Every photographer needs a 50mm lens in their kit bag, so we are constantly told. Well I have to say it’s a pretty handy lens to have. I personally chose to invest in the Nikon 50mm f1.4, which really seems to split the community out there.
It’s expensive and a bit soft at f1.4…. but it shoots at f1.4! That’s ridiculously quick. It’s like buying Nightvision for your camera. I love it. And what’s more, the Bokeh is stunning! Yes, it has a heavy vignette (which you can easily correct in Lightroom), but I find these characteristics all very charming. When used well it can add atmosphere and character to a photograph. As long as you don’t spend your time pixel peeping you get a wonderful lens with a soft artistic quality.
On the whole it’s a fun lens to use. Due to the ridiculously shallow depth of field it can be a little tough to focus, but it produces some wonderful shots once it’s locked on.
Used in the field, I put it to the test on the Hong Kong overnight race: Moontrekker. Here, coupled with a flash, I was able to capture detail in the sky and the runners in otherwise total darkness on the top of Lantau Peak.
Overall, the Nikon 50mm f1.4 is a great lens. Sure it has some quirks, but that’s the beauty of photography learning the idiosyncrasies of your equipment and then using that knowledge to improve your work. Sometimes, you need to throw out the modern obsessions of perfect, pin sharp images, and enjoy the pictures you produce.