Archive for the ‘Nikon Nikkor 50 f/1.8 Reviews’ Category

Nikon 50 f/1.8 Review

September 29, 2008

Nikon 50 f/1.8 Review

“One of the best lens for portrait and low light photography.”

nikon nikkor 50 f/1.8

I don’t even know where to start. This lens produces sharp pictures and great color and contrast. And for its price (which seems to climb recently), it is worth more than 5 stars rating. I initially get this lens for low light action and sport photography (as this lens is famous for being one of the fastest lens together with its brother 50mm f/1.4), but I also found out that this lens is also perfect for portrait and other general purposes (macro etc). This is definitely a very versatile lens.

As much as I want to encourage everyone to buy this lens right away, let me mention some of the limitation that you would see (which I think will be helpful to go over before deciding to buy this lens):

First, being a prime lens, you will need to move your feet a lot to compose your picture. If you are used to zoom lens, don’t underestimate this limitation. It takes me a while to get used to it, and sometime I still find people looking at me wondering why I am moving forward and backwards. the good news is that most of the time, they don’t think I’m weird, but they are actually wondering if I’m a professional photographer.

Secondly, the focal range of 50mm, which is considered the normal lens and great for portrait lens. but on a DSLR (which I assume most of you use nowadays), this lens become a 75mm equivalent which is in the border of a short tele lens. I actually like the 75mm equivalent though I often have to move backwards when taking picture of a group of people.

Third, in some situation the autofocus might not able to focus (which is common for many other lens too). It is hard for the autofocus to lock when aiming at a wall that is one color (usually black or white), or on a clear sky (day or night). This kind of makes sense to me actually. IN these situations the AF assist light doesn’t help either so you can opt for manual focus or set the focus to infinity when you can’t find focus lock on scenic/landscape or sky photography. So far I don’t have many problems with the autofocus.

Sharpness increases as you stop down to f/2.2 or f/2.5. I actually use f/1.8 most of the time and the results are still nice. Personally, I’d rather use f/1.8 aperture settings than stopped down (e.g to f/2.8) and compensate with higher ISO setting which often gives me grainy picture. But if your object is not moving (static) then it is better to stop down to f/2.8 or more.

If you are wondering whether you should get a fast lens or a lens with VR, here’s my take: VR does help a lot (and produce better/sharper picture than equivalent faster lens without VR) if the object is static. If the object is moving (sports/action) then VR feature doesn’t really help and fast lens (like this lens) will be a far better solution. Using tripod (and a remote) will substitute for the need of VR feature. In general I would recommend getting a fast lens with VR feature (and usually it is expensive) such as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR, but if one can only get for one or the other, then find out what do you want to use the lens for and then use the guideline mentioned here.

Here are the summary of pros and cons for this Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF lens:

1. Very fast (f/1.8)
2. Very sharp pictures (especially when stopped down to f/2.2, f/2.5 or more.)
3. Great for sport/action photography
4. Great for indoor and low light situation
5. Great for portrait
6. Bokeh is almost as good as many expensive Nikon tele-lens
7. Fast autofocus
8. Good for wedding photography (or no-flash event). However, if this is your main objective then you might want to get the 50mm f/1.4 version or 28-70mm f/2.8 lens)
9. 75mm equivalent which can be considered a short tele lens (I actually like the fact that it’s 75mm equivalent vs 50mm in DSLR. if you need more zoom, you can get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8, or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR)
10. Inexpensive

1. Being prime lens, you need to move your feet a lot to adjust/compose
2. Autofocus issue on some situations (read detail above)
3. Plasticy build
4. Autofocus is not the most silent but very reasonable
5. 75mm equivalent with 1.5x multiplier on DSLR (many people find this is an odd range for normal lens. I actually like it)

Bottom line: This lens is so versatile (and inexpensive) that I think everyone should own in addition to all the lenses that they already have. Being a very fast lens, it enables me to take pictures in low light (sport/action photography) that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.
After knowing its limitation, I would predict that 99% of you that decides to buy this lens will find this lens very useful. And if you decide that you don’t like it (which I think not more than 1%), I’m sure there will be a lot of people who wouldn’t mind buying it from you (with some discount of course).

Again, I would recommend everyone to get this lens. In some ways I can say that this lens makes me a better photographer.

Happy Photographing!

Read the rest of this entry »


Nikkor 50 f1.8 Review

September 29, 2008

Nikkor 50 f1.8 Review

“A must have for any collection”

nikon nikkor 50 f/1.8

I purchased this lens to supplement my kit 18-55 which I found wasn’t fast enough to capture indoor shots of my two little girls without flash. I have to say that EVERYONE should buy this lens. As one of the first additional lenses I purchased for my Nikon D40, I was absolutely stunned and blown away by the tack sharp images and speed of this tiny little gem. While it is manual focus only with the D40, everything else works just fine. It even tells you when the image is in focus via the green focus light found inside the viewfinder. Keep in mind that at 1.8 its easy for your main subject to slip out of focus. For portrait shots, 2.8 is usually plenty to get a fast shutter speed with plenty of bokeh. For those split between this and the 1.4, if the price difference wasn’t so big, I’d say go for it. But at 1.8 you’re getting an extremely fast and capable lens at a price that just cannot be beat. I’m filling up my hard drive every day with pics that I simply could not have captured with my kit lens. There are some shortcomings like the manual zoom, manual focus with the D40 and that it’s small plastic casing probably won’t survive a fall (my 70-300 VR is MASSIVE next to it) but it more than makes up for its shortcomings with the amazing shots it takes. I promise you, you’ll be hard pressed to find any other quality glass in this price range.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nikon 50 mm Review

September 29, 2008

Nikon 50 mm Review

“the fastest time from ordering to receiving ever…”

nikon nikkor 50 f/1.8

The quality of the 50mm f/1.8 AF lens is well known. It is probably the best 100 Dollars that you can spend when you factor in cost to performance. This review is more about the process of the interface between Amazon and Adorama.

I was a bit nervous about the fact that while I was ordering this lens from Amazon, a company that I had good history with, it was basically handed off to Adorama to be processed and filled. Within minutes of placing my order, I received an e-mail from Amazon notifying me that my order was now in the hands of Adorama. I expected a delay or a hassle, and was having second thoughts, but figured at just over a hundred bucks, I’d ride it out and see what happens.

Boy was I wrong! I placed my order on Thursday, and on Saturday, the box from Adorama was in my mailbox, and this was from standard shipping, not express. I opened it and it was perfect. My lens was brand new, had a US warrantee and had all of the paperwork.

As expected, the lens operates and performs perfectly, but the process was so smooth and fast that I wanted to let others know to trust Amazon when it works with other suppliers. The Amazon / Adorama teaming was very good in my experience on this purchase.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nikon AF 50 Review

September 29, 2008

Nikon AF 50 Review

“Better than the 50mm f/1.4 AF D Lens”

nikon nikkor 50 f/1.8

I owned both the 50mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 lens. I also own a Nikon D70s and D200. I took test shots to compare the sharpness of these two lenses. The 50mm at f/1.4 is very very soft. The pictures at f/1.4 look like you are looking through a sheer veil. A dreamy look for sure, but not at all pleasing. At an aperture of f/1.8 the 50mm f/1.8 is still sharper than the 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.8. It isn’t until the 50mm f/1.4 is at f/2.8 that the two lenses have similar sharpness. At no aperture was the 50mm f/1.4 better than the 50mm f/1.8. Why spend so much more money for the 50mm f/1.4, when it is so soft at f/1.4 as to be useless and does not match the sharpness of the 50mm f/1.8? Softness at f/1.4 will also affect the ability of your camera to autofocus correctly because the lens autofocuses with its widest aperture. If the autofocus sees a soft image, you’ll have problems getting a focus lock. The 50mm f/1.8 works like magic on the D50/D70/D200 cameras. Trust me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nikon 50mm Prime Lens Review

September 29, 2008

Nikon 50mm Prime Lens Review

“Excellent inexpensive 50mm lens from Nikon”

nikon nikkor 50 f/1.8

Personally I would opt for the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens, but if you are tight on a budget and don’t need the additional speed, then this 50mm lens would be ideal for you. I have owned several 50mm f2 and f1.8 Nikkor lenses which were all very capable performers and this autofocus version of a Nikon Series E 50mm f1.8 lens is no exception. It is without question still sharper and contrastier than a zoom lens in the equivalent 50mm focal length, since it has substantially less barrel distortion than any zoom lens. Even if you own a zoom lens covering the 50mm focal length, I would still recommend acquiring either this lens or the 50mm f1.4 lens since either would be fine normal perspective portrait lenses for photographying friends and family. If you work primarily in digital photography, then this lens wouldn’t be a normal perspective lens in the 45mm to 55mm range, but instead, offer a slight telephoto perspective at a 75mm focal length; this would yield more of a head and shoulders portrait and may be more pleasing to the eye than the normal perspective taken with a 50mm lens.

Read the rest of this entry »