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Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G Lens Review (for Nikon)
Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G Full Frame FX Prime Lens  


August, 2013
(tested with Nikon D600)

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G lens was announced in April 2012, and released in May that year. This is a full frame FX lens but can be used with APS-C (cropped) sensor cameras. On a Nikon DX camera the equivalent field of view is 42mm. This is an AF-S lens which has a built in motor so it will autofocus with all Nikon DSLR cameras.

If you follow Nikon standards the 28mm f/1.8G would be considered a "pro" lens because of the gold ring around the barrel end and the edition of a Nano Crystal Coat on the lens to help reduce flare. But the build quality just doesn't have a "pro" feel to it, maybe because it's lighter than I would expect. I would consider it more of a prosumer lens. It has a solid feel to it. It's made of mostly plastic. The focus ring is made of rubber. It turned smoothly but my copy was somewhat loose. There is a switch to change between auto and manual focus. Autofocus can also be overridden by turning the focus ring. The zooming is internal so the lens does not extend forward and the end doesn't rotate, so using filters isn't a problem. The lens has a distance scale and a metal mount which includes a rubber gasket. Autofocus is fast enough for a wide angle lens but you would probably want something faster for sports or action shots.

The lens is sharp wide open with the corners being just a bit soft. Stopping down the lens will sharpen things up across the frame up until f/8. After that diffraction starts to occur. I would say center sharpness is best at f/5.6. However, there are two problems which this lens has optically, field curvature and focus shift. To simplify things, field curvature is when a flat object usually appears sharper in the center of the frame, giving it a donut like appearance. The image plane produced by the lens tends to be curved. Focus shift is when the point of focus changes or shifts with a change in aperture. As an example, with this lens I adjusted the AF Fine Tune of my Nikon D600 to -3 at f/1.8. Focus was spot on. But to get accurate focus at f/5.6 I had to adjust the fine tune to -8. Chromatic aberration was barely visible at all apertures and can be easily corrected in camera (if available) or with post processing. There is some barrel distortion which again can be easily corrected. Vignetting is very visible in the corners at f/1.8. Stopping down reduces it, but it's still slightly visible even at f/11. Flare isn't a problem thanks to the Nano Crystal Coat. I found the bokeh to be smooth and overall very pleasing to the eye.

I have mixed feelings about this lens. I like it because it's sharp, produces nice bokeh, and is light enough to carry around and use all day. But the field curvature and focus shift can make this lens difficult to use at times. Personally I would think this lens is best suited primarily for landscapes where there is a good distance between you and your subject and you will be using smaller aperturtures. If you want to use this as an everyday walk about lens be prepared for a lot of trial and error. For best results you will have to know when and what camera adjustments to make and also what part of your subject you want to focus on, even more so than you normally would. I was looking to buy a fast wide angle prime so I rented the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G lens to give it a try. In the end I decided it wasn't for me.




Focal length 28mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Minimum aperture f/16
Lens Construction 11 elements in 9 groups
Angle of view 75o
Closest focusing distance 0.85 ft (0.25 m)
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.22x
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Auto focus type AF-S (silent wave motor)
Filter diameter 67mm
Macro No
Dimensions 2.9 in x 3.2 in (73.0mm x 80.5mm)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 11.6 oz (330g)

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