Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Classic Film RangeFinders & Other Classics > SLRs - the unRF

SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

How good is your 50mm f1.4 Ai Nikkor?
Old 03-21-2011   #1
Range Loser
Registered User
 
Range Loser's Avatar
 
Range Loser is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 129
How good is your 50mm f1.4 Ai Nikkor?

I recently sold my 50mm f1.4 Ai Nikkor. When used wide open on my D700 it was quite soft and hazy, highlights glowed like ghosts! I've toyed with the idea of an f1.2 version, but imagine it may not be much better. I have a 35mm f2 which seems much better wide open. Any others' experiences would be interesting.
__________________
D700 and D800 + Nikkors for everyday.
Fuji TX1 and a few old Zorki's/Fed's for special occasions.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #2
kshapero
Press the Shutter
 
kshapero's Avatar
 
kshapero is online now
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: South Florida, USA
Age: 69
Posts: 9,805
yes keep it at f2. With the D700's superior low light performance it should be find. Or better yet get an AIS 50/1.8. Smaller, cheaper and sharper.
__________________
Akiva S.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kshapero

Cameras, Lenses and Photos
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #3
Vickko
Registered User
 
Vickko is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Canada
Age: 60
Posts: 2,823
hmmmm... is the 5.8cm f1.4 any better?
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #4
keytarjunkie
Registered User
 
keytarjunkie's Avatar
 
keytarjunkie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 527
I've had the AF 50mm f/1.8D, 50mm f/1.4 AI-S, 50mm f/1.2 AI-S, and now I have the Sigma 50/1.4. The Sigma is much better than all of them. The 1.2 was pretty soft wide open as well, by the time you were at 1.4 I'd say it was a bit better than my 50mm f/1.4 AI-S wide-open. If you're looking for sharpness, get either the Sigma 50/1.4 or the latest Nikon (AF-S) model. If you need something that works on mechanical cameras, maybe try the Zeiss 50/1.4. I've heard it isn't entirely sharp wide-open either, but it's a lot better than the old-school Nikkors. Hope that helps.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #5
Range Loser
Registered User
 
Range Loser's Avatar
 
Range Loser is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 129
thanks keytarjunkie, I've been considering the Sigma for a while, might have to take the plunge. Or maybe the new Nikon 50mm G. I tried the 24mm f1.4 recently, now that's a nice lens, if only I had a spare £1700.
__________________
D700 and D800 + Nikkors for everyday.
Fuji TX1 and a few old Zorki's/Fed's for special occasions.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #6
Steve Bellayr
Registered User
 
Steve Bellayr's Avatar
 
Steve Bellayr is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,942
Two things to consider with that lens. 1. It was produced over a long period of time. And, into the Ai-S version of which there were six. Supposedly (I have read this.) the 6th version of the Ai-S is the best. When I use this lens on my F3 there is not problem. 2. I have not experienced this but have read that not all lenses function equally as well from film to digital camera.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #7
stupid leica
i don't shoot rf
 
stupid leica's Avatar
 
stupid leica is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Age: 34
Posts: 316
i've had or used pretty much every Nikon F mount 50mm.
5.8cm f1.4 NKJ -great lens, but can be finicky
5cm f2.0 -awesome
5cm f1.4 -tons of character, great look
50mm f1.2 -AI, AIS- good lens, but overpriced. not worth it vs the 1.4's
50mm f1.4 -AIS- overall my favorite "value" nikon 50.
50mm f1.8 E/AI/AIS -good lenses, sometimes low contrast. some varieties are very small
50mm f2.0 H AI -one of Nikon's best ever in my opinion
__________________
Google Pixel 2
No Kimchi Please
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #8
ray*j*gun
Registered User
 
ray*j*gun's Avatar
 
ray*j*gun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Philadelphia area
Posts: 2,317
I have a fairly recent 1.4 Ai and its excellent on my F and Fm3a, however I tried it on my D90 and it was a disappointment wide open. I didn't give it much thought as I generally use AF lenses on my D90 anyway.
__________________
Raymond
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #9
keytarjunkie
Registered User
 
keytarjunkie's Avatar
 
keytarjunkie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Range Loser View Post
thanks keytarjunkie, I've been considering the Sigma for a while, might have to take the plunge. Or maybe the new Nikon 50mm G. I tried the 24mm f1.4 recently, now that's a nice lens, if only I had a spare £1700.
Hah that's my dream lens I don't use my d300 enough to justify something like that though...

The G seems pretty slow to focus. I would get it if IQ were a huge concern, although in my opinion the Sigma is just as good, faster to focus, and has much better looking "bokeh"

Edit: Here are some of my better photos from the 50/1.2 AI-S (9 blades):




These results are great, but they took a lot of effort. And they're still a little out of focus/soft. Focusing is really a pain unless you install a better screen (I'd imagine it's easier on a FX camera, too).

I actually don't have a lot of good photos from the Sigma to show, because I got it recently and I really dislike using 50mm on a cropped sensor these days. Next time I'm having a proper photoshoot I'll pull it out, but IMO it's a lot better.

Last edited by keytarjunkie : 03-21-2011 at 14:29.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #10
f/1,4
Registered User
 
f/1,4 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Halden, Norway
Posts: 80
IMHO:
The overall best 50mm Nikkor is currently the 24-70mm f/2.8 set to 50mm.
50mm f1.2 -AI, AIS The most interesting addition if you have the 24-70.
Sharp from f/2. Usable for catching the mood from f/1.4
And even wilder moods at f/1.2. Nice bokeh.
50mm f1.4 D. autofocus. OK, but really sharp only from f/4.
50mm f1.8 D autofocus, Sharp and "neutral" "just another lens.
50mm f1.4 G autofocus. Disappointing at wide apertures.
OK from f/4, Sharp at f/7.1
50mm f1.4 Single Coat, manual. Interesting 1960-look in the pictures.
IMHO.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #11
arpinum
Registered User
 
arpinum is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 42
The 1.2 is pointless on a digital body. Because of the angle of incidence to the sensor, you don't actually get the full 1.2. ~1.5 is the best you are going to get on a d700. The camera actually boosts the ISO without letting you know to simulate a 1.2. I'll edit this with a source when I find one.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #12
filmfan
Registered User
 
filmfan's Avatar
 
filmfan is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinum View Post
The 1.2 is pointless on a digital body. Because of the angle of incidence to the sensor, you don't actually get the full 1.2. ~1.5 is the best you are going to get on a d700. The camera actually boosts the ISO without letting you know to simulate a 1.2. I'll edit this with a source when I find one.
This is the first time I have read/heard this claim. I would love a source when you get a chance.
__________________
Pentax 6x7 w/ 55mm f4, 105mm f2.4
Canon F-1 w/ FD SSC 28mm f2, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.4
Olympus OM1 & OM2 w/ OM 28mm 2.8, 35mm f2, 50mm 1.8
Canon 5DII w/ EF 50mm f1.8
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-21-2011   #13
willie_901
Registered User
 
willie_901's Avatar
 
willie_901 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,304
I have a Nippon Kogaku 50/1.4 SC that was AI'd decades ago. I really like the retro way this this lens draws. It does have veiling flare wide open and the bokeh is choppy too.

I also have the 50/1.8 AF. This lens works well on the D200/300 and 700. It performs well wide open.

I used the 50/1.4 G for a wedding. It is a nice lens but it's not worth the money. I found the longitudinal CA to be way to high for a lens at that price.

I plan to buy the Sigma 50/1.4 sometime this year.
__________________
Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
Garry Winogrand
williamchuttonjr.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2011   #14
Vilk
Registered User
 
Vilk's Avatar
 
Vilk is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 180
after getting the longnose 1.8 i gave my 1.4 away. it lacked character and definition rather painfully, at all apertures (compared to 1.8, of course; there was nothing wrong with it on its own). and yes, it veiled wide open
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2011   #15
David67
Registered User
 
David67 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: London
Posts: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmfan View Post
This is the first time I have read/heard this claim. I would love a source when you get a chance.
There was an article on that a few months ago in a French magazine. Reponses Photos I think. That was basically the claim and there was some science behind it.
__________________
--------------------------
Leica M3 and MP, lenses from 15 to 90mm
lots of Nikon SLRs, and more...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/3370763...7622412363321/
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-23-2011   #16
Brian Sweeney
Registered User
 
Brian Sweeney's Avatar
 
Brian Sweeney is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 14,912
It would be interesting to try the 55/1.2 with the D700. Slightly longer focal length, as is the 5.8cm F1.4. The latter is single-coated, and soft to begin with. Fantastic portrait lens.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-27-2011   #17
huddy
Registered User
 
huddy is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 161
I owned a Nikkor 50/1.4 AI-S for awhile a few months ago, serial number 54xxxx IIRC. I didn't like it at the time due to the purple fringing that showed up in every picture I took with it. I did like the dreamy look that it gave and wish that I had kept it now that my PP ability has improved. I ended up selling it for a few bucks more than I paid for it and have settled with my 50/1.8D AF version for now. Manually focusing at f/1.4 on a D90 was a pain anyway.

If I ever get to shoot more film or get a D700, I might try and pick one back up.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-28-2011   #18
gavinlg
Registered User
 
gavinlg's Avatar
 
gavinlg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Wellington NZ
Posts: 5,072
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
I've never tried the Sigma, but I know it is optimised for sharpness at f1.4, so if you want sharp wide open, that's probably your best choice.
If you shoot at f1.4 a lot, the sigma is currently the best 50mm for SLRs out there bar the canon 1.2L - which you can't use anyway
__________________
NO PRAISE
@gavinlagrange
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-28-2011   #19
Paulbe
Registered User
 
Paulbe is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Suwanee. GA
Posts: 1,466
Vilk or Brian--or any Nikon expert--:-)
What is a "longnose 1.8?"
What serial number range would they be in?
Thanks!
PaulB
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #20
GarageBoy
Registered User
 
GarageBoy is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 765
The Nikon S-C 1.4 and the AI are not optically the same?
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #21
Fraser
Registered User
 
Fraser is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,718
Nikon d700 and 50mm 1.2
15fbpicMartha1 by f4saregreat!, on Flickr

The Nikkor 50s I have
f1.4 and f2 pre ai
f2 ai
55mm f3.5 ai
f1.4 and f1.8D
and the 1.2 ai out of all of them if I had to choose it would be the 1.2 and 55mm f3.5 which is probably my favourite.

16fbpic50mmtest_02 by f4saregreat!, on Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #22
Fraser
Registered User
 
Fraser is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,718
Just noticed how old this thread is!
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #23
rumbliegeos
Registered User
 
rumbliegeos's Avatar
 
rumbliegeos is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 267
I have an AI'd 50mm 1.4 SC that I bought new in 1973, and it has veiling flare, low contrast, etc. When you shine a bright light through it you can see that it also has an even coating of very fine dust all over at least one of the interior groups. It is the only 1.4 lens that I own, so I'm thinking about getting it cleaned. However, I also have the 50mm 2 AI, a 50mm 1.8 AIS, and an AI'd 55mm 3.5 micro lens, so I'm probably crazy.
__________________
Gerry
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #24
Timmyjoe
Registered User
 
Timmyjoe's Avatar
 
Timmyjoe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,979
I've got the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor-S Auto non-AI and it positively glows wide open. Not from internal dust, because it has been rebuilt and cleaned thoroughly. I think it's just the design of the lens. It sharpens up nicely at f2, and is like a modern lens from f2.8 on up. Also have the 50mm f1.2 AIS lens. It too is pretty soft at f1.2, but doesn't glow like the non-AI does. It also needs to be stopped down to f2 to be practical on my D700.
__________________
http://www.timcarrollphotography.com

New Photo Books
Sturgis Stories
& Scenes From Sturgis
now available
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #25
DanskDynamit
Registered User
 
DanskDynamit's Avatar
 
DanskDynamit is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 418
mine its too soft wide open but it looks decent at f2.8

Nikkor-s Auto non-AI 50mm f/1.4 @2.8 // Nikon F
Portra 400
__________________
DanskDynamit
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #26
Timmyjoe
Registered User
 
Timmyjoe's Avatar
 
Timmyjoe is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,979
Depends on what you're shooting. That's what I like about the Nikkor-S Auto, when you want that soft focus glow, you've got it at f1.4. When you want it sharp, go to f2.8 and above.

Did a series on an Iowa town on a foggy night, and the glow at f1.4 was perfect. Also, street portraits of folks in their later years are more flattering with the added softness.
__________________
http://www.timcarrollphotography.com

New Photo Books
Sturgis Stories
& Scenes From Sturgis
now available
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #27
nikon_sam
Shooter of Film...
 
nikon_sam's Avatar
 
nikon_sam is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alta Loma, CA
Age: 59
Posts: 4,943
Taken with the 50mm 1.8 AF...1/20 @ f8.0
I was impressed with this lens after seeing this...
__________________
Sam
"tongue tied & twisted
just an earthbound misfit...I..."
pf
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #28
Ronald M
Registered User
 
Ronald M is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,496
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
yes keep it at f2. With the D700's superior low light performance it should be find. Or better yet get an AIS 50/1.8. Smaller, cheaper and sharper.
Agreed agreed agreed. garbage lens. 1.8 or early 2.0 way better.

It is the worst Nikon lens I own. I use it for a paperweight.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-29-2016   #29
rbsinto
Registered User
 
rbsinto is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada Thornhill is a suburb of Toronto
Posts: 1,609
I've had the 50 1.8 series E which I sold when I got a 50 1.4 AI, and I liked them both so much that the 1.4 has been sitting in a drawer for the last twenty years.
In my opinion the 50 is a useless focal length (too short to be long and too long to be wide) regardless of its image quality.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-30-2016   #30
Fraser
Registered User
 
Fraser is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
Agreed agreed agreed. garbage lens. 1.8 or early 2.0 way better.

It is the worst Nikon lens I own. I use it for a paperweight.
I think that's a bit strong, perhaps you just have a bad sample!
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-30-2016   #31
Fraser
Registered User
 
Fraser is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,718
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbsinto View Post
I've had the 50 1.8 series E which I sold when I got a 50 1.4 AI, and I liked them both so much that the 1.4 has been sitting in a drawer for the last twenty years.
In my opinion the 50 is a useless focal length (too short to be long and too long to be wide) regardless of its image quality.
I think the exact opposite just long enough and just wide enough!
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-02-2016   #32
flavio81
Registered User
 
flavio81 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Range Loser View Post
I recently sold my 50mm f1.4 Ai Nikkor. When used wide open on my D700 it was quite soft and hazy, highlights glowed like ghosts!
From the excellent tests online by Marco Cavina, it seems that the 50/1.4 AI favored resolution over contrast wide-open, while the previous 50/1.4 Nikkor-SC had more contrast wideopen (particularly in corners) with less resolution (center resolution indeed lower wideopen).

BTW there are at least two optical versions of the pre-AI 50/1.4 lenses, the switchover done around 1967.

Enjoy:
http://www.marcocavina.com/articoli_...uto/00_pag.htm

PS - Marco Cavina, if you're reading this -- you're my hero!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stupid leica View Post
i've had or used pretty much every Nikon F mount 50mm.
5.8cm f1.4 NKJ -great lens, but can be finicky
50mm f2.0 H AI -one of Nikon's best ever in my opinion
Agree with the assessments above.

I owned the 50/1.4 Nikkor-S and found it a good lens, now i have the Nikkor-SC which i have not used enough because i find the 50/2 more convenient. Also the S-C is a giant monster compared to my (insert superlative here) Canon FD 50/1.4.

On the other hand my old 5.8cm f1.4 Nikkor-S is... well i'd rather keep hush about this lens. Suffice to say that i will never sell it.

I also had the 50/1.8 AI with "long nose" design and it was probably the sharpest 50/1.8 or 2.0 lens I owned. But the rendering was too "harsh" for me for some subjective reason, so I sold it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbsinto View Post
In my opinion the 50 is a useless focal length (too short to be long and too long to be wide) regardless of its image quality.
That's the idea, that's why it's a "normal" lens, for when you don't want to have neither wide or long-focus effects.

I found 45mm to about 55mm my most used FL. I would say 80% of my pics were made with a normal lens, and I own 45 SLR lenses, spanning the angles of view from 19mm to 300mm.
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-02-2016   #33
sevo
Fokutorendaburando
 
sevo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 6,364
I have the earlier K type 1.4/50 as well as the AI-S version. I prefer the former, but both are not up to the Canon FD 1.4/50, nor to the Nikkor 1.8 and 2.0 50...
  Reply With Quote

Old 09-04-2016   #34
J enea
Registered User
 
J enea is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 156
I have been collecting nikon 50mm ai and ai-s lenses lately. ive been given one for free, got two that were used as lens caps for cheap film bodies I bought (so basically free as well) and found a year ago the first version, the long nose one, of the 50mm-e lens still in the box with my dads old telescope stuff. All have performed well for me. and shooting in B&W I have not really found much difference in the 6 I own once I stop down to F4. I very rarely shoot wide open so I have different needs than those who do. Funny, I seem to prefer the E lens lately.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:28.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.