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  1. #1

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

    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. #2

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    An excellent resource to answer the kind of question you asked.

    http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/specs.html#50fast

    I doubt you could see the difference on a print but the link will tell the tech/mfg. details.
    -Fred

  3. #3

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    "The problem with photography is that it only deals with appearances." Duane Michals

    "A photograph is a secret of a secret. The more it tells you the less you know." Diane Arbus

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dali View Post
    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. #5
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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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.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  6. #6

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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. #7

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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. #8
    gorbas's Avatar
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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. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dali View Post
    I donb't know how I've missed this link. THANKS, nice information that I never knew about

  10. #10

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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)

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