#71 “The nifty fifty” Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 G (no aphorism)

Little shining star

The new benchmark with an aspherical element

Everyone must have one of this gem

Pros: fast, sharp, silent AF-S with manual override, 1 aspherical element, decent bokeh, great ergonomics, light, cheap, 5 year warranty (just complete & submit the form!)

Cons: 58 mm filter (I don’t use any), plastic, no aperture ring (sight…history in digital age)

This guy outperforms the kit zoom in every respect. Faster (f/1.8), sharper and lighter. This is a must have lens and every photographer ought to have one in his or her bag. Before digital the 50 mm lens had been the standard. The cheap, slow kit zoom lens is the product of the digital era marketing and you give up picture quality for convenience. You learn to take pictures with a 50 mm lens and you use your legs to get closer or further away from your subject. Period.

However, keep in mind that on FX (full frame sensor) it is a standard lens, great for walk around, and on DX (cropped frame sensor) it is a short telephoto lens, perfect for head and shoulder portraits. Then you can buy  the big guns, two fixed aperture zooms, such as a 14-24 mm f/2.8 and a 70-200 mm f/2.8.

Forget the kit zoom. You waste your money. Buy the nifty fifty as your first lens and you will not look back.

I bought mine here:






5 thoughts on “#71 “The nifty fifty” Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 G (no aphorism)

    • Thanks Harrie. Well, The Zeiss is manual focus, heavy (though much better built quality) and pretty expensive. In addition, the 50 mm lenses are the cheapest to
      manufacture. What about the Voigtlander Nokton SL II N 58 mm f/1.4 lens ($489)? Some claim it is better than any 50 mm Nikkor ever made?! Any thoughts?

      • Just checked it out, the Zeiss Makro Planar T 50 mm f/2 ZF.2. costs $1283! For macro I would prefer a 105 mm or 200 mm lens.

  1. I’m a Canon girl here but I asked my husband for a 50mm f1/8 for last Christmas. I love it for all the reasons you mentioned. It takes some getting used to because you can’t turn the lens – I have to move. But the bokeh is amazing and it’s perfect for portraits with those soft blurry backgrounds. It is my fave lens.

    • Happy you love your nifty fifty Sherri. Maybe it is not the sexiest lens on the planet, but it is a nice overall standard lens. Yes, it is a perfect portrait lens on DX with cool bokeh. Some photographers claim that they never shoot with it because it is “boring”. I disagree.

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