Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G

14 February 2014
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

Let’s start with a comparison between the tested lens and its system predecessors, shown in the following chart. The low weight of the new Nikkor sticks out immediately – weighing roughly as much as the 1.2/50 model it is noticeably lighter than the Noct-Nikkor. Mind you it is also physically bigger than its predecessors, having two elements more and a build-in autofocus motor. It proves clearly that many parts of the new Nikkor are made of plastic.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

Let’s pass now to a comparison between the tested lens and its contemporary rivals – it is presented in the next chart. Here also the Nikkor lags behind other constructions when it comes to its weight – next to the Otus it practically looks tiny. What’s more, its minimum focus is the worst of all, even worse than that of its manual predecessors, which were able to focus already from 0.5 of a meter.

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Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G starts with a metal mount with contacts and a rear element, 31 mm in diameter. It is situated on the same level as the contacts when the focus is set at infinity. As you pass to the minimum focus the element hides inside the casing almost 0.5 cm deep. The surrounding area is ribbed and properly blackened, without any gaps or electronics parts visible – it should guarantee no dust will be sucked inside the construction.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The proper body of the lens is covered by black plastics. Right by the mount you find a white dot, making the alignment with a camera easier. Then the diameter of the lens increases rapidly and, as soon as it reaches its maximum, it features other parts of the device. Straight on there is a plate with the name and the parameters and a distance scale behind a window, expressed in meters and feet. Underneath you can find depth of field markings but only by f/16 so moderately useful. On the left there is a focusing mechanism mode switch (M/A-M) and, on the other side from the scale, a serial number of the lens and more info concerning the use of an SWM motor, Nano Crystal coatings and the size of the filter which is 72 mm in diameter. The lens was produced in Japan.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The next part of the casing is a ribbed manual focus ring, 17 mm wide. Lately many manual focus rings of Nikkors we’ve tested had a very annoying slack so we checked that feature of the expensive Nikkor 1.4/58G paying extra attention to it. There is some slack but really slight, not causing any discomfort. The ring itself moves smoothly and is well-damped in the whole range. In order to pass from infinity to the minimum focusing distance you have to turn it through about 130 degrees. For a device equipped with an autofocus it is a sensible value.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The front of the lens features a hood thread, a non-rotating filter thread, 72 mm in diameter, and a front element which is almost 4 cm in diameter and hidden deep inside the casing. It moves during the focusing, being hidden the deepest (about 3 cm) when the scale is set at infinity.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The inner construction consists of 9 elements positioned in 6 groups. Two elements are aspherical. The producer doesn’t boast of using elements made of either low dispersion glass or glass with low diffraction index. There is also a rounded aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/16.

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G - Build quality