Is a 1.4 or 1.8 Lens Better?

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When you are choosing a prime lens, there are a plethora of options available out there. Even within the same focal length, there are various aperture options to choose between, such as f/1.4 and f/1.8. Although they might seem similar, is a 1.4 or 1.8 lens better at capturing photos?

Is a 1.4 or 1.8 Lens Better?

An f/1.4 lens is better than the f/1.8 lens due to its silent focusing motor, wider aperture, and ability to capture sharper images. However, f/1.4 lenses are more expensive than f/1.8 lenses. If you plan to capture photos professionally, you might find a 1.4 lens to be a better purchase.

A close-up image of 1.8 lens

What Makes an f/1.4 Lens Better

The f/1.4 lens has a silent focusing motor. This makes autofocus very quiet and does not disturb photo sessions. On the other hand, the f/1.8 lens has a very loud focusing motor that makes a lot of noise while capturing photos.

Moreover, the f/1.4 aperture lens can capture much sharper images than the f/1.8 lens. This is noticeable when you compare pictures. Furthermore, the wider aperture is more helpful in capturing photos in low light situations.  The f/1.4 lens wide compared to the other lens and can allow you to capture beautiful Bokeh.

A lens with a f/1.4 aperture is two-thirds stops faster than a f/1.8 aperture lens. This makes a huge difference when you are trying to capture something like astrophotography. Furthermore, it has 7 glass elements in 6 groups compared to 6 elements in 5 groups in the f/1.8 aperture lens. This allows you to capture sharper images.

When to Choose the f/1.8 Lens

The f/1.8 lens is preferable over the f/1.4 lens in the following situations:

  • If you are a beginner: When you are starting photography, the f/1.8 lens can be a great choice. It is not only one of the lowest priced lenses, however it can capture great photos.
  • If you want a lighter lens: The f/1.4 lens is larger and heavier than the f/1.8 lens.

What Can You Capture With a f/1.4 Lens?

When capturing photos, the f/1.4 lens is ideal in situations such as astrophotography, portraiture, and low light photography.


Astrophotography refers to capturing stars in the night sky. A lens with an aperture of f/1.4 can help with this as you require a lot of light to enter the camera. You need a long exposure, so pairing it with a slow shutter speed is a good idea.

While astrophotography can be captured with narrower apertures too, a f/1.4 lens can capture it a lot better than the others as it allows more light to enter the camera than the others. Capturing as much light as possible is important in astrophotography.


A camera with a f/1.4 aperture usually has a 50mm or 85mm focal length. These prime lenses are considered great for capturing portraits. They allow you to have more of the subject in the image with minimum lens distortion.

Moreover, the wide aperture allows you to capture Bokeh. This means you blur out the background while focusing on the subject.

A close-up image of 1.4 lens

Low Light Photography

A wide aperture such as f/1.4 allows more light to enter the camera. This makes it an ideal lens for low light photography, which might include capturing photos indoors and at night. This aperture allows you to keep a lower ISO level, therefore improving the quality of photos.

Related Questions

Is a f/1.8 Lens Good for Portraits?

An f/1.8 lens is good for portraits as it is compact and lightweight. You can easily carry it without getting tired after extended portrait sessions. Also, the wide aperture allows you to capture photos in low light conditions and create a shallow depth of field.

Is It Better to Have a Higher or Lower Aperture?

It is better to have a lower aperture when you are capturing photos in low light conditions and want to capture a bokeh. Whereas a higher aperture comes in handy when you are looking for sharpness and want to capture everything in detail (the background and the subject).


An f/1.4 lens is better when you are capturing professionally, thanks to its silent motor and wider aperture. However, if you are looking for a lower priced lens for everyday casual photography, an f/1.8 lens might be a better option.