This is a brief, “long-term use” review of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF lens, which remains one of my most favorite of lenses.
I almost always reach for it whenever I wish to do low-light or portrait photography.
Of course, there are better lenses for such applications (such as the new Nikon f/1.4G AF-S lens for lowlight photography, or the Nikkor 60mm or the new 105mm f/2.8 VR macro lenses for portraits) but not many can claim to offer the same immense value and satisfaction for the money as this USD100 lens. If you want a shortcut to great-looking images as soon as you get your new Digital SLR, getting this lens will make that objective a reality, without busting your bank account.
This is the lens I got when I first purchased my Nikon D70 back in March 2004 — my only lens for a few months. Mine’s made in China but for what it’s worth, I’ve not had any problems with it whatsoever.
I include below a table pointing to various images taken with the 50mm f/1.8 which I feel best exemplifies the benefits you’d attain from having this lens in your arsenal.
|The portrait of a jumping spider was done with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 reversed onto a Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF lens — an SB-800 flash was used to illuminate the scene. The second image was shot with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 reversed onto an el-cheapo Sigma 18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 DC lens, with SB-26 flash (I didn’t have an SB-800 of my own at the time, so I borrowed my brother-in-law’s flash) Learn more about taking macro shots with stacked / reversed lenses.|
|Shallow DOF images are possible with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 opened-up to wide apertures, eg f/2.0 for the first image and f/1.8 for the second. I used a Hoya +4 close-up filter to allow the lens to come nearer to the subject, yielding a larger image of it, with shallower depth-of-field as a result. Shop for close-up filters or B+W 52mm close-up lenses (52mm filters are suitable for screwing onto the front of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens).|
|I have used the 50mm f/1.8 on my Nikon D70 successfully for weddings and events too. The images taken always has that special “something” to them, probably due again to the shallow dof and bokeh qualities when this lens is used wide-open. But I’d rather let Ross Armer’s wedding examples do the talking. Clicking the thumbnail on the right brings you direct to his PBase gallery. You can also read his forum post regarding his comment on the use of this lens mounted on his Nikon D100 camera.|
|Even without Nikon’s AF-S technology, this lens focuses pretty briskly, as evidenced by this snapshot of moving aquarium fish at close focusing distance.|
The 50mm f/1.8 works great as a lightweight, general-purpose portrait lens — many truly great images have been made with it. Comments on the thumbnails on the left (click them to view the larger version):
Here’s a nice, light-hearted account on why the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens is actually “very expensive”.
If you have any comments or reviews of this lens, do leave a note here, pointing to your forum, blog or website posting containing your thoughts.
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