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I don't even know where to start. This lens produces sharp pictures and great color and contrast. And for its price (which seems to climb recently), it is worth more than 5 stars rating. I initially get this lens for low light action and sport photography (as this lens is famous for being one of the fastest lens together with its brother 50mm f/1.4), but I also found out that this lens is also perfect for portrait and other general purposes (macro etc). This is definitely a very versatile lens.

It is important to note that you will need camera with internal AF motor (D90, D300, D600, D700, D800, D7000, etc) for this AF lens autofocus to work properly. If your camera is D40/D60/D3000/D5000 series (no internal AF motor), you will need to get the AF-S type lens, otherwise if you get this AF lens, only the manual focus will be available to you.

And as much as I want to encourage everyone to buy this lens right away, let me mention some of the limitation that you would see (which I think will be helpful to go over before deciding to buy this lens):

First, being a prime lens, you will need to move your feet a lot to compose your picture. If you are used to zoom lens, don't underestimate this limitation. It takes me a while to get used to it, and sometime I still find people looking at me wondering why I am moving forward and backwards. the good news is that most of the time, they don't think I'm weird, but they are actually wondering if I'm a professional photographer.

Secondly, the focal range of 50mm, which is considered the normal lens and great for portrait lens. but on many DSLRs which is not full frame (unless you have a full frame Nikon DSLR like the D700 or D3, then 50mm is 50mm), this lens become a 75mm equivalent which is in the border of a short tele lens. I actually like the 75mm equivalent though I often have to move backwards when taking picture of a group of people.

Third, in some situation the autofocus might not able to focus (which is common for many other lens too). It is hard for the autofocus to lock when aiming at a wall that is one color (usually black or white), or on a clear sky (day or night). This kind of makes sense to me actually. IN these situations the AF assist light doesn't help either so you can opt for manual focus or set the focus to infinity when you can't find focus lock on scenic/landscape or sky photography. So far I don't have many problems with the autofocus.

Sharpness increases as you stop down to f/2.2 or f/2.5. I actually use f/1.8 most of the time and the results are still nice. Personally, I'd rather use f/1.8 aperture settings than stopped down (e.g to f/2.8) and compensate with higher ISO setting which often gives me grainy picture. But if your object is not moving (static) then it is better to stop down to f/2.8 or more.

If you are wondering whether you should get a fast lens or a lens with VR (Vibration Reduction), here's my take: In overall, VR does help a lot (as it will reduce camera shake) and will produce better/sharper picture than equivalent lens without VR (especially if the object is static). If the object is moving (sports/action) then VR feature alone might not help (depending on how fast the object is moving and how much light is available), and a fast lens often end up being a far better solution, even without VR feature as it will allow much faster shutter speed to freeze motion. Using tripod (and a remote) will substitute for the need of VR feature. In general I would recommend getting a fast lens with VR feature (and usually it is expensive) such as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR, but if one can only get for one or the other, then find out what do you want to use the lens for and then use the guideline mentioned here.

If you are wondering whether you will get the benefit of buying f/1.4 lens over a f/1.8 lens, just remember that the f/1.4 lens is about 60% faster than f/1.8 at its widest aperture setting. With this information, you can decide if the additional speed will justify the additional cost. The bokeh is nicer as well in f/1.4 lens but I think speed is usually the main factor in deciding whether to get the more expensive f/1.4 lens.

Here are the summary of pros and cons for this Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF lens:

1. Very fast (f/1.8)
2. Very sharp pictures (especially when stopped down to f/2.2, f/2.5 or more.)
3. Great for sport/action photography
4. Great for indoor and low light situation
5. Great for portrait
6. Bokeh is almost as good as many expensive Nikon tele-lens
7. Fast autofocus
8. Good for wedding photography (or no-flash event). However, if this is your main objective then you might want to get the 50mm f/1.4 version or 28-70mm f/2.8 lens)
9. 75mm equivalent which can be considered a short tele lens (I actually like the fact that it's 75mm equivalent vs 50mm in DSLR. if you need more zoom, you can get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8, or the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #9 pros is not applicable.
10. Inexpensive

1. Being prime lens, you need to move your feet a lot to adjust/compose
2. Autofocus issue on some situations (read detail above)
3. Plasticy build
4. Autofocus is not the most silent but very reasonable
5. 75mm equivalent with 1.5x multiplier on non full frame DSLR (many people find this is an odd range for normal lens. I actually like it). If you have full frame DSLR(like the D3 or D700), then this #5 cons is not applicable.
6. Autofocus does not work with D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200 etc (basicaly D40/D60/D3000/D5000 series. it's best to check if your camera body require AF-S lens). The newer 50mm f/1.8G AF-S, 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens or 35mm f/1.8G AF-S lens will autofocus with those cameras.

Bottom line: This lens is so versatile (and inexpensive) that I think everyone should own in addition to all the lenses that they already have. Being a very fast lens, it enables me to take pictures in low light (sport/action photography) that I otherwise wouldn't be able to do.
After knowing its limitation, I would predict that 99% of you that decides to buy this lens will find this lens very useful. And if you decide that you don't like it (which I think not more than 1%), I'm sure there will be a lot of people who wouldn't mind buying it from you (with some discount of course).

Again, I would recommend everyone to get this lens. In some ways I can say that this lens makes me a better photographer.

Happy Photographing!

Sidarta Tanu
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7272 comments| 2,509 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 28, 2004
This lens is probably the sharpest lens that Nikon makes--see lens reviews/specs at [...] I use this lens for low light situations outdoors and indoors so I don't need a flash. also, small dept-of-field. Using this at f/2.0 I will get at least four-six times as much light (which means four-six times faster shutter speed) as my zoom at around f/4.8 and also have a sharper image. For $99.00 this f/1.8 is a steal and a much better buy than the f/1.4 which is almost as sharp a lens and costs about $250.00--it's a no brainer.

I use this with my Nikon D70--remember, with a digital SLR this is equivalent to a 75mm lens for film which it a pretty good portrait lens.

Just buy it--for the price you can't go wrong.
88 comments| 302 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2006
As a professional photographer, I cannot praise this lens enough: it brings me closer to my subjects, and connects my photographs with viewers from the level of intimacy it imparts. Why? When you fall in love with someone, they are right in front of you, and the rest of the world blurs away. That's how this lens makes me see: as though I am right in front of, and in love with, what I'm viewing.

I take lots of pictures of food, people, and farms. (See the samples I've uploaded here.) This lens has a quality of gentleness in it that is unsurpassed. Because it's fast, it's great for low lighting, and brings a romantic quality to beautiful food in restaurants. It's also the perfect portrait lens, seeing people much as we ourselves do, with no distortion, only kindness. Yes, I am ascribing emotional qualities to an inanimate object, but it doesn't exist in a vaccum. It makes me a better photographer, by showing me how to see.

It's wonderful, and wonderfully priced.
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33 comments| 150 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 20, 2009
I was surprised to find, after reading so many positive reviews of this lens, that the copy I received was so fuzzy at wide-open apertures that I could see it on UN-MAGNIFIED images right on my D90's 3" screen.

All lenses lose sharpness at wide apertures: this is a matter of basic physics and is the result of something called spherical aberration. Some are much better than others though, thanks to better optical designs that more effectively correct for this tendency. The 35mm f/2, for example, is very good wide open; the 85mm f/1.8 is decent (and very appropriate for portrait use). My copy of the 50mm f/1.8 lost both sharpness and significant contrast as f/1.8 was approached. I would quantify it as follows:

f/1.8: very fuzzy (well beyond "soft"), reduced contrast, almost un-useable
f/2.8: still quite soft, much improved contrast
f/4: slightly soft, good contrast
f/5.6: sharp, good contrast
f/8: very sharp, good contrast

These results were repeatable on my sample and held true regardless of shutter speed and technique.


- The advantage of a lens like this is the ability to use wide apertures. A good portrait lens need not be particularly sharp, but wider than f/4 my copy of this lens was soft enough that I would use it for nothing other than casual people-photography. It would not suffice for critical night or low-light photography, or for general photography where sharpness might be desired. For photos of people it was fine at f/2.8, but below that it lost so much sharpness, and enough contrast, that photos of almost any subject looked dull.

- The lens seems like an obvious choice as a first prime due to its price and the many excellent reviews of it here on Amazon and elsewhere. Even besides the sharpness degradation wide open, I found it less useful than I'd hoped. On a crop-size DSLR, it is a short telephoto lens, and it just hasn't turned out to be a focal length I use all that much. I would urge potential buyers to consider the 35mm f/2 before this lens as it gives the traditional "normal" perspective on a Nikon crop-size DSLR.

- Some reviewers like this lens for portrait use, but again, I found it poorly suited for this. The 85mm f/1.8 is admittedly more expensive, but it has far more potential as a portrait lens.

- This is not a high-contrast lens. It does not use any ED glass elements, which seem to be quite magical at improving contrast, and color rendition is noticeably less vibrant than such lenses. For some types of photography this can actually be desirable, but for general or landscape photography I prefer the higher-contrast lenses.

- My sample of this lens may have been below average, considering that most reviews of the lens are very positive. However, if you read carefully, most thorough reviews do mention that it loses contrast and acuity at wide apertures. Ken Rockwell, for example, has reviewed the lens very positively, but when it came time to suggest lenses sharp enough to be used on the new D3x, with its ultra-high-resolution sensor, he gave the similar-performing (possibly better) f/1.4 "G" version only three stars. I would submit that it is really not quite as sharp a lens as its reputation would lead one to believe. My excellent 16-85mm DX zoom, for example (the only lens I've given a five-star review as of this time), is far sharper than this lens up to around f/8 and hold an edge even there and beyond.

- Nikon has recently announced a new 35mm f/1.8 DX lens. I've ordered one and will probably post a review once I've had a chance to use it. I would suggest that it is very likely to be a better choice than this lens for almost any DX user. Being designed for the smaller DX sensor, it will probably be optimized for high linear resolutions within the smaller DX image circle. It is also a fairly inexpensive lens, not much more than this lens now that the 50mm has crept up a bit in price.

- Even if my sample is significantly poorer than average, my experience indicates that it would be a good idea to thoroughly test a copy of this lens before committing to buy it. Be sure to compare images at wide apertures to those made at f/8, where sharpness should be very good, and determine for yourself whether the loss of sharpness and contrast is acceptable for your purposes.

- Focus is plenty quick and accurate, at least on my sample. No problems at all in this regard (and none expected).
3838 comments| 539 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 28, 2006
This wonderful lens was the first lens I bought for my SLR (aside from its kit lens).

It has everything you'd want for a portrait lens: it's fast (f/1.8) so you can shoot in low light and without a flash, its focal length (50mm) lets you compose a good shot without getting right into the subject's face, and the depth of field can be made extremely shallow, making the subject pop out from the scene.

The one downside is that the 50mm focal length is limiting. You won't be taking many group shots with this thing; you'd have to step waaay back to get everyone in the picture.

Also: this lens shines best when stopped down a little, due in no small part to the extremely shallow depth of field at f/1.8. I stop mine down to f/2-f/2.5 most of the time.

Anyhow: marvelously sharp, simple, and produces tremendously great pictures. I highly recommend it.
0Comment| 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 11, 2004
This is the lens to get for any Nikon SLR, from the simple N75 all the way to the Digital D70. It's faster than a zoom and much, much sharper. That's right, no zooming! If you want to make the image bigger, move closer. Want to make a wider view? Step back. This is the lens that all photographers should start with. Most of Henri Cartier Bresson's photos were taken with a 50mm lens. It forces you to think about perspective, composition, and arrangement. You can take more pictures without the intrusive light of a flash. It's cheap too. This lens is a classic and will make you a better photographer by enabling you to make creative choices. It works on almost every Nikon ever made. What more do you need to know? Get one.
44 comments| 268 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 23, 2007
I purchased this lens to supplement my kit 18-55 which I found wasn't fast enough to capture indoor shots of my two little girls without flash. I have to say that EVERYONE should buy this lens. As one of the first additional lenses I purchased for my Nikon D40, I was absolutely stunned and blown away by the tack sharp images and speed of this tiny little gem. While it is manual focus only with the D40, everything else works just fine. It even tells you when the image is in focus via the green focus light found inside the viewfinder. Keep in mind that at 1.8 its easy for your main subject to slip out of focus. For portrait shots, 2.8 is usually plenty to get a fast shutter speed with plenty of bokeh. For those split between this and the 1.4, if the price difference wasn't so big, I'd say go for it. But at 1.8 you're getting an extremely fast and capable lens at a price that just cannot be beat. I'm filling up my hard drive every day with pics that I simply could not have captured with my kit lens. There are some shortcomings like the manual zoom, manual focus with the D40 and that it's small plastic casing probably won't survive a fall (my 70-300 VR is MASSIVE next to it) but it more than makes up for its shortcomings with the amazing shots it takes. I promise you, you'll be hard pressed to find any other quality glass in this price range.
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on July 4, 2006
I owned both the 50mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 lens. I also own a Nikon D70s and D200. I took test shots to compare the sharpness of these two lenses. The 50mm at f/1.4 is very very soft. The pictures at f/1.4 look like you are looking through a sheer veil. A dreamy look for sure, but not at all pleasing. At an aperture of f/1.8 the 50mm f/1.8 is still sharper than the 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.8. It isn't until the 50mm f/1.4 is at f/2.8 that the two lenses have similar sharpness. At no aperture was the 50mm f/1.4 better than the 50mm f/1.8. Why spend so much more money for the 50mm f/1.4, when it is so soft at f/1.4 as to be useless and does not match the sharpness of the 50mm f/1.8? Softness at f/1.4 will also affect the ability of your camera to autofocus correctly because the lens autofocuses with its widest aperture. If the autofocus sees a soft image, you'll have problems getting a focus lock. The 50mm f/1.8 works like magic on the D50/D70/D200 cameras. Trust me.
11 comment| 84 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 18, 2007
For around $100, it's impossible to beat this prime lens. it's a nikkor AF with a five-year warranty. it's cute. it's lightweight enough to carry in your pocket. its sharper than a ginsu. it takes great portrait and low-light photos. at 1.8, it's one of the quickest lenses out there--fire off a burst in continuous-shooting mode and you can get a "freeze-frame" effect for animation-like sequences that capture motion as slight as someone blinking. best of all, it makes your dslr fairly inobtrusive, so you can use it for candid, no-flash shots in any lighting condition without rousing the ire of the photo police. it's perfect for tight shots where you don't have a lot of room to maneuver, but it can do landscapes as well if you're far enough away. the 50mm focal length isn't exactly wide-angle, but you can spring several hundreds more for a 24 or 28 prime for that, or get a 90, 100, or 105 if you want to get in even tighter or take shots from farther away. no macro either, but did you really expect a macro for $100? plus it has good depth of field and nice bokeh. great addition to any nikon d-series kit, and more versatile than you might think. it's hard to find any real faults with it for the $ -- it's cheaper than the 50mm sigma prime, which does have macro, but for a "real" macro lens you're probably looking at $400-$500 anyway. if you're thinking of the tamron 90, you could get this plus the tokina 100 or sigma 105 for the same price. consider this lens one of the benefits of going nikon -- olympus, for example, offers a 50mm 2.0 macro for the E-series, but it's $500. few lenses rate as a must-have for nikon users, but this is one of them.
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HALL OF FAMEon July 30, 2005
Personally I would opt for the 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens, but if you are tight on a budget and don't need the additional speed, then this 50mm lens would be ideal for you. I have owned several 50mm f2 and f1.8 Nikkor lenses which were all very capable performers and this autofocus version of a Nikon Series E 50mm f1.8 lens is no exception. It is without question still sharper and contrastier than a zoom lens in the equivalent 50mm focal length, since it has substantially less barrel distortion than any zoom lens. Even if you own a zoom lens covering the 50mm focal length, I would still recommend acquiring either this lens or the 50mm f1.4 lens since either would be fine normal perspective portrait lenses for photographying friends and family. If you work primarily in digital photography, then this lens wouldn't be a normal perspective lens in the 45mm to 55mm range, but instead, offer a slight telephoto perspective at a 75mm focal length; this would yield more of a head and shoulders portrait and may be more pleasing to the eye than the normal perspective taken with a 50mm lens.
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