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Review Nikon 50mm 1.8G AF-S Nikkor (N FF)

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The Nikon AF-S 50mm 1.8G is is a fast and compact FX prime lens that entered the market in 2011 as a replacement for the Nikon 50 mm 1.8D. We've tested this lens earlier, using a Nikon D700 with a 12 megapixel sensor. With a Nikon D800E, this lens really can show it's impressive resoluton performance.
This classic standard lens now includes a Silent Wave Motor technology (SWM). The previous model did not have a built-in AF motor, making that lens less suitable for entry level Nikon cameras like the Nikon D3200 or Nikon D5200. The Nikon 50 mm has a fast maximum aperture, which is very convenient for a nice creamy bokeh. And if you enjoy working with "prime lenses", this 50 mm lens fits very well in the series of 28 and 100 mm. In the latter case, a macro lens such as the Nikon 105 mm 2.8 Macro VR is an option.

Nokon50mmfront

Review Nikon 50mm 1.8G AF-S Nikkor @ Nikon D800E

Specifications
Nikon AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:7/6
length x diameter:53 / 71
filter size:58
Weight:230
Lens hood:+

Nikon 50 mm  bouw 1

50mmdetail

Construction and autofocus

 

The Nikon is lightweight and feels less solid than, say, the Nikon 105 mm 2.8 Macro. If you are used to kit lenses designed for APS-C cameras though, you do experience this 50 mm as a solid lens. The focus ring turns very smoothly and if there is a filter on the lens, it does not rotate. Very handy when using a polarizing filter. The Nikon is supplied including the lens hood, which is firmly attached.

The new Nikon 50mm 1.8G is an AF-S type, which means an internal AF drive. This drive is very smooth; focusing with a Nikon D700 takes as long as with a D5100: 0.2 seconds with a focus stroke of 15 meters to 1.5 meters. I expected less noise from the AF, but hunting in low light is rarely observed.

Nikon 50 mm  bouw 2

Vignetting

When you don't corect vignetting usig the standard lens profiles in Lightroom or Photoshop, you will sometimes encounter visible vignetting. The Nikon D800E corrects vignetting for you in the jpg files. At f/1.8 the vignetting in jpg files is half the vignetting in RAW files.

RAWVignetNikon50mm

Distortion

The distortion amount is a fraction over 1%. For a not so difficult to design and fabricate lens as a 50 mm 1.8, we expected a slightly lower value. In practice, you will have to address the distortion with software.

 

The lens shows moderate barrel distortions at around 1.1%. This is more than you'd expect from a fix focal lens. However, this is actually a typical amount of distortion for fast standard primes and unless you shoot subjects with straight lines near the image borders it's usually not field-relevant.

DistortionNikon50mmD800E
Nikon-50mm-18g-bokeh-example

Bokeh

 

If you like to limit the depth of field, as photographic style device, you choose a lens with a wide aperture and you choose a camera with great image sensor. But that is no guarantee that blurred parts on the photo are also nicely blurry displayed. The Nikon 50 mm 1.8G, with its 7 round aperture blades, does not disappoint us; the bokeh of this lens is absolutely beautiful.

miniBokehNikon50mm18

Flare

 
The Nikon 50 mm 1.8G has little with flare or ghosting at an open light source. We've founf the ghost you see in the 100% crop to the right in an image we shot with heavy backlight. flare

Resolution

 

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens is a very sharp lens: even using the 36 megapixel Nikon D800E this lens performs better than the much more expensive Nikon 50mm 1.4G lens. The difference in center sharpness of the Nikon 50mm 1.8G at full aperture or f/5.6, is actually quite small. The sharpness at the edges and in the corners is visibly better if you stop down two stops. The optimum is around f/4- f/5.6, but f / 8 and f/11 are almost equivalent in terms of sharpness across the entire image field.

ResolutieNikon50mmD800E

Chromatic aberration

The chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal (color bokeh), is low. Also positive is that the difference between the best and worst values is low. Color bokeh is a common issue with relatively fast glass. It can be visible as halos of different colors in out-of-focus areas - magenta (red + blue) in front of the focus point and green beyond.

Typical for most fast primes, the Nikkor shows noticeable bokeh fringing, but not much, at large aperture settings, which can of course be reduced by stopping down.

CANikon50mmD800E

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

Nikon 50 mm  bouw 1

 

See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
50
50
7.9
7.6
9.3
8.3
6.7
8
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
50
50
8.5
8.5
9.6
8.3
7.0
8

Pro

  • High resolution in the center from full aperture
  • Nice bokeh
  • Reasonably insensitive to backlight
  • Fast autofocus
  • Low purchase price

Con

  • Much vignetting at full aperture and f/2.8
  • Distortion on the high side
  • Corner resolution up to f/2.8 could have been higher
The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G is super sharp, focuses perfectly, and offers a beautiful bokeh as well. Despite its attractive price, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G is one of Nikon's best lenses at any price. In terms of proce/quality this is a fierce competitor for the much larger, heavier and more expensive Nikon 50mm 1.4. The small Nikon 50 mm 1.8G will always fits in your camerabag and when you use it, it will not disappoint you.
Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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