50mm 1.8g vs 1.4g – A rookie’s review

The First Shot!  Oh my, the glorious feeling!
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Ok, let me back up.  I had the excruciating experience of getting my camera body last Thursday.  I had ordered the lens the same day, but seeing as the body was on back order, I fully expected to receive the lens first.  However, magically the next day the body was back in stock and the day after I found out it had been signed for by my apartment manager and locked away in then closed front office (I found out after I was off of work) of the apartment complex I live in — and let me tell you, even if my camera had been locked up in Fort Knox, I would still have sweated the same amount!  I was so nervous something would happen – the complex would get robbed, etc. – and I was so relieved when Jim picked it up the next morning for me.  The lens had an ETA of the day after the body arrived, so I figured it was perfect timing…
Nope.  Friday came and went, as well as Saturday and Monday.  Finally, today, after a full week after the original ETA, that darned 50mm 1.8g Nikkor lens arrived.
When I was first investigating which camera body I would be committing the next 30 years of my life to (because them things are an inveeeeestmeeeeent if you get my drift) I paid a visit to my local camera store and asked for some advice on a first lens.  I told them I wanted to take portrait photos, but I wanted a large aperture (because I knew from my research that I wanted that POP in a photo and you get that with a great aperture).  They directed me to the 50mm 1.8g lens.  I was excited and decided to go with that.
But then when the body arrived and no lens, I thought, “I should do some more investigating of a first lens…” which is dumb, I know.  I shouldn’t have taken their word for it.  I should have done more research before ordering the lens.  But they were “pros” and I was excited.  So I went back to the camera store and asked some more questions about the 50mm 1.4g lens.  I was told, quote, “You will never notice a difference between the two.”  While that just didn’t sit right, I smiled and thanked them for their opinion and left.
It seemed weird to me that a 1.4g lens, normally $450 bucks, would be more than a 1.8g, normally $200 bucks, for no noticeable difference, don’t you?  I did some more research.
I noticed that all, and I mean ALL of the photographers that I admired had a 50mm 1.4g lens that they swore by.  None of them had a 1.8g lens.  It was interesting to me that these pros would have a lens that, again, would have no noticeable difference, but cost them quite a bit more.
I called the camera store again.  I wanted to see the difference myself.  Oh, guess what.  I was told by the same gal who said I wouldn’t notice a difference that, “We don’t ever carry the 1.4g’s anyway.  We only carry as low as the 1.8g’s.”  Ah ha!  You just showed your hand.  You were purposefully leading me away from the 1.4g NOT because its a better lens investment, but because you don’t carry it.  It all made sense!

And I was sad.  I’m the type that would rather shell out the extra investment now than later so I don’t have to worry about spending even more later for the lens I want, and then have a lesser lens that I wouldn’t even use on top of it.

Dun dun dun dun! (hero music) Craigslist came to my rescue.  After one search for a 1.4g lens, I found one and for a great, GREAT price.  I called the gentleman and he explained he was selling his Nikon lenses and bodies because he wanted to pursue Cannon instead.  He sounded perfect, like he reminded me of my brother.  The type that keeps all of his things nice and well-cared for.  He still had the original receipt of when he bought the lens brand new!  And he had the box.  And he said he’d throw in the UV filter for me, too.  We met up (breathe easy, I brought my back-up crew Jim and Dan with me) and we got to meet this guy.  He was so kind and it was a great experience.  I know there’s risks with buying used, but I’m told by the pros that lenses are not like cars, they still shoot great no matter how many photos you take as long as you take great care of them and this guy obviously did.

Verdict: even this complete NEWBIE can see a huge difference between the 50mm 1.8g and the 1.4g.  The 1.4g just seems to handle so well in dark situations and the photos are so clear and lovely.  I haven’t decided what I will do with my 1.8 yet, if I’ll sell it or something else.  But all I know, is after one night of foolin’ around on the camera, I’m in love.  What a blessing, I’m very excited for this journey.

Below: Jim and Dan playin’ on their phones while we enjoyed a nice dinner as a treat.  I loved this because the glasses turned out lovely and you can see the condensation on them.  In addition, the photo captured perfectly how when we all hang out, we play on our phones while we discuss ideas and information we just learned.  This was taken at a high ISO because it was so so dark in the restaurant and I’m so excited how the Nikon D800 handled the noise!  
Taken with the 1.4g
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Dan ordering his grub.  
Taken with the 1.4g
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Below: taken with the 1.8.  
Jim took this one, as well as the above.  He had such a problem with camera shake with the 1.8g.  Yet with the 1.4 he had no problems.  Its possible its a fluke, but we both don’t feel like it was.
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Taken with the 1.4.  
Jackson HATES the camera, we had to bribe him with treats the entire time.  I can’t figure out why, but he will always turn away or get up and move if I am even 7 feet away and pointing a camera in his direction.  We think he believes he loses a part of his soul with each picture. 🙂
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Ah!  I’m a rookie, but I sure am havin’ fun!!

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3 thoughts on “50mm 1.8g vs 1.4g – A rookie’s review

  1. Pingback: Nikon’s 50mm 1.8g and 1.4g Comparison and Review | Rachel Thornley-Brown

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