The level structures of the N = 50 As-83, Ge-82, and Ga-81 isotones have been investigated by means of multi-nucleon transfer reactions. A first experiment was performed with the CLARA PRISMA setup to identify these nuclei. A second experiment was carried out with the GASP array in order to deduce the gamma-ray coincidence information. The results obtained on the high-spin states of such nuclei are used to test the stability of the N = 50 shell closure in the region of Ni-78 (Z = 28). The comparison of the experimental level schemes with the shell-model calculations yields an N = 50 energy gap value of 4.7(3) MeV at Z = 28. This value, in a good agreement with the prediction of the finite-range liquid-drop model as well as with the recent large-scale shell model calculations, does not support a weakening of the N = 50 shell gap down to Z = 28. (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.