Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Review

Since the very first moment they have been launched, and this happened back in the 70’s, 50mm fixed lenses were always a big thing. Even though the progress and technology lead to inevitable consequences in the photography market, bringing fancy and universal zoom lenses in, currently the 50mm f/1.8 fixed lens still remains to be the choice of both beginners and professionals when it comes to portrait and model photography. It works perfectly on both FX and DX cameras.

Today we’re going to review the latest generation 50mm lens by Nikon, f/1.8G, and talk about why you should get it right now if you are a Nikon shooter.

We all know that 50mm fixed lenses are one of the sharpest lenses created ever, irrespective of the brand. Priced at just over $200, Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is one of the brightest and fastest lenses in this market segment. If you’re still not sure about whether you should get it or not, we recommend you to read our post about the advantages of 50mm fixed lenses.

This new 50mm f/1.8 model is heavier than its last generation counterpart by about 30 grams and it is a bit bigger too. The filter size got bigger by 6mm, from 52mm to 58mm. Another new features that the lens was fitted with include an aspherical optic element, built-in AF motor (in other words, this lens will auto-focus with cheaper beginner DSLRs like D3XXX and D5XXX), focus overriding, and some other minor changes.

Just like most of nowadays’ enthusiast lenses, Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is made completely of plastic and only its lens mount is made of metal. However, irrespective of this the lens feels really solid and durable.

Now let’s skip to the performance of the lens. As we already said, the lens is sharp all over, though a bit of stopping down may help you make it even sharper. The same way, it focuses correctly and really quickly.

And the lens bokeh is simply mind-blowing. At f/1.8 or f/2 the lens creates a balanced out-of-focus background—blurring everything really smoothly—and creating this 3D feel for you model, making them stand out.

Just like 35mm f/1.8 DX lens by Nikon, 50mm f/1.8 has this weird M and M/A switch on it. Don’t believe it too much because that’s not what you think it is. Whilst M means manual, M/A means automatic except for the fact that you can fine-tune focus manually by twisting the focus ring or even overriding it.

Typical for bright fixed lenses, 50mm f/1.8G has a lot of vignetting, which can be easily fixed in either Lightroom or Photoshop. Still, it has one thing which is really uncommon for fixed lenses, and it’s distortion. However, if you are not a professional photographer who earns their living on model/portrait photography, the chances are that you won’t even notice it. It can be removed using Lightroom or Photoshop really easily.

The lens has 7 optical elements in 6 groups, one element is aspherical and multicoated, as well as 7 rounded aperture blades. The lens can be stopped down to f/16 and has almost no ghosting/flaring, especially if you use the lens hood. Getting a UV or any other protective filter is a must if you are planning to buy this lens because the front less glass is recessed in the lens barrel and will gather dust.

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G comes together with a lens cap, rear lens cap, lens pouch, and lens hood and may be purchased from various online photography equipment vendors for $216.95 as of April 2016.

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