Alternative to AF Nikkor 20mm 1:2.8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chris_gibbons|2, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. My copy of this lens is about 20 years old and still does the job, but as many on this forum have noted (Ilka N. et al) not as well as it should. Good colours, but very soft in the corners, etc.
    I use it on a D7000 mainly for landscapes/cityscapes/travel and am wondering if there are other, better alternative primes - AF or manual?
    Thanks to many already on this forum, I know that there are excellent alternatives in the zoom sector but I am looking specifically for a prime to complement an existing line-up of same. Weight is a major factor.
    The Voigtlander 20mm 3.5 SL springs to mind - but what else am I missing, please?
    Your thoughts and input gratefully received.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For landscape and travel, you are better off with one of those 10-24 or 12-24 type DX zooms. Those lenses tend to be at their weakest on their extreme wide end. If you can avoid that, from 14, 15mm and up, those are fine lenses.
    A 20mm "prime" is not very wide on DX, and if you get the Voiglander, focusing is not exactly easy on the D7000. Perhaps it is a lesser problem if you can always shoot from a tripod and use live view to fine tune focus.
  3. I'll second the Nikon 10-24mm. For city shooting in low light, nothing comes close to the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 until you spend the big bucks for a 14-24mm f2.8. The Tokina is probably my favorite lens for my DSLR and the only non-Nikon I regularly use.
    Kent in SD
  4. I love primes but when is about shooting on DX on the wide end Nikkor 10-24 is hard to be replaced. I have CV 20/3.5 but on corners I bet that on D7000 is not much better than 20/2.8 AF-D. CV 20 is good because of its size and portability, not necessary as a great performer. For a travel kit this is still a good option but for a more serious work 10-24 is much better, at least after 12mm - and it is offering a broad range, in equivalent of 15-36mm. Another good option is Tokina 11-16... its range is so limited that you can consider it as a prime :)
  5. Kent said:
    The Tokina is probably my favorite lens for my DSLR and the only non-Nikon I regularly use.​
    It's the only non-Nikon lens I own as well! It was a tough call between the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and both the Nikkor 10-24mm/12-24mm lenses. The Tokina's speedy f/2.8 aperture won me over, but had I to do it again, I may have chosen the Nikkor instead for its more useful range. If either the 10-24mm or 12-24mm also had VR, I would've definitely chosen it instead.
  6. About the only difference I saw between the Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AIS and the Voigtlander 20mm was size. If it had to be a prime I would look at Zeiss. I would rather have a zoom for that size and price though.
  7. I have been very happy with my CV 20 f/3.5. I have not had any big issues focusing it on my D300's and it also works well on my Pro 14 NX.
    Also I find the CV to be very flair resistant so if you are doing shots into the sun this would be the way to go
    If I was doing landscape work and hiking with my gear I would be a lot happier with the CV then with a zoom.
  8. One more guy who owns only one non-Nikkor, and it's the Tokina 11-16. It's especially strong on the long end, I think,which is still plenty wide, and it's NO slouch at any length.
    Honestly, I'd love a tiny little lightweight DX wide prime, but I don't think we're ever getting one. This is the closest it comes. I like that when I shoot at f5.6, instead of being wide open or close to it, I'm pretty much at the sweet spot of the lens. THAT'S the reason the f2.8 makes sense.
  9. A reputable good photographer I met told me very good things about the ZF 21/2.8. Not the lightest, I`m afraid, and manual focus.
  10. Nikkor AI 20mm f4,0, if you can find one- should not be impossible.
  11. the tokina 17/3.5 AT-X. small--about the same size as a 35/1.8--rugged build, focuses very close, decent in the corners stopped down, inexpensive (used). got mine for $350 in mint condition.
  12. quick handheld shot at 5.6 and 1/20.
  13. size comparison with tokina 12-24.
  14. has reviews of the Zeiss 18mm and 21mm online. Manual focus only, but I would think that doesn't matter too much for landscapes? Quite expensive too, unfortunately, but very high quality build. Tested on an D7000, so very relevant test results for you, they say the 18mm is a bit soft in the corners, but the 21mm is very good in all respects.
  15. Thanks very much to all for the informed and thoughtful responses.
    Eric Arnold, the Tokina 17/3.5 is the one that I'd never heard of - it's just moved up to the top of the Search List.
    Joris H., Carl Becker, the Zeiss also look the part, but their prices makes me blanche.
    Shun, Kent and others, I know you're absolutely right about the zooms, but I'm stubborn and determined to "do this in primes". When I've bashed my head on the problem a little longer, I realise I'll probably take your advice! (For some or other reason, I seem to take better pictures using a prime, rather than a zoom, but that's a subject for a different post.)
  16. chris, there are three versions of the tokina 17/3.5, the manual focus SL, the AT-X, and the AT-X Pro; i have the latter. despite being an older lens, last made in 2005, it does pretty well on newer nikon bodies. there is some chatter about softness in the extreme corners but i find this typical of most UWA lenses. besides a sharp optic the biggest plusses to the tokina are its size and build. it also gets high marks for flare resistance, not a characteristic typically associated with tokina. there's a good review of it here:
  17. For dx sensors the w-a zooms are probably the way to go. I have the af 20/2.8 lens. Tested with d700. Tests made recently, like , confirm what I have found. The lens is actually not bad at all on d700. Using d90 I did some comparison between af 20/2.8 and the kit zoom af-s 18-105. The 20 was better.
    Af 20/2.8 has a somewhat curved "plane" of focus. Edges are in focus further away than the center. To balance this stop down to 5.6.
    Some of the issues related to these CRC floating element lenses are related to the tuning of the whole system, where the main lens group and the floating element interact. I tuned my ais 28/2.8 to correct this. Before the lens did not reach infinity now it does.
    On my d700 the edges are pretty good even at 2.8, at near distances. On landscapes I have to go to at least f4 - f5.6 to get distant scenes evenly sharp.
    And you need CA removal - it is automatic on most converters, so no problem there.
  18. I used to have a Nikon 24 f2.8 AIS and a Tamron 17-35 f2.8-f4 (for D700). I thought they were fine until I got my Nikon 10-24. The Nikon 10-24 is far sharper than both of them and focus quite close too. It also always gives me a good star-ray when I have the sun included in the images.
  19. eric, isnt the 10-24 a DX lens? are you using it on a d700 in crop mode?
  20. To Eric x2, I noticed that, maybe the explanation is cropping. One zero away from d7000 and you get d700?

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