Nikkor Z5 - 50mm F1.8 - First Impressions


Nikkor Z 50mm, F4

I got myself a Z 50mm F1.8 lens to replace the 40mm F2.0. The 40mm is not a bad lens at all. But the better is the enemy of the good, as they say. In fact, the 50mm is a lot better, especially wide open, in terms of sharpness, color correction, and contrast. I want to avoid collecting lenses, and the 40mm is on Ebay right now, as well as the 24-50mm kit lens. I hope to get almost the full price that I paid two months ago.

Nikkor Z 50mm, F2.8

Reviews for the 50mm are nagging about various "issues" with this lens. One is "strange" Bokeh. I have no idea what they compare the lens to in this regard, maybe one of those F1.2 lenses. But I find the Bokeh quite nice, including the balls of lights in the background, as you see in the first image above. 

Another one is a bit of unsharpness in the corners at F1.8, which a lens "at this price point" should not exhibit. Please tell me why anyone needs corner to corner sharpness at F1.8 on a 50mm lens. As you see in the examples above and below, the lens behaves more like a telephoto lens with little DOF and much Bokeh. If you want to use it for architecture, by all means use F11 or F13, and a tripod, and do not focus close. The lens is very sharp in the corners, starting at F4. DOF will be your problem.

Nikkor Z 40mm, F8

We need to address the purpose of this lens. What can it be used for? It has already a concentrated angle of view. It is not a wide lens. For portraits (not shown on this page due to privacy concerns), it can be used for larger groups, single persons head to feet, and for anything else which is wider than the face only. It will introduce some distortion if you are too close. Some hate this and prefer a longer lens for beauty shots. Actually, this "distortion" can yield very nice effects.

Of course, the lens is good for street and objects. Either focus on the point of action, or use F13 and the like to get everything sharp. And do not focus too close. For landscapes, I always preferred a wider or a longer lens, not this in-between nifty fifty. But maybe, I should try to get a composition more often with this standard lens.

It is also a good idea to do panoramas with 50mm. Its undistorted angle can be stitched perfectly to a cylindrical panorama.