Looking for a cheap, really sharp wonderful normal lens then this 50mm is for you (if you have a Nikon or Fuji camera body). I love this little piece of glass!
- AF: Lens is autofocus. It does not have a built-in focus motor so on bodies without this option you have to manual focus. However, this lens is very easy to use in manual focus mode so that should not be a problem really.
- D: Means the lens will transmit data to the body about the focus distance.
- Focal length: 50mm
- Maximum aperture: f/1.8 (great for low light situations or extremely shallow focus depth)
- Infrared focus mark: YES
- Hyperfocal chart: YES
My experience with this lens is brilliant. I have never fallen in love so fast and so completely in a lens before. I use it everywhere. I love the results of it even if the lack of zoom means you have to move around yourself a bit to find optimum viewing angles.
But there is such a difference in the quality of the pictures compared to the glass I normally keep on the body for covering most situations, the 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens. It just can’t compare in sharpness and reproduction with zoom lenses it beats them all.
There is also a f/1.4 version of this lens which I have been told is perhaps a little less sharp but has even better qualities in low light conditions. However it is more than three times more expensive than this little gem. I picked it up new, never used in unopened boxfrom Tradera/Ebay for 800 SEK (€90, $115) and for this price is is definitely a bargain! Even from the store it is not more than about 1200 SEK (€130, $170) here in Sweden, probably cheaper in the US.
Like many older lenses it also has a ”hyperfocal chart” stamped on the focus indicator. This is really excellent even though the grading is only for f/11 and f/22. But this shows where your picture is sharp. Check the picture out:
If the aperture is set to f/22 is means that everything between about 7 ft. (2 meters) and infinity is sharp! You can immediately see this on the hyperfocal, everything between the two numbers 22 will be sharp for the selected focus.
If the aperture on the other hand was f/11 then you would instead have focus between about 3 meters to 20 meters and objects closer or beyond this distance would appear out of focus! Neat, isn’t it? If you are using a different aperture than these two then you will have to estimate where the hyperfocal would be.
See that little white dot to the left if the focus indicator? Lots of people don’t know what this is but that is the focus equivalent for the lens in infrared. This is excellent if you wish to shoot IR pictures because in IR lenses focus differently compared to in visible light. The way to use this is that first you focus without the IR filter. Let’s assume the normal focus indicator then aligns with the 3 meter mark. Then you put the filter on, twist the focus ring so that the little dot aligns instead with the 3 meter mark and then you can take your picture.
This means you can acually use shallow DOF even in infrared with this lens!
This is some excellent glass here! The lens is razor sharp and produces stunning results even on my old D70s body. I really really recommend this lens both for price and for the sharpness. It is a joy to work with outdoors and is quite useful indoors as well.
A little bit of blooming as been noticed when you are shooting against the sun. Perhaps an additional lens hood would help for this.
Chromatic aberration is negligent.
Sharpness is wonderfull all over but gets a little softer beyon f/11 and f/2.8 For razor sharp pictures I recommend shooting between f/5.6-11 but don’t forget to play with shallow DOF as well, the sharpness is never bad and always better than any zoom lens I have used so far!
Vignetting is non-existant on DX framed bodies. I have not tested it on FX bodies but from what I hear it is not something people make a notice of.
On a FX (full frame) body I don’t think you would ever want to take it off again. On DX it is a bit ”long” indoors when shooting party pictures or similar, you want a little wider field of view and therefore perhaps something around 28-30mm would be better.
The good and bad
- Can be used with both FX and DX cameras
- Focuses fast and accurately
- Very light weight
- Very useful in low light conditions
- Excellent for close portrait work
- No autofocus on bodies lacking focus motor (D40 etc.)
- During some extreme light conditions a bit of blooming
- May feel a little ”long” for a normal on DX body, generally not a problem outdoor but may limit use indoor.