Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor
Lab Test Results
May 11, 2009
by Andrew Alexander
The ƒ/1.8 version of Nikon's 50mm has existed in three iterations since the mid-eighties, and several more in manual focus form since it was first produced in 1978.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D was designed for film, making it compatible with both DX- and FX- format digital camera bodies. On an APS-C sized sensor body the lens provides an effective field of view of 75mm. The lens will not autofocus on Nikon camera bodies that do not have the mechanical autofocusing screw, such as the D40, D60 and D5000 models.
The lens takes 52mm filters, and is available new for around $120. We originally reviewed this lens as part of a comparison of six 50mm lenses, and you may wish to review "The Tanner Report" for further details.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D provides sharp results when stopped down to ƒ/2.8 or smaller. When used wide open at ƒ/1.8 or ƒ/2, we did note some generalized softness.
On the sub-frame D200, the lens was fairly soft at ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/2, showing between 3 and 4 blur units across the frame. There is a very small area of sharpness in the center of the frame, at around 1.5 blur units. This central area of sharpness increases marginally at ƒ/2, but the real gains are made at ƒ/2.8, where there is a notable increase in sharpness across the frame. At ƒ/2.8 the center is quite sharp (~1.5 blur units) and corner softness has been dramatically reduced to under 3 blur units. Image sharpness improves at ƒ/4, and reaches its optimal performance at ƒ/5.6, where it's essentially tack-sharp across the frame. Diffraction limiting sets it at ƒ/11, but we still note exceptional performance; even at ƒ/16, we note just under 2 blur units across the frame. Fully stopped-down at ƒ/22, we note two blur units across the frame.
The performance layout with the lens matched to the full-frame D3x body is similar, but the larger sensor exposes the flaws of this lens. In particular, at ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/2, average performance is about 5 blur units. The corners go off the chart for softness - greater than 12 blur units - but the central region of sharpness is still there at around 1.5 blur units. It's worth checking out the sample photos to see just how this manifests in real life.
Again, stop the lens down to ƒ/2.8 and performance improves dramatically - it's like someone turned a switch that fixed the problems we noted at f/1.8. The area of central sharpness expands to fill most of the frame at around 1.5 blur units, and the corner softness doesn't exceed 3 blur units. At ƒ/4 the image is incredibly sharp - almost 1 blur unit - and by ƒ/8 it's as sharp as sharp gets. Diffraction limiting sets in at ƒ/11, and performance at smaller apertures is similar on the D3x as we noted on the D200, which is to say, quite good. At ƒ/22 image sharpness isn't quite as good on the D3x as on the D200, but still only barely exceeds 2 blur units.
In summary, you don't get much better value for money in terms of sharpness if you stop down to ƒ/8. Wide open sharpness isn't the best, but if you can keep it at ƒ/2.8 or smaller you're rewarded with very sharp images.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 contends well with chromatic aberration. Unfortunately, where it does tend to produce CA is at the wider side of its aperture range, which is probably where this lens will be used the most. On the D3x, which features automatic chromatic aberration removal, the lens truly shines, showing almost no traces of chromatic aberration at all.
Light falloff isn't much of a problem with the 50mm ƒ/1.8; when mounted on the sub-frame D200, corner shading was only evident when used at ƒ/1.8 or ƒ/2, where the corners were around a half-stop darker than the center. At other apertures, it's less than a quarter-stop.
Corner shading is a bit more prominent on the full-frame D3x, where we note that at ƒ/1.8 the corners are almost a full stop darker than the center. At ƒ/2 this reduces to 2/3EV, and by ƒ/2.8, corner shading is 1/4EV or less, or negligible.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 shows no distortion when mounted on the sub-frame D200. On the full-frame D3x, there is a negligible (+0.1%) amount of barrel distortion apparent in the corners.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D uses the body-mounted screw to drive autofocus, meaning it will not autofocus on screw-less Nikon bodies such as the D40, D60 and D5000. On other bodies it focuses very quickly, slewing through focus in less than a second. As focus is conducted mechanically there is a fair amount of noise during autofocus operations. As well, the focus ring will move during autofocus.
The lens is not rated for remarkable macro, with a magnification rating of just 0.15x. The minimum close-focusing distance is 46cm (18 inches).
Build Quality and Handling
The lens is built with dense plastic, making for a very small and light package (just 156g, or 5.5 ounces). At this size and weight there isn't much of an excuse not to drop the lens into a spare corner of the camera bag. The lens mount is metal and the filter threads are plastic.
Given the age of the design, it's not surprising to find an honest-to-goodness aperture ring, complete with a lock switch to keep it in its ƒ/22 position. A distance scale is present by the focus ring, marked in feet and meters. A depth-of-field scale is also present, showing markings for ƒ/11 and ƒ/22. An infrared index is also present.
The 1/2-inch wide focus ring is rubber, using a pattern of ribs running parallel to the lens body. There is a fair amount of travel in the focus ring, about 100 degrees from close to infinity focus. These points in the focus spectrum end in hard stops, and you shouldn't hold the focus ring while the camera autofocuses, as the ring will rotate and you don't want to work against the gearing. During autofocus there is significant (3/4'') extension of the lens.
The HR-2 lens hood, sold separately, is a bowl-shaped hood that screws onto the lens' filter threads and offers improved resistance to both specular and veiling flare.
Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4G AF-S ~$440
Nikon's update to the 50mm ƒ/1.4 offers autofocusing capability to its consumer line of dSLR cameras. The 50mm ƒ/1.4G model offers superior sharpness at ƒ/2, though CA, light falloff and distortion are all slightly more pronounced.
Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4D AF-D ~$340
The sharpest in Nikon's line of 50mm - at least on the D200, as we haven't yet tested this one on a full-frame body. CA and light falloff are similar to the ƒ/1.8, though there is slightly more distortion.
Sigma 50mm ƒ/1.4 EX DG HSM ~$500
The Sigma 50mm has its own eccentricities wide open, but at ƒ/2, it's still sharper than the Nikon ƒ/1.8. CA performance is better; light falloff and distortion are about the same. Of the lenses in this section, the Sigma is the most expensive. Uses the large 77mm filters.
Nikon 35mm ƒ/1.8G AF-S DX ~$200
I include this lens as an alternative for subframe Nikon camera users, as it provides a 50mm-like lens experience. The 35mm ƒ/1.8 is sharper than the 50mm ƒ/1.8, and shows about the same amount of light falloff; CA is slightly more pronounced, and barrel distortion is somewhat prominent. A possible downside is that the lens isn't 100% compatible with FX-sensor cameras, showing a slight amount of vignetting in certain scenarios.
While its wide-open performance leaves a bit to be desired, it's hard not to commend this lens for its performance based solely on its price point. Stop it down to ƒ/2.8 and it provides excellent results; by ƒ/8, it's one of the sharpest lenses we've tested.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor User Reviews
7 out of 10 points and recommended by HilaryCC (4 reviews)Sharp from f4. Small and light. Infinity stop.Soft and hazy wide open.
This is a design from the film days. The newer standard lenses are better wide open.reviewed December 13th, 2017 (purchased for $105)
However, on a flight over Antarctica, at f8 and manually focused to infinity, the quality of the images was beyond criticism.
I have the 50 f1.8 AF-S, but still use this lens where it is stronger.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by EvgenyZven (3 reviews)Sharp from 2.8, quick AFNone
Purchased this lens second hand in almost new condition.reviewed January 8th, 2017 (purchased for $50)
Amazingly sharp, good contrast, zero distortion - what else you need to be happy?!!!
From indoor family shooting to landscapes - just as good as good can be.
I use it on Nikon D800E and IQ this lens delivers just outstanding.
Very warm recommended
9 out of 10 points and recommended by TeamTQ (1 reviews)Price, nice overall renderingUseless below f 2.8
For the price it is a great lens . However below below f2.8 I do not think it is acceptable. Above 2.8 it produces a very nice rendering and produces nice results. To me it is a tool that works well and at its price point it cannot be beat. If you like to to take pictures of brick walls and spend time scrutinizing 100 percent crops you may not be pleased. At $110 it is a winner.reviewed January 11th, 2015 (purchased for $105)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by sjkip (25 reviews)Low price, useful focal length, large apertureSoft at f/1.8
This is not a notably sharp lens, compared to other Nikon primes. It's usable, at f/1.8, but only produces fully acceptable images when stopped down to f/2.8 or f/4. But it's so inexpensive that everyone with a Nikon DSLR should probably have one, and in very low light situations, like dimly lit museums, it generates acceptable images where other Nikon primes might be unusable.reviewed January 17th, 2014 (purchased for $125)
4 out of 10 points and not recommended by cali4nia (12 reviews)small, light, cheapsharpness, contrast, speed are poor
On FF this lens is pretty much unusable at all F-stops. When fully open, it's soft even in the center, the corners are completely blurred. Even when closed to f/8 the corners are still soft, and the center is just so-so. The lens seems to lose a lot of light at f/1.8, the camera exposure meter only shows about 1.6x more light at f/1.8 than at f/2.8, which makes it T-2.2 lens. It's possible that on a cropped sensor it's less of a dog, and it's possible that older versions had better quality. The only lenses I see sold now are manufactured in China and they are awful.reviewed May 21st, 2013 (purchased for $115)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Glutte (6 reviews)QI for the priceCan find better for less (used)
This lens is very good but not excellent when compared to Nikon AF 50mm 1.8 non D (paid 60$) or the wonderful Nikon 50mm 1.8 Ai straight nose (paid 60$).reviewed April 21st, 2013 (purchased for $130)
I had these 3 lenses and the Leica Summicron-R 50mm serie 1 with Leitax adapter (paid 500$).
Staight nose is the best lens I ever owned. Sharpness,contrast,color,bokey are incredible. Even better than Leica R Summicron that I sold back after comparing.
By now Nikon 50mm 1.8 Ai straight nose and Nikon 28mm 2.8 Ai-s 0.2 are on my D7000 most of the time.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by zanxion72 (6 reviews)Great value for money, great performance, sharp, lightweightToo soft when used wide open.
I have bought this lens after being a bit disappointed with my 18-105 on my D90. Found this at a local shop and have it on my D90 all the time. It is a bit of trouble having to take care for framing in a different way since there's no zoom, but the quality of the photos taken pays back.reviewed March 8th, 2013 (purchased for $90)
It is a bit soft at 1.8, but after 2.8 it is a great performer.
I have heard many complaining about its plastic construction, but I find it having an advantage over weight when compared to others.
1 out of 10 points and not recommended by mohawk51 (5 reviews)None really come to mind!I've been spoiled by metal AIS lenses. Don't like the build of this one.
This one feels like it could break at any minute. I personally like the earlier version of this lens, the 50 F1.8 AIS (metal, not the pancake one). The one that focuses down to 0.45 I believe. I've had this version for some 20+ years. I'm not sure the 1.8D would last for 20 years. I also have the latest version of the 1.4 AIS with SIC on the elements. Now that's a beauty! Big difference in build quality. Just can't excited about the 1.8D...reviewed November 8th, 2012
8 out of 10 points and recommended by photospots (5 reviews)Sharpness, great pictures, smallNeeds to stop down a bit
A very nice lens where you get really some value for the money.reviewed October 22nd, 2012 (purchased for $130)
But if you have the money you should consider going for the 50mm 1.8g, which I consider to be the better lens in the 50mm batch...
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Prime Minister (43 reviews)Sharp from f/2.8, good contrast, light weight, compact, cheap, recessed front element, quick focusSoft wide open
Just look at the 'pros' section above. For the money, it's a great little lens and I think you can't go wrong with this one. For me it's sharp and contrasty enough from f/2.8. It focusses quick and accurate on a decent camera body. You don't need a lens hood, because the front element is recessed. If you are looking for a 50mm and don't need a wide aperture, get one of these.reviewed February 23rd, 2012 (purchased for $150)
3 out of 10 points and recommended by shelly_g (1 reviews)Fast, very inexpensive, reasonably fast AF.Images at f/1.8 are not really sharp, not even at the center. The lens has sever flare problem, particularly for night photos where one gets strong "ghost" images of any light source at, or near, its field of view.
I have been using Nikon cameras and lenses for several decades. This is not one that they should be proud of. If you must have a fast "normal" lens for limited amount of money, it's is OK, but you get what you paid for.reviewed August 15th, 2011 (purchased for $109)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by dda (13 reviews)all has been said about this little plastic wonder ...
happy with it !reviewed July 18th, 2011 (purchased for $110)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by yavorberov (3 reviews)Sharp, small, light, great bokeh - perfectplastic
This is the best lens that you can boil brand new for only $ 120. 50/1,8D is the best normal lens. When I decided to buy such a lens for my Nikon D80 tried all possible versions. And I chose 50/1,8D as not inferior in quality to any of the more expensive competitors. Sharp, small, light, great bokeh, and most importantly so cheap. The rest of my money to buy flashreviewed December 10th, 2010 (purchased for $120)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by hackmann (5 reviews)HQ, CheapFlare
Well, I am a D90 owner.reviewed September 25th, 2010 (purchased for $150)
You should not forget to have this piece in your bag.
Its far the best lens I have. IQ its awsome, fast and light lens.
Only problem its having a tendency to flare easly.
You can check some samples here:
9 out of 10 points and recommended by NeoCon (4 reviews)Excellent value for pricewide open performance
My circa 1991 old 50mm f1.4 Nikkor's autofocus broke, I had a dilemma. I needed a lens that produced in focus images when used wider than f4. Since this focal length is not mainly used, did not want to big bucks for the faster f1.4 model. This lens was even better than I expected. Rarely do I miss shooting at f1.4reviewed September 19th, 2010 (purchased for $139)
While the construction of this lens is not professional, it is much better than one would expect for the price. Also like the manual focus grip as well as the greater recessed front element.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by adrian snow (6 reviews)Great IQ , fast aperature, price!soft wide open, build quality,
This lens is one of those lenses that everyone should own, BUT, I did find a way to replace mine.reviewed March 28th, 2010
The build quality isn't the best and it is softer from f/1.8 -2.8, but that is the only real negative aspects of this lens.
From f/4 onwards...this lens simply can't be beat in terms of value.
I personally found myself not using this lens in the f/1.8-2.8 range, which led me to replace it with a fast standard zoom. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 has allowed me to part ways with this lens without missing it. The Tamron allowed me to replace this lens and my Nikon 18-70mm.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by petrvyleta (1 reviews)Colors, lightweight, pricehavent noticed
A lot has been said about this lens, and it is usualy true. Really sharp at f/8, little less at wider apertures, but nothing terrible. For the price totally MUST HAVE. Even if it costs three times more, it still would be a reasonable price. No distortion - that is great for portraits and cropping, and the colors - can't tell you why exactly, but they are nice. It is not a professional lens, but for everyone who does not have 17-55 f/2.8 it is imho must have.reviewed December 27th, 2009 (purchased for $140)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by moose (21 reviews)Lightweight, fast and sharp as a tackNot an AF-S lens
Nikon Professional User. I use this lens on the D300 and D200. It is a great little lens - lightweight and sharp. The recessed front glass means it can be used without a lens hood.reviewed November 28th, 2009 (purchased for $150)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by lightknight (28 reviews)Really cheap, really good, really lightvery lightly built, very soft at F1.8-F2
Another no-loose Nikkor. The only thing that's wrong with it is the insubstantial build but then what do you expect for $125? if it breaks buy another!reviewed November 5th, 2009 (purchased for $125)
From f 2.8 onwards its stellar and stays that way to f16, so its great when you want some decent depth of field for landscapes.
It seems odd that my cheapest lens is my preferred one for doing large panoramas but I guess its because 1) its very sharp and 2) it has low distortion - what other requirements are there!
See the below shots - most of these range in size from around 18 - 70 megapixels and look fabulous printed between A2 and A0.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by PuxaVida (6 reviews)High IQ in center, low priceSoft at the edges
Before buying this one for my D90, I've read a lot about 50mm prime lens results (MTF charts, MTF50 results, reviews, etc...). The sharpness results of this one in the center of the image (between f/2.0 - 4.0) comes 2nd after Zeiss T* 1.4 (acc. to the results in www.photozone.de). At f/5.6 all three nikkors have almost the same results in center IQ. The other lenses were Nikons (1.4D and 1.4G) which have impressive results both in center and edges.reviewed September 24th, 2009 (purchased for $150)
With1.8D, the IQ at the edges are softer than all of the others, but at this price it's a very good buy. If you have an APS-C format camera, this lens can be used as close-up portrait lens in which you can ignore softness at the edges.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Cliff Beard (12 reviews)Value king, speed at low prce, distance scalenothing at this price
Its certainly not a glamorous lens but is an absolute value king for anyone looking for a fast lens (compared to a typical kit lens) at a sensible price.reviewed May 15th, 2009
The build is plastic but perfectly decent and the mount is metal. There is no built in AF motor but this is no issue on my bodies (not so good for D40/60) and AF speed is fast. One could say the lack of SWM is one less thing to break and keeps it compact.
At max aperture it certainly lacks contrast and is a bit soft but stopped down even a fraction it improves hugely and by F2.8 its getting very sharp. From F4 on its pretty much as sharp as anything.
Its a great creative walkaround lens on a full frame body. Not as versatile on crop, but a good short portrait lens.
Bokeh is a bit busy, especially around highlights.
Its so light and cheap there is no point in not popping it in the bag!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by sgnirts (7 reviews)great pro image quality, fast!! sharp, reliable focus.high quality plastic :-)
Every photographer should have at least one f1.8 or brighter lens in their bag for low light, and subject iso. The nikon 50mm f1.8 fits the bill so perfectly, if you get addicted to this little gem, go one step further and grab the Nikon 85mm f1.8 too(or 1.4) and get a little more of this low light performing drug.reviewed February 6th, 2009 (purchased for $100)
Instantly addicting every time you pick it up, day to day, week to week, decade to decade...take your timeless images with this timeless lens....easy!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jonnyapple (6 reviews)low price, fast, great image quality
Don't hesitate here. This lens is the best value I know of and it's a length almost anyone could use. No complaints from me in the optical quality, and it takes up less space in my bag than my flash does. The complete lack of distortion makes for very easy panoramic stitches if you like that sort of thing.reviewed October 9th, 2008 (purchased for $120)
If you use a D40/60, you'll have to use manual focus as it's not AF-S, but I still think it's worth it (the autofocus sensor still tells you when it's in focus; you just have to turn the ring).
9 out of 10 points and recommended by libertinephotography (9 reviews)Light, Inexpensive, FastConstruction, Not great Bokeh
This lens is a no brainer. It is so cheap that everyone should have one in their bag; unless of course you can afford the 1.4. Amazingly, Nikon has gone far beyond what they needed to for a $110 lens. You get much more than you pay for in this case. Don't let the "Made in China" label disuade you. Only real problem, is the construction. This lens really feels delicate, but I must admit that it has held up rather well.reviewed August 29th, 2008 (purchased for $109)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ian-wurn (5 reviews)Small, compact, clear, cheapNo AF-S
Good lens. I use it on my D40x with manual focus.... Really good value for money and also light to carry about.reviewed July 14th, 2008 (purchased for $133)
Pix quality is great. Construct is pretty excellent. Pity the package comes without a carry bag....
Would love to have the autofocus on the D40x but that's in the 60mm package and comes at whopping more juice....
10 out of 10 points and recommended by DamianP (4 reviews)Sharpness, Price, Speed, BokehPlastic
Definitely one of the sharpest nikkor lens, you just wouldn't expect to get it at $100 now would ya?reviewed June 27th, 2007 (purchased for $90)
The lens is even slightly sharper than the 50mm 1.4. Speed is really not much of an issue with this lens, and the difference in bokeh between the 1.8 and 1.4 is so subtle that i didn't think the 1.4 is worth 3X the price of the 1.8.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by spura (2 reviews)price, optical qualitynot yet and not for this price
For this price is very good lens, for landscapes to use F8 as the best results, for portraits i use F2.8. Extra F1.8 can use for special impriviztions or special need for short area DOF. Nice lens for beginners, light and sharp..reviewed May 15th, 2007 (purchased for $190)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by SETI (20 reviews)Price !!! Aperture ! Size, weightsoft at 1.8, yellow cast
Changed 3 of them =) Tried to get sharpness at 1.8. Good if you have only 100$. At f4 is extremally sharp ! Don't know what to add... it costs that 100$... maybe even 120 =)reviewed April 26th, 2007 (purchased for $100)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by epixx (5 reviews)Sharp, relatively fast, cheapCheap build quality, noisy AF
There aren't really any good reasons not to buy this lens. Image quality is very good, and it doesn't cost much more than a couple of filters. Works fine as a walk-around, indoor without a flash as well as outdoor. Bokeh is ok, and I often use it for portraits.reviewed March 17th, 2007
Build quality is terrible though, and it really feels cheap. That, however, doesn't show in the photos.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Iyhel (6 reviews)Sharp, bright, light, cheapAbsolutely none
Oh, sure, optical quality is a little under the f/1.4 one.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
Sure, there is nothing special to say about construction quality.
Yeah, corners are a little soft from f/1.8 to 2.2.
And maybe the bokeh is a little hard.
But hell at this ridiculous price you get a top quality prime. And a damn lightweight one.
Some claim they don't like the angle on digital, I never had any problem with that. Once you've got it "in your eye" you'll enjoy it for any subject - landscapes as well as portraits.
The only thing that could make me switch to a 50/1.4 or a 45/2.8 is the bokeh, which is a little hard (compared to my 105/2 and 180/2.8... not a fair challenge I admit); however it gives very nice effects at night with out of focus lightsources.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by BevanW (3 reviews)Exceptionally Sharp, Cheap, Smokin Fast, lightNone
I picked up a non-d version of this lens at a local shop for $75 and love it. It is lightweight, very fast and ubelievably sharp. At f1.8 this lens is almost as sharp as my much more expensive 85mm f1.8. Makes a great portrait lens on a DSLR...Highly recommend.reviewed March 10th, 2007 (purchased for $75)
BTW...sort of surprised by the reviews of this lens (blur index). Based on test shots I have take my sample is tack sharp in the center wide open. The corners are softer, but this is desired for portraits. Stopped down a bit the corners catch up and this lens is sharp corner to corner. Hmmm...guess I just got a great sample.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by wijnands (4 reviews)sharp, sharp, fast and did I mention sharp?the 1.4 is sharper wide open
This lens is in Nikon's lineup ever since they started on Autofocus lenses in the mid-80s and internally it doesn't seem to have changed.reviewed February 28th, 2007 (purchased for $130)
I currently own a copy of the first version which is built like the 1.4. After that nikon made a version which looks like the D but doesn't have the distance chip yet. In my opinion that's the least attractive version to get second hand. The addition of a distance chip is a nice bonus but by no means a necessity.
An aperture of 1.8 means that you can still shoot with ambient light while kit lens owners already need to flash. It also means you can play with rather extreme DoF. It's at these extreme apertures that the much more expensive 1.4 outperforms the 1.8.
Stopping down a bit to around 2.8 and the difference is already much less noticeable. Getting to f4 and you'd be very hard put to distinguish these two.
This lens really shines around f5.6. It's incredibly sharp, so sharp that a portrait will show even the smallest skin blemishes.
It has a good minimal focus distance of about 45cm. Combine that with it's 1.8 aperture and you can do fun closeup shots.
It's front element is already rather recessed so for protection a UV filter isn't really necessary. Consider what this lens will cost you. Then factor in that a really good UV filter (which this lens does deserve) will cost you about half of the price of the lens. Just get a lens hood to go with it, either the recommended HR-2 or, for that extra retro feel the old HS-2 hood.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ealatsis (4 reviews)good value, lightwight, sharp resultsnothing
I bought this lens after reading several reviews from this website. I used it solely at my cousin’s wedding reception. No accessory flash and was able to take wonderful pictures. The sharpness everyone has mentioned is true. I wasn’t familiar with primes and now I think they are great! A tremendous value and to re-use the phrase “Every Nikon owner should have this lens in their bag.”reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $110)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by njmd (2 reviews)Very very sharp lens for very very litle moneyauto focus could be faster
It's a very good lens in all aspects. The corners only go soft at 1/8, but still with very good results. For other apertures it's always sharp (or very sharp) from edge to edge. Considering it's price, everyone owning a nikon slr or dslr system should by it! I like primes. I also like the "old" standard lenses because they are very close to what human eye sees - it's a question of style and photography aesthetics. For a Nikon DSLR it´s a good lens for a certain type of portraits.reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $194)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by alberto (8 reviews)Large aperture,compact, cheapnone
Very cheap lens, with good optical quality.reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $100)
Lightweight, very large aperture, one of my favourite lens.
I use this lens whit film and digital bodies and the ony drawback is a little bit soft(and lowered contrast) wide open, but good from 2.8 to 4, and very sharp from 4 to 16, then diffraction may degrade the image.
very good for portrait with digital bodies.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by biraz (3 reviews)sharp (mercilessly sharp from f. 4 on), light, very good value for moneyautofocus hunting in dim light, yellow cast
I bought this lens for my D50 to add a fast lens to my kit zooms (18-55 and 55-200). It is very useful when you need a fast aperture (kit zoom max aperture goes from f. 3.5 to 5.6), and stopped-down (from f.4 on) this 50 is incredibly sharp (a wonderful thing for general use or for children portraits; but be careful when you want to photograph a woman: she could not be so happy with the results).reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $140)
Build quality is more than ok for me: obviously better than my kit zooms, but I imagine not on par with the old pro all-metal Nikkors; but I'm no pro, and I treat very carefully my lenses...
Only cons: 1) autofocus can hunt in dim light 2) images from this lens are slightly "warmer" than expected, or sometimes "yellowish". I personally lihe very much the golden light of late summer afternoons, so this can be an opportunity, not a problem. But if I take the same photo with my 18-55 and my 50, the photo from my 50 is always more "yellow". I don't know if this is a defect of my lens or a design peculiarity, and I would not call it really a defect: only a characteristic to take into account.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by notpaul (3 reviews)Small, fast, light, inexpensive, and fully usable wide open.Tinker Toy construction, slow and noisy focus
This was the first lens to go on my Nikon N80. Just holding it in the store made me queasy – it’s built like a BigMeal toy. But what it does, it does very well. It’s fast, sharp, and small. On the N80 it makes a very tidy, go anywhere kit. And it’s so cheap, there’s no reason not to have one. On a reduced frame camera it makes a nice available light portrait lens.reviewed January 13th, 2007
9 out of 10 points and recommended by thomiz (16 reviews)Lighweight, sharp, fast, bargainconstruction quality (but what do you expect at such a low price)
This is a great little lense. The f/1.8 aperture makes low light shooting possible, and it is quite sharp at this aperture to. The AF action is adequate, and it is so small and light you can bring it anywhere. A real no-brainer except if you think you need the extra stop of light in the f/1.4.reviewed January 11th, 2007
The only drawback of this lense is the construction quality. I finally managed to break my (used) copy, by dropping it on the floor from about 30cm, first the AF became really slow but the lense was still sharp. Later someone dropped it again (from about 1m), and the AF action was smooth again, but now the lense was no longer sharp at smaller aperture. (it must have been a bad year, I do not usually drop my equipment). But then again, its so inexpensive you can afford to buy another.
I find this lense much better than its canon counterpart with its plastic mount and questionable IQ.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tommy (5 reviews)small, light, cheap, fast, simplenone
Just get one. The only reason not to have one of these is if you already own an f1.4 version. It's small, light, sharp, distortion-free, unobtrusive and very cheap.reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $120)
On a digital body I've found it very useful for portraits, great for table-top stuff in the studio and perfect for candid shots in low light. Wide open its tiny depth of field is great for isolating subjects and allows you to shoot in near darkness without resorting to flattening everything with on-camera flash.
What are you waiting for?
9 out of 10 points and recommended by vNe (7 reviews)fast, sharp, cheapnoisy
This should be a lens is everybody's bag. Super fast, tack sharp, and the price cannot really get any lower. Compared to my old manual 50/1.4, the 50/1.8’s build quality is lacking. The focus could be a bit smoother. However, it is surprisingly durable even though it looks cheap. It does auto focus and can matrix meter on modern cameras. Word of caution to beginners about stopping the lens all the way down; it is a little soft and the depth of field is extremely shallow.reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $90)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by xnecrontyrx (3 reviews)Cheap, Fast, SharpUgly Out of Focus Highlights, Feels as cheap as it is.
This is a damn fine lens, its sharp (reasonably so even wide open), its fast, and you can get good subject background separation. The only problem I have with it is the bokeh on the out of focus highlights, they are extremely angular and displeasing to the eye. Other than that, I worry I'm gonna break the thing because of how weak its construction feels, but no sign of that yet, so no worries.reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $80)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by trentdp (26 reviews)Good build quality and smooth operation. Very Sharp in center.Focal length a little to long for APS size digital SLR cameras
All the posts are pretty much right on target with their assessments. I had the lens for about 12 months and used it periodically, but decided for my use a zoom lens was more convenient. There is no doubt that you can't go wrong buying this lens give it's price. Maybe as I mature in my picture taking, I will buy another copy of the lens in the future. I sold my copy because I just did not use it frequently enough.reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $125)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by jonahg (2 reviews)Sharp, widely available, low cost, Fast, low distortionBuild quality, not AF-S, relatively slow focussing
This is nearly a must for any Nikon consumer DSLR owner. Besides the brilliant available-light images you can get indoors and out at F1.8-2.8, this lens pretty much has it all, for $100. Sharpness isn't ideal until you stop it down a bit (to F4 or below), but the lens is a very good performer at its smallest aperture.reviewed January 2nd, 2007 (purchased for $105)
The cons are that it has only a so-so build quality (lots of plastic), it is a little soft when wide open, and the AF is relatively slow (compared to modern AF-S lenses).
Not only can you come up with excellent images while forgoing the use of a flash, but forcing yourself to deal with a fixed field of view will sharpen your photography skills as you have to focus more on your composition and the other settings that are within your control.
An excellent lens for anyone from an interested beginner to a seasoned amateur. Highly recommended.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Jonny (1 reviews)-FAST and CHEAP-, excellent build quality for price, SHARP at smaller aperturesA little soft wide open, noisy AF, sometimes hunts in low light
I have this lens almost permanently attached to my Nikon D80 indoors.reviewed December 28th, 2006
From f/4 and up, this lens is critically sharp. It softens a little as you open it up, with the corners soft from 1.8 up to around 2.8, but the centre of the image still remains reasonably sharp. Bokeh is reasonably soft, at least to my eye, and you'll certainly be seeing a lot of it at 1.8!
AF comes from the camera body, and is noisy - the focus is slow, certainly noticably so compared to AF-S, and sometimes hunts in low light.
Build quality is fine for the price. The lens body is all plastic, but the whole package is tightly constructed, feeling solid despite its diminuitive weight. The focus ring, with about a third of a turn of play, is usable, although with the lens opened up the shallow depth of field makes manual focussing a little hit and miss.
With all that taken into account, however, it's very hard to criticise this lens when its price is so vanishingly low. Those considering upgrading from kit lenses, after their bank accounts have absorbed the initial financial shock of buying a DSLR, might find this an ideal second lens for low-light shooting - I certainly did! The fast 1.8 aperture makes available-light photography a possibility without having to push your camera's ISO levels through the roof.
You can get this lens online in the UK for around 70 quid - there's no excuse for not owning one!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by cottontop (8 reviews)
I consider this the sharpest Nikkor at more than 8'. Excellent contrast.reviewed December 27th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
One of the only 2 Nikkors with "no measurable
distortion", so I use it for panoramas when suitable.
If one prints large landscapes, what matters is
resolution of 40lp/mm. This lens resolves 0,62 at f/8, ranking 1st among all Nikkors in current production.
I use it whenever possible for landscapes.
My primary criteria when selecting lenses is proven
image quality; proven in a 12x18" landscape print.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by JoSKaT (5 reviews)sharp, inexpensive, good for portrait and indoor snap shotslimited coverage
If you want a cheap nikkor lens that can af fast and gives sharp image, this is it. I have this for a while now and i constantly use it indoors when i'm not really too far from my subject, like family and friends during a party. If you dont mind going back or forward to compose your shot then this lens is worth it. For the price and the quality you get it's a bargain, literally. I use this sometimes with my D80 but usually i have it on my N65, i still shoot film where this lens becomes a 'normal' lens, although not really bad having an instant 75mm prime when attached to a DSLR.reviewed December 27th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
9 out of 10 points and not recommended by placenamehere (5 reviews)cost, speed, weightawkward focal length on dslr
This was my 2nd lens on my D80 and when I got it I loved it. its hard not to recommend it based on image quality and price but I've found it sitting in my bag getting little use as of late. I found it plenty fast for indoor family photos, but the focal length felt sometimes not wide enough and sometimes too wide. the 85mm got a lot more use when I picked that up and I recently got a Sigma 30mm/1.4 for the wide end.reviewed December 26th, 2006 (purchased for $110)
its almost silly not to spend the $100 on this lens, but if you're planning on other lenses I'd get those first and then see if you still think you need this one
8 out of 10 points and recommended by CocoMonGo (8 reviews)Basic 50mm lens, cheap and effectiveWish it had more hyperfocal markings
The basic 50mm lens that everybody tells you to buy with your first camera. I didnt buy this lens with my first camera. I did buy it later buy sold it off when I had 50mm zooms.reviewed December 26th, 2006
With this lens you only need to control it from the camera, unless you want to manual zoom. Being one of the small lens around in Nikon, the manual zoom ring is very thin; which is not my taste. I just hate focusing using two fingers.
As with all 50mm f/1.8 round , image quality is as good as it gets. (If there are any 1st party lens manufacturers that makes even average 50mm primes you will have to really reconsider their system, seriously). Its extreamly fast lens at f/1.8, making viewing(and manual focusing) through the eyepiece a joy!
I would buy this lens again, since my mid zoom is about to bust, and I rarely use anything other then my wide and my super zoom anyway.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by wl2 (7 reviews)lightweight, sharp
This lens is sharp and light. With the DSLR crop factor, it becomes a very usefull portrait lens.reviewed December 24th, 2006 (purchased for $60)
It is not that sharp wide open. But above F2.8, it is my sharpest lens.
Given the low price and weight, there is no reason not to have one in the camera bag. Highly recommended.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jfehrenbach (1 reviews)Affordable, Sharp Image Quality, Fast 1.8AF tends to seek on D70, construction
For the price you can't go wrong with this one. Indoors this has become my favorite walk around lens. Portraits are absolutly stunning.reviewed December 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $104)
Crop factor on digital makes this a little long if this we a 35mm in this price range it would score a 10 across the board.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by dessing (1 reviews)Bang for Buck, Weight, SharpnessWider would be better
Although landscapes are not the strength of a DX equivalent 75mm lens, the 50 1.8D can produce very nice results stopped all the way down in low light. I have achieved very sharp results with surprisingly balanced contrast at f22 in evening cityscapes. The 50 1.8D is a fantastic first lens that shows developing photographers the advantages and limitations of prime lenses and will inspire lust for much more expensive glass.reviewed December 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $110)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by aalto (12 reviews)EverythingThe what?
This lens is a must have. Simple as that.reviewed December 21st, 2006 (purchased for $80)
For the ridiculously low cost of this lens, the optical quality is outstanding. Its fast, compact, light, and does the job, what more could you possibly ask for?
Most of my portraits have been taken with this lens on a D70, which gives me a good personal half-body portrait.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by leoric (4 reviews)Sharp, protected front element, small dimensions, low weightPlasticky (but not a big issue), noisy AF
This is without a doubt the best purchase for low budgets and for special occasions where you really need the f 1.8.reviewed December 18th, 2006 (purchased for $172)
If you purchase it from the US you pay close to nothing (100 dollars). If you purchase it from, oh let's say Romania, you pay almost double the price (but that is besides the point).
First of all, you'll notice how small and lightweight this lens is. It's a breeze compared to your 18-70 kit lens and even to the 18-55 kit lens.
The second thing you'll notice when you start taking pictures with it is how sharp it is from 2.4 - 2,8 onwards.
Another useful thing is that the front element is burried deep in the lens, which protects it from accidents and also reduces flare.
Speaking of flare, the lens doesn't come with a hood, so if you really want one, you can get a rubber 52 mm one.
One small issue with the 50 mm 1.8 is the fact that it's rather noisy when focusing, but hey, you paid close to nothing for it so it can't be perfect.
Overall, a great lens.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by kanabeans (5 reviews)Very affordableNone
I rated this lens a 10 overall because you really can't get a nicer lens for $100. This is a very good lens for the money. It's sharp and the f/1.8 was enough for me to shoot in natural low light situations.reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by lastchance (1 reviews)Inexpensive, light, sharpSeems fragile
This is a very nice, inexpensive workhorse lens. The small size and weight means that it spends a lot of time on my camera when I'm out exploring. The only issue I've ever had is when I accidentally unlocked the aperture ring, and my D70 refused to function. It took me a little while to figure that out, and someone new to Nikon might also run into that. Wide open, this lens sucks in the light and gives really nice bokeh, and stopped down, it is amazingly sharp. For the price, every Nikon owner should have this lens.reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $120)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by marokero (7 reviews)bright, cheap, lightweightplastic construction, bokeh is not the best
It's one of those lenses that one must get - it's relatively dirt cheap compared to other pro glass out there. It was my first fast lens, allowing me to get more available light shots as opposed to using so much flash. It's like a stepping stone towards faster and better lenses, but I still carry this lens in my case. Sometimes when I want to use something very light, I'll take this lens out and shoot a few images with it.reviewed December 15th, 2006 (purchased for $95)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Samson (1 reviews)Fast, great sharpness/clarity, fantastic portraits, lightNothing (esp for $100)
It's really a no-brainer: a fast, light portrait lens for approximately $100. I used it on my travels to New York, and the night shots were amazing considering I didn't use a tripod.reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $110)
Shots from ISO200 to 400 with f/2.2 or smaller apertures are so sharp. And the color saturation blows away the starter kit lens that came with my D50.
The only limitation is that it is a prime lens which translates to 75mm on a DSLR. You're not going to be taking any wide, scenic shots. But that's not why you'd choose this lens, right?
People keeping mentioning that it's plastic. I'm pretty rough with the lens, but it's held up fine. And it's the glass that counts.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by deanzat (9 reviews)small, light, fast, sharp
What's not to love? No matter how lightly you're packing your camera bag, you can bring along this pretty fast, very small, very light lens.reviewed December 12th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
Color, contrast and sharpness are very good. And in a pinch, I can slip it into a pocket.
My only concern is the build quality; it doesn't have the solid feel of my older lenses. For a hundred bucks, why should it? And the glass is just fine.
When I first got into photography, we HAD to get 50mm lenses with our cameras, and it was all we could afford for a while, so we couldn't wait to get other lenses and break away from the 50. On Nikon digitals, though, this becomes a fast 75, and I find it very useful.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by dabrams (1 reviews)lightweight, compact, priceF1.8
Overall, a great prime lens. It is small, light and simple to use (either digital or 35mm). I have used it on both kinds of Nikons and pictures come out crisp, sharp and unbeatable. At first, it was hard to adjust from a zoom lense to a prime lense (no moving parts on a digital camera).reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
It is hard to justify a couple of hundred dollars more for the F1.4 lense, so I bought this one.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by laserdoc (2 reviews)Inexpensive and sharpnone
Photography 101. Learn how to use this 50mm prime and you will never look back. It should be the first prime in everyones bag. The cost is low and the pictures sharp. Excellent for low light conditions. It also teaches you how to use your feet instead of a zoom. By far Nikons best value.reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $99)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by sjcosh (2 reviews)cost, weight, performance.Build quality
Bought this to do low light indoor shooting, parties, weddings etc. But im finding that im leaving it on my camera all the time, great sharp pics at f4 as others have said, but even at 1.8 you really have to look to see any probs, worlk very fast for me in most light conditions.reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $165)
Im loving this lens every time i use it.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by nullphotography (5 reviews)small, light, sharp, fastnoisy af
picked this lens up for low light situations and found a great lens with excellent dof. I originally wanted something for indoor and lowlight use but I know finding myself using this alot when i want alot of dof which is provided by the f/1.8 The only con I see in this lens is that the af is noisy but that isn't that much of a problem. The lens is very sharp throughout and is a must for any photographer just starting out. Pros may wish to look into the f/1.4 or the old f/1.2 for faster lenses and higher quality construction.reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $145)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by nunoferreira (2 reviews)price/quality relationship, sharpness,
I usually use this lens on my Nikon F80. Great lens considering the price and quality. Light weight, sharp, good focus, cheap. A must have for nikonians.reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $197)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by bens0472 (1 reviews)Inexpensive, sharp, lightweight, great low-cost portrait lenscheap build quality, dreadful bokeh
I bought this lens to supplement my 18-70 DX shortly after I bought my D70 kit. I really wanted the 85mm f/1.4, but my budget could scarcely afford the 85 f/1.8. So, given a few of the comments about the crop factor making this long enough for head and shoulders portraiture, I dropped a benjamin and haven't looked back, since.reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $105)
This is a remarkably useful lens. I find that, on average, I get very sharp shots, even when my subject is not in the center and even at f/1.8.
Stopped down to f/2.8-4, I get REALLY nice shots.
The lens doesn't mount onto my D70 as smoothly as other Nikkors that I own, nowadays - all of them AF-S lenses. It's been that way since day one, but the only time I really give it much thought is when I writing something like this.
Ultimately, this lens stays on my D70 almost 90% of the time because I know I can get a good shot with it and because of it's light weight.
If asked to replace it, I might consider a slightly shorter prime, like the 28/f2.8 or the 35/2.0, but I love this lens and would likely never get rid of it.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by glen (10 reviews)Sharp, fast, inexpensivePlastic
I actually looked long and hard at getting a 50 F1.8 AIS rather than this lens as the build quality is not as good, but decided it was nice to have autofocus.reviewed December 9th, 2006 (purchased for $109)
Optically this lens leaves nothing to be desired. You would have to pixel peek at big mags to see distortion or CA. Soft at f1.8 and tack sharp by f4. A good portrait lens on a DSLR.
A deal for the price.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by usul3084 (4 reviews)Cheap, quality optics, lightweight, tiny.Plasticy construction.
A great value. Excellent optics, low price, decent build.reviewed December 7th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
It is sharper at f/2.8, and wonderfully sharp by f/4, though certainly usable wide open, especially when the shot depends on it, or if you don't need gobs of fine detail. For 100 USD, I couldn't ask for more optically. The recessed front element resists flare, so you don't need the optional hood IMHO.
It would be nice if the body were metal, and if the focus ring was a bit more damped, but again, consider the price. Older versions (manual focus) may have better handling.
Overall, an extremely good value, and small enough to carry with you everywhere.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by babka08 (6 reviews)Small, bright, cheapnoise
The positive thing about DSLR 'cropped' sensors is that no longer does one have to spend several hundred dollars on a fast portrait lens. Suddenly, all 50mm primes become adequate for good portraits. I often serve as the family paparazzi at events. I hate flashes. And I do it for fun, so budget is a concern. This 1.8 does the trick. My first SLR was a Nikon FG with a manual 50mm, and I guess it's still in my blood. It's sharp and very competitive with the f1.4 in terms of image sharpness. The bokeh is good, though perhaps one might prefer the shape of f1.4 out of focus objects. Bottom line: it's small, affordable and of adequate quality for pretty much anything.reviewed December 6th, 2006 (purchased for $135)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Tosiek (5 reviews)Small, lightweight, inexpensive, f/1.8No AF motor
A great little lens. I'm a new DSLR user and this is the first lens I bought (except for the kit one - 18-55 for my D50).reviewed December 6th, 2006 (purchased for $160)
F/1.8 is my solution for "special" tasks, like weddings in dark churches, or concerts. It's not very sharp, though.
Af f/2.8 sharpness is much better, and at f/4 it's excellent. It makes this lens great for shooting products (like for ebay).
I bought a reversing ring for super macro, but since then, I haven't found any interesting spiders or insects to test it "in action".
There is no sign of CA, vignetting, or distortion. At least I can't see any.
The main problem with this lens is its lack of AF motor (but D40 owners aren't probably interested in such lenses).
9 out of 10 points and recommended by danwatson (7 reviews)Super sharp, Super cheap low light performerFocus is a bit slow
I purchased this lens a few months back for my D50. I wanted pro quality, but I couldn't afford pro prices. This 'normal' lens is often praised as super sharp glass at a super cheap price.reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $120)
In use I found the 50 very versatile, in fact I recommend this to newbie’s because they will learn to 'zoom with their feet' which helps teach composition and creative shooting. This lens is sharp even at f1.8, but keep in mind that DOF is extremely shallow so I tend to reserve f1.8 for creative effects. This lens does very well from 2.8 on, but f4-f8 seems to be the sweet spot. Color and contrast are very good and the lens produces amazingly sharp pictures (you might even need to turn down in-camera sharpening with portraiture!). Probably the only weak point is that focus is a bit slow, but not horrible.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by VIDKEY (4 reviews)SPEED, WEIGHT, FOCUS SPEED, DOFSLIGHTLY PLASTICKY FEELING, NOTHING ELSE
FOR THE MONEY THIS LENS IS WITHOUT PEER. THE BOKEH IS GREAT, THE DEPTH OF FIELD IS WONDERFUL. PEOPLE SHOULD USE PRIMES LIKE THIS MORE AND REDISCOVER THE JOY OF PHOTOGRAPHY.reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
FOR AVAILABLE LIGHT AT ONE THIRD THE PRICE OF THE F/1.4, THIS GLASS CAN'T BE TOUCHED
9 out of 10 points and recommended by JoeSchu (5 reviews)Portraits in any lighting cond's, weightOccasionally hunts for focus on a D70
Beginning SLR shooters would greatly benefit from this lens. Learning to push down that pop-up flash, compose a scene with your feet (not your zoom) and carefully manage focus is a true joy and will build any photographer's skills. For me the 50mm f/1.8 opened up a world of indoor shooting without the intrusive and harsh flash. I love the soft pictures I can take with this lens that capture natural light in most daytime indoor scenarios. The soft backgrounds also make for stunning portraits. Beginning amateurs must remember that f/1.8 doesn't leave much for DOF, so managing the focus point is critical with this lens. At $90 (or better) this lens is a MUST for any Nikkon DSLR owner wishing to hone their skills. Professional level aperture at cheap amateur prices - can't beat it!reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $90)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by f1maj2 (3 reviews)sharp, fastnone
Excellent prime lens. Very sharp for its price range. Good for portraits with a 1.5 crop factor camera. My favorite for shooting in low light.reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $140)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by spuelijah (9 reviews)Compact size, Very Sharp, Very Affordable PriceNone
After many recommendations from other Nikonians on the DPreview forums, I decided to get one. The 1.8 aperature helped dramatically in my indoor social scene shots. I use this very often when i don't want to use flash. It's true, you can't go wrong if you get this lens, especially if you do a lot of low light shooting.reviewed December 2nd, 2006 (purchased for $90)
It's range is perfect, except for tight spaces like small rooms. And it's compact size makes a perfect combo with my D50 when I want to go light, like on hikes.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by finalcut (2 reviews)Extremely sharp, high quality build, enjoy 1.8none
I absolutely love this lens. This lens is so sharp and I love shooting with it. It his on my D80 maybe 80% of the time!reviewed November 29th, 2006 (purchased for $140)
A must have
10 out of 10 points and recommended by lseguy (4 reviews)ultra light & compact, great value for moneyNone !!!
This lens should be in any nikon' bag ! Very light and compact, mine delivers great sharpness from f2.8. AF might be on the noisy side (on a D50) but remains very fast. This might be the greatest value for the money (I paid my used one around 130$...). Great for close portrait and shoot indoors with poor light. On the other side the DOF can become quite 'thin' and specific attention should be paid when shooting wide open !reviewed November 29th, 2006 (purchased for $130)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Fahza (3 reviews)Small, cheap, sharp, f1.8Noisy when focussing, front portion of lens moves sideways
This lens is a "must have" in every photographers bag. It's cheap, very light and surprisingly sharp, considering the price.reviewed November 28th, 2006 (purchased for $200)
The f1.8 comes very handy indoors when you don't want to use flash.
The focussing is somewhat noisy but that not too annoying.
The front lens sometimes moves sideways when the lens focusses. You see it as the image in the viewfinder also moves slightly sideways, especially at small focussing movments. It does not seem to effect the sharpness of the image however.
Overall a very good lens.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by nohm (11 reviews)
If I could start over, I would have gotten this prime with my initial dSLR.reviewed November 27th, 2006
The lens build is acceptable and doesn't feel cheap IMO.
Color seemed a bit cool on my copy, but contrast was superb.
The bokeh is a tad unrealistic, but creates beauty in it's own right.
Since this is has no SWM, the lens does produce some moderate focusing noises.
Metering indication comes out a tad overexposed, so adjustments will likely have to be made.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tamd50 (2 reviews)Excellent image Quality, Cheap, Fast (f/1.8)AF is a bit noisy
This lens is the gratest bargain offered by Nikon. Amazing image quality at a very affordable price point.reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $100)
1> At $100US this is a must have for any Nikon user
2> Fast f/1.8 comes in very handy when shooting in low-light. I take a lot of pictures indoors and this lens never fails to deliver. Wide aperture also gives very shallow depth of field.
3> Excellent image quality. Photos are sharp with good color and contrast.
4> Compact/light so easy to carry around
5> Front element does NOT rotate.
6> 52mm filter thread means inexpensive filters
The Not so Good
1> AF is noisy. After using Nikon's Silent Wave Motor Lenses this lens seems loud when focusing.
I'd recommend this lens to any Nikon DSLR user at any level. Lens is great for portraits, anything indoors and anything that will require a shallow depth of field.
Too bad Nikon has dicided to discontinue this little gem. I hope they replace it with one with the Silent Wave Motor. Wouldn't that be fantastic :-) !
9 out of 10 points and recommended by julioalperi (15 reviews)Center resolution,distortion,vigneting, pricenone for the price paid.
At wide open aperture it is soft at borders, contrast is a little low too. Resolution is exceptionally high at medium aperture settings especially at center . Distortions are very low and vignetting above F:1,8 is very low too. Construction quality is good as it is the AF performance.reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $154)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by audioguru1 (7 reviews)cheapnone for $120
If you had to buy one lens to use for portraits this would be it! This is sharp, and cheap. You can spend thousands on a zoom, only to get similar quality.reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $120)
For portraits I find it works best stopped down to 2.8 which is still acceptably fast.
It doesnt have AFS, but it focuses quietly and efficently. No complaints.
I feel the only real drawback is the contrast compared to the 85mm and other lenses is a bit flat. This can be easily fixed is pp.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by afukuda (3 reviews)Very sharp at all apertures, lightweight, compact size, cheap, very fast (1.8)just a bit slow to focus (autofocus)
This is an excellent lens, its even sharper than the old Nikon Kogaku 50mm f2.0, its small, lightweith and fast, very fast.reviewed November 19th, 2006 (purchased for $90)
At f1.8 is a bit soft but at f4.0is sharp from corner to corner, the perfect portrait lens.
The autofocus is fast but not as fast as AFs lenses.
The built quality is good enough for the price.
Im totally satisfied with this lens.
9 out of 10 points and not recommended by jeans (15 reviews)f/1.8, wight, pricebuild, 50mm on a DX-format camera isn't the most useful focal length
Pros:reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
Sharpness - it's great, especially at f/2.8 and above
Wide aperture - gives great results at f/2.8 and can be very useful for available light shooting
Small, light and inconspicuos, unlike zooms a-la Nikkor 17-55/2.8
Front element is very much recessed, thus making it less likely to be scratched and minimizing the need for a lens hood
Very plasticky (including threads), but then what can you expect for the price
Pretty harsh bokeh, making it less desirable for portraits thus limiting its use significantly
Despite being a great performer, this lens seldom leaves my bag as 50mm on a DX DSLRs is not too useful
9 out of 10 points and recommended by maddodo (1 reviews)sharp, cheap, great image qualityAF not very fast
It is a great lens for such a price. Great, sharp images above f/2.8 although f/1.8 is also nice.reviewed November 17th, 2006 (purchased for $168)
AF could be a bit faster although it is not terrible. I love this lens. I carry it with myself all the time.
Construction is good although not as good as 50mm f/1.4D
10 out of 10 points and recommended by castortroy (2 reviews)cheap, lightweight, sharpfunky rear lens cap
At 1.8, you'll really need to be careful of what you're focused on, or else you'll be walking away with a lot of unfocused shots (or maybe it's just me). But, at 3.2 and up, you can't miss with this thing, it's razor sharp. I love being able to use low ISO's in combination with large apertures. Best $125 I've spent.reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $125)
Yeah, the AF noise might turn off some people (like it almost did me), but it really isn't that bad. I let a friend take a picture with my D70s and the AF noise wasn't loud at all.
In funky lighting, the AF will hunt a bit, and it'll sound like the camera is possessed (I think it's awesome).
Even though this is a normal lens for 35mm, the reach with the crop factor on digital can be limiting at times. Kinda tough if you can't step back for a shot.
All that aside, this lens is my first Nikkor prime lens and, by the looks of things, it looks like I'll be investing in a few more prime lenses when I finally graduate.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ronen_we (7 reviews)sharp, fast, great valueplastic build
fast lens, very sharp (when stoped down a bit). light weight. plastic construction though has a good feel to it. smooth and nice operation to focus ring.reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
Feels far better to handle than canon equivelent 50mm.
Overall great buy for 100$, well worth it's price.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by olaieryk (3 reviews)Small, cheap, extremely sharp (f/ 4 Ã¢â¬â 8)soft f/1,8
It is small, light, and produces very good image quality even wide open.reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $125)
at f/ 1,8 is soft :(
but f/ 4,5-6,3 is extremely sharp !!!
This lens is a great bargain!!!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Zed (8 reviews)$100, Light, Fast focusSoft at f/1.8
I was given this lens as a gift in 2005 and I have not stopped using it since. If you do not own this lens yet, stop reading reviews and just buy it! It is the cheapest lens that can provide the greatest quality.reviewed November 15th, 2006
I own the AF-D version which focuses almost as fast as my AF-S 18-70. Although it is a little soft wide open, you can still produce amazing images. Just stop down to f/2.8 and you will be fine. I have used it for portraits, landscapes, and even sports. There is no excuse why you should not carry this with you in your bag at all times.
I wish I could find a downside other than being soft at f/1.8, but there are none. The only way for this not to be in my bag would be to replace it with something sharper and more flexible, such as the 17-55 f/2.8. Grab it and do not look back!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by fjbrad (2 reviews)Cost: Image Quality/SpeedNone
At $100, there is no conceivable reason why any Nikon shooter would not own one of these lenses (unless opting for the faster 50mm 1.4 for more$$).reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
The lens has a metal lens mount, and although plastic, has a very good build quality. It is extremely compact and lightweight.
Despite it's small size and low price, this is one of the sharpest lenses Nikon makes, and I've had very good results using it with my D70. It seems to have a fairly large "sweet spot", meaning there is not a significant falloff in sharpness when it is used at the extreme ends of the aperture range.
On a APS sensor-sized DSLR, the 50 has an equivalent focal length of 75mm, which makes this very suitable as a portrait lens, although I personally prefer a focal length above 100mm for portraits.
A "fast" lens means that by virtue of the large maximum aperture available of 1.8, one can shoot at higher shutter speeds or lower ISO settings than would be possible with other lenses.
Another benefit of being able to use a very large aperture is the tremendous depth of field control one has. Depth of Field (DOF) refers to the part of the image in front of, and behind the subject focused on that is sharp. At small apertures, a deep DOF conveys sharpness to areas near and distant. At the wide end of the aperture range (shallow DOF/small f #'s), the subject will be sharp, but those parts of the image beyond and in front of the focus point will be blurred.
A shallow DOF is very useful in blurring a distracting background behind the subject or as an artistic effect to portraits and still lifes.
The other quality of measure for wide aperture/shallow DOF is bokeh. Poor bokeh is where the out of focus parts of the image appear globby. Good bokeh is when the out of focus objects have nice soft transitions...good blur. I think the 50 has better bokeh than most zooms, and very good when compared to most primes.
When combined with a reverse ring or extension tubes, this lens can be used as an excellent macro lens.
Because it has a fixed focal length, this lens is more of a specialty lens, best used for special occasions, but it is a great compliment to any shooters camera gear
9 out of 10 points and recommended by sduford (9 reviews)Small, sharp, contrastyPlasticy, no AFS
This lens is a great bargain and should be in every Nikon user's bag. It is small, light, fast, and produces very good image quality even wide open.reviewed August 1st, 2006 (purchased for $100)
Focus is via the old arcane screw drive on your camera but it works well enough on such small lenses. It is made of plastic but that means it's also very light.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by feadin (4 reviews)Low price, very bright, great image qualityA bit noisy and a little too short (it's too easy to grab the focus ring accidentally when holding the camera)
Construction quality is OK, feels nice but it's still plastic. Only mount is metal.reviewed March 9th, 2006
Image quality is very good overall, a little soft at less than f/2.8, but still perfectly usable. And anyway soft is OK most of the time when taking portraits...
AF feels fast enough for me, it's not a blast, but it's still faster than my 70-300 :)
Overall it's a good lens. Bright, sharp and cheap.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Discpad (3 reviews)Very sharp for both film and dSLRFlimsy
The older, non-D (non-CPU) lens was made in Japan, and was more rugged. When you use this lens, there is no mistaking the cheesey it for a classic all-metal Nikkor 50mm. That being said, the image quality is quite nice, with VERY LITTLE chromatic aberration, even when blowing up a print from a Fuji S2 Pro file all the way to 60x90 inches. $99 at B&H for grey market; $129 for domestic.reviewed October 25th, 2005 (purchased for $99)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by chimpp (5 reviews)Sharp, compact, lightweight, f/1.8, too cheap to NOT purchaseTerrible flaring, could be sharper at f/1.8, slow AF, plastic construction
Lenses like this can help to convert people stuck on zooms to try out a prime. The price, shallow DOF, and image quality are its major selling points. Stop the lens down a bit to get the sharpness that everybody's talking about. At f/1.8, it's not as sharp when you look at your pictures at 100% but still very usable. AF is slow and noisy. Bokeh is a mixed bag--usually mediocre when you have a very organic background (like trees and foliage). It's more practical for me to use this lens as an all-around lens than my 85mm f/1.4 because of the focal length, but 50mm (on a DX sensor) can still be a bit limiting--too much reach at times.reviewed October 21st, 2005 (purchased for $90)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by afs (4 reviews)inexpensive, sharp, great performance overall, and smallbuild a little on the cheap side, focusing ring/distance scale not like most primes.
One of Nikon's sharpest lenses, at a bargain price. The trade off is in the build...the plastic shell feels cheap though i've had worse. I do not like the focusing ring, I prefer a separate rubber encased ring and internal distance scale.reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $99)
The pictorial results are brilliant. The lens can also be used as a macro lens mouted on the BR-2A reversing ring.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by aryko (9 reviews)Very inexpensive for the performanceLoud focus
I have the Japanese version of this lens (AF-N) but it's essentially the same. How can you go wrong with a 50mm prime? Not many lenses will go down to f/1.8 for such a small investment. Every photographer should have one.reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $99)
It's not an AF-S lens so it's a little noisey (whines) when it focuses. That said, it focuses quite quickly. The lens doesn't rotate during focussing.
It's a little soft at f/1.8, but from f/2.8 on I find it tack sharp. Its minimum aperture is f/22.
It's at home on digital or film bodies, and has an aperture ring so it can be used on older bodies.