Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Thomas, July 2011
 

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G review verdict

Having done almost 500 shots with the new lens I have a pretty good feeling for the overall performance of the new lens. So here's my summary.

Sharpness / contrast:

Contrast of this lens is excellent even wide open. Sharpness in the center is excellent too, but deteriorates visibly in the borders / corners unless you stop down to f4.0 or f5.6.

Focus:

Focus accuracy and repeatability is quite critical with an f/1.8 lens where every inch of misfocus will immediately show up. That is one of the draw-backs when you use large aperture lenses. Repeatability (=accuracy of focus on the same subject after repeated focus-acquisition) is pretty good with only one outliers in ten shots and the AF-quality independent from the direction the focus was coming from (infinity or minimum focus distance). The 1.8G focuses clearly faster than the 1.4G, I'd guess about 1/3 faster. The focus ring of the 1.8G turns only about 90° from infinity to 45cm, the 1.4G turns about 180°. The short throw of the 1.8G is still good enough for manual focusing (in live-view), although the longer throw of the 1.4G makes that task much easier, and may also be preferred for movie focus-pulling. The only draw-back with the 50/1.8G: you can observe a slight focus shift between f2.0 and f2.8 - so for optimum focus quality of critical large aperture shots you should use live-view based focusing.

   
   



Longitudinal CA:

Well-controlled, nothing to worry about.

Other observations:

Again Nikon did not implement VRII with this lens - but that was to be expected after the 50/1.4G. This is a pity as any image stabilization would have extended the useful range of this lens even further. Compared to its bigger and pricier cousin, the 50/1.4G, the new lens has higher contrast and lower price as its advantages, so its price / performance ratio is excellent. So unless you really need the 2/3 larger aperture or the longer focusing throw, Nikon's newest baby should be your primary choice of a large aperture prime with the very useful focal length of 50mm - both for DX and FX shooters!

 

Summary

Good points
Very high contrast over the DX image-circle from f1.8 on.
Excellent sharpness in the center even wide open.
loCA is pretty well controlled.
Weather sealing.
Quiet, quick and reliable AF operation.
Reasonable price.

Bad points
No image stabilization.

 

 

If you have any questions or comments regarding the review head over here. A selection of my shots with this lens can be found there.
Und wenn es irgendwelche Fragen oder Kommentare zu meinem Review gibt, hier können Sie gerne auch in Deutsch posten. Und dort ist eine Auswahl an Bildern, die ich mit dieser Linse gemacht habe.

If you're looking for information on its bigger brother, check out my Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G review.

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Order the Nikon 50mm f1.8G at Amazon USA, B&H, Adorama, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


 
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