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Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

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After more than 30 years, Nikon has changed the optical design of its 50mm f/1.8 lens. But how does the new model compare to its predecessors? Richard Sibley investigates

It wasn’t so long ago that you could find a fixed 50mm lens in the bag of almost every photographer. With a magnification, on 35mm film, that is similar to human vision, fixed 50mm lenses came with the majority of new cameras. Over the years, the design of 50mm lenses became fine-tuned to produce some of the sharpest and least distorting optics ever produced.

Nikon first produced a manual-focus 50mm f/1.8 lens in 1978, and in the same year also introduced a cheaper version: the 50mm f/1.8 E series. The first autofocus version followed in 1986, and this  was updated in 2002. This newer AF lens was the 50mm f/1.8D, which communicated focus distance information to the camera to help improve exposure calculations. The one thing all these lenses have in common is the same basic optical design, featuring an arrangement of six elements in five groups.

Announced in April this year, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G changes the optical arrangement of the Nikkor series of 50mm f/1.8 optics for the first time in over 30 years. As well as being optically different, the lens also features some major mechanical changes to bring it into line with the rest of the current Nikkor lens range.

  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups (1 aspherical element)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7 (curved)
  • Weight: 185g
  • Max diameter x length: 72x52.5mm
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Mount: Nikon F
  • Minimum focusing distance: 45cm
  • Min Aperture: f/1.8
  • RRP: £199.99
  • Max Aperture: f/16

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