Opinion: Nikon 20mm f1.8 AFS vs 20mm f2.8 AF-D

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rick_jack|1, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. I am considering purchasing a Nikon 20mm f1.8 AFS. I own and have used the 20mm f2.8 AF-D, 20mm f2.8 Ais, and 20mm f3.5 Ais and I'm not impressed with their overall sharpness from center to corners. According to many online reviews the new 20mm f1.8 is supposed to be much better . I will mainly be using it at f5.6-8 at subjects at infinity. At the moment I'm using a D750 but probably upgrade to the D850 in the future.
    Has anyone here used that lens or done a comparison?

    Please no posts telling me to use a Zeiss or some other brand. I prefer to use Nikon glass on my Nikon.

  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Rick, I have never used the 20mm/f1.8 AF-S, but I had a 20mm/f2.8 AF, pre-D, before. The other 20mm lenses you have used are all quite old from like 3 decades ago. Technologies for wide angle have improved a lot since then. Today, the 20mm/f1.8 AF-S uses aspherical elements, ED elements, nano coating .... It should surprise no one that modern wide-angle lenses are far better.

    I do have the 28mm/f1.8 AF-S, 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S and 18-35mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S. Those newer lenses are all very good, although the 17-35 is also a bit dated by now, from 18 years ago when Nikon first introduced the D1 in 1999. If you mainly use f5.6, f8, the 18-35mm AF-S is IMO an excellent lens. I got it mainly for landscape photography.
  3. If you truly need to shoot at wide apertures, the modern lenses are going to be noticeably better, especially in the corners. If you shoot at f8 or so, the AF-D lenses will still perform very well, and are considerably more compact and handy, plus they have aperture rings, if you prefer to use them as I do.
  4. I do have a 20mm/1.8 AFS. At f5.6, it is sharp lens with zero to minimal distortion. It is a good lens. Does it blow me away? No, but this is not an FL that use all that often, so the Nikon AFS is good enough for me. I have limited experience with the AFD version, but have owned or shot the 2.8 AIS and 3.5 AI. On a modern sensor, there's no comparison. Also while I would not get the f3.5 AI for general use (it is not good for distant subjects), it is virtually flare-free and when used with a K1 ring, produces unique near-far perspectives.

    Also, I know you said don't recommend other brands, but....

    If I were a heavy user of this FL and I wanted the WOW factor, I'd get the Sigma 20mm/1.4 ART. It is a big lens, but printed images from this lens (on a D800e) are just gorgeous.
  5. I own both 20mm f2.8D and 20mm f1.8G. The f2.8D is smaller, lighter, and pretty sharp. The f1.8G is much larger, sharper edge to edge, and is f1.8. I mainly bought it for astro shots--I used the 24mm PC-E when I want a really wide lens. The best 20mm right now is the Sigma 20mm f1.4 and I almost bought it (again, for astro.) I'm now probably going to sell the f1.8G and not own any 20mm, and buy the new Sigma 14mm f1.8. I'm waiting awhile until used ones start popping up though. Since I have a choice of the 2.8D and the f1.8G, which one is in my bag? The f1.8g. Much sharper, and I use the f1.8. Camera is a D800E.

    Kent in SD
  6. Hi Kent,
    Since you mentioned astrophotography, that is what got me started in photography way back when. How does the 20mm f1.8 perform with a modified sensor (clear glass with UV/IR Hutech filter). I usually use lenses longer than 85mm but now and then I want to capture the Milky way or large objects in Ha. I'll be picking up a D850 after the dust settles, I expect after 6 months it will be down to $3k. For the sky, I found the old 20mm fr2.8 Ais to be better than the newer 20mm AF-D, so much for Nikon saying the optics are the same.
  7. I replaced the clunky and not very well built 14-24 2.8 with the 20mm 1.8 and love it. I use it a lot on documentary and lifestyle shoots but it is killer for stars as well. This is last week in Wyoming while out shooting the eclipse, about 25 seconds at 1.8, ISO 6400 with my D810, red headlamp on the trees:

  8. I like the Nikon 20mm f1.8G--it's a very good lens. It works pretty well for astro; I just want to try something wider. I'll post a shot I took last month at Mount Rainier NP. Keep in mind I consider myself a beginner at this kind of photography.:) Camera was a D800E. I never use UV filters.

    Kent in SD

  9. You seem like of 20mm person, I am bit of a 28mm person myself. Why not to get also latest and greatest. I have used 20mm AF-D and was happy with it, especially on tri-x on summer days, however sold it in need of money. Maybe I get 20mm again some day, when I feel like massive image angle is my thing.

Share This Page