Nikon Fast Fix Test: Golden Mean

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G

A very important point is associated with this lens. Every day it is more and more often called portrait. But according to their purpose, the “fifty dollars” are not classic portrait painters, moreover, they have never been. These were the most versatile full-frame lenses, providing a viewing angle approximately equal to the viewing angle of the human eye.

In our case, the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G has a viewing angle of 47 degrees. And their optical properties are a balance, a compromise between different genres of photography. They are fast enough for shooting in low light, cutting for technical shots, they have compensated for chromatic aberration if possible. But, as a rule, the pattern of such lenses does not soften further, the bokeh can be harsh, and the micro contrast is high for portraiture. For a full-frame portrait, they are limitedly suited: when taking large-scale shots, the model’s face is pulled out and perspective distortions are introduced.

NIKON D750 / 50.0 mm f / 1.8 Installations: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/160 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

But with the advent of crop cameras, such lenses turned into portraits, since with DX (APS-C) cameras, close-ups were possible from a greater distance, and promising distortions were a thing of the past. As for the softness and plasticity of the picture, nothing has changed in this matter. That is, these are still not classic portrait painters, but a successful alternative to them. The difference in the pattern will be especially noticeable when compared with the classic 85 mm lens.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 110, F1.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G is the most “popular” of fixed lenses. Its main feature is the relative simplicity of the optical design (7 elements in 6 groups, one aspherical lens is used), as a result – low cost and at the same time excellent picture quality. In our test today, it is the lightest and most compact, only 185 g.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/1600 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

Let’s see how he can surprise us. To begin with, we will evaluate the sharpness indicators. The minimum aperture, like the other two lenses under test, is limited to f / 16.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/20 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F2, 1/15 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F2.8, 1/13 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/6 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/3 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F11, 2 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F16, 3 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

In the open aperture, sharpness in the center of the frame is acceptable, but drops dramatically closer to the edges of the picture. With aperture a little more than a step up to f / 2.8, the situation improves significantly. The sharpness in the center rises to high, the angles also become much more detailed. Nevertheless, the sharpness of this lens is slightly behind its 35 mm counterpart. He begins to catch up with him only after f / 4. At f / 5.6, it is already difficult to find fault with the level of detail across the entire field of the frame; further aperture does not give significant advantages.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 220, F2.2, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

Vignetting is noticeable on shots taken with the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G, especially at maximum aperture values. But as with sharpness, the situation changes dramatically with f / 2.8: vignetting is weakening. At F / 4, there is no trace left of it.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/100 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/20 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

In addition, this optical flaw can be corrected programmatically: when processed in a graphics editor or directly in the camera. During the test, in order to get the most objective picture, we specifically disable the software correction of all aberrations in the camera.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 160, F1.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

The lens is well compensated for chromatic aberration. They are present in the pictures, but do not have a decisive influence on quality.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 125, F1.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 140, F2, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 220, F2.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 500, F4, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

In some cases, when shooting with powerful backlight, the lens can catch glare.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F2, 1/80 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

But the main thing, because of which most photographers buy a fifty dollars, is blurring the background! Yes, thanks to its high aperture, it is able to provide beautiful bokeh. By the nature of the background blur, the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G does not stand out from other modern lenses. There are no recognizable signs of the picture, as well as pronounced shortcomings.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 1400, F1.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

The lens blurs the background softly enough, nice to the eye. Single glare have a smooth filling, but have a contrasting border. This border outlines each highlight a little stronger than that of classic portrait painters. And this is the main difference of the “fifty dollars”: bokeh, although beautiful, but sometimes glare can distract the attention of the viewer.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/6 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F2, 1/6 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F2.8, 1/3 s, 50.0 mm equiv.
NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

Therefore, if you need a truly affordable portrait portrait, then the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G will help you out. But keep in mind that in the Nikon optics lineup there are models that can handle portraits even better.

NIKON D750 / 50.0 mm f / 1.8 Installations: ISO 320, F1.8, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

There are no complaints about the autofocus speed. The SWM drive may not work as fast as the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f / 1.8G ED, but the speed is high enough for comfortable shooting of almost any scene. The minimum focusing distance is 45 cm – this is a standard figure for fifty dollars.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 320, F2, 1/50 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8G – a classic representative of “fifty dollars”, combining versatility and accessibility. He has no overt weaknesses. Its main advantage is a good balance between all characteristics and qualities. This also applies to focal length. Of course, in this matter everything is very individual. But in my opinion, this lens can be successfully applied in almost any genre and on any camera.

NIKON D750 / Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8G Settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/60 s, 50.0 mm equiv.

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