50mm 1.4 AIS Lens For a Day ( Review )

I have been longing for a 1.4 lens… to explore the delicious bokeh, to be a master of night, to ramble on like a wanna poet on my blog.

Anyway, I went the cheap route, and ordered a Nikkor 50mm 1.4 AI-S Lens on ebay from Japan.

The lens felt soooo good. Solid metal, butter smooth focus, nice weight, rubbery grip.  These elements alone made me want to keep it.

For a 1.4 lens, it was a great price.  $110 USD + Shipping.  It came in a great big box, with a whole side filled up with Japanese stamps. I was stoked.

Stuck Open

After shooting the lens for a little while, I noticed that stopped down, it transmitted just as much light as wide open.  It also was just as soft stopped down as wide open… ??  Ah, I soon realized the lens was stuck open, wide open. Manual focus at 1.4 is hard enough, and I would almost say impossible. A MF lens that only does 1.4 is, while a nice artistic challenge, kind of useless in real world shoots. So the lend had to go back to Japan.

Just Long Enough

That said, I had one evening out with my bitter-sweet vintage nifty fifty. I do have to say that regardless, compared to the Nikon 50mm 1.8g, the AIS is sooooft.  There is enough CA to make everything look like it was put through an instagram filter.  Which in some ways was cool, and I have to say it was tempting to keep this vintage, stuck open glass.  But in the end, I gave in to the advanced performance of plastic from China.

50mm 1.4g

I will sell my 50 1.8g + 50 1.4 AIS and buy the ‘flagship’ 50.  Sharp as a tack, plastic as everything else made these days, and lightning quick to focus all by itself.

Oh well, sometimes modern may be better.

Some shots with the Nikkor 50mm 1.4 AIS