Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Evergreen Nikon 50mm f/1.4

I had another lens in my jacket pocket when I was shooting our office bake-off two days ago.

I like to call this "old glass" my "evergreen prime lens", the lens is the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI, a manual focus gem.

This lens was very popular in the 70s, it came as the "standard lens" with some Nikon models.

I like it because it is very fast and really sharp images can be capture after f2.8!

A lot of photographers do not like the 50mm, even now; that is why you can actually pick up a good example for next to nothing!

If you are like me, using a DX format DSLR; here is a dirty little secret...

Because of the smaller DX format, this 50mm gem became a 80mm f1.4 portrait lens!

The lens I own was manufactured in the 1990, since 1974 I have used about seven units of 50mm lenses, each time upgrading to a slightly improved model :)

So how good is this old faithful?

Before the bake-off shoot-out, I grab a shot of my colleague Simon playing his mandolin.

My 50mm was on a Nikon D300 DSLR, shooting at ISO 800 with bounce flash from a SB-800 speedlight. The shooting aperture was an optimum f8. Go on, click on the picture and take a look at the details this manual focus lens give!

Not convinced it is sharp, sharp, sharp?

Take a look at these crops, first at 200% and next at 300%.

You can read the brand name of the guitar pick in his mouth! Is that SHARP or what?

Famous Last Words:

I find focusing with this lens on a D300 was really easy and fast, there are no sign of back or front focus problem. I am please that I am still able to focus manually!

Many photographers has tested this lens, some used the brick wall as a test target... that is always seems strange to me, do you actually shoot brick wall in real life?

Go on, if you do not own a 50mm prime, now is the chance, that is before their owners read my blog and increase the asking price! Ha ha ha!

Lastly, a heart felt thanks to our model, Simon; sorry I cannot pay you mate... I am just a poor retired photographer ;)

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Great Old Glass! Nikkor 80-200 f4 zoom

Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED Redux


Simon Gotlieb said...

Yeah thanks mate. Just what I needed - my ugly mug at 300% on Monday morning.


heather said...

Great shot! What should be captured has been captured.Your subject is very obliging.