Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G £280, $425

This dinky Nikon has an un­com­monly com­pact build for an f/1.4 lens, and it’s also light on price

NPhoto - - Test Team -

It’s not of­ten that we can say a Nikon lens is the least ex­pen­sive in the group (at least in the UK), but this 50mm un­der­cuts all f/1.4 com­peti­tors. At 74x54mm and 280g, it’s the small­est and light­est lens on test. In fact, it’s barely any larger than Nikon’s 50mm f/1.8G lens and has the same 58mm fil­ter thread, de­spite be­ing two-thirds of a stop faster. Along with in­creased aper­ture, another ad­van­tage of the f/1.4 lens is that it fea­tures nine di­aphragm blades. This helps to en­able a rounder aper­ture when the lens is stopped down a lit­tle from its widest set­ting.

Usual attractions in­clude in­ter­nal fo­cus­ing with a non- ro­tat­ing front el­e­ment, ring-type ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus with full­time man­ual over­ride, and the pro­vi­sion of a hood and pouch. The front el­e­ment is quite well re­cessed within the lens bar­rel and has Nikon’s SIC (Su­per In­te­grated Coat­ing), help­ing to re­sist ghost­ing and flare.


Sharp­ness and con­trast aren’t mas­sively im­pres­sive com­pared with some other lenses in the group, es­pe­cially at wide aper­tures, and aut­o­fo­cus is a bit slug­gish. Bokeh is pleas­ing over­all and fring­ing is well con­trolled, but de­fo­cused lights to­wards the edges of images tend to take on com­plex shapes.

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