AF Nikkor 20-35 f2.8D

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_johnston|4, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. I have owned this lens for about 20 years. It has been a very good performer. I am about ready to get the newest version of it. What should I expect? Hopefully improved performance? Thanks in advance.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 20-35mm/f2.8 AF-D is, by now, an "ancient" lens. What exactly do you mean by getting "the newest version" of it?

    I have never owned that 20-35mm zoom. In its days it was a pioneer wide zoom when zooms were uncommon and considered lower quality. Around 2001, I got the 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S. For years I was quite happy with it until I started using 24MP, 36MP DSLRs. Today, if you want an F-mount lens, I prefer the 18-35mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S, but that is a slower lens and is also a G lens. If you are planning to use it on older film SLRs, G lenses maybe a problem.

    The state of the art for wide zooms is probably Nikon's two Z-mount mirrorless lenses: 14-30mm/f4 S and 14-24mm/f2.8 S. But that is a totally different mount and a different discussion.
  3. I am by now ancient as well! I use it on 850 and 800e for landscapes and architecture. Works fine with a little help from Lr and Ps . It prints very well about as large as anyone wants. I am not going to go the Z route, just yet. It's just old and I am worried about the focusing motor. What is you opinion of the current 14-24 2.8?
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 20-35mm/f2.8 is an AF-D lens, not AF-S. Therefore there is no focusing motor to worry about. I bought the 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S back in 2008 and thought it would be a good landscape lens. I ended up rarely use it because it bulging front element is too vulnerable, and I would rather not travel with that. As I mentioned earlier, today, in the F-mount, I prefer the 18-35mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S. Some like the 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR, which I have never used. I bought the 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S in 2001. I think it is poor now into the corners on the wide end, and the AF motor on mind has died.

    I took the image below a few days ago for another thread. The 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S is the one on the left. The Z-mount version is literally a full pound lighter (1000g for the F version, 650g for the Z version, not shown here). Today, I pretty much only use mirrorless for landscape photography.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
  5. One notable difference with newer wide-angle zooms is close focusing distance, generally 11 or 12 inches these days vs. ~1.5 feet with the 20-35mm. To me, that's a pretty big deal as far as compositional possibilities.

    Eric Sande
  6. I just put the 20-35 f2.8D on my D850 for Christmas morning. It is a good lens due to the light weight and the useful range. I also tired of the 17-35 f2/8D due to poor corners and edges, and weight. I haven't quite convinced myself that the 20-35 f2.8D is THE wide lens for backpacking, but its light weight is very appealing. There is some chromatic aberration, but it is easily correctible. This lens plus the 50-135 f3.5 Ais is a nice backpacking thought, but haven't done it yet.
  7. There is no newer version of the Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D. The new available zooms are wider, in response to market demands. Go to the Nikon site and explore what's on offer. Nikon now provide MTF charts, but they don't tell you everything about zoom lens performance. Nikon have their secrets.
  8. Probably the best choice if one stays within Nikon's offerings.
    I have used the lens for many years (first on a D700, then on a D810); it has its weaknesses: large distortion at short focal length, weaker optical performance towards the long end. VR was an important consideration for me. It performs notably better than the 17-35/2.8 and maybe a tad below the above mentioned 18-35. Nowadays, my favorite is the Tamron 15-30/2.8 VC - although I am not a friend of large bulging front elements. The lens definitely outperforms the 16-35.
    Me neither at this point - but if I would then the 14-30/4 Shun mentioned would be my choice. I currently use a Sony A7RIII with the 12-24/4 ultrawide zoom. Most likely some of the F-mount zooms I still own will be sold off in the near future.
  9. If and when you get a new lens, i hope you will consider selling your 20-35mm to me. Fat chance, i know.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  10. I moved from a 20-35/2.8D to 17-35/2.8AFS. The AFS was better but not dramatically so optically, IMO. The 17 wide end and closer focusing helped seal the deal, but I did miss the smaller size of the 20-35. Although I still have the 17-35 and DSLRs, the 14-30S for my Z is my choice for WA work.

    One thing in favor of the 20-35, the mechanical AF will still be going when those early AFS motors have died. It is a very nicely made lens.
  11. 24 degrees F this morning so optically clear air. Very nice, but too bad I am in town. Nikon 20-35 f2.8 at 20 mm. I didn't get the camera exactly level, and hand held. Two minutes of tinkering in ACR. "1" on purple chromatic aberration. Center focus on stone mailbox. No polarizer. _AAB5428.jpg

  12. Very nice.

    Is that shadow in the lower righthand corner you and your camera?
  13. Yes, or a very knobby tree.......
  14. The first shot was an f5.6. Here is an f2.8 shot close focused on the ice to pull out the lens flaws. Close focus with a wide background is where I would most use 20 mm anyway. F2.8 is borderline with this lens _AAB5448.jpg . The corners are mushy, and the chromatic aberration is visible on the house edges. (This is a different house, and is on a steep hill)
  15. I've been using the 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S (not the older D, which is supposedly a far inferior lens) for a couple of years on the D850. It is light, compact, and relatively inexpensive, but not tack sharp towards the edges at any aperture. However, based on other people's experiences, it appears the bulkier and more expensive 16-35 f/4 is not much better, if at all. The 18-35 is certainly very usable and good value for its price. I have recently started giving higher priority to portability over optical perfection, and overall this lens suits me well. For better sharpness and low light performance I would consider the 20, 24, 28 or 35mm f/1.8 primes, but those are... well, not zooms. If you don't mind the bulk and price, the 14-24 f/2.8 is supposedly the best wide angle zoom lens for F mount.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020

Share This Page