Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 E Series

Another option for a fast normal lens. Like most lenses of this category, it's small, cheap to make, and pretty good. Any difference compared to the AI-S?

+ fast normal lens, excellent for low light or subject isolation
+ very small and compact, it looks less like a lens and more like a fat body cap!
+ very cheap - it's amazing how great image quality you can get with so little money

- manual focus can be challenging, like with other manual focus lenses of the same category.
- construction quality is inferior to the AI-S, but then again, it's really cheap. So, who cares.
- Focus ring really thin, bit difficult to grab.

Pretty impressive performance @f/1.8 in the tight and abysmally badly lit environment of the sauna. Although it looks bit out of balance on the D700, the combo is very competent.

Intended Users
Great for:
  • people who look for a fast, quality lens, but are on a (very) tight budget.
  • great lens for a macro reversing solution - make sure its filter ring is intact
  • low light or portrait work, this lens is in its element

Not for:
  • anything moving - not impossible, but it can be very frustrating
  • those who have a camera with focus motor - get the AF 50mm f/1.8 instead. Being able to autofocus is certainly worth the bit extra money
  • people with big hands. This is a really tiny lens, with a wafer-thin focus ring.

Final Verdict
A great lens, like all 50mm Nikkors. Very cheap, with excellent image quality, and an extremely small size/weight. The small size can also be a problem, as the focus ring disappears in the lens. People with big hands might have problems. The construction quality also seems inferior to the AI-S versions (although still fine, and probably better than most modern lenses of the same class!). All in all, I warmly recommend this, it's a fun lens to use, particularly for non-critical work (say, having fun in the back yard). Just make sure you pay the right price for it - many people sell these for more than they should, making the AI-S or even the AF version a more sense-making option.

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