Nikon 50mm 1.4 vs 1.8?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ecnal, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. ecnal

    ecnal TPF Noob!

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    I'm planning out my soon to be recent purchase of a D90, and I'm looking for a prime lens to go with it.
    I was looking through B&H, and there's a 50mm 1.4 and a 50mm 1.8. Studying the specs, here's the differences I can find:

    The 1.4 has 6/7 elements, vs 5/6 of the 1.8. More = better?

    The 1.4 has a f/stop range of 1.4-16, whereas the 1.8 is 1.8(duh)-22. Would a greater range == less quality or anything?

    Minimum focus range differs .3". No biggie.

    Only other difference was dimensions and weight. Any input or opinions on these two? The 1.8 is significantly less price-wise than the 1.4. Thanks for any help as always!

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...137_Normal_AF_Nikkor_50mm.html#specifications

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...137_Normal_AF_Nikkor_50mm.html#specifications
     
  2. CWN

    CWN TPF Noob!

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    Basically... if you can afford it, get the 1.4, otherwise get the 1.8

    They are both great lenses - you won't be disappointed either way.
     
  3. Atlas77

    Atlas77 TPF Noob!

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    Im getting the 1.8 as a second lens for my D90. Ive heard the 1.4 is faster but for a 200$ difference save your money and put that 200$ into something else photography related.

    Im subscirbed to this thred because im also curious to see the differences :lol:
     
  4. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 1.4 has the ability to gather in 2/3'rds more light than the 1.8 (this assumes you shoot both are their "widest" - which means shooting the 1.4 at 1.4 and the 1.8 at 1.8). What this means, is that in REALLY low light situations, the guy with the 1.8, to get the same amount of light as the guy with the 1.4 is going to have to decrease his shutterspeed or increase his iso setting by 2/3'rds of a stop to get the same light as the guy at 1.4. For practical purposes, you probably aren't going to be in that many situations where the light is that dire, however being able to go from 1/60th of a second to 1/100th of a second once you go from F/1.8 to F/1.4 can be the difference between some sharp shots.

    So yes, the two lenses are very different. However for cost, the F/1.8 wins out (it DEFINITELY wins out of the new 400 dollar 1.4G, and barely wins out over a used 1.4D that you can find for around 200 bucks).

    If you are just starting out, I would recommend the F/1.8D, and save the 1.4 for later.
     
  5. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    I'm kinda curious about the elements too. what exactly are elements and how do they affect glass D: what do the numbers mean D:
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    There is not a whole lot of difference between the 1.8 and 1.4 AF-D models.

    A comparison of six popular 50mm lenses is available here

    Canon 50mm f/1.2 Tanner Report

    Look for The Tanner Report, one report for each of the six lenses. Keep in mnd that this site uses blur increments, part of the DXO Analyzer software that tests lenses based on units of blur: higher numbers are worse in performance, i.e. a lens with 1.08 blur units is significantly better than one with 2.5 blur units.
     
  7. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dont even worry about some of the nomenclature that these companies adopt. For Nikon really the only thing you need to worry about (assuming you do NOT have any of the cameras that lack an internal focus motor) is perhaps AF-S and non AF-S: AF-S lenses are (of course) going to be more expensive simply because they are designed to perform MECHANICALLY better (they will also be optically excellent, but one does not garauntee the other). For example, I believe the 50MM F/1.4 is an AF-S lens, so it has that cost factored into it, versus the 50MM F/1.4D lens. The G lens also lacks an "aperture ring", which is kinda meaningless in these modern ages for most cameras. All that means is that you don't set aperture on the lens - unless you are rocking an old ass camera, you have no need to pay attention to this.

    The "D" on the older model 1.4 just means the lens sends distance information to the camera computer, which aids in metering - how much I imagine is up to debate. I've never really noticed a difference to be honest with lenses that were not D lenses. Beyond that the letters simply refer to the construction of the lens, what "nano-coating" the lens use - etc. etc. Tech-heads will beat their meat over this nonsense, but for the majority of shooters - meaningless.
     
  8. molested_cow

    molested_cow No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I always look for older lens before I look for new ones, especially for short lens like wide angle and portrait lens that doesn't really require AF or IS/VR as long as you get one that has good aperture range. To me they are just as good as new ones. If you can get them in good prices, that gives you more room in your budget to go for the F1.4 vs 1.8. Basically, I see lens as long time investments. If you can afford the better one, get it.

    Oh, you can say all you want about F1.2 being ridiculous, but everyone who's tried it wants one really bad.

    Just make sure your camera can take manual lens. Otherwise, I think it's a no-brainer.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    No

    Range, per se, has nothing to do with image quality

    As to PatrickCheung's question, the nomenclature was used somewhat incorrectly in the OP's post. "6/7 elements" is incorrect usage. Proper usage is "6 groups / 7 elements". "Elements" are the individual lens elements, the pieces of glass or plastic. "Groups" are comprised of either single elements or multiple elements glued together. A 6 group 7 element lens would have one pair of lens elements glued together and the other 5 as single elements.

    How a lens design affects image quaility is, for the most part, and extremely complex subject. A complete discussion would be equivalent of the complete coursework for an advanced college degree involving advanced physics and mathematics.
     

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