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Nikon 50mm 1.8d review

Onfotolife lets you check sample photos from different lenses.

After thousands of frames shot using kit lens, and after watching millions of images in the Internet, shot on large aperture optics, every photographer want to try something new. After a “boring” standard lens, which usually comes with a camera, a small Nikkor 50mm 1.8d will be a wonderful variant.

nikon 50 1.8d

Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (MKIII) is a perfect lens for owners of cameras with integrated autofocus motor. But if your camera does not have such a motor (Nikon D3100/D5100/D40), you can buy Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G SWM and autofocus will work on any Nikon DSLR.

Nikon company has 5 autofocus 50 f/1.8 lenses:

1) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (first version, MK I) – the lens was produced only in Japan from 1986 to 1990.

2) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (second version, MK II) – the lens was produced in Japan and China. MK II version was produced from 1990 to 2001. MK II differs from MK I only visually.  MK I and MK II are identical optically.

3) Nikon 50mm 1.8d AF Nikkor (third version, MKIII, more commonly known as “D”-version) – is presented in this review, the lens is produced since 2002. All lenses are made in China. Optically this version is identical to MK II and MK I. But the ability to transfer the focusing distance to the camera was added.

4) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical (fourth version, MK IV, more commonly known as “G”- version) – the lens is produced since 2011, all lenses are made in China. The lens lost aperture ring and got a built-in focus motor SWM. It has updated optical scheme with an Aspherical element.

5) Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical Special Edition (fifth version, MK V, more commonly known as “Special Edition” version ) – the lens is produced since 2013. It differs from the previous model Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM Aspherical only by appearance. The lens is made in the old classical style for a Nikon Df camera.

nikon 50 1.8d

If you want to test fast lens – Nikkor 50 1.8d will very quickly help you. The lens aperture is its most attractive feature, the maximum value of aperture is f/1.8. You can easily achieve “bokeh effect” using the lens with such a focal length and aperture when focusing on close distance.

Main characteristics of Nikon 50mm F/1.8D AF Nikkor.

Basic properties:

– FX – the lens was designed for full-frame Nikon FX cameras

– AF (auto focus) – support auto focus on cameras with internal focusing motor

– D (distance) – transfers focusing distance to the camera

– NON-G (non gelded) – has an aperture ring

– SIC – special integral optic illumination

– low weight and small size.

The diameter of the front filter:  52 mm, plastic thread for filters.

Body materials: focusing ring is plastic, rubberized on the outside. The outside part of the lens is plastic. Bayonet is metal. Aperture ring is plastic.

Focal length: 50 mm (for Nikon DX is 75 mm).

Viewing angles: 46 degrees for FX, 31 degrees for DX cameras.

The multiplicity of the zoom: 1 X (this fixed focal length lens doesn’t have the possibility of changing the focal length).

The number of the diaphragm blades: 7 not rounded blades.

Aperture: from F/1.8 to F/22. The lens has an aperture ring.

Minimal focusing distance: 0.45 m, maximum magnification 1:6.6.

Weight: 155 g.

Optical scheme: 6 elements in 5 groups. The lens doesn’t use special optical elements. MKI and MKII versions use the same optical scheme.



Hood: rubber lens hood Nikon HR-2 (not supplied with the lens).

Manufacturer country: China.

Nikon 50mm 1.8d is a very lightweight lens. You can always take it with you due to the very small size and small weight. It is very simple to find a 52 mm filter for Nikkor 50mm 1.8d. I love hiking, and every extra 100 grams of weight – a serious test, that is why I use this lens instead of a heavy zoom lens.

Nikon 50mm 1.8d is the smallest autofocus lens from Nikon which I have ever seen. I always keep my Nikkor 50mm 1.8d in my camera bag, it does not take a lot of space and I don’t afraid to lose it.

nikon 50 1.8d f1.8 Nikon 50 1.8d F/1.8

Nikon 50 1.8d is one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) fixed-aperture lens from Nikon. It’s hard to find something cheaper. The lens will allow you to get the necessary experience of working with high-aperture optics for little money. I almost always recommend a Nikkor 50mm 1.8d as the first additional lens. It can open the aperture to a value of f/1.8. For example, the f/1.8 aperture is about 10 times greater than f/5.6. A kit lens 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 with the same focal length has f/5.6. The value of f/1.8 allows to shoot at lower ISO in poor lighting conditions, to use faster shutter speeds, and to better control depth of field (DOF).

Nikon 50mm 1.8d is a very affordable lens. It is easy to find it in any store of any city. Lenses Nikon 50mm 1.8d are produced from 2002 to the present day.

The lens has a fast auto focus system – lens focuses from 45 cm to infinity and back in one second on my camera. The most interesting thing that his motorized brother Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1.8g SWM has the same focusing speed. I tested both lenses together. In addition, Nikkor 50mm 1.8d focuses faster than Nikkor 50mm f/1.4g.

f1.8Nikon 50 1.8d F/1.8

The lens has a manual aperture control ring. To be able to control the aperture value of the camera or to automatically set the aperture on modern DSLR’s, turn the control ring to a value of f/22 (the value is colored orange) and secure it with a special lever, located to the right of the aperture label. If you will not do this, then the display will show an error – “FEE” (aperture ring is not set) in a number of cameras. Some cameras have a rheostat aperture diaphragm and they can control this aperture ring, but only in the metering modes ‘M’ and ‘A’.

Nikon 50mm 1.8d has the focusing distance scale. The scale is available in meters and feet, it is very helpful. For example, you do not need to think which way to rotate the focus ring, it is enough to look at the lens. For example, the kit lens Nikon 18-55mm doesn’t have a focusing distance scale, depth of field scale and the aperture ring.

Nikon 50 1.8d can work with a full frame camera (FX). For Nikon DX cameras its effective focal length is 75 mm. The front lens does not rotate during focusing. This allows you to easily use different filters and not worry about their shifts during focusing. Focus ring rubberized and rotates at 120 degrees.

nikon 50 1.8d f2.8Nikon 50 1.8d F/1.8

Disadvantages of the lens:

– It is very difficult to achieve a sharp image at wide open aperture f/1.8. The lens becomes very sharp from f/2.8 to f/8.

– The lens is quite noisy during automatic focusing. It is a very negative effect for shooting video.

– Nikon 50 1.8d has no built-in focusing motor. As already mentioned in the beginning, it can be used with automatic focusing only on cameras with an focusing motor. On cameras without motor you need to focus manually. I do not recommend to buy this lens for cameras without a focusing motor.

– Hood is not supplied with the lens, but you can purchase it separately. The hood is mounted into the thread for color filter.

– The lens unit moves when focusing and the “lens trunk” travels forward.

– The lens doesn’t have the focus mode switch, switching to manual focus and back is implemented by means of a switch on a camera, which is located near the lens mount.

– The lens has 7 diaphragm blades, which create ‘nuts’ in bokeh zone.

Advantages of the lens:

– The lens is sharp. Sharpness starts from aperture f/2.8.

– The lens doesn’t suffer from distortion.

– Vignetting is minimal on DX cameras. Vignette disappears completely at f/2.8 on DX cameras and at f/4 on FX cameras.

– Maximum sharpness is achieved at f/4 – f/8.

– The lens has a nice rubberized focus control ring.

flowers f1.8Nikon 50 1.8d F/1.8


Nikon 50mm f/1.8d is an excellent price/performance lens. You can always take it with you due to its compactness and lightness. It can give a very sharp image with a slightly rough bokeh. It can be used as a portrait lens on DX cameras. The only serious drawback of the lens is its softness from f/1.8 to f/2.8.

Here are nikon 50mm 1.8d sample images.

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