Nikon 50mm f1.4 vs 58mm f1.4

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by puketronic, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    What is the difference between these two? Both non-ai versions.

    I hate to ask which is "better", but on film how do they compare? One is obviously longer than the other. The 58mm is more expensive and I think harder to find but is it worth the extra cost? I found one for $225 but the 50mm f1.4's go for half of that.
     
  2. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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  3. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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  4. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    thanks. I skimmed through the link and that website is sure fascinating! Not sure if it would help but my thinking is that it doesn't really matter. It looks like the 50mm is newer and technically superior.
     
  5. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I am a fan of the AI (NOT THE AIS) version of the 50mm. I LOVE IT. Basically, if I had one of those and a Nikon FE, I'd need nothing else in a 35mm kit to make me happy.
     
  6. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    Technically the 58 is a ‘5.8cm’. The ‘cm’ is a give-away that it is an older lens, from about 1960-61. As you would expect of a fast optic from that era, it is soft relative to even the less-modern 50/1.4’s from the 70’s. For those that live and die by sharpness, this is not your lens. It has its own character, though, one that I quite like esp with B/W. I rarely us it at 1.4 yet the large aperture makes for better viewing in low-light. The longer fl (16%) makes for less dof at comparable apertures than that of a 50mm, a quality I often use to great advantage. Contrast is less than its modern brethren but that, too, is part of the novelty in a world where 50/1.4’s and their look are a dime a dozen. I have several lenses in the 50-60 range but have a warm spot for the 5.8cm f1.4, not due to its ‘rarity’ (I use the word loosely) but for its more classical rendition.

    Is it worth the cost? Hmm...cost, value...cost, value, one of the eternal questions. You may find the 5.8cm to be an acquired taste, or maybe not. I took an immediate liking to it. I don't know the cost current cost but I can tell you all about the value!
     
  7. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I've not used the 58mm, but I've always wanted one. As I understand it, it's not necessarily better than the 50mms, but its rendering is a little different from the "signature Nikon look". That said, the only reason it's more expensive is because of its appeal with collectors. Clean samples of the original 5.0cm f/2 also sell for inflated prices, even though it was a budget option back in the day (that's not to say it's a bad lens).

    I too am a fan of pre-AIS lenses. They just click wih me for some reason.
     
  8. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

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    Interesting question! I got Nikkor-S 1.4/58mm and did Ai modification. First I tested it on digital body (D7000). It's total dog lens. The worst lenses I have ever seen. I can't believe that Nikon made name with this lens in 1960. The lens I own is in very nice shape with no signs of impact or modification (other than AId). It was so bad that I lost all interest to ever try it on film body. On other hand, Nikkor SC 1.4/50 and Ais 1.4/50 are way better lenses.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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  10. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    The 58 1.4 is not that bad. It does have a veil of spherical abberation all over, but its sharp (at least in the middle)
     
  11. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Erm, the D7000 has a relatively high pixel density so of course it's going to exaggerate any flaws a 50-year-old lens might have. DSLRs don't always work well with ancient optics; My DSLR hates some of my old lenses but does fine with others of the same vintage.

    Besides, the pleasantness of a lens' rendering is a highly personal matter. Your mileage may vary, as they say; simply calling a lens a dog because it's less sharp isn't fair.
     
  12. Spicy

    Spicy Member

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    It's really important to bear in mind that the lens was not developed with digital sensors in mind. Because film tends to be much more forgiving, a lot of the "legendary" lenses from that period 50s and 60s, maybe early 70s -- basically the golden era of manual focus lenses -- perform pretty poorly on digital, while continuing to be incredibly charming on film.

    I'm sure someone could offer you a correct and more in-depth explanation of the physics, but I know it has a lot to do with film having physical depth, as well as emulsions not requiring perfectly aligned photons to expose them. A good way to think of it would be the increased ease of hitting a paper plate with a baseball (film), in comparison to hitting the back of a bucket that was turned horizontally on its side (digital).

    It's unfortunate that you were so discouraged...