I've got an opportunity to buy a Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D prime lens for £75.

Has anyone used this lens who could give an opinion?

The reason I'm looking into buying it is that in an earlier question I asked about photographing gigs and someone recommended a lens like this as none of my lenses are really fast enough.

I'd be using it on my Nikon D70S.

  • I've flagged this question for moderator attention. It's quite specific and subjective. It also entirely depends on your budget. Perhaps we can reword differently to make it more generally useful? Otherwise it should probably be closed.
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2011 at 18:44
  • Here's a possibly relevant discussion on meta: meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/529/…
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2011 at 18:46
  • 2
    I think it's a fine question: "what's an acceptable price for lens X" is totally valid, as is "is lens X a good lens and when would I use it?" -- in particular, we have tons of examples of the latter question already.
    – Reid
    Jan 7, 2011 at 23:37
  • I don't think it's subjective at all... OP isn't asking what 'the best' lens is, or what-have-you... Jan 7, 2011 at 23:55
  • @Jay Lance Photography: I think the question should be rephrased. Don't you think "Should I by this..." is not something any of us can answer. The OP needs to decide on his own after we give him hard facts about the lens: what the typical going rate is, how it behaves in different conditions, what it's compatible with. I don't think this question is not useful... but I think as stated it's not too helpful.
    – Tom
    Jan 8, 2011 at 0:21

5 Answers 5


The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is a wonderful lens. It is also really cheap. So don't hesitate, go for it. That's the lens everybody should have in my opinion.

  • thanks, what sort of situations is lens really good for?
    – iamjonesy
    Jan 7, 2011 at 16:16
  • @iamjonesy You can use this best in two ways. 1) It can capture lots of light when wide open enabling clearer low light shots with lower ISO settings. 2) It can be used to create depth-of-field effects where the subject is in focus and the background is blurry. Also read: digital-photography-school.com/…
    – kacalapy
    Jan 7, 2011 at 16:25
  • @kacalapy - ok, once again, its not a "depth-of-field effect". Every shot has a certain DOF - the area that is acceptably in focus...you're talking about a shallow depth of field.
    – rfusca
    Jan 7, 2011 at 17:05
  • 2
    Just don't get fooled into thinking that you can just open the aperture wide when you're in low light and get great shots. It depends on what you mean by "great". And "shallow depth of field" better be in your definition of "great" because that's what will happen with the aperture wide open. If you want a lot of detail in a picture with low light, you are going to have to find other ways to compensate lighting: use flash, raise ISO, decrease shutter speed.
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2011 at 18:33
  • @Tom - +1 !, additionally, its very, very difficult to keep focus on moving objects (even people walking around) at wide open, big apertures - the depth of field is razor thin
    – rfusca
    Jan 7, 2011 at 19:02

Remember that the Nikon D70 has a 1.5x crop factor sensor. Therefore the 50mm becomes the fullframe equivalent of a 75mm lens.

This extra zoom will be an advantage for concert photography but might limit you somehow indoors.

But it's a lens that belongs in everyone's collection, especially when considering the price.


You can not go wrong with this lens. As Ken Rockwell puts it, this is probably the best lens Nikon makes taking into account price, quality, dexterity...

Personally, when I was selecting a fast lens, a few weeks ago, for low light shots in dining and concert halls I opted for the f/1.4 version to get more light in those dark situations.

  • 2
    there is a huge difference in price between the 1.8 and the 1.4 - £75 for the 1.8 is a great price
    – Zoe Bailey
    Jan 7, 2011 at 17:47
  • 1
    As I commented on another answer: a wide aperture is not necessarily great for low light. If I want to get a good picture of the entire room with a bunch of people in it, a shallow depth of field is undesirable. I would need to look for other means of dealing with low light. However, a wide aperture is great for a low light portrait.
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2011 at 18:36
  • @Tom What is the other way you go about getting a shot of a room with a bunch of people in it without a large aperture?
    – kacalapy
    Jan 7, 2011 at 19:35
  • I'm new to this too but here's my understanding: You can decrease the shutter speed, but honestly, you can only go so low especially if things are moving. If people are standing still, maybe you can use a low shutter speed, but you probably won't be able to go to 1/2 or 1 sec. Once you push the limit of shutter speed you can try to increase ISO. You have a D7000 which is great at going to high ISOs. But again, there will be a limit because at some point your pictures will get too grainy. If that won't work, you simply need more light: that's where your flash comes in.
    – Tom
    Jan 7, 2011 at 20:08
  • How bright your exposure is depends on things besides aperture, like shutter speed, ISO, and how much light is in the room. You could shoot a group of people with a tiny aperture like f/32 or even f/80, if you have the light/shutter speed/ISO needed. See What is the “exposure triangle”?
    – Evan Krall
    Jan 7, 2011 at 23:48

Some gig pics with the 50mm 1.8 on a Nikon D90, three songs - no flash... The EXIF data is left on for anyone who's interested.

Dark with a stong back light, ISO 200 - ISO 2500, but mostly ISO 400: Hidden Door @ The Roxy Art House

Dark. Just dark. And blown out on purpose - rock'n'roll :-) . Warning: May contain male nipples, ISO 1000-1600: Your Loyal Subjects @ The Roxy Art House

And a few from a well lit venue (except for one shot with a tele-zoom and one with a wide-angle lens), ISO 1000 - 2000: Over The Wall @ Limbo

Not necessarily the greatest pictures in the world - picked mostly because they were whole sets taken in small venues almost entirely with the 50mm f/1.8.

The main reason not to buy the 50mm 1.8 @ £75 is that you can get a brand new one with a guarantee for £105. But as long as front and back lenses are scratch free, and there are no obvious scrapes, I'd take it.

It's also worth reading: What should one look for when buying a used lens

  • I got it, £70 :D
    – iamjonesy
    Jan 10, 2011 at 11:50
  • Great! Welcome to the 50mm club. Jan 14, 2011 at 0:01

The Nikon "nifty fifty" 50mm f/1.8 is a fine lens with great optical qualities. The only drawback is the lack of internal focusing motor which makes it a manual focus lens on Nikon's cheaper bodies. These only autofocus with AF-S lenses.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.