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10 Of The Best 50mm Lens For Nikon Cameras

Michael Rivera
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Looking for the best 50mm Nikon Lens for your camera? Click through to discover the top Nikon and third-party lenses that are currently available on the market.

Finding the right kind of lens is always a challenge, whether you’re just a beginner or an experienced photographer. That said, a 50mm lens (or a “nifty fifty lens”) is a good type to start with because of its versatility and compact design.

But which 50mm Nikon lens is the best? And are there third-party lenses that stand up to the branded ones? Read on to find out the right 50mm lens for your kit!

10 Of The Best 50mm Lens For Nikon Cameras





Image Courtesy Of Amazon
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The AF-S F 1.8 G NIKKOR lens is a must-have for photographers specializing in portrait photography as well as everyday users. 

The AF-S F 1.8 G NIKKOR lens is a must-have for photographers specializing in portrait photography as well as everyday users. 

This lens is perfect for when you want to capture images with a shallow depth of field, as it lets your subjects pop out from the background. Its F 1.8 aperture also works well with any kind of lighting, whether you’re capturing photos in low light or bright, sunny light. 

With an aperture this wide, photographers are guaranteed a crisp image and a sharp focus. Photographers and Nikon users can also achieve a more natural background blur (Bokeh), making it the right lens for creative photoshoots. 

It comes with a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which allows for silent but fast autofocus. This F 1.8 lens also comes with a M/A feature, which makes switching from manual focus to autofocus smoother and faster. Finally, the lightweight lens weighs around 185g, making it compact and easy to carry.

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This Nikon NIKKOR lens is one of the brand’s sharpest lenses ever and is perfect for travel or everyday use.

Almost identical to its predecessor (the 50mm F 1.4 AI), the Ai-S offers perfect, sharp images and is compatible with most Nikon cameras, whether it’s a digital camera or a 35mm. That said, it works best with a manual focus camera. 

This lens has a feature called the Hard Infinity Focus Stop, which is perfect for either astronomy enthusiasts or astronomy photographers. The Ai-S can guarantee a focus that is comparable to laboratory-grade lenses. Its seven-blade circular aperture can stop down to around F16, making for smooth bokeh and great image quality.

This lens measures around 250g, making it a bit heavier than other 50mm lenses. Though it is heavy, its build can feel sturdy. 

There are a few downsides to this lens. Its spherical aberration lowers the contrast on captured images, making photos softer. The manual focusing lens also has mild barrel distortion, but it can easily be corrected in photo editing software like Photoshop. 



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This Nikon NIKKOR lens is one of the brand’s sharpest lenses ever and is perfect for travel or everyday use.

This Nikon NIKKOR lens is one of the brand’s sharpest lenses ever and is perfect for travel or everyday use. It is fast enough to capture images in low light even without a flash, and its aperture control ring enables the lens to be manually adjusted during Live View mode. 

The lens is coated in multiple layers with a Special Integrated Coating, as is with all Nikon NIKKOR products, to keep it weather-sealed, making it a versatile lens for most environments.

Its minimum aperture is F 22 with its maximum aperture at around F 1.8, cutting no corners when it comes to image quality and aperture speed. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 1.5 ft. (0.45m) and is very sensitive to dim light, which makes it able to shoot any image in crisp quality from sunrise to sunset. 

The NIKKOR lens has little barrel distortion as well, like with all Nikon F 1.8 lenses. Its performance and affordability make it the perfect prime lens to have in your camera bag, as it can also shoot images in extreme low-light conditions.

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Considered the most high-performance and complex lens released by Nikon, the NIKKOR Z 50mm F has a much larger mount type than any previous NIKKOR lens.

Considered the most high-performance and complex lens released by Nikon, the NIKKOR Z 50mm F has a much larger mount type than any previous NIKKOR lens. Its versatile focus depth doesn’t only allow for crystal clear images but is also able to capture high-quality videos. 

Despite being the first product released in Nikon’s new generation of lenses, it is already considered a “go-to” lens. With two ED glass elements as well as two Aspherical (AS) lenses, image issues such as coma, flare, and spherical and chromatic aberrations won’t be a problem here. 

The F 1.8 lens has Nikon’s most complex optical design for their 50mm lens and is capable of shooting high-quality videos. The Nikon NIKKOR lens is also dust and drip-resistant, with 12 lens elements and a nine-blade diaphragm instead of the usual seven-blade in its aperture ring. It is also significantly heavier than a regular Nikon 50mm lens, weighing in at around 415g.

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Currently the fastest lens produced by Nikon, this lens can be used on both a Nikon SLR and a Nikon DSLR. It is the sharpest 50mm lens made by the brand when used at F/2.

Currently the fastest lens produced by Nikon, this lens can be used on both a Nikon SLR and a Nikon DSLR. It is the sharpest 50mm lens made by the brand when used at F/2. Unlike most modern lenses which are made with plastic and metal, this is all made with metal. It is also one of two fixed 50mm lenses with nine blades.

The bokeh effect this lens produces is somewhat lacking, but it still looks natural when used for landscape photography. Best of all, its focus ring is easy to manipulate – you can rotate it with just one finger.

It’s somewhat a popular product, having been produced more than 150,000 times since it was first released by Nikon in 1981. That said, some photographers might be put off as this lens has no focus shift – it is solely a manual focus lens. 

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Also known as the Zeiss Planar T*, this full-frame camera lens can go toe-to-toe with other Nikon and Canon 50mm lenses.

Also known as the Zeiss Planar T*, this full-frame camera lens can go toe-to-toe with other Nikon and Canon 50mm lenses. This lens is perfect for photographers who either want to shoot close-focus images or want a fast lens when at F/2 speed. 

The Zeiss Planar T* can work on every Nikon camera and is of great use on a Nikon F mount specifically. Its focal length is around 51.6mm, but when used on a Nikon camera, it has a similar angle of view as a 78mm lens would have on a 35mm camera.

Its aperture range can go from F 1.4 to F 16, with a nine-blade diaphragm and a minimum focusing distance of 45cm. It also has a maximum magnification of 0.5x. 

To produce the sharpest images, its optimal aperture width is at F 2.8 and F 4, though its hard stops are cumbersome to manipulate. The lens has no aspherical element or ed glass elements, nor does it have a built-in AF motor.

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Currently the fastest lens produced by Nikon, this lens can be used on both a Nikon SLR and a Nikon DSLR. It is the sharpest 50mm lens made by the brand when used at F/2.

An affordable and compact product, the YN 50mm lens has a lens mount designed for Nikon-F DSLR cameras and is multi-coated to prevent the effects of lens flare. The full-frame camera lens has an AF/MF switch for easy transition between the two focus types, as well as a maximum magnification of 0.15x for more close-up images that are still delivered in high quality. Its maximum aperture can go up to F/1.8 with a minimum aperture of F/22.

With a metal bayonet lens mount, there is guaranteed durability when the lens is connected to a camera. It is also a lightweight lens, weighing around 205g. 

The prime lens has the standard seven diaphragm blades, which are helpful for smooth, natural bokeh and getting the best image quality. It is also a cheaper lens compared to other Nikon products.

The bokeh effect this lens produces is somewhat lacking, but it still looks natural when used for landscape photography. Best of all, its focus ring is easy to manipulate – you can rotate it with just one finger.

It’s somewhat a popular product, having been produced more than 150,000 times since it was first released by Nikon in 1981. That said, some photographers might be put off as this lens has no focus shift – it is solely a manual focus lens. 

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One of the best third-party lenses on the market, this 50mm lens can be sharper than some industry-grade lenses like Nikon and Canon, though it is more expensive and heavier than the standard. 

One of the best third-party lenses on the market, this 50mm lens can be sharper than some industry-grade lenses like Nikon and Canon, though it is more expensive and heavier than the standard. 

The Sigma 50mm does not produce any visible lens distortion, nor does it have any coma or lens flare. The lens has one aspherical element and nine rounded blades. It is built with a floating lens construction for decreased lens movement when focusing on a subject, plus fast and quiet autofocus. 

The biggest downside of this lens, however, is its heaviness, weighing in at 815g – making it quite unsuitable for users who want a more “grab and go” camera lens. Another disadvantage of the lens is that there’s no aperture ring and moisture seal at its mount.

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Sigma 50mm F 1.4 DG HSM sample


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Designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras, this manual-focus mechanical lens is perfect for photographers who want better bokeh in their images.

Designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras, this manual-focus mechanical lens is perfect for photographers who want better bokeh in their images. It produces great bokeh on every aperture, with two ED elements.

Though not that sharp compared to other lenses, it has 13 diaphragm blades and is all-metal, which means it can last a lifetime for users when used properly. 

Its downsides are that there are no aperture click stops or image stabilization in the lens. The uneven f-stops also make it quite difficult to transition between them and may be difficult to use by beginners. There is also mini lens barrel distortion, though it is not that noticeable. 

If you’re unconcerned about image sharpness and place more importance on speed and bokeh quality, then this is a great lens to use, as it produces a decent image quality despite its lack of sharpness.

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7Artisans 50mm F 1.05 sample


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Labeled as Tokina’s first high-performance 50mm lens, this is recommended for users who capture a lot of wide-open shots and want everything to be at optimal sharpness.

Labeled as Tokina’s first high-performance 50mm lens, this is recommended for users who capture a lot of wide-open shots and want everything to be at optimal sharpness. Though it may seem like a standard 50mm lens, Opera’s claim to fame is its complete lack of distortion compared to other lenses, which means that there is no need for lens correction on editing software.

The Opera is also dust and weather-resistant, which is optimal for landscape photos taken in rainier areas. Its manual and autofocus features are also superb, with fast and quiet autofocus and a mechanical manual focus ring that turns in the same direction as the lens. 

Users will have no issue when focusing on their subjects. The lens has one aspherical element and 9 rounded blades and can stop down to F/16. 

That said, there are some disadvantages to the product – there’s no image stabilization, aperture ring, or depth-of-field scale on the lens.



Why Are 50mm Lenses Optimal For Shooting?

Called the “nifty fifty lens”, a 50mm lens (otherwise known as a fixed focal length lens) is a staple for every photographer because its effective focal length roughly mimics how an environment looks to the human eye in terms of perspective, depth, and facial proportion.

The field of view of a prime 50mm lens is also about the same as the angle of vision of a person. Essentially, a 50mm lens lets you shoot what you essentially see.

50mm lenses also have a faster speed and wider aperture compared to other fixed lenses, providing photographers a shallow depth of field and a better focus on their subject. These types of lenses are typically small and compact as well, which is perfect for users with small cameras or photographers doing street photography.

What To Look For When Choosing The Right Lens

With most things, higher quality usually comes with a higher price tag. However, there are hidden gems out there that have excellent quality at an affordable price – you just have to know what to look for. 

Below are some of the things you should look for and consider when looking for your next tripod.

Durability

Knowing what the lens is made of is important, especially for photographers who work in rainy environments or do street photography.

Most third-party lenses are dust-resistant and weather-sealed to prevent moisture and other elements from seeping in. Meanwhile, Nikon lenses are made with a Special Integrated Coating, making them more durable compared to other brands. Some lenses are all built with metal material, which might make them less susceptible to damage than plastic lenses.

Focus Type

Though it may not be a deal-breaker, what type of focus the lens has is important for both beginners and professionals. Due to advancements in technology, most camera lenses on the market typically have autofocus as their focus type, with a few select lenses only offering manual focus. 

Nikon lenses have a special function where photographers can easily switch between manual and autofocus, allowing a smoother transition between the two focus types.

Aperture Width

A sharp focus is also essential – you’ll know how sharp you can shoot images based on the aperture of a lens. When choosing the best lens, consider its aperture width. 

To capture images of high quality, there needs to be a good amount of light exposure – this is where a camera’s aperture comes in. The opening in which light enters through a camera is called the aperture, and the size of that said opening is called the aperture width.

Aperture is just one part of the “exposure triangle”, alongside a camera’s shutter speed and ISO. It is measured in F-stops (the ratio of a lens’ focal length and the size of its opening). Most lenses can shoot at F/2, F/1.8, or F/1.4 aperture.

The wider the opening, the more light can enter through. At wider apertures, you can get better-quality photos even in low light.

Price

Of course, price is a major determinant when choosing the best 50mm lens for your Nikon camera. With more companies entering the lens market, there are more options for photographers to choose from. If you’re an experienced industry professional, top-of-line brands like Nikon can offer expensive but high-quality products, while new camera users may find that Nikon-compatible lenses like Zeiss fit their budget better.

Keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t automatically mean a better 50mm prime camera lens. There are some products on this list that are cheaper than a Nikon lens but ultimately serve the same purpose. The right lens not only has the functions that you’re looking for but is also within your budget.

What’s The Best 50mm Lens For Nikon?

A Nikon prime lens is considered an industry standard and is automatically compatible with Nikon DSLRs, but there are no definitive answers on what is truly considered the best Nikon 50mm prime lens. 

Some consider Nikon lenses and third-party lenses like Zeiss lenses to be the same lens in terms of function, preferring the third-party lenses due to their low cost. Meanwhile, others might prefer Nikon brands specifically as they are already well-known and established.

As all lenses are different, there is no one answer to “what’s the best 50mm lens for a Nikon D3300 camera?” or any other camera for that matter. There might be functions and specs in Nikon lenses that can’t be found in other brands, such as the M/A toggle feature. It also depends on what features you’re looking for specifically, such as focal length or minimal barrel distortion.

The Bottom Line

It’s entirely up to you on what you think is the best Nikon 50mm manual focus lens. Each one is different in terms of aperture, width, weight, and, most especially, price. Also, keep in mind what kind of photography you do and what you will use it for. 

We hope this list has helped you figure out the best Nikon 50mm lens for your kit!



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The AF-S F 1.8 G NIKKOR lens is a must-have for photographers specializing in portrait photography as well as everyday users. 



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