Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF D. To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Linkjeniero, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Linkjeniero macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2005
    I've got a D50 with the kit lens (Nikkor DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.6), a tele zoom (Nikkor DX 55-200 f/4-5.6), and an older Nikkor AF 35-70 f/3.3-4.5. I've been thinking of getting a good, fast lens for portraits and shooting in dark situations without flash; I was eyeing the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, but a new one is insanely expensive around here... now I have an offer for an used f/1.4 for about $150 (new, it's 3 times that here). What do you think? Is it worth it? Any pros/cons? I've done my research on the web, but I found some good reviews, and some bad ones too... I'd like to get some opinions, because I'll be broke if I get it... I want it to be worth it :eek: :p . Thanks in advance.
  2. vgoklani macrumors regular


    Jul 2, 2004
    go for it; i have one on my d200. the pictures are fairly flat (since it is a normal lens); you should get an 85mm lens if you ever want to do portraits. try the 85mm 1.8 (or 1.4 - which is amazing). the 50mm is nice though, and will give much better contrast than your other lenses - and $150 is a great price!
  3. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    nah 50mm can be a portrait lens on a 1.5x crop DSLR like he's got. 50mm~75mm for him which is up into the portrait range.

    (80mm on a Canon 1.6x crop body)

    My advice is to thoroughly test it as much as you can. Often times people are selling lenses like that for cheap because there is something wrong with it. Test it auto focuses at a variety of distances, look for dust or scratches (mainly dust that you can't clean yourself inside the lens). Make sure the focusing ring is smooth and well damped. And if you find anything don't hesitate to bring it up to the buyer. I bought a canon EF 28mm f2.8 once that was marked at $90, but when I got it auto focusing it made a bit of a racket, and I pointed it out and said I'd buy it for $50. He agreed. Turns out the 28mm has always had a loud motor, and I sold the lens a year later for $100.
    You could probably do the same.
  4. vgoklani macrumors regular


    Jul 2, 2004
    The 1.5x is a crop factor, that means that you see 1.5x LESS of an image as compared to 35mm film. for eg: take a 35mm photograph, and then using a scissor, cut out the top, left, right, and bottom borders. That is what the crop factor does. OTH, the difference between the 50mm and 85mm lenses is perspective, which means that on an 85mm lens, the distance between two objects which are radially displaced appears shorter on the photograph, than it would on a 50mm lens. That is what I meant by saying the image was flat.
  5. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    I have the 50mm f/1.4 and it is a dandy lens for shooting in low light conditions. Because it's a fixed lens, too, a prime rather than a zoom, it also is a good tool for helping the photographer learn to see things from different angles and perspectives, "zooming with the feet," so to speak.

    Buying a used lens can be problematic, though, so as Jared mentions, I'd check this lens out thoroughly before paying for it.
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    FWIW, I have the Canon 50 f/1.4 lens on my 300D, and I find it to be addictive. It's smooth like buttah. Cannot say enough nice things about fast lenses. :D
  7. revfife macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2006
    In a far country
    Nikon's 50 lens is the classic photogs lens. I say get it. It is a super fast fixed lens. The crop isn't that bad because the speed is super.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Subject to camera distance is all that matters

    That's not quite right. To control perspective ALL that matters is the camera to subject distance On a 35mm camera the 85mm lens forces you to back away, On a smaller DX format camera a 50mm lens forces you back off (about) th same didtance.

    For a given camera a "normal" lens is one that ihas a focal lenght about as long as the diagonal of the film or CCd frame. A good pertrain t llens might be a lens that is 1.5x or 2x the "normal" lengh. Given that the 50mm or the 85mm would work fine.

    On my medium format system a 180mm lens makes a good portrait lens and gives about the same perspective as a 50mm on my D50. But on the medium format system I'd be shoting at a much smaller f-stop and using very powerfull strobe light
  9. Linkjeniero thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2005
    Thank you all for your comments. I got the lens today; the focusing ring does make a slight sound, but nothing I can't live with. The autofocusing is loud, but that's to be expected from a non SWM lens; and it's not worse than my older lens. OTOH, the glass is pristine; there's not even a single bit of dust on it, nor a fingerprint or smudges, and much less scratches... overall, it looks brand new. I'll start playing with it now :).

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