Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the new, much anticipated Nikon 58mm f/1.4G professional prime lens that was announced on October 17, 2013 along with the Nikon D5300 DSLR. Similar to the legendary classic, the NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a specialized lens for such needs as portraiture, street, event / wedding photography and astrophotography. Thanks to its fast aperture of f/1.4 and a complex optical formula using aspherical elements, nano crystal coat and super integrated coating, along with a fast silent wave autofocus motor, the lens is also ideal for low-light photography needs. Unlike many of the Nikkor lenses that are optimized for maximum sharpness, the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is the first modern lens of its kind that focuses on producing aesthetically pleasing images, rather than purely focusing on sharpness. I had a pleasure of shooting with this lens for the last 3 months and I wanted to get a full understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, especially when compared to the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and f/1.8G lenses that I have been relying on for my photography needs. In this review, I will not only provide an in-depth analysis of the lens, but will also compare it head to head against Nikon’s 50mm prime lenses and the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 lens that I have been testing in parallel.

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G

As I have stated above, the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is a specialized lens like the much older NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/1.2. Due to the high price tag, limited production and eventual discontinuation, the NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 has become a classic that is hard to find in good condition. Most used copies auctioned off on sites like eBay go for $3K and up, depending on their wear and tear. The reason why the NOCT rose to such popularity, was because of its distinct look in images and a fast aperture of f/1.2 that rendered exceptionally good-looking images. Nikon has not updated the lens for many years, so the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is meant to replace the long discontinued NOCT 58mm f/1.2. Although Nikon could not deliver the same fast f/1.2 aperture lens due to mount size constraints (electronic contacts for lens / camera communication and autofocus operation take up the already tight space), Nikon’s goal was to produce a lens with sharper wide open performance than the NOCT, while maintaining the distinct three-dimensional look that the NOCT was so famous for. Unfortunately, although I really wanted to do a head to head comparison between the new 58mm f/1.4G and the NOCT, I was not able to find a good sample for proper testing. Hence this review will primarily focus on comparing the 58mm f/1.4G against the two 50mm Nikon primes and the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 manual focus lens. Let’s take a look at the lens in more detail.

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Image Sample (82)

NIKON Df + 58mm f/1.4 @ 58mm, ISO 100, 1/160, f/1.4

1) Lens Specifications

Main Features:

  1. High reproduction capability of point light sources even at the maximum aperture
  2. Sharp, high-resolution images can be reproduced even at the maximum aperture
  3. Delivers natural depth of subjects utilizing smooth and beautiful bokeh characteristics
  4. Controlled light falloff retains natural brightness across the entire frame even at the maximum aperture
  5. Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces flare and ghost
Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Image Sample (83)

NIKON Df + 58mm f/1.4 @ 58mm, ISO 100, 1/160, f/1.4

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Image Sample (39)

NIKON D600 + 58mm f/1.4 @ 58mm, ISO 100, 1/2000, f/1.4

Technical Specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  2. Focal Length: 58mm
  3. Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  4. Minimum Aperture: f/16
  5. Format: FX/35mm
  6. Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 27°20′
  7. Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 40°50′
  8. Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.13x
  9. Lens Elements: 9
  10. Lens Groups: 6
  11. Compatible Format(s): FX, DX
  12. Diaphragm Blades: 9
  13. Distance Information: Yes
  14. Nano Crystal Coat: Yes
  15. Aspherical Elements: 2
  16. Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  17. Autofocus: Yes
  18. AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  19. Minimum Focus Distance: 1.9ft.(0.58m)
  20. Focus Mode: Auto, Manual, Manual/Auto
  21. G-type: Yes
  22. Filter Size: 72mm
  23. Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  24. Dimensions: (Approx.) 3.3×2.7 in. (Diameter x Length), 85x70mm (Diameter x Length)
  25. Weight: (Approx.) 13.6 oz. (385g)
Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Image Sample (3)

NIKON D3S + 58mm f/1.4 @ 58mm, ISO 200, 1/640, f/1.4

Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.

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