Best Nikon 20mm ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by arnulfo_rosas, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. I am planning to buy a second hand Nikon 20mm and after reading several reviews and rankings it seems to me that the best choices are: a. 20mm 2.8 AF or MF, price: +/- $300-350, ranking: 4/5 (general) b. 20mm 3.5 MF, price: +/- $170-220, ranking: 3/5 (at infinity), 5/5 (close up) c. 20mm 4.0 MF, price: +/- $150-200, ranking: same as b. As I am interested in both landscape & close distance photography (for dramatic effects) options b & c may not be as good as option a; however, the performance at close distance may be superior (and the price is tempting). I will appreciate if you could share your experiences with any of these lenses. Thanks!
     
  2. I've had a seres of 20mm Nikkors for the 20mm f/3.5 Nikkor UD to the current 20mm f/ 2.8D AF Nikkor. The last has been the best of them.
     
  3. I have owned at least one of every 20mm Nikkor made since the late 1970s. I'm in agreement with Ken Rockwell and Galen Rowell that, optically, the best overall 20mm is the 20mm f/4.0 AI Nikkor from 1977: http://kenrockwell.com/nikon/20f4.htm That having been said, 20mm f/4.0 AI lenses are somewhat difficult to find in good condition and are a little pricey. Also, they are not particularly convenient to use with newer Nikon cameras from an electronics/metering standpoint. And, some people want or need lenses faster than f/4.0. As such, for ease of use- at least with newer cameras- I like the current 20mm f/2.8 AFD Nikkor: http://www.bythom.com/20lens.htm
     
  4. I own the 20mm UD nikkor and the 20mm f/3.5. I love the the 20mm f/3.5 (52mm filter thread) because of the fantastic multicoat on it which prevents flaring. For landscape (infinity) and close-up (with one or two K1 rings)this lens is superb. Vivek.
     
  5. a., b. or c. - buy whichever one fits your budget. I don't think you will be disappointed with any of them as they all have an excellent reputation. I have b. Nice and compact. I have never tried a. or c., but have never been disappointed with b either. Shoot with the sun in the frame with reckless abandon. The 52mm filter size is a bonus for me as I have a lot of other Nikkors with that filter size. YMMV. Mike
     
  6. I ended up getting the excellent Sigma 20mm 1.8, it is close to the same price as the 2.8 Nikon, and has close focus ability up to 4 inches. Only drawback is the large (85mm) filter size. It's been (far and away) my favorite lens for a few years now.
     
  7. "Only drawback is the large (85mm) filter size." You, sir, are The Master of Understatement. The filter size is actually 82mm, which is still insane for a 20mm lens: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=217799&is=USA
     
  8. 17-35/2.8 at 20mm.
     
  9. The Question :
    I am planning to buy a second hand Nikon 20mm and after reading several reviews and rankings it seems to me that the best choices are: a. 20mm 2.8 AF or MF, price: +/- $300-350, ranking: 4/5 (general) b. 20mm 3.5 MF, price: +/- $170-220, ranking: 3/5 (at infinity), 5/5 (close up) c. 20mm 4.0 MF, price: +/- $150-200, ranking: same as b. -- Arnulfo Rosas
    The Answer :
    17-35/2.8 at 20mm. -- Brian Caldwell
    The Moderator :
    I think we should set up a rule in the Nikon Forum that when somebody wants to buy a (used) camera and if you suggest one that costs more than twice as much, you are responsible for the price difference. :) -- Shun Cheung
    Nikon 20mm, anyone ?
     
  10. And regarding the 17-35mm f/2.8 @ 20mm, the ED glass makes the zoom sharper wide open than other f/2.8 20mm Nikkors I've used. On the other hand, the 17-35mm has more linear distortion at 20mm than any 20mm fixed focal length Nikkor I've used.
     
  11. Arnulfo,

    The 20/3.5 AI and AIS is best for flare and ghost control, it’s one of the best Nikkor wide angles in this respect. It is also excellent for close up and works very well with the old K1 Ring, a 5.8mm fully manual extension tube. The 20/3.5 AI and AIS is a great lens to point directly into the sun. Corner sharpness is rather ordinary at distance as 20/3.5 AI and AIS lacks CRC. The lens appears to be weighted for medium close and close working distance where it performs very well to excellent. For diffraction stars I’ll stop down to f/16 and point the lens into the sun.

    Otherwise the 20/2.8 AIS, AF and AF-D, all the same optical formula, are the best over all 20mm Nikkors. The 20/2.8 Nikkor has CRC. For best performance I prefer to stay between f/4.0 to f/8.0 using f/11 as a good compromise between DOF and diffraction.

    "As I am interested in both landscape & close distance photography (for dramatic effects)..." --Arnulfo Rosas

    It looks like you want three items: (1) a 20/2.8 AIS or AF-D, (2) 20/3.5 AI or AIS and (3) a K-Ring Set.

    The K-1 and K2 Rings will need minor modification for use with AF Nikkors. No modification is needed for any manual focus Nikkors. The K-1 ring also works well with the 24/2.8 AI, AIS, AF and AF-D and probably with the earlier 24/2.8(s) also.

    Regards,

    Dave Hartman.
     
  12. As I am interested in both landscape & close distance photography (for dramatic effects)
    Landscape and closeup work usually requires small apertures to obtain enough depth of field. Apertures between f8 - f16 are usual, very rarely f5.6. At these apertures, differences in sharpness between the various 20mm models disappear. If this matches your shooting style, there is nothing to choose between the models. Base your choice on filter size, flare resistance, price and camera compatibility.
    For example, I used to have the AIS 20/2.8, which is better than the AI 20/3.5 at wide apertures. At smaller apertures I saw little difference and I always prefered the 52mm filter of the smaller lens, so I sold the AIS 20/2.8.
     
  13. Some hopefully pertinent points: I used to own a sample of the 20mm f3,5(52mm) lens. Sharpness was just so-so or worse at all apertures at the edges and corners. I sold it. Two samples of the 2,8 MF lens have both been very sharp and contrasty once closed down to f8-f11. Sensitive to flare though if directed towards the sun. In both these lenses the front lens group (the CRC one, I think) would tend to get unscrewed (short of falling out altogether) now and again! So vou may want to watch out for this. Some 10 years back, I bought the 20mm f4 lens which is now my standard 20mm lens when travelling light. Somewhat sensitive to flare and dim to focus. Critically sharp from f5,6 down. Light and compact. My personal favorite. It?s your choice. Karl Johan PS. anybody else experience the "fallout" problem with the 2,8?
     
  14. The Moderator : I think we should set up a rule in the Nikon Forum that when somebody wants to buy a (used) camera and if you suggest one that costs more than twice as much, you are responsible for the price difference. :) -- Shun Cheung Good point! I didn't read the question very carefully and just wrote down my favorite 20mm lens. I'll try harder next time.
     
  15. Eric Friedemann , sep 01, 2004; 01:32 p.m. And regarding the 17-35mm f/2.8 @ 20mm, the ED glass makes the zoom sharper wide open than other f/2.8 20mm Nikkors I've used. On the other hand, the 17-35mm has more linear distortion at 20mm than any 20mm fixed focal length Nikkor I've used. I find the zoom to have less distortion than my 20/2.8, but then I use a D1x camera.
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Brian, no excuses, just come up with the $1000 price difference .... :)
     
  17. This is a most interesting thread as the 20mm wide angle lens is not only a very useful focal length but also one of Nikon's best lens'. So how does the average Nikon user answer such a question if he or she only has the one lens and is unable to make a comparison? I have the 20 f3.5 UD with the 72mm filter thread. It makes lovely pictures. I wish that it were as small as the 20 f2.8, but the newer, faster lens is'nt as well built as the UD. I once had the 21mm f4 that required the mirror to be locked up and that really was a wonderful piece of glass and metal. I traded it for a Nikon S rangefinder. Silly me. Go and read Bjorn Rorslett's website if you want an experienced and objective (pardon the pun) evaluation of the Nikon 20mm lens.
     
  18. You know, Jerry, to play off Roland's comment, given that Arnulfo will be shooting landscapes, presumably with the camera on a tripod, you could take any 20mm Nikon has made since at least the mid-70s, stop down two-three f/stops and get great results. I was a very, very slightly more impressed with the sample I owned of the 20mm f/4.0 AI than with other 20mm Nikkors I've owned for low linear distortion and sharpness. But this was after A-B-ing slides and negs I'd shot over a 25 year period under a 20x loupe. As such, I don't think Arnulfo would go wrong with any of the lenses above.
     
  19. To Eric: I saw some of your lenses for sale at PJ's Camera. Are you going to peddle the 18-35, too?
     
  20. Alex, I sold off 17-35mm and 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS lenses in anticipation of buying a 17-55mm f/2.8 DX lens- if Nikon ever ships more. I've never owned an 18-35mm.
     
  21. David, could you please add some information about the K set extension tubes?, what are they meant for?, can I use them with any of my MF & AFD lenses or only with wide-angle lenses?. Thanks for your reply!
     
  22. Check the archives. I put up a tech sheet on the K-Ring Set a few months ago. I?ll find it tonight and re-post or link but I?m off to work now.
     
  23. Warning Large File For Printing -- 565K
    009NNd-19477384.jpg
     
  24. Warning Large File For Printing -- 372K
    009NNg-19477484.jpg
     
  25. "...can I use them with any of my MF & AFD lenses or only with wide-angle lenses?" --Arnulfo Rosas

    The K-Ring Set will work with most any manual focus Nikkor lens. For use with auto focus Nikkor lenses some filing of the K1 ring will be needed to protect the AF contacts. The K3 Ring is completely safe for AF lens contacts.

    The K1 Ring is listed as unsafe for some AF cameras and not for others. The "others" (that is safe) that I can think of just now are the F5 and D2H. The K2 Ring is listed as unsafe for most or all AF cameras. What I’ve found is the K1 Ring fits my F5, F100 and my mom’s N80 safely. The K2 will fit these three also but will not lock in all three positions.

    Since there are extension tubes that are more practical for most longer lenses I only use the K1 Ring with wide angle lenses. The unique property of the K1 Ring is it is only 5.8mm long. For longer lenses I’ll use the Nikon PK-11a, 12, 13 and PN-11 extension tubes. I occationally use other parts of the set with odd lenses on the PB-4 bellows.

    I don’t know why Nikon uses the terms "Ring" and "Tube" as they do. Some "Rings" are very "Tubular" while others are not, e.g. PN-11 Ring.

    The best place to get a look at current extension tubes I guess is B&H or Photography In Malaysia. The K-Ring Set is long discontinued.

    Photography In Malaysia -- Nikon F & F2 Shared Resources: Macro Photography. I forgot how much information is available on this page.

    Best,

    Dave Hartman.
     
  26. Hi. I bought the 20mm F2.8. It is great for all purposes. Just pay attention for the distortion in the corners like in any super-wide. taking pictures of people is almost impossible with that lens (especially those that are going to see the pictures -:) ) Amit
     
  27. ...and watch it so the front unit doesn?t fall out...:) Karl Johan
     
  28. I use to own the 3.5 version of this lens many years ago. Not sure whatever happened to that. I really don't remember the performance that it delivered. I do have the 2.8 AIS currently. I haven't had any "fallout" mentioned in this thread (Knock on metal)! I do know that the 2.8 is a very, very sharp lens from .85 inches to infinity. Not long ago I was shooting late P.M. on a beach and the sharpness from the grains of sand close up was incredible, even to infinity. The contrast was great also. The only thing I don't like is the crappy lens hood that goes with it. I truly wish I could find an alternate screw-in(HN)lens hood that would fit!!
     

Share This Page