Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 D Lens (f/1.8)

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

Overall Rating:

Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 D

This lens is made in China and is 22 years old. It debuted at a price of $125 (USD). Around the introduction of this lens, the six megapixel D100 was a popular Nikon DSLR.

This compact performer is MORE than a half-stop slower than the Nikkor 50mm/1.4, but the speed difference hardly matters. Optically, it is excellent with high sharpness (until f/16) and great contrast. This is the D version of this lens which means it transmits distance information to the camera. Supposedly, this lens is multicoated when the earlier, pre-D version — still an AF lens — is just single coated. This makes no sense, however, as the Ai and Ai-S 50mm/1.8 manual focus lenses were multicoated.

Distortion is well controlled with about 0.1% pincushion. Color fringing is pretty much non-existant. Vignetting is gone by about f/4.

Color fringing detail:

center f/5.6 (3× magnification)
corner f/5.6 (3× magnification)

Corners are a little softer than the center as is expected.

This lens is compared in the comparisons section on this site

Mechnically, it is quite poor. Except for the lens mount, it is all plastic. The focus is noisy and bothersome, and the focus action is loose as it has to be so that the camera's focus motor does not strain. This makes manual focusing a really unpleasant affair. The front element does NOT rotate during focus and, thankfully, it does have a focus scale with depth of field scale.

Because this is a "D" lens without AF-S, it is compatible with many Nikon DSLR cameras, such as the D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D7000, D7100, D7200, D7500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D800E, D810, D850, D1 series, D2 series, D3 series, D4 series, D5, D6, etc.

The autofocus is not compatible with Nikon cameras that lack the little autofocus drive pin in the lens mount, such as the D40, D40X, D50, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D3400, D3500, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, etc. The lens will mount and meter with these camera bodies but with manual focus only. Also, it will not autofocus on any mirrorless camera.

The infrared performance is without a hotspot.

infrared at f/8
infrared at f/22

There is definitely flaring and ghosting.

ghosting f/1.8
flaring f/22

The bokeh is pretty decent/not too harsh, but the highlights do take on the shape of the diaphragm which is not round.

bokeh at f/1.8
bokeh at f/2.8
bokeh at f/2.8
bokeh at f/4

Diffraction has begun by f/8. Use greater stops than this (smaller number) for maximum performance.

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