Monday, August 1, 2016

Reviewing the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.8


A review, after some time. Full-frame camera users increase (thanks to the abundance of options at rather reasonable prices), and with them increases the need for cheap but competent wide-angle lenses. True, there are tons of old lenses that can be used succesfully on modern DSLRs, but Nikon seems to think AF-S modernizations are also needed. True or false? Let's take a look at the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.8

A good lens is a boring testing lens. The Nikon Nikkor 28mm f/1.8 has been a very boring testing lens


+ it's AF-S. Fast, silent, accurate autofocus
+ magnificent optical quality.
+ reasonable price...

- ... still, three or more times more expensive than older lenses
- build quality feels cheap compared to the AI-S monsters
- scope problems (read "Final Verdict")

Intended Users

Great for:
  • basic wide-angle lens for those FX users who want an all-modern (AF-S) lineup
  • traveling light? Stellar little lens for good general-photography
  • low-light urban photography

Not for:
  • DX. It's compatible, but it doesn't make any sense.
  • film cameras. No aperture ring.
  • the budget-minded. There are much cheaper solutions out there.

Final Verdict

In absolute terms, it's a stellar lens. Optically almost flawless (if I had to come up with something, I'd mention some vignetting wide-open). But it's expensive for what it offers. Which brings us to scope: wide-angle lenses don't, generally speaking, require fast shutter speeds for support. Provided you're not concerned with freezing action, a speed of 1/40 or even 1/30 should be enough. With the insanely high ISOs modern cameras can use, the usability of f/1.8 over f/2.8 (for exposure reasons, that is) is of rather secondary importance. Having said that, any gain is important. Weigh your options: if you want a lens for landscape photography in daylight, I see no reason to get this over an older AI-S lens. If, conversely, you'll be shooting live-music from under the stage (in dim light), then this will indeed be a worthy option to consider.

Also consider the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.8. For not much more, you get a slightly better lens with an even wider focal length value.

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