Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G £385/$450
REMARKABLY COMPACT AND IMPRESSIVELY SHARP
Despite the fact that this is the most upmarket option in Nikon’s 50mm line-up, it’s still around 50 per cent cheaper than the competing Sigma 50mm and Tamron 45mm lenses – and the latter only has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 lens. It’s also remarkably compact for a 50mm f/1.4: it’s only 1.5mm longer and wider than the f/1.8 version, and has the same 58mm filter thread. And while it is noticeably heavier than the f/1.8, it’s just a third of the weight of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 A.
It feels similar to the f/1.8 in terms of build quality and handling. However, it features an additional optical element, plus two extra iris blades, which means the aperture is more rounded when stopping down.
Bokeh isn’t altogether pleasing when shooting wide open, as bokeh fringing and coma are quite visible. However, contrast and sharpness are impressive, vignetting is fairly minimal, and bokeh becomes much smoother when stopping down to f/1.8, beating the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G at the same aperture.