Nikkor 28mm f1.4D - sharpness problem?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dave_gold, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Hello all,
    Just bougth the aforementioned lense, and it is very soft pn 1.4

    From the reviews I read people feedback that this lense excells in sharpness wide oen.

    I am trying it on D7000, and it is very soft at 1.4, at bigger apps it it also not as sharp as my 35 1.8 DX.

    D7000 AF fine tune doesnt help - anyone has this issue on his lense?

    Maybe somebody cn send me the pic done b this lense at 1.4 on DX showing this famous sharness everybody taling about?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Whose review have you been reading? According to Bjorn Rorslett, the 28mm/f1.4 AF-D is soft wide open, and he has tested three different samples:
    You seem to be merely confirming his observation.
    Bjorn Rorslett is among the most respected Nikon lens experts around. I am far less experience than he is, but among leses both he and I have used, I share his experience most of the time with a few occasional disagreements.
  3. Actually, I was referring to Ken Rockwells review in which he claims this lense is dead sharp on 1.4
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    No wonder.
  5. A lens wide open is also only as sharp as it's focus plane is flat. Consider that, too. The area that is actually in focus is very very thin, even on that 28mm lens.
    What are you photographing? That might matter?
    Also, keep in mind that Rockwell is kind of an entertainment web site, not the best source for scientific information. Sometimes he's spot on, but it's hard to predict when he's not. That's what Shun means.
  6. Hi Peter, Thanks for answering.
    Actually I've made 41 photos of brass coin (which is flat enough i guess) at 1.4 , each photo for its own value of D7000 AF Fine tune option, and the results are very dissapoinitig.
    There is no value which gives sharp picture, even in comparison to plasticy 35 1.8DX wide open!
    Is that possible that this lense will behave better on FX than on DX?
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dave, are you shooting macros of some coin? It is very difficult to keep the camera (its sensor) completely aligned with the surface of the coin. If you are after macro images, definitely get a dedicated macro lens such as the 105mm/f2.8, 60mm/f2.8. The latest 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro is an excellent lens but maybe too short for photographing coins.
    The plastic construction of a lot of modern lenses is somewhat deceptive. Except for the ones with a plastic mount, the plastic barrel are typically good enough and the optical performance is easily better than a lot of the older lenses. The main issue with the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S is chromatic aberration; its sharpness is excellent.
    And then your D7000 is extremely demanding on lens quality. It should surprise no one that an f1.4 lens does not perform very well on it, especially if you are shooting near macro distances. I would use a smaller aperture to gain some depth of field.
  8. Thanks, Shun.
    I am not considering this lens to be my macro, I have Sigma 150 Macro for this purpose.
    The only reason I was shooting coin is in order to get the object as flat as possible.
    Do you think the 1.4 bechaviuour could be better while shooting something at longer distances?
    If so , how much longer? Considering infinity or just a few feet?
    Thanks again for your time.
  9. Additional question as a part of this thread:
    Because Nikkor 28 1.4 is considered as very rare lense, I can easily sell it and get the newest Nikkor 24 1.4 AF-S instead.
    Do you think this lense will fulfill my very high expectations for sharpness while shooting at 1.4 on D7000?
    Maybe someone has photos shot on 1.4 using this lense?
  10. Dave,
    Yes, it's not unlikely very close up the lens will perform worse. Normal (non-macro) lenses are seldom optimal near their minimal focus distance. However, I feel there might be 2 sides here: fast lenses tend to be softer (and/or lower contrast) wide open, and what your expectation is of such a lens. Maybe you're just hoping for too much. If you'd post a photo of what you consider very soft, that might really help.
    The 24 f/1.4 has a better reputation, but as said above, it may not solve what you want. And frankly, the difference between 24 and 28 is quite noticeable, also on DX; to me these 2 focal lengths are sufficiently different.
    Most people spending 24 f/1.4 money will be using it on FX cameras. Either way, can't help, my budget unfortunately does not stretch this far....
  11. Dave, the 28/1.4 is not a macro nor a flat-field lens. The field curvature imposed on a flat object is always going to yield unsharp results, particularly wide open. Odds are your lens is just fine.
  12. You should test it in real-world conditions, not in close-up flat-field work, neither of which is the kind of photography the lens is designed for.
    You may find that for your purposes, the lens works well, but your test doesn't reflect your purpose, nor the lens's.
  13. Luis G has hit it spot on. You are testing the lens in a "absolute worst case scenario" condition. Up close at minimum focus, most lenses that are not specifically designed as flat-field macro lenses will not yield bitingly sharp focus across the entire image plane due to field curvature. With a retrofocus f/1.4 wide-angle lens at maximum aperture and a completely flat subject, I would not expect sharp results corner to corner no matter how expensive the optic. Even the simple 50/1.8 and 50/1.4 designs show some field curvature when shot wide open at minimum focus.
    Shoot a real life subject at a more realistic magnification and you will probably see much better results.
  14. OK guys, following your suggestion, I take a shot of my table souvenir cat from distance of about 1.5 m, 3 times with following conditions:
    D7000, ISO 1000, NO FLASH
    First 2 pics on the left taken from the same place, at third one I moved a little bit...
    First of all, 28 1.4@ 1.4 does look much better now:)
    Second, I think 28 1.4@1.8 is slightly sharper now than 35 1.8@1.8, what do you think?
    Third, I am still not happy with sharpness of 28 1.4@1.4. Can it be better? Can it be dead sharp???
    Thanks you all:)
  15. It's still not a real-world example of something you would shoot with this lens, is it.
  16. I thought to photo people in the lo0w light, so I think this time, i am much closer to the real world one:)
  17. One more thing - shots of 28 1.4 (both 1.4 and 1.8) were shot on +6 AF Fine tune, when I focused on cats nose. Maybe my fine tuning setting are not correct for this lense? Can you recognize here any back/ front focus issues?
    Thanks again:)
  18. I have no direct experience with the 28/1.4 but I know that other really fast lenses of its time are not that sharp wide open even on 35mm film / FX. The D7000 accentuates this problem by cropping out half of the image area.
    I think you should expect useable quality at f/1.4 and good at f/2-f/2.8 on a D700, if the 28/1.4 is similar to other lenses of its generation. If you want better quality, get the 35/1.4 and 24/1.4. Those lenses can be safely used wide open in many situations, on 12MP FX cameras.
    If you're really interested in fast wide angles I would get one or both of the AF-S f/1.4 wides, and an FX camera. It seems pretty wasteful to use the 28/1.4 on a DX camera when there is the 35/1.8 DX available - you don't get that much in return for the extra cost. Try it on a D700 or D3s though, before selling the lens - you might find that you like it.
  19. "A lens wide open is also only as sharp as it's focus plane is flat. Consider that, too. The area that is actually in focus is very very thin, even on that 28mm lens"​
    Stil,l the 28mm 1.4 wide open should give you a DOF of around 27cm shouldn't it ?
    Dave ,
    Just wonder, were those "Cat"shots shot from, a tripod ?
  20. No, they are all hand held
  21. Stil,l the 28mm 1.4 wide open should give you a DOF of around 27cm shouldn't it ?​
    Depends on focus distance. Our OP is shooting up close... very close... that makes the depth of field far worse.
    No, they are all hand held​
    With all due respect, this means that whole test is flawed. You are inadvertently testing your ability to hand-hold a camera, you are not testing lens sharpness. Remember this, in almost any situation, the sharpest lens is the one on the sturdy tripod.
  22. You right, the problem is that I cant use tripod right now.
    I've done in the past those tests using tripod and the result were very similar to those I've got now.
    Do you think the sharpness of my 28 1.4 at 1.4 as it looks now is OK (assuming the same picture was delivered using tripod) or it can be more precise after Nikon lab calibration or something?
  23. Dave,
    I think regardless of whether or not it can look better, the cost factor of that lens on DX is such that I think it would be better for FX and even there, I'm not so sure.
    Honestly, you yourself are noticing that there isn't much difference between it and the 35mm f1.8 on your D7000. True?
  24. True, but I already own this lens:)
    It gives me 1.4 instead of 1.8 of 35 1.8DX...
    Any other wide AF lense that you can suggest to buy instead of 28 1.4?
  25. Still the 28mm 1.4 wide open should give you a DOF of around 27cm shouldn't it ?
    At a minimum focus distance of 0.35m and an aperture of f/1.4, the approximate DOF of the 28/1.4 on a DX body is a razor thin 1cm (i.e. less than 1/2")
  26. Dave and everyone else, Try using the program focus magic I have found that some of the problems that folks think are the lens is in reality the cameras sensor slightly bluring the image to get rid of noise and other problems
  27. It's my experience that retro-focus lenses don't get along with the anti-aliasing filters used on most DSLRs.
    I've heard of architectural photographers having the anti-alias filter removed from their cameras, though I've yet to try that.
    If you can find a film camera on which to mount your lens, and if you have a source for very high resolution scans (i.e. 4000 dpi) get some Ektar 100 and give it a try. My 14mm Nikkor was a much sharper lens when moved from my D3x to an F5 with Ektar. (I'm sorry I don't have the results to show you. I did the tests about two years ago and I no longer have the F5 or the Nikon scanner so I can't do it over.)
  28. Dave, the difference between 1.4 and 1.8 is only 2/3rd of a stop. For normal use, you should really wonder whether that's worth the vast difference in cost - how much does the 28 f/1.4 really give you alongside a 35mm f/1.8? I think there are lenses for DX cameras that make a lot more sense than the 28mm f/1.4.
    Most of the older f/1.4 lenses are not brilliant wide open, or at least they will show problems; however they tend to be better at f/2-f/2.8 than their slower counterparts. That makes them still added value as faster lenses, but great wide open performance is another thing alltogether.
    Hand-held, at f/1.4 in low light (by the looks of the photo, not too contrasty light either), high ISO, at a relatively short distance from the subject - sorry, it's unfair to expect any lens to deliver sharp photos.
  29. Actually, I was referring to Ken Rockwells review​
    You do understand why Shun's reaction was as it was?
    In the 'cat' examples, as said, a tripod is really necessary to make the tests very meaningful. None of the examples looked sharp to me, however; but I'm not at all sure what is being measured here.
  30. I am not sure what the 28mm f1.4's are going for these days but if it is even close to 1500 dollars I would much rather have one of the new f1.4 Nikkors. I never used the 28mm as I have read many things about it not meeting what my needs would be. It doesn't seem you are using this lens for what it was designed for or near what it's strengths are. I suspect it would do much better in tight low light PJ style shooting where getting the shot counted more than the highest quality.
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dave, I hope you don't mind a few blunt comments:
    1. I would watch Jay Leno and Dave Letterman for entertainment purposes, not for accurate news reporting. I would treat KR's "reviews" in the same manner as Peter Hamm points out.
    2. I would not test non-macro lenses at macro distances. It is expected that they perform poorly because regular, non-macro lenses are not designed for that purpose. People buy macro lenses for a reason. However, some macro lenses likewise do not perform well when focused to infinity; some others can work well from end to end.
    3. Always test lenses from a tripod, especially macros. When I get results similar to those cat image test sample, and yes, occasionally I do get that kind of results, I would reshoot. For something that close, I would use live view and fine tune the focus manually. The D7000 will greatly magnify any flaws from your optics to your technique.
  32. Ok guys, here it comes: Famous cat sharpness comparison using tripod, shooting from the same point at distance of about 35 cm from the object.
    See the attached file Comparison of 28 1.4 vs 1.8
    What can you say now about 24 1.4 sharpness wide open? Can it be better if calibrated by Nikon lab?
    This lense can be sold for 2450 USD, confirmed by Local Nikon expert (he is actually ready to buy it). For this money I can easily have the latest Nikkor 24 1.4 AF-S.
    May I expect more sharness wide open at 1.4 at the center? I really dont care about the corners, as I am using D7000 which is DX.
    Thank you all again:)
  33. Dave, I do not want to be rude or unkind but:
    at distance of about 35 cm from the object.​
    You may want to reread several answers given why testing this lens at those distances makes no sense.
    Why not try the lens in real life, use it in circumstances where you'd really use it, and then decide?
  34. Dave, a couple of questions: (a) are the latest images that you posted crops or the full, uncropped frames, and (b) did you apply any output sharpening or other changes in post processing?
    Tom M
  35. Again, it's a DoF test, not a sharpness test, when you're shooting something at close range that's 3-dimensional at a wide aperture. You're getting the results I'd expect based on the excellent review on this page. (Again, ignore Rockwell if you want real data...) According to Bjorn, "You do need to stop down to get really sharp images."
    I think you've overbought this lens. It's extra qualities are easily replicated by something like a 35mm f1.8 even on DX. Good news is that a lot of people love this lens and you can sell it real easy for a lot of money.

    Try it in real-world real-life examples and see if it's for you. This test is not useful.
  36. Tom,
    a) They are crops
    b) No sharpening post processing was applied on the images
  37. Dave,
    I don't want to be insulting, but none of the details of this test matter, since it's close-up (not what that lens is designed for) and a 3-D object, which means one very tiny bit of the photo is actually in focus, and your tests are only testing a teeny little part of the lens. Your test does not say anything about lens sharpness, even if the lens COULD shoot very well so close.
    Can you at the very least shoot something flat? or a "real world" image, shot the way you would typically use this lens?
  38. Wouter,
    I've tried this lense in a real life, it seems to be very soft wide open, that is exactly the reason why I tried to take a few pics close to the object in order to verify its behavior.
  39. But it is NOT a macro lens, so it won't be good close to the object. Several people explained this already, so why test it again? And I also hinted already, the light you use looks crap and ISO1000 will do little good. Your testing just doesn't prove much. Realistic test: 3-5 metres distance, flash, ISO100 or 200, tripod. Else, stop testing alltogether because you're not proving anything.
    For what it's worth, I found the last example quite sharp for photos taken at closest focus distance of a non-macro lens, wide open, in what looks like mediocre light, unsharpened 100%. You're testing the worst possible of this lens.
    I have no idea what you are expecting of this lens. The fact that it's expensive does not mean it does everything right. It means it is a specialised tool for specific jobs. Do you really frequently need 2/3rds of a stop more wide open than your 35mm f/1.8 can give? And if yes, is it worth this much money? If you want shallow DoF, why not spend the money on a D700 instead?
    Slightly related note: I use a 24mm and 35mm prime regularly on my D300, and 24mm is a "different" focal length, to me. 28mm and 35mm on DX "feel" the same, and in the end for me do the same - so I do not think the 24 f/1.4 is a logical replacement, it's a different lens with a different perspective. If you just want a f/1.4 lens because of the f/1.4-ness of it, by all means, get it - but if you need these lenses to do a specific job, it does not really make sense to me at all to replace 28 with 24.
  40. Wouter,
    I really cannot get the point of testing 1.4 lense sharpness using flash.
    I am planning to use it without flash, and that's the whole thing of this lens to me.
    I see this lens as a very soft one wide open, I thought to make a use of it for landcapes and eventually for people shots.
    Here I do need this lense to be sharp wide open with no flash.
    Maybe the whole purpose of this lense is different, but my 35 1.8 behaves very well wide open, I want the same sharpness wide open on the lense which costs X15 more, am I asking for too much?
  41. Flash means good light with good contrast. Natural light isn't always great, sometimes it's scattered and diffuse and just gives only very murky, low contrast, noisy results. No lens, no matter how sharp, can beat that. I am talking about the validity of your tests here. In real life, in real shots, you'd still get the same results, but at least you'd know you cannot blame the lens for it.
    If you can not see the point of this, then quit testing lenses.
    And yes, I think you are asking for too much. The fact that it's costs 15x more does not mean it's 15x times better. The 28 f/1.4 is not and never was meant as a fast normal on a DX camera. The 35 f/1.8 was designed to be exactly that. The difference in the challenge to design these 2 different lenses is considerable, and going faster does drive up cost incredibly anyway. So, in my view, it sounds like you got a bit carried away by Ken's glowing review, and now you know the value of Ken's reviews.
    You might want to consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 instead.
    Edit: it's just my opinion, so all for what it's worth. My only f/1.4 lens is the AiS 35 f/1.4 which at f/1.4 is not sharp and has more optical flaws than one would find normal - and I like it for exactly those flaws because they give me a creative option the 'perfect' lenses do not have. To each his own, obviously.
  42. Dave,
    Softness of any lens wide open is not easy to measure. In your case, the art is not flat. The test is not showing you sharpness, it is showing you what f1.4 close up "blurs" like.
    All lenses shot without flash and without tripod are soft all over, because the photographer is probably shooting at a low enough shutter speed to affect sharpness more than any lens ever will. So, sharpness is pretty over-rated with the way I'm guessing you intend to use this lens. Sharpness is probably the most over-rated attribute of a lens that is going to be used in available light.
    If you are really going to shoot that close, it's the wrong lens. Period. Again, the test is supremely flawed.
    The lens might only sell for as much as it does because of the hype of an individual who admits on his own web site that his information is for entertainment purposes only.
    But mostly... What Wouter said!
  43. Peter,
    You should check Ebay for this lense prices , it is being sold for much more than the price I've got locally.
    Regarding KR reviews, actually 28 1.4 review is not the first one I was fooled with ...
    The same thing happened to me with 70-300VR.
    Regarding tens of other reviews I've read there, I think they were straight to the point.
    I am telling this after about 14 lens I've bought and tried personally.
  44. Dave, Good to know you're well-researched... GREAT... If I owned that lens, I'd sell it before potential buyers read this thread. ;P
    So, perhaps you should pay careful heed to those who are saying that your tests are not going to answer your questions, and that they are flawed in a lot of ways.
    You talk about using it for people and landscapes. imho, it's a bit short for people, except for group shots for which I prefer a zoom, myself, and it's a real awkward length for a lot of landscapes, too... although for those, you'd probably be stopped down anyway, and f1.4 doesn't matter.
    And my 70-300 is GREAT, actually, but I'm very gentle with it. But that's another story.
  45. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I happened to pick up this shiny new coin at the market today, well, at least I thought it was shiny and new.
    I captured this macro image also with the D7000 and the 105mm/f2.8 AF-S VR Micro lens stopped down to f8. With a good macro set up, all the micro dents and imperfections should be painfully obvious. I guess my dollar coin is not really that new and shiny afterall.
  46. I don't get what the big deal is, if this lens is soft for you, sell it and buy a 24mm F/1.4G. I knew a guy who owned (2) 35mm F/1.4 AIs's. We ran through a bunch of tests on a pair of D3s's between the 35mm F/1.4G, 24mm F/1.4G & the 35mm F/1.4 AIs. Both of the 35mm F/1.4 AIs's were so soft wide open I kept checking the lens expecting to find petroleum jelly or something on the front. Of course its hardly a fair comparison since there is about 40 year difference between the original 35mm F/1.4 AIs and the 24mm & 35mm F/1.4Gs. None the less this friend had been shooting them for years, like 25 years, as a movie set photographer (his portfolio reads like Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie, James Cameron, Steven King just to name a few). He loved the look and so did his clients. So there you have it, I thought the lens was the softest and most flawed I had ever seen wide open and here he loved it. I wouldn't buy one unless it was the last lens on earth and here he owned two of them. So if its soft wide open for you, sell it and find something that works, who cares if the tests are at minimum focus distance or infinity, with or without flash, if its soft for you, then what are you doing with it?
    When Thomas Edison was asked if after 1000 failed attempts at making the light bulb work if he was discouraged. Paraphrasing his response was; They weren't failures, I've discovered 1000 ways not to make a light bulb work. Congratulations, you've just discovered that this lens, either by specific copy or design, isn't sharp for you! We eagerly await to hear what you next discovery is........
  47. This is hardly fair for sharpness evaluation, but here is a landscape shot I did at F/1.4 with my 24mm F/1.4G on the D7000:
  48. Skyler writes...
    Congratulations, you've just discovered that this lens, either by specific copy or design, isn't sharp for you! We eagerly await to hear what you next discovery is........​
    Only he hasn't learned one single thing about the lens' sharpness (he hasn't actually, by the tests he's shown here, shown anything except the pitfalls of shooting close-up at extremely wide apertures [and with a lens that's not designed for close-up photography at that], not an issue for this particular lens but rather a situation with ALL very fast lenses wide open), he has only demonstrated its "inability" to shoot wide open at close range... in situations it is not designed for anyway... The good news is that it sounds like he's gonna make a killing when he sells this lens on ebay... and then a month later we'll have a post here on from the guy who buys it and wonders why it isn't sharp wide open...
    btw, I'm sure your photo you shared has gobs of sharpness issues if seen at 100%... but I'm too mesmerized by the cool composition and awesome color to notice... that's another topic, isn't it.
  49. Peter,
    I concur with everything you said. I believe in the real world tests you and others have spoken of. Of course just for kicks and giggles I just had to pull out my 24mm F/1.4G to check what my very own cat statue looked like at minimum focus distance wide open ;-D. The way I figure it, one day the OP will find a lens that gets razor sharp cat statue pictures at 100% or he'll stop trying and go out and make great pictures with what ever lens he has.
    PS: Thanks for the off-topic compliment.
  50. Dave Gold:
    "Just bougth the aforementioned lense,"
    on a tangent: i see this "lense" spelling quite it a legit spelling?
    non-tangentially, spending 15X more does not and cannot, in and of itself, guarantee 15X sharpness...
  51. Guys, you are repeating yourself.

    I understand your point of not to shoot wide open at very close distances, but instead of judjing my ability on inability of
    testing the equipment, try to answer one question:

    The lense looks soft when shooting at EVERY distance wide open - its sharpness wide open at 5 m is very simillar to
    what you've seen in my shot or even slightlyworse.

    Now - attention - the question itself:

    Should I expect significantly sharper images if
    A) I am buying new Nikkor 24 1.4
    B) send the current lense to Nikon lab for calibration.

  52. Not to get in the middle of this, and kinda off-topic, but since at least one member here also has an AF-S 24mm f/1.4G, I'd like to compare notes someday. My $2,000, 24mm f/1.4G never struck me as tack-sharp, though neither has my $1,700, 85mm f/1.4G. I just chalked it up to the fact that super-fast lenses just aren't going to be the sharpest things in the world, wide-open. However, the two lenses I own which scream "sharp," are my DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D, and my AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I, even wide-open. Those two lenses are razor-sharp. I really need to do some high-contrast tests soon with my 24mm and 85mm.
    [A note about low-contrast lighting: as far as I know, low-contrast, diffuse lighting, decreases apparent sharpness, and results in lowered acutance. High-contrast, more-parallel, point source-ey lighting, increases apparent sharpness, and results in higher acutance.]
  53. DG: Tom,
    a) They are crops

    I hate to have to keep asking questions, but don't you think it would helpful if you also told us the size of these crops, ie, 50% by area, 10% along each axis, 1:1 crops, etc.? Without that information, no one can say just how blurry the original is. Even if you just posted the original uncropped image would help loads.
    Tom M
  54. DG, the other responders keep asking you to show some photos taken with the lens under what they term "typical" shooting conditions.
    Let me try another approach. If I'm asked to pass judgement on whether or not a lens is "sharp", I need to remove as many variables as possible from the tests, e.g., depth of field, camera shake, subject movement, lighting direction and contrast, colors, magnification of the cropped version, a reference image to compare to, etc. If you don't lock all these variables down, no one will be able to make a definitive statement about sharpness of your lens. Unfortunately, the images you have posted up till now did not lock any of these down.
    Probably the easiest way for you to settle your question one way or the other is to put your camera on a tripod, shoot some scene with lots of detail at infinity (eg, a landscape or a cityscape) twice - once at f/1.4 and again at f/8 (adjusting the shutter speed and/or ISO to maintain the same exposure). Then, post the overall photo as well as 1:1 crops from the center of each image. It should then be very, very easy to compare the sharpness of the two different f-stops. The whole process should take less than 10 minutes.
    Tom M
  55. Tom, Thanks for the feedback.
    The published crops are 100%, does it explain something?
    I'll try to use the setup you proposed today and will post the pics.
    Thanks again.
  56. This thread reminded me that I never really tested my AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G that I purchased a few months ago. I just set this up a few minutes ago, and shot this beat-up aluminum ruler to check it. Hopefully, this post is related enough to contribute to this thread:
    Nikon D3s; AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G; Nikon SB-600; ISO: 100; f1.4 @ 1/60th; tripod + cable release.
    100% crop:
    Thankfully, it looks pretty sharp. Does everyone agree? I've mostly shot this lens, so far, only under diffuse, available-light conditions, so the images I've captured up until this point have been comparatively low in both subject and lighting contrast. Upon 100% viewing, I wasn't too sure of the lens' sharpness at the time. But, it looks pretty good, right?
  57. Guys, you are repeating yourself.
    Because you haven't seemed to respond to the things that have been said.
    I understand your point of not to shoot wide open at very close distances, but instead of judjing my ability on inability of testing the equipment, try to answer one question:
    The lense looks soft when shooting at EVERY distance wide open - its sharpness wide open at 5 m is very simillar to what you've seen in my shot or even slightlyworse.
    We may be able to judge that once you have done a real world test. The question that you've asked is impossible to answer with only the images you have posted.
  58. RO,
    It looks excellent to me, sharp enough.
    Thats the sharpness I was expecting my lense to produce, but it isnt even close!
  59. This lens does not meet your needs. Sell it and find a different lens that does. Purchasing a f1.4 lens for landscape is not what I would carry around. Something at its best around f8 or f11 would suit me much better. For that kind of money I would prefer a PC-E lens to better control DoF if the focal length met my requirements.
  60. Thanks, Dave. I think you may just be expecting too much of a lens of such an older design. Plus, I
    would guess that an f/1.4 wide-angle is difficult to design no matter what. I've read that the AF Nikkor
    28mm f/2.8D doesn't have a very stellar reputation--maybe 28mm was a difficult focal length for Nikon
    engineers at the time. I have a couple older Nikkors, an old push-pull AF Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D, and an
    AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D--both are noticeably soft wide-open.
  61. I said:
    My $2,000, 24mm f/1.4G never struck me as tack-sharp, though neither has my $1,700, 85mm f/1.4G.​
    Sorry, off-topic--but I wanted to correct my earlier post: I was wrong. I'm looking at some portraits I recently took with the 85mm f/1.4, and it looks great--both lenses look pretty darned sharp when shot under more contrasty lighting, and/or of subjects with more inherent contrast. Most of the images I took initially with these two lenses were of low-contrast, available-light scenes. Since the contrast was so low, the images appeared soft.
  62. Thats the sharpness I was expecting my lense to produce, but it isnt even close!​
    Dave, you'd want to do a similar test to be sure, though. Yours is a 3D image shot in available light at a kind of high ISO (at least I think they were a high ISO), Ralph's is a flat subject with a flash at low ISO. I'm not sure you're seeing the flaws of your testing.
    From Bjorn's review of the 28mm f1.4
    "...I've tested several samples, on film-based as well as digital bodies, and the results are all similar with flare, low contrast and loss of image sharpness at the widest apertures."
    I really have to admit I grow a little weary, though, of hearing people complain that their expensive lens is soft wide open. There are precious few (if any) lenses that are at their best wide open.
  63. Peter said:
    . . . There are precious few (if any) lenses that are at their best wide open.​
    Clearly, lenses typically perform at their absolute worst wide-open. However, in addition, as I mentioned previously, I surprised even myself at how much diffused lighting, or a low-contrast subject (not to mention, increased ISOs), can rob so much of a lens' apparent sharpness. Also, setting up a test scene which represents "real world" conditions, yet is still able to reveal a lens' particular weaknesses, and/or particular strengths, can be a challenge. I once set up an utterly flawed test and thought all of my Nikkors were rife with chromatic aberration . . . it turned out, that I was simply overexposing the test shots.
  64. Hey, I've got the 24mm F/1.4G, the 35mm, F/1.4G, and the 85mm F/1.4G and I think they are a razor at F/1.4 in the field. I realize that if I were shooting test charts that I would be much better off to shoot at F/4 where both lenses are undeniably sharper, but I if I were shooting at F/4 I wouldn't own those three primes, just the 14-24 & the 70-200. Contrast has a lot to do with it, because dare I say, it isn't robbing the lens of sharpness, but rather its preventing our eyes from seeing the sharpness. Our eyes are lenses too, and in low contrast situations (in pictures that is), our eyes can have difficulty seeing sharpness (or at least I theorize). Likewise I think the myth of F/1.4s being razor gets started because people see pictures of a subject being in perfect focus while the background is a wash of blur, the result is, our eyes see the one sharp thing in frame and it looks sooooo sharp, because all we have to compare it with is buriness. When in reality whats in focus will not be as sharp as say F/4, but at F/4, suddenly the background is much sharper too, giving our eyes less contrast between what is sharp and what is blurry and thus takes the illusion away of the subject being razor. Does this make sense?
    If anyone wants razor sharp images wide open, buy a macro. If you are shooting at normal distances, even wide open your images will be amongst the sharpest wide open.
  65. I once set up an utterly flawed test and thought all of my Nikkors were rife with chromatic aberration . . . it turned out, that I was simply overexposing the test shots.​
    Guilty, I have done the same thing. Ugh.
    What I have done when I tested lenses is take them outside and shoot some busy leafy boring tree scenes using a tripod at all the apertures, taken them inside to a huge room (at a church where I worked) and shot "flat stuff" at a distance... and even though I've tested every one of my lenses (except I didn't bother with my 105mm f2.5, I just started shooting and the images are so amazing that I haven't bothered "testing... because...), my tests have always borne out others' results, like Thom Hogan and Bjørn Rørslett or photozone. Even Rockwell is right about some lenses, in my experience, although you can never predict when his information is useful and when it's "entertainment"... His overblown love of the Nikkor 18-200 and the lens being discussed here are two good examples.
    So, other than trying to find defects, which is what our OP is trying to ascertain, I haven't tried so much to "test performance" unless I was writing a review (I only have done that once, though). The biggest thing I've learned in testing is that in an 8 x 10 print, my worst lens at f8 is the same as my best... all other things being equal (which they are not).
    I'm getting the feeling that since the OP wants this lens to shoot landscapes (for which this lens is ill suited imho, as it's sweet spot is probably closer to f4 than f8) and people in low light (presumably either slower shutter speeds or hand-held, for which other lenses like his much lighter 35mm f1.8 are far better choices), he will probably eventually sell this lens, make a bunch of well-deserved cash, and he will get something else and be really happy, and the person who buys the lens will be as well.
    btw, Dave, if you're still engaging, you might also want to check into a 50mm length for the people shooting (when it's just one person) in low light. Even the humble 1.8D is awesome for this. I shoot it wide open at at f2 and f2.5 all the time.
  66. The 28mm does show nice bokeh, regardless of other factors. ;-)
  67. While the 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 AF-S are better, the 28/1.4 you have appears to perform as expected. From the sample images you can see that the 28/1.4 is sharper than the 35/1.8 when both lenses are used at f/1.8, but not wide open which is exactly what is expected. If you are not happy with the result then you can sell it to someone who appreciates it for what it is. I certainly would have, years ago, wanted the 28/1.4. Today I am fortunate enough to have the AF-S wide primes but it didn't come without financial sacrifice and the 28mm focal length would have been, to me a preferable solution.
  68. I must agree that the cat pictures suffer from a very shallow DOF. It looks like the focus was on the tip of the cat's nose, which appears adequately sharp IMHO. Even the whiskers seem sharp enough.
  69. Skyler said:
    Hey, I've got the 24mm F/1.4G, the 35mm, F/1.4G, and the 85mm F/1.4G and I think they are a razor at F/1.4 in the field.​
    Thanks. Now, you're going to make me buy an AF-S 35mm f/1.4G, aren't you? I still can't believe I spent $2,000 on the 24mm. But I couldn't resist. It's the widest, fastest Nikkor there is, and I love shooting it wide-open. A wide-angle lens with shallow depth-of-field--what a hoot! When it was first announced, boy did I want one. Then the tsunami hit, and I ran to my dealer, and bought whatever was still on the shelves . . . except the 35mm f/1.4G.
  70. Ralph,
    Lol, sorry about that old chap, couldn't help myself. Well, for the record, I don't think the 35mm F/1.4 is as optically good a lens as the 24mm. The thing about the 24mm is it gets stupid sharp stopped down. I imagine on a test chart its performance wide open isn't the best, matter of fact my very own Egyptian Cat Statue pictures were good, but not fantastic. But I don't let this bother me, I love 24mm, and I love shooting it wide open, and I could care less what so and so has to say about its sharpness. What I worry about most is getting it in focus, as its more prone to miss, as I understand the wide angle can warp what the AF points see (especially at critical F/1.4), not a fault of lens or AF\camera system, simply laws of physics camera manufactures have yet to avoid. That aside, the 24mm gets razor stopped down, while I never really feel like the 35mm does. Oh it gets sharper, and plenty sharp enough but I feel like my 35mm has a hard time living up to the amazing 24-70 @ 35mm when both are stopped down.
    Anyways, I shoot DX, D7000, and ultimately I realized that the 35mm F/1.4G is pure vanity, as I can purchase the near equivalent the 35mm F/1.8 for basically nothing compared to the F/1.4 version. I did have a few reasons, in my business focus pulling, especially smooth focus pulling, especially wide open can be critical, and even though I owned a 35mm F/1.8 for a while, pulling focus was essentially impossible by the way it was geared. None the less right now I can't justify having both the 24mm & 35mm F/1.4G for a DX camera when most of the time I can slap the 24mm on if I need to pull focus. If I build up my photography business and move to FX, then personally I can find enough of a difference between the two focal ranges to pick up a 35mm F/1.4G once again.
  71. late to this thread, but it think it's unrealistic to expect tack-sharpness with any 1.4 lens shot wide open. shooting that way, even under perfect conditions, gives you relative sharpness, i.e. somewhat soft images which pop because of blurred DoF. if you want max sharpness with a 1.4, shoot @ f/4. otoh, a 1.4 shot at 1.4 can give a soft-focus effect which can be beguiling if you have high-contrast framing.
    what i think is more important for the OP is real-world sharpness. i would shoot some people in low light at various apertures, from 1.4 to 2.8. and compare to 35/1.8. i generally find you need to be at f/2 to avoid common focus-accuracy errors associated with a razor-thin DoF. it may just be that older lenses dont play all that well with d7000, in which case you could exchange it for a 24/1.4 G--or spend far less on a sigma 30, which will be just as good as long as you aren't expecting sharp corners (which i don't, for low-light candids). the sigma's bokeh is vastly better than the 35/1.8, and you still get 1.4. on a DX body, i dont think the 24/1.4G is a must-have as there are other fast options. it's a different story with FX, where you can't get a newer designed 1.4 AF lens for under $500.
  72. I'm also late to this thread & don't own any of the current Nikon line up for comparison purposes, but I am a long time user of modern Leica lenses, which are optimized for wide-open shooting. I got the 28/1.4 AF-D specifically to pair up w/a D700 for "photojournalist"/documentary-type available darkness shooting @ ISO 3200, etc., i.e., I rarely use it w/apertures smaller than f/4, let alone landscape work @ f/11 or whatever. That said, it appears from your 2nd set of examples that your lens is within spec (the 1st set seem to have been affected by motion blur), though you (or the camera) seem to have front-focused a bit on the f/1.4 shot. In my experience, f/1.4 on the 28/1.4 AF-D is noticeably better than f/1.4 on the 35/1.4 Ai-S (the lens Skyler mentioned in his post about the movie set photographer), but not as razor sharp as that from my Leica 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH. (penultimate version). Here's an example (focused on the figurine):
    Perfectly usable for my purposes, but maybe not for yours.
  73. I'm new here but I have some experiance with the AF 28mm/1.4D and AF-S 35mm/1.4G since I own both.
    Wide open both are not tack sharp. No f/1.4 lens is. My 0ne year old AF-S 35mm/1.4G is a little bit sharper wide open than my 'one year old' AF 28mm/1.4D (Nikon rebuild it a year ago, 90% of the parts are new), but at minimum focus distance you hardly see that. I actually pretty amazed how good the 20 year old design of the 28mm/1.4 still is. I tried the AF-S 24mm/1.4G briefly in front of the shop, but that's also not mutch sharper but pretty suspicious to flare. The 28/1.4 doesn't flare.
    The only fast lens I own that is sharper at f/1.4 than the AF 28/1.4D and AF 35/1.4G is the AF-S 85/1.4G. No wonder, because it's no wide angle lens...
    I didn't made a 'scientific' test between the AF 28/1.4D and AF-S 35/1.4G yet, but I compared the bokeh at around 0.4m distance with the D700 here (big files):
    I got some test shots of the AF-S 35mm/1.4G and the really good old Nikkor 35mm/2 OC Auto between f/1.4 and f/8 at 2m to see what both can do if you focus with LifeView (big files):
    The only other big file with the 28/1.4D I got online is the second one at f/2.8 at about 1m here:
    Hope that helps.
  74. Marc, is it really a problem of softness wide open? Or is it the razor thin depth of field? What do you shoot at f1.4?
  75. Peter, the AF 28/1.4 is slightly soft wide open. Nothing that a little sharpening can't resolve in the real world AND it has razor thin depth of field... The lens 'cleans up' very nice at f/1.8 though.
    Look for yourself: If you follow my first link to the bokeh comparison and click on the pix, you find unsharpened full size JPGs from the AF-S 35/1.4G at f/1.4 and the AF 28/1.4D at f/1.4, f/1.8 and f/2.
    I hadn't real testshots in mind when I made them. Thats why the f/1.6 shot is missing. I was just looking witch of them had the softer bokeh while on a cigarette break in front of the studio. For 'real' pictures I would had have some slight sharpening applied as well.
    Because of the very thin dept of field I seldom use both lenses at f1.4. More often I stop down to f/2 or f/2.8 or whatever is necessary for the intended picture...
  76. Guys, now I have a confession:
    After making crazy money on selling my so dissapointing Nikkor 28 1.4, I've bought Sigma
    30mm F1.4 DC HSM for the fraction of price of the first, and I am completely happy!

    Ii is tack sharp at 1.4!!!!! Exactly as expected from so much more expensive 28 1.4!
    Yes, I had to fine tune it in my D7000 to -10, but now it is perfect.
    Thanks you all guys for your time.
  77. Photozone recently tested the AF 28/1.4D on D3x:

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