The Fast 50-Nikkor 50mm 1.4G

March 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The Nikkor 50mm 1.4Photo courtesy of Nikon Corporation

Every photographer grapples with selecting just the right lenses for their style of shooting but the one common lens in almost every photographer’s bag is the “Fast 50” or the 50mm 1.4 or 1.8.  I recently read an article by a very prominent National Geographic photog about the Top 10 things he wished he knew earlier in his career and number 4 on the list was picking a up 50mm.

The 50mm is a prime lens, meaning it has no zoom, just one fixed focal length and that will change your shooting strategy for anyone used to the spoils of a zoom. But not to fear, the change in your approach to shooting pictures will pay off with this smoking fast lens.

What makes if fast?  The 1.4 aperture makes if fast, allowing a tremendous amount of light on the camera sensor-ideal for low light situations or for portraits where the desired effect is a very blurred background.  A ridiculously low aperture makes the depth of field about an inch beyond the focal point, which I like!

As luck would have it, my new lens landed the day before a weekender in Telluride and we never spend the night over there without heading out on the town but this venture was going to be a test flight for the new 50mm.  The conditions were perfect-clear night, lots of subject variety, and numerous lighting scenarios and the results couldn’t have been better.  The Fast 50 will make a great addition to my current lens collection of the 16-35mm F/4G and the 70-200 F/2.8

Use It For

  • Indoor Shots
  • Night Photography
  • Portraits
  • Street Lens
  • Landscape

Not Good For

  • Action Shots
  • Old Manual Focus Nikon Bodies


Check out these shots and notice the background and the vivid color.  This FX lens even works on Nikon’s cheaper camera bodies in the DX format.

I've been trying to get the shot below coming into Mountain Village Station off the tram for sometime but never had the right lens-until now.  This was shot thru the glass of the gondola and the vivid color and depth of field is amazing.


Shot below was taken at 10 pm in Mountain Village at Black Iron, famous for their outdoor table fires.  Notice how the lens was able to capture and freeze the fire but slowly blurring the subjects until unrecognizable as the depth of field gets progressive. 


The Last Dollar Saloon shown here is a Telluride Icon.  The lens is able to capture the shadows and vivid color scheme like no other.  Sharp as a tack. 


The Telluride Brewing Taps are sharp and in focus while the background is blurred. 

Saturday Night Taps(C) MARKUS VAN METER

Overall, I would rate this lens 5 out of 5 stars and will definitely change my approach to low-light situations.  No more trying to get the low light shots with the 16-35mm zoom.  If you would like to read even more about this lens, surf over to Ken Rockwell's site and give it a good read. 

Until Next Time,

Markus Van Meter


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