Nikon NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 Ai-S N (New) Lens (f/1.8)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 Ai-S N (New) Lens (f/1.8).

Overall Rating:

In 1985, Nikon introduced this version of their popular 50mm/1.8 lens to replace the nearly identical pancake lens of 1980. It has a serial number greater than 4000000, and about 460,000 were produced. It was discontinued in 2005.

small flowers, using PK-11, PK-12 & PK-13 extension tubes (detail)

This sharp, very compact lens is made in JAPAN. Mechnically, it is just fair. It is not as good as the earlier Ai-S versions. It also only focuses down to 0.6 meters (compared to 0.45 meters). The focus collar and aperture ring are plastic. The front element doesn't rotate during focus and it has a focus scale with depth of field scale.

Distortion is well controlled with about 0.1% pincushion. Color fringing is very slight. There is a hint of spherical aberration.

center, f/1.8
corner, f/1.8
center, f/5.6
corner, f/5.6

Flaring is well controlled with just a little at f/22. Ghosting is also well controlled.

flaring, f/5.6
flaring, f/22

The bokeh is decent. There is nothing too distracting about it. Vignetting is gone by about f/4.

bokeh, f/1.8
bokeh, f/2.8
bokeh, f/4
bokeh, f/5.6

The infrared performance is not good at f/22 as there is a hotspot.

infrared at f/22

Diffraction has begun by f/8.

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