Nikon 50mm prime lens-My experiments and feedback! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Nikon 50mm prime lens-My experiments and feedback!

I bought this prime lens about 3 months ago. From my limited knowledge and expertise on photography and based on my experience using this prime lens on about half a dozen trips, I am using this post to share my findings. I am aware that I might not be using the lens at its maximum potential, due to limitations such as my skills, lack of proper tripod, an older camera body etc, so please use your discretion.

Why did I buy this 50mm lens?
Because I figured out that this lens is brilliant to get desired depth of fields, being able to selectively focus on specific part of the frame and so on. The prime lens do not have any zoom and operate at fixed focal point (in my case 50 mm, there’re prime lens of 35 mm, 80mm etc). Because there is no moving part, the lens is far more accurate and capable compared to using a standard 18-55 mm lens at 50mm. Another main factor is F value. The 18-55 kit lens has a lower F value of F/3.5 to F/5.6 respectively at 18 and 55mm. This means at say 50 mm, the kit lens has about 3 times smaller aperture size than 50mm prime lens with F/1.8. With better aperture number, prime lens can achieve much better depth of field, capture more light where required and can give much sharper images.

I had tough time deciding between 35 mm prime lens vs 50 mm prime. Shande and Desi Traveler helped me finalize the decision to purchase it. Rajiv Verma gave some hands on KT while we met for HexaExperienceAfter buying this lens, initial few trips I didn't use it much, as I wasn't very clear how to make the most of it. But after Hexa event, I am keeping this lens close and keep looking for frames that may look better in this lens, and I am enjoying the experience so far, despite several photos that ended up bad/out of focus.

Few of my sample clicks with this 50mm prime lens

Portraits and People: Fashion and travel Blogger Bhushavali happily posed for my lens during the #HexaExperience in Hyderabad. Check the pics on her blog here and here. Another portrait below of  Himmat Singh, a staff member at Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner, (Thanks Shefali for the ID)

Experimenting with depth of field-check below pics- I could effortlessly focus on the first lamp, second lamp or the Piano in the background without much effort. This was at Narendra Bhavan, Bikaner. Achieving the same with 18-55mm needs lot more of effort and skill, if not impossible.

Similarly I could focus on any random ball on the billiard table, resulting in artistic images.

The face of a tiger– clicked at Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner. When I showed this to Sankara he said it still needs improvement as focus is not at its best.

I have used this in addition with an extension tube to click some macro pics- check these two posts for details-Macro Post 1, Macro post 2.

Check the photos below- I could effortlessly focus on different people in different clicks, at my command. Pic 1- Sankara in focus, Pic 2 Sid in focus, Pic 3- Karan Singh in focus

The drawbacks or things you should know.
1) I feel that prime lens works best when you have total control over your subject and environment (i.e. while taking a portrait you can ask the person to stay steady or while taking photo of food you have time and liberty to arrange it the way you want etc). If you are trying it on subjects you don’t have any control on- such as animals which keep moving or outdoor scenarios where lots of things may not work to your liking, then using this lens can get tricky. Either you should get lucky or you should be extremely good with your camera controls. Sometimes you feel the photo has come out well, when checked in camera display- but once viewed on a computer, you may realize that multiple key areas are out of focus. Below photo was of a rat clicked in Karni Mata temple in Bikaner- It was a dark ambiance and I didn’t want to move too much (to check the output or change lens etc) else the rat would have run away- so managed a few shots like below, but I believe I should have done better. Not all parts of the rat's face are captured clearly.

2) Because it is 50mm, it is not as wide angle as 18mm, so in most cases you will end up walking back several steps to get proper frame- be careful not to topple off things or lose your footing.  In small rooms and confined places using this lens will be hard.

3) For best effects use tripod and remote or timer. Even pressing the shutter with hand with cause some distortion when the pic is blown up.

4) Time is also another factor- if you are in extreme hurry to click and move on, this lens is not best suited. It takes some time to think of how you want the outcome to be and try with this lens to get that desired results. If you're in hurry and just want some quick pictures, 18-55 is better.

Note that above pics are compressed in Picasa for web use and also clicked without tripod. Also to be noted: my (camera) body, 5100 is five and a half years old. It has less mega pixels, less autofocus areas compared to recent models and probably has some fungus too,. Same lens on a better/latest camera will surely get you even better pictures.

Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be expert with photography or lens. Only sharing what I have clicked and what I felt about the lens. I am still learning. Any criticism, tips and suggestions are always welcome. I am sure the lens has lots more potential that I have explored so far. If you're only using a standard 18-55 kit lens and wondering how other people are managing better pics, you should probably consider adding a prime lens to your kit.

The one I bought is AF-S F/1.8 G that cost me INR 10500+. There is a cheaper variant without autofocus, which is 5k cheaper. There is a F/1.4 version costing about 18k. Chose your model wisely. Unfortunately unlike mobile prices that keep dropping, camera accessories aren't getting cheaper over years, at least not considerably.

Similar: Darter Photography workshop- why you should attend * Suryagarh through my lens


  1. You have nailed it... specially the DOF part in the images...

  2. We have been using 50mm F /1.8 G for four years now.. Perfect for food, indoor photography and portrait shots. Canon version is cheaper as compared to nikon one...

    Lovely clicks and nice write up on DOF with examples

  3. @Swati- Thanks.

    I too sometime feel Canon has more options than Nikon

  4. Nice pics bro.. I felt few pics din focus properly on the object.

  5. @Prasanna- Possible. Note that these pics are not original- they are digitally compressed in picasa for web use, so there is some loss of quality.

    Also I didn't use tripod- clicked with hand.

  6. So beautiful clicks. Thanks for the review.

  7. I love this lens, for Canon though. You did well in your experiments :)

  8. Thanks Sid. yes, I've seen your photos... Great work

  9. I love primes. You get to learn more using a prime lens as it limits the focal length and you have to think out of the box to get the desired shot. I've been using both 35mm and 50mm. 35mm is my primary lens when I'm shooting landscape now and I've stopped using kit lens altogether. 50mm is my primary lens when I'm shooting concerts.

  10. Thanks mill shinidhi hande

  11. You're welcome Himmat Singh... glad to meet you at Narendra bhawan


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