I recently bought this lens, but it seems to me that it hunts a lot in low(ish) light, and sometimes (often) does not achieve focus at all. I never had any problems with the kit lens.

Pointing the AF sensor to a place with higher contrast helps, but no t always.

Even with the AF assist light on, it sometimes fail to lock focus and I have to change to manual focus.

Any recomendations?


  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it the latest version without the aperture ring and SWM (AF-S 1.8G) or the older one with an aperture ring and no motor at all (AF 1.8 D)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Benoit
    Sep 6, 2010 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ AF 1.8D, with aperture ring \$\endgroup\$
    – jfoucher
    Sep 9, 2010 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


I have the same lens on my Nikon D50, and found it has major problems focusing when not using the center point of focus. When using the left,right,top,bottom focus points, it will run the whole focus range without finding something to focus on.

When using the center, it will focus, except when the center region is completely flat (without any detail to focus).

So, maybe try to lock the focus point in center to see how it reacts.

In general, the focus speed of the 50mm 1.8 is far slower than focus speed achieved with the 18-55 kit lens.

(I also have the 35mm f1.8 DX and it does not suffer from this problem, it has similar performance as the kit lens)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ totally! I thought it was my D50?? Do you think this problem would go away with a better body, say a D700? or is the issue solely with the lens? \$\endgroup\$
    – andy
    Sep 3, 2010 at 1:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't say. I would think it is a lense issue (it's an old lense design), because other lenses don't do this. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 3, 2010 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ To me it seems that the 35 f1.8 is slower than the 18-55 VR, but I don't have any concrete data to back this up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Sep 6, 2010 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using the center focus point allows for focusing in lower light. Thanks for the tip! \$\endgroup\$
    – jfoucher
    Dec 3, 2010 at 21:10

I have a faster version of the 50mm (I think it is the 1.4, but I forget) and it also tends to hunt around a bit, especially if there is no clear edges that the autofocus can pick up on. I prefer to use manual focus with this lens, partly because of this, its autofocus slowness and also because sound from the camera's focus motor.


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