When Nikon told me about an upcoming lens the Nikon 58mm F1.4 I kind of laughed. One I did not understand the price of $1,699 and two I didn’t understand the history behind this lens. The reps told me it was a throwback to the Nikon 58 F1.2 Noct from years past. This Noct lens is said to be one of the best lenses ever produced.
As you guys know, when AllensCamera.com gets a new lens in of interest they give me a call to come in, sniff it and run it through some tests. Keep in mind my goal with these reviews is to give you the FULL RES Jpegs and some RAWfiles to pixel peep yourself. Of course I have to toss in there what I think about the files and lens.
While I was taking test shots with the 58 1.4 a customer walked in with a bunch of old Nikon lenses. One of them so happened to be a 1.2 Noct which I personally have never seen. Talk about perfect timing, I asked if I could take some pictures of it and with it and he was nice enough to allow me the pleasure.
Nikon 58 F1.4G Lens
My first impression of this lens out of the box was how light it felt. When you spend so much money on something you wish it had some more heft to it. Of course the weight is no determining factor on how well the lens captures images. In terms of weight vs the Noct, the Noct feels like a big boys lens.
The lens was nice and balanced on my D4 and I felt really at home using it. This was my first time seeing what a fixed 58mm looked like on any camera and I have to say its a fantastic angle to capture nice portraits. If you want to explode a picture in both sharpness and bokeh this lens is going to do it.
In my pixel peeping test to get you sample images I set up on a tripod and photographed the lens cloths from F1.4 to F16. I repeated this process with the 58 F1.2 Noct with the only difference being I went from F1.2 to F16 and manually focusing.
In my second pixel peeping test I hand held the lens while taking horizontal head shots of Brandon. I started at F1.4 and took it to F16 which ended up having some motion blur because the shutter speed dropped way to slow.
Like I said in the video it is not very easy to shoot at F1.4. Sure these lenses are designed to allow you to do so if needed but I personally have a hard time getting images tack. I started to see my images because tack sharp on the eye around F2.2 which is AMAZING. I have never seen sharpness and clarity like this that jump right out of the photo.
As you start going past F2.2 the image keeps getting sharper and sharper and sharper. The amazing clarity at F8 is pretty much mind blowing.
The point of fast glass like this is to allow you to shoot at the wider apertures but still maintain extreme sharpness, which this lens does.
Nikon 58mm F1.4 VS Nikon 58mm F1.2 Noct
First off one of these lenses is autofocus and the other is not. I personally would have a tough time using a manual focus lens due to the fact my eyes are not sharp to begin with.
To test out this lens I replicated the same set up shooting the lens cloths on the counter.
You can see the sample images for yourself and decide if one has a slight edge on the other. In some of the images it is not easy to tell as they are very very close. It looks to me that the newer lenses may hold a slight sharpness edge. I would expect that in a lens that is 30 years or so newer than the other.
In the end I was wowed by the results that I captured with the new Nikon 58mm F1.4. Could I see adding one to my bag, sure I could see it but I am not likely to drop $1,699 unless I really really need to. Would this be a nice lens for capturing video, I would imagine so and think cinematographers may pick one up for their kit.
One thing I neglected to discuss is that Nikon says this 58mm is a perfect lens on a cropped sensor camera. Who in their right mind is going to drop $1,699 to use this lens on a cropped censor camera? Sure it would look fantastic on the D7100 but I don’t think anyone is going to rush out to get it for their DX camera. With that said could you imagine how sharp this lens is going to be on the Nikon D800E?
So there you have it, that is my review and comparison of the two 58mm lenses. If you are interested in picking up any Nikon gear new or used please check out AllensCamera.com