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Reviewed by Jehu Abiram

My photography instructor used to say there are no free meals in life. Good advice for life but in this case he was talking about buying a kit lens; what you gain in utility you will lose somewhere else. In most cases you will compromise speed or clarity or sharpness. You get what you pay for. This is where the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D type comes in. It’s not a lens you aspire to own. It’s made in China and borders on disposable but it’s a no-nonsense full frame lens which you can pick up for between $180 to $200 (Rs. 6,450), maybe even less on the grey market. It’s just about cheap enough for you to not feel the pinch if you find yourself with one that blanks out on you and you don’t have a warranty.

The other options similar in function are the 35mm and the 50mm f1.4 and the 1.8G type. Similar in function but not in price.

I liked the first one I bought so much I gave it away. I think it makes a really neat gift for someone who’s already got an SLR and is thinking about taking that next step.

Real Reviews: Review of the Nikkor 50mm 1.8f D lens
Working with a prime lens, however, is very different from a zoom lens. Since most first time SLR users start off with the lens that came in the box with the camera, the first couple of outings with the prime can be an adventure. You might find yourself looking for the zoom ring or taking a few steps forward or backward to compensate. My advice at this point: stick with it. Your brain is already learning to see the world in 50mm. After a couple of weeks you will start to see the world in 50mm. Having said that, if prime lenses don’t work for you, this is the cheapest way to find out!

The autofocus on this lens is quick and the low light usability is only outdone by the f1.4. I’ve used it for portraits, landscapes and even covered a live concert with it when I had a last minute change and didn’t have the right lenses for the gig with me. Where the 1.8 really shines is what’s vaguely known as ‘street photography’ – Cartier-Bresson and his ‘decisive moment’ would certainly approve! Its small size, decent construction and low light capabilities make it ideal. It’s also compatible with manual bodies (in the unlikely event you have one) because of the manual aperture ring.

The close focusing is also pretty good: about 50cm or less. You can’t call this macro but I’ve delved in small-time food photography and guess which lens I used! This is why this is my favourite lens; it just gets the job done.

Lastly, the lens has a 52mm filter size, which is common and convenient. And my last tip: spend a bit of money on a decent protective filter and leave it on! Take decent care of your lenses and you’ll be glad you did when you’re upgrading.

I’m happy to answer any questions or hear comments (

Note: The photos above have not been processed.

Product: Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D Type

Price: Rs. 6,450

Buy Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D Type on

Jehu is a freelance photographer. He has 20-20 vision and is reasonably well coordinated, except when it comes to driving 4 wheelers.

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