Photography is the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a medium, such as a photographic film, or an electronic sensor. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects activate a chemical or electronic sensor during a timed exposure, usually through a photographic lens in a device known as a camera that stores the resulting information chemically or electronically. Photography has many uses for business, science, art and pleasure.

Report article RSS Feed Nikon AF 50mm f/ 1.8D Lens Review

A review of an affordable, versatile and high performing lens.

Posted by SCΛRECROW on Jul 1st, 2010

Note
Well, this group hasn't been very active, so I though that I'd post a review of the Nikon 50mm lens that I use. While I'm not exactly "qualified" to do a review, but I think I've used the lens enough to form an objective opinion, with my own first hand research. Anyway, here it goes...

Review
At $180AUD (~$120USD) the Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D is a bargain, yet it is also one of Nikon's best lenses, combining a great price with great performance. It feels solidly constructed and it doesn't weigh very much at 155 g, so it using it all day is a breeze. The lens might be a little too small for my liking, it's a little tricky to get a stable grip on it without touching the focus ring (more on that later).

Its wide f/1.8 aperture produces very nice bokeh and shallow depth of field, this is what makes it great for indoor, low-light photography and portraits. This lens is a prime lens, which means it has a fixed focal length of 50mm, "No zoom?!" you say, well, as long as you have room to move, it's not a problem, plus I think I take better photos with this lens. Sure, zoom lenses may have more versatility in terms of focal length, but, for photography purists, prime lenses will be your weapon of choice.

This lens is also very sharp at every aperture setting, reaching it's sharpest point at aperture f/5.6. Distortion is basically non-existent on this lens, you'll probably never notice it, unless you specifically enlarge a photo and look for it with a magnifying glass.

Auto-focus is extremely fast and accurate under normal lighting conditions, but can slow down and "hunt" under very low light (say a club), unless you use your camera's AF assist lamp. Auto-focus is slightly nosier than AF-S lenses and is achieved through the camera body's AF motor, so this lens won't AF on any of the entry level consumer cameras: D40/D60/D60/D3000/D5000. The focus ring is nice and smooth to use, although manually focusing on something moving at f/1.8 is very difficult. Furthermore, the focus ring on the camera rotates while the lens is auto-focusing, so you'll have to keep your hands off of it. It focuses down to 45 cm which is quite impressive, but ultimately not that useful.

This lens will work on both FX (full frame) and DX (APS-C) format DSLRs, as well as 35mm film SLRs, courtesy of its aperture ring. Basically, it will work on any Nikon F-Mount camera. On a DX format body, the equivalent focal length is 1.5x at 75mm, which can be a little tight for general photography, but is fine if you have room to take a step or two back. This lens won't do macro shots, but for under $200AUD, I'm not complaining.

In short, if you shoot with a Nikon camera and want a cheap, fast lens, this is the way to go. It's an excellent lens to shoot with. I'd pass on the 50mm f/1.4D, unless you shoot in very, very low light, or have an extra $150 you need to get rid of. Although, the 50mm f/1.4G has the benefit of having AF-S which means that the focus ring doesn't move during auto-focus.

Pros

  • Cheap!
  • Fast aperture and auto-focus
  • Light-weight
  • Sharp
  • Virtually distortion free

Cons

  • Focus ring moves while auto-focusing
  • A little tight for general use on a DX camera

Specifications

  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups (Double Gauss)
  • Field of view: 46° (31°30' DX format)
  • Minimum focus distance: 45 cm
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:6.6
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Filter size: 52mm
  • Diameter x length: 63.5 x 39mm
  • Weight: 155g

Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D lens product page.

P.S. I've also used Canon's 50mm f/1.8 EF II lens on a friend's camera, and I have to say that the performance is pretty similar.

Post comment Comments
cW#Ravenblood
cW#Ravenblood Jul 1 2010, 10:34am says:

ok...

+1 vote     reply to comment
SCΛRECROW
SCΛRECROW Jul 1 2010, 11:36pm replied:

What?

+2 votes     reply to comment
jjawinte
jjawinte Jul 4 2010, 6:37am says:

Well, you sound pretty happy with it. You really don't have to spend an insane amount of cash to find quality performance. So many people have the mistaken idea that you do ( not that the top-shelf toys aren't nice mind you ).

+2 votes     reply to comment
SCΛRECROW
SCΛRECROW Jul 4 2010, 11:10pm replied:

Good point. And yes, top-shelf toys are drool-inducing. :P

+1 vote     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Established
Jan 7, 2010
Privacy
Public
Subscription
Open to all members
Contact
Send Message
Email
Members Only
Membership
Join this group
Group Watch
Track this group
News
Browse
News
Report Abuse
Report article
Related Groups
ModDB Photographers Group
ModDB Photographers Group Arts & Literature group with 24 members