The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G replaces the older Nikon 50mm f/1.8D lens (introduced in 2002). Compared to the AF-D version that has 6 optical elements in 5 groups, the new 50mm f/1.8G has a modified optical design with 7 optical elements in 6 groups, one out of which is an aspherical element (reduces coma and chromatic aberrations). The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is the first Nikon 50mm lens that comes with an aspherical element; even the more expensive and higher-end Nikon 50mm f/1.4G does not have one.
- Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus.
- Aspherical lens element virtually eliminates coma and other types of aberration, even when shooting at the widest available aperture.
- M/A focus mode switch enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation.
- Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances light transmission efficiency and offers superior color consistency and reduced flare.
2) Lens Handling and Build
Similar to the recently introduced Nikon prime lenses, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G has a solid build, with a plastic exterior and a metal mount. The changes in optical and barrel design increased the size of the lens, which as can be seen below, is almost as big as the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G (Left: Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, Right: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G):
Besides the size and barrel layout similarities, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G also has a rubber gasket on the lens mount, which provides good sealing against dust making its way into the camera. The rubber gasket definitely helps not only in reducing sensor dust, but also in reducing the amount of dust that could potentially end up inside the lens. As I explained in my “what to do with dust inside lenses” article, it is quite normal for lenses to suck air in and out when focusing or zooming in/out. Although the front part of the lens does not move when focusing, the front lens element does move in and out inside the lens barrel (just like the 50mm f/1.4G). If you want to reduce the chances of dust and moisture making into the lens through the front of the lens, I would recommend to get a good 58mm clear/protective filter such as B+W 58mm MRC clear filter and leave it on the lens at all times. Not only will it help protect the front element of the lens and reduce dust, but it will also make it much easier to clean the lens when needed. It is definitely painful to clean the front element of the lens without a filter, because it is recessed deep inside.
Here is how the lens compares against the older Nikon 50mm f/1.8D (Left: Nikon 50mm f/1.8D, Right: Nikon 50mm f/1.8G):
As you can see, the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D is both smaller and thinner in size and has an aperture ring. Please note that the older 50mm f/1.8D does not have a rubber gasket on the metal mount, so the new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is better sealed against dust.
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