The Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AI-S is the fastest lens in Nikon's lens lineup. This is one of three commercially made normal lenses that Nikon has made for the F mount that has a max aperture of f/1.2. The two others being Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 and the Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2. The Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S is the only one that's still in production. With it's very wide f/1.2 aperture very shallow Depth Of Field is possible.
||7 elements in 6 groups
|Minimum focus distance:
||Front lens cap
Rear lens cap LF-1
||9 straight blades.
* with the HS-12 on the D3 it causes more light fall-off then without it.(see sample images at the bottom of the page)
- Build quality. Good old Nikkor quality, built to last.
- Very shallow DOF(Depth of Field)@ f/1.2
- Performance, good contrast/sharpness. Very usable on f/1.2
- DOF/IR markings
- Speed, excellent for low light shooting.
- CA, worst wide open, but it can still be seen until f/2, however it does perform better then the Noct-Nikkor.
- Hard to focus without a split prism. @ 0.5m there is less then 6mm that's in focus, so focusing correctly is crucial.
- Hood, the HS-12 causes the lens to have more light fall-off(vignetting). Not a problem on a 1.5x camera though.
A close to perfect lens, it's a shame that Nikon still has not upgraded this lens to auto focus. When focused correctly the lens can produce stunning results wide open. The contrast is really nice for a fast lens like this as well. On a camera like the D3 this lens does show a bit of light fall-off (vignetting) which is expected for a lens with a wide aperture like f/1.2. There is increased light fall-off when used with the HS-12 hood on the Nikon D3, not sure of the reason for this as the HS-12 was designed for the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2. If only Nikon would make a split image prism for the D3, it would be a killer combination.
Compared to the Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2, I find the bokeh on the 55mm slightly better, but the 50mm is a tad sharper. Both lenses are capable of stunning results when used properly.
A quick tip on better accuracy with MF lenses on digital bodies: If you focus past the focus indicator and then start focusing back to you see the correct focus indicator, you are more likely to hit the correct focus.
Price from: $679.95 USD**
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links on the prices takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D From: $119.95 USD
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D From: $289.95 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G From: $429.95 USD
Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI-S Price From: $459.95 USD
Zeiss MF 50mm f/1.4 ZF Planar T* Price: $550.00 USD
Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Price: $499.00 USD
Zeiss Macro 50mm f/2 ZF.2 Makro-Planar T* Price: $1,283.00 USD
For an equivalent normal lens on a DX camera:
Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZF Distagon T* Price: $826.00 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Price From: $194.95 USD
Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D From: $319.95 USD
Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI-S From $999.95 USD
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Price: $439.00 USD
** Prices are subject to change. Listed prices is from May 8, 2010
Images have been imported to photoshop CS3 through Capture NX 2 thus leaving the original image settings as shot, I. E white balance, sharpening, etc .etc. Full resolution sample images are in RGB color mode. Check out my copyright page for information about usage of these images.