What is the best 28 mm lens for the F mount?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by oskar_ojala, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. I started thinking about this since I have a nice 28/3.5 lens but would sometimes want a bit better performance. By performance I'm thinking of resolution, resistance to flare and ghosting, freedom of vignetting and contrast in that order. To make the demand especially hard, it should do this well on all distances, particularly between infinity and three feet.
    Based on my limited research and general hearsay, the ones that would be better than the 28/3.5 would most likely be the 28/2.8 AI-S, the 28/2 or the latest Leica 28/2.8 (that can be adapted to the F mount, so I'm counting it in). The Zeiss 28/2 is probably better than the 28/2.8, but doesn't give me the impression of being absolutely stellar. So has anyone compared different 28 mm lenses and came to any conclusions? I do't expect a definite answer, but this is starting to nag me, since I like the focal length.
  2. If your 28/3.5 is the older, big front element design, you may want to check out the next generation 28/3.5 Ai(S), introduced in 1977. It was 'sharper' on film, but maybe a little buzzier bokeh than the old 28/3.5. Personally, I have the old 28/3.5 K Ai'd, 28/2.8 AiS, and the ZF 28/2, and I keep coming back to the ZF, though it doesn't focus quite as close as that classic Nikon 28/2.8 AiS.
    Leica 28 adapt to Nikon...are you sure??? -KB-
  3. The things you're trying to avoid, are, in general, innate to this class of lens -- this is what is called a contradiction. Or as K. Hepburn said, "you can't have it all."
    For example, wide angles, and the traditional 28mm lens for 35mm cameras qualifies as such, usually have more trouble with flare because the front lens element often sticks out more than on other lenses. In addition, the wide coverage makes a lens shade less effective, so flare prevention is a matter of watching this closely while shooting as much as anything. That being said, as indicated, anything with less of a protrusion of the front element will be a little more resistant to flare.
  4. Sorry, I forgot to mention that my 28/3.5 is the AI version. It's certainly a good lens and a steal at current prices, but I'm curious how much performance I could get at this focal length.
    Leica R flange distance is 47.00 mm compared to Nikon F 46.50 mm, so an adaptation is possible, google for "leitax".
    JDM, flare can naturally not be eliminated, but a good design with modern coatings an materials can keep it pretty well in control. And I did put resolution first; the 28/3.5 is very flare resistant. The mirror box is a nasty impediment to a more optimal design.
  5. I think the best 28mm lens in the f mount is the 24mm f2.8 Nikkor. :)
  6. Wayne, you mean 28 mm f2.8 Nikkor? ;-)
  7. I have a 28mm Ai'd f/3.5 it's corners are only slightly soft on FX format but it's excellent to shoot with the sun in frame or into bright backlit scenes - no flare and virtually no ghosting - and inexpensive.
  8. Not sure if I have a bad sample, but my 28mm f/2.8 AiS Nikkor has rubbish corner definition wide open, and not much better at f/8. I have a Kiron 28mm f/2 which is much better across the entire frame, but watch out for oily aperture blades with this lens.
  9. The f/2.0 Nikkor AIS, just look up the tests, it beats the 2.8 all around. The f2.8 has more vignetting than the f2.0 (per Photozone) but has slightly better MTF. The reason I like the faster lens is I like both the extra speed and the quality build. For the price the lens is a bargain. I saw a test of it against the new Zeiss and it was about as good and I got mine almost mint for under $250, the Zeiss is way more money. This lens has Nikon goodness inside and any residual CA can be processed out, but the lens has low geometric distortion and for my tastes its not overcontrasty and has good color rendition. Why lose a full stop and get very little extra in exchange?
  10. I have two AI f/3.5s, a 'K', a cm and an mm. The AI is quite good. I always hear that the f/2.8 AIS has CRC and is better close up. The Kodachrome 25 slides I shot with one of the AI lenses a few years ago are excellent. If I need to get close I will use a 55/3.5 or 55/2.8 Micro Nikkor. These will be better in that range than any 28. Some of my favorite Nikon mount 28s include the 28/1.9 Vivitar Series 1, the Vivitar 28/2.5 Fixed Mount, the Vivitar 28/2 (22XXX...), the Vivitar 28/2 (28XXX...), the Vivitar 28/2.8 (28XXX...), the Kiron 28/2 and the Soligor 28/2 C/D. You will see more improvement out to 3 or 4 feet with the f/2.8 AIS when comparing it to the f/3.5 AI. From 3 or 4 feet to infinity I don't think you will see much improvement.
  11. I think that Nikon intended for the 28mm 1.4 AF to be the definitive 28mm lens for the F mount. I am not going to purchase one any time soon so I guess I'll have to take krockwell's word that it is ok. More down to earth, I do like the performance of the 28mm 2.8 AIs with both film and the FX sensor. Doesn't the 17-35mm 2.8 AF-S compete well with the primes?
  12. Yes, my 17-35mm stacks up very well against the wider primes - Ai and AF-D.
  13. The f/2.0 Nikkor AIS, just look up the tests, it beats the 2.8 all around.​
    Which tests? Can you provide a link please? At least photozone tested the AF-D 28/2.8, which is an entirely different lens than the AI-S. The 28/2 is surely a sweet lens, but I could live without the corner softness. Although if a good deal comes by I might as well ick it up.
    In all fairness, the 17-35/2.8 should be included. It's a lens I sometimes think about buying but then it doesn't really tempt me enough. Based on photozone tests, however, it's performance gets lowest at 35 mm, so 28 mm is a bit of a question mark. It needs to be kept in mind, though, that photozone only tests the lenses at one distance.
    I do closeups with a 28 every once in a while, but it's not frequent enough to make me worry about it. I have macro lenses for more serious macro.
  14. I have the 28/2.8AIS and the ZF 28/2 that I use on the D700. I just got the ZF a few months ago but have already used it extensively. The AIS I've had for years, but recently dug it up after using Canon at work for the last few years. Needless to say I plan to use it again now that I'm shooting Nikon again. I love both and they're a great combination. The 28mm is my main focal length, I use it for over 90 percent of my work. I also don't shoot brick walls or newspaper pages so my opinions are very non-scientific. I find the center sharpness between the two lenses to be very similar. Wide open, the Zeiss seems a bit softer in the corners, but not by much. I don't know if this is softness or field curvature. In any event wide open it has a beautiful look and some character. By F/2.8 I actually think the zeiss seems a bit sharper in the corners. Stopped down to F/5.6 it's a draw.
    The Nikon focuses a tad closer, but the ZF goes more than close enough for my needs. The zeiss feels like a better-made lens to me, but time will tell how it holds up. Still, it's built like tank and feels very solid. The focusing action feels very smooth and is perfectly damped. My Nikon also is well made of course. The focus is quite stiff, as I said the lens has been in storage for a while. So maybe it will loosen up with more use or a cla is in order. The Nikon is quite a bit more compact, which is nice for travel or street work. If I have to grab one lens for a day's shooting I'll generally pick the ZF unless I know I'll be outdoors all day. For overseas assignments I'll take both, one as backup.
    The ZF seems a bit easier to focus, which could be the extra stop of light and shallower DOF, though some of this could be attributed to the fact that the focus action is a bit tight on my Nikon right now.
    The ZF has some purple fringing wide open. I've yet to have CA problems with the Nikon, but haven't used it as much on the D700 as I have the ZF.
    Most importantly, the look of the images from both lenses is fairly similar. I was expecting to see a larger difference, but they're both very sharp and produce pleasing images. If I had to choose one it would be the Zeiss, but only because sometimes the extra stop is needed for my work. But the low price of a used Nikon 28/2.8AIS makes it a great deal.
  15. There is a lot of evidence that of the NIkkor 28s the 3.5 performs well - in fact perhaps best, on digital cameras. (Sorry I cannot look up references right now - at work - oops!) The other "goody" by universal acclaim is the AIS close focusing version which is often regarded as the very best Nikkor 28 2.8. I cannot speak of the more exotic faster versions which seem to be sharp but "flary." I ahev the non AI 3.5 and it works well on my older ffilm cameras but am currently thinking of converting it for use in my D200.
  16. "Wayne, you mean 28 mm f2.8 Nikkor? ;-)"
    Nope I mean the 24mm.I like the 35mm lens and 28mm is too close to that. The 24mm provides a wider spread. Plus I just like the perspective of a 24mm better than the 28.
  17. What is "flary"? The 28mm f/2 is very resistant to flare and ghosting.
    The OP didn't ask anything about 24mm lenses.
  18. I purchased the Nikkor 28mm f2 AIS based on the review by Bjorn. It works well for me but it's a bit long.
  19. Hello,
    The best nikon branded 28mm lens is the 28 mm 2.8 AIS lens.
    But again you must be even more specific. The one with the close-focus of .2m is the best of its class.
    Opinions vary on the 28 2.8 AI/AF .3m close focus edition.
    I believe this lens is excellent, even for close ups and near far shots, as well as wide again scenics.
  20. I'm late for this thread but here's my $.02 worth. The 28 is my favorite focal length as well. I have both the 28 F2 AIS & F2.8 AIS. The F2.8 is great for close to mid distances. The F2 is great for close to way out distances. I shoot landscape primarily so the F2 was my choice. I wouldn't trade that lens for anything! I use it with the 20MM F2.8 AIS and a 85MM F1.8 AF for a three lens kit. If I go out with a zoom and a prime only, it's the 17-35MM & the 85MM. I too bought this lens based on Bjorn Rorslett's recommendation. The man knows his lenses.

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