Yes the 50mm f/1.8D lens is the cheapest lens in the Nikon range. Years ago the 50mm lens used to be regarded as the standard lens and was generally provided when you purchased a new camera. I have not used a lens of this focal length for many years as I have generally used zoom lenses in that focal length range.
I borrowed this lens for a days outing and it really surprised me as to its general performance and sharpness. This lens is far far better than some of the cheaper zoom lenses and it in my opinion even compares to some of the better f/2.8 zooms at this focal length.
I really like the compactness and light weight of this lens. I used it on a Nikon D700 full frame camera and it may even perform better on one of the cropped DX cameras. The purchase of this lens will even give you some change back from $120, so there is not much to loose with this lens.
Some years ago when I was using film I had quite a few f/2.8 prime lenses in preference to zooms and really liked using them. Today Nikon are commencing to introduce quite a few f/1.8 lenses. There is the 85mm f/1.8G, the 50mm f/1.8G, the 35mm f/1.8G DX, and there are rumors of a new 28mm f/1.8G lens in the near future. I am starting to like the idea of having a few f/1.8 lenses, particularly once the 28mm comes out as the combination of 28mm, 50mm and 85mm in f/1.8 would be a great combination.
There are quite a few advantages in the f/1.8 range of lenses;
- They are compact and light to carry.
- The low aperture of f/1.8 is very good for available light shooting.
- The low apertrure is also good for selective focus and thus isolating your subject.
- They are relatively cheap to purchase compared to the low aperture f/2.8 zooms.
- From my experience with this 50mm lens they perform very well and I have heard very good reports of the 85mm and 35mm lenses.
I will be testing the 35mm f/1.8G DX lens more extensively in the near future.