Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Review

September 7, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 is an excellent companion to any modern Nikon SLR camera, whether film or digital. Small, lightweight and affordable, it's also a winner in the optical department. Centre sharpness is impressive wide open, and the borders are also sharper than with previous 50mm f/1.8 lenses. Stopped down a notch, the lens is bitingly sharp across the entire frame. Chromatic aberrations are essentially a non-issue in actual use, geometric distortions are negligible, and bokeh is pretty good too. The only fly in the ointment is noticeable vignetting from f/1.8 through f/4.

Given that this lens lacks a traditional aperture ring and a meaningful DoF scale, users of really old Nikon film SLRs – as well as anyone who likes to use zone focusing techniques – are better served by the older “nifty-fifties”. For everyone else using Nikon gear, this lens is a no-brainer. Priced at £185 / $220, it might be considerably more expensive than the older AF-D version, but it's still affordable to most people and, thanks to its new optical design, delivers much better performance wide open (and also allows full-time manual focus override). Even DX users might be interested in the AF-S 50mm f1.8G, as it can serve as an excellent short telephoto/portrait lens on their cameras, including entry-level bodies that lack a body-integral focus motor.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4.5