Attention Normal Lens fans, the new Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lenses are now here!
Of course, the main addition to this lens is the Silent Wave Motor autofocus system, which allows for incredibly fast and precise focusing, even when tracking moving subjects.
The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G offers everything you’d expect from a professional quality normal lens. With a maximum aperture of f/1.8, it’s fast enough for just about any application. In fact, it’s a great all around, everyday lens for all kinds of photography, whether you’re shooting indoors, outdoors, people, travel or still life or nature.
It’s an especially excellent choice when shooting portraits or other shallow depth of field imagery because it produces a wonderfully soft, bokeh effect or background blur. And with aspherical lens elements, its designed to reduce flare and reproduce your subjects with incredible contrast and color accuracy, which will really make them pop against that soft background.
How it compares to Nikon’s other 50mm lenses
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that I’m a fast lens guy. I always preach that you should get the fastest lens you can reasonably afford. After all, I’m the guy who routinely carries my 3 lb. 80-200mm f2.8ED lens into the backcountry. However, in this case, I see no reason why you wouldn’t choose the new AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens over the older 50mm AF-S /1.4 model.
Sure, it’s lighter, although not by much; we’re talking 6.6 oz vs. 9.9 oz. What’s that, the weight of another Clif Bar? The big difference is price. The new f/1.8 version comes in at $219 vs. $479 for the f/1.4 model. That’s huge. Normally, I’d say go faster, but at that focal length, f/1.8 is plenty fast for just about everything you’re going to shoot.
In my mind, spending $260 more for that extra 2/3 stop just isn’t worth it. If you need the extra speed, crank up your ISO a bit and save the rest for a plane ticket to Alaska.
Compared to the older model 50mm f/1.8D lens, which is the lens I currently use, this new Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G rocks. If I were buying one today, I’d get the new one. Why? The AF-S focusing and improved glass more than make up for the modest $80 price difference. Unless you’re really strapped for cash, I see no reason to go with the older model.
Right now, these lenses are in stock in limited quantities, so if you’re in the market for a 50mm lens, you should probably snatch one of these things right now. With earthquake-related camera production cut way back lately, there’s no indication as to when the next batch will arrive. Remember how long it took for that second batch of Nikon D700’s to show up in the stores?
And if you get it here, you’ll be helping to support my growing collection of bicycles, backpacks, and bush plane trips into the backcountry, all of which help me continue to bring you all this great content! It doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, just think of it as a big “like” button for this blog.
Finally, if you’re still on the fence about whether you really need a 50mm lens in your camera bag, read my post about why I think they’re great.