Just wanted to give you camera gear-heads out there a quick heads up. If you’re in the market for a new “portrait” lens, this is the one to get. For the cropped-frame sensor cameras out there, which is most all of the consumer DSLRs (Nikon D3100,D5100, D90, D7000, D300)… the 50mm is the perfect focal length for head/shoulder or 3/4 body shots. What’s great about this new lens is that it is now an AF-S lens, which means it comes with a built in focusing motor, which again means you can use this with ANY Nikon DSLR and it will have auto-focus. The older 50mm f/1.8D lens (which we have) did not have an internal AF motor and relied on the camera body’s AF motor… which means if your camera does not have an AF motor (D3100,D5100) the older 1.8D lens will basically be downgraded to a manual focus lens.
The new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens also adds an aspherical lens element, which in plain english means better defense against bad stuff… not even the more expensive 50mm f/1.4G (which we have and use all the time) lens has this. Also, the new 1.8G is designed with curved aperture blades so when you stop down to say f/2.8 the bokeh will be more circular and less blocky.
Anyhow, since I don’t have this lens, I can’t do a direct comparison… but good thing someone else has already. Take a look at these photos comparing the bokeh (quality of the out of focus area) of the new 50mm 1.8G ($220) vs 50 1.8D ($130) vs 50 1.4G ($470). You’ll notice the new 1.8G has a smoother, less busy bokeh than the old 1.8D.
We’re constantly asked for lens recommendations, and if you are out there looking for a new “portrait lens”, this is the one to look at. If you still use the kit-lens that came with your camera and have never tried a fast “prime” lens like this one.. you’ll be in for a huge surprise. It is night and day.
Here’s a link to get your new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. If I didn’t have the 1.4G already, I would get this new 1.8G and put the extra $200 saved toward another speed light or a good photography book.
If you are not looking for a “portrait lens”, then you should look at the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens. The 35mm focal length on cropped-frame sensors has a more everyday walk-around field of view.