Nikon 28 2.8 AIS, 28 f2, 35 f2D or 24 2.8D ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by khai_pham, May 26, 2015.

  1. Hi guys,
    So I'm trying to get a wide angle prime lens, and considering this 4 lenses. I've read many individual reviews of these 4 but there are hardly any comparisons among them (or 2 or 3 of them). So I'm asking if any one has used some of these can u share some thoughts and comparison in terms of sharpness on FX (i'm using a D600).
    I've heard that the 28 2.8 AIS is super sharp, but not that great at infinity, wat i'm looking for is how "not great" is it? and how sharp it is compared to those AFD lenses?
    Anyone having experience ?
    Thanks so much
  2. I just bought a Nikon 28mm f2 AiS after a couple of months of research. I think it's the best possible lens I could put on my new camera. My new camera is a Nikon F3/T--I wanted a 1980s vintage lens for it. I also have a Nikon D800E but don't plan on using that lens on the DSLR. If I was looking for a 28mm lens for that, it would be the Nikon 28mm f1.8G without a second thought.
    Kent in SD
  3. Kent: Definitely give that 28/2 AiS a try on your D800e. That lens has something to spare. I also bought the 28/2 originally for my F3, and later also bought the 28/1.8g. I think I reach for the 28/2 at least as often as I reach for the 28/1.8g on my D800. The 28/2 has "The Pretty".
  4. I have used them all, still keep some of them. My camera is a D700, but I rarely use MF lenses on AF cameras (although these days the tiny 50/1.8AiS is becoming an exception).

    28/2.8AiS - Sharp, but I think some people consider it sharper than it really is... not magic, I`m afraid. I like its size. It could be my favorite if I had not a 24 and a 35. BTW, how many MF Nikkors are great at infinity? I think my 24-70 is better, but I have not compared them (because I really don`t mind!).
    28/2 - Probably the best of all mentioned, but not so far from the f2.8 version. Personally, too big and expensive to make it interesting. I dislike it too because it doesn`t fit into my camera cases.
    35/2D - So-so lens to my taste, and screwdriver one. I got rid of it. Any standard zoom is wider, and some even sharper.
    24/2.8D - My most proned to flare lens in the Ai version, I tend to think my AFD version is better in this regard. Sharpness is ok, small size and no other option in this kind (the 24/1.4 is huge and expensive, the 28/1.8AFS is huge and not as wide). IT is my most used one in your list.
  5. In an answer worthy of a politician....
    In considering those 4 lenses, I'd go for the 35mm 1.4 ART or the 24mm 1.4 ART...:)
    Although the 28mm f2 has a lot going for it, I just can't find an in-expensive one!
  6. I've got the 28 f2.8 AIS lens and had the 35 f2 D. Really like the 28 f2.8 AIS, never cared for the 35 f2 D. Bought them both new, and even had one of the original 35's that were made in Japan. Never got on well with it. Image quality was "Meh" and not a huge fan of the focal length.
    One lens you don't mention is the Nikon 28mm f1.4 D Aspheric lens. When that came out it was the lens I lusted for but could not afford. Scarce as hen's teeth, and still really pricey, but it used to be the go-to lens for PJ's back in the 1990's.
  7. I've got the 35 f/2D and the Ai 24 f/2.8, which should be optical identical to the 24 f/2.8D (maybe the coatings are different, given Jose's findings). I don't have a 28mm - so I cannot make a full comparison.
    However, the reason I do not have a 28mm might matter. It's simply because it is a focal length that doesn't resonate much with me. Too wide for generic use, not wide enough to be wide. Also with zooms I hardly find myself at this focal length... So maybe the first thing you should do is define for yourself which focal lengths you actually like. 24 and 35 are to me two distinct different things, 28 sits in the middle but just doesn't look the same.... Even though these focal lengths seem close to one another, I find them sufficiently different enough.
    As for the specific lenses - I wouldn't get the AF 35mm f/2D anymore today. It's not a bad lens, but it shines mostly stopped down, which isn't really the point of a fast prime. The older AI 35mm f/2 is said to be better, if budget is nice the Zeiss 35mm f/2, or the mentioned Sigma 35mm f/1.4 - all simply better lenses. At a budget, the 35mm f/1.8G (model for FX) also has good reviews. All those lenses are larger and heavier, if that is a concern then I'd look at the old AI lenses instead.
    The 24 f/2.8 - quite OK, not super in the corners but for some types of work that doesn't matter too much. Small and light, if you want a noticeably better 24mm, I think it's going to be a lot larger, costlier and heavier. So it still makes a reasonable choice, because it has no real competitor.
  8. I agree with Wouter, it does come down to preference. I'm in the same boat but with the 35 instead of the 28. I find a 28 and a 50 work really well for me. The 35 is not quite wide enough (to be a 28) and not quite long enough (to be a 50). So a 35 doesn't really have a place in my kit. It's all how you shoot.
  9. Like many of the other posters, I have used most of these over the years. I purchased the 1.8G after I got my d810 and it is simply superb in every way. Clarity, color and contrast are superb and it is sharp from corner to corner.
  10. All of these are professional quality Nikon primes. Differences in sharpness are more something you'll see on an opitical bench or pixel peeping rather than something most people are ever going to notice in a finished photo. Choose the focal length you want and then get the fastest version you can afford.

    If I could buy only one, it would be the 28 f/2. I've got a 24, 28 and 35. Sometimes the 35 isn't wide enough. It definitely doesn't give much of a "wide angle" look. But the 24 can be too wide, and often has a pronounced wide angle look. The 28 is a nice sweet spot in between. Usually wide enough that I don't run out of room backing up, but long enough I can still move in close and fill the frame. Wide enough to give a wide look when you want it but long enough not to overwhelm with that look.
  11. Considering the slight difference in size and price, the 28mm f/2 is definitely the better buy between it and the f/2.8 Ai-S versions. I had the 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S and wasn't overly impressed (there was a lot of hype over it on the web a while ago, which it didn't live up to IME). I got a fairly beat-up f/2 and promptly sold the f/2.8 lens.
    The AF 35mm f/2 is not all that great a lens either by all accounts. If you want a stunning MF 35mm lens, then look no further than Samyang's f/1.4 offering. Big and quite heavy, but the bang for the buck it gives you is unbeatable.
    The 24mm f/2.8 AF-D is the same optical formulation as the old 24mm f/2.8 MF Ai-S Nikkor. The design is a bit long in the tooth now, but IQ is acceptable in the centre wide-open, and when stopped down the corners sharpen up quite a bit. I've owned the MF Ai-S version from new, but rarely use it these days. Again Samyang's f/1.4 24mm lens beats it on IQ, as does the 14-24mm AF-S Zoom Nikkor. Both of those lenses are much bigger though, so if you want a small lens of that focal length then there's not much to compete with the 24mm f/2.8 AF-D. Sigma's old 24mm f/2.8 "mini-wide" is about the same size and weight, but its IQ is worse and its AF is slow and noisy.
    Edit: All of the old primes you've mentioned in the 28 to 35mm range can be matched in IQ by Tamron's SP 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom. Weigh any two of them together and their bulk would probably be more than that of the comparatively tiny Tamron - tiny for an f/2.8 mid-range zoom that it.
  12. I've got a small, but pretty heavy, Vivitar 28mm f2. It's in N/AI mount and has a lovely green multicoat.
    I normally use it for DX IR and have never actually mounted it on an FX camera. Time to try it!.
    Just looked on ebay and see they're going for >£75. Gosh!
  13. Khai - I have the Type K version of the 28mm f/3.5 and it is one of my favorite lenses. I use it on film and DX, so cannot comment on digital FX performance. According to Bjorn Rorslett, the Type K version is characterized by more vignetting than the later versions (which I like in a wide angle).
  14. (Wouter, I actually haven`t tested them side by side. I know 9/9 24s are supposed to be the very same design, it is only a feeling that my AFD version is better than the Ai... I should perform a test).
    (BTW, I have both lenses at hand. For sure it`s not a huge difference, but coating reflections have different colors between them. Don`t know if it means something. Also, looking throught them, my Ai seem to have a larger aperture than the AFD).
  15. From Mir:
    Nikon's first autofocus 28mm wideangle lens was released in 1986. It has a different optical composition from the earlier manual focus lens. I am not sure why Nikon didn't retained the MF's 8E/8G optical formula but the AF 28mm uses a simpler 5 elements in 5 groups design.​
  16. Jose, could be interesting; I've always understood the AF-D and Ai/AiS 24mm f/2.8 were all the same optical design, but differences in coatings wouldn't surprise me. The Ai 24mm is somewhat prone to flaring indeed, but in such conditions I tend to prefer the Ais 20mm f/3.5 often (nicer colour, and quite flare-resistant).
    Luke, the same applies for the AF 35mm f/2D (simpler design than the previous AiS 35mm f/2) - probably cost cutting. The 'second tier' first generation of AF primes isn't Nikon's greatest achievement, so to speak - unlike the current f/1.8G primes, which are one positive surprise after the other.
  17. Wouter - Interesting. There might have been some mechanical considerations as well, in the business of moving multiple groups around for AF.
  18. Indeed, I was thinking the same.
    Anyone got both in-front of them? Is the focus 'throw' the same? AF lenses tend to have much shorter throw, to speed up AF
    The 'second tier' first generation of AF primes isn't Nikon's greatest achievement, so to speak - unlike the current f/1.8G primes, which are one positive surprise after the other.​
    Yup, trying to get the laurel imprint off their backsides....:)
    I'm looking fondly at the 20mm 1.8G for FX and even better DX performance.
  19. Double post
  20. I've used the 35mm f/2 AIS and 24mm f/2.8 AF (non-D) for decades. The 35mm f/2 was nice. It took fantastic people pictures, but if you're into bokeh it was "nervous" meaning it just wasn't smooth and kinda weird looking. However, I still used it up until last year when it got stolen. Since I had newer digital Nikons I purchased the 35mm f/1.8G to replace it. I miss the aperture dial a lot and the G-version is so much bigger than the AIS version. It's pretty sharp wide open and the out of focus areas are a lot smoother than the AIS version. Here are a few photos:

    The 24mm lens was the most used lens on any of my cameras. In fact during one stretch it was probably used 90% of the time. I ended up getting that lens repaired 3 times because of how much I used it. I personally thought it was a great lens and was pretty sharp, especially when stopped down a couple stops from f/2.8. At f/2.8 at night it exhibited a lot of coma (bat wings) in the corners when photographing city lights. I loved that lens, but ended up getting a replacement a few years ago, though that lens is heavier than I could imagine. The f/2.8 was great because it was so lightweight and small that I was able to carry it everywhere. Here are some photos with that lens:

    That said, it appears you're on a budget to be considering those lenses. I'm not a big fan of the 28mm focal length I'm biased. If you're going to be photographing people a lot and want to include a little bit of the background (environmental portraits) then get the 35mm. If you want to include everything in your photos with minimal distortion at the corners (though it still exists) get the 24mm lens. As others have pointed out, though, there are numerous modern lenses made by other companies. You might want to look at those choices since they might be the same prices as the lenses you're looking at. Good luck!
  21. +1 for the 28/2.0, its one of the most resistance lenses to flare
  22. Reviews are all over the place on most of these lenses - perhaps due to copy variations.
    I've seen several reviews of the 28/2.8 AIS that are really positive and many examples that show that it is capable, with a good copy, to be excellent across the frame stopped down even on today's high MP sensors.
    I owned the 28/2 AI (get that one for the curved blades, the AIS has straight blades) and it was fantastically sharp on my D300 - and one of the best flare/ghosting resistant lenses I've ever had.
    On my D700 the center was tack sharp wide open, but the corners/borders not so good - and they never really reached sharp even stopped down. As a landscape lens it lacks in border/corner sharpness on FX, but if you want fantastic flare/ghosting resistance and only care about the central 2/3 of the image frame for critical sharpness the 28/2 is the way to go.
  23. This thread is about a month old, so Khai Pham has probably made up his mind and bought a lens already. For what it's worth, though, here are my thoughts on these four lenses.
    First, the good news: they are all good lenses, and you won't get burned no matter which one you buy. They're all capable of producing good results.
    Now some finer points.
    It makes a difference what format body you are buying the lenses for, and what you plan to do with them. If you have an FX format body, these lenses go from a moderate wide-angle (35mm) to a fairly wide wide angle (24mm), with a couple in between (28mm), If you have a DX body, though, these lenses go from a normal lens (35mm on DX being the equivalent of 50mm on FX) to a moderate wide-angle (24mm being the equivalent of a 35mm on FX). If you plan to be shooting landscape photography, or you want plenty of depth of field for grab shots, make sure that the lens you are getting is wide enough for what you want to do.
    Of the four lenses;
    • The 24mm f/2.8 D, like the earlier 24mm f/2.8 non-AI, AI, and AIS versions before it, is an excellent lens. The 24mm f/2.8 non-ai was the first 35mm lens in the world to have moving rear elements to increase quality at close focusing distances. There are enough of them around that they're not hard to find, and they're very good value for money.
    • Bjorn Rorslett, at least, considers the 28mm f/2 AIS to be an exceptional lens capable of taking unusually sharp and detailed photos. See his description at . The downside is that this lens was more expensive to produce, Nikon did not sell all that many of them, and so they're more expensive these days than some of the others.
    • There are three different versions of the 28mm f/2.8, of widely varying perceived quality. Rorslett doesn't think much of the non-ai, ai, and af-d version of this lens; or of the Series E version. He does, however, consider the AIS close-focus version of the 28mm f/2. to be an excellent lens.
    • The 35mm f/2D is a good lens. People seem to consider it better than the older 35mm f/2 non-ai, ai, and ais versions, but not quite as good as the newer af-s versions. During the first few months of production, Nikon had a lubricant problems with the 35mm f/2D -- in hot temperatures, the lubricant tended to melt and get on the diaphragm blades. Nikon quickly fixed the problem, the great majority of examples out there aren't affected by it, and a CLA will fix the problem even for an early one -- just check to see whether the one you are buying has clean blades. If you have one of the less expensive DX cameras and you want a 35mm as a normal lens, you might be better off buying the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G, which is a great lens and an excellent value, but won't produce a full-sized image on an FX body.

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