There’s a DPReview “user review” thread on the Nikon 58/1.4G that summarizes better than I ever could what is so special about this lens:
DPReview Nikon 58mm 1.4G User Review
Also worth reading is this response, also in the same thread:
Response re: Nikon 58mm 1.4G (practical advantage)
(pay particular attention to the ruler demonstration which reveals the practical advantages of this lens when shot wide open)
7 thoughts on “Worthwhile reading re: Nikon 58mm f/1.4G.”
Thanks for posting this. You must be doing some ‘research’ yourself on this lens again!?
I’m beyond research at this point 😉
I went back and looked at images I made with this lens (many never posted here) and realized I really like the output. I think the D810 that I previously had was not where I wanted it to be with AF and this greatly influenced my decision to sell the 58/1.4G. Hopefully the D850 rectifies this but I know focusing this lens can be be tricky when shot wide open, even at the best of times. Fortunately, its unique look also holds when shooting stopped down.
Case(s) in point:
Yep, I also went back through your work with the 58. I tried the tamron 45mm 1.8 for awhile, hoping I could find a poor mans solution, but it just doesn’t have the character. I also think the focal length of 58 has something to do with the magic of this lens. I’ve got 5-6 weddings this spring, and I am thinking this would be a nice addition to my bag. I feel this lens gives the closest thing to the medium format look I have been after for years. Back in the day, I had a Canon original 5D and a 35mm 1.4, and that combo has the most images on my walls still to this day. The 58 seems to have those same qualities I have been chasing!
The 58mm f/1.4 was my first Nikon prime, and I agree. It’s incredible I was unaware of the tread or the fascinating post by Marianne, but I concur fully. It has this soft/yet sharp quality that renders as uniquely as any Leica lens, with both practicality and a magical touch. One thing not mentioned. Ths 58mm f/1.4 is dual purpose. It is a painterly lens when shot wide open. Yet, stop it down to f/2.8, and it’s incredibly sharp. It’s also quite light (some feel that this is subpar build quality for an expensive lens, but I find it convenient). I often take just this lens and the 28mm f/1.4 out for a day of shooting, and that lens, as Peter has demonstrated, also has very enjoyable imaging parameters that pair quite well with the 58mm once you stop the 58 mm down to f/2.
Peter, I know that you are not as fond of the 105mm f/1.4, but I think that the 28/58/105mm f/1.4 “trinity” is really special, and a great set of primes to have in a bag. I am glad that you are beyond experimentation, Peter, as I hope to see many more of your remarkable portraits with this lens. Give it a try at f/2.8 and you’ll see its second portraiture character…also lovely, and entirely different that it’s dreamy/crisp signature at f/1.4.
By, f/2.8 try, I meant the 58 rather than the 105…the 105 is a beast that’s hard to tame, though I am learning, albeit slowly 🙂
Thank you kindly for your insights Ashwin.
I heartily agree about shooting the 58/1.4 @ f/2.8 (the sweet spot for me when I was first using this lens was f/2.2), although I don’t think the lens at any aperture can ever truly be called “sharp” by brick wall standards, but that’s not the point is it? This is a lens with an “apparent” sharpness starting at f/1.4 (and even behind and in front of the focus plane!… as demonstrated by Marianne) that defies conventional testing. And the bokeh is beautiful… what more can one say?
With regards to the 104/1.4, it’s not so much that I don’t like it per se (you obviously saw an earlier post of mine where I stated this lens was “trying too hard”); it’s more that I currently have the 200/2, which I need for sports, and which does an even better job of isolation while keeping (most) of the intended subject in focus. If I realize this summer that I just can’t hack lugging the 200/2 around, I might just give the 104/1.4 a try or go back to the 70-200/2.8E zoom.