Nikon 50mm f/1.8G vs f/1.4G

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/1.4G, I have been getting a lot of questions from our readers. Some wonder if perhaps I made errors in my assessment of the lens – it seems hard to believe that a cheaper lens would outperform its bigger brother. Others wonder if the 50mm f/1.8G truly is that good, why Lola and I continue to use the 50mm f/1.4G lens for our work (it is also listed in the outdated “Our Gear” page).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 dedicated service, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G finally went kaput on us (it has all kinds of focus issues, probably as a result of field abuse, so 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 it anyway. Since Lola cannot live without her favorite 50mm lens, as soon 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, but this time in a much more serious and demanding environment. Since all of my previous tests were done 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 high requirements when it comes to lenses. With a 36.3 MP sensor, the Nikon D800 shows the true resolving power of lenses, making their weaknesses more obvious than on lower resolution sensors. In addition, I have been spending quite some time working with Imatest software, which helps a great deal in quantifying lens resolution, along with providing all kinds of tools for measuring optical problems such as chromatic aberration, distortion, etc. Coupled with the two amazing high-tech tools, I tested both lenses in a controlled environment.

As it turned out, on average, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G still outperforms the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G on a high resolution sensor. It offers great performance wide 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/4 it reaches its peak performance in the center and its corners also significantly improve. Starting from f/5.6, however, the lens takes a hit in resolving power and that’s where the f/1.4G takes over, giving slightly better performance in the center, as shown in the below graphs:

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

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

When shooting with a normal to telephoto range lenses, why would you want to stop down a lens to get 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. We rarely stop down beyond f/2.8 – 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 2/3 stops of light difference between the f/1.4G and the f/1.8G lenses, but considering that the 50mm f/1.4G delivers rather soft images wide open, 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 find its autofocus accuracy to be better as well. Distortion, ghosting/flares and chromatic aberrations are controlled better on the 50mm f/1.8G as well.

As I have already pointed out in my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G review, Nikon shot itself in the foot when it announced the 50mm f/1.8G lens. Not only is it a better buy than the f/1.4G version (costing less than half), but it also outperforms it in most aspects, making the older Nikon 50mm f/1.4G obsolete.

The intent of this article is not to bash the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens or its owners. We have been using that lens for years and we have made many beautiful pictures with it. If you do not have a 50mm Nikon lens yet, then we are simply recommending to go with the new, cheaper version. But if you already have a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, there is really no need to replace it, unless you are very dissatisfied with its wide open performance…

P.S. Lola and I will be shooting a couple of weddings this weekend, so I will ask her to post some pictures from the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G next week. She is loving it so far!
P.P.S. Going forward, I will be testing all lenses with the Nikon D800/D800E. Very soon I will put a list of recommended lenses for the Nikon D800, as requested from our readers.
P.P.P.S. Another Nikon 28mm f/1.8G sample will be 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 performance, then we can safely conclude that all 28mm f/1.8G lenses suffer from heavy focus shift and field curvature issues…


  1. 1) sade
    August 5, 2012 at 3:03 am

    ّI bet by the time your 50mm f/1.4 stops working, you will have another option for 50mm lens, namely 50mm f/1.2

    • August 5, 2012 at 3:04 am

      Sade, that’s a big wish! I really hope Nikon releases an f/1.2G version that is better than the excellent 50mm f/1.2 AIS. Maybe someday…

      • 1.1.1) sade
        August 5, 2012 at 3:54 am

        Why not Nasim? During the past 2-3 years, Nikon tried to produce lenses where Canon already had. Who would thought Nikon makes 24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.8 within two years?
        There are certainly other lenses Nikon must upgrade. In particular, 80-400, 300mm f/4, 135mm f/2 and 200mm macro need to be upgraded but all of these lenses already exist with AF capability. The only manual with no autofocus version of it available is 50mm f/1.2
        I hope we will see it in Photokina 2012.

        • Mark
          August 7, 2012 at 2:26 am

          Hi Sade and hi Nasim

          You mentioned the 80-400mm, what needs to be upgraded? Is that lens not excellent? I was thinking about buying it. The guy from a local camera store said that the Nikkor 80-400mm has the same quality like the Canon 100-400mm. Is that not true? Price and weight of the two are allmost the same.

          Nasim, you adviced me in a PM (thank you very much, I appreciate it!) to go for a Canon if I am looking for a CHEAP tele lens. Cheap is not important for me. I want a good lens like my friend with the Cannon 100-400mm AND after all the monthes in this splendid forum here reading about Nikon cameras and learning a lot of Nikons stuff and feeling allready a good bit like a Nikonian I would definitely prefere now to buy a Nikon if that 80-400mm lens is of an equally good quality like the Canon 100-400mm and worth the money.

          annotation: 1 swiss franc = 1,03125 US dollar

          Nasim, I reply you here and not via PM since PMs should generally not be used to ask about gear stuff. I hope I will be lucky and an answer here ;)

          • Richard Walliker
            August 7, 2012 at 3:55 am

            A comment about the 80-400mm. I had a copy and it worked really quite well on my D700 and D90 albeit a very slow focusing lens as it’s quite old now and this a well known drawback of the lens. However, I sold as it just didn’t perform for me on my D7000, the results were actually quite poor and I can’t explain why. One suggestion was that sensor technology had outstripped the lens technology, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I sold it and bought the Sigma 50-500mm OS and what a difference. This was my first 3rd party lens and I use it, as I did the 80-400mm, for wildlife. It’s heavier, but the fast focusing and superb OS is frankly way ahead of the 80-400mm Nikon. So it should be as it’s 10 years ahead in technology terms. It’s extraordinarily good and has even made me to look at some of the excellent lenses Sigma now produce.

            If ever a lens is in dire need of an upgrade it’s the 80-400mm, I guess everyone wishes we could have a Canon equivalent of the 100 -400mm.


            • Mark
              August 8, 2012 at 5:35 am

              Hi Richard, hi Nasim

              Thanks for the valid information. To get a picture and out of curiosity, when you say “the lens is very slow focusing”, about what magnitude are we talking here: some hundert miliseconds delay, a full second, several seconds … ?

          • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
            August 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

            Mark, the 80-400mm has good optics, but its autofocus speed is far from being fast. It works out well for stationary subjects, but for anything that moves (birds, fast animals), you might want to get at least the 300mm f/4.

  2. 2) Wilson
    August 5, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for follow up test of Nikon 50mm f/1.8g on D800! I read your original review of the lens, bought it for my D7000 and I’ve been really happy for its performance. Thanks for your work!

    One thing has been puzzling me is that why there’s no 50mm lens made in D800E’s lens recommendation list. Would you share some thoughts with me on this?

  3. 3) Stoyan
    August 5, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Seems like the build quality of 50 1.4 G is not that superb, the plastic played its role :)

  4. August 5, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Hi Nasim ^__^

    That confirms my results.
    I initially had the 50 1.4 but found that it was really soft at 1.4
    The autofocus sensor had a hard time getting critical focus with my lens sample (could just be mine)
    In contrast my 24 1.4 and 85 1.4 work just fine.

    I sold my 50 1.4.
    Couple months ago i picked up my 50 1.8 and it has just been awesome ^__^
    Sharp and Contrasty enough for me wide open. Bokeh way better than the old AF-D lenses.

    (id be interested if you ever did a 50 f/1.8 G vs Zeiss f/2 Makro, IF that ever crosses your path >__<)

  5. August 5, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Brilliant review. I placed a reserve and collect on the 1.4G for collection tomorrow after cogitating for what seemed like ages over the 1.4 or 1.8. I’ve cancelled that order and place a reserve on the 1.8G. Very timely post thank you Nasim.

  6. 6) Arne List
    August 5, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I don’t find the resolution graphs so much convincing, to sell my 50/1,4 G, but it’s true, I almost never use it at f 1,4 but rather at f 1,8 or up to f 2,8 (as with my 85/1,4 D).

    Vignetting with the 50/1,4 G is really bad wide open. Why can’t Nikon build it in a really professional barrel with 77 mm filter size and fast autofocus?

  7. 7) Nissor
    August 5, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Have a D800 together with 50/1,8 and I really love it .Wanted to buy 50/1,4 but after i read Mansurov’s first review of 50/1,8 bought it next day.

  8. August 5, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Just curious, what do you think of the 50mm f1.8 AF-D (non G) lens. I have one and quite like it, but I am really looking forward to trying it on my X-PRO1, when the Kipon adapter finally shows up.

  9. 9) Jerome
    August 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks a lot for your review. It’s very interesting.
    I own a D800 and a 50mm 1.4G. Your review along with other reviews convinced me pretty much to switch for the 1.8G version regarding wide open resolution.
    However, what do you think about bokeh difference between the two lenses? Both have rounded blade diaphragms but the 1.8G has 7 blades versus 9 for the 1.4G.

    I would be very interested into having you opinion about this since bokeh quality (as long as resolution) is very important for me.

  10. 10) Pascal
    August 5, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I was one of the ‘confused’paople about this lens too. This article takes away any remaining questions I had.
    I was looking, and still am looking at the 50 f1.8 lens ever since I bought my D7000. In the mean time, I found a great deal on a 17-55 f2.8 DX lens and I bought it (about half price in a excelent secondhand condition). I’m wondering if I still should get this 50 mm lens. The 50 mm probably outperforms the 17-55 at 50 mm and it has the advantage of a greater aparture. What are your thoughts Nasim – would you still get the 50 f1.8 in this case?

  11. 11) zal
    August 5, 2012 at 6:38 am

    After having owned the 50 1.8D and 1.8G at present i own the SIGMA 50 1.4: i think it is way better than the 1.8G that you (over-estimate), it is a very affordable & good quality lens. To every reader: try this by yourself before judge…

    • 11.1) Am-Expat
      September 5, 2012 at 9:46 am

      I have the 50 1.8D and Sigma 40 1.4, and have used the 50 1.8G extensively. They are completely different animals which are hard to compare on equal footing. The 1.8g shows what a new modern formula can do for a modest cost. Wide open it has significantly better color, and contrast, besides being much sharper. The 1.8D gets pretty good stopped down to smaller than 2.8.
      The Sigma is not a general purpose lens. It is not very good in the corners until stopped down enough to get into diffraction on the D800. It has a couple nice things going for it, namely it has a lovely center that has great portrait looks, and the bokeh is good. That is the sole purpose I bought it for(also because all my filters are 77mm so saved on not having to buy a new set of filters) was for human faces, for which I am quite happy with it. It is nice feeling lens, well made and for a 50, large. I just acquired a Nikon 50 1.2 MF that I am getting used to since I do not have a proper focusing screen installed in the D800. The build and feel is every bit as good or better than the Zeiss and has beautiful bokeh. I found a camera store that had just gotten 4 in stock from the distributor. I assumed they were always special order, not a stocked item.
      From my experience the lowest price one of the bunch, the 1.8G, is the best general purpose 50 available.

  12. 12) jason
    August 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I have to concur with Nasim. When upgraded from the 50mm AF-D, I bought the 1.4G and have been disappointed with it since, especially wide open. It’s unusable at 1.4 due to horrid CA and the focus is so slow it’s pathetic. Very tempted to hock it and pick up the 1.8G instead.

  13. 13) Chris
    August 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Could you please review the new 24-85?
    I know you have a long TODO list but I think a large number of people are considerign this for walkaround lens.

    • August 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      Chris, I will be working on that review this week.

  14. August 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I sold my 50mm F/1.4 AF-D (images here: and then later bought the 50mm F/1.8G lens, in part because of reviews like the one on this site. I must say, I have been very impressed with the 1.8G, it has returned some very pleasing image to me. I tend to use it wide open too, which is, for me, the point of a fast aperture lens. :)

    Plenty of examples with my F/1.8G here:

    And here:

    • August 5, 2012 at 10:39 am
      • 14.1.1) Felix
        August 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm


        1-pixel-pictures as downloads, you must be really afraid that someone missuses your photos. Why do you post them at all if you are so concerned? Here at Mansurovs all pictures are avaiable for downloading, so people can collect and enjoy them offline. God bless Nasim and his nice team.

        • August 6, 2012 at 1:40 am

          You’re assuming I’m concerned. I upload images at a reasonable size to make them available for viewing; since it’s your planet too I believe you’re entitled to see it. I don’t need any other special justification for uploading. Some of my images are commissioned for use so perhaps I do have to protect them to a degree. Plenty of people seem to enjoy them on my blog and galleries without complaint. Like them, don’t like them, they’re simply there to be seen.☺

  15. 15) peter2
    August 5, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I got the 50 1.8G too, on my D7000 before now D800. I’m very happy with its sharpness and snap focus. I tried the 1.4G in the store, and I got to say, the slow focus ring was kind of turning me off. Granted in low light condition, 2/3 of stop *may* help a tiny bit, but I could not justify the 2x cost.
    With that kind of price the 1.8G offer, really, is there anything to complain about?

  16. 16) Tarun Vaish
    August 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Nice post!
    One thing that I would like to mention about your post is that this is the first time that I’ve seen somebody highlighting the auto-focusing of the 50mm f.18G lens. I must say, I haven’t seen a lens doing it so quickly! The moment your press the shutter-release button, it moves so quickly and picks the target bang on. Good to see that at least somebody has mentioned about this particular quality of the lens!

  17. 17) Yoshi
    August 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks, Nasim.
    What a great review. I’ve felt this way for some time about my 1.4g. I’ve owned it for about 2.5 years and always felt that it was too soft at the f/1.4 to f/1.8 range, and that’s the whole reason to get the “fast” lens. I have a question for anyone……. I am thinking about sellling my 1.4g and using the money toward a 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Macro. On my DX sensor, it would give me a very nice portrait length and add a macro option to my bag, which I do not currently have. I have a 35mm DX AF-S, which gives me an all-around “normal” view, and an 18-105mm DX kit zoom. Do you have any experience with the 60mm macro, Nasim? Would it truly be any good for general photography and portraits, as I am thinking? Thanks for the wonderful site!

    • August 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Yoshi, the 60mm macro is a great lens, but it is a little too slow for portraiture at that focal length. There is a huge difference in background rendering between an f/1.8 and an f/2.8 lens at 60mm.

  18. 18) Dustin
    August 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Dear Nikon, please put the 24 1.4g quality in a 50mm focal length. Thanks.

  19. 19) AK
    August 6, 2012 at 4:28 am


    I have a query. If a lens really has to be stopped down to get the most of it, what is the necessity to have it so wide open at the first place. Kindly forgive if my question makes me look so ignorant.

    Thank You.

    • 19.1) peter2
      August 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      I’m sure Nasim will answer it much better :)

      When the camera is doing the focusing (shutter release button half pressed or AF-on pressed), the lens aperture is wide open as its widest. The wider it is, the more light gets in to help with the focus sensor. When the shutter release button is pressed the whole way down, the little level inside the camera mount will flick to the appropriate level to allow the lens to stop down, closing the lens aperture to the “F” you wanted.

      Of course then you also want the lens to have a wide aperture in case you need to shoot at such aperture :)

    • August 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Also, sometimes you need the wider aperture more than you need optimal sharpness. Say, you’re shooting in low light, or you need really shallow depth of field.

    • August 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      AK, looks like your question has been answered quite well already :)

  20. 20) Mark
    August 6, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for the great article.

    I guess such reviews and charts are made after testing a lens with a FX camera. This is why I have a rechnical question concerning the “Optical Performance (MTF 50)” charts:

    When the lens is used on a DX camera and you try to guess what woulld be the new “optical performance (MTF50)” chart for this situation , could you erase for that all orange-corner-bars and take instead the red-mid-bars and see them/label them now as the “new corners”? Or in other words: Is the mid zone of a lens later the “corner” zone when using it with a DX camera? …. accurately … or more or less … ?

    • August 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Mark, yes, that would be a pretty close estimate of what the corner performance would be on DX. DX will always have better MTF data, because the corners are chopped off…

      • 20.1.1) Mark
        August 8, 2012 at 3:41 am

        Thank you Nasim :)

  21. 21) PJ elbi
    August 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    i have been using the 50mm 1.8G since January this year on my old D40.
    it is like my D40 just had another life (again)! (35mm 1.8G before the 50mm 1.8G)

    thanks for the review!

  22. 22) Paul
    August 7, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you for doing a second comparison between these two 50mm lenses!

    You came to the conclusion that the cheaper 1.8G outperforms the more expensive 1.4G lens in almost every regard at f/5.6 and below. In the center portion of the frame, this appears to be true.

    However, a quick comparison between the 2 charts shows that the 1.4G has better resolution in the middle portion of the frame (whatever ‘middle’ means). Shouldn’t this be taken into consideration, since some shots are framed with the subject to the side?

    Also, what was the distance from the camera to the test chart? I ask this because focus distance makes a difference.

    According to Thom Hogan, ” the f/1.8G deceived me a bit by being very sharp at close distance when I first played with it in the office, but revealed it was slightly weaker at longer distances. This is one of the reasons why I don’t get enamored by test charts and automated results: they’re shot using a flat target that’s often photographed at slightly short focus distances.)”

    Thank you.

    • August 7, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Paul, take a look at the actual numbers for the “mid-frame” (which is in between the center and the corner) – the differences are very small. So I would say that mid-frame on both lenses is about the same, even stopped down. As for the distance between the lens and the chart, I will have to check what the atual distance was when I get back to Denver (currently on the plane to Seattle). But I will tell you this – I probably use the largest test chart one could find to test lenses (over 74 inches in width). This test chart was specifically created for high resolution cameras (medium format) by Imatest folks. And as you may already know, the larger the test chart, the further you have to stay away from it. To my knowledge, no other site currently uses as big of a chart for testing…

      As for Thom’s comment, I don’t know what he means by “close distance” – is that a foot away, two feet away? I had to stay back at least 5 feet away from the chart to be able to fit it in the frame. And that distance is about what Lola and I use the 50mm for. Normally, you would not stand at very long distances when using a 50mm lens, so if the lens performs worse at infinity, I personally would not care :) My working distance is typically less than 10 feet with the lens anyway…

  23. 23) Alan
    August 8, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I’ve been a long time reader of your articles, this is my second comment I think, i’ve had great response previously. Your site has great contents, and the feedbacks are genuine and helpful to a developing photographer like myself.

    I too believe the 50mm 1.8 (or any other 50mm) a great lens for many purpose, especially people photos. I once shot very comfortably with the 50mm and a wide zoom on a d700.

    I have a question. How often would you reach for the 24-70 when you have a 50mm in your bag during a wedding shot? I am interested to know a working professional’s choice of lens in a demanding situation such as a wedding not so much about the technical differences of the two lens. Is the 50mm focal length too limiting compared to the flexibility of the 24-70? Beside the wide end, is it fair to say the 50mm is 80% of the 24-70 for a wedding situation? I am new to wedding photography, so I hope I make sense of my concern.


    • 23.1) PJ elbi
      August 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      IMHO, when you have the 50mm mounted, you tend to forget that you have other lenses, except if you have a 70-200.
      …or why not use two bodies?

  24. 24) Tony
    August 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Have you looked at the DxO results between these two lenses? They claim that the 1.4G has better resolution and recommend it over the 1.8G. See the last paragraph of their “Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G: review of the famous 50mm 1.8D successor” page, which has a link to the comparison:

    (Yes, the comparison was done on a D3X, they don’t seem to have tested either on a D800 yet.)

    Also, from my personal experience with the 50mm 1.4G (mounted on my D700, so again there’s a resolution difference compared to your data) the resolution/IQ difference between f/1.4 and f/2 is quite substantial (I shoot it mostly at f/2) which is not reflected on your graphs.

    I wonder whether there’s some non-trivial IQ variation between different copies of the 1.4G.

    BTW, I’m not trying to say that I don’t believe your data! I read your web site regularly and I have made several purchases based on your advice. I’m just pointing out that I’m seeing some contradictory data on this comparison.

    Best regards,


  25. August 9, 2012 at 12:13 am

    my 50mm f1.4G got broken last month, i bought it used for a bargain price of $200..:) it was a great lens…

    but i cant afford to buy the 50mm f1.4G or f1.8G….so about a week back i paid $118 a brand new AF-D 1.8

    what are the differences between f1.8G and its older sibling

  26. 26) Goran
    August 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for the follow up review Nasim.

    I have been using the 50mm 1.8G for a few months now, and its definitely my favourite lens!

  27. 27) Daniel
    August 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I would really love to see the difference between Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G and Sigma EX 50mm f/1.4. Would such test be possible because many are looking at the Sigma and are probably (like me) wondering how it performs against the way cheaper Nikon-alternative.

  28. 28) Michael
    August 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I just purchased the nikon 50mm f/1.8 and love it. I have it mounted on my D7000. Problem is that many of the photos appear overexposed on the focal point, especially peoples faces?? I can fix it with lightroom, but would prefer to know how to correctly use the lens. Any suggestions? Laymen’s terms please :) I’m an amateur.

    • 28.1) Igor
      December 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Yea hand over your camera to someone who can make better use of it

      • 28.1.1) Martin
        October 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        And Igor, you may wish to hand over your keyboard to someone who can make nicer use of it.

        • Madan
          December 27, 2013 at 3:34 am

          Well said…

      • 28.1.2) Madan
        December 27, 2013 at 3:38 am

        No need to be rude to someone who is learning…instead you could impart some of your knowledge to help out Michael. From your comment it looks like you are a gun photographer…I am curious to see your amazing work!!!

  29. 29) jubilatu
    August 11, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Excellent as usual. Thank you.
    Did you observe some focus shift at 50mm f/1.8 ? I had to microadjust to -3 to work between f/2-f/4, switch to zero (or use live view to focus) at f/5 or smaller. I never use f1.8.

  30. 30) Mark
    August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Which one you guys buy:

    50mm f/ 1.8G vs 50mm f/1.8D ?

    I would be glad to get a very fast response.

  31. 31) DavidC
    August 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

    1.8G is sharper than 1.4G from f1.8 only. If you want/need f1.4…

  32. 32) Paul
    August 17, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I must admit I have the f1.4 G and use it on my D700 at weddings, I love the extra stops of low light capability it gives. With this lens and the D700, who needs a flash gun!! :)

  33. 33) martha
    August 24, 2012 at 2:58 am

    I’d actually be interested in pairing this lens with my Canon…the canon 50 mm f/1.8 II is definitely less performant than it’s Nikon equivalent

  34. 34) Jeroen
    August 25, 2012 at 1:54 am

    If only Nikon would upgrade the 35mm f2.0 to a modern f1.8 now that would never come of my D700!

  35. 35) adi
    August 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Can you post some picture from this lens when you use it the wedding as you talked about in your post? thanks

    • 35.1) Paul
      August 28, 2012 at 4:09 am

      Adi, Hi…. were you referring to my post?


      • 35.1.1) Adi
        August 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

        no, I am referring to nasim post where he said that he is going to ask Lola to post some picture of wedding that were taken using this lens.

  36. 36) Anthony
    September 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thank you, Nasim, for your thorough and most helpful lens reviews!
    As I think about superfast (let’s say f 2.0 and faster) lenses, it would seem they have 2 main uses: 1) low light and 2) very shallow depth of field wide open, often for “people pictures” with the eyes sharp. Now that we can shoot good images at ISO 1600 or 3200, #1 is less important.
    I have wondered for some time how these superfast and superEXPENSIVE lenses compare with a “merely fast” lens, say a 2.8 24 – 70 or 70 – 200 AND software to simulate the superfast, blown out background, like Alien Skin Bokeh or the Lens Blur Filter in Photoshop, for example, applied by someone who is good at it. Maybe even a less high end lens…you can choose one better than I can…shot at f 4 or 5.6 or, why not, 8!

    I think it would make an excellent study to see how the software stacks up against the superfast/expensive lens. One could produce a number of images of the same subject using superfast lens OR slower lens plus software, publish them online withOUT telling which is which for a week or more , and see how people react.



    • 36.1) PJ elbi
      September 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      in my opinion, producing those bokeh shots using some photo editing software is just plain cheating..
      i can still forgive color-related editing, but background blurring? c’mon!

      • 36.1.1) Anthony
        September 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

        Do you sharpen your images? You do. All programs do. Do you clone out sensor spots?
        A mechanical device makes the image background blurry in photos shot at f 1.4. That device is the lens. The same thing can be done by the computer machine. My question is does a $1500 lens do it better than $100 software. Get real.

        • PJ elbi
          September 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm

          i can say, the $100 software can do better.

        • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin Romanas Naryškin
          September 17, 2012 at 1:11 am

          First of all, it’s an optical device, which has specific optical properties, one of which is depth of field and background blurring capability, which depends on focus distance and background distance. Photographs are 2D replications of reality, they have no real depth, and thus background distance can only be guessed, not calculated.

          No, software can’t do better. It can fool you, or someone else, but it won’t fool a working professional on closer inspection.

  37. 37) Vie303
    October 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for a great review. I have been waiting to sell my 50mm 1.4 AF and get this 1.8. I finally got it this week and the 1.8 has not disappoint yet. It’s definitely a lot quieter and does not focus hunt like the 1.4. Happy with the “upgrade.”

  38. 38) Thomas Eppinger
    December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Dear Nasim,

    I know that you have tons of work. Anyhow, do you think you can publish your list of recommendations anytime soon?
    “Very soon I will put a list of recommended lenses for the Nikon D800, as requested from our readers.”

  39. 39) Simon
    December 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hi! Nasim! I have been reading your articles for a long time, an they are really helpful and nice reviews! Thank you! I am wondering if you can make a review on the 105mm f/2.8G macro? I am going to get a D800E soon, but there is so many problems happened on other people’s D800E. For example the left focus, green screen and the oil/dirt spots on the sensor. Therefore, should I just wait for the D900? Also, is 24-120mm f/4 a really good lens with D800E? I want the 24-70mm f/2.8, too, but I am waiting for the new VR version :) . Thank you!

    ~a little friend from Canada

    • 39.1) Am-Expat
      December 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Simon, have you seen these problems? Ever see a green screen? I have been wondering why they must all go to some place far away because after seeing dozens of D800’s and my own, I have yet to see or even hear of an actual problem with a tinted screen. I suspect another internet rumor becoming fact solely due to be repeated so often by people who have not seen it either.
      The far left focus problem that some cameras had seems to be a thing of the past also, although I have not talked to a single person who actually had it. I have not even heard of any rumors about oil/dirt on the sensor. Are you confusing that with the D600 which has its own internet rumor history.

      It is all very simple, if you want a d800, go to your pro shop with your best 1.4 pro lenses and test it before handing over your credit card. Problem solved.
      The 24-70 2.8 is not likely to get VR for awhile when they can hardly make them fast enough to fill demand. It is a great lens and I doubt many people really care if it has VR in it if it pushes price up to $2400-2600. It is $2000 now and an update will add weight, size and price. I do not want one if it has o be bigger and heavier, wouldn’t use VR that much anyway. With a D800 you will shoot at higher shutter speeds if hand-holding anyway so much of the time you would be turning off VR anyway.
      If a D900 is released, it will be another 3 years at least, pro bodies are not replaced by the season like some entry level cameras are.

  40. 40) Norman Thapa
    March 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Your website is a great source of learning about photography! Nasim, I have a question. Which one do you prefer, 50mm 1.4g or 50mm 1.8g if you had to use manual focus ring? You see I need a 50 mm lens for D600 to shoot videos as well still photographs. In video mode I’ll be using manual focus ring and even in still photography I prefer to focus manually. So which lens is easy and pleasant when it comes to focusing manually? I’ve used a friend’s Nikon D90 with a 18-55mm kit lens and it was a terrible experience to focus manually. I have a request Nasim, would it be possible to include about manual focus ring and how it operates and how easy it is to achieve focus, in your lens reviews? There are people who shoot a lot of videos and some people like me who still prefer to focus manually when it’s possible. I hope I’m not asking much. I’ve really been learning a lot through your website, I’ve been watched your videos on sensor and lens cleaning and your many articles. Thank you, Nasim :)

  41. 41) HNR7
    April 2, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Dear Nasim,

    Nowadays I have a Nikon 50mm 1.4D lens. After reading your review I am somewhat inclined towards the 1.8G.

    Price is not a huge concern for me, I just need the sharpness. I know it would depend a lot on my photography technique but I don’t want to be limited by the lense. I have a Nikon D600 body.

    Going from 1.4 to 1.8 — should it concern me a lot ?? In my opinion my 1.4D isn’t that sharp wide open anyway – I don’t know about the 1.4G but sales people always try to sell the 1.4G instead of 1.8G because of better pricing for them.

    Awaiting your valuable response.

    Thanks in advance.

    • April 2, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Hello HNR7,

      I can identify with your question. I sold my 50mm F/1.4 AF-D because it was a little too soft wide open (although exceptional stopped down) and replaced it with the F/1.8G, which I found to be much sharper at F/1.8 than the F/1.4 AF-D model was. In fact, I found the F/1.8G to have decent sharpness right from it’s widest aperture, and improving stopped down. The F/1.4 AF-D was a little soft until about F/2.5, and also suffered from noticeable chromatic aberrations.

      I don’t feel I need the extra 2/3 stop of light that the newer F/1.4G model would give me over the F/1.8G, and my D600 has good enough high ISO performance and shallower depth of field that the difference is largely irrelevant to me. I realise there are those with the F/1.4G who would say otherwise, and I suppose it depends on what you shoot, but I’m just offering my own personal experience and humble opinion.

      Hope this helps. :)

      • 41.1.1) carl
        July 29, 2013 at 8:11 am

        what does that mean… shallower depth of field… than what?

        • July 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

          Shallower depth of field than a DX sensor, which is what I used the 50mm F/1.4 on.

  42. 42) Lisa
    August 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for a great review with real insight. I am an amateur photographer, who loves taking photo’s of my children. I have been eying the 50mm Nikon AFS lens for over a year now. Due to the normal reviews and people stating the 1.4 costing more is better, I have held off on buying one. The price difference is substantial as you know. After reading your review I have finally placed an order, and can’t wait for my 1.8 to arrive. I am so happy that I found your website and can’t wait to read all your helpful information.

    Thank you again.

  43. 43) Danielle
    August 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you so much I was going to buy f1.4 as my first 50mm but now I’m definitely getting f1.8.

  44. 44) Jay
    February 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Nasim, thanks for the review. I have been reading the same impressions in many forums as well as by popular reviewers but your review confirms it. I am about to pick one of the 50s (1.4 or 1.8) and now finalized the 1.8 :)

  45. 45) graig
    August 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

    “Bokeh always looks the best at the widest lens aperture.”

    I thought I would respond to this comment, Generally this is true. But not always.

    I have a pentax 55 mm 1.4 SDM lens. And it looks the best at 2.0 it seems. The aperture blades are rounded at such a low aperture. At 1.4 near the corners the out of focus bokeh circles appear round, but at the extreme edges they are cut off because the light hits the edge of the lens and that’s it. but at f2, all the bokeh is perfectly round, even in the corners. So it does depend on the lens design.

  46. 46) Rick
    August 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    How does the 1.4G and the 1.8G compare in terms of low light shooting. Does the f/1.4’s extra 2/3 stops really make that big of a difference in low light situations? I don’t mind spending extra money to get the 1.4-but, only if there is an adequate advantage in doing so. I currently have a 6D and was interested in purchasing one of the new D3300’s as my rough-use camera. I would be pairing either the 1.4G or the 1.8G with the D3300.

  47. 47) Ali
    August 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    As a new photographer, this was helpful to me in deciding between the two lenses. Thanks for your article!

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