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Test of Nikkor 50mm 1.4

Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by bagpuss, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member


    Taken in natural light at f1.4, with some desaturation in PS CS3.
  2. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    I like it! You can tell she's smiling! Lovely blue eyes shes got!
  3. photogeek

    photogeek Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately you can not see it is our son Oskar :)
  4. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    I lurve my 50mm f:1.4! :cool:

    So the only question is ... what took you so long? :D
  5. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    You know, I had a feeling I'd be wrong there! Having had 2 kids myself you'd think I'd have known! Sorry Oskar(cool name BTW!)
  6. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    Ooops, sorry! Should have put his name on it, shouldn't I?

    Indeed, that is Oskar (named for Oskar Barnack inventor of the Leica 35mm camera) at his most charming.
  7. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    Lack of funds. :( They're also incredibly hard to find second-hand. All praise be to Richard Caplan! :D
  8. Larry Shone

    Larry Shone Well-Known Member

    Ah, of course! My 2 year old son Matthew Edward is named after Edward Weston!
  9. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Aaaargh! Stoppit - you're making me spend money!! :eek:

    Seriously, I'm considering/trying to resist one of these myself! :)

    But it would be for MF use only on my D40X (only DSLR I've got atm) - what's it like to focus manually? Is the focussing ring very loose?
  10. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    You could always buy this if you don't want it loose... ;)
  11. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Wonderful shot, Pam, showing the capability at full aperture of that lovely lens. I don't own one anymore: sold it when I was skint about 10 years ago (!) But I still have a 50/1.8 and a very old 50/1.2 AIS.
  12. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    I would grab that in a heartbeat if the 'book' didn't specifically state that 'non AI' lenses were incompatable and 'could result in damage'!!

    Unfortunately, I'm not brave enough (or wealthy enough) to buy it on the offchance and try it! :(
  13. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    Cheers Clive. :)
  14. datawise

    datawise Well-Known Member

    Lovely shot :)
  15. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    I must admit I'm slightly puzzled as to why they say that. There can be problems with some bodies such as the D200/300 etc which have the necessary lug and ring around the mount that engages with the AI indexing ridge on AI lenses (the lug is fixed and non AI lenses can't be mounted) but as far as I am aware the D40 types don't have this so it shouldn't be an issue. Indeed I'm sure that Barney Britton wrote an article in the magazine where he said that one advantage of the bodies that don't meter with manual lenses is that you can in fact fit older unmodified lenses.

    However I think you are probably right not to risk it in the circumstances... :(
  16. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    I have to say, if there isn't any physical incompatability that would prevent the lens being fitted easily and correctly (without damage), I also can't see what harm it would do with the camera set to M(anual). But then, what do I know? The idea of manual focussing is still a good one (and I have not been idle - see below) but no metering, no AF and/or no focus confirmation might combine to prove a (backwards) step too far!

    This morning I snapped a bunch of test pix in aperture priority auto mode with the 18-55mm kit lens at (approximately) the 50mm mark, then followed round and snapped 'em again focussing manually. I've put them on my Show N Tell page for others to see (italic links in pairs) if anyone is interested. They are big 2+Mb files (for viewing on a better computer monitor later this evening and also viewing them projected on an HD digital projector), so maybe just the 002 and 007 pairs would do for a quick demonstration:

    Show N Tell

    Despite the manual focussing on this lens being only by way of the sloppy front element mentioned earlier, I didn't find it too much of a chore at all and the short throw didn't represent too much of a problem. Results-wise, I reckon it was at least 50/50 either way! Tbh, whether it's a zoom with AF or a prime with MF, it's pretty much a 'twist and press' action either way and I did enjoy the manual focussing - the vf screen worked fine and is actually rather good in even fairly gloomy light!

    However, the f5 max aperture at the 50mm mark is less than peachy and the call of the 1.4/50 is still strong, but I'm now wondering if the extra viewfinder brightness that I would expect to get (one of the appeals) would render the two zooms gloomy by comparison and the 18" closest focussing with the 1.5/50 isn't a patch on the 8" or so I'm getting with the 18-55!

    I'm still hovering, but having bought a set of close-up lenses (or 'filters' as they seem to be called nowadays) and a +10d 'macro' lens/filter on eBay this morning (OK, which will fit the 18-55) probably means the inner 'spending demon' knows more than I do! :D
  17. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    The focussing comparison looks pretty good. Purely by eye or using the AF for confirmation?

    It does make a difference though TBH as the human eye is much better at coping with brightness variation I doubt you'd really notice unless constantly swapping from one to the other. Where brightness is rather more obvious, to me anyway, is between APS-c finders and full frame (that's film full frame...) which does make the smaller format finder look awful by comparison.

    Many of the latest zooms are capable of incredibly close focus - my Sigma 17-70 at maximum zoom can focus on objects only a few mm from the front glass - which may be partly a by product of their nature. I don't think Nikon have ever been too fussed about ultra close focus on their normal prime 50mm lenses... thats what the old 55mm Micro-Nikkor was for! :)
  18. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    The Spitfire shots are actually of a Hurricane, wingtips are rounded on the Hurricane more eliptical on a spit, the undercarriage folds differently and the air scoop under the belly is offset on a Spit and central on the Hurricane. They both have Merlin engines though :rolleyes:

    But nice shots for all that!!
  19. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Both - I wasn't using it to start with, but became aware of it and almost subconciously used it on and off thereafter! (I wouldn't need it in practice - there's no telling what it's fixing on!)

    Yes, I had a Sony Mavica when they came out (stored the images on a floppy disk) - that mutha could actually focus on something it was touching! (After a fashion - it fell away pretty quickly as you had to angle the camera to let a bit of light get to the subject!!)

    Anyways, I've managed to borrow an old, unmodified Zoom Nikkor 43-86mm tonight and it don't wanna go on! So that's me not bothering about the older lenses! (Almost a relief, really!)

    Leaves me with a 'yes or no' on the 1.4/50mm AI now and we already know what the Spending Demon's saying!! :)
  20. KeithGee

    KeithGee Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Mike - I did actually know that, I have no idea why I called it a Spitfire! :)

    I posted those snaps for something I mentioned in another thread - it is the nicely-centered position in frame (they are full-frame, not cropped) that I was referring to! The camera was a Digilux 1 (compact/viewfinder camera) and I swiped the plane like a clay pigeon shooter with the camera almost at arms length and viewing it across the flat top of the camera - it's the *follow through* that counts!

    (The point was that the guy next to me with a dirty great lens on a full-blown DSLR wasn't getting anything at all! ;))

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