The 50mm Showdown for Z: The f/0.95 Versus f/1.2 Versus f/1.8

The 50mm focal length on full frame cameras is a staple, but there are more options than ever before. So, which is the best for the Z mount, and is the quickest worth the cost?

The 50mm focal length is popular for a good reason: it’s versatile and highly effective. It is also often cheap. That said, once photographers have had the trusty 50mm f/1.8 for a while, they will naturally begin to gaze lovingly at faster versions.

In this video, Matt Granger tests the three Nikon 50mm (or thereabouts) which vary in maximum aperture, but more noticeably, in price. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S is an attainable $496.95, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S is more difficult to stomach at $2,096.95, and the dreamy Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S is a kidney endangering $7,996.95.

The video is interesting; I prefer real-world examples to the more scientific tests. My gut reaction to Granger’s results was that the f/1.8 was fine, but nothing special, as one might expect. The f/1.2 and the f/0.95 were significantly more attractive wide open, but the f/0.95 suffered from diminishing returns, again, as one might expect. If I were a Nikon shooter, I’d almost certainly gravitate towards the f/1.2. The f/0.95 I can imagine to be utterly beautiful, but at 4 times the price of the f/1.2 and well over twice the price of any Z body currently on sale, I just couldn’t justify it.

Which 50mm would you go for?


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