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
With its internal Silent Wave Motor, the first thing that is apparent when using the 50mm f/1.8G is how quiet the lens is when focusing compared to its predecessors. Without the buzz of an AF screw driving the lens focus mechanism, there is a noticeable quietness.
The low volume gives the impression that the 50mm f/1.8G focuses faster than the previous AF versions of this lens, but it is just that – an impression. Focusing on a subject a few feet away, and then to infinity, took the same amount of time regardless of which version of the lens I used.
When using the D3X professional-level DSLR, I found that all of the lenses quickly snap into focus, making the new model a great choice for documentary images and travel photography. Its 75mm equivalent field of view on a Nikon DX-format (APS-C-sized sensor) DSLR makes it a nice short-focal-length portrait lens.
Image: When shooting wide open at f/1.8, the lens gives a very shallow depth of field