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
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.