Moose’s Visual Guide and Review for the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
If you're looking for one lens that will to take you beyond boring snapshots and give you that "PRO" look, the 50mm f/1.8G is the lens you're looking for. Alongside the 35mm f/1.8G, it's the lens I most often recommended to family and friends.
Things I'm Crazy About
So the 50mm f/1.8G is a "prime" lens. This is a fancy photographic term for a lens that is fixed at a particular focal length... meaning you can't zoom in or out.
The advantage of a prime lens is that they're super sharp and very bright (not in the "smart" kind of way).
Lenses that are bright, those that have f/numbers between f/1.2 to f/2.8, let lots of light into the camera. This translates to better hand-held low light photos (sharper subjects with less blur) and a shallow depth of field (DOF).
Oh boy, another photographic term. A shallow depth of field, allows you to have a tiny area in focus with everything else blurred into oblivion.
This effect produces lovely portraits, food and product shots against silky backgrounds that help the subject "pop" off the screen or print.
If you've only shot with a kit lens thus far, you'll be amazed at the difference in the "look" of your photos.
In addition to the sharpness and the bright aperture, the 50mm f/1.8G is built well and quite compact compared to the kit lens, making it easier to carry around for a day of shooting.
Things I'm Not Crazy About
As mentioned above, this being a prime lens, it definitely takes some getting used to. You have to physically move around in order to compose and frame your shot.
While this isn't really an issue outdoors, it can be a problem indoors...especially in small rooms where you don't have enough room to backup.
When mounted to an entry level Nikon DX format DSLR, you'll actually end up with a field of view equivalent to a 75mm lens on a full frame DSLR. If you're curious as to what you'll see in the viewfinder, just attach your kit lens and zoom to 50mm.
If you need something a bit wider for indoor shooting, then check out the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G.
This is one of those lenses where once you try it, you'll be hooked.
Whether you're looking to improve your family photos, experimenting with food and product photography or looking to do some street and fashion shoots, you just can't beat it's versatility.
This lens holds its value really well. If you were to buy this lens brand new and sell it a year later...you're probably looking at a loss of $10 to $15 which is far less than renting this lens for a week.