Nikkor 50mm/1.8G


An Easy Choice

I purchased this lens alongside my D600.  At $196, it seemed the most responsible lens purchase to accompany a new $2K camera 'investment'.  At the time, I was also familiarizing myself with Nikon's lens lineup, and I was worried about sinking too much money into a lens that would see little use as my kit grew over time.

This lens exemplifies many of the features prime lenses are known for:  compact, lightweight, sharp across most of the frame, flare-resistant, pleasing contrast, and just limiting enough to force some artistic considerations of framing. 

The one area where I wished it performed better is close-focus distance.  Nikon reports a minimum focus distance of 17.7" for this lens, resulting in a maximum magnification of 0.15x.  I would LOVE to be able to use this lens for a greater range of floral closeups.  As designed, it's only really functional for this purpose with larger subjects like arrowleaf balsamroot or beargrass.  Smaller subjects may require cropping to an appropriate composition, which robs you of potentially valuable resolution.  I looked into the Nikkor 85mm/1.8G as a potentially better solution for this use, but its minimum focus distance of 31.5" results in a maximum magnification of 0.12x.  Even worse!

Sharpness Example

Consider this hiking snapshot, handheld at 1/180s and f8.0.  Considering the lack of support and slow shutter speed, the pixel-level center and corner crops that follow should give you an idea of the sharpness and resolving power of this lens on a Nikon D600.  As with all the images posted here and elsewhere, these suffer from the usual JPEG compression issues.  The actual resolution at 100% is slightly but noticeably better.

Center crop (100%, standard import sharpening):

Corner crop (100%, standard import sharpening):