I have recently upped my pace on the sorts of photography I attempt and the number of pictures I take. Quickly, the realisation dawned that my 18-55mm kit lens was not keeping up completely with my aspirations. At least that was the justification in my head for wanting some more glass :), but, which of the multitude of lenses for nikon DSLRs would be my best next step? Considerations for me were that: a) I haven't yet decided if I want to specialise in any particular field of photography, so no easy answer like "oh you need a super tele zoom for wildlife or sports", or "landscapes? Well then go wide angle".
b) I have a limited budget, in fact cheaper the better at this juncture.
c) With the entry level DSLR I have currently (D3000), there is no AF motor within the body for older style Nikkor D type lenses. Most unfortunate as they are half the going price of the newer AF-S type (Auto Focus with a silent wave ultrasonic wave motor build into the lens).
d) Using a fixed focal length lens is or at least has the potential to be restrictive (kind of the point really to broaden the skill set). I did an experiment and taped my kit lens off at 35mm and 50mm respectively and only shot with the single focal length for a week each. I found it didn't really matter as it just makes you adapt slightly to how you frame an image and neither one came out drastically better or worse than the other to be honest.
e) There are lots of other lenses that I could get like the Tokina 11-16mm or the 85mm Prime, or even the 18-105mm Zoom. All notable choices but all a lot of money compared to 35mm or 50mm primes.
It was going to come down to perceived bang for the buck return on investment angle.
To save you the boredom of my musings, I did a bunch of research and I eventually took the plunge with the Nikon Nikkor 50 mm f1.8 G AF-S.
Just as an aside, I bought mine on amazon but noticed that there was an option for 4 new/used at a significantly lower price. On clicking on this option out of curiosity I found that it is where The Amazon Warehouse Deals are. Basically, any goods returned to amazon unwanted or undelivered but that are still functioning get resold here as B grade items (technically brand new but the packaging isn't and may have damaged boxes).
It arrived - thanks Amazon prime and mr postman. The box was in good condition except for a chunk of tatty Sellotape damage.
The lens comes with a lens hood and lens carry case all in the customary gold Nikon Nikkor box. I installed it on my camera and sufficed to say it's remained there ever since.
The autofocus is amazingly fast, and very very quiet compared to my kit lenses.
Once installed, the wide aperture noticeably improves how dark you can go when capturing an image. The downside on the low light usability bonus is that at f1.8 the depth of field is so shallow you really have to be careful on what you take pictures of to keep enough in focus. But the benefit of that conversely is that the bokeh is more prominent and lovely when you need it.
This picture being the very first one I took after latching it to my camera was a definite example of the shallow depth of field, notice the thin band of in focus area.
The first proper outing with the lens was a lighting workshop and the photos taken on my second trip to Twilight Photo Studios were all taken with this new lens.
A more technical review for the lens courtesy of Ken Rockwell can be found here
Just to finish of by saying that this lens has been a great addition to my gear kit and has opened up lots of opportunities for my photography.
Some more Pics taken with this lens: