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The first detailed Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens review is out

Photozone.de just published the first detailed review of the new Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens. Their verdict:

"Compared to its predecessor (the Nikkor AF-D 50mm f/1.8) the new AF-S lens delivers better border resolution and improved bokeh, but has gained some weight and especially size."

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  • http://www.shortfingerphoto.com Nubz

    …and I am pretty impressed with the 1.8 that t replaced. Good job Nikon!

    • M Jesper

      Amazing MTF with great center performance for DX, and delicious bokeh, what more could we want ! Me = Impressed also.

      And then i’m sad i’d have to sell my 50/1.8 D. :(

      • Nicole

        Why sell the 1.8D? I have 3 of those little darlings, and because they are D lenses, I can use them on my old manual focus film cameras too. They are inexpensive enough to keep both.If you sell it, you may well regret it in the future.

        • M Jesper

          True, but you know, gotta stop somewhere =). Probably keep it tho, but just one 😉 http://www.flickr.com/people/blogged/

          On film it’s much nicer to focus with true MF lenses, they’re way smoother and so handle more precisely. And it’s fancy too.

  • From Canada

    Great performance/price from the test results. I hope they’ll do a similar follow-up release for 85mm f/1.8.

    • http://www.sdphoto.com Sam

      I’m hoping this too. I’d love an 85mm that doesn’t cost a fortune for my D5000


      y´, ye, yes, yeahhhhh, PLEASE!!! I need it too & was crying here for it for months now. The f/1,4 is at too high price to be bought by a non-professional (act. it is deemed to be pro …), so the f/1,8 is more then justified wish imho.

      COME ON NIKON – BRING THE 85mm f/1,8G (G!) out as soon as possible – the other 85s are either miles below their market lives or too costly.

  • Brian

    That can’t be all they had to say. I want to see a more in-depth review!

    • M Jesper

      Like what ? It’s a 50, not a full-featured camera. They’ve covered everything you need to know and more. Sorry but you’ll have to form your OWN opinion from this point on. Something people seem to have trouble with these modern times for some reason. :-/. No offense intended.

      • D-7

        A few words about the infrared performance (sharpness, hotspot, focus shift) would be a nice addition for every review. Sadly, this almost never happens.

        • Rude-olf

          Go to NikonGear, read Bjørn Rørsletts reviews- he practically always include IR and UV.

  • http://dundermifflin.com dwight schrute

    Why hasn’t Nikon come out with a 50mm ƒ/1.2?

    • Lawliet

      The microlenses reduce the effect of large apertures a bit. You’re lucky if you get even 1(3 of a stop in terms of DOF and light gathering also suffers from additional vignetting.
      f/1,2 wouldn’t open my wallet – the canon version works because of the smooth rendering it would retain as a f/1.4 or that a f/1.2 wouldn’t get by default and the mechanical quality of its less expensive sibling.

      • PHB

        Erm, I cannot see why the microlenses enter into it.

        The only feature that is relevant here is the acceptance angle and that was also an issue on film. Contrary to Canon sales propaganda, pretty much every modern lens has the light rays coming out pretty much parallel from the rear element.

        An 85mm f/1.4 has an aperture of 60mm which is significantly larger than the 41mm aperture of a 50mm f/1.2. From a technical point of view, a 50mm f/1.0 or even larger is practical in the F-mount format. Canon produced a f/1.0 back in the day but like several of their exotics it was a dog that was only actually usable at f/1.4 anyway.

        The reason Nikon has not produced a f/1.2 to date seems to be no more than that they have not got round to it yet. Until the release of the 24 f/1.4 the market for ultra-fast primes was pretty speculative. Previous Nikon lenses had been halo effect models that must have cost much more to develop than they ever brought in as revenue. Some of the more exotic lenses likely cost more to make than they sold for.

        The success of the f/1.4 primes to date makes it much more likely that we will see a 50mm f/1.2 with similar performance and price to the 85mm f/1.4.

    • f-stop

      I’ve been thinking the samething…its like come on already..

    • CK Dexter Haven

      Nikon AF 50s, previously, had been ‘bokeh-challenged.’ Making one with even greater amounts of problematic bokeh doesn’t seem like a good strategy.

  • Mock Kenwell

    They have, it’s just not AF-S.

    • MRPhotoau

      Nor AF-D. But wouldn’t it be awesome if they followed through with the latest patent for an upgrade in AF-S!!

      • M Jesper

        Also the overall performance and bokeh is somewhat, well, ‘classic’ with the ‘latest’ one. :) A new AF-S would be fun indeed, tho the problem is that i don’t have $2500 free at the moment 😉

  • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

    I wouldn’t trust photozone’s border measurements for several reasons. First they don’t account for focus shifts and field-curvatures correctly and when asked, they’re dismissive of the question and insists that bracketing solves the problem… but it doesn’t.

    Secondly their “extreme border” measurements are from a point that covers only like 5% of the entire frame. I explained it more below:


    So the new 50 1.8 might have a flatter field than the old one and indeed it may be sharper too, but I wouldn’t go by photozone’s numbers to understand how much. They’ve been proven to be misleading before.

    • Darth

      And who cares about your prescision test results when you still take such terrible photos. Better spend that time improving your photography, not doing worthless tests that obviously have no translation into real life.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        Ah yet another bs’er i owned in some discussion lol

      • Ronan


    • El Aura

      How are they not accounting for focus shifts? In all their descriptions and forum posts they clearly say that they re-focus for every aperture. What else could they do?

      And at least they do account for field curvature, I have not seen any mentioning of accounting for focus shift for SLRgear, DxOmark or the by now defunct DPreview reviews (or rather the latter even said they use one single compromise focus position, ie, if a lens has field curvature, they will test the lens with most of the field slightly out-of-focus).

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        They focus wide open so what does it solve? Nothing. All they have said is that they bracket the focus but they’re measuring at a supposed 1/4000 precision… You can’t expect bracketing to be that precise.

        Photozone presents their findings so confidently but when you look in to the details there are many flaws. If you dig in the forums you’ll see their defensive reactions when questioned about their methodology.

        They were once an interesting site because they had a large collection of reviews. But what good is being able to look at 3-4 arbitrarily chosen points to evaluate a lens? They also use a dozen different raw converters so even within brands you cant compare lenses sometimes but they do.

        Not saying the site is useless but there’s a lot of wrong things in their tests.

        • El Aura

          It is my understanding that they refocus for every aperture AND do focus bracketing on top of that (as does, eg, Lloyd Chambers). Can you point me to a post where they say they do not re-focus for every aperture?

          And can you explain me what they do wrong in regard to field curvature? And is there any lens test that does it right (or just better than PZ)?

          • Ebzzt

            I don’t think it’s practical to refocus for every aperture in the field. I for one want to know the test result without refocusing, I think its more relevant for most people.

            • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

              I don’t think it’s practical to refocus for every aperture in the field.

              Depends on what you’re shooting. If it’s still life then there’s no reason why one shouldn’t. And if you’re shooting wide open, there’s no need to “refocus”.

              Field curvatures are more of an issue when shooting wide open and you have the subject off the center. Thankfully, the typical SLR/DSLR viewfinders can be used to account for this (even without live view). This is a big problem with rangefinders though.

          • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

            It is my understanding that they refocus for every aperture AND do focus bracketing on top of that

            Yes, they do focus bracketing (which is not enough as I said), but where have they explained how they do the refocusing? Because ordinarily we all focus wide-open and the camera stops down and the focus shift takes place only at the time of capture. They haven’t said anything about this…

            And can you explain me what they do wrong in regard to field curvature? And is there any lens test that does it right (or just better than PZ)?

            It’s the same problem… focus bracketing. Photozone had it’s day and now they’re going entirely by quantity than quality. Looking at lenstip, they seem to be more on the ball because at least they’re knowledgeable enough to know about aberrations and their tests at least are pretty much in line with my experience.

            Also, I do my tests accounting for focus shifts AND field curvatures. I just don’t give numbers for resolution because there are too many number (far too many than photozone shows)… my tests are much more carefully controlled and WYSIWYG. Plus anyone can reproduce them… no details are carefully hidden.

            • El Aura

              Very simple, if you mention focus shift but do not refocus for every f-stop, you must be stupid. And unless people prove to me that they are stupid, I assume they are not stupid.
              Your approach might be the other way around but I think before you accuse somebody, you should have some evidence instead of using the approach: guilty unless proven innocent.

            • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

              Very simple, if you mention focus shift but do not refocus for every f-stop, you must be stupid. And unless people prove to me that they are stupid, I assume they are not stupid.
              Your approach might be the other way around but I think before you accuse somebody, you should have some evidence instead of using the approach: guilty unless proven innocent.

              I’m sorry but I’m not sure what/who you’re referring to here. Care to reword the first part?

              This is not some court to bring forth evidence. My original post was a “reader beware” type one where I pointed out limitations of the said test (its methodology). Like I said, I’ve discussed these things with PZ reviewers and anyone keen should go and search the forums instead of asking me to do their homework.

        • http://www.photozone.de Freedolin


          the way you asked your questions and started discussions about “issues”, a defensive response was really the only answer you could expect. In addition, in any of the discussions you started in our forum, the biggest issue seemed to be your lack of understanding or at least lack of intention to discuss anything else than your own narrow point of view.

          — Markus
          — Nikon lens review, photozone.de

          • Roo

            Markus, please do not feed this troll – he already had his time @ PZ forums, now let him demonstrate his “scientific background” here.

          • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

            In addition, in any of the discussions you started in our forum, the biggest issue seemed to be your lack of understanding or at least lack of intention to discuss anything else than your own narrow point of view.

            It’s funny how you guys ask for constructive criticism and when I point out ways things can be improved, all you can do is take it as an attack and ban the person. Here are things I suggested:

            1. The importance of resolution at “border” and “extreme border” points are dubious and when pointed out you guys had nothing to say other than something along the lines of “we like our way”:

            2. You only try to account for field-curvature by bracketing a few shots yet you present the results at precisions between 1/3000 to 1/4000. Bracketing doesn’t solve this.

            3. You only try to account for focus shifts again by bracketing.

            I pointed out some evidence showing that there may be a problem in the way you do this by showing the data on your TS-E 17 test where there’s an “unusual” bump in the MTF that’s not obvious from the way you present the data but you had nothing to say and I can’t even find the thread any more (deleted?):

            4. You claimed that you guys use 4 different RAW converters (two versions of ACR, LR and RAW Developer) for the different cameras. You got defensive when I suggested an alternative and banned me:

            Anyways… In my own testing, I’ve found visual evidence to prove some of your obscure border numbers wrong. But when it’s right in front of you, all you can do is ignore it.

            And this post summarises your credibility:

            • http://www.photozone.de Freedolin

              Just to clarify: you were temporarily banned, but certainly not for the reasons you try to make people believe. Your posts are still available, so anyone really interested to spent the time can check out his- or herself. None of your posts has been deleted, your account is still active. You left on your own.

              The question of RAW converter used is a good example of why at least I got tired of discussing anything with you. I explained several times why the alternatives you mentioned wouldn’t deliver any additional value, the results would still not be comparable across systems. So why bother at all?

              Anyway, end of discussion for me here.

              — Markus
              — Nikon lens reviews, photozone.de

            • Roo

              You were banned (and quite righly so) because you were trolling all over the place bashing Nikon and promoting Canon. I’m curious what are you doing here in Nikon rumours website?

            • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

              I’m curious what are you doing here in Nikon rumours website?

              I’m curious what you’re doing out of the Australian outback :)

        • NikonJoe

          They being defensive, you being obnoxious. It’s all a matter of perspective…

          • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

            Just like with most things in life, when some people agree with a thing some others don’t. So the only way to get everyone not have anything against you is by ceasing to exist. And may I know what your fan+hater-base is like? 😉

    • Stuff

      Was checking out some of your Flickr pics; no disrespect, man, but in some the bokeh is really jittery — very distracting, while in others it’s smooth.

      Can you tell me which lens is producing that nervous bokeh (some of the photos with specular highlights)?

      Not criticizing your work, just curious about the lens.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        no disrespect, man, but in some the bokeh is really jittery — very distracting, while in others it’s smooth. Can you tell me which lens is producing that nervous bokeh (some of the photos with specular highlights)?

        None taken. The easiest way to understand it is like this: The smoothness of bokeh is inversely proportional to the ambitiousness of the optics design. If you google around or dive in to the books, you’ll come to this conclusion too.

        For example, we know the 24 1.4G has slightly more “nervous” bokeh than some of the longer lenses because it’s a difficult design and people give credit where it’s due. The Canon 24 1.4L II has slightly more nervous bokeh than the Nikon 24 1.4G because it’s optimised to be sharper at close distances:


        It’s very rare to see a win-win situation. Lens design is all about making compromises… that’s why we have so many lenses out there to choose from for what exactly we want to do.

        Not criticizing your work,

        Of course… I didn’t design the lenses 😉 But I’m sure the lens designers would forward your complaint to “God” ;D

        Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss lenses further :)

        • Stuff

          Thanks for the reply.

          So the photos were taken with the Nikon 24 1.4G?

          • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

            Which photos, dude? There’s some 1800 of them there.

            • i am the best

              wait. did you say something? i mean it’s obvious you want people to talk to you, that’s great. but seriously.. get over yourself. I’m sure there are errors in how you test things out .. so keep it moving. and write your whinning in your own blog. thank you.

  • http://go-dslr.com Flosse_r

    I don’t get it. The original 50mm costs less than 100 euros in some places. The cheapest I have seen of this af-s version is 230 euros while the f1.4 costs around 300 euros. Wouldn’t it make sense to have priced the new AF-s version just under 200.. purely for the psychological aspect? Also you can get plenty of 50 mm f1.4 AF-s for around 250 euros used which is only a 20 euro difference. who is this lens supposed to appeal right now? I understand that the AF-d version is so old that it has paid itself already to Nikon and the AF-s is so new that they have to recover the costs but still….oh well, I am sure they know what they are doing.

    • danpe

      230 euros for something available? The cheapest I’ve found is around 225 euros including p&p, but with an estimated delivery time of two weeks (most places lack ETA). The price will probably settle down a bit in a month if there’s enough supply.

    • M Jesper

      Well you’ve answered your own question didn’t you ? It will just have to ‘settle’ into the market a bit. As always if you want the new thing now, it’ll be the ‘buy it now’ price. But i agree it’s at a weird point at the moment. :-/

    • Crocodilo

      I got mine for 199€ plus S&H, and it took three days from Belgium to Portugal :)

  • cabaw

    Two words:

    Disappointing bokeh

    • M Jesper

      Two words:

      Price / Performance

      You can’t expect 5-star food in a 3-star restaurant.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      Go and buy Zeiss Makro-Planar 50 mm f2 ZF.2 instead. It is just five times more expensive.

  • Zorro

    When you look at the performance in conjunction with the price, this is a very good lens. It will be great on a DX camera. I’ll be getting one for my D40 (and the long-rumored D40s).

  • CE

    God, reading something like this makes me really happy to be a Canon owner now. This is absolute bull***. F*** Nikon.

    • Zorro

      Why are you here?

    • http://www.os-am.com OSAM

      … and what on EARTH are you talking about?

    • http://iheartcamera.com scurvy hesh

      Good for you. Feel better? hows that plastic lens mount?

  • NisseHult

    It would be interesting to see a comparation between this one and the f/1.4 model !

  • Gorgonzola

    H8 to say it but my 1.8 D is better than this. the bokeh is rather disappointing sharpness cant come close to the D so whats the point… I am rather disappointed….. 1.4 it is

  • http://flickr.com/vidaextinta joaquim Prado

    Liked the performance, bokeh and sharpness. Pretty decent lens! Hope it will be available as a lens kit when launching the D700 replacement! :)

  • Mock Kenwell

    I know they’re trying to upgrade everything to the new G glass, but I still like the AF-D for the bokeh and real aperture ring. The differences/cost aren’t compelling enough.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      Probably, the only anti-AF-S 50 1.8 G comment here, with which I have to agree. Lack of aperture ring is a worst thing about almost all modern lenses. Also, I hate to admit that none of modern lenses can stop hardly at infinity. If you shoot nightscapes in utter darkness, you know that problem.

      • M Jesper

        Some fine photos in your journal Gin. Can’t help but think some series would look great on film, and you get the effects for free 😉

        • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

          Thank you for response! I’ve shoot film three year before and wish to move back, but this is expensive thing. I can’t justify bying $7 roll not to mention developing costs. :(

          • M Jesper

            Yea that is one thing that’s getting annoying for me too. But can’t help it to jump in once in a while and am always very pleased with the results. Can’t beat the sense of holding true negs or slides, exposed with nothing more than precisely controlled light and chemicals on plastic. Bought a whole bunch of film on ebay for cheaps, and apparently they don’t ever go bad in the freezer. So i’m good for a decade.

            • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

              That’s nice, Jesper. Good luck and heartily best wishes to you!

          • Patrick

            …stil cheaper than a D4 :)

            • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

              Of course, but I even have no D700, not to mention thick pocket to be free to purchase upcoming D4. :(

    • M Jesper

      I like that too, but the market doesn’t care. Let’s hope that at least companies like Zeiss, Leica, Voigtlander and Fuji with its X100 will continue to give us the Aperture Ring experience.

      • M Jesper

        Tho on AF-D lenses the ring is a bit hard to reach. I prefer to have it on the front of the lens really. At least AF-D can still be used on film tho. And then only need to bring an extra body in your bag and switch.

    • http://flickr.com/vidaextinta joaquim Prado

      Yeah! I hate that new lenses don’t have the aperture ring and can not be used on Mechanical Cameras but if you have the budget to get a 24mm 1.4 or a 24-70mm you might have a extra 300USD to get a F100 at least o even a F5. But the aperture ring is something essential to photography and I don’t know how smooth the manual focus on this lens is but I never liked the manual focus on the D version but love to manual focus on the 85mm 1.4D.

  • http://www.truphotos.com gnohz

    Thanks Admin!

  • inginerul

    i own the 1.4G after owning the 1.8 and 1.4D. the bokeh on this new 1.8 is amazing for a 50 mm lens and it’s similar to my 1.4G bokeh. also, the 1.4G is sharp even at 1.4 if you focus properly and the bokeh is noticeably softer than that of the 1.4D. i see alot of people saying dissapointing bokeh, but they’ve probably never owned a 50 mm before, especially not a D series. you really can’t compare a 50 mm bokeh to a 100 mm macro version or a 300 2.8. go buy the lens, it very sharp, well built and has a great bokeh, and take lots of pictures with it, stop wasting precious time by nagging about stuff you don’t actually really know !

  • smooth

    @ admin: the review site is called “photozone.de”, not potozone.de … for it deals with photo stuff. :-)

  • Fred

    Please stop complaining about the lack of aperture ring, please. Go buy a older 50mm that performs nicely with you film camera. They are better for MF too.
    As for me, I have the 50mm 1.8D for sell. The bokeh is just terrible, too much PF and many other things.
    Gen, every lens reviewer has a different method of testing lenses. You need to understand how they measure and if it effects you. It’s not like PZ didn’t say anything about focus shift and kept it a secret. “The lens showed some focus shift when stopping down (residual spherical aberration). ” Photozone.de
    And of course, reviews like this are a reference, and don’t REALLY impact my performance when taking photos.

  • http://www.fiordmedia.ro filmari nunti

    I am a wedding photographer. For me this type of lens is the most used during the wedding. If I would have more money to invest probably some f1,4 would be even better. But for this money you can’t get anything better!

  • http://photoartbymark.zenfolio.com photoartbymark

    looks like a nice lens with a nice price to go with it

  • B

    When will this lens be in stores in Europe ?

    …i can’t wait

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      the official release date for Europe is June 2nd

  • dgm

    as far as bokeh goes … does anyone know of a good all round bokeh comparison for the Nikon 50mm ?

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