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Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G First Impressions

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G arrived today from B&H Photo (about $220). At half the price of the AF-S 50mm /1.4G, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for any Nikon shooter.

A few things were apparent immediately:

  • Wide open at f/1.8, central contrast and sharpness are outstanding, and this is apparent in Live View also.
  • Autofocus is usually accurate and consistent compared to its sibling, the AF-S 50mm /1.4G, but like the 50/1.4G, has a propensity to front-focus.
  • Bokeh looks promising.
  • My copy generated either ERR or a bad exposure three times with the D3x when shooting at f/11. The 50/1.4G showed no such problem.
  • The 50/1.8G takes the same size lens cap as the 50/1.4G and indeed cannot be distinguished at a glance very easily, except by weight and a slightly lesser bulk.

I will have a full review in DAP, and I have a hunch that the 50/1.8G is going to be a great lens (so I hope). I’ve already shot a detailed comparison, but it will take some time to prepare and likely won’t be published until Friday.

In the meantime, see my March 2009 review of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G.

A number of ad-hoc tests showed that the 50/1.8G delivers outstanding sharpness wide open, with extremely accurate focus (within my very limited testing so far).

Actual pixels from shot below

Nikon D3x + AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, 1/125 sec handheld @f/1.8, ISO 200

Nikon D3x + AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, 1/60 sec handheld @f/1.8, ISO 200


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