Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 G Lens (f/1.8)

Review of the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 G Lens (f/1.8).

Overall Rating:


This modest little lens is 12 years old and made in China. Its debut price was $220 USD. It has one aspherical element and no ED elements. Due to the aspherical element, its design is relatively modern. It is a good lens to partner with the AF-S 28mm/1.8 and AF-S 85mm/1.8. This lens does not have much of a reputation probably because it is an inexpensive 50mm. When it was introduced, the Nikon D700 — a 12MP camera — was modern.

sunset (detail)
yellow bells at 0.15× magnification
barbados at 0.15× magnification (detail)


There is almost no color fringing to be found. There is some vignetting to be found wide open only, and is gone by f/2.8. A little barrel distortion is there (around 0.4% — probably too much for a prime 50mm) and there is pretty much no flaring to speak of.

This lens is sharp and constrasty in the center but the corners improve only a little bit when stopping down.

The autofocus is relatively zippy meaning it might be able to capture a toddler zipping around. It is silent as it focuses. It doesn't hesitate like the AF-S 85mm/1.8 does.

Because it is a prime lens, it lets more light in than a zoom lens meaning the shutter values will be just a little faster than a zoom given the same scene and aperture, plus the lens has a greater maximum aperture than a zoom lens.

Diffraction begins around f/8.

no vignetting (detail)

Color fringing detail at 3-to-1:

center at f/5.6
corner at f/5.6


This lens is poor for infrared photography. It exhibits a strong hot spot at f/16. It will be fine if shooting wide-open or nearly so.

infrared at f/16

Ghosting & Flaring

There is not too much ghosting for a design like this, and the same for flaring.

ghosting at f/1.8
flaring at f/16


The bokeh is good wide-open but this is to be expected. It does not hold up as the lens is stopped down. The bokeh becomes pretty harsh by f/6.3.

wide-open, f/1.8
stopped down some, f/4
stopped down some more, f/6.3


"G" lenses like this are not compatible with older cameras, but they are compatible with all Nikon DSLR's and Z cameras (with FTZ adapter).


This is a sturdy all plastic lens design. The manual focusing feels good and there is no slop. It focuses beyond infinity to accommodate the UV wavelength.

This lens has a focus and depth of field scale but it's usefulness is limited because it is so small no doubt to help make the autofocus faster by making it travel less.


Focal length 50mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens construction 7 elements in 6 groups (with one aspherical lens element)
Angle of view 46° (31°30' with Nikon DX format)
Minimum focus distance 0.45m/1.48ft.
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:6.7 (0.15×)
No. of diaphragm blades 7 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size ø58mm
Diameter × length Approximately 72 × 52.5 mm/2.8 × 2.1 in.
Weight Approximately 185 g/6.6 oz
Price $220 USD (2011)


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