The 55/3.5 comes in a few different versions. Which one are you talking about? The one marked Auto is probably the best optically, and one of the sharpest of all the Nikons in the 1:10 to 1:2 magnification range. The older (non-AFD or AFS) 50/1.4 is a good lens stopped down to f/2.8 or thereabouts. Below f/2 it has very low contrast and looks mushy. The viewfinders of Nikon SLRs do not really show the benefit of any aperture wider than f/2.8. So a 50/2 will focus as easily as a 50/1.4. But the 55/3.5 will be more difficult to focus. If you are going to do close-up often, then get the macro. If you are going to do nightlife, then the 50/1.4. Anything else, the 50/2 is a nice compromise speed-wise and optically great.