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Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

The Nikon AF 28mm f/1.8G prime lens provokes a rather interesting photo opportunity. It is a moderate wide angle lens, but due to the high quality of the typical prime lens, it achieves outstanding results. It's use for vacation photography may include using it for your everyday photo situations. One thing I like to do is to challenge myself with using a single lens - especially when it is a prime lens. You actually learn a lot of good techniques using such a lens - including zooming with your feet, relying on avaliable/low light situations, and composition.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

Lens Type: Prime
Format: FX (Full Frame)
Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
Minimum Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 28mm
Autofocus Type: AF-S
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.9t
Maximum Field-of-View: 75 deg
Filter size: 67mm
Manufactured: China
Lens construction: Semi-Professional
Street Price: $699


Overview: The lens is single focus-length, i.e. not a zoom lens. And although this is a full frame (FX) lens, it will work equally well on a DX format DSLR (i.e. D3xxx, D5xxx, D7xxx). However, using a DX DSLR gives you the same angle of view that a 42mm lens would give you in a full frame camera. This is very close to the traditional 50mm "normal" lens in the old 35mm film format.

I classify this lens as a semi-professional level lens due to it's fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, and Nano crystal coating. This lens is AF-S type focusing, meaning that it will also autofocus on lower-end Nikon cameras such as the D40, D3000, D3100, D5000 and any other cameras that require AF-S. .

Use: If you find you wish to take this lens on vacation - you may wish to carry the f/1.8 "trifecta"; The Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8, the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8, and the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8.

If you use this trifecta, you may be amazed that the lack of a zoom function is not really that much of a problem. Experiment with different depths-of-field as well as late in the day when lighting has that magical color. Use of this lens may force you to get closer to your subject, but that is the norm for professional photographers anyway, so being an accomplished amateur, you should get comfortable doing so.

Testing: How does this lens do in sharpness? One simple way to determine that is to test the lens for optical clarity. While to be more accurate, I should have measured the center and all 4 corners of the lens, this simple test provides a basic idea of the lens performance.

The test was conducted photographing this scene at different focal lengths; all using an aperture of f/5.6. The yellow box in the lower right is the cropped area for each photo shown below.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/2.8.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/4.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/8.

At f/1.8, the lens just a tad soft, but not untypical for fast primes. And as you run through the various apertures, the lens continues to be sharp through f/8. This is a testament to the high-quality of the 85mm prime lens focal length.

Nikon D7100, AF-S 28mm @ 1/60s f/5.6 ISO 800.

Nikon D7100, AF-S 28mm @ 1/60s f/4.5 ISO 800.

Cropped section of the above photo.

Cropped section of the above photo.

Summary: This lens is just fun to use. The 28mm focal length - especially on a Dx sensor, is just about the right size for most my needs. I use this lens primarily when I may encounter low light situations or want tack sharp photos, and is vastly superior to any zoom lens for these purposes. While it means an extra lens to carry, it is rather light and compact, so in reality, it may not be a huge issue to bring it along.