Review of Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8, MKI version (165 grams, 1987-1990)

According provided by lens Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 (MK I) with serial number 3183100 huge thanks to Stas Shevchenko.

Review of Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 (MK I)

Review of Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 (MK I)

Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 is Nikon's first autofocus 1986mm lens. This review presents the MK I version, which has been produced since 1990, in 2002 it was replaced with the MK II version, and in XNUMX with the MK III (better known as'D'-version). Due to the fact that Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 has the same optical scheme, and in general is very similar to its successor - Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8D, I will not describe in detail the MK I.

Differences of MK I from Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8D MK III:

  • MK I was released from September 1986 to January 1990 and is an older version than MK III, which is released from February 2002 to the present day. Symbolically, the MK I was produced exclusively in Japan, and the MK III in China. However, the build quality of the lenses is the same.
  • MK I has a different case design.
  • The MK I has a narrow, plastic and uncomfortable focus ring, unlike the wider and rubberized MK III.
  • The MK I has a plastic window-shaped focus distance scale; the MK III distance scale is simply plotted on the focus ring. The MK I and MK III scales have different markings. Auto focus and MDF are the same for lenses.
  • MK I has an extra depth of field label for F / 16, while MK III has labels only for F / 22 and F / 11.
  • MK I cannot transmit the focusing distance to the camera and is'Non-d'lens (this key difference in the functionality of the lens). In some rare cases, this negatively affects the use of flashes in some automatic TTL modes (you may get the wrong exposure).
  • The lenses have different aperture ring locks at f / 22 - the MK I has a regular latch button, and the MK III has a toggle button.
  • The first subversions of MK I weighed 210 grams (subversion from September 1986 to March 1987), subsequent versions of MK I weighed 165 grams. MK III is lighter and weighs 155 grams.
  • Most likely the versions have different enlightenment.

Optically, I did not find any difference between MK I and MK III.

Here link to the archive with the originals - 156 MB, 18 photos in RAW format, photo parameters in the archive and in the gallery are indicated here, shooting was carried out using protective filter Marumi 52mm UV Haze made in Japan.

All Nikon 50 / 1.8 Autofocus Lenses

  1. Nikon 50mm 1: 1.8 AF Nikkor (first version, MKI) - the lens was produced only in Japan from 1986 to 1990. It is easy to distinguish by a window with a focusing distance and a narrow plastic focus ring. There are two subversions that are no different:
    • MKI first subversion. Weighing 210 grams. It is easy to distinguish by the screw under the inscription '1: 1.8'. From September 1986 to March 1987. Serial numbers start at 2
    • MKI second version. Weighing 165 grams. It is easy to distinguish by the absence of a screw under the inscription '1: 1.8'. From 1987 to 1990. Serial numbers start at 3.
  2. Nikon 50mm 1: 1.8 AF Nikkor (second version, MKII, also known as the 'N', or the 'NEW' version) - the lens was produced in Japan and China. The MK II version was produced from 1990 to 2001. There are three subversions that are no different:
  3. Nikon 50mm 1: 1.8D AF Nikkor (third version, MKIIIbetter known as 'D'-version) - the lens is available from 2002 to this day. All lenses are made in China.
  4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical (fourth version, MKIVbetter known as '1.8 G'-version or '1.8 AF-S' version) - the lens has been produced since 2011, all lenses are made in China.
  5. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical Special Edition (fifth version, MKVbetter known as version 'Special Edition' or 'SE' or version for the camera with a retro design of the case Nikon Df) - the lens has been available since the fall of 2013. All lenses are made in China.
  6. Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm 1: 1.8 S, from summer 2018, lens for mirrorless cameras with Nikon Z mount... Diagram of 12 elements in 9 groups, 2 ED, 2 ASP.

Details on the lineup of fifty dollars from Nikon can be found in my article 'All Nikon autofocus fifty dollars'.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.


Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 (MK I) is the cheapest autofocus fast lens for Nikon FX / DX cameras. The benefits of such a lens can hardly be overestimated. Due to the fact that the differences between MK I, II, III not so great, you can safely buy and rent on MK I.

More information about Nikon's 50mm lenses can be found in the 'All Nikon autofocus fifty dollars'.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 44, on the topic: Review of Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8, MKI version (165 grams, 1987-1990)

  • Inokm

    Thank you very much for doing reviews in such a turbulent time.

  • Maksim

    Good day!
    It is important for a small difference in the price of life, and I think it’s better to buy a new one after all, I won’t save a few dozen dollars, but I don’t know about 20 years of exploitation without a trace (to look like Japan non-D) tai win

  • Artem

    I had this Poltos, I really liked it, the sharpness at 1.8 was better than that of his Chinese brother. With f / 2.2, the focus was already good sharpness, and with 2.8 in the center, tear your eyes out :)

  • Julia

    Hello! Arkady, tell me, is it worth taking this lens if I have Helios44 (13 petals). Manual focus is not a problem. Is Nikkor's picture better than my Helios44 or not?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Pictures are different. Whether it is worth it or not is a private matter for everyone.

    • Do_Oraemon

      If you evaluate exclusively resolution, it is definitely worth it. Plus, Helios suffers more from exposure due to the quality of the antireflection coating.

  • Eugene

    In the photo with Christmas trees, very beautiful bokeh. How to achieve this effect? Is it because of the specific shape of the needles?

    • d.martyn

      Yes, when photographing needles (or the like), this effect occurs. The best thing to do is the Zeiss Planar 50 and the regular Helios 44-2.

      • Eugene

        Thanks. It will be necessary to experiment.

    • Sergei

      Christmas trees, sticks ...), needles. The same half ...
      Modern, Chinese, plastic in a bin.

      • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

        What about in the trash can?

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Uv.Arkady. I want to buy a Nikon DSLR, but I can’t understand which lens is better to buy. There is an option with a Nikkor 18-55 kit lens, and there is an option with an Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8D AF lens. Please explain what is the difference between them, what are the pros and cons and the difference in price. If you can answer me in the mail.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      not “whale”, but “whale”. 18-55 has a 50x zoom, but a weak aperture, 1,8 XNUMXd does not have a zoom, but has a large aperture. Better to take both.

  • Andrei

    There is such an instance, Japanese, what version is it? Aperture 7 blades.

  • Artem

    Arkady, thank you very much for the review! I recently purchased such glass. About the difference in the picture ... Before that there were 3pcs. MK-3, about the same quality. But the picture from this lens is significantly different (for the good))) And sharper, and more flexible, and brighter .. It seems that the quality of the lenses themselves and the type of coating on the MK1-MK3 versions are not the same ...

  • Igor

    Tell me how the lens on the Nikon D7000 will behave? Will there be any inconvenience when shooting?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      AF lenses without the letter “D” in their name do not transmit the focus distance and very poorly measure exposure with flashes in TTL auto modes. And no matter, it's d7000 or d4s.

  • From Aidan

    Hello. I have a nikon d3100, I want to take a 50mm 1: 1.8 lens, did anyone shoot with such a combination? Are portrait photographs normally obtained?

  • Igor


  • Say

    Please tell me how often mistakes in the exposure occur when using this lens and an external flash. And you can fix it by shooting on the Nikon SB-800 in mode
    aperture-priority auto

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Rarely enough, yes, it is possible in this mode.

  • Nikita

    Where can I find one? on Avito and Julia, one G-flange and D-flange

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Search on flea markets, ebay

    • Michael

      Avito sometimes comes across among D-shek. Just not often

  • Gross

    Excellent glass. I got the MK1 - a pleasure on the D7100.
    Autofocus even at dusk beats off completely, the glass is bright and now you already understand on it why you need a covered aperture and what the result will be.

  • Egor

    I purchased this module on the market, put it on the d3100. Such a question: when taking photos with f1.8 and f22, the blur is the same, but at 22, the picture is just a little darker and more yellow. Why is f22 not completely black? Why doesn't bluer dissipate?

    • B. R. P.

      Blur at f22 is most likely diffraction. The picture is not black because the camera adjusts the exposure to a closed aperture. Although it is unclear in what mode they shot, is the car iso turned on, is the same plot?

      • Egor

        Well here is an example. One is f1.8, the second is f22. In both photos iso 200, shutter speed 100.!AmQdDIBMDEnJhqwsvA0Wpv1lxjKuGg?e=K6PTxo

        • Roman

          Well, judging by the picture you have the same depth of field there - at f22 at least the back of the glass, and most likely the window behind it would be sharp.

          Most likely, your camera does not close the diaphragm or closes it very slightly. 1.8-22 is how much? With more than 7 steps, the shutter speed should change accordingly, and you have the same exposure in both pictures.

          Well, the shade is different - this is lighting. Housekeepers are flickering, most likely, in one picture you hit one shade, in the second - on another.

          • Egor

            Well, shouldn't the depth be lost when the diaphragm is closed? Filmed specially from the same distance.

            Another example: two photos were taken at 50mm 1.8 as in the article, at f1.8 and f22.
            Two more are made on whale 18-55 at: f5.6 and f22.
            All four pictures with artificial light turned off, only natural.
            At 50mm it still turns yellow.

        • B. R. P.

          Try with the shutter aperture, at a slow shutter speed, look into the front of the lens to see if the petals are closed.

          • Egor

            Do not close. And if you change it manually - fEE. Is it possible to turn off the definition of aperture like on any old helios?

            • B. R. P.

              Unless on the lens to seal the contacts. But if the diaphragm does not close from the camera, it is also unlikely to work manually.

              • Egor

                Precisely, turning the wheel - it does not close. Only with a lever at the back closes. But inserting it back into the mount, and that's it. Is this some kind of lens defect? Or is it an old problem?

              • B. R. P.

                Perhaps a mechanical breakdown, possibly dried grease, or, conversely, it is too much (but this is more common with Soviet lenses).

              • B. R. P.

                Or the spring in the jumping mechanism loosened.

              • Egor

                Well, I bought it with nikon f401s for 500 hryvnias. I think it makes no sense to carry it for repair, because it will cost an order of magnitude more than its value.
                Thank you for the answers.

              • Egor

                By chance, is my problem with these oil stains on the petals?

  • B. R. P.

    It may well be related, grease can also get on the lenses and cause the same blur. Perhaps the previous owner climbed into the lens.

  • Tanya

    Hello. I have a Nikon D5300, I’m looking for a 50 mm lens, fast and with auto focus .. tell me which lens is better to choose?

    • KalekseyG

      Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical

  • Veng mysaw

    The mk1 lens 50mm af 1.8 is compatible with d5200 body??

    • B. R. P.

      Yes, but no autofocus.

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