Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G £1400, $1695

The costli­est lens on test is not the sharpest tool in the box, but it’s built to ex­cel in other ar­eas

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Nikon says that this new lens pays homage to the leg­endary Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 from 1977. Un­like most mod­ern lenses, it’s de­signed to per­form best at its widest aper­ture, mak­ing it ideal for por­trai­ture and night scenes. It’s con­sid­er­ably larger than the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G but still rea­son­ably light­weight, at 385g.

Mod cons in­clude ring-type ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus, a nineblade di­aphragm and Nano Crys­tal Coat­ing, plus a lens hood and soft pouch as bun­dled ac­ces­sories. To be hon­est, you’d ex­pect noth­ing less con­sid­er­ing the price tag. This lens is more than five times as ex­pen­sive as the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G in the UK, and some four times as pricey in the USA.

Per­for­mance

Per­haps the big­gest shock is that sharp­ness is rel­a­tively lack­ing at wide aper­tures. At f/1.4, it’s the soft­est in the group. How­ever, there’s also an up side. Un­like with most com­pet­ing lenses, de­fo­cused lights to­wards the edges and cor­ners of the frame re­main rounded rather than tak­ing on com­plex shapes. Bokeh is in­cred­i­bly creamy, and ‘bokeh fring­ing’ is very well re­strained. It re­ally comes down to whether you pre­fer beau­ti­ful bokeh at the ex­pense of re­duced sharp­ness, and whether you feel it’s worth pay­ing the ex­tra.

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