Review Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

Mar 20, 2017
Central Ohio
Real Name
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The "nifty-fifty". I highly recommend that everyone have one of these lenses. Versatile, inexpensive and a great jack of all trades. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is an upgrade to our older 50mm f/1.8D. If you've read our 70-300mm AF-P lens review, you'll know that this is an upgrade to prepare for our impending purchase of the new Nikon mirrorless camera, Z6.

This 50mm with AF-S should work perfectly on the Z6 with FTZ adapter.

How does the newer lens hold up against our previous version? Let's discuss!

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Nikon D750
1/100, f/4, ISO 100

The 50mm f/1.8G is larger in all dimensions than the older 50mm f/1.8D. Don't get me wrong, the G version is still not "large", but it is definitely bigger. As with most things in the camera world, size is relative to the person.

One thing that I did not like about the 50mm D version was the fact that the AF ring at the front of the lens would move. The G version does not do this. You do get the added bonus of the G lens having full time manual focus override.

Since the lens is a little bit bigger and you don't have to worry about your fingers on the AF ring, I'd definitely give the handling edge to the G.

The amount of plastics and the simple design do not make this a heavy lens either. Definitely something that we can keep with us a lot of the time with little to no carry penalty.

It feels quality in the hand, so do not be put off by the amount of plastic used in the body. You've still got the metal lens mount.

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Nikon D750
1/50, f/4, ISO 500

Image Quality
With modern optics and coatings the newer 50mm G may have a slight edge over the D. Certainly not enough to make that a sole decision on which on to buy. 50mm prime was the second lens I ever bought and one that I wish I had convinced myself to buy earlier. The IQ is great, rendering is crisp with good contrast.

Images for you to view:

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Nikon D750
1/125, f/4, ISO 100

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Nikon D750
1/50, f/4, ISO 125

Focusing is quick and accurate. The AF-S motor is not silent like other lenses, but it is quieter by far than the screw drive D version we owned previously.

I did not experience any focus hunting while using the lens on the Nikon D750.

Focus speed is great and I never fear that using this lens will make me miss a shot because the AF was not fast enough.

Bottom Line
If I were not wanting to migrate my lenses in anticipation of the Nikon Z6, I would still own the 50mm f/1.8D. The move here was basically a lateral move. My big question to answer was to ensure that the functionality and IQ is at least lateral. I'm not going to lie, I did think about upgrading and getting the 50mm f/1.4G. Given the price increase and other reviews and our use....if all these years the 50mm f/1.8D worked just fine - shifting over to the 50mm f/1.8G just made the most sense.

We are again in a situation where a recommendation for either lens really comes down to what you want to spend and what cameras you have. If you need f/1.4, then there really is no substitute.

If you have no desire to upgrade to a camera without an in body focus motor and want to save some money....the Nikon 50mm f1/.8D is my recommendation.

If you have a plan on getting a Nikon camera without an in body focus motor or are looking to move to the new mirrorless Z cameras the newer 50mm f1/.8G is a perfect choice.

Some additional images for your viewing pleasure!

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Nikon Df
1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 100

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Nikon Df
1/1250, f/1.8, ISO 100

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Nikon Df
1/60, f/1.8, ISO 100

The above image of the Butterfinger wrapper is shot through glass as well, just to be completely transparent on the shooting conditions. Auto Focus was on the 'r' on the wrapper.

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