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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S

19 February 2020
Maciej Lata≥≥o

7. Coma, astigmatism and bokeh

Old Gauss standard lenses, no matter whether as fast as f/1.7–1.8 or f/1.4, dealt rather weakly with coma and other higher-order aberrations which influence point-like images of light. It's enough to glance at our Nikkor AF 50 mm f/1.8D†and†AF-S 50 mm f/1.8G tests to find the proof of that statement. Newer systems, like the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE†55†mm f/1.8†ZA performed better but still not perfectly well. The Tamron SP 45†mm f/1.8 Di†VC†USD seemed to be the closest to perfection, with only slight deformations of diode images.

The Nikkor Z†50†mm f/1.8†S fares here much better than the older constructions, slightly better than the Sonnar but not as well as the Tamron. As you see, even though its performance doesn't deserve any criticizing there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Center, f/1.8 Corner APS-C, f/1.8 Corner FF, f/1.8
Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh
Center, f/2.5 Corner APS-C, f/2.5 Corner FF, f/2.5
Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh


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Astigmatism, understood as an average difference between horizontal and vertical MTF50 function values, amounted to 7.1% and it can be described as low. We noticed a distinct improvement compared to the previous reflex camera models but still the result of the Nikkor remains worse than that of the Sonnar 1.8/55 and of the Tamron 1.8/45 VC.

When it comes to appearance of out-of-focus areas it would be difficult to have any serious reservations. Defocused circles of light look very nice, with even spread of light inside. One, but not important flaw, might be a slightly accented onion-ring bokeh which, most likely, stems from the fact that the lens features aspherical elements.

Center, f/1.8 Corner APS-C, f/1.8 Corner FF, f/1.8
Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh
Center, f/2.5 Corner APS-C, f/2.5 Corner FF, f/2.5
Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh
Center, f/3.5 Corner APS-C, f/3.5 Corner FF, f/3.5
Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh Nikon Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8 S - Coma, astigmatism and bokeh