Click here to read my full review of the new Nikon 58mm f/1.4 Lens
// by Sam Hurd
Glad to hear you came around, the lens definitely exudes character in your images. I noticed a distinct lack of character in the canon version of the sigma 50, very sterile.
I’m glad you stuck it out with this lens, the images definitely exude a huge amount of character.. can’t wait to see what else you do with it.
Really helpful review and terrific images to illustrate your point. I’m in.
Best review yet.
By far the best review out there in this lens. If I shot with Nikon, I wouldn’t hesitate to get this lens after seeing your review. This lens looks to have that ‘special something’ that only a handful of portrait lenses have. Over the years, I’ve bought into systems solely for a specific lens- Canon(85/1.2), Pentax(fa 77 & 43 ltd), even a got a sony a850 for the za 135/1.8. This is a lens that now has me considering getting a Nikon(DF) lol.
Wow, your photoshop skill are really good.
Thant’s a truly awesome piece of glass! It can be even better than Canon 50mm 1.2, that’s also a cool toy 🙂
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Being a lover of character I’m surprised you’re not into the old Nikkor 5.8cm f/1.4. Not much to speak of wide open, but incredible character.
Sam- The most useful review yet on this lens, and wonderful imagery to boot. Your line- ‘Not worth the money, but has more character than anything that costs less.’ I’m a wedding and portrait photographer in San Francisco. I love my Nikon lens package but was aware something was missing- and it’s that character you talk about. This lens has so little to do with its tech specs and MTF curve- it’s about that juice it provides. One question- could you be so kind as to share what your apertures were for the couples images in this review? Wide open or stopped down a bit? I’m well aware this decision can change shot to shot, but I’m looking for what you see as the sweet spot of then lens- both in terms of look- which I’d assume to be 1.4, but also reliability of capturing focus and so on. Thanks in advance- John
hey john! i’m pretty sure virtually every photo in this review is wide open at 1.4. All except the photo of the tree where is specifies it’s been stopped down to f/4
When Nikon announced this lens as a ‘replacement’ for their specialty 58mm Noct-Nikkor discontinued in 1997, it was a no-brainer for me to buy (especially with all the new technology built-in (and the fact that Nikon hasn’t really made a pro-grade 50mm-range lens for decades)). I’m so happy to have it as a bread & butter lens for my D800E. It’s definitely got an artistic quality about it that can’t be matched.
hi sam as well! Thanks much for sharing the aperture info. I received my lens the other day and have begun testing out. 1.4 is indeed sharp, most of the time. And the dreamy, emotional character of the lens is fantastic. I AM seeing strong red CA in overexposed backlight edges wide open, however I think this might be indicative of all 1.4 lenses wide open. True? I’m also finding focusing on the edges of frame very tricky wide open- center focusing and reframing doesn’t seem to work, probably focus shift. And focusing with the edge sensors doesn’t quite seem to work either. I’m thinking Live View and tripod would be the way to go, but just starting to test. Excited to add this lens to my arsenal. Cheers!
A very informative review, as ever. As an ex-Leica M shooter I know precisely what you mean by lens character (the Summicron M 28mm f2 is one of the best examples of this in my opinion) and I’m interested to see Nikon make this change in tack toward higher quality but smaller niche products, rather like the Df. Bravo, Nikon, for having the courage to do this, although I’m sure that the boys in Marketing and Sales think that it makes sense to have Nikon stand out from the rest of the herd in this way too. Great images and a great blog, Sam.
Hey Sam, Really well written, and I appreciate your time putting this together. Recently picked up this lens myself, and so far, love the “buttery” feel. It is unique for certain, and that’s why it’s a great lens. ( I really enjoy your photography by the way)
What a great review!!!!!!!!! A refreshing voice at last! Focusing on what make photos more interesting instead of arguing about DxOMark nonsense. Keep it up!!!!!!!! This is great. By the way, if you sell all your lenses and you only kept your 35 1.4 would you rather go for the 85 1.4 or for this 58 1.4?
Any idea how this lens would compare to the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 ? I have this one, it’s (a lot) cheaper, it’s however also manual focus and always overexposes by +- 2/3 stops, but gives a lovely image everytime, like you say “character”.
The quick comparation is a little disadvantage for the sigma as it is 8mm short. I would stay closer for the same frame since we try to compare bokeh
Sold! Brilliant review! =)
[…] Lens: Nikkor 58mm f/1.4 […]
Nice review which gives me some hope as I bought this lens a few days ago and so far I have found it to be horrible. I already had the 85/1.4G which is razor sharp wide open and still lovely and soft everywhere else. Whereas this needs to be stopped down a bit for me to use it at all. At least two stops I would say when used fairly close. Otherwise it’s just all mushy. Which seems to defeat the purpose somewhat. I mean I do want the softness which is what I got it for. But something needs to be clear. I actually thought there was something seriously wrong with it but I guess I will give it another try before using it for target practice. 🙂
A lot of great images here by the way! Very nice work!
I’m in! One on order.
Hi there, really like the color of your post processing. You mind to share some tips on how you did it? Thanks.
Bit late in the day, but great review Sam. I really admire your portrait style. It’s the look (though usually a lot closer) that I go for as well, and the 58 is really great for that.mas you said, it brings something extra that charts will never tell you. As I understand that was a conscious choice of its designer (yes, a real human being, whose name I unfortunately forgot), and did he succeed!
I found the lens (I got it in Amsterdam on the day it became available, and went through three different samples before settling on one) frustrating in its af performance at first, but fine tuning my D800/E body solved that, and it’s just great now.
I was considering the use of the 58mm for portraiture. There is the question of deformations and shooting distance. In photography manuals, 3 meters are required to avoid any deformations in portraits. Based on that rule, the 58mm allows for full body shots WITHOUT deformations. Nonetheless, I saw you break the rules often and use the nikon 58mm for realy tight shots. In the long run, what kind of framing is acceptable for you with the 58mm ?
Thank you and congratulations for your work !
I’ve been waiting for someone to give a proffesional review on this lens Sam and by christ you did it so well ! bottom line, 10/10 on what is a top quality lens if one knows what ones doing and reqocnises the fact , Great Review Thank You Sam . Nick
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