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50mm 1.8D Lens

edited May 2017 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum

I know the 50mm 1.8G lens is more recommended for the D3200 due to the 1.8D not having the autofocus ability; however, I purchased the 1.8D thinking it would still give me good shots. I am a beginner in photography, but have noticed that my pictures with this lens are hit and miss. Sometimes the faces of the people are in focus, other times they are not.

Any tips on how to ensure I keep the people in focus? I know its manual and I do adjust as needed, but even when I think they are in focus, I go to review them and they are not.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. =)


  • edited May 2017
    I always found a 50mm lens a bit hard to focus on the D3200. My eyesight is getting a little weaker with age, and one thing that helped some was the DK-21M eyepiece magnifier. That does not give a lot of magnification, but it helps a little. It also reduces eyepoint so that to see the full frame you have to squeeze right in to the finder, but it does help a little to get center sharpness.

    Also, make sure you enable the rangefinder option. In addition to the focus confirmation dot, the rangefinder will give you an actual scale in the viewfinder, to tell you which way to move the focus. It can help. Although the focus is manual, the focus confirmation dot and rangefinder will apply to the position of the focus point, so make sure you're focusing at the dot, and center it with the [OK] button as needed.

    Also make sure that you have the viewfinder diopter as close as you can get. Look through the viewfinder and try to get the numbers at the bottom, and the frame lines in the center, as sharp as possible. If you're very farsighted, the D3200 has limited positive diopter, but another advantage of the DK-21M is that it increases the positive diopter by a good bit, making it much nicer for us old farsighted folks.

    As I said, for some reason a 50mm seems harder than some others to get sharp. Wider lenses with more depth of field seem a bit more forgiving, and longer lenses with more magnification and shallow depth of field seem to snap in more noticeably. 50mm just seems a bit harder. Do a check if you can with Live View to make sure the lens is accurately calibrated. If when you focus sharply in Live View it also lights the confirmation dot in the viewfinder, then you know you can trust the dot and the rangefinder even if your vision isn't always reliable.

    Finally, remember that the depth of field of a 50mm f/1.8 wide open is very shallow indeed, and very unforgiving. If you're fairly close to a subject, it takes very little change of distance or aim to blur. Make sure you don't wiggle or jiggle, and close the lens down a couple of stops if you're doing faces close up.

    And of course, the other thing is to practice lots. If you're not entirely sure whether you've got the focus right, you can bracket the focus a little. Try slight variations, and toss the ones that miss. Even if you don't bracket the shots, focus to both sides of the subject to hunt for the sharp spot before clicking.
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