Lens Review – NIKON 50mm 1.8

Sep 04, 2011

We use lots of different camera equipment day in day out, and we’re often asked about cameras, lenses and other accessories. So from time to time we will post quick kit reviews to help out some of our fellow camera geeks!

Firstly we believe there is no right or wrong – everybody’s photography needs are different, and sometimes things just work for some and not others, this can sometimes be an issue when we pick up new kit.

There are of course some fundamental dos and don’ts…

Let’s take a quick look at the Nikon – AF 50mm f/1.8D and Canon’s equivalent the EF – 50 mm – F/1.8 for you canon users out there.

50mm lenses are enjoying something of a resurgence at the moment, and if you’re looking to get on the 50mm bandwagon then this is a great place to start.

Lets begin in the obvious place, the cost. This lens new will only cost you around £100! Find one used and you’ll probably pay under £90, there are some great deals out there, particularly online – we would urge you to go to your local camera shop to test the kit to see how it looks, feels etc.

So why is this lens so cheap? Well put simply, it’s simple! People often forget that lenses are lenses, just like glasses, binoculars and telescopes, and often the simpler the design the lower the cost to the consumer. It’s a fixed focal length lens with 6 elements in five groups, a classic design.

The next great benefit – it’s fast, you can open up to F/1.8 – ideal for low light conditions and it will allow you to get really creative with depth of field which is ideal for portraits and objects.

Another great selling point – its small and lightweight, you won’t have to sacrifice something else to get it in your kit bag. If we’re out and about at an event or working in the landscape, it’s great to pop in your pocket rather than lumber yourself with a bag.

What if I want to be able to zoom?

Well, we always say that the best zoom lens is your legs! Generally speaking a prime or fixed lens such as this will offer you superior sharpness and clarity – something to consider when making your decision in the shop. You shouldn’t sacrifice optics for versatility once you’ve progressed to an intermediate level, and if you own a kit bag it looks silly empty.

Do you want a bit more? Nikon & Canon also offer 50mm f/1.4 lenses.

Nikon’s 50 mm – F/1.4 lens is a personal favorite of ours and is a joy to use. Although just over double the price you can see the extra quality in the image tone produced, and feel it when it comes to construction quality. To our eyes it’s a little sharper and the colour rendition is excellent.

To conclude the Nikon – AF 50mm f/1.8D is an excellent lens for the money, fantastic if you want to make a foray into low apertures.