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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:34 pm 
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Now here's to all those asking about focus under low-light: Is f/1.4, 1/4 sec, ISO 1600 low enough for ya?
Well, here's the proof that the lens (+camera) can focus in very low light without aid - and remember: f/1.4 would be very unforgiving if focus was off!
See a 100% crop shot with flash (to eliminate shake) after focussing:

Image

I pointed the central sensor at the sign's border and it didn't even hunt :shock:

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Last edited by Thomas on Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:38 pm 
Yes, it's quite good in low light, I can confirm that. This here is one of my first shots I took when I mounted it on my cam after returning from the shop. I really like the performance a lot.

Image

This isn't art, it isn't even good in terms of creativity. But it shows the possibility of isolating by aperture quite well.

EXIfs are included, image is OOC.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:11 pm 
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And here is the contrast-deterioration-test. A test so cunning, so brutal that the venerable Nikon Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8 D failed it miserably (see here). Let's see whether the new lens can do better.
The following shot was done under identical conditions, thus is directly comparable to the results for the 85mm.

The AF-S 50/1.4G at f/1.4, f/4.0, f/8.0:
Image

As you can easily see, the new 50mm is much better than the old 85mm. But still: looking at the black under the lens-shade you can see it becoming progressively more grey-ish when the lens is stopped down. So again we have a case of diminishing contrast, when stopping down. Which is totally against common sense!

Btw. That would be no reason for me do give the lens back. It is far more a testament of how contrasty this lens is even wide open. Which I already observed when doing the Siemens-stars...

Just for your easy reference and direct comparison, here's the same shot from
The AF 85/1.8D at f/1.8, f/4.0, f/8.0:
Image

Btw.: Both lenses were tested with their resp. lens-shade on.

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Last edited by Thomas on Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:45 am 
Thomas, I mounted the lens on the D40 of my colleague a few minutes ago: no focusing problems whatsoever, spot on and excellent picture quality.

I'm really sick of this S5 AF problem. Just drew a ticket from Fuji Service UK, the cam and the 50mm will be on their way in a few minutes. Let's see what they can do. Looks like my friend has to use the flash again for friday.

I'll keep you updated. Fingers crossed that it might make it till the end of the year. Don't believe it thou.

Christian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:19 pm 
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My store was unable to deliver my lens for no paticular reason before my vacation, that's a pity, but when it's in my possession I will still share my experiences too.

Happy Holidays for now

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Now here's the low-down on the lenses innards, directly from Nikon-central:
AF-S 50mm f/1.4G......................AF 50mm f/1.4D
Image Image

As you can see, the contrast wide open (red line) in the new lens is better than on the old one. And the sharpness wide open (green/violett line) is higher within the FX format (12.5mm) and more well-behaved than with the older design.

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Last edited by Thomas on Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: 50mm F1.4
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:16 pm 
Thomas,

After seeing your test images, i was a little umm apprehensive, like, that can't be right.

I know the images are soft at 1.4, but at 2.0 sharpness should be spot on. I'm surprised your images only reach full sharpness at F2.8.

Did you use a filter during your tests? It took me a few months to "figure out" the 50mm is damn sharp, and that filters was my biggest problem (I tried 3 different brands). I no longer use a filter on this lens in order to get sharp pictures at wide aperture.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:51 pm 
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Hello Themostheinous, and welcome to the friendly Camera Labs forum!
Let me assure you that I never use any filters with my testshots!
If you look at the slightly greenish tint of the f/2.0 shot we might just see a little front-focus in this image. But as I said elsewhere: I normally use only AF to simulate the standard situation when shooting.
I can test again with live.view supported MF and see what comes out. But remember, that performance is hard to reproduce in the field.
-----50 minutes later-----
I have uploaded the manually optimized samples with f/2.0 in this post. Looks better (as was to be expected). But this is all I can get out of my lens.
For your convenience I've extracted the "old" AF f/2.0 results (top) and the new MF/LV f/2.0 results (below) from that post:
f/2.0 AF: Image Image

f/2.0 MF/LV: Image Image

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Last edited by Thomas on Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:06 am 
Great work, and great review !

Thanks Thomas 8)


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 Post subject: Sagittal Coma Flare
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:13 pm 
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And yes: there is sagittal coma flare, as Lloyd Chambers pointed out.
"You may not be familiar with the word, sagittal coma flare. It is an aberration that a point image locating on the periphery of an image frame makes an image like a bird spreading its wings as shown in Example 1B" to quote Nikon-Central here.

Wanna see?

100% crop from the DX-corner at f/1.4, f/2.8, f/5.6 resp.
Image Image Image

Yeah, that looks ugly at f/1.4 in the corners of the DX-sensor, while point-lights closer to the center look more normal. In the corners of an FX-sensor the effect should then even be more pronounced. Stopping down easily solves this problem.
From what the specialists say sagittal coma could only be avoided if Nikon had used some asperical glass in the construction of the lens. But that would have catapulted the price of the lens out of reach for many.

-----
13 to go...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:32 pm 
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I've picked up my 50mm 1.4G today at the store, travelled back and forth to have it here on my holiday :P, hope to shoot some pictures tommorow

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:58 pm 
My camera will be back sometime after the 2nd week of January, so no pics from me until then.

Concerning the aspherical elements I am not sure that it was only a decision solley because of the target price. Two quite new prime lenses feature an aspherical element: the Nikon AF-S 60mm Micro and the Simga 50mm F1.4 HSM. And both lenses show very pronounced onion rings in bokeh whenever highlights cause big blur circles. I think it was a primary target for Nikon to prevent this effect in a wide aperture lens even if it might cause lower than possible sharpness (albeit, refering to David_USA's comparison review on the german NFF forum, they seem to be overall equal in terms of sharpness).

I always try not to be influenced by marketing, but I do somehow believe that Nikon's The Thousand and One Nights Tales do represent to a certain degree their philosophy of lens design in which resolving power is not necessarily the primary target to aim for if other properties would suffer too much. If one has a look at photozones tests of the new Sony Zeiss 24-70mm and the coresponding Nikkor 24-70mm, I would go for the Nikon any day before gaining (maybe, they are different systems afterall which can't be compared for MFT values directly) a bit more resolving power while getting the ugly bokeh of the Zeiss as well.

But, after all, this is just pure theory ;-)

Best regards,
Christian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:55 pm 
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Yeah, Björn Rörslett confirms that the bokeh/oof-rendition of this lens is better than from its predecessor!

Coming back to one of the strengths of this unassuming little lens. Look at what I've subjected it to: Shooting directly into the sun :shock:
(DISCLAIMER: NEVER do this with mirror up, NEVER do this with manual exposure, NEVER do this with the bright, unshielded sun at day. You might ruin your shutter, your sensor, your eye-sight!)

Image
Shot at 1/4000 sec, f/8.0, -1EV, ISO 200

Well, as far as I can see there is no obviuos flare/ghosting. Great!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Hi Thomas, could you let us know how the design and build quality compares to the older 50mm f1.4? The new one looks much bigger...

I know you've already talked about focusing on the new model, but could you do some side by side comparisons with the old 50mm? Which is quicker? Is the new one much quieter? Is manual focusing easier?

Cheers!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:37 pm 
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It's a little hard to compare both lenses directly as I financed the new one by selling the old. But I have still my AF 35/2.0D which is of almost identical built-quality and mechanics as the old AF 50/1.4D.
So to your Qs:
- AF-S focussing is much quieter and also quicker as on the older version. But the lens is not the quickest as the travel of the focus ring is long. Which in turn makes precise manual focus easier. But don't expect to manually focus this lens with the viewfinder: you have to use life-view with MF to achieve critically sharp images at f/1.4 or F/2.0 (if you don't use AF)!
- Build quality is "solid plastic" with the movement of the focus ring sharing the same plasticy feeling compared to the focus ring on the AF-version. But it has a rubber grommet at the lens-mount which makes for a good weather-sealing!
- The design is a little bulkier at 74x54mm and 280g vs. 65x43mm and 230g. That makes it better to hold and gives the benefit of a quite deeply recessed front-lens even before you mount the added lens-hood! What you lose with this design is the aperture ring (only way to change aperture is through the front command dial). But you gain a focus ring that is broader than the old one and does not turn with AF.

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Last edited by Thomas on Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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