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Nikon 50mm f/1.4
NIKKOR AI-s (1981-today)
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI-s

Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 AI-s (FX, DX and 35mm coverage, metal 52mm filter thread, 8.8 oz./249g, 1.5'/0.45 m close focus, about $150 used or $470 new). enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link to them new at Adorama or new at B&H, or this link directly to them used at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Please always use these links when getting any of your gear so I can continue to share what I know. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

April 2013   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

50mm f/1.4 G (2008-today)

50mm f/1.4 AI (1977-1981)

50mm f/1.4 NIKKOR-S AUTO (1966-1974)

58mm f/1.4 F (1959-1962)

 

Sample Images

Pier, Avila Beach

Pier, Avila Beach, 8:44 AM, 12 April 2013. bigger. (1977 Nikon EL2, 1983 Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, Nikon A2 (81A) filter, Fuji Velvia 50, f/8 at 1/45, process and scan at NCPS, Perfectly Clear.)

 

The Three Stacks, Morro Bay

The Three Stacks, Morro Bay, 4:54 PM, 12 April 2013. bigger. (1977 Nikon EL2, 1983 Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, Nikon A2 (81A) filter, Fuji Velvia 50, process and scan at NCPS, split-toned print, Perfectly Clear.)

 

Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

This is Nikon's classic 50mm f/1.4 manual-focus lens. It's almost identical to the previous 50mm f/1.4 AI (1977-1981). The 50mm f/1.4 NIKKOR-S AUTO (1966-1974) and 58mm f/1.4 F (1959-1962) are older, softer optics at large apertures.

THis classic manual focus lenses is marvelously sharp when stopped down a little, and still a competently performer wide-open.

The mostly plastic made-in-China 50mm f/1.4 G (2008-today) is a little sharper wide-open, but won't work on most classic 35mm Nikons, and has more distortion.

 

Compatibility       intro     top

This manual-focus Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI-s works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital.

It works flawlessly with every manual focus Nikon ever made, from the original Nikon F of 1959 through the FM3a and today's FM-10.

On the D4, D800, D800E, D600, D3X, D3s, D3, D7100, D7000, D700, D300, D200, D2 and F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 50mm and f/1.4 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. It works great in aperture-preferred as well as manual modes on these cameras.

It works perfectly on every professional 35mm camera (F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6), and adds Matrix metering on the FA, F4 and F6.

The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5100 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hot shoe adapter, or the free Pocket Light Meter app to meter manually.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AI, AI-s" column for this lens.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Name

Nikon calls this the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 AI-s.

 

Optics            top

7 elements in 6 groups.

Common modified double-Gauss design.

It's multicoated on all air-to-glass surface, which Nikon calls Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC/NIC).

 

Diaphragm            top

Nikon 50mm f/1.4 front

Front, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 at f/5.6.

7 straight blades.

Stops down to f/16.

 

Aperture Ring            top

Yes.

Metal.

Full-stop clicks.

 

Close Focus            top

1.5 feet.

0.45 meters.

Maximum Reproduction Ratio            top

1:6.8.

 

Angle of View        top

46° diagonal on FX and 35mm.

31.5° diagonal on small-format DX.

 

Focal Length        top

50mm.

On a small-format DX camera, this lens makes pictures that see an angle-of-view similar to what a 75mm lens would see on a full-frame camera.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?            top

Yes.

This is great for astronomy; just turn to the stop and you have fixed laboratory-perfect focus all night.

 

Focus Scale            top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale            top

Yes, colored lines corresponding to the colored f/stops on the aperture ring.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index            top

Yes: red dot in depth-of-field scale.

 

Filter Thread            top

52mm, metal.

Does not rotate.

 

Size            top

Nikon specifies 1.57" (40mm) extension from flange (1.99" or 50.5mm overall) by 2.48" (63mm) diameter.

 

Weight            top

8.780 oz. (248.9 g), measured.

Nikon specifies 8.8 oz. (250g).

 

Hood            top

HR-1 rubber.

HS-9 snap-in metal.

HN-7.

 

Quality         top

Made in Japan.

 

Teleconverters            top

TC-200/201 and TC-14A.

 

Price, USA

About $150 used or $470 new, April 2013.

 

Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Overall

It's softer from spherical aberration wide-open, and built like a tank for a lifetime of great pictures.

 

Sharpness

f/1.4: Spherical aberration lowers contrast. A lot of coma in the corners making them quite soft. Falloff.

f/2: Much better. Falloff much less.

f/2.8: Quite good, falloff and coma gone. Sharp all over.

 

Distortion

It has the typical mild to moderate barrel distortion of all of Nikon's 50mm f/1.4 manual-focus lenses.

Plug these figures into Photoshop's lens distortion filter to correct the distortion. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires a lot of data collection and computation.

FX and Film
at infinity
+1.4
+0.5

© 2013 KenRockwell.com

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

This is a great choice for any Nikon, especially all manual-focus 35mm Nikons.

If you've found all the time, effort and expense I put into researching and sharing all this, the biggest source of support for this free website is when you use any of these links, especially this link to them new at Adorama or this link directly to them used at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Please always use these links when getting any of your gear so I can continue to share what I know. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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