Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D

20 January 2010
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

In the opinions about the Nikkor 1.8/50, which are saved in our lenses database, you can find some complaining about the build quality of this instrument. If the owners of Nikkors 1.8/50 had a chance to work for a while with the rival Canon 1.8/50 II they would stop complaining for sure because the Nikkor compared to the Canon is a model of solidity.

Nikon Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D - Build quality

The picture above draws a comparison between those two lenses. You can notice at once that the Nikkor, although more solidly-made, is smaller than the Canon (whether this fact will influence the vignetting we’ll find out later). Some other Nikkor’s advantages are also rather evident. First of all, we deal here with a real manual focusing mechanism, not a dummy like in the case of the Canon. The manual focus ring is perhaps neither big nor very comfortable but it allows to work quite accurately and conveniently – something that the Canon can’t provide in any case. A precise manual focusing in the case of the Canon verges on the miraculous; if that miracle happens and we set the sharpness in the right position, the ring will slide back under its own weight after a moment. Apart from that, the Nikkor sports a distance scale – a feature simply non-existent when it comes to the Canon lens.

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Nikon Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D - Build quality

The picture above shows us another Nikkor advantage, compared to its rival. It’s a metal mount, which bodes well for the life span and ensures a lower susceptibility to off-axis aberrations which tend to appear when the plastics in the mount start to wear out and get loose.

To sum up, the price difference of about 25 $ doesn’t justify such a huge discrepancy in quality. Being a Canon system fan I would prefer paying these additional 25 $ and getting a product with the Nikkor’s quality in return.

At the end, there are just a few remarks left about the inner construction of the tested lens. It consists of 6 elements in 5 groups. The manufacturer doesn’t boast about any special glass usage but does mention the fact that the elements are powder-coated with special Nikon Super Integrated Coatings which are supposed to provide a high-contrast picture even at the maximum relative aperture. Apart from that the lens offers an aperture with 7 diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22 and a 52 mm filter thread.

Nikon Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D - Build quality