Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S

19 February 2020
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S and other, similar Nikon models. The huge increase in optics complexity can be noticed immediately – the number of elements inside jumped from 6-7 to as many as 12. It is really impressive because the new Nikkor is even more optically complex than the Nikkor Z 35 mm f/1.8 S, officially more difficult to correct. It's obvious Nikon wanted to focus on the optics quality of its new standard lens.

Now let's check how the new Nikkor compares to other lenses with similar parameters which have been launched lately; in order to make it easier we present them in the next chart. As you see, it's impossible to find instruments as optically complex as the Nikkor among them. Even the stabilized Tamron features two elements less.

Significant dimensions of the Nikkor Z 1.8/50 S are easy to perceive in the following photo, where the tested lens stands between its system 1.8/35 brother and the Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D, designed for reflex cameras.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding contacts and a rear element, 32 mm in diameter. The element is positioned on the same level as the contacts and the area close to that element is well blackened and matted. We also didn't notice any electronic parts peeping out from the inside so it would be difficult to have any reservations here.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

A black, metal ring which doesn't move is the first part of the tested Nikkor's proper barrel. On its surface you can find a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, an inscription with parameters of the lens, the logo of the producer, an AF/MF switch, allowing you to control the focusing mechanism mode, a „Nikkor S” plate, the serial number, the focusing mechanism working range (∞-0.4m/1.32ft), and finally information that the lens was made in Thailand. It is a change compared to the 1.8/24, 1.8/35, and 1.8/85 models from the same series, which are produced in China.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

Further on you find another immobile ring, this time made of plastics and devoid of any inscriptions. Then there's a manual focus ring, made of metal, as wide as 39 mm, without any distance or DOF scale. It is a 'focus-by-wire' stepping construction and its whole surface is covered by fine ribbing. The focus throw is strongly connected to the speed of your turning – if you move the ring fast it amounts to less than 90 degrees, whhen you turn it slower you are able to reach even 180 degrees. Still the amount of rotation is sometimes rather tricky to measure because a really slow movement doesn't produce any result on the electronic distance scale.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

It's worth mentioning that fine, metal ribs on the manual focusing ring are very scratch-prone. It's enough to put two such system lenses close together and they can scratch each other's paint with ease.

Next you see a plastic ring which near one of its ends gets a bit narrower and finishes with a bayonet mount for a hood which you can find in the box with the lens.

The front element doesn't move, is slightly convex and 36 mm in diameter. It is surrounded by a casing collar with the name and parameters of the lens and a non-rotating filter thread, 62 mm in diameter.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

As we've already mentioned the optical construction of the tested lens consists of as many as 12 elements positioned in 9 groups. Not only you deal here with twice as many elements as in classic double Gauss constructions but you get some special glass elements as well. Two elements are made of low dispersion ED glass and two are aspherical. Inside you can also find a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16 at the maximum.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

It's worth adding that, in order to protect the lens from dust and humidity. every movable part of this lens has been carefully sealed.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, a soft pouch and a petal-type lens hood.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality