with Courtney Slazinik
50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

50mm 1.8 vs 50mm 1.4
Have you wondered what is difference between the 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4? Wondering do you need to invest the extra money in the 50mm 1.4 or would the 50mm 1.8 be a better fit?

When I first started to learn about manual mode my friend, Megan Cieloha, told me it would be really hard with my kit lens and recommended I purchase the 50mm 1.8. I remember thinking “$100 for a lens, oh my goodness, that is expensive!” Little did I know that was the most inexpensive lens I would buy.

I think the 50mm “nifty fifty” is a fantastic lens to start with. It is inexpensive compared to many of the other lenses out there, it’s a prime lens, and it’s aperture can go as wide as 1.8. The lens packs quite a punch for it’s price tag.

My 50mm lives on my camera most of the time. It really is a great everyday lens. I kept my 50mm 1.8 for 2 years before I updated this past December to the 50mm 1.4D. I was even able to buy a refurbished one from a reputable company. Personally, I love the 50mm 1.4! It is a little heavier which for some reason makes me believe it is better quality. However, once I started to upload my images I could see a difference in the color quality and sharpness.

I had big plans to get some portrait shots for you to see the 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 in comparison but when I tried to do that this morning I dropped my camera with the 50mm 1.8 on it. Yup, that is right, I dropped my camera and broke my lens. Double check your camera is locked on your tripod prior to moving the tripod. Also, remember that post I did on insuring your equipment. This is why!

I did take these two shots a couple of days ago so sorry I don’t have more for you to see side by side.

Settings: f/2.0, ss 1/200, ISO 100 – these are SOOC (straight out of the camera)

Not all the 50mm lenses are the same. In Nikon alone there are 4 = AF 50mm 1.8, AF-S 50mm 1.8, AF 50mm 1.4D, and AF-S 50mm 1.4G. Below is some stats about Nikons 4 50mm lenses.

Nikon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4-D version

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
-Price – $100-130
-Weight – 5.5 oz (156g) the lightest of the lenses
-Mount – plastic
-Blades – 7 (this affects the roundness of your bokeh)
-Aperture – f/1.8-f/22
Note: This lens does not autofocus on the Nikon D40, D60, D3000, D3100, D5000

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF
-Price – $325-350
-Weight – 8.1 oz (230g)
-Mount – Metal
-Blades – 7
-Aperture – f/1.4-f/16
Note: The D version does not support the D40, D60, D3000 and D5000

Nikon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4-G version

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S
-Price – $200-$225
-Weight – 6.6 oz (187g)
-Mount – Metal
-Blades – 7
-Aperture – f/1.8-f/16
Note: This lens will autofocus on the entry level cameras and has a silent wave motor

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
-Price – $450-500
-Weight – 9.9 oz (280g)
-Mount – Metal
-Blades – 9
-Aperture – f/1.4-f/16
Note: This lens will autofocus on the entry level cameras and has a silent wave motor

If you are a Canon owner, your choices are a little easier since there are only two to choose from the 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

Canon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
-Price – $100-125
-Weight – 4.6oz (130g)
-Mount – Plastic
-Blades – 5
-Aperture – f/1.8-f/22

Canon EF 50mm f1.4
-Price – $350-400
-Weight – 10.23oz (290g)
-Mount – Metal
-Blades – 8
-Aperture – f/1.4-f/22

Examples of the images from the AF Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF

f/2.2, ss 1/800, ISO 160

f/1.8, ss 1/125, ISO 1000

f/2.0, ss 1/2500, ISO 100

Examples of the images from the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF

f/2.5, ss 1/400, ISO 100

f/1.6, ss 1/20, ISO 800

f/2.5, ss 1/200, ISO 800

If you would like to read more and see a lab comparison of the 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 check out this post – 50mm Lens Shoot-Out: f/1.8 or f/1.4?

Read the whole series: Everything you want to know about camera lenses
Part 1: Understanding the writing on the lens
Part 2: What lens should I buy next?
Part 3: Our Favorite Lenses
Part 4: Lens on crop vs. full frame sensor
Part 5: Comparing different lenses
Part 6: 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4
How to Decide if 35mm vs 50mm is Right for you

Disclaimer: These are affiliate links. What does that mean? Basically, if you loved the information and decide to purchase anything through the link that the author of this post will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance if you do decide to make a purchase :)

  • Kim
    April 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Canon offers a 50mm L 1.2 ($1000-1200) and a 50mm L 1.0 (crazy $$). For the super serious consumer. ;)
    I have a 1.8 and would like to upgrade, but thinking about saving up for the L 1.2. Since I use this lens 90% of the time, I know the investment would be worth it. Now to just get that money. :/

    • rob
      January 27, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Sigma has a VERY nice 50mm right now it’s $100 off but it’s an outstanding lens. Off brand camera lenses are not bad at all. Attached is the link http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/50mm-f14-ex-dg-hsm

      • KALLOS
        August 7, 2017 at 11:53 AM

        Actually the Sigma 50 1.4 outperforms the Canon 1.2L in nearly every regard for half the price, check dxomark for scientific comparison.

  • Amanda
    April 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Hi Courtney!

    Thanks so much for this clarification. I’m still learning the different lens capabilities (I’m also a Nikon girl). I have a question about my D7000. I didn’t see it listed on the AF lens list as incompatible for autofocus so does that mean it is compatible with AF versions (of any lens) and the autofocus function does work on it?

    • Courtney
      April 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Glad you found this post helpful Amanda! Yes, the 50mm 1.8AF will work with your D7000 and autofocus! So get shopping :O)

  • Dave
    April 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I’m a Canon user. First I owned the 50mm 1.8 and like it. Upgraded to the 50mm 1.4 and love it. The 1.8 seemed slow to focus and extremely noisy, not to mention feeling like a cheap toy. The 1.4 is much quiter, and in my opinion faster to focus. If I could do it over, I’d forget about the 1.8 and probably spring for a Sigma 50mm 1.4. It comes with a case, a lens hood, and is built like a tank. I also own the Sigma 30mm 1.4 and have it on my camera 100% of the time inside my house.

    • Joe
      February 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Dave what Canon Camera are you using? I have 60D and want to take baby pictures inside.
      Driving me crazy with all the reviews I have read.
      Was going to get Canon 50mm 1.8 but really thinking going down to 30 or 35 mm
      with a 1.4 or 1.8 but do not want to spend over $500 on a lens,
      You really like the sigma 30mm 1.4 and does it produce much distortion of closeup facial
      pictures? Thank You Joe

      • Dave
        February 23, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I’m using the 60d as well. Love the Sigma 30mm for it. I use the EX DC version which is the older lens. The newer one is great too from what I’ve read. Only drawback with the 30mm is that it doesn’t work on full frame. Otherwise I highly recommend it. I don’t see much distortion up close. The 50mm 1.4 is great too, and allow you to step back an extra foot or so, so the shutter doesn’t wake baby up. Plus it will work on FF too. Either lens is great. Good luck.


  • April 6, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I went and bought my 50 mm 1.8 Canon lens for my birthday—barely 4 weeks since I got my hands on my dslr. I should have waited and just saved up for a 1.4—-the images are tack sharp! But having said that I have had lots of fun with my 1.8 only because it’s heaps better than my kit lens, which is the only other lens I own. *sniff*. The lens series has so been helpful Thanks for putting it together Courtney!

  • April 6, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Great comparison–I am a Nikon girl and have the 1.8. Hopefully one of these days I will be upgraded to the 1.4 :)

  • Amy
    April 7, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Thank you so much for doing this lens series! I have been wanting a 50mm, and almost bought the 1.8 but after reading, I think I’m gonna wait and save up for the 1.4. I’m super excited about it! I have jumped the gun before on new lenses before I really knew much about them and just sprung for the cheaper one and was totally disappointed! For example, my first zoom didn’t have a stabilizer on it! I thought the pictures were fuzzy because I was doing something wrong. Actually. . . buying a zoom without a stabilizer was the bad choice.
    My photos are getting better each day because of blogs like yours! : )

    • Courtney
      April 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      I’m so glad your photos are getting better :O) I’m sure they are fantastic! Yes, deciding on a lens is hard and buying the wrong one is unfortunately a mistake so many of us make.

  • April 7, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    thanks so much for this group of posts. Just a question…is the difference from D to G just older vs newer versions?

  • Leanne
    April 7, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    I bought the Canon 1.4 because I read EVERYWHERE that it was an awesome lens. And it is, I love it. But what I didn’t read was on a crop sensor it was going to be hard to take photo’s inside – quick candids of the kids because it is too close! (in the size of rooms in our house anyway). I am borrowing a sigma 30mm 1.4 and this focal length is way better inside. I love the 50mm outside. I can’t have both though, and I can’t decide which I would prefer!!

    • Courtney
      April 11, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      Yes, the 50mm can be tight if you do the majority of your shooting inside. Have you looked into the 35mm 1.8? I know a lot of people love that one for indoor shooting. I haven’t checked out the 30mm 1.4 yet but I bet it’s wonderful. Good luck deciding :O)

      • Carol Lyons
        July 15, 2015 at 2:09 PM

        I have the 35mm 1.8 .. LOVE IT .. great for tighter indoor spaces .. and yes, the 1.4 (dare I say 1.2) is on my “Someday Must Have” list

  • susan ramos
    April 7, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Courtney OMG your camera!!! Is it ok??? I felt a stab of pain for you straight to the gut when I read that..

    Thanks for this series – it’s a world of difference between the 1.8 and 1.4 (I’m Canon). Definitely worth saving for the 1.4 to anyone contemplating. I know it’s hard when you first buy the camera and the added cost of the lens but it makes so much difference!

    • Courtney
      April 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      Yes, it’s is okay :O) Don’t worry I had a pain in my gut too :O) I’m so glad you have found this series useful!!

  • April 8, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Great post! I love how the 1.4 images look! I have the 1.8 for Canon and really don’t like how far back I need to stand to take pictures at the 50mm focal length and the fact that wide open, the images aren’t that great. But it’s a great lens to learn with :) Can’t go wrong with $100! LOL

    • Courtney
      April 11, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Yes, definitely can’t go wrong with a $100 lens :O) Have you tried the 35mm 1.8 if you are looking for something that isn’t going to be so tight indoors? I have several friends who have that one and love it :O)

      • April 13, 2012 at 11:13 PM

        I have been considering renting the 35mm to see how I like it. Since I have a crop sensor body I think it would be awesome, but I’m not sure how it would look for portrait work? :)

        • Courtney
          April 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM

          I think it would still work great for portraits but definitely rent it if you can :O)

  • April 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Oh, how sad – I can’t believe you broke your lens! I would be in tears. I have the Canon 50mm 1.8, and I love it. I’m still a beginner, so it’s my only lens besides the kit lens. There is a drastic difference between it and the kit lens, for sure. I try to use that lens whenever I can, but end up having to switch a lot, because I can’t always move myself back far enough to get everything I need to in the picture (especially when taking group photos inside).

    • Courtney
      April 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Have you thought about getting the 35mm 1.8? I know a lot of my friends with crop cameras love that one for indoor shots since it gives them some more space to back up. Plus it’s aperture can go to f/1.8 which is a plus :O)

  • April 9, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Hi Courtney.
    I am a new blogger. My strengths are not in technology or photography. And the comment section from the Pinterest challenge are closed. I just wanted to tell you that I refer back to your Pinterest articles from the challenge all the time. They are so helpful. Thank you.

    • Courtney
      April 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Hey Laura!

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed the Pinterest Challenge and found some useful information there! Welcome to blogging as well!! Please let me know if you have any questions along your journey, in photography or blogging :O)

  • May 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Great article. Thank you so much.

  • Denise
    August 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I am new to photography and your information has helped a lot.I bought the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S from your link. Now to practice(: Thanks so much.

    • Courtney
      August 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Thanks so much for purchasing the lens through the link! I truly appreciate your support!!! Can’t wait to see what you can capture with this lens!!!

  • Daniela
    August 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    This is the post that brought me to your blog!! love the series and everything on your blog, thanks for sharing so much knowledge!

    • Courtney
      September 1, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Awesome!! I’m so glad to hear that you liked this series!

  • October 31, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I’m saving up for a 50mm, and am debating saving a little bit longer so I can get the 1.4– was googling the difference between the two and found your post– I should have known to start here first!

    • Courtney
      November 6, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      I’m glad you found it :) You should know better he he

  • December 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Your website is extremely helpful! I’m trying to learn how to use my camera quickly and you really have the basics without a lot of extra information. Thank you! I see that you are recommending the 35mm 1.8 because your friends like it. Is there a certain brand they have? Do you have any reviews on the 35 mm lenses? Thank you so much!

    • Courtney
      December 5, 2012 at 1:53 PM


      As far as the brand goes that is up to you. What brand of camera do you have? For primes I often get the brand of my camera, Nikon. However, I also have some Tamron lenses which are great as well! I have this post on different lenses which talks about the 35mm – http://clickitupanotch.com/2011/01/comparing-at-20mm-35mm-and-a-50mm-on-a-crop-sensor-camera/

      • December 5, 2012 at 11:04 PM

        I have a Nikon D5100. Right now I only have kit lenses so I’d love to upgrade and I want something that will take good photos of my 1 1/2 yr old and create quality bokeh. I have heard some recommend a 30 mm but they seem a lot less common. Thank you for linking me to your post about the 35mm!

  • February 7, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    I have the 1.8 lens but my pictures never seem to come out quite as clear as yours! Any tips?!

  • Courtney
    March 1, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Ha ha glad to hear I’m not the only one! I would have cried it was my 50mm 1.4 too!!

  • March 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Hi Courtney. I have just discovered your blog. Thank you so much for all of the information. I am about to purchase my first DSLR and lens and I’m researching like crazy. The information you provide is so easy to understand, thanks. I hope you can clarify this for me though please: I am wanting to be able to take close up shots in limited light (usually indoors) having control over background blur (I love background blur!). I was going to invest in a macro lens but have since decided that a 50mm is more within my budget to start but after reading the above comments I’m now concerned about indoor shots. I’d also love to be able to take decent shots outdoors of the flowers fields/gardens etc., I haven’t made up my mind about Canon/Nikon – thinking a canon eos7d or a nikon d300s or d7000.
    It’s all so confusing!!!

    • Courtney
      March 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Hey Kate!

      Congrats on getting a new lens and camera :) I definitely recommend getting a 50mm as a starting lens. A macro is a fun lens too but a bit more of a challenge for your everyday shots, plus it would be really tight when you are in doors. See if you can go to a camera store and play with those cameras and that lens to see if you like the way it feels :)

  • April 8, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I just got the 50mm 1.4D and to my surprice the lens does not auto focus with my Nikon D3100. I’m having issues finding the focus point manually and I was wondering if you have any tips? What metering is the best to use for these types of lenses?

    Love your site! very helpful!

    • Courtney
      April 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      That is odd that it is not auto focusing with your d3100. It should be. Do you have the lens set to “AF” or “MF”? You want it on AF for autofocus. As for the focal points, if you are using manual focus than you don’t need to worry about the focal points. You just turn the focal ring to get what you want in focus. What do you mean by what metering is best for this lens? I use spot metering but that doesn’t change for my lens choice. It depends on what I want to capture. Hope this helps :)

      • April 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Thanks for the reply. This lense don’t give me an option for AF or M. And when I have this lense on my camera does not allow me to change the focus settings.

        • Courtney
          April 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM

          That is strange. You may want to call the lens company to see if you got a faulty lens.

  • Frank
    June 20, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    I do a lot of low to very low light action shots. (Dance recitals, Friday Night Football) I use a Nikon D90 I have 2 prime lens. a 50mm 1.4D and an old 85mm 1.8.. I’m confused on what I should be setting my ISO at. I also shoot mostly in Manual. The I’m not allowed to use a flash due to the interference with the programs I’m shooting. any advice would be helpfull. I’m also looking into purchasing a 70-200 2.8 more than likely a Tamron due to the cost of Nikons. Should I spend the extra $$ and the VR or save my money. ALso may purchase an older 80-200 2.8 Nikkor.

    • Courtney Slazinik
      June 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Hey! Your ISO really depends on the light available. I’m sure for a dance recital you would need at least 1600 but I wouldn’t be surprised if you needed to go even higher. The important thing is having it high enough so your photo is not under exposed – http://clickitupanotch.com/2010/12/iso-dont-be-afraid-to-raise-it/ As for whether to get the VR or not. I have the VR on the Tamron 18-270 and I really like it. However, I personally have not turned it off so I wouldn’t know how it works with out it. I do keep the VR off on my 105mm Nikon Macro though. Good luck!

  • Laura
    August 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    I have a Nikon D60.
    Am I able to use : Nikon 50mm 1.8 OR 1.4- g version?
    Or what could you suggest for my “nifty fifty” on the D60?
    Your blogs are very helpful! Thanks!

    • August 31, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      That is a tough decision. I guess you really need to decide what your budget is and if you see a big enough difference between the 1.8 and 1.4 to get the upgraded version.

  • Sarah Allen
    September 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Hi Courtney!

    I love your blog!

    Quick question: I currently have the Nikon D50 and want to eventually upgrade to the D700, however, I want to buy the 50mm 1.4D lens. Will this lens work with both cameras?


  • October 21, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Muy bueno el aporte que das, tengo el 1.8 d en una d3100 y la verdad que me cuesta mucho el tema del foco al no tener motor de enfoque. Conoces algun truco mas alla de la luz testigo que aparece en el ocular?


    • October 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      Unfortunately, no, I don’t know any other tricks. Practice on still objects until you get used to the manual focus :) Good luck!

  • November 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.

    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  • January 19, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    I have a Cannon body & bought the sigma 50mm 1.4 & it is fantastic! It is much bigger & heavier than the Cannon lens & has more glass. It’s a great investment!

  • Laura
    January 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Love this article. As much as I ‘knew’ this information, I needed reminded!!!

  • January 20, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    This was a great article, I just had to buy a new SLR…I bought a Canon and a 50mm 1.8 lens (recommended by the salesperson). Am not so sure how to get the most out of it so your article was timely. Photography is a passion for me but I know very little…it helps me to appreciate the little things in life each and every day.

  • Lindsay Payne
    January 22, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing this post. I am just getting into photography and was wondering what lens would work with the Nikon D5200? For a beginner would you recommend the 50mm 1.8 lens? Thanks for your help.

    • January 23, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Yes, I always recommend the 50mm as the first lens :) Enjoy!

  • Holly Taylor
    February 25, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Hey Courtney,
    I own a Nikon D3100 with the Kit Lens I just recently read your Article about how you should first buy the Body and then the Lense Second! I wish I would have seen this a few months ago anyway I was just wondering what Nikon Lens I should Upgrade too??? I only shoot in Manual I’m still learning my Setting Though. Also do you think I should keep my Kit Lens or Try and Sell it???

    • February 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      It is up to you if you want to keep the kit lens or sell it. I don’t have one and I don’t have any photography friends who use their kit lens. :)

  • March 5, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Hello and Thanks a looooot for that very helpful review.
    I am going to buy my first prime lens today, and I was wondering how far away from the subject should i be if i want to use the 50 mm. I shoot newborns and kids basically and my studio is not very big.


  • Victor Rivera
    March 6, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    I appreciate the info on the 50mm f1.4d vs 1.8..I have the nikon d3100 and have a nikon 50mm f1.4d and I must say the pictures come out nice but at times I have an aperture adjustment issue. . I’m not an expert, ..just starting out in the realm of photography. .. I’ll keep experimenting, Thanks again. .

  • savanna martin
    June 3, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    I’m trying to figure out what 50mm lens I should get for my d3100. See there’s one that fiesbt auto focus. Do you have a suggestion on one that does? Thank you for all your information!

  • Holleigh
    July 4, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Hi I have a Nikon D5100 so I was wondering if I can purchase the 50mm 1.8 AF or does it have to be the AF-S?

    • July 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      I believe if you want it to autofocus you will need to get the AF-S. But I would double check with Nikon to be sure :)

  • Joel Munoz
    August 10, 2014 at 2:11 AM

    i just came across your site today. Wonderful communication of technical information. I was a dry sponge absorbing every drop of your insights in each article. I’ll be using it on a daily basis.

    As a novice and a Nikon D610 user, which of the two 1.4s would you suggest?

    Can’t wait to go all manual!!!

    Thank you again for your expertise and generous spirit.

    • August 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      Hey Joel,
      I believe either 1.4 would work for your camera. I don’t prefer one over the other so I would say read some other reviews and look at your budget :)

  • Ella
    September 4, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    I’m so glad I found this post! I’m a beginner Nikon user and have been working with my kit lenses for about a year now. I’m looking to upgrade, though, and the 50mm lenses sound awesome. I have a D5000 – would the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G work on it? Thanks!

    • September 9, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m reading mixed reviews when I googled it. If I were you, I would call a company like B&H Video or Adorama and talk with their people who work with these lenses all the time. The question would be if that lens will autofocus with your camera. Good luck.

  • Arielle Nichols
    September 25, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Hi Courtney!
    I was wondering if you could tell me what you recommend :) I have a Nikon D3200 and was wondering which of the 50 mm 1.8 you would say works best? The 1.8D or the 1.8G? Thanks so much!! :)


    • September 26, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Hey Arielle, I would recommend getting one that will auto focus with your camera as manually focusing can be a challenge. I believe the G AF-S is what you wold want.

      • Arielle Nichols
        September 26, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Thank you SO much for your help! :)

  • September 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Your posts help me so much with my photography skills. I pin and share them all as I find new ones. Thanks for sharing!

  • September 28, 2014 at 5:14 AM

    You recommend a 50mm as first prime lens.
    Does this mean that for a full frame, you’d recommend a 85mm ? (I have a canon 5 d mk1)

    • September 29, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      Hey Fred,

      I would still recommend the 50mm 1.8 as a first lens since it is a good focal length and price point. But if your budget allows maybe the 50mm 1.4 would be better.

  • November 14, 2014 at 2:23 AM

    As always, great post!

  • Emily
    December 14, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Hi Courtney! You take gorgeous photos! I have a quick question regarding focus. I use a Nikon d3200 with a 50mm 1.4 lens. I take full body fashion photos so I want the model to be totally sharp and the background blurred. I keep getting my images with the model’s faces slightly blurred when I used auto focus and single point focus. Is there anything I could be doing wrong?



  • December 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    50mm sucks as walk-around on a dx frame…. I’d recommend the Nikon 35mm 1.8g do or the Sigma 30mm1.4 even better and closer to a real world view. If you plan on going fx, consider the 28mm 1.8g or the 35 f/2. Then you could move to a 35/85 prime combo or a 28/50/85.
    forportraits on dx go with the 50mm 1.8g or tamron 60f/2. Head shots, the 85 becomes a 135mm

  • Rain
    January 3, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    Hello. I am a total newbie at using SLR / digital cameras. Even so, and maybe this has to do with being a graphic designer, I can not stand how my photos are turning out from my hand me down Nikon Digital Camera D70S (with Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX IF-ED). I flinch every time I see how the photos turn out using auto flash and of course I detest how my indoor photos look during evening hours even without the flash on (P mode). I was able to salvage some recent holiday photos in photoshop but now that I’ve been digging more in research for a better camera and/or camera lens, would you recommend that a complete newbie to SLRs to purchase directly a 50mm 1.4 lens? My goal is to take some beautiful photographs of my 10 month old. I have always been partial to the brand Nikon ever since my design professor bought one for the class. This was way back in the late 90s though! Thank you in advance to whatever advice you might offer.

    • January 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM

      Hey Rain,

      It really depends on your budget. If it is in the budget to get a 50mm1 .4 then go for it. It’s a great lens. However, if getting the 50mm 1.4 means not getting the camera you want then I would start with a good body so you don’t feel the need to upgrade soon. Good luck!

  • Rain
    January 3, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    *would you recommend that a complete newbie like myself purchase directly a 50mm….

  • Veronie
    May 19, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    Hi! Thank you for the article. Unfortunately, I don’t really understand the difference between the D ones and the G ones…
    I already have the 1.8G but if i upgrade, would it be better to go with the 1.4d or the 1.4g (if the money is not a Matter)? I’m a lucky owner of a d750. :)))

    • May 21, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      Hey Vernie, You would need to do some research to see which works with your camera. I believe I have the 50mm 1.4D but it won’t auto focus with my D750 :)

  • Udo
    May 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    Good Courtney,

    I just wanted to first say thank you for this blog. Just as I was about giving up trying to figure out how to improve my pictures… just found your blog yesterday and I really have a lot of catching up to do. Thank you for simplifying things; I have visited a few blogs but I must say none have broken things down quite like yours. Also please forgive my long post here as well, I need a lot of help.

    We own a Canon EOS 7D with the regular 18-55lens kit, in my search to better my pictures, I bought the 50mm 1.8G lens and my pictures are no where near bright and sharp. Even when I am not indoors, the 1.8 lens forces me to go back as I can’t see things in view and so am not sure if I am missing something here on how to use the lens correctly.

    From reading/glancing through your blog, it. Seems that I need to learn a whole lot about settings maybe and I am now thinking that I may want to get the 1.4G or 35mm 1.4G. Before I jump again, I need to know what I am doing wrong. Currently, here is all I do..
    1. I turn the camera on
    2. I choose C1 setting and when I take a picture it always comes out dark.
    3. So I will then go to menu- click on brightness and increase it.
    4. After like 2 minutes of no use of the camera, the settings go away. I do the same thing.
    5. The result is not so great pictures. Sometimes too light when I try to compensate for the darkness of the pictures.
    Is there anyway to save settings on a camera?

    – I am looking to purchase the Nikon D3100 and a 1.4 lens. It’s light weight compared to the heavy cannon we currently own and from research the D3100 is great for low light areas. Can you please kindly advice if you have any?

    – I am wondering if to only purchase the body and then save up for a proper lens.

    Any help would be appreciated and do you offer lessons.

    Thank you kindly in advance.

  • Aubrey
    July 2, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    Thank you for taking the time to compile this list! I am a novice who shoots in the dreaded auto, for now, so will the prime lenses work? I haven’t felt quite ready to make the jump to manual but will very soon. I am attending a wedding soon and want to get the 50mm but not sure i can afford the 1.4 It’s a very poorly lit venue! Since I will be in auto will that help the lighting issue. I do have a speedlight

    • July 23, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      Yes, prime lenses will work no matter what mode you shoot in. Enjoy the wedding :)

  • KLD
    July 28, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    I am looking to purchase a 50mm prime lens for my d3300. It looks like there is only one lens that fits the qualifications for my camera since I want it to be able to auto focus (I think meaning I need an AF-S) and not spend much more than $200. That would be the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G Auto Focus-S NIKKOR FX Lens. Am I correct? But since even that lens is an FX and my camera is a DX, I would be getting more like a 75/80mm shot, I am gathering. Is there another option out there for me?

  • Lauren Beggs
    December 30, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    Hi I am very new to this and have the Nikon d3300 and looking to upgrade from my kit lends but I’m confused on which ones will work with my camera body!? Is there a specific 35mm or 55mm that works best with this entry level camera?? I really don’t want to buy the wrong lense!!
    Thank you so much for your blog it’s been so helpful!

    • January 6, 2016 at 10:24 AM

      If you photograph mostly indoors you may want to get the 35mm 1.8 as it give you more room in the frame than the 50mm. If you still aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to rent the lenses and see which one you like best.

  • kenny
    February 10, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    Hi, you are doing a great job here. Thanks for the eye opening post. I’m a canon user, I just bought a canon 700D and a 50mm f/1.8. Do you think I need to get the 1.4 to make my job great?
    And also i’m amazed about how you take time in responding to every comment. Good work and God bless. Thanks

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:03 AM

      Thanks! Personally, I feel you should try out both lenses to see which one you like better. You may not notice a change with the f/1.4 and then it wouldn’t be worth the extra investment. If you can, rent the 50mm 1.4 and see how it compares to the 1.8 with your style :)

  • Jasmin
    April 2, 2018 at 6:34 PM

    Hi, Courtney! I came across your blog while i was searching up DSLR cameras! I’m looking to purchase one, just not sure if I should get Cannon or Nikon. I honestly want a cameras that I’m going to be able to use indoor and outdoors. Upon reading your blog it’s all about the lens. I’m taking in your suggestion and just purchasing the camera body it’s self and purchasing the 1.4 lens. What are your recommendations on what camera and style should I purchase? I have never owned a dslr camera ever this will be my first time lol

    Thank you

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