Nikkor Lens 50mm f1.8D
The Nikkor Lens 50mm f1.8D was designed for film, making it compatible with both DX- and FX- format digital camera bodies. On an APS-C sized sensor body the lens provides an effective field of view of 75mm. The lens will not autofocus on Nikon camera bodies that do not have the mechanical autofocusing screw, such as the D40, D60 and D5000 models.
The lens takes 52mm filters, and is available new for around $120. We originally reviewed this lens as part of a comparison of six 50mm lenses, and you may wish to review “The Tanner Report” for further details.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D provides sharp results when stopped down to ƒ/2.8 or smaller. When used wide open at ƒ/1.8 or ƒ/2, we did note some generalized softness.
In summary, you don’t get much better value for money in terms of sharpness if you stop down to ƒ/8. Wide open sharpness isn’t the best, but if you can keep it at ƒ/2.8 or smaller you’re rewarded with very sharp images.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 contends well with chromatic aberration. Unfortunately, where it does tend to produce CA is at the wider side of its aperture range, which is probably where this lens will be used the most. On the D3x, which features automatic chromatic aberration removal, the lens truly shines, showing almost no traces of chromatic aberration at all.
Light falloff isn’t much of a problem with the 50mm ƒ/1.8; when mounted on the sub-frame D200, corner shading was only evident when used at ƒ/1.8 or ƒ/2, where the corners were around a half-stop darker than the center. At other apertures, it’s less than a quarter-stop.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 shows no distortion when mounted on the sub-frame D200. On the full-frame D3x, there is a negligible (+0.1%) amount of barrel distortion apparent in the corners.
The 50mm ƒ/1.8 AF-D uses the body-mounted screw to drive autofocus, meaning it will not autofocus on screw-less Nikon bodies such as the D40, D60 and D5000. On other bodies it focuses very quickly, slewing through focus in less than a second. As focus is conducted mechanically there is a fair amount of noise during autofocus operations. As well, the focus ring will move during autofocus.
The lens is not rated for remarkable macro, with a magnification rating of just 0.15x. The minimum close-focusing distance is 46cm (18 inches).
Build Quality and Handling
The lens is built with dense plastic, making for a very small and light package (just 156g, or 5.5 ounces). At this size and weight there isn’t much of an excuse not to drop the lens into a spare corner of the camera bag. The lens mount is metal and the filter threads are plastic.
|Name||Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.8D AF Nikkor|
|Lens Construction||6 Elements in 5 groups|
|Diagonal Angle of View(Based on image circle)||46 degrees|
|Front Element Rotation||No|
|Closest Focus||0.46m / 1.5 ft.|
|Magnification Ratio||0.15x / 1:6.6|
|Dimensions(Length x Diameter)||39mm x 64mm / 1.5 in. x 2.5 in.|
|Weight||156g / 5.5 oz|