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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the brand new prime lens from Nikon, the AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G - find out how it performs in our review.

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Handling and Features
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G
This brand new compact wide angle lens from Nikon costs around £620 and sports a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture, silent internal focusing and nano-crystal coatings to help control ghosting and flare.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Handling and Features

Weighing only 330g, this lens is relatively lightweight and compact, considering the bright f/1.8 maximum aperture. The lens barrel is constructed form high quality plastics and the lens mount is metal, with a rubber gasket to help prevent the ingress of dust and moisture into the camera. The lens balances well on the Nikon D700 used for testing and should feel right at home on even Nikon's more compact entry level bodies.

Auto focus is powered by a silent wave motor, and autofocus speeds are relatively fast. Manual adjustments can be applied at any time via the focusing ring too. The wide focusing ring is smooth, but not especially damped, feeling quite loose in operation. Even so fine adjustments are quite easy to apply.

Closest focus distance is 25cm, and focusing is performed internally, so the 67mm filter thread does not rotate, which should make this lens ideal for use with graduated filters and polarisers.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Performance

At f/1.8 sharpness in the centre is already very good, and the clarity towards the edges of the frame is good. Stopping down results in increased clarity across the frame with peak sharpness being achieved between f/4 and f/5.6. Excellent sharpness is maintained right down to the minimum aperture of f/16.



How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D700 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations are low at every aperture, only just exceeding 0.25 pixel widths. This low level of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in very large prints, and harsh crops from the edges of the frame.


How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration 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 D700 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is quite severe. At maximum aperture the corners are 2.2 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination isn't achieved until stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

Imatest only managed to detect 0.79% barrel distortion, which is a very mild amount of distortion and should cause any issues day-to-day. If you require absolutely no distortion, you'll be glad to hear that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make corrections in image editing software afterwards relatively straightforward to apply.

Thanks to Nikon's Nano-crystal coating, incidences of flare and ghosting are very rare indeed. Contrast holds up incredibly well, even when shooting into the light at maximum aperture. A compact petal-shaped hood comes supplied with the lens, which does a decent job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Sample Photos


Value For Money

Although this lens may seem a little expensive for an f/1.8 prime lens, the optical performance and handling are such that the price of £620 is most probably justified. When you consider this lens costs around half what Nikon's 24mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 lenses do, it puts the price into perspective.

Sigma do offer an alternative in their 28mm F/1.8 EX DG Aspherical lens, which retails for around £320. However this lens lacks a silent focusing motor and is a larger, heavier lens.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Verdict

Those looking for a wide angle prime lens with a fast maximum aperture, who find the price of the current crop of f/1.4 lenses prohibitive, may want to take a long hard look at this lens.

Its performance is up with the best of them, and it costs around half as much as the current crop of Nikon fast aperture prime lenses. This makes the lens an excellent value choice.

  The Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G performance is up with the best of them making this an excellent value choice.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Pros

Excellent optical performance
Silent focusing
Low CA
Low distortion
Compact and lightweight
Relatively good value (when compared to f/1.4 alternatives)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Cons

Falloff of illumination towards the corners at wide apertures



Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Nikon AF-S G
Focal Length28mm
Angle of View53
Max Aperturef/1.8
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size67mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus25cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsHB-64 lens hood, CL-0915 lens case

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20 Jun 2012 2:33PM
Yes please!Grin

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