Best 50mm lens

edited May 2015 Posted in » Nikon Lens Talk
I am a long time amateur and just completed fourth pro job. I have been researching 50mm Nikon lenses. I shoot with a D7100. I do mostly parties in low light, events and portraits. Which is best 50mm f/1.4D, G f/1.8D or G and the same for 85mm for portraits?


  • edited May 2015
    I don't have any of these since I have an MF 50mm f/2 AI on my D3200, which neither meters nor autofocuses, but has earned its reputation as one of the best lenses ever made. A somewhat inconvenient but dirt cheap way to get sharp.

    But I'm away from home and without much else to do will waste a little of everyone's time here anyway!

    Given the good ISO performance of the D7100, I doubt you'll find you often need the extra 2/3 stop you get from a f/1.4. Most of the reviews I've seen suggest that the G version of both f/1.4 and f/1.8 50mm is better than the earlier D, as well as giving faster AF. Both speeds are hard to beat, especially in DX format where a bit of edge softness is off the frame.

    The reviews I've seen of the 85mm all seem to indicate that the f/1.8G is about the best 85mm ever, and that's saying something. The f/1.4 may be a little sharper at some stops, but the f/1.8 is very uniform and sharp even at maximum aperture. I have an old preAI 85mm f/1.8 and even that one is glorious; one of my favorite lenses in the full frame 35mm format even though it's in pretty heavily used condition. Aside from being reasonably sharp it just renders things beautifully. The short tele perspective is very kind to faces. I would be very surprised if the latest 85mm f/1.8 fails to satisfy. Everyone seems to agree that the G versions are a bit better than the older D.

    I currently have the 85mm f/2.8 D PC Micro, which I can't really recommend for normal work. MF and preset are very heavy, though it meters with the D3200 when unshifted. Unless you're a gadget lover, this lens is probably not for you. It's hard to use and clumsy, but it's sure interesting. Like all 85mm, it loves faces.

    Here's a pretty informative site for the lens hunter, although not all the latest lenses are covered. (see here)

    As you can see, he's pretty fond of all the 50mm Nikkors except perhaps the f/1.8e.
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