Flare resistance is good, and there's a bit more contrast snap to this lens than the other normal 50mm's nikon has made. Overall, the lens is a bit of for an enigma. It doesn't test as well as its price suggests it should. On the other hand, i like the results from the lens in practice. Indeed, i like the results from the 58mm better than I do any of the 50mm variations we have currently. First, it's not at all a terrible lens used wide open, while many of the other options really lose quite a bit of contrast when you shoot them wide open. Yes, there's some softening and loss of contrast, especially for fx users, but I suspect most people will be pleased with the wide open capabilities of the 58mm. Dx users can absolutely consider this the portrait lens for the crop sensor cameras, i think. The lens is extremely well behaved by f/2.8 in dx and f/4.
By f/2.8 vignetting is minimal. Remember nikon's three points? This was one of them, and they are correct: low vignetting. The t/stop of the lens is about t/1.7, by the way. Linear Distortion : about a half percent barrel distortion (FX). Not a terrible number, but just enough to make straight lines visually unstraight, which may prompt you to fix them. Bokeh : probably the best of the normal focal length lenses nikon has produced since the noct. Very well controlled and polite, with no rough edges or issues. Again, nikon's marketing didn't lie to us on this wood aspect of the lens: it has very nicely controlled out of focus areas, and point sources in the background stay round to the corners without any objectionable "edging.".
Whether you can squeeze really exceptional corners out of the 58mm on dx will depend upon when diffraction sets in for your sensor. On the 16mp cameras I could see clear improvements all the way out to f/11, with the 24mp cameras, only to f/8. Chromatic Aberration : i've seen others report "high amounts" of ca, but that's not what I see. There's definitely a pixel or two of ca on my D800, but it's relatively well behaved and consistent throughout the aperture range, which is a sign of fairly good ca control. Surprisingly, my dx bodies show a bit more ca wide open than through the rest of the range, which is something I don't see on the fx bodies. Either way, ca is low and easily removed if it bothers you. Vignetting : A bit over 2/3rds of a stop overall wide open on fx, and pretty ignorable on dx wide open.
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Let's get the worst part out of the way first: like nikon's other normal af-s lenses, the 58mm f/1.4G isn't a truly snappy focusing lens. It isn't press the shutter release and the lens snaps to focus. It's press the shutter release and the lens moves to focus. Moves as in "you can see it move." I wouldn't characterize it as slow, but it's definitely not fast, either. I've described this behavior on the 50mm lenses as "languid and the 58mm is slightly better than those lenses, but not enough to get excited about.
For the price of the lens, i expected more. On to the optical bits: fx sharpness : you can almost see field curvature in the results: wide open it's sharp dessay in the very center, degrades a bit as you move outwards, then improves again in the extreme corners. As you stop down, the central area improves and widens, but the corners stay stubbornly mostly the same on fx bodies; you have to stop down quite a bit to get what I'd call fully sharp corners. Still, i've seen descriptions elsewhere of the corners being bad. They're pretty good, just not exceptional. Dx sharpness : Because we're just using the central area of the lens, the central sharp area is wider wide open on dx, and the corners slowly come into full sharpness, too. By f/4 they're very good, and they improve some more as you stop down further.
The supplied hood bayonets into the front of the lens. The focus ring on my sample is decently smooth. Note that the front element is physically moving as you focus, so there is a bit of coupled inertia. But it's not like the old ai lenses and the movement from near to infinity is only about a quarter turn. So, not a lot of fine tune focus discrimination using the ring, but the ring also isn't one of nikon's sloppy efforts, either. I'd call it "good.".
On a d610 or D800 body hand held correctly, my hand hits the focus ring just about right, so maybe there's good reason why we have the big indent to the front element. If the focus ring were closer to the body, it'd be a little on the uncomfortable side. Still, this is a fairly big lens for a normal lens, even a fast one. On the light D3xxx and D5xxx bodies we're not quite to the point where it makes the combo front heavy, but you are adding substantial weight to the body. Not a bad thing, but just be forewarned, this is not a pancake lens. How to characterize the 58mm? I really wanted to like this lens, but nikon hasn't made it easy.
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D3xxx and shakespeare D5xxx models). At.6 ounces (385g) the lens isn't particularly light. Nikons page for the lens is here. The lens is made in Japan and the price is US1600. Source of the review make sample: personal purchase. Results compared to no other sample lenses at this time. What's there to say? We have a focus ring and an M/a - m switch.
I suspect that some of the extra length of the lens is just to give you a focus ring well in front of the prism on recent nikon dslrs. The filter ring is 72mm, and again, that's probably far bigger than it needed. I'll bet that the internal elements don't even reach to 52mm. Like many nikkor primes, the smallest aperture size is f/16, and like all G-type lenses, there is no aperture ring. There is, however, a dof window with limited distance markings for f/16. The lens has a close focus distance of just under 2' (0.58m which is not particularly close and gives a maximum magnification of only 1:7.7. This is not a close focusing, or quasi-macro, lens. The lens has an af-s silent wave motor, so will work nightmare on all current nikon dslr bodies, even the ones without a camera-driven focus motor (e.g.
pages for the 58mm if you don't believe.). The optical design is both simple and complex: 9 elements in 6 groups is the simple part, but the lens has two critical aspherical elements and four additional elements are very tricky designs, as well. The lens also has Nano-coated elements to increase contrast and reduce flare. You'll find 9 rounded aperture blades at the diaphragm. Surprisingly, the optical design is quite compact. It's the autofocus system and the deep indent to the front element (which moves forward and backward during focus) that make the 58mm significantly bigger than it's 50mm cousins for some reason. The front element never makes it near the filter ring on the front of the lens, which means that the lens is "hooded" even without using the supplied hb-66 lens hood and also means that your filters don't rotate during focus.
One of nikon's essay most well-corrected lenses was a 58mm, the f/1.2 noct. That lens had probably the least coma of any normal focal length lens in the film era, and a well-deserved reputation for creamy smooth bokeh in out of focus highlights. While it wasn't perfect at f/1.2, stopped down a bit it was a stunningly good lens. Enough so that I still keep mine around. The virtually nil sagittal coma of the noct is exceptionally good for resolving pinpoint light sources, such as star fields, so it's one of the lenses I pull out when I'm doing any night work where i want to resolve stars. The problem, of course, is that the noct is a manual focus, ai-s lens, only a small number were produced, and it's difficult to find a good sample at a reasonable price these days. (Typical noct prices for one in excellent condition will start at US3000 and i've seen them sell for as much as US5000 lately.).
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DX coverage, autofocus (in-lens focus motor internal focus 17 elements in 13 groups, 3 aspherical, 4 ed elements, nano coating, Flourine coating on front element 7-blade aperture diaphragm smallest aperture is f/22 (at f/2.8) vibration reduction 72mm filter ring 14" (0.35m) minimum focus; 1:45 maximum. US1070, model Number 20055, announced July 2, 2015, note: E lenses will be essentially maximum aperture only lenses on many cameras made prior to the switch. This includes the F6, D1 series, D2 series, D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, and D3000 bodies. Nikon erroneously labels these cameras as incompatible with E lenses, when it really report is losses functionality.". Nikon's Web page for the lens. Support this site by purchasing from this advertiser. The 58mm f/1.4G was a bit of a surprise. Nikon already has quite a few lenses available in the "normal" focal length range for fx, so why another one? First, a little history.