Reviews and Problems with Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D
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OK lens, but used and not new
9 March 2014
Summary: The lens itself is an OK lens. I knew that when I bought it. I bought it new and one of Amazons partners supplied the lens and shipped it to me. However, upon opening the package it was obvious that I was sent a used lens. It was not wrapped in plastic, half the packaging material was missing as was the warranty card. Amazon offered me the choice of a substantial discount on the lens or I could return it. I kept the lens and it has worked well.
Summary: Since I used to own this lens, I will give my report. The 62mm filter threads are a royal pain. 52mm has been the usual standard for Nikon for many years, although that has been changing. If you have a lot of them at that size,you may want to skip this offering and get the 24mm F2.8 AFD. The lenses are similar enough in quality. The 24mm F2.8 AFD uses a 52mm lens shade, the HN-1, which is also compact but not deep enough to be very effective.
Excerpt: I purchased this primarily for architectural photography. At the price point compared to other options I knew this lens would be a balance between optics and price. If you use lens correction tools, the wild distortion becomes negligible. If you have to use it wide open, expect softness around the perimeter but stop it down closer to f/8 and it is solid. Very light weight.
Excerpt: Really wanted to like this lens, and in some ways I did. I've seen some very nice images taken with it, but most are from film and slide days, or on lower resolution DSLR's. On FX, especially the D600 and D800, this lens shows its age. As far as size, weight and build, this is a great lens form factor. If you don't need or want a $2,000 24 f1.4, or a 2 pound 14-24 zoom, this is the exact size you'd want for wide prime. Can fit in your pocket.Performance the problem.
Pros: Durable, Easily Interchangeable, Lightweight, Rugged, Strong Construction
Excerpt: Bought this lens in 1992. Back then its resolution was higher than any slide film that I could buy (may still be true today). 3 stars only because I am very disappointed with the aperture blades getting sticky over time. Nikon has "serviced" this 3 times and their charges have doubled my true cost of ownership.
Pros: Consistent Output, Easily Interchangeable, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Lightweight
Excerpt: I had a Sigma 15 to 30mm 3.5 which was a big, heavy lens that always got “Wow, look at that lens” type of responses. Not the type of attention I wanted walking in the park or while doing cityscape work at night. Safety concerns aside there really are a number of other advantages to short, lightweight lens when you're running around festivals and events all day and night.
Conclusion: First off, I'm quite sure that I don't have the best example of this lens here. When I first got it I did a lot of shooting wide open and was loving the results. But when I started stopping the lens down a bit (like f/5.6) I saw some really bad diffraction or softness, especially where there's bright light. Other than the above issue I love the lens.
Pros: cheap compared to the 18mm 2.8, 'wide enough' on digital though not nearly as fun as with film, good wide open, very compact, AF-D version focuses quickly, very little flare
Cons: softness or diffraction starting at around f/5 - f/7 on my lens, not as wide as I'd like on digital, there are better primes out there. Almost unnoticeable vignetting wide open in very bright conditions even on a digital body.
Conclusion: The lens is really small, great build quality and relatively fast (f/2.8). But I was a bit surprised to see that the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX AF-S zoom is sharper at all f/stop, with better contrast and color. On the other hand, the 20mm f/2.8 exhibits less CA. Used with D70 and D100.
Pros: Compact, light.
Cons: A bit soft, even stopped down (D70 and D100)
Summary: An old lens design like this doesn't work well on a modern DSLR. I photograph a lot of interiors and was hoping a wide angle prime would give me sharp results. Unfortunately this hasn't been the case. This lens in particular suffers from very bad chromatic aberration which has to be corrected (I use Lightroom) and the lens isn't nearly as sharp as I had hoped. I've owned wide angle zoom lenses which are sharper. Overall, disappointed.