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Watch the official Nikon video filmed exclusively with the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4g:
Can't see this video? Watch it here!
The Oddest Focal Length
Shot with Nikon 58/1.4G AF-S Nikkor
Nikon recently released a new lens into its arsenal. A fast aperture with quick focus and once down to f4 very sharp across the image. This lens doesn't vignette in the corners on a full frame camera like the D610 I used to test it. Just one thing about it. It's 58mm...yes, you read that right, 58mm.
Now, like most of you, I had to ask myself what use is a lens that is 58mm? On a “full frame” camera that FOV seems quite odd. A little longer than the Nikkor 50/1.4G AF-S and about $1200 more expensive, yet not a Macro as the very similar Nikkor 60/2.8G AF-S (which is $700 less) the 58mm sits in a very strange spot. The build quality is excellent, what you would expect from a G Series lens and the all important image quality is excellent as well.
So with both of those options available why would one want the 58? Well let's travel back in time a little bit, back to the 70s and the days of a lens that lives in legend, the famed Noct Nikkor 58/1.2. Nikon in its advertising definitely tries to remind us that once upon a time that lens existed and this new version is its heir. With its far more complex optical formula compared to the other two lenses mentioned and its nine blades creating a nearly perfect circular aperture, the Nikkor 58 certainly does a wonderful job recreating the look of the old 58/1.2.
It sure looks the same. Nikkor 58/1.2 Shot by Ulrik Fredrik Thyve
At quick glance the draw of both these lenses is nearly identical, with soft creamy bokeh and little chromatic aberration. Of course trying to get one's hands on the Noct-Nikkor is much like trying to get one's hands on a unicorn – pretty much impossible. That said the new 58 is still an excellent lens if you are looking for the very specific look of the old Noct-Nikkor and with its AF-S motor focus very quickly and accurately.
Childhood dreams and nostalgia mix
The takeaway here is that the nostalgia of this lens justifies a place in your camera bag. It's designed to excel in low-light and nighttime applications, but with characteristics you'll enjoy for so much more, whether it be daytime portraits or nighttime cityscapes. Capturing sharp, evenly lit photos and videos, edge to edge, makes this lens the perfect addition to your Nikon lens arsenal.