I was looking for a "nifty fifty" for my Nikon D40, and had extreme difficulty getting over the asking price of the Nikkor AF-S 50 f1.4 and Sigma 50 f.14 HSM lenses. So, for less than a third of the asking price of those lenses, I bought the Nikkor AF-D 50 f1.8.
After using the Sigma 17-70 HSM and even the kit Nikkor 18-55 non-VR, this lens is tiny. The outside diameter of the 1.8 is less that the filter diameter of the Sigma...
Construction is high-grade plastic with a metal mounting ring. The front element of the lens is well recessed - about 1.5cm, so I've decided to run it without a filter. Handling is very smooth and light, with the focus ring being very progressive. There's an aperture ring with a little aperture lock slide that you engage to make it work with auto cameras. Otherwise, very simple and clean - not much to see at all.
Focus Ring??? O noes! The AF-D lens doesn't have a motor in it! You'll have to focus manually! Luckily for me I still have thumbs and fingers on my left hand, so I proceeded to use the focus ring, mk1 eyeball, and the little green focus dot in the viewfinder of the D40 to take pikkies.
Whilst this is supposed to be the lens for low light and portraits, the test photos below were taken down at North Wollongong beach at lunchtime today (this is NEF straight out of the camera with no sharpening or modification of any kind):
First Photo: North Wollongong beach from Flagstaff Hill reserve. 1/1250sec @ F8-ish
Second Photo: 100% (maybe 110%) crop of the surf skis and people in centre of shot. (EDIT: just checked again and it's 120% - my exporting needs some work!!).
Third Photo: 200% crop of the group around the jetski in the upper left of the photo (it was supposed to be a 100% crop but I got carried away).
For $200 it was a bargain - am very happy with the result. The lack of auto-focus is a non-issue, but I have been caught out by the much narrower depth of field at wide-open (nose in focus, eyes not etc). That's more an issue of me learning how to best use it though.
If I can get one of the cats to stay still for long enough, I may be able to test the portrait aspect of it....