Should I keep my new 50mm 1.4 g even if it tests iffy?

CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
edited December 2013 in Nikon Lenses
So, I ran a test on my new 50 comparing it to my old AI'd one. It didn't really perform as well and it sort of makes me hesitant to keep it. This would be my first lens purchase after my kit lens with my d7k. For the money I want to be really sure about the purchase and I find myself on the fence. I have been paying my dues learning my camera as time permits since last April. Decided on the 50 since one day I want to upgrade to full frame since I loved FX back in the day of film and have been missing that since. Anyhow, went 1.4g because I liked my inherited one so much. I had a bit of a learning curve wrapping my head around working with autofocus and low light and wide open aps. After some frustration I finally realized that shooting close up, wide open on a moving subject such as a toddler, I really had to use manual focus or af-s single point. I just couldn't get the AF-A 39 point AF to cut it. It never picked the right focus point. So, if this sounds right let me know? I I know how slim the DOF is and how hard that is too work with. But that aside, it bugs me how this test came out. I feel like I can't trust the autofocus, and worry about a back focus issue with the new lens or maybe camera. Help me interpret my test please and advise me? I feel like colors are even better in my old lens.

Long story short... If I don't love it, I should return it IMO. I will be shooting mostly my toddler as I learn photography more. Maybe a zoom would be better? I think my kit 18-105 was great just couldn't open it enough. Or maybe I would be better off with the 50 1.8 since it is cheaper I would feel better about it?

I also have half a mind just keep my old one for when I want to use a 50, and save my money for my first fx camera?

Would love feedback on my test and also on recs for my next steps such as lens or camera suggestions so I can get my goals in order.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/masters.galleries.dpreview.com/2790591.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=14Y3MT0G2J4Y72K3ZXR2&Expires=1388045196&Signature=cf5FYq3N26dGbeSzN++fX4BbE/4=

I tested against my kit at a higher f stop since I can't open my kit lens as much. It seems to back focus to so I dont know if this indicates a camera issue or what. I will say that I never had a problem with my kit. I only started pixel peeping recently I guess.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/masters.galleries.dpreview.com/2790828.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=14Y3MT0G2J4Y72K3ZXR2&Expires=1388047599&Signature=/KrESMm5ZoZ9HjzaQofQcOc2Kxc=
Post edited by Charmdesign on
Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
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Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,363Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @Charmdesign

    Sorry, your links do not seem to work. Access denied. If you have a kit lens, I would go to the focal length you use most. A "normal" lens on crop sensor is about 24-30mm and there are some super lenses in that foal length. Also, the 85mm f/1.8 G Nikkor is a stunner for the money.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Yes, the 35mm 1.8 DX is a great prime for a DX body.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited December 2013
    I have two 50s as you can see below, including the one you purchased. The other is a MF. I use them about 75/25 (1.4G/1.2MF).

    What specifically is not performing well? Is your toddler running around alot or not quite walking - I am exploring your focussing preferences here. If they are moving alot, I would recommend AF-C on Auto which I use with kids. Hold the button down and take multiple pictures. Some will be missed, but most should be right on.

    Do your pictures look soft? There could be a focus adjustment issue. The lens softness thread has some interesting info on that.
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 271Member
    There are technical issues and equipment issues. Technical issues you can improve by practicing and getting to know your equipment more. I would say shooting f/1.8, you probably do want to use single focus. And even that, it could be tricky with moving targets.

    Equipment issue such as front/back focus, you have to replace those or have them serviced. However, a lot of times it's due to the camera instead of the lens. You may just never noticed it before if you only had slow kit lens.

    So I think it's best for you to figure out first whether it's due to technique or equipment. Good luck.
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    edited December 2013
    How can I share a photo here? I'd like to share my test results.

    My toddler is not quite walking yet. I think I will try that mode out soon as I feel I will need to once she is. I've been taking out some informal test shots trying to focus on her eyelashes as she plays at the edge of the couch where I'm sitting. I am using f 1.8. Manually focusing, I have a high success rate of getting the results I want. I can get close with af-s single point AF IF I leave the focus point in the same spot and just move the camera instead (sort of annoying but I don't have time to fiddle with moving the point). Using AF-A, 39 point I have the LEAST success rate for these type of shots. Often, the lens just picks the wrong spots. I guess I'm doing some presicion work here and perhaps it is too much to ask of the AF, given the circumstances.

    All that aside though I am dying for some feedback on my formal tests but not sure how to share them. Is there a gallery here I can post to?
    Post edited by Charmdesign on
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @Charmdesign,

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/46/how-to-post-a-photo-on-photo-a-day#Item_118

    Also toddlers are some of the most notoriously hard subjects to photograph, just like birds in flight :-) so don't get discouraged!
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,291Member
    I would sell that l50mm lens and buy either the 35mm F/1.8 DX lens or the 35mm F/2 D lens which would work on DX or FF DSLR's. We look forward to seeing your post in PAD.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    edited December 2013
    Hm, so I must use Flickr to share photos? I don't use that site so this will take me a bit to get set up. I use gmail,, is there a way to use one's gmail rather than yahoo email to sign up?
    Post edited by Charmdesign on
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Yes, you can use your gmail account to log into Flickr. Just click the login link on Flickr.com
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,804Moderator
    Use continuous focus as recommended above, but also set the body to only release the shutter when the subject is in focus.
    Always learning.
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    @pp ah, good idea... I will have to look up how to do that in the manual.
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    edited December 2013
    Post edited by Charmdesign on
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    edited December 2013
    trying to make the image appear here so you don't have to click off this page...
    Once I have copied the code from flickr do I come back here and click the pic icon?
    Post edited by Charmdesign on
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    here is another one where I also tested out my kit lens against my new 50 and my old ai'd 50.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/howdelighted/11571576323/in/photostream/

    Please let me know what you make of these tests? Having trouble interpreting them I'm not sure what is *normal* per se or within the bound of acceptable. If you think this new 50 isn't performing quite right I am still within the return bounds I can get another copy.
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Hmm....interesting that it is a little soft at 5.6 as well as 1.4. Focusing tends to be a smaller issue at larger apertures.

    Nevertheless, the following is worth a try. If you go to the Setup Menu on your D7XXX, does it have AF fine-tune. I might try fooling around with this. Alternatively, Nikon support can probably fine tune your camera and lens - I would send all of them so that your system is fine-tuned. Note that your camera store salesman may be clueless about what we are talking about here.

    I would also think about this. I notice that you are using test charts and there is a danger in this. Namely, you can always find the "limit" of your camera or lens for camera/lens combination using a test chart. That does not mean there is a defect, merely that you have found the limits. My interpretation of your introductory post is that you didn't notice that you had a problem until you started shooting at the test chart.

    For example, as you can see below, I shoot the 85mm 1.4G on a D800, which is arguably one of the sharpest camera lens combinations of all time. However, I didn't really buy it for that reason. I bought it because the bokeh is "incredible" while it is "pretty sharp" like my 135mm DC 2.0. Note that it doesn't matter to me that it is the sharpest, just pretty sharp. Now here is where it gets interesting. Overtime I have noticed that it is not quite as sharp as my 135mm DC 2.0. when it should be sharper. Has this bothered me? No, because it still takes great photoes and I have to count the pixels to notice. Someday when I have free time I will start shooting at test charts and try to fine-tune it - note that I did not say "fix".

    So I suppose that I would recommend the following plan of action:
    1.
    Fool around with AF-Fine tune.
    2.
    If 1 does not work, try another copy.
    3.
    If 2 does not work, go the Nikon support route.
    4.
    If 3 does not work then it is likely that you have become too focussed on test charts and not on your shooting. You have simply become aware of your equipment's limitations. In that case, get out and shoot.
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    Well it is true that I hadn't noticed a problem with my kit lens. It wasn't until I got my new 50mm that I started pixel peeping , probably because I have been shooting in this hard to get right situation that is. Toddler in low light wide open. I didn't realize the limitations of autofocus before I got this lens...all of a sudden I had to learn ad-s, single point focus. So those are the things that prompted the testing. It is possibly this may be the limitations of my particular combination. And probable that I shouldn't be comparing to an old AI'd lens expecting the same quality... I heard the d7000 had some back focusing issues, I wonder if that isn't at play? But my old 50 is still doing better than my new one manually focused GRRR. I can't help but be bugged by that. If I have to go through the tests again almost would rather test my luck with another copy then have to mess with fine tune. Guess either way I have more testing if I'm going to be pixel peeping. I read that back in the day photographers would buy several lenses and keep the best return the rest. Is that typical? Thanks everyone for the feedback.
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    Ps, as for real life shots, I am able to get stuff I like using af-s....
    I'm sure I could be fine with this lens it's just that I intend to buy 1 50mm lens in my lifetime so I want to make sure I got a good one. I love my grandpas lens and it is 35 years old now...if only it could autofocus!
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I love my 50mm 1.2MF the most. But the 50mm 1.4G is more practical.

    Maybe take your camera and lens to Nikon and let them do the work. You will likely get a good result that way.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,153Member
    edited December 2013
    If your test images was done correctly then it does look like you have 2 issues.
    1) the main issue is that your new 50mm back focuses.
    2) your camera back focuses a bit with your kit lens.

    so we can conclude that there is a good chance that your camera does back focus a bit .. (sample of 2 !! )
    and that your new 50mm G does indeed back focuses. This is compounded by the camera being slightly back focussing as well.

    As previously suggested, the best solution is to take all your cameras and lenses and get them recalibrated by nikon support.

    and there is no such lens as a AI'd .. ( LOL it bothers me !) i think its either an AIS or an AFD .. which is it ? ( please put me out of my misery! ) i have an AIS manual focus 50mm and I tested a bunch of 50mm .. the images from that old AIS is still the best! but it does not have auto focus :-( .. they say that the new 50mm1.8G is good I have not tested that but the sample images around the web is promising..

    Autofocus is a great thing.. but for the most challenging subjects.. Manual focus is still the best option. eg Macro work is done in manual. I tried shooting dragonflys in flight and had to use manual focus.. I would think if you want a close focus of a moving todler's eye .. you would have more success with manual focus. you would need to develop the skills for manual focus though.. these days this is not often discussed.. and there are several techniques that can be employed.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    edited December 2013
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm#f

    I have a pre AI lens that was actually a home conversion! Hence "AI'd". The smoking gun for me was the added sticker! I would be curious to know exactly what year mine is and what it is called. I inherited it from my grandfather. If anyone can tell me how I can quickly upload a pic from my iPad, I can share pics...I would love if anyone had more info on my lens. It is it's outstanding. Loved it over ten years ago when grandpa first let me use it, love it now. Wish I could share that with him.

    Thanks for helping me formulate my thoughts! Ya know, there is a lot of buzz about the 1.8 and a lot of people recommend it...I have also seen some great pics with it. I am half tempted to try that out next time instead since I already have my old 1.4 and at below f2 I will probably being manually focusing, anyway. If I'm going to spend over 400 on a new 50 it has to be worth my while over my old one...

    Anyhow I am just glad to hear others interpret my results make me more confident in my thoughts. Very succinct way if summing my test up!
    Post edited by Charmdesign on
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • JuergenJuergen Posts: 315Member
    Charmdesign,
    when I saw the other pictures on the flickr page, I got another thought for you to maybe consider.

    In general you are shooting with a slow shutter speed.
    It is quite common, that people are supporting the camera better, when using a manual lens. So motion blur is taken care of.
    When using an automatic lens and just point and shoot you maybe should shoot with a faster shutter speed or try to handle the camera exactly the way you do with the manual lens.
    If you look at your (very nice) photo with the tree branches, you see what I mean. It is shot at 1/500 and tacky sharp in the areas where it is suppose to.
    As for your comparison charts, as other said, you have to fine-tune a bit. No big deal.

    Jürgen
    D4, D800E, Nikon 1 J2, 600 f/4, trinity, PC-E 45, PC-E 24, 105, 50 f/1,8g, 85 f/1,4, Sigma 150-500
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,363Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @Charmdesign

    You will find the info on your older lens here, I believe.

    http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

    And, FYI, I have a couple lenses from the 1960's converted for my D4 by John White in Brighton, Michigan

    http://www.aiconversions.com/index.html

    While the older lenses are sharp as a tack, the CA is more apparent.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited December 2013
    I agree with heartyfisher - body is back-focused and so is the lens. Just a random event. I might also add that it appears you are at too shallow of an angle which would also add to the effect of back-focusing. Unless you have a full set-up for testing lenses the results can look bad even if you are off just a small bit. Real question is if you are seeing similar results when shooing normal subjects.

    I have eight 50mm lenses and the 50 1.4g is the best "mix" of everything (well I don't have the 58mm 1.4 yet). The old lenses are fun to play with, but they have many issues that show their head with various photos, situations. Shooting MF for anything that moves is haphazard at best at large apertures (1.4-5.6). Doesn't mean you can't use it, just saying the experience will probably become more frustrating not better.

    The 1.8G is good as well. If you wanted to save some money, I would go that route. It might help your back focus issue a bit as well. For DX the 35mm 1.8 (DX) is a no-brainer to me. Cheap and gives you the 50mm equiv. (A 50mm gives you a 75mm equiv.)

    35mm 1.8 on a D300
    image
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    Msmoto - thanks for the links! I will check them out shortly. I am from Michigan, and I do wonder if my lens was converted by grandpa himself or the man who did yours. I am sleuthing! Grandpa was an engineer, I wouldn't put it past him...but the fact that that man is out of Brighton, could also have been done there! I wonder why grandpa didn't send it back to Nikon? DIY attitude perhaps.

    TaoTejared - good to hear a 3rd person have the same read. I think I had the camera at a 45 degree angle but I do agree there is room for error. As for real life shooting, I had some shots I felt like they back focused in informal tests...I will see if I can upload. Out of town and working with the iPad so it is more difficult. I do think I am going to need AF as much as I wish I could stick with my old lens. Torn on exchanging the lens for another 1.4 or just saving some money. Don't want to "miss out" on the extra stops but I also here it is lighter weight. As a lover of my old 1.4, part of me thinks I will " need" to have a new 1.4 one day. I would keep it in a heartbeat if I felt it was performing up to expectations for a new lens. I guess I don't haves anything to lose returning it except time wasted if I get another copy that acts the same. If that is the case then I guess I will haver discovered my camera/ lens limitations and I suppose that would be fine.
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
  • CharmdesignCharmdesign Posts: 66Member
    since I plan to upgrade to FX one day I sort of wanted my lens choices to be...permanent. Hence why I bought the 1.4 to begin with. That is why I am hesitant to buy a DX lens, although I guess for that price, whatever. Especially when the FX 35 is 10x more expensive. Major disparity there. Kills me because I know I should be getting that DX 35 but my romantic notions surrounding shooting FX with my beloved 50, acting like a 50 are driving a lot of my decisions. Funny how as a hobby I am emotionally invested as it represents the relationship I had with my grandpa. and it bugs me that with my camera a 50 isn't a 50. Baby steps.
    Camera: Nikon D7000, Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 35mm 1.8G DX, Ai'd MF: 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.4, 24-70mm
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