it just me or if you had the same experience under dim lighting conditions.
    Would D800 be as good or better than D700?
    Either ways – i have invested in Df – may have to live with the short coming…

    Let me know your thoughts…b

    Thanks!

    • December 23, 2013 at 1:10 am

      Raghul, the AF system on the Df is the same as on the D600/D610 cameras. With the 39 point AF system, the number of cross-type sensors is only 9, compared to 15 on the D700/D800 cameras. So you must be careful about which AF point you use in low-light situations. Also, if the light levels are low, it might be best to use the focus and recompose technique and rely on the center AF point, since that one is the most accurate on any DSLR. So if you are coming from a D700, I can see that you would feel the difference in AF performance. That’s one major complaint I have about the Df – Nikon should have used the 51-point AF from the D800 instead. And yes, the AF system on the D800 is better than on the D700, especially when using lenses with teleconverters.

      • 31
        ) Raghul Nandagopal
        December 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm

        Nasim,
        Considering the AF issue – please advice..
        I am planning to buy a TC 1.4 for extended reach of my 70-200 as well as 300mm f4 – would it be a good idea for the DF (ergonomically – it feels odd i agree :) ) – or would i be better of with a used D7000 or d7100 to increase the range…
        Thanks….

  21. 30
    ) Raghul Nandagopal
    December 23, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Nasim,
    I am planning to buy a TC 1.4 for extended reach of my 70-200 as well as 300mm f4 – would it be a good idea for the DF (ergonomically – it feels odd i agree :) ) – or would i be better of with a used D7000 or d7100 to increase the range…

    Thanks….

  22. 32
    ) klaus
    December 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    images featured are stunning, great work indeed. no question!
    but do not come out native of that lens & body combi.
    lets be honest… the post proc is the “point” shown here – as usual…

    • 34
      ) grant torres
      December 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I agree that the PP is great… though you can’t process what is not there in the first place. I really dig the lens output, my 85 mm 1.4 samyang MF begs for AF-capable sibling in this 58:-) !

  23. 33
    ) Rios
    December 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Amazingly beautiful photos! The 58mm instantly became my holy grail quest. I want it and will get it…eventually.

  24. 35
    ) Bart
    January 19, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Im sorry but those woman face shots, they are too plasticky, they have a unrealistic feeling with those plastic faces, unhuman.

    • 36
      ) Bart
      January 19, 2014 at 3:33 am

      Especially that last photo, is that a doll or a real person?

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