Author Topic: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can  (Read 6820 times)

Michael Erlewine

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The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« on: June 15, 2019, 00:28:43 »
I find the Nikon lens 50mm f/1.8 S, made for the Z Cameras, to be a very useful lens. It is not too big or heavy and it compares well with even my best lenses like the Zeiss Otus series. Here is DXOMARK’s comparison of the two. The Otus 55mm rates higher than the Nkon 50mm S lens, but it is hard to see why from the numbers. The 50mm is sharper by several point, is equal in both distortion and vignetting, has less aberration than the 50mm S. Only in “transmission” does the Otus win out, so there is some subjectivity somewhere in these final scores.

From my own use of the Zeiss Otuss 55mm, it is more even in center and edges than the Nikon 50 s and I still feel the better all-around lens, IMO. However, the little Nikon 50mm S f/1.8 is plenty good enough for a lot of jobs. I have gotten used to the short focus throw and the focus-by-wire. I have a handle on that by now. It is not a problem, especially with the Nikon Z7’s LiveView and EVF and magnified focus.

But standing in a very wet microclimate in my high boots and balancing each footstep as I tried to  set up my tripod, the difference between the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S on the Nikon Z camera and the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 (with the FTZ adapter) is very little and the savings in size and weight is great.

I am working in a tiny micro-climate where grow Michigan’s Showy Orchids, a small group of them. It is wet everywhere, with ferns and vegetation packed together. Each step is a guess and a hope since the ground is not level. I have to use my tripod to lean on as I can.

For me, the new Nikon Z7 is more and more the way I’m going. I can’t wait to use other brands of lenses, like the Sony E-mounts, on the Z7. The Voigtlander 65mm Macro, which I have had for a long time, is waiting for the new TeChart adapter to arrive.
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richardHaw

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 03:44:55 »
not sure if its just me but mine has lots of CA :o :o :o

pluton

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 04:48:22 »
Pretty scene, Michael. 
I presume DxO has it's value to many, but there is only so much you can determine from a flat chart on a wall at 2 meters.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 06:56:44 »
not sure if its just me but mine has lots of CA :o :o :o

I agree. There is some CA, but mostly removable in post.
 The 50mm f/1.8 S is very sharp, not very heavy, and no FTZ. I still use the Otus lenses in the studio or around home. In the middle of a swamp or a hike, the f/1.8 50 S is pretty decent.
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tommiejeep

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2019, 08:16:21 »
Michael, I received an email yesterday from my Dealer in China saying the Adapter due to ship on the 20th (a weeks delay) .  Have your heard anything on your order?
Cheers,
Tom
Tom Hardin, Goa, India

Birna Rørslett

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2019, 10:56:36 »
Nice example of what the 50/1.8S can deliver. My sample is largely devoid of CA, though. It's the 14-30 that is the CA "winner" amongst the new S-line Nikkors :(

richardHaw

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2019, 11:49:13 »
It's the 14-30 that is the CA "winner" amongst the new S-line Nikkors :(
:o :o :o

Eddie Draaisma

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2019, 12:50:18 »
And not to forget that the 50/1.8S, being an AF lens, does support the "Stacking for Dummies" mode in the Z6 and Z7 bodies; much more convenient than doing it by MF  ;)

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2019, 13:06:37 »
Michael, I received an email yesterday from my Dealer in China saying the Adapter due to ship on the 20th (a weeks delay) .  Have your heard anything on your order?
Cheers,
Tom

No, I have heard nothing. I wait for it like a kid for Christmas. I hoped to have it for the photo below, but no luck. That and the Voigtlander 65mm Macro and I am good to go.
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Bill De Jager

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2019, 06:01:32 »
Beautiful work, Michael.

I originally stated that I would wait for v.2 of the Z6/Z7, hoping for better controls.  Well, life is short and the Z6 was just too attractive given its a ability to mount a very large number of lenses I have in my possession.  So I sprung for one along with the discounted 24-70 f/4. 

My initial conclusion about the camera is that I like it a lot.  Yes, I wish there were more controls, I still have a lot to learn, and as a result there are occasional frustrations, but overall Nikon did a great job of moving into the mirrorless domain in a serious way.  The camera is a very nice size for a full-frame model and I'm looking forward to eventually putting a pancake lens on it.

After a nice trip in the mountains (photos pending) along came the current Nikon Z sale, so I went ahead and got the highly recommended 50mm f/1.8 and 24-70 f/2.8.  The latter I'll report on at a later date after I actually use it.  I passed on the 35/1.8 based on its lesser performance.  Also I'm looking to over time build up a(n almost) Rorslett lens set of 28-50-105mm primes in the Z system.

The Z 50mm f/1.8 has been a pleasure to use.  I'm not a huge fan of the focal length but it's a good one to have, especially in a relatively fast lens (in contrast to f/2.8 and f/4 zooms).  I don't like manual focusing using the fly-by-wire system but maybe I'll get used to it.  The size and weight, while larger than traditional 50/1.8 lenses, are still reasonable.

Where the lens has impressed me is its optical performance. I've only started to use it but I'm really surprised how good it is.  Focus is pretty sharp out to the edges.

Performance when shooting into the sun is pretty good but not flawless.  Outside of the obvious flare near the sun the rest of the image has little flare.  The overall effect is very usable.  The photo, originally taken in portrait orientation, has been rotated so the pixel rows on the sensor are running up-down.

_DSC0452-20percent-cropped by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

I love the rendition and sharpness of this lens

Reduced to 20% and cropped a bit:
_DSC0456_20percent_crop by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Reduced to 50% and cropped quite a bit: 
_DSC0415_50percent_cropped by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

100% pixels, cropped quite a bit:
_DSC0461_100percent_crop by Bill de Jager, on Flickr

Erik Lund

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2019, 07:39:20 »
That is some serious sensor blooming from the sun there Bill.I'm quite surprised to see that,,, Is that 'normal' for Z6
Erik Lund

Øivind Tøien

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2019, 09:15:55 »
That is some serious sensor blooming from the sun there Bill.I'm quite surprised to see that,,, Is that 'normal' for Z6

I have seen examples and comments on DPR and elsewhere that the blooming is actually some sort of flare caused by diffraction at the vertically traveling shutter blades at short shutter speeds. It can be remedied by using a fully electronic shutter. What has not been answered is why this is specific to these bodies, and does not seem to be an issue for our DSLR's.

Øivind Tøien

Erik Lund

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 09:49:27 »
OK, that sounds looks like possible cause for half of the issue, my guess would be the on-sensor AF is the other factor then.I recall seeing similar issues back in the early digital days,,, But really makes the image unusable IMHO
Erik Lund

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Re: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 S, the Little Lens That Can
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2019, 10:48:44 »
Thank you for the link! It's the strange shape of the blooming that I dislike  ::)
Erik Lund