Nikon Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI and AIS lens, Canon 5d Mark ii, iii, nikon d800, d600, 6d, t2i, t3i, t4i, t1i, d90, d5200, d7000, d7100, d5100, sony, olympus, panasonic, gh1, gh2, gh3, nex3, nex5, full frame, dslr, hd video,

Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI manual focus lens for video on DSLRs

Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI or AIS

for shooting your film on a DSLR, get it on amazon.

This lens, along with all the other Nikkor 50mm f1.4s, is a very tiny bit more useful than the 50mm f1.8 lenses, and only costs a tiny bit more. In some cases you can find the AI or non-AI versions for less than the f1.8 lenses.

 

The build, optics and ergonomics of this f1.4 AI are almost identical to the f1.8 AI or AIS lenses. The f1.8 may be a tad sharper at f1.8 but this f1.4 gives you half a stop more light which is why I say it's a bit more useful. They both will get you that super shallow depth of field look if you're after that. If you need sharp and in-focus shots, any 50mm will be tough to manually focus so you'll have to stop down to f2.8 or slower.

 

If you already have an f1.8 or f2 Nikkor then I wouldn't worry about the f1.4 version, but if you're in the market for a 50mm Nikkor then I'd go for an f1.4 given the choice. 

 

I use this lens on my Canon 5D Mark ii with great success using a Nikon to Canon EOS adapter. It has super smooth manual focus and gives very nice blurry backgrounds. It's the best normal lens for low light. If you don't need f2 or faster, then an f2.8 zoom will be more useful since you have all those focal lengths in one lens. If you need faster than f2.8 then a 50mm is your go-to lens. 

 

I do have problems using this lens on my Nikon D800. When in movie mode with live view on and pulling focus, the aperture blades stick, which shows on the screen and ruins the shot. It only happens when pulling the focus quickly. If I pull it gingerly I can avoid this problem. This may just be an issue with my single copy of this lens. 

 

Build

The Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI and AIS is all metal except for the rubber ring on the focus helicoid, so expect top build quality and durability.

It has a seven-bladed aperture diaphragm, made of straight blades, giving seven-sided out-of-focus lights in backgrounds. This is important when considering a lens because ideally you may want perfectly round out-of-focus lights in your background. The only way to get this with this lens is to shoot wide open. At wider apertures your out-of-focus lights will look almost like perfect circles but once you get to f2.8 or slower then you'll start to see those seven-sided shapes in your background lights. 

If you need smoother out-of-focus light circles try the Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4g as it has rounded aperture blades.

 

Optics

The central part of the frame is always sharp, even wide open at f1.4. The focus plane is very shallow at f1.4 and almost nothing is in focus.  

 

This lens is ideal for low light indoor shooting situations when you need a wide aperture and can't use artificial lighting. When shooting outdoors try quality circular polarizer or ND filters. I just love the images I get with this with a good circular polarizer on it. The colors pop just a bit more and I can shoot close to wide open (usually I shoot at around f2) resulting in beautiful bokeh.

 

 

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