This pioneer Z mount lens is one of the must-have in your collection, this review of Nikkor Z 50mm F1.8 S lens will see if it gets straight Aces for performance.
As far as headline specs go, the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S seems like just another 50mm standard prime, if a well-specced one. The 12-element optical stack includes two ED glass elements, as well as two aspherical elements to boost contrast and vibrancy.
With a large maximum aperture comes shallow depth-of-field effects, so nine rounded aperture blades shape passing light as smoothly as possible, for attractive bokeh in out-of-focus areas. Externally, the Z 50mm is noticeably bigger and heavier than a good old F-mount AF-S 50mm f/1.8G; but, compared with some F-mount 50mm alternatives from Sigma and Tokina, it’s still pleasingly portable.
The lens barrel features just a single AF/MF switch, with a notable absence of any VR controls – but the lens doesn’t need VR, as both the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 boast five-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS).
Nikon has shortened the distance between the lens flange and the image sensor from the F-mount’s 46.5mm to just 16mm in a Z camera. Combine this with the larger 55mm inner diameter of the Z mount itself, and the result is less distance for light to travel from lens to sensor, and more room for a larger rear lens element.
It all adds up to potentially increased image quality. This isn’t just marketing hype. The Z 50mm f/1.8 S is terrifically sharp – only fractionally down on the significantly pricier Z 35mm f/1.8 S, the sharpest lens we’ve ever tested.
Aberrations are practically non-existent at any aperture, and we couldn’t induce any sign of distortion. Achieving maximum sharpness with such a tiny depth of field available at f/1.8 requires super-accurate autofocus, but in our testing with Nikon’s Z 7 and Z 6 bodies, the Z 50mm consistently delivered maximum sharpness.
Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat is applied to minimise ghosting and flare when directly shooting strong light sources. This is an all-weather optic, with gaskets sealing joints along the lens barrel. The tactile and precise manual focus ring isn’t redundant if you’re using autofocus: it can also be set in-camera to adjust exposure compensation or ISO sensitivity. The Z 50mm features an electromagnetic diaphragm to keep exposures consistent during bursts.
- Full-frame compatible: Yes
- APS-C effective focal length: 75mm
- Image stabiliser: No
- Minimum focus distance: 40cm
- Manual focus override: Yes
- Focus limit switches: No
- Internal zoom: N/A
- Internal focus: Yes
- Filter size: 62mm
- Iris blades: 9
- Weather seals: Yes
- Supplied accessories: LC-62B 62mm lens cap, LF-N1 rear lens cap, HB-90 bayonet hood, CL-C1 lens case
- Dimensions (
diax length): 76 x 87mm
- Weight: 415g
Review: Nikkor Z 50mm F1.8 S Lens