Ok, yes. I was uninformed about G lenses at the time. They're not bad after all. (:
Anyway, now I have the money to buy in my hand. Beforehand I was kind of leaning towards a Nikkor 85mm 1.8D but now I am torn between it and a Sigma 50mm 1.4 HSM. Here is an evaluation of the lenses that were most discussed:
Nikkor 50mm 1.4G:
» It has the most consistent quality of all the lenses discussed.
» It is the newest of all the lenses discussed. I don't think anyone cares about that though.
» It has the ugliest bokeh of all the lenses discussed.
» It appears to have the lowest resolution wide open of all the lenses discussed but also has the best resolution stopped down. Really consistent from edge to edge.
Nikkor 85mm 1.8D
» It has the least barrel distortion for all the lenses discussed.
» It is a longer focal length, better suited for portraits. People say it is a bad lens for portraits on DX because of sensor crop, suggesting a 50mm instead because it would be closer to 'portrait length'. I don't think that is a valid point. A primary reason is this> As I already kind of hit on, the other lenses have more barrel distortion. Mounting a 50mm lens on DX will not magically get rid of the flaws pertaining to that focal length. Even if the focal length looks like 75mm, the pictures were still taken with a 50mm lens. It's like taking a cell phone picture. Does cropping the picture make the photo more 'zoomed in'? no...
» It has fairly nice bokeh.
» It is slower than the other two.
» It lacks higher-end features like AF override and a reversible hood.
» Looks like if you get a bad egg then there's bad chromatic aberrations.
» Resolution appears to be great (even wide open) but still not as good as the others.
» This is really the main reason I am questioning this lens: I would eventually end up replacing it. The 85mm 1.4s produce better images but for now are out of my price range. Basically I'd sell the 85mm 1.8 once I had enough money to get the 1.4. The other two are great at what they do and would stay in my kit even if I did buy an 85mm 1.4 later on.
Sigma 50mm 1.4 HSM:
» I am getting a lens for portraits. After looking at a lot of portraits taken with all these lenses, I have come to the conclusion that the Sigma has the nicest bokeh of the group. People say "if you can cope with sub-par out of focus elements...' Unfortunately I cannot.
» It has more noticable barrel distortion than the others although I don't think this is relevant for any of the lenses because BD is correctable through postprocessing.
» Great center resolution wide open, edges catch up as you stop down to 4 or 5.6.
» Chromatic aberrations are more of a problem but still not too bad. More than usual for a 50mm prime. Varies depending on how good of a copy you have.
» Inconsistent manufacturing quality. Even so I don't think it's as bad as it used to be.
I'm kind of biased against the 50mm 1.4G. It seems like more of a general purpouse lens than a 'take pictures of my cat and use them as my profile pictures' lens. Regardless, they're all great lenses. My creativity would stiple image quality more than the technical ability of any of these lenses would.
Maybe this will help someone make their own desicion in the future.