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Author Topic: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D  (Read 4059 times)

Offline theqca

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Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:05:41 AM »
Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D

I?ve been using a 50mm lens in some form or the other for sometime. I?ve used the older metal ones and the 1.4 however I?ll restrict this review to just the 50mm 1.8D

I got this lens when I purchased the D90. The camera was taken as a body only when it was launched and I took the 50mm 1.8D as a ?kit? lens for this camera as I don?t like the 18-55 / 18-105 option.

There is an endless debate that a 50mm isn?t really a 50mm on a crop sensor camera and a 35mm is more like a 50mm etc etc however
I put my eye to the viewfinder, I liked the view I got there with the 50mm on the camera and so I took it. I also later checked the view I got from the 35mm and I preferred the view from the 50mm to the view I got from the 35mm ? this is a debatable topic so I?m not going to venture into this.

Anyways?some technical details of the lens I?m referring to (from the Nikon website) -

Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Picture angle 46? [31?30' with Nikon digital cameras (Nikon DX format)]
Closest focusing distance 0.45 m/1.5 ft.
Maximum reproduction ratio 1/6.6
No. of diaphragm blades 7
Filter/attachment size 52mm
Diameter x length (extension from lens mount) Appproximately 63.5 x 39mm/2.5 x 1.5 in.
Weight Approximately 155g/5.5 oz.
Supplied accessories 52mm Snap-on front lens cap


Overall

It?s a nice small light weight lens. What I particularly liked about it is that it?s got an aperture ring.
The aperture ring needs to be locked in place at f22 and cannot be used on a camera like the D90 but I?m used to seeing lenses with an aperture ring and the new G lenses don?t feel normal to me. Maybe it?s just me being a bit old fashioned but I want to see that ring and those numbers on my lenses. Unlike the newer G lenses, this lens with the numbers and the ring looked good to me?this may sound a bit stupid but it was one of the reasons why I took the lens.

The lens is a pleasure to carry around and if I had to choose just 1 lens to take with me on a holiday I?d choose the 50mm 1.8D. This lens makes me think and look at the world in a creative manner so it gives me photographs unlike an 18-55 which gives me ?snaps?

Some details of usage

I?ve been using the lens mostly for portraits and some photos where I felt the need to go a bit closer than the 20mm / 10mm I mostly use for landscapes. Its sharp..really sharp. I haven?t ever looked at MTF charts and measured this lens on a computer so when I?m saying sharp I mean its sharp in real life and I haven?t been able to personally find any flaw in the sort of photos this lens gives me.
I?ve also made a conscious effort to shoot a variety of different subjects at different apertures using this lens.

Pros & Cons

Pros ? light weight and balances well on the camera, it?s cheap, is sharp, has an aperture ring so can be used on my older cameras too, can be mounted on extension tubes / can be reversed and used for macros / close-ups.

Cons ? will not auto focus with the lower end Nikon cameras so if you?ve purchased something like a D3100 / 5100 or whatever else Nikon is calling its entry level range, I?ve got 2 words for you ? bad luck :p

Build quality

It?s a fairly well built lens in terms of overall finishing. It doesn?t appear to be as strong as my older metal lenses but I liked the quality of plastic that has been used on the lens. Its got a fairly good finish and doesn't look like something that costs just around 5k INR


How does it compare with similar products available?
I?ve got a 1.4 but I would rate the 50mm 1.8 a bit higher than that lens due to the price difference.
I would recommend a 1.4 if you really want to shoot at that aperture. For everything else atleast for me, the 50mm 1.8 works perfectly well.
I cant think of a photograph where I would really want to use 1.4 instead of 1.8 - if you can think of a situation where you will need 1.4 then buy the 1.4 else stick to the 1.8
I bought the 1.4 because I wanted to know what 1.4 feels like..no other reason. I find the 1.8 as good as the 1.4 for most of the normal photos i take.

Focus
I?d rate the focus speed for this lens as somewhere in-between. It?s not exceptionally fast & silent but then it?s not as slow and noisy as my tamron 90mm macro.

I usually use just 1 auto focus point if I use the auto focus mechanism and I?ve found this does the job without hunting around too much.

On the whole the auto focus is quite usable. I get very irritated with lenses like the 90mm 2.8 Tamron and the sigma 10-20 and the minute the lens starts hunting instead of locking focus I turn the auto focus off and focus manually ? I haven?t yet had to do this with the 50mm 1.8

Bokeh
Is good depending on how wide open you shoot. Not as good as a DC lens but it?s good enough for regular usage and better than anything you?ll get from a normal kit lens or any other lens that I?m aware of for this price.

Sharpness
I felt that photos at f2.8 were a bit better than photos shot at f1.8 with this lens. Cant find any problem or issues with the ones taken at f2.8. It?s a bit difficult to get the focus right at these large apertures though. As long as you?ve focused in the right place its fine. Unlike taking a portrait at f8 where even if you don?t focus on the eyes you?ll end up with a photo that?s fairly usable ? with this lens when shooting at large apertures you need to ensure your focus is where it should be.
I?ve also shot with this lens at smaller apertures ? no issues or diffraction that I?ve noticed. I?m not saying it?s not there?maybe it?s there but I can?t see it hampering my photos in any way.

Distortion
I haven?t seen any distortion in the photos I?ve taken over the past few years with this lens. There may be some that can be measured on the computer..nothing that my eyes can see though.

Overall summary
I love this lens and would recommend it as a must have for any photographer who needs something that is cheap, sharp and fun to use.
This lens forces you to think creatively if you use it at large apertures.
It teaches you to compose things right and forces you to think ? a zoom makes you lazy as it gives you the luxury of zooming in or zooming out.

==========================================

Do feel free to add your own views / thoughts to this write-up.

If you've got some photos taken with this lens that you'd like to share as examples please feel free to post them here on this thread.

============================================

« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 01:18:42 AM by Ayaz »
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc

Offline theqca

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2014, 01:08:28 AM »
Most people tend to use this lens as a portrait lens so sharing some photos taken at various apertures of photos which are not portraits just to give you an idea of how the lens works for photos other than portaits (need to search for some older photos...will add as and when I locate them) :

F10



F9





F8


F2.8




« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 01:22:48 PM by Ayaz »
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc

Offline Wild007

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 08:00:32 PM »
Very well written Ayaz.
Lovely photos too.

 :) :)

Offline shooter

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2014, 09:19:50 PM »
The lens is sharp, but one thing I felt about this lens is: the focus ring is a bit stiff, not very suitable for focusing manually....

Offline theqca

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2014, 09:54:04 PM »
The lens is sharp, but one thing I felt about this lens is: the focus ring is a bit stiff, not very suitable for focusing manually....

The one on my lens isn't really stiff but its got that plastic sort of a feeling to it and it its not the same precise turn as the focus ring on my 50mm 1.4 AIS or 55mm 2.8 AIS...the 50mm 1.8 D focus ring when used in manual mode turns a bit too freely...I think that's one of the problems when lenses haven't been designed for "manual" as a primary method of focus...
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc

Offline shooter

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 11:15:19 PM »
I agree, but the Nikon AF lenses in this series:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/55af.htm

had that cream smooth focusing....

The 50mm 1.8 is a great lens, but this is one of the drawbacks....

Offline naresh

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 09:30:07 AM »
ayaz ... very nice write up.

Is there any difference between D and G type at wide open ? I never get(hand held) sharp photos at f1.8 at D version !!

any suggestions to take at f1.8??

Offline Ramstrong

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2014, 09:26:54 PM »
ayaz ... very nice write up.

Is there any difference between D and G type at wide open ? I never get(hand held) sharp photos at f1.8 at D version !!

any suggestions to take at f1.8??

@ Naresh - I have both the 50 mm D & G version and I still feel (by personal experience) that the D version is slightly better than the G version @ F1.8 (as far as sharpness is concerned) though I haven't tested it by shooting same subject  & compared the results side by side.

Sharing one pic (Daily sheet Calender made of Cardboard material) shot with D700 & the 50mm F1.8D lens @ 1.8 Hand held.

Note:The dark marks seen on the sides are due to flickr sharpening. The original file doesn't have those dark patches.

EXIF: F1.8; 1/40 Sec; ISO200.

 
NikonD810+D700+D7000+MB-D10&11+Some Nikon Glasses+Helios81N 50mmF2 Lens+Vanguard AP263AT+GH100+SB600+SB400+YN560II+YN560+YN622Nx2.

Canon EOS5D MkII+EOS650D+EF24-105mmF4 L Lens+EF40mmF2.8STM+Tammy SP70-300mmVC+Fujinon55mmF1.8 MF Lens+Nissin Di866Mk2Pro1+YN603Cx4.

Offline theqca

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 11:53:48 AM »

Thom Hogan feels that the G version is a better lens.

I personally haven't tested or used the G version though with changes in technology / lens coating etc there ideally should be some improvement (though this doesn't always happen and companies have been found to push out flawed products to replace an excellent one but in this case nikon seems to have made a better lens by what i read online)

I dont believe that its not possible to get a sharp image with the D version but get it with the G version - the difference between the 2 lenses is not that wide that you would be able to measure it so easy IMHO. Its also possible that the overall balance of the two lenses on the camera body you use if different and this has resulted in your "not so sharp" photos with the D version.

The second thing is you need to understand that these lenses are not the sharpest when used wide open. So the 1.8 lens will be sharper at 2.8 as compared to 1.8. At 2.8


@Ramstrong - the pic you've taken shows that the lens is very good in colours / contrast as well as very usable at 1.8. Would be interesting to try the same shot at 2.8 just to see if there is any noticeable increase in sharpness when both images are processed and shot in an identical manner under the same conditions - the only difference being the change in aperture from 1.8 to 2.8

There are lots of websites which do lens comparisons but those are more of comparisons done on a computer rather than a comparison done in the real world while taking photos that we would normally want to shoot. So any test done like the one you've shot would for me carry more weight than a computer graph.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 11:56:39 AM by Ayaz »
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc

Offline Ramstrong

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 05:12:28 PM »
I agree that both the lenses are very sharp @ F1.8. However, the question is, when compared among them which one is better?

Both the D & G  lens copies that I have are very sharp. :)

Will do a comparison test shortly with both the lens @ different apertures & share the results.
NikonD810+D700+D7000+MB-D10&11+Some Nikon Glasses+Helios81N 50mmF2 Lens+Vanguard AP263AT+GH100+SB600+SB400+YN560II+YN560+YN622Nx2.

Canon EOS5D MkII+EOS650D+EF24-105mmF4 L Lens+EF40mmF2.8STM+Tammy SP70-300mmVC+Fujinon55mmF1.8 MF Lens+Nissin Di866Mk2Pro1+YN603Cx4.

Offline mannusingh

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2014, 05:30:19 PM »
I had both the 1.8 and the still own 1.4 D. The 1.4 was Sharper till about F5.6 after which the 1.8 got sharper. I also preferred the rendering of the 1.4 over the 1.8 which was the reason I sold the 1.8. Neither of them are bokeh champs but I always preferred the one on the 1.4.

Sent from my Nexus 4

Nikon and M4/3

Offline ras

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 12:12:16 AM »
Great review :)

Offline Ramstrong

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 02:45:57 AM »
I agree that both the lenses are very sharp @ F1.8. However, the question is, when compared among them which one is better?

Both the D & G  lens copies that I have are very sharp. :)

Will do a comparison test shortly with both the lens @ different apertures & share the results.

These are the results of the comparison shots taken with Nikon D700 mounted on a tripod at apertures from f1.8 to f8. All camera settings & lighting remained identical for both the lenses. The focus point also remained same. Used SB400 mounted on the camera (bounce flashed) & 2 Yongnuo external flashes for the lighting.











NikonD810+D700+D7000+MB-D10&11+Some Nikon Glasses+Helios81N 50mmF2 Lens+Vanguard AP263AT+GH100+SB600+SB400+YN560II+YN560+YN622Nx2.

Canon EOS5D MkII+EOS650D+EF24-105mmF4 L Lens+EF40mmF2.8STM+Tammy SP70-300mmVC+Fujinon55mmF1.8 MF Lens+Nissin Di866Mk2Pro1+YN603Cx4.

Offline Nikon

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 07:53:14 PM »
Very well written Ayaz.
Lovely photos too.

 :) :)

+1

Ramstrong ji nice comparison....

Offline theqca

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Re: Long term ownership review ? Nikon 50mm 1.8 D
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2014, 06:51:06 PM »
Thanks...

Ramstrong - just carefully looked at the images you've been kind enough to post.

They look almost identical to me....at times I "think" one is sharper than the other however if i look away and look again im not so very sure...so it could be my eyes just playing tricks.

Anyways - one things is clear to me - in the real world when ur shooting out in the field i dont think anyone would be able to figure out the difference between photos from both lenses...maybe if you start measuring things using a computer there may be some difference...
Nikon FM(black), Nikon FG, Nikon D700, Nikon FM(silver), Nikon FM10, Pentax Spotmatic, Zenith TTL, Minox Wetzlar, Agfa Optima III, Yashica & Rollei rangefinders etc

28mm 2.8, 70-300vr, 200mm f4, 50mm 1.4, 55mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.8, 16mm 2.8, 70-210 f4 macro, Lensbaby, Helios 44 f2, 90mm macro, etc