In depth

The Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S is a regular prime lens for Nikon’s full-frame Z-series mirrorless cameras. A well-liked focal size for avenue images and general-purpose use, it options an f1.eight focal ratio and joins the Z 24-70mm f4S and the Z 50mm f1.8S as the primary Z-series lenses in the marketplace. Nikon’s Z-lenses stands out as the solely fashions presently accessible with a local Z-mount however because of Nikon’s FTZ adapter, present F-mount lenses can simply be used on their new Z our bodies. So the brand new Z 50mm f1.8S faces competitors from a bunch of different customary lenses with the F-mount, most notably Nikon’s personal AF-S 50mm f1.8G.

Because the Z 50mm f1.8S is a member of Nikon’s high-end “S” line it’s anticipated to carry out on a really excessive stage. To search out out whether or not  the brand new Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S rightfully carries the “S” moniker I examined its optical qualities on the 45MP Z7 physique in opposition to a couple of different lenses of which the Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus is my present reference customary lens. So when you’re fascinated by how Nikon’s second prime lens for his or her new Z system performs, you’ve come to the best place!






Details from the catalog

As traditional I’ll take a look on the technical knowledge of the brand new Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S first. I’ve rated the options with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s higher than common and even cutting-edge, a [0] if it’s customary or simply common, and [-] if there’s an obstacle. For this comparability I take advantage of the Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.8G (“F Nikkor” for brief) and the Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus (“Otus” for brief).

Measurement (diameter x size): 76 x 87mm (3.Zero x 3.4in.). The lens hood provides 40mm and is 88mm in diameter. The F Nikkor is 72 x 53mm and the Otus is 92 x 117mm + 32mm for the lens hood. For an apples-to-apples comparability one has to permit for the variations of flange distance between the Z-mount (16mm) and the F-mount (46.5mm). So these 30.5mm (1.2in.) must be added when utilizing the F Nikkor or the Otus – both on an F-mount DSLR just like the D850 or by mounting it through the FTZ adapter on a Nikon Z physique. [+]

Weight: 412g (14.6 oz.) plus 27g for the lens hood. The F Nikkor is barely 185g (6.5 oz.), the Otus 948g (33.Four oz.) plus 64g for the metallic lens hood. Add one other 133g (4.7 oz.) for the FTZ adapter to make use of them on a Z7. [+]

Optics: 12 components (together with 2 particular dispersion and a couple of aspherical components) in 9 teams which is a equally complicated design because the Otus. Each the Nikon 50mm f1.8G and f1.4G are a lot less complicated designs. The brand new Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S employs fluorine coating on the entrance to repel water, mud, and grime and may make for simpler cleansing and makes use of Nikon’s Nano-Coating to scale back flare, glare and ghosting. [+]




Closest focus distance is 0.4m (15.7in.) with a magnification of 1:6.7. In my check I used to be in a position to get all the way down to 1:6 at 0.38m with handbook focus. The magnification of the brand new Nikon is corresponding to the opposite lenses. A magnification of 1:10 is achieved at 0.59m. [0]

Filter-thread: 62mm. The F Nikkor has 58mm, the Otus 77mm. [+]

Picture stabilization: The lens presents no optical stabilization. However the Nikon Z our bodies present built-in sensor-shift stabilization over 5 axis – plus an elective digital stabilization in video mode. The F Nikkor and the Otus additionally haven’t any optical picture stabilization inbuilt however the body-based picture stabilization of a Nikon Z physique offers roll, pitch, and yaw correction when used on the FTZ adapter. [0]

Auto focus: Sure with built-in AF drive. Handbook-focus override is by merely turning the main target ring – when you didn’t assign one other operation to this multi-function ring. The main focus ring has a variable gearing that permits for very exact handbook focus when turned slowly. Sadly this characteristic can’t be switched to linear gearing which makes clean focus pulling for videographers nearly unattainable. Deal with the F Nikkor and the Otus works equally with the one variations being a linear gearing and that the main target ring does solely that: focusing. [+]

Covers full body/FX or smaller. Similar with the alternate options. [+]

Value: The lens has an inventory value of 680 EUR (incl. 19% VAT) / 600 USD. The F Nikkor goes for roughly a 3rd (220 EUR / 220 USD) whereas the Otus has an exorbitant asking value of 3200 EUR / 4000 USD. [+]

Comes with a smooth pouch and the lens hood is included, reversible for transport. That’s just like the F Nikkor however I need to say the brand new pouches for the Z lenses up to now are  disappointing: the fabric is flimsy and the pouch has no strings to tug it shut. So when you put the lens in your bag it’d simply slip out of its pouch and bang round unprotected. That being mentioned, the Zeiss Otus doesn’t even include a pouch. [0]

Distance info is relayed to the digicam, so the digicam and flashes can do all of the superior exposure-related stuff with this lens. Similar for many alternate options (together with the F Nikkor) apart from the Zeiss Otus which doesn’t generate distance info. The brand new Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S doesn’t have a distance scale or dof markers – like nearly any focus-by-wire lens for mirrorless programs. Do I miss it? Nicely, typically. However you may shoot completely with out one. [+]

Aperture ring: the multi-function management ring of an S-lens could be assigned to function the aperture, publicity compensation or focus. It robotically falls again to its customary focus management when the lens is switched to handbook focus. Though the lens management ring has not the identical profit as having a spotlight ring plus a devoted aperture ring on the lens it offers you extra flexibility to regulate one of many extra essential capturing parameters instantly from a pleasant ring on the lens. The F Nikkor and most different alternate options don’t have an aperture management ring. The Zeiss Otus presents one however that’s of no use because the Z7 (not like the D850) doesn’t enable to regulate the aperture from there. [+]

Sealing: sure, a rubber grommet on the lens-mount plus additional particular weather-sealing all through the development. The F Nikkor solely has the sealing on the lens-mount, the Otus not even that. [+]

The rating within the “features-department” is 0[-]/3[0]/10[+]. So the lens has an excellent characteristic set. It presents the nifty characteristic of the multi-purpose management ring and is sealed in opposition to the climate like Nikon’s professional lenses. In comparison with the opposite Z lenses up to now it solely lacks a bit in close-up capturing: The Nikon Z 35mm f1.8S reaches a magnification of 1:4.eight and the Z 24-70mm f4S may even go down o 1:3.1.


Three customary prime lenses for Nikon


Above from left to proper: Nikon 50mm f1.4G on Nikon FTZ adapter, Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S, Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus (wants adapter)


Alternate options

The marketplace for customary prime lenses is fairly crowded however no different producer presents any lens for Nikon’s Z-mount up to now. So for alternate options now we have to take a look at F-mount lenses which can be utilized mounted on Nikon’s FTZ adapter – including one other 31mm in size and 133g in weight:

  • Nikon presents the AF-S 50mm f1.8G ED from 2011 for 220 EUR / 220 USD or the two/Three of a cease sooner AF-S 50mm f1.4G from 2008 for 440 EUR / 450 USD. For extra info on the latter see my Nikon 50mm f1.4G assessment the place it got here Extremely Advisable.
  • Tamron’s stabilized SP AF 45mm f1.eight Di VC USD from 2015 goes for about 430 EUR / 400 USD. The one stabilized lens of the alternate options earned a Extremely Advisable in my Tamron SP 45mm f1.eight VC assessment. Its optical stabilization was good for 2-Three stops on a D810. The Nikon Z our bodies add roll compensation – which from expertise takes a bit of jitter away however doesn’t add one other cease of stabilization. The Tamron additionally has the distinctive advantage of offering as much as 1:3.Four magnification in close-up photographs.
  • Sigma presents the AF 50mm f1.Four DG HSM Artwork  from 2014 for 700 EUR / 950 USD. See my Sigma 50mm f1.Four Artwork assessment the place it got here Extremely Advisable. The Sigma Artwork can also be an enormous and heavy lens though not as excessive because the Zeiss Otus. Nonetheless: mounting it on the FTZ adapter the Sigma Artwork has a diameter of 85mm, a size of 130mm and a weight of 950g (w/o lens hood).
  • The Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus from 2015 is my present reference customary prime lens. However it prices a whopping 3200 EUR / 4000 USD – and it’s handbook focus solely! However its construct high quality is unsurpassed and the optical efficiency is prime notch. It earned a Extremely Advisable in my Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.Four assessment.
  • Samyang has the handbook focus 50mm f1.Four AS UMC from 2015 which prices 430 EUR / 400 USD.


One other various?


Above: Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S vs. Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S on Nikon Z7


Lastly you may additionally take into account the brand new Nikon Z 24-70mm f4.0S instead. It has the advantage of protecting a 2.9x zoom vary reaching 40% additional on the lengthy finish and going 37 levels wider on the brief finish. It does supply solely an f4.Zero focal ratio however is of comparable dimension and weight because the Z 50mm f1.8S – no less than in its retracted state. It doesn’t want an adapter like the opposite alternate options above and presents excellent optical efficiency. Plus it comes fairly low cost when you purchase it in a package along with the Z7 digicam (600 EUR / 750 USD). It acquired a Extremely Advisable in my Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S assessment.



Focus accuracy and repeatability is vital to persistently produce sharp photographs particularly with giant aperture lenses. Repeatability (the accuracy of give attention to the identical topic after repeated focus-acquisition) of this lens is excellent (measured 98.2% in Reikan FoCal) with no outliers over a collection of 40 photographs. There’s solely little focus variation whether or not the lens focuses from a better distance or from infinity.

The lens focuses in round 0.5 sec from infinity to 0.6m (1:10 magnification), which is fairly quick. Looking didn’t happen below the well-lit check situations. The main focus/management ring is 38mm huge. Its floor just isn’t rubberized however because it strikes tremendous clean and may simply be operated with one finger the finely knurled metallic floor is effectively as much as its job.

AF-operation of the brand new lens is barely audible from the skin. However when you file video with the built-in microphone the AF-drive nonetheless produces a slight buzz. This lens is clearly not as quiet because the Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S. When you use the management ring on the lens to alter the aperture this works easily and with out noise.

As you pull focus, you’ll discover a really slight focus respiration: the picture turns into much less magnified at nearer focusing distances. When I adjusted the main target from infinity to 0.6m on the brand new Nikon, I measured a 0.7% lower in magnification. That is completely inconspicuous and may please videographers.


Picture stabilization

To check the effectiveness of the picture stabilization with the Nikon Z 50mm f1.8S on a Z7 physique, I did a collection of 140 test-shots hand-held. For comparability I additionally shot the Nikon 50mm f1.4G and the Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus on the FTZ adapter. This could give an impression of how good tailored lenses are stabilized which solely profit from Three axis (roll, pitch, yaw) as apposed to the 5 axis stabilization the Nikon Z our bodies present for Z-mount lenses. I examined with shutter speeds from 1/50 of a second all the way down to 0.6 sec. I used the photographs at 1/50 sec with VR=OFF as reference of how good my hand-holding was on the time of the check and Reikan FoCal did the chore of evaluating the sharpness of all 460 test-shots.

Right here’re the small print for the Z Nikkor first: With VR=ON the combo produced outcomes all the way down to 1/12 sec (2 stops) which have been clearly extra persistently sharp than at 1/50 sec with VR=off. At 1/6 sec (Three stops) the outcomes have been corresponding to 1/50 with VR=off. At 1/Three sec (Four stops) there have been 30% clearly blurred pictures and 0.6 sec produced hardly any usable outcomes. It is a Three cease benefit from stabilization.

How did the tailored lenses fare? The Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4G achieved the same end result because the Z Nikkor proper all the way down to 0.6 sec. So there was no discernible distinction in stabilization on this check. The Zeiss 55mm f1.Four Otus is a a lot heavier and longer lens than the opposite two so the query was how dimension and weight influences the stabilization. There have been certainly slight variations within the blur attribute of the Zeiss Otus: there have been a bit of extra barely blurred pictures however much less closely blurred ones at shutter speeds of 1/6 and longer. So all-in-all I couldn’t discover a important distinction within the stabilization of tailored lenses versus the native Z Nikkor in my check.


Subsequent try my high quality outcomes!

Verify costs on the Nikon Z 50mm f1.eight S at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get your self a replica of my In Digicam ebook or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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