Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G ED review

The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G is a lightweight and affordable standard prime

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Some recent lenses go all out for performance and quality, giving any notion of compactness the cold shoulder. This Nikon lens harks back to 2008, when 12-megapixel image sensors put less stringent demands on the resolving power of lenses. Even so, it delivers very pleasing image quality from a refreshingly small and easily manageable build, weighing in at just 280g. Not just for full-frame cameras, it also works a treat as a portrait prime on Nikon’s DX (APS-C) bodies, with an effective focal length of 75mm.


  • +

    Compact and lightweight

  • +

    Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus

  • +

    Very pleasing image quality


  • -

    A touch of barrel distortion

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    Fairly basic optical design

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    Not extensively weather-sealed

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Compared with the comparatively recent Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens that’s available in Nikon F-mount, this own-brand Nikon lens is only half the physical length and about a third of the weight. That’s mostly down to a much simpler optical design that’s based on eight rather than 13 elements. It’s therefore much easier to squeeze the Nikon lens into a spare corner of your gadget bag, and it’s less of a handful to shoot with. Indeed, the lens has a 58mm filter thread that’s no larger than that of its AF-S 50mm f/1.8G sibling. The main upsides of the f/1.4 lens are that it enables faster shutter speeds and a tighter depth of field.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

(Image credit: Future)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.