Opinion re: a few current Nikon lenses.

I’ve decided that, as much as I admire it, I’m not a fan of the Nikon 105mm f/1.4.  It really is amazing in terms of wide open sharpness, but the bokeh sometimes looks a little overdone… like the lens is trying too hard (if you know what I mean… and you might not).   If you really want to go bokeh-crazy but want to do so in a refined and effortless fashion, the Nikon 200mm f/2 is superior, but this lens comes at a substantial size, weight, and cost premium.

The Nikon 58/1.4G is softer wide open than many modern lenses (and prone to missing focus), but has the best bokeh I’ve ever seen in a 50-ish mm lens.  It is capable of producing very artful portraits.  Highly recommended, but only if your subjects are relatively static.  On another note, too bad — considering the price Nikon charges for it — that the lens liner is plastic (the constant removal and replacement of the lens cap can wear down the material ― you can avoid this from happening if you always have a filter attached to the lens as the lens cap will then attach to the filter threads… but this shouldn’t be a necessity on a premium lens).

The Nikon 28/1.4E is the best 28mm lens I’ve ever used (and, for comparison, I’ve used all of the modern Leica equivalents: 28mm Elmarit ASPH, 28mm Summicron ASPH, and 28mm Summilux… though my pick of the bunch when balancing size, weight, and image quality would be the 28mm Elmarit ASPH).


5 thoughts on “Opinion re: a few current Nikon lenses.

  1. Dave Uhlig says:

    Solid observations. I am constantly struggling with whether to buy the 58 or not. The price keeps pushing me away, but it seems like it has that medium format look I am always searching for. Good to see you on some social media platforms lately.

    • Hi Dave, nice to have you here again!

      The build quality just doesn’t match the price, and the softness wide open really turns off a lot of people. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t produce some of the nicest portraits I’ve seen. It’s even relatively light with a recessed front element so a hood is generally not necessary.

  2. ScottP says:

    Plastic filter threads on a $1600 lens? You’re joking, right?
    Probably not.

    If it’s “softer wide open,” then I’d kind of like to see comparison shots with the ancient 5.8cm f1.4. Available for under $200.

  3. And people think that Leica lenses are expensive. Spend an extra $700 over the cost of a 58/1.4 and you have a Summicron M.

    The 200/2 is terrific, from what I have seen (the 135/2 is a loser though). It’s not needed these days, as digital now has more than a one-stop advantage over film. I’d pick a 180/2.8 instead if I wanted a prime.

    Nothing wrong with the 28/1.4 either. Your photos are evidence of that. 🙂

    However, I am a zoom guy. Partly for the sake of efficiency. Using zooms has its charms – the hunt for the best value zooms is quite fun, and the bargains that exist in the marketplace are genuine. You won’t get 50/2 APO results, but you won’t get that from anything else either, outside the Otus series.

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