Review of the "Nifty Fifty" The nikon 50mm 1.8d

Blog by: gekong Updated:

This is an in depth look at the venerable Nikkor 50mm 1.8d and what you can do with it including using it as a macro lens with extension tubes.

The "Nifty Fifty" is probably the best "trainer" lens that you can buy. The reason that I call it trainer is because it has its limitation so you will need to get other lenses eventually for other types of shots. I still use mine for macro photography, product photography and occasionally for kids portrait shoot.

It is a trainer lens because it is probably the cheapest "quality" lens you can get (about 100 USD 2015) It is also a trainer lens because it will teach you to use your legs to zoom in and out or frame your images. It will teach you that prime lenses are very fast and are technically sharper than lenses in the same price range.

For macro photography with some do-it yourself tools you can get awesome images rivaling some expensive macro lenses. (Enlarge the photographs on the top and click it again to see captions)

I love using it for product photography as well. It produces great sharp images for objects shot up close including when shooting people and children up close. The bokeh at f/1.8 for objects shot within 5ft is really good.

It does have its limitation the sharpness at f/1.8 will degrade when your subject are further away but stopping down to f/2.8 or higher will make things sharp again but it will lose the bokeh the more you stop down on it.

My recommendation, if you already have quality lenses don't buy it. If you are starting out with your first DSLR this is a good cheap lens to start with. It is great when experimenting with depth of field, macro photography and shooting with prime lenses. This specific lens will work with your nikon FX/DX cameras with internal focusing motor. There is a model that has an internal motor the 50mm 1.8g lens if you do not have a nikon camera with an internal focusing lens. The 50mm 1.8g might not work for shooting macro shots because the g version does not have the mechanism to open the aperture while you are using the extension tubes there is a work around but it's unwieldy. Also the 50mm on a DX body is not wide enough for shooting indoors you might have issues when shooting in cramped spaces and you need to shoot wide this is not the lens for that.

Cons: not wide enough for group shots in tight spaces loses bokeh when subjects are further away.

Pros: fast, nice bokeh (for close up shots), good for product photography, portrait photography (half body, head shot or children), works great with extension tubes for macro photography, lightweight and easy to carry.

Check out more images at 50mm 1.8g images in