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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Review

John Riley reviews the bright aperture Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras.

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Handling and Features
AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED

This large, chunky lens brings a bright f/1.4 aperture and a usefully wide angle 28mm together in an impressive looking combination. 28mm has long been a classic wide angle focal length, wide enough to satisfy those seeking the look this gives and yet not so wide as to start to introduce undue difficulties in handling. It is a big lens for its focal length, so let's see how it handles and performs on the Nikon D810 body used for this review.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Handling and Features

Nikkor 28mm F1,4 On Nikon D810 No Hood

Starting at the front of the lens, the usual bayonet fit petal lens hood is secure and effective. This surrounds a 77mm filter thread. Quite hefty for a 28mm, the lens weighs in at 645g. It does look big, even on the fairly substantial Nikon D810 body, but the balance is good.

Moving towards the body, we find a wide manual focusing ring that can be used at any time, in AF to manually override and in MF to set the focusing point. The action is utterly smooth and the rubberised grip on the ring makes handling very straightforward. A Silent Wave Motor drives the rear group focusing mechanism. It is not the fastest AF, but it does lock on reliably every time. Focusing is down to 28cm (0.92 feet), a maximum magnification of 0.17x.

Next up, we have the distance scale, under a small plastic window. The very small scale means that the depth of field scale markings are also very close together. These are marked up for f/11 and f/16 only and are of very limited usefulness. The depth of field from a 28mm lens is quite generous in any event, so the scale is fairly redundant. There is a tiny marker on the scale that indicates the adjustment needed for Infra Red photography.

The only other adornment on the lens is the AF/MF switch. Sealing against dust and moisture means we can continue to shoot in bad weather and fluorine coatings help to repel water and grease on the front element. Nano crystal coatings on the elements reduce flare.

Nikkor 28mm F1,4 On Nikon D810

Optical construction comprises 14 elements in 11 groups. This includes 3 Aspherical and 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements. The lens diaphragm has 9 rounded blades, to help produce more pleasing bokeh, the smoothness of the out of focus areas in the image. The E in the lens description refers to the electromagnetic diaphragm, giving smooth and accurate delivery of the aperture value required. As a consequence of this, the lens is fully compatible with later camera bodies only as the aperture values are transmitted electronically. The benefit is accurate delivery of aperture values, even with varying light and high speed shooting.

In terms of handling, it all works superbly well. It quickly becomes obvious that the lens is manufactured to very high standards and the operation is flawless throughout. The distinctive scalloped shape of the lens actually improves the grip and makes carrying the kit less fatiguing than the weight might lead us to expect.

Nikkor 28mm F1,4 Rear Oblique View

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Performance

The great handling would be to no avail if the performance were not up to the mark, so it is good to find that the lens excels. Central sharpness is simply excellent through the entire aperture range, from f/1.4 all the way through to f/16. That in itself is impressive and looking at the edges we find the sharpness is in the same league, again being excellent from f/1.4 through to f/11 and still being very good at f/16.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D810 using Imatest.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is almost banished, with ultra-low figures both centre and edge. If we really try very hard to induce it, some CA can be seen at very bright edges, but the fringing is very, very slight and for virtually all purposes will not need further work in software.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D810 using Imatest.


Barrel distortion is in the nature of wide angle lenses and the Nikkor is no exception. We can measure -1.11% barrel distortion, which is really quite modest for a bright lens of this type. If necessary, further correction could be made in software, but generally the effect is very acceptable as it is.

Even in the most challenging circumstances there is no real issue with flare, there being no loss of contrast nor any creation of optical artefacts.

Bokeh is the quality of the out of focus areas in an image. A 28mm lens, with its wide angle of view, is not the first choice for bokeh effects, but nonetheless where there are out of focus areas in a shot the gradation is very smooth and pleasing.

In summary, an excellent optical performance of the highest grade.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Sample Photos


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Aperture range


Value For Money

The AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.4E ED is priced at £2079.

Whereas at one time there would have been a multitude of alternative choices, currently 28mm lenses seem to be much thinner on the ground and certainly fast ones especially so. Alternatives might be the Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8 G (£579) or the AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 D (£289).

Zeiss offer a few lenses, such as the OTUS 28mm f/1.4 Distagon T* (£3600), and 28mm f/2 Distagon T* (£879).

Clearly paying the price of the new lens will be a tough choice, but there is nothing quite like it if the requirement is for a bright, fast lens around 28mm.

For more options have a look at the Top 14 Best Nikon Lenses. or Top 15 Wide-angle Landscape Lenses.


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Verdict

It's big, it's relatively heavy, it's expensive. But the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED is also excellent in every respect. Handling is beautiful, construction quality flawless and the optical performance universally excellent. There is no doubt that Nikon have presented us with a very desirable optic, albeit it at a price. Although the tendency over the years has been for tastes to alter, favouring wider and wider lenses as they began to fall into affordable price brackets, 28mm remains a very useful length. Given the bright maximum aperture of this lens and its fairly wide field of view, in use it actually proves to be very useful for a wide variety of applications.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Pros

  • Excellent sharpness
  • Excellent CA control
  • Flare free
  • Low distortion
  • High quality manufacture

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Cons

  • High cost
  • AF could be faster
  • Large and heavy for a 28mm

Overall Verdict


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Nikon F
  • Nikon AF
Focal Length28mm
Angle of View75
Max Aperturef/1.4
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size77mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnification0.17x
Min Focus28cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsLC-77 77 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-83 Bayonet Hood, CL-1118 Lens Case

View Full Product Details


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18 Jul 2017 3:23PM
I will have this lens so how some way!
It is very expensive but one of my favorite and most used focal lengths. I've been looking and waiting for someone (hoping Nikon) would make a great version of this lens. Well Nikon has and I want it.
I shoot live music photography, Festivals , events , band promo work and now starting into weddings. Also I do videos for musicians and I'll be doing wedding videos. This is going to be one of my go to lenses. I also love shooting nature and close up flower scenery. This lens has great close up abilities. Combine that with the wide angle and it works perfectly for what I do.
28mm is a signature look of my photography and I am going to make this the staple lens.
"Going to the top with Nikon"
Thanks Nikon for making this lens and please keep your newest products of the highest quality and innovative. Nikon has a great past reputation but as of late it's been getting a bad one . Us Nikon die hardship don't want to see this please keep your reputation alive going into the future.

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