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NikonNIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens
 
4.9

(based on 89 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (83)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Durable (70)
  • Strong construction (68)
  • Nice bokeh (54)
  • Rugged (48)
  • Consistent output (47)

Cons

  • Heavy (5)
  • Tough to attach (3)

Best Uses

  • Night photography (60)
  • Low light (59)
  • Landscape/scenery (29)
  • Weddings (28)
  • Video (20)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (23), Semi-pro photographer (20), Pro photographer (17), Enthusiast (9), Casual photographer (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (57)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

One of Nikon's best manual focus lenses

Using a fixed focal length requires a certain degree of discipline when you are using it, but in the end you are forced to compose and think within a specific frame of composition. Foot...Read complete review

Using a fixed focal length requires a certain degree of discipline when you are using it, but in the end you are forced to compose and think within a specific frame of composition. Foot zooming ends up being your only choice if you want to draw yourself in and our of a scene. I'm one of those people who has developed an eye for the 50mm focal length. Generally speaking, most photographers end up developing that eye for one or two focal lengths. What's the real advantage to this piece of glass? The speed of course. But more so than that, selective focus. Nikon doesn't make a faster lens than this, although f/1.2 apertures are available with their 58mm Noct (a $1,500 lens) and with their older (but not nearly as good) 55mm. I don't have any other lens in my lineup that produces images like this one does. The selective focusing can at times be startling. But generally speaking you don't get selective focus (or depth of field) like this lens unless if you're using a fast telephoto prime. But you end up with the same sort of depth of field without having to be so far away from your subject. The AI-S version of this lens comes with a nice 9-bladed aperture. The AI version is only 7. If you can, seek out the AI-S version if at all possible. The out-of-focus rendering is nicer due to the 9-bladed aperture. Cons? Some photographers think that this lens is soft. My experience tells me something entirely different, with many 8 by 10 blowups of pictures taken wide open. Certainly I would never put this 50mm up against Nikon's 50mm f/2 in terms of overall performance. This lens was designed to give it's best performance at f/1.2 within the 5 to 15 feet (1.5 to 5 meters) range. If you stop this lens down to f/4, it equals the performance of any 50mm at any aperture. You would never want to use this lens with extension tubes or bellows. The performance of this lens is not designed around macro work. I happen to like the extremely low depth of field with macro work, but I concede that the performance decline is noticeable, even in the viewfinder. The other con to this lens is that since it does not have a CPU chip, there are many modern Nikon camera bodies that it will not meter with. Is it worth the $499USD grey market price? If you are into selective focus, available light, or 50mm lenses (or any combination of the three) then it is very much worth the purchase. It can be had for roughly $300 USD on the used market. I purchased mine used, and I think it was the best money that I've ever spent in terms of sheer usefulness.

Expertise: Advanced Amateur

Problems Encountered: The only major problem encountered with this lens is that Nikon refuses to provide metering support for manual focus lenses on the more modestly-priced camera bodies. That doesn't really detract from this lens, per se, as it does what it was intended to do when it was originally designed and manufactured.

Previous Equivalent Item Owned: Lots of Nikon equipment, pro and consumer

Items I Recommend: Manual focus 35mm bodies, some digital (D200, D1 and D2 series)

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Nikkor 50mm f/1.2

I did test of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lens and found that it was excellent from f/2.8 - f/16 (overall about equal or better in sharpness to my Nikkor Nano...Read complete review

I did test of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lens and found that it was excellent from f/2.8 - f/16 (overall about equal or better in sharpness to my Nikkor Nano 24-70mm f/2.8). However I got this lens mostly for use between f/1.2 and f/2.8. At wide open I found it to be too soft of focus to meet my needs. So, on one end it give it 5 stars and on the other 1 star.

Reviewed by 89 customers

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5.0

Great Lens

By Bob

from Corona, CA

About Me Casual Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Night Photography
    • Video

    Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

    After purchasing the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS my Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AIS takes a back seat.

    Will I sell my f/1.4? NO ... they both excel in low-light and shallow depth of field 'bokeh'.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A vintage lens of impeccable quality.

    By jamesm1291

    from Seattle WA

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Easily Interchangeable
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • All Around 50mphotography

      Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

      When I purchased my Nikon DF, I began looking for lenses that fit the retro style and high quality of the camera. I began my life in photography in the 1940's with an Exacta SLR, followed by a series of pentaxes and Nikons. I have always enjoyed being in control of the camera, rather than the camera controlling me, and the manual feel and operation of the DF seemed to fit my style. The D4 sensor with incredible high ISO performance added to the excitement. I had read about the excellence of the old, but still manufactured Nikkor F1.2 AIS manual focus lens and was tempted by the possibility of taking pictures by candle light with the lens at F1.2 and ISO at 12,800.

      When the lens came, I immediately fell in love with the solid feel of the metal body, the smooth and easy short throw focussing, the depth of field indicator and the the click F stops on the barrel. Since it has no automatic contact points on the barrel and is manual, the manual switch on the DF must be set and the EXIF information programmed via the special lens setting option in the camera menu. Then with the knob on the body set to aperture priority, the camera is ready to go. The operation is just like a Pentax spotmatic or a Nikon FE. You set the aperture on the lens, the ISO on the body and focus manually. It focusses wide open and then shuts down to chosen F stop automatically when the picture is taken. The shutter speed automatically adjusts accordingly. Just like the old days!

      But these are new days and the picture quality with the D4 sensor and the incredible lens sharpness from F2 on, but still excellent at F1.2, and the great bouquet at wide apertures, is nothing short of amazing. Manual focussing with autofocus set to central spot is really easy and the focus confirmation spot in the view finder seems always to yield highly accurate results.

      This is clearly a must have lens for the DF owner and for anyone else who loves classic excellence and the manual focussing experience. And yes, it does take great pictures in candle light without flash. The DF with this liens is a low light wizard. I highly recommend the lens without any hesitation or qualification. It is wonderful that Nikon is still manufacturing this lens in Japan more than 30 years after its introduction. They have made over 450,000 of them according to the serial no. on my lens. This is a real tribute to the quality of Nikon optical glass over the years.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Lens review

      By Zo

      from Anu

      Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

      This lens has enabled me to take my photographer to a whole other level.... I'm thrilled with it

      Share this review

       
      5.0

      Sharp wide open on Sony A7

      By E'kaloa

      from California

      Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

      This lens is light weight. Sharp on a Sony Alpha a7 wide open with an artistic light touch of vignetting that can easily be fixed in lightroom if u dont like it. Narrower apertures and it gets tac sharp. Color contrast is good. However, light color aberations n purple fringing is evident at f/1.2 but only obvious when against a bright backdrop. I highly HIGHLY recommend this epic lens.

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      (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      The best lens I ever used

      By Alshaikh

      from Bahrain

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Nice Bokeh
      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Night Photography

        Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

        Wonderful build quality, Image quality is superb, it give you a very sharp images even at f/1.2. for me as a photojournalist doing street photography, this lens is all the time on my camera, if you are skilled well with manual focus lenses, then this lens is yours :)

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        My Go-To Lens

        By Porter

        from Maryland

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Photography

          Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

          This lens is absolutely perfect. It forces beginers to learn how to set their camera for a good photo. The Focus ring rolls oh so smoothly back and fourth. If you've never owned a manual focusing lens before you will greatly appreciate this.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Amazing lens for a Df.

          By Jack R

          from Tucson, AZ

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Macro Photography
            • Night Photography

            Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

            This lens is a beautiful example of old, solid Nikon manufacturing. It is the sharpest 50mm I own (including the 50mm f1.4G)and is just magic to shoot wide open. And it is just the perfect lens for the Nikon Df!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Thank you Nikon for this lens!

            By Red Blue

            from NJ

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output
            • Durable
            • Nice Bokeh
            • Rugged
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                Amazing in every aspect. Best at f/2. Solid, steel construction. Very reliable. I don't agree with some comments that it is difficult to attach. Sure, newer lenses just snap on and this one needs little bit of alignment. But difficult? I guess some people are just point blank lazy. This is a vintage like lense so it's not for everyone. Manual focus doesn't bother me bacause I always shoot in manual everything anyways. Usually 'heavy' is listed under 'Cons' but for me the weight of this lense is 'Pro', it feels great in hand... I love that feeling.. like sipping Johnny Walker Blue. Amazing lens.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                It's Not For Everyone, But I Love It

                By Josh Murphy

                from Athens, PA

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Night Photography
                    • Video
                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                    This lens is a legend in it's own right. The best build quality you will find in a Nikkor 50mm that is still made today. Metal, Glass, Rubber. That's it. And that's all you need. This lens is a testament to a time before automatic features were relied so heavily upon. The focus ring is buttery smooth and at f/2 it's tac sharp. Yes, it's pretty soft at 1.2, not un-usable, but very soft. Softness varies depending on your lighting conditions. That being Said, If I'm shooting in daylight I like to throw on a 1-2 stop ND filter and that helps a lot with glare, chromatic aberrations and flaring that can occur wide open. This lens isn't for everybody. But it's certainly fun and rewarding to shoot with. As far as image quality this will stand with the best of them neck and neck for the most part. I should add, it's awesome for shooting video! the smooth focus really shines. If you're thinking about buying one go for it. 4/5 starts because of the "problems" wide opened.

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                    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Excellent lens

                    By fhansenphoto

                    from Loudonville, Ohio

                    About Me Pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Durable
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Rugged
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Weddings/Events

                      Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                      Built extremelly well. For my use as a commercial food photographer it gets me that bokeh I'm looking for. The AF and such is a non factor for me. The times I do portraits I use the Dx crop on my D800 and shoot around 2.0 to 4.0. Gives a nice cramy background.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Quite a Performer… OUTSTANDING !!

                      By mark1958

                      from Bay area CA

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Lightweight
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery

                        Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                        I use this lens on my Nikon D800 and plan to use it on a Sony A7r when they become available. I did some comparison shots with my Zeiss 50mm/2 Makro, which in my mind is the best 50mm I have used. Even though a macro I use this lens for both regular shooting so as not to have to carry too many lenses. In my comparison at shots where i am close to the minimal focusing distance-- the makro wins-- no real comparison there. But at normal shooting and infinity landscapes-- this Nikkor is just stellar. It is as good or even a bit better than the Zeiss. I was surprised. Realize the Zeiss is about 3x the price too.
                        The only disadvantages are that the aperture setting, which is done manually dose not exactly match with the camera reading. Using various depth of field imaging -- comparing the zeiss and nikkor-- I believe the aperture setting on the lens to be accurate. At F1.2-- a bit soft (but what would you expect). By f2--- really sharp… Note the lens shade is sold separately

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Gorgeous!

                        By Nutmeg

                        from St. Pete, Florida

                        About Me Pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • AWESOME
                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Commercial
                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Night Photography
                          • Products
                          • Video

                          Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                          This lens is not for everyone, but for what I do, its perfect! I'm a food photographer, so the manual focus doesn't bother me. And the manual focus = butter! At 1.2 there is quite the vignette and its a tad soft, but at f2 it is virtually gone. And I definitely recommend using the lens at f2, that is really a sweet spot for this lens, super crisp! Definitely recommend!

                          Plus the lens just feels nice. It is quite solid for a 50. All metal, huge glass, it just feels good in my hands!

                          Oh also, bokeh. Duh. Amazing.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (8 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Masterpiece of the current era

                          By Ishan

                          from Passaic, NJ

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Nice Bokeh

                          Cons

                          • Cheap Plastic Rear Cap
                          • No carrying case

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Night Photography
                          • Portraits

                          Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                          Where do I begin describing this lens. What a beautiful piece of work and when you hold it in your hands it just makes you want to use it all the time. I've used quite a few lenses, from 24-70 F2.8, 70-200 F2.8, 85mm F1.8, 35mm, 10-24mm but this lens is my favorite.

                          Although some people have mentioned that it is a little soft when stopped wide open, I do not necessarily agree. The current generations of Dslr viewfinders are not designed to be used with manual lenses and when you have stopped the lens at F1.2 you really need to have a clear idea what you are trying to achieve. It takes a while to master it but when you get it right, the sharpness and the insane bokeh will blow you away. Its built like a tank but its not weather sealed and I don't mind it. Every pro has many weather sealed lenses for extreme weather anyways. The focusing is smooth, and I mean smooth!

                          I can go on and on about this masterpiece but you have to use one to believe it. Buy it now while its still around and start making photographs rather than pushing buttons!

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          So Far, So Good

                          By Max

                          from Atlanta, GA

                          About Me Photo Enthusiast

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Easily Interchangeable
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Rugged
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Indoors/Low Light
                            • Landscape/Scenery
                            • Night Photography
                            • Weddings/Events
                            • Wildlife Photos

                            Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                            I just got this lens today and shot it on my dslr to see how it looked. It is dreamy looking at f/1.2 and is tack sharp at f/2 and above. It feels as well-built as my zeiss 28mm, and that lens is almost double the price of the 50mm 1.2! I expect to have this lens be glued to my camera. It has been nothing short of great so far.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Best MF lens

                            By oexmaster

                            from Seattle, WA

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Consistent Output
                            • Durable
                            • Easily Interchangeable
                            • Lightweight
                            • Nice Bokeh
                            • Rugged
                            • Strong Construction

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Indoors/Low Light
                              • Night Photography

                              Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                              This is not my first MF lens. All I can say is WoW after having a weekend worth of time with it. At F1.2, focusing isn't that easy. But, at F2, the image is extremely sharp. Maybe it is my eyes, this lens has a different color rendering than the 50mm f1.4G I have.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              This is a beautiful lens.

                              By Polonius Funk

                              from Lehigh Valley, Pa

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Consistent Output
                              • Durable
                              • Easily Interchangeable
                              • Lightweight
                              • Nice Bokeh
                              • Rugged
                              • Strong Construction

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Indoors/Low Light
                                • Landscape/Scenery
                                • Night Photography
                                • Sports/Action
                                • Video
                                • Weddings/Events
                                • Wildlife Photos

                                Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                                I personally don't care much for using auto focus, i prefer to control my own focus. This lens is utterly fantastic. Spectacular even! An extremely solid lens. If i could replace my eyes with this lens i would;) A lot of people complain that it's not sharp, but at f1.2 the depth of field is obviously going to be shallower then lets say an f8. Thats why i bought a 1.2 lens. Other wise id save money and but f4 lenses and above. But the depth of field at 1.2 is as sharp as can be and create superb images if used properly. this lens allows for an unlimited amount of creativity. I think most people thinking their entire subject matter will be in focus at an f1.2 are misinformed at how changing the f stops will affect ones own image. I plan to be buried with this lens.

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                                • No

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                                (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                What a beaut

                                By ManGarDC

                                from Wash, DC

                                About Me Pro Photographer

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Consistent Output
                                • Durable
                                • Easily Interchangeable
                                • Heavy
                                • Nice Bokeh
                                • Rugged
                                • Solid
                                • Strong Construction

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Indoors/Low Light
                                  • Landscape/Scenery
                                  • Night Photography
                                  • Video

                                  Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                                  This MF 50mm f1.2 makes great images

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

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                                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Great piece of glass

                                  By Alex.

                                  from USA

                                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                  • Consistent Output
                                  • Durable
                                  • Easily Interchangeable
                                  • Nice Bokeh
                                  • Rugged
                                  • Strong Construction

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                                      I use this lens for general photography. I like the way it renders an image. It's a companion to my 50f1.4G for my nikon system. Built very well, like most of the old stuff.

                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                      • No

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                                      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Nikon user must own

                                      By JohnnyX

                                      from Australia

                                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                      Verified Buyer

                                      Pros

                                      • Durable
                                      • Lightweight

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                        • Indoors/Low Light
                                        • Landscape/Scenery

                                        Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                                        Cheap price but large aperture lens with reliable quality.

                                        • Was this a gift?:
                                        • No

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                                        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        Thank you Nikon for a great lens

                                        By HomeLand Photography

                                        from South Louisiana

                                        About Me Pro Photographer

                                        Verified Buyer

                                        Pros

                                        • Durable
                                        • Nice Bokeh
                                        • Rugged
                                        • Strong Construction

                                        Cons

                                        • Confusing With Filters
                                        • Tough To Attach

                                        Best Uses

                                        • Indoors/Low Light
                                        • Night Photography

                                        Comments about Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens:

                                        Finally, a 1.2 lens from Nikon. And it is Great. Keep in mind that this is a fully Manual lens. No auto focus. I use it on my D7000. Fantastic results. Great Bokeh. It was a little confusing with the filters. You have to attach the filters first, then the lens hood, then the lens cap. You have to work with the cap to get it to fit on the lens hood.

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                                        • No

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