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Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8 Lens Review
Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Prime Lens  


 

September, 2011
(tested with Nikon D7000)

The original Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8 (the subject of this review), was produced from 1986 to 1991. In 1991 Nikon updated the lens, but not by much. Officially the newer version was called the Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8(N) lens. Nikon added a rubber coated focus ring and also changed the aperture lock to a sliding switch instead of the push and turn switch found on the original. In 1994 Nikon updated the lens again, this time to the AF 28mm f/2.8D. The optics were reworked, with the new lens having 6 elements instead of five. As of this writing the D version is still listed in the Nikon catalog. This is a film or full frame lens (FX), but it can also be used on a DX camera, giving it a field of view of 42mm.

The Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8 is a plastic lens with a metal lens mount. The lens was made in Japan and appears to be built solid, but has a cheap feel to it. The focus ring turns smooth but can be difficult to grip beacuse it's thin. The front element doesn't rotate so the use of filters is not a problem. This is an AF lens which means it has no internal motor. As such it won't auto focus with Nikon's lower end DSLRs (the D40, D60, D3000, D5000, D3100, D5100). Focusing with the D7000 was fast and accurate, but I wouldn't use this lens for sports.

I found the lens sharpness a little soft in the center wide open at f/2.8. The corners and borders were very soft. Sharpness improved when stopping down the aperture to f/8. The center was sharp, but the corners and borders were just good. Chromatic aberration was slightly visible wide open, even more so when stopped down. At f/8 it was very visible. It was correctable with post processing but took some extra effort to do so. Barrel distortion was much more than expected for a fixed focal lens. Correcting it wasn't a problem. Vignetting was present wide open at f/2.8, more than was expected on DX sensor. Stopping down two stops and it was all but eliminated. Flare and ghosting weren't a problem.

I borrowed this lens from a friend to give it a try. I have to say I was disappointed. It never achieved the prime lens sharpness I was expecting. I should add that I may have had a bad lens. It had a severe back focus problem. After testing it with LensAlign I needed to adjust the AF Fine Tune of the D7000 to -12. But I found a few older reviews of this lens and they also indicated that this version of the AF 28mm f/2.8 was a dud. If you're using a DX camera I'd skip this lens and get the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX lens. If you have a full frame camera and are looking for a 28mm prime lens then get the newer D version. You can still buy the D version new. Used copies go for about $150.

 
Specifications:

Focal length 28mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens Construction 5 elements in 5 groups
Angle of view 53o (DX) 74o (FX)
Closest focusing distance 0.85 ft.
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.18x
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Auto focus type AF
Filter diameter 52 mm
Macro No
Dimensions 66.04 mm (2.6 in) x 45.72 mm (1.8 in)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 195g (6.9 oz)




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