Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 ‘Nifty Fifty’ lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 'Nifty Fifty' lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G

Price: £290
This Nikon is pretty much the same size, weight and price as the Canon 50mm f/1.4. The Nikon features ring-type ultrasonic autofocus instead of an ultrasonic motor, and has a nine-blade rather than eight-blade diaphragm.

Build quality feels a bit stronger, and the Nikon adds a weather-seal ring on its metal mounting plate, which is absent in the Canon design.

Other little luxuries include a lens hood and carrying pouch, which you’d have to pay extra for with the Canon.

The hood is a useful addition: while the front element is deeply recessed when shooting at its infinity focus setting, it moves forward toward the front of the lens barrel as you go through the focus range towards the minimum focus distance of 45cm.

The focus distance itself is clearly visible in a scale that’s positioned beneath a viewing window on the top of the barrel.

Typical of Nikon’s ring-type ultrasonic autofocus lenses, there are M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M focusing modes.

M/A gives regular autofocus with full-time manual override, while M is for purely manual focusing. In practice, the focus ring enables smooth and precise adjustments in both focusing modes.

Performance
Sharpness is particularly impressive at the widest available aperture of f/1.4 and improves steadily with diminishing apertures to around f/8 to f/11. The bokeh, or quality of defocused areas in images, is particularly smooth, helped by the nine-blade rounded diaphragm.

Features: 4/5
Build quality: 4/5
Image quality: 5/5
Value: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

PAGE 1 – What is a 50mm lens good for?
PAGE 2 – Features to look for in a Nifty Fifty lens
PAGE 3 – Best 50mm lens: 01 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
PAGE 4 – Best 50mm lens: 02 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
PAGE 5 – Best 50mm lens: 03 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
PAGE 6 – Best 50mm lens: 04 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
PAGE 7 – Best 50mm lens: 05 Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
PAGE 8 – Best 50mm lens: 06 Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
PAGE 9 – Best 50mm lens: 07 Sony 50mm f/1.4 A
PAGE 10 – Best 50mm lens: 08 Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
PAGE 11 – Image quality comparison
PAGE 12 – Best 50mm lens: Verdict

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