Foreword

Among the many fixed-focus lenses (refer to the article on fixed-focus lenses vs zoom lenses), because the lens is closest to the human eye, 50mm has always been a well-known “standard lens”. For photography close-hands, 50mm fixed-focus lenses are not only attractive (newer models have started to jump in prices), and it has a large aperture, which is a focal length of “advance, attack, and retreat”, so it is a good choice for getting started. However, there are now many manufacturers who have launched 50mm fixed focus lenses. Is the quality of the branch better? Which one should a beginner choose?

Credits and pictures provided By CWA

nikkor-50mm-f14d
AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D (以下簡稱AFD)
Lens Construction: 7 Elements in 6 Groups
The angle of View: 46 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 7 Blades
Minimum Aperture: f/16
Minimum Focusing Distance: 45cm
Maximum Magnification: 1:6.8
Filter Size: Diameter 52mm
Dimensions: Diameter 64.5mm X Length 42.5mm
Weight: 230g
nikkor-50mm-f14g
AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G (以下簡稱AFG)
Lens Construction: 8 Elements in 7 Groups
The angle of View: 46 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 Blades
Minimum Aperture: f/16
Minimum Focusing Distance: 45cm
Maximum Magnification: 1:6.7
Filter Size: Diameter 58mm
Dimensions: Diameter 73.5mm X Length 54mm
Weight: 290g
sigma-50mm-f14-ex-dg-hsm
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM (以下簡稱SIGMA)
Lens Construction: 8 Elements in 6 Groups
The angle of View: 46.8 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 Blades
Minimum Aperture: f/16
Minimum Focusing Distance: 45cm
Maximum Magnification: 1:7.4
Filter Size: Diameter 77mm
Dimensions: Diameter 84.5mm X Length 68.2mm
Weight: 505g
carl-zeiss-planar-t-50mm-f14
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1.4 /50 ZF (以下簡稱ZF)
Lens Construction: 7 Elements in 6 Groups
The angle of View: 46 degrees
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 9 Blades
Minimum Aperture: f/16
Minimum Focusing Distance: 45cm
Filter Size: Diameter 58mm
Dimensions: Diameter 66mm X Length 69mm
Weight: 350g

Come to the family portrait before the test

左起:Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D、Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G、Sigma 50mm F1.4、Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1.4

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Autofocus speed (test camera: Nikon D3)

AFD has the fastest focusing speed, followed by SIGMA, but only a little faster than AFG. ZF does not have autofocus.
Due to the large movement of the lens group, although SWM (AFG) and HSM (SIGMA) are provided to assist in focusing, the focusing speed is still not as good as the design Simple AFD.

Shooting angle (angle of view)

The angles of view of AFD, AFG, and ZF are approximately the same (46 degrees, the standard angle of view of a 50mm focal length lens).
SIGMA has a viewing angle of 46.8 degrees.

Here are the actual differences:

The darker part is the ZF view, and the lighter and wide-angle part is the SIGMA view. (Click to enlarge)

The darker part is the ZF view, and the lighter and wide-angle part is the SIGMA view. (Click to enlarge)

Four corners lose light (dark corners)

Reference photo taken by SIGMA with full aperture (click to enlarge)

Reference photo taken by SIGMA with full aperture (click to enlarge)

Note: All the comparison photos below are from the left AFD, AFG, SIGMA, ZF.

@ f / 1.4 <br> With full aperture, the best vignetting control is SIGMA, followed by ZF. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 With full aperture, Vignette control is the best SIGMA, followed by ZF. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 <br> After closing to f / 2.0, SIGMA has almost no vignetting. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 close to f / 2.0 aperture, SIGMA almost no vignetting. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 <br> After closing to f / 2.8, basically only four corners of AFD are missing. (Click to enlarge)

When @ f / 2.8 is closed to f / 2.8, basically only four corners of the AFD are missing. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 <br> When the aperture is closed to f / 4.0 and f / 5.6, no vignetting is visible in all photos.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 When the aperture is closed to f / 4.0 and f / 5.6, no vignetting is visible in all photos. (Click to enlarge)

Sharpness (infinity)

The reference photo was taken by SIGMA. The central part, the lower left corner and the lower right are closer to the central part (red box) for comparison. Due to the difference in perspective, except for the central part, the left and right lower corners are selected approximately the same position, which is convenient Compare.  (Click to enlarge)

The reference photo was taken by SIGMA. The central part, the lower-left corner and the lower right are closer to the central part (red box) for comparison. Due to the difference in perspective, except for the central part, the left and right lower corners are selected approximately the same position, which is convenient Compare. (Click to enlarge)

Central test

@ f / 1.4 <BR> With the aperture fully open, except for AFD, the sharpness of the other three lenses is very close, with ZF being better.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 With the aperture fully open, except for AFD, the sharpness of the other three lenses is very close, with ZF being the better. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 <BR> After closing to f / 2.0, SIGMA and ZF have become very sharp and contrasted.  (Click to enlarge)

After @ f / 2.0 closed to f / 2.0 aperture, SIGMA and ZF have been very sharp and contrasted. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 <BR> AFD has better sharpness to f / 4.0 aperture.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0AFD has better sharpness at f / 4.0 aperture. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

Lower left corner test

@ f / 1.4 <BR> With the aperture fully open, AFG and SIGMA perform close to each other, and they have a good sharpness.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 With the aperture fully open, AFG and SIGMA perform close to each other and already have good sharpness. (Click to enlarge)

@f/2.0

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 <BR> After closing to f / 2.8, the overall imaging of ZF has improved.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 closed to f / 2.8, the overall imaging of ZF has improved. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 <BR> AFD is closer to the rest of the opponents at f / 5.6.  (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6AFD is closer to the rest of the opponents at f / 5.6. (Click to enlarge)

The lower right is closer to the center

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

All lenses have the same sharpness and lower-left corner.

Sharpness (Close Range)

The reference photo was shot by AFG at full aperture, with the focus on the left eye of the cup.  (Click to enlarge)

The reference photo was shot by AFG at full aperture, with the focus on the left eye of the cup. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 aperture is fully open and f / 2.0 is the sharpest with SIGMA. When the aperture is closed at f / 2.8, AFG, SIGMA and ZF performance are close. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6AFD lags behind other opponents, only to improve the aperture after f / 4.0 and f / 5.6. (Click to enlarge)

Bokeh

The reference photo was taken by AFG at full aperture.  (Click to enlarge)

The reference photo was taken by AFG at full aperture. (Click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 2.8 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 4.0 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

@ f / 5.6 (click to enlarge)

Red box @ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

Red Box @ f / 1.4 (click to enlarge)

Each lens is different and will not be commented.

 

Light and Ghost

The reference photo was taken by ZF.  (Click to enlarge)

The reference photo was taken by ZF. (Click to enlarge)

Ghosts appear below.  (Click to enlarge)

Light Ghosts appear below. (Click to enlarge)

 

To Sum it Up

The AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.4G is superior to the old AF Nikkor 50mm f / 1.4D in all aspects, but the price is about twice as expensive. However, it faces rivals such as the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM and Carl Zeiss Planar. T * 1.4 / 50 ZF, regardless of price and quality. Among them, Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM personally thinks that it can be regarded as the representative work of Sigma in recent years. It has performed well in all aspects, and its biggest disadvantage is weight and volume. The Carl Zeiss Planar T * 1.4 / 50 ZF is an entry-level ZF.

So which one should a beginner choose? In fact, “a penny a penny”, and of course the new lens design will be better than the old one, but the price may be more expensive, so let’s make your decision according to your budget!