Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G

5 July 2011
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between the tested Nikkor AF-S 1.8/50 and its predecessor and other full frame lenses with similar parameters, equipped with autofocus. It becomes clear at once that the new Nikkor sticks out with its most complex optical construction and the biggest diameter of the filter thread. Small wonder it is also the biggest and the heaviest instrument in this group. The fact that it is also the only device which has in-built ultrasonic autofocus motor (SWM) is not without significance either.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned between its predecessor and the Sigma 1.4/30, designed for smaller sensors.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G - Build quality

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The lens starts with a metal bayonet mount with contacts, inside which there is a rear element 26 mm in diameter. The element is on the same level as the mount when the focus is set at infinity. When we pass to the minimum focus the element hides inside the barrel by less than 1 cm. By doing so it moves the whole element system which means the lens doesn’t change its focal length.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G - Build quality

On the black casing, right behind the mount, you can easily notice a big white dot. Then you see a plate with the name and parameters of the lens, inside which you can find a window with a distance scale expressed in feet and metres. Below you get small depth of field markings by f/16. A bit on the left side of the plate and the distance scale there is a focusing mechanism mode switch (M/A - M).

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G - Build quality

The further part of the lens consists of a manual focus ring, about 1 cm wide. It is covered by ribbed, rubber padding which task is to ensure better grip and more comfortable work. The ring moves smoothly and is well-damped. Running through the whole scale needs a turn through 130 degrees, which, for this class of lens and for those parameters, is a good result, allowing you to set focus precisely. It’s a pity that a scale slack, sometimes met in cheaper Nikkors, makes it a bit more tricky. Only the second or a bigger move can produce a visible effect.

The lens ends with a hood thread which, on the inside, has a non-rotating filter thread, 58 mm in diameter.

Looking at the front from the inside of the filter thread you can see the name and the parameters of the lens and the front element with a diameter of 28 mm which is hidden quite deeply inside the casing (about 2.5 cm deep when the focus is set at infinity).

When it comes to the optical construction we deal here with 7 elements positioned in 6 groups. One of them is aspherical. It is one element more than in the AF 50 MM F/1.8D model, which didn’t feature any aspherical elements either. Inside you can also find an aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/16.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G - Build quality

The Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8 G is sold with a hood (HB-47) and a soft pouch (CL-1013).

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G - Build quality