Nikon 50mm Prime?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Demosthenes X, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I'm in need of a new lens for my D40, and I've been strongly considering Nikon's 50mm f1.8 prime lens. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and it's quite well priced. I enjoy portraits and the like, so the loss of a wide-angle lens does not concern me much, but I am concerned that on the D40, the 50mm will give me too much zoom - I read that on the smaller sensor it's actually equivalent to a 75mm lens.

    Has anyone out there used the prime as their primary lens? I'm really attracted by the photo quality and the speed, but before I spend the money, I'd like some feedback on whether it's too much zoom on a small-sensor camera.

    I'd love an 18-200mm, but they're more costly than what I can afford atm.
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    A 50mm on a Canon 1.6 crop is waaaay to long to be your only lens for most people. To fit three people in the frame you need over 10' to back up. I think the Nikon is a 1.5 crop, so it won't be quite as bad, but still too long for me to carry as my only lens.

    That focal length (on a crop body) is good for portraits and can take nice pictures, but it has it's place and most candid and walk around shots are not it.

    EDIT: What lens do you have on your d40 now? If you can, tape the zoom at 50mm and try using it for a few weeks and see how that focal length works for you.
  3. advan031 macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2008
    Your D40 will be MF only with 50mm f1.8.

    You need a 50mm 1.4 AFS or a 35mm f1.8 (much cheaper than 50mm).
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I like a 50mm prime on a crop body camera. Admittedly it depends on your style of shooting though. Take a look at your body of photos and see what lengths you've tended to shoot at.

    I never felt like it was too much zoom for me. That lens (I was using a Pentax 50 f/1.4) was perfect as an all around for the types of shots I took, and the razor thin DOF I could get was a lot of fun.

    I'd say go for it, it's a very useful lens, very sharp, and so inexpensive that you really can't go wrong.

  5. Demosthenes X thread starter macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I have the kit 18-55mm lens. It managed to break it somehow, so I'm looking for something to replace it. I do tend to shoot at the end of my range, but I'm concerned that 50mm on a crop sensor will be too much. Being MF-only doesn't bother me - my kit lens still works, it just doesn't mount properly, so on the rare occasion I need AF I can always go back to that.

    I'd love the 35mm, but it's more expensive than the 50mm. :/
  6. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    Truth is if you use primes, chances are you will want to wander around with more than one. If you only have only one lens then yes 50mm is too long. Needs to be 35-50mm (35mm equiv) really. 50 on crop is more of a portrait length but you can't go wrong buying a 50mm prime, it just won't be your standard walk about lens.
  7. Dman77 macrumors member

    May 23, 2009
    London, UK
    I've got one for my D60, I love it. At the price, you won't find a better value for money lense.

    Just be aware that you'll have to manually focus as already mentioned above, as the lens doesn't have a motor in the lens.
  8. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2009
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    I love the idea of taping the lens at 50mm to see if you can live with it. This should help me decide between the 50 and the 35mm lens
  9. namethisfile macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2008
    From B&H

    Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens $199.95


    Nikon Normal AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Autofocus Lens $129.95

    I would save $70 or so to get the newer 35mm AF-S for 4 reasons.

    1) 50mm on DX format cameras is too long for general everyday use
    2) Can autofocus (good for candid street shooting)
    3) As fast as the 50mm lens
    4) Can focus .5 inches closer than the 50

    PS- I myself have the older 35mm F2D and the 50mm 1.4D and I never take the 35mm one out.
  10. Bluefusion macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    I have the 50mm prime on my D40 and love it, though it IS too long. I get annoyed by how often I have to back up to frame things. The lack of a motor doesn't bother me, but it might bother you. I second the suggestion to get an autofocus 35mm prime, as 35mm seems to me about the "sweet spot" of most shots I take or want to take. Coupled with AF you have a damn nice lens-- and that 50mm prime is about the sharpest thing I've ever seen, so I'm sure the 35 wouldn't disappoint. Enjoy!
  11. darrellishere macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2007
    This image was taken on D40 with the 35mm. Its great on that camera!

    It also has the built in auto focus motor and make the camera ultra compact and sexy!

    However I don't like it very much on my D90.

    It shows allot of CA which I never ever saw in the 50mm 1.8!

    Attached Files:

  12. dubels macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    I am currently going through the same debate. I was only going to go with the 35mm dx but I managed to find a 50 AF-D 1.8 for $75 on craigslist so I couldn't pass it up. Next is the 35 DX when it comes back in stock.
  13. Slovak macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2008
    I got the 50mm f/1.8 for my D40 before the 35mm was available. Between the lack of autofocus and the DX crop ratio, I'd say spend the extra $70 and go with the 35mm.
  14. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    I have the AF-D 50mm f/1.4 and a D300. I bought it for the large aperture moreso than the focal length, long before the 35mm DX was released. It's a great focal length for portraits, but in a lot of situations where it's been my only lens on hand, I found myself wishing for a wider angle. I think the 35mm would be a better choice for you, especially if it's going to be your only lens. You can always crop, and really, why live without autofocus?
  15. RHVC59 macrumors 6502


    May 10, 2008
    Eugene, Oregon
    I also have the AF-D 50mm f/1.4 on a D80. It is a little long sometimes, but it is great for low light. it also makes me think more about what I want to capture, and where the best point of view is to capture any given image is. I cant be lazy and Zoom in or out, I have to be present... ;)

    Here is a shot taken last night at 9:30, after sunset. The black bear was hunting. Shot raw, no PP.
    f 1.4 1/40 sec, ISO 1400


    Attached Files:

  16. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I bought a 50mm f/1.4D for my D700 recently; great little lens.
  17. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    You'll like that glass (50mm) but you may be disappointed in its versatility (as others said, its too long) and may find yourself in awkward situations if it is your ONLY lens. That said, its better to have fast primes than slow zooms 'cuz no one likes blurry/underexposed shots. The 35mm will be your best bet unless you've had some serious focusing experience because the DOF will make it easy to misjudge your shot and end up with a range of soft shots, and you won't end up with the sharpness that primes are known for (because its easy to misjudge on the minature LCD).

    I havn't used the 35mm but its next on my list. That and the 70-200 2.8 :D

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