Lens review : Nikon's 50mm f1.8

Nikon 50mm f1.8D Best value for the money on the market.

I could stop my review here, the lens costs nothing and outperforms most of the middle range zooms that costs 5 times more. At medium apertures, it performs as well as a $1200 zoom.

If you are getting all serious about photography but you are on a budget, if you want a versatile lens with a strong portrait orientation, if you like to have nice bokeh (blurry backgrounds etc.), you should keep reading.

  • Plastic made 
  • 7 blades
  • F1.8 to F22 aperture
  • Minimum focus distance 45cm (1.5 ft), no macro
  • 52mm diameter
  • 150gr
Yes please. As sharp as it gets if you shoot above F2.8.

Auto focus
Fast fast fast

What distortion?

  • Best image quality for the money in the DLSR market
  • So cheap it's like nearly free
  • Ideal complement to a kit zoom lens for portraits
  • Gets a little soft (not as sharp) below 2.8, but sharpness is not synonym to good picture
  • Plastic made, doesn't feel so solid, but feel and reality are different. I've had one for a while, it has seen a lot, and still doing fine.
  • On non full frame, it can be a little long focal length for landscapes
Short review you might say? 125$ for a top performing lens, what else do you need to know !

SAMPLE SHOTS (photos by me)

Versus other 50mm Nikon mount lenses

Nikon 50mm f1.4
- The main differences are built quality (a bit better on the 1.4), and sharpness at f1.8 superior on the F1.4. It is worth getting the F1.4, no it isn't. 3 times the price for a 5% improvement isn't worth it.

Nikon 50 f1.2 AIS
- Now that's a different story. I am replacing my 50mm 1.8 by this. Why? Because this F1.2 lens is the ultimate machine for nice blurs. However, it costs 6 times the price, and is manual focus only. If you are an accomplished photographer trained an manual focusing, get this one. For everybody else, don't. You will find it very very hard to focus on a DSLR with the focusing screen unchanged.

- Sigma 50mm f1.4
No. Vignetting is not acceptable below 2.8, doesn't perform great at all. Only built quality is good, but I've been very disappointed by Sigma's reliability in the past.

- Zeiss Planar 50mm 1.4
No. Too expensive and not worth it. Build quality is great, performance is good at mid range, but wide open it's rubbish for the money.


Get one. Against all other Nikon mount lens at 50mm, this one wins thanks to its super fast AF and price. You wouldn't be making a compromise on quality, it really, really works brilliant. I use it as a studio lens. 
If you are seeking perfection, have money, and can focus manually, get the 50mm f1.2 AIS. But it'll be much harder to use.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, get one. This is The Lens that when people get it, they forget they have a zoom, never use it again. Even on non full-frame cameras.

    If it feels too long, the 35mm f/2 or f/1.8 (depending on camera and slightly on budget) is a very good option too.