Video Field Test : Legacy Lens | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AI-S (Late)
The 50mm f/1.8 prime lens is a classic design for good reason. Sitting right around a normal field of view, it doesn't bend the edges like an ultrawide angle, and it doesn't compress the background like a long telephoto, either. They're usually quite simple, and considerably easy to produce.
Nearly every lens manufacturer out there has a version of the 50mm f/1.8 at an affordable price, and for many shooters, a Nifty Fifty is their first foray into the world of both fixed focal length lenses and wider apertures than you'll ever find on a bundled kit zoom.
With crisp and clear focal distance markers, this Nikkor is a prime example of the kind of quality you can find on these classic manual lenses. The build quality is a sturdy, rugged plastic to keep weight and cost down, but it doesn't feel cheap like some modern-day fifties have a tendency to.
Seven aperture blades open all the way up to f/1.8 to allow for both shallow depth of field and superb low light performance. It's able to nail portraits, nature, indoor and outdoor scenery.
Operation is pleasant and satisfying, with a smoothly-gliding focus ring and a textured aperture ring at the base that clicks solidly into place at your chosen f-stop. Without having to work against autofocus gears, manual focus is a breeze, making this a perfect lens to use for adapted video work as well.
Take a look for yourself in the video below, shot from Stecoah Valley, North Carolina.