I'm new here, which is because I just switched from Canon 5D Mark II to a D800. I've been reading forums and reviews for weeks now and I know that in this forum alone there's 127 threads on the topic, but I still open a new one, hope that's ok.
I'm currently trying to find lenses that are good enough for the camera, and I'm into getting just a few lenses that are then really good and practical (not really expensive), my targeted setup is the same that I had with the 5D: a Nikkor 17-35 (or 16-35, still not decided), the 85mm 1.8G (bought and kept it) and of course a 50mm/1.4.
I'm currently going through that typical "figuring-out-the-new-equipment" phase, I had the same thing with the 5DII when it was new, I was ranting at the **** quality of some lenses (used a D700 before the Canon a couple times), only to find out later that it was better then it looked on my test chart shots.
Test charts? Yeah, I too do hate shooting those, but it's just the first thing I always do when a new lens arrives: use the Focus Test Chart from http://www.focustestchart.com to check the lens for AF-adjustment, and make sure the focus offset is curable with AF fine adjustment.
Now, to finally get to the point:
I've just tested my 4th copy of the 50mm 1.4G, and am *really* confused: I did now get this focus shift issue sort of under control by fine-tuning AF to be correct at f/2.8. But still what I don't get is how everyone is raving over this lens to be super sharp also at the larger apertures. At 1.4, it's super-blurry, and this goes for all four copies I've tested now. It starts to get acceptable from f/2.8 on, but to me, that's not the idea of a f/1.4 Lens. I'd more expect it to be at least ok at f/1.4 and then good at f/2.8 and pristine at f/5.6 to 8. (The 85mm f/1.8G delivers pretty much exactly that.) All four copies were definitely not like that, and yes they were from different manufacturing batches, which was clear from the different generations of packaging and S/N.
So no, test charts results are no way what makes a lens worth using, but still, I'm just extremely confused over the blurry quality of the 50/1.4 G lens copies compared to what people say about it. Here's my 85mm f/1.8G at 1.8 vs. the 50mm f/1.4 G at 1.8, both from a 100% crop from the area indicated with the red rectangle (both crops are very congruent with the sharpness in the exact center).
50mm f/1.4G @ 1.8:
85mm f/1.8G @ f/1.8:
Just to make sure, the 50mm @ f/8 is perfectly sharp (never mind the focus shift):
Can anyone who's also a 50mm f/1.4 fan tell me if this is normal?
Thanks in advance for any help on this,
P.S.: On a side note, I'd actually look into more expensive alternatives, too, if they were better, but it appears there aren't really that much. I also tested the Sigma 50mm f/1.4, same results at large apertures as the Nikkor. The Cosina/Zeiss is not even a real Zeiss from the results, plus it's MF (been there, done that, didn't work out). If anyone has a secret hint on an alternative, lemme know.