I'm going to buy an AF 50mm lens for my Nikon D3300 because I do not have money to buy an AF-S lens. I plan to use it with manual focus. Will it be worth it and give good results ?

  • 1
    We can't tell you if it's "worth it", because that's entirely personal. Equally, we can't say "good enough" because what's good enough for you is entirely different to whether it's good enough for me.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 21 '16 at 11:52

The thing to consider is your own skill level really. If you can precisely tune the focus without the use of auto-focus then you can probably get away with using it. Otherwise, I would say just stick with your kit lens until you can afford the af-s lens.

  • 2
    Important for that consideration: the D3300 has a pentamirror, which is darker than a pentaprism, this makes manual focusing more difficult.
    – null
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:03

Digital camera viewfinders don't have the special focusing aids film cameras had to make manual focusing easy. 50mm is a bit long to try to focus manually with a flat glass viewfinder on a crop sensor camera that lacks DoF preview, especially if you're buying a prime with the intention of using large apertures (which reduce depth of field even further).

If you were shooting landscapes with a 14mm lens and a distance scale or had a viewfinder meant for manual focus on a DSLR (KatzEye for example) then you would be okay, but starting off with a D3300 and a manual focus 50mm lens might make photography less enjoyable.

I recommend the 35mm f/1.8 G AF-S or 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S. Make sure you consider your camera's crop factor before choosing 35mm or 50mm.


Based on my practice, when I shoot with my 50mm I use more often the auto-focus than when shooting with other lens. That is why I think that AF-S is more suitable. I also have d3300 and use the AF-S 50m and the results are awesome.

The AF-S is no more then 80-100 $ more expensive. I think that this is not so much for a good lens.

Both, AF and AF-S are very good lenses for their price, but I believe that the nature of shooting with 50mm is demanding to use auto focus more often.

It is up to your decision. But you may struggle to focus properly on manual

  • Why is the nature of shooting with 50mm demanding AF more often? Why and how is it different from say 35mm or 200mm? Without context of what the subject matter is, I don't think that statement is true in general.
    – null
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:48
  • I more often use wide angle lens for landscapes. (Of course also a longer but not so often). Using those lens on a tripod gives me the time to use manual focus and to focus properly and good. As I said, based on my practice, not others, when I am using the 50mm most of the time I am shoooting people, walking around and shooting still or moving objects. In those cases I need more fast shooting of the scene. The manual focus can not give me that. Also, as I said that I use same camera and manula focus can be painful in some cases.
    – Ivo
    Jul 21 '16 at 13:59

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