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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G 35mm Primes
Product DescriptionThe first f/1.8G AF-S 50mm lens from Nikon, this is a great, inexpensive normal lens for FX-format (full frame) photographers and a great portrait or short telephoto lens for DX-format Nikon photographers. It has an improved optical formula compared to the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D and focuses as close as 1.48 ft. (0.45m).
Submitted by n8 a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2011
Improved optics wide open
Weaknesses: 1 stop loss on the high end.
I felt somewhat obligated to enter a review, as the only quick review of two stars seemed a bit unfair. But, in all fairness, I've only had this lens for about 24 hours, so take this for what it's worth.
I've used the 1.8 D for a couple years and was generally satisfied with it. Had I not been given the option to upgrade, I don't think I would complain about it too much, but of course it's got it's issues. I remember when I first got it, being used to my 18-200, it always startled me when auto-focusing, both the movement and the noise. I also found myself frequently annoyed by having to click in and out of focus modes when my other lenses had the ability to simply override by focusing. If anything this G series lens provides some consistency for me.
I've take the time to do some brief, loose tests of these two lenses, and even through in my old manual 50mm for fun (it lost). So, assuming the majority of those looking into this lens are either debating on whether it's worth it compared to their old one, I'll commence with my comparisons.
Build/Aesthetics: G hands down. Both are made of plastic, but the G lens is considerably more robust and feels more solid. This may be an issue if you liked the form factor of the D lens, but it's not like you have to get rid of it. The focusing elements breath in and out within the housing rather than extending past the edge of the lens, which I like. The focus ring provides ample grip, but is a bit tight compared to the D. Both have focus scales, which I don't know enough about to use, but they're there. If anything, this is a nice addition compared to the 35mm G. While looks shouldn't matter, they do, and the G lens looks great attached...very professional looking. Oh, the addition of the rubber gasket is nice too.
IQ: One of the biggest points that prompted me to look into this lens was reports of improved sharpness wide open. If there was an area of improvement, this would certainly be it, but...shooting wide open in bright light doesn't seem to be the strong suit of many lenses. Certainly, neither as as sharp wide open as my 60mm 2.8, but when taking test shots in fairly low light, the G wins. I have yet to do any comparisons in bright light, but I have noticed that the G will still loose some sharpness and contrast. Again, this is speaking to shooting at 1.8. Once things get closed down a bit, all is well. There is some difference in color rendering however, as I noticed the G seems to render deeper and brighter colors.
Other stuff: AF is silent and fast. I haven't noticed any issues here. Being able to override without flipping switches is nice. Also, it doesn't hunt for very long like the D with all of it's noise. Shooting with AF on auto on my d7000 seems to slow it down a bit, but if I'm using a single point (which I usually am) focus is very fast.
Finally. Bokeh. It's great. Better than it's predecessors.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $219.00
Purchased At: Lundgren's
Similar Products Used: 50mm 1.8 D
50mm 1.8 E
50mm 1.4 Kogaku (?)
Type of photography: Other