General Question

jtvoar16's avatar

Has anyone that shoots Nikon every used both these lens?

Asked by jtvoar16 (2171points) November 16th, 2008

I am just wondering if anyone out there (pro or otherwise) who shoots with Nikon (DSLer’s in particular) and owns both the 50mm f\1.4 and the 50mm f\1.8 can give me some key differences when out and about, shooting?
What I mean is: I am wondering what it is like to have both lens and shot with both for more then just one or two times… I have demoed the 1.8 and really can’t see much of a difference, but that was in a store.
I am asking because I use the 50mm f/1.4 all the time when I am being “artsy” and would love to get another two for my other two camera bodies, but have a hard time finding good condition ones and I don’t want to pay new if I can avoid it, mostly because all the camera stores in my town suck butt in a major vampire kind of way and Adorama and B&H don’t have used ones… but Adorama does have three used 50mm f/1.8’s and two 85mm f/1.8’s, both of which always get the highest marks and they are dirt cheep (as far as Nikon Lens go.) So if the 50mm f/1.8 or the 85mm f/1.8 are as good, if not better, then the 50mm f/1.4, I am just going to buy the three 50mm f/1.8’s.
I am attempting to create a stereoscopic image involving some techniques me and my friend have created, and obviously having two of the exact same lens is beneficial!

Just to clarify, I am not looking for the technical specks, as I am more looking for the experiences of both lens… if that makes any sense, as in; “Would you replace the 50mm f/1.4 with the f/1.8?”

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8 Answers

Cardinal's avatar

I use a D90 with a 50mm f1.8 and a 35mm (lens) with a1.4 and see very little difference on a normal bright w/o too much glareday

bpeoples's avatar

I know you’re not looking for technical specs, but here’s my opinion (without having shot both, only the 50mm f/1.4, and a 70’s era 50mm f/1.8)

The biggest difference, all other things being equal, is that—in theory, I haven’t done the tests, but I bet you can find them—the f/1.4 is going to be sharpest faster than the f/1.8. Assuming you are using similar vintage lenses. That is, uncoated 70’s lenses aren’t going to be as sharp as coated 80’s lenses.

Typically, lenses are sharpest two stops down from their largest aperture. That tends to balance the internal refractions you get when you stop all the way down with the variations in the lens that make it less sharp full open.

Anyway: I would save the money and just get the f/1.8, you’re not going to see a lot of difference in your application.

bob's avatar

If you’re buying multiple copies, go with the cheaper lens. There’s not enough difference between the two lenses to justify three copies of the 1.4. The 1.4 is better, but not better enough.

If you want the best lens, the 1.4 is better—but hey, there’s a new version that will be even better that ships next month. Sell your 1.4, buy three 1.8s, and then get a new 1.4 in a couple of months.

jtvoar16's avatar

I have magical powers! Thanks to bob, I have now discovered I have the magical power to create a new version of an old lens without doing nothing more then simply stating very loudly and very angerly, “Damn it! Why can’t Nikon come out with x lens but make it new and good?” Thus, the spell is cast and I get my wish!
It happened with the 24–70, the 60mm macro, and now the 50mm f/1.4! Woo! Okay, time for a test…
/shout: Damn it! Why can’t Nikon come out with a newer version of the 200mm f/4 macro?
let’s see what happens?

jtvoar16's avatar

something just occured to me… do you guys (i guess more so Bob,) think that this lens will be in high demand like… well most of Nikon’s other lens have been in the past? I mean I can understand the 18–200 and the 24–70… one lens was amazing cause you really never need to buy another lens ever again if your amateur or just buying it to photograph your family, and the 24–70 is just flat out the most amazing portrait and landscape lens nikon has! But the 50mm f/1.4 seems to me to be such a niche type lens, requiring a lot of knowledge of environment in order to achieve a good photo. I mean if you don’t have your subject at the right distance, nothing will work right. So that makes me think I might be able to purchase one of these lens… you know… before next Xmas, unlike what it was like for my friend who had to wait 8 months for his 24–70.
I have been pretty dang lucky in the past, I got the 24–70 two weeks after it came out, I got my 80–400 in store, I didn’t have to order it, and I got my 60mm macro two days after release when I walked into the store and saw it in the shipping box (BTW, BEST MACRO LENS EVER!)

tigran's avatar

are you doing stereoscopic action shots? because otherwise you could shoot with one lens. As for your lenses, there should not be much difference when the light is good, but under low light the 1.4 shows more quality.

jtvoar16's avatar

it’s an action shot, lots of stuff going on in the scene.

meemorize's avatar

i have been shooting nikon for years and own the 50/1,4 (AF) lens, and its great, insanely crisp photos. my reason primarily though to buy the 1,4 was that it was a metal lens as opposed to the plastic housing of the 1,8.
HOWEVER, the 1,4 (AF) and 1,8 lenses both have only 6 or 7 blades thus not producing great bokeh wide open. The new 1,4 AF-S has 9 rounded ones. Buy that one. It will make the most beautiful creamy smooth photos ever.
I also own the 200mm/f4 macro which is fantastic and crisp and the 1,4 is as crisp as the macro. Another lens relevant in this case is the 70–200/f2,8 AF-S which i also own and that also has the 9 rounded blades aperture. Its bokeh is absolutely amazing.

my vote goes for the 1,4 AF-S.

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