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Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G


iShan 2 1
29 Nov 2012 4:02PM
I'm an amateur photographer and a hobbyist. I've a Nikon D60 camera (DX format) and currently shoot with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. I also have a kit lens (AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II) and another lens (AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED) that I purchased. I sometimes shoot using these two.

I'm thinking about selling these two (18-55 and 55-200) lenses and purchasing a AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens. Please let me know if this will be a good choice or should I keep shooting with the current set of three lenses.

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User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
29 Nov 2012 4:12PM
It is difficult to comment without knowing what types of photography you currently enjoy.

There is certainly an unnecessary overlap within your current three lenses so some rationalisation would not go amiss.

With a crop-sensor dSLR like your D60, a fast 50mm prime lens is an excellent choice for portraits. The focal length is just right (very similar to the classic 75/85mm portrait lenses used on 35mm or FX cameras) and the fast maximum aperture allows you to restrict depth of field. Personally, though, I would save some money by getting the 50mm f/1.8D lens which is every bit as sharp as the more expensive G.


.
EddieAC 10 695 2 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2012 4:47PM
Leftforum is right in that the 50mm f/1.8D would be a good choice of lens for the price but the Nikon D60 does not have an inbuilt focusing motor and the f/1.8D relies on this for autofocus.

The f/1.8G does have a focusing motor built into the lens so this would be your better choice.

One advantage that the f/1.8D does have though is it has a manual aperture ring which allows control of the aperture when using manual extension tubes. I bought a set of these for less than 10 from Amazon. Very useful for macro where manual focus would offer more control. The f/1.8G does not have a manual aperture ring so this lens would be stuck at f22 unless it is being used with more expensive automatic tubes.
thewilliam 6 4.8k
29 Nov 2012 6:08PM
If it's at all possible, you'd be wise to get the 50mm f1.8 in addition to the lenses that you already have. Most photographers would value the ability to use any focal length between 18mm and 200mm, as you can do now. In the good old days, our SLR cameras came with a 50mm prime and we couldn't wait to get additional lenses, so you should think carefully before taking the proposed action.

The 18-55 is only f5.6 at the longer end and it needs to be stopped down to f8 or f11 to get decent sharpness. The 50mm prime has its maximum sharpness at f4 so you'd have very much better low light performance and the ability to isolate a subject by having the subject in focus against a blurred background.
widtink 2 406 2 Scotland
29 Nov 2012 6:08PM
I have the 50mm f/1.8 D lens which you can get for under 80 and it is a great sharp lensSmile

Rod
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
29 Nov 2012 8:41PM
But it still won't AF on a D60, good lens that it is. Manual focus only unless you have a body with a mechanical drive and I'm not sure the lens aperture is controlled either, so stop down metering too. Might as well get an old MF lens if you're going to do that...a good AI or AIS 50mm. Also, plenty of old E lenses around secondhand and pretty cheap.

If you want to keep functionality, you need a newer AF-S or AF-I lens.

Nick
damienvc 3 28 2 Belgium
30 Nov 2012 10:33AM
I got a 50mm f1.8 D a while ago, and it's a fantastic lens. I've got a D90 so I didn't have the autofocus issue, but once you've got used to zooming with your feet it's great. Very sharp (much sharper than the kit lenses) and being able to go out to such a wide aperture makes it well worth it. If you can afford it it I would get it and hang on to both your other lenses.

Damien
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
30 Nov 2012 10:04PM
But a AFD lens still won't focus. Not very helpful for the OPs question, however good the lens is.

My recommendation would be sell the kit lens (if you can get anything for it) and keep the 18-105 and 55-200 so you have the option to cover the whole range from 18-200mm.
If you want a 50mm get a f/1.8 G. The lens is sharp, fast, and I think you might use it a lot. They aren't too expensive new or secondhand and once you get used to not zooming but actually moving back and forth to frame the image you find yourself seeing shots for the lens rather than the other way round.

Nick
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
1 Dec 2012 9:35AM

Quote:But a AFD lens still won't focus. Not very helpful for the OPs question, however good the lens is.
Nick



Nick,

If you go back you will see that what I said was:


Quote:With a crop-sensor dSLR like your D60, a fast 50mm prime lens is an excellent choice for portraits. The focal length is just right (very similar to the classic 75/85mm portrait lenses used on 35mm or FX cameras) and the fast maximum aperture allows you to restrict depth of field. Personally, though, I would save some money by getting the 50mm f/1.8D lens which is every bit as sharp as the more expensive G.


Within those confines, the D version would be perfect as the very last thing you want for portraiture is auto-focus. But I agree, with that camera, the G might have some benefits for more general photography.

.
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2012 11:08AM
But the OP didn't mention portraiture?

The overwhelming impression I get from most of the posts above is "buy a 50mm f/1.8D lens". I dont think its very good advice IMHO as you don't get full functionality and I don't want the OP to think they should buy one without knowing the facts.
I'm guessing they want it for general photography rather than specific uses and AF is probably one of the things the OP wants, especially as the focussing screens of these cameras are not good for manual focussing.

Nick
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2012 6:46PM

Quote: dont think its very good advice IMHO as you don't get full functionality and I don't want the OP to think they should buy one without knowing the facts.


There was a recent thread that was very similar and the people who were advocating 50mm lens as a "must-have" didn't have any photos in their portfolio from one. Even though I've got a really excellent 50 1.4. I use my 24-105 or 24-70 for portraits, much more flexible. 50 gets used once in a blue moon
1 Dec 2012 8:00PM

Quote: the very last thing you want for portraiture is auto-focus.

I agree with those who are implying getting a D lens is poor advice.
We do not know much about the OP's skill but my guess from the equipment is maybe able to swim a quarter of a mile in a swimming pool, yet still a long way from ready for wet suite oxygen canister deep water diving Wink
D lenses will not AF on the OP's camera. All the other lenses AF.
Using an aperture ring with extension tubes is probably done by less than 1% of all photographers, and closer to nil by photographers with the OP's equipment.
I agree AF can have limitations will a full face portrait, but there are times when AF can be useful for portraiture, particularly if (or maybe when) the OP upgrades to a more modern body with face recognition AF.
iShan may have short listed the G version because he/she wants auto focus with a D60 body Smile
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2012 8:30PM
For portraits, and in fact for most things, modern screens are poor for focussing (just look through a late MF camera), only mitigated by the very shallow depth of fast lenses. If you're using focus confirmation, you are using the AF function anyway! Better to know exactly what you are focussing on and use focus lock if you aren't used to focussing manually.
2 Dec 2012 11:36AM

Quote:For portraits, and in fact for most things, modern screens are poor for focussing (just look through a late MF camera), only mitigated by the very shallow depth of fast lenses.

Old MF cameras do not have multi pattern metering or AF - or the resolution of modern digital Sad
The screens are very different - and the depth of field effect through the viewfinder is restricted by the viewfinder aperture to not wider than about f2.8. You cannot see f1.8 depth of field through a 35mm or DX camera viewfinder.
I accept the D7000 viewfinder may be a little better than the D60 - but I just tried my 50mm f1.8 on my D7000 and had no difficulty getting AF to work or getting good manual focus on my wife's face.
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2012 1:15PM

Quote:Old MF cameras do not have.......... the resolution of modern digital


That might be contestable.....

The screens are different, because the intent with AF is that you only use the screen for framing, not for focussing. There are no aids like split-image, rangefinder or fresnel patches which made focussing easier.

I didn't suggest the AF wouldn't work on your camera, but I'm saying it is very hard to see critical focus on modern screens...say the half-inch difference between eye and nose at a few feet range, especially as handholding may induce small variations anyway. How did you focus manually? Did you use AF confirm or check the screen after shooting? And how accurate was it with the backlash in the focus ring? The reason I ask, is that can you guarantee the shot will be perfectly focused where you want it without checking each time?

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