Oldies but Goodies
By J.L. Sofka
2 Nov 2010
Back in the film days, a 50 mm prime lens was standard issue with a 35mm SLR until zooms began dominating the market. About 5 months ago, I found a used Nikon 50mm AF 1.4 for just $150 and finally got around to trying it out today. What a fantastic lens- sharp, sharp, sharp! The main photo here was taken through a window on a moving train with no flash.
Before I went looking for the lens, I did some research and based on the bad reviews of the 1.8 and the high cost of the 1.2 ($680 for a manual lens new and around $3,000 for the 1.2Noct used), I decided to go for the F1.4. It was made in Japan between 1991-1995. I was able to date the lens with the Nikon System Handbook, a valuable reference when shopping for used Nikon equipment. When I upgraded from a point & shoot digital to an SLR, I was torn between Canon and Nikon. I ended up going with Nikon because so many film camera lenses are compatible with the better digital SLR models. I did, however, make a mistake with my first purchase, the Nikon D60. It only auto focuses with AF-S lenses, and does not meter with manual lenses. Lens compatibility is a point to consider if you are going to invest in a digital SLR system.
If you are thinking about getting a Nikon, I highly recommend the D90 and the 18-200 mm zoom for a starter. I paid around $950 for the above lens, but the price has most likely dropped by now and it is a great all purpose lens which is well worth the money. If I could only keep one other lens besides my zoom, it would most assuredly be a good old (not new junk) 50mm prime.