So Many Different Nikon 28mm's. Which is the better one?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cherryrig, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

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    I've been looking to get a 28mm for my Nikon FM2n but there seems to be about three of four different ones?

    Is there really much different between a 28mm AIS and a 28mm Series E one?

    The Pancake style one seems cheaper but is there a reason for this or are they much the same. Well I know they are all 28mm's but why so many and which one is the better one to go for?

    Cheers
     
  2. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    Watch out for early AIS series lenses- they had a problem with lubricants on the aperture blades. Inspect before buying.

    Difference in optical quality? The series E lens is a decent performer. The 28/2 is a great performer. The later 28/2.8's were improved optically. The 28/3.5 is "okay". None of them are bad.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I recall recently concluding that the 28/2.8 AIS is the best, though my recollection could be incorrect. Look it up at photodo and verify.

    The E series are generally less robust, but also lighter.

    The pancakes are optically a bit inferior- buy them only if you really need the compact design.
     
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  4. ron110n

    ron110n Member

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  5. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    The Series E is a 5 element lens and the AIS is an 8 element lens with the close range correction system. A far better performer. If you look at the autofocus Nikons, the AF-Nikkor 28 started out as the same 5 element design as the series E. The later AF-D version is a better design. I once had a series E and now have an AF-D. The E wasn't horrid but the AF-D is better. The AIS is supposed to be even better still, but i haven't tried one. I think my Olympus Zuiko 28/2.8 is sharper than the AF-D Nikkor.
     
  6. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I have the E series or as Nikon call it, "Nikon Lens Series E", they are not Nikkors.

    That said it is a very nice lens, reasonable performance and quite cheap.

    I just measured it and it will stick out 35mm from your bayonet mount, which is smallish, but not too small.

    If you intend to do critical colour work, I would possibly look at an alternative, but if you are mainly doing B&W work then the slight colour fringe one can see on a greatly enlarged print from a colour negative will not be a problem.

    Whilst it is an f2.8 lens, it is a bit soft wide open, it works very well at f4 and at f5.6 it is really good.

    I just measured the light outside which is cloudy bright, 1/125 @ f5.6 with 100 ASA is about where it's at, so with better weather or faster film for worse weather, you are already at the sweet spot of the lens.

    The metal lens hood "Nikon HN-2" is the correct one for this lens. This lens hood is correct for both the 28 and 35 prime lenses and the Nikkor 35-70 zoom lens.

    Whilst it can also be used on the 24mm lens, I don't as I get vignetting when it is placed on with a filter attached. As I use either Orange or yellow/green filters a lot this hood doesn't cut it for me on the 24mm.

    I think you'll find it worthwhile getting the Series E 28mm, if you find that you are using this lens a lot you can usually sell it for what you paid and move upwards to the slightly better Nikkor models available.

    Mick.
     
  7. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    Well- since 24mm was mentioned...

    The Nikkor 24mm F2.8 is an outstanding lens, always had close-range-correction elements. It is a bit wider than the 28, but also worth looking at. Many of the older 24mm lenses were AI'd.
     
  8. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  9. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    Hmmmm, define "much difference" first? :smile:

    I've tried the 28/2.8 AIS and the 28/2 AIS and decided on the latter. It is incredibly sharp and with good contrast at all aperture settings and distances and uses the 52mm filter size: ideal.
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    the 28/2.8 AI-s is my absolute favorite lens on 35mm. The lens is simply fantastic...amazing. I have two of them. One, I dropped on concrete from a height of about a meter....had it repaired and still use it regularly. Bought the second while waiting for the first to come back from Nikon (took a few months).

    Just a fantastic lens. It amazes me every time I take it out. They're getting so cheap these days that I wouldn't even consider any of the others.
     
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  11. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I really like my 28mm f2.8 AF-D. It is really sharp, and makes a good walk around lens. It is also reliable. I was using it last night in -5C, in the rain, for about 2 hours, and it worked perfectly.
     
  12. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    One thing not mentioned is the focus scale. There is a very short travel on the Series E. The only other Nikon 28mm I've used is the AI 28/2.8 - much better feel and longer focus travel.
     
  13. jmal

    jmal Member

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    I have a recently purchased 28 2.8 AI. It is well built and leaves nothing to be desired in terms od the image quality.
     
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  15. cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

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    Cheers guys for all of that :smile:

    I'll see if I can get a 28mm f/2.8 AIS for a cheap price if not a 28mm f/2.8 E version will do me fine
     
  16. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    As it AWAYS works out... The most expensive one.
     
  17. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    28mm 2.8 AIS is an excellent piece of glass.
     
  18. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    I tend to be a pragmatist where these things are concerned. So long as the lens is in excellent condition and is at a price I can afford, I wouldn't worry to much.

    I know that glass can vary a bit but I suspect there's less variation between examples of prime lenses than there is between the 'kit' zooms and 'professional' zooms available. I also come from the school of thought (probably mistaken....) that it would be pretty difficult to tell which print had been taken with which version of a lens - assuming photos taken under similar conditions.

    Not much help in a technical sense, I know, but I don't think you'll go too far wrong with a good example of any 28mm with Nikkor written on it.
     
  19. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Taken with a Nikon 28mm f3.5 AIS and Kodak E200. This is a very low cost 28mm, and quite good. Unless you need low light performance, put your money into the lower cost f3.5 version, and consider spending any difference or savings on a 24mm f2.8. While the 24mm f2.8 gives a wider view, it is a much better lens than any of the 28mm versions, except the shift lens.

    Also, the regular f3.5 has nearly the same optical formula as the shift lens, and will cover slightly more than the other faster 28mm versions. While it is not exactly the same as the shift lens, it does have great edge resolution.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography
     

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  20. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    If you shoot a lot of panoramic images or if you need perspective control, the Nikon 28mm PC lens is hard to beat.
     
  21. katphood

    katphood Member

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    I just tested the 28mm f2.8 AIS against the Canon EF 28mm f2.8 on a half-frame non-analog 20D. Note: individual copies of lenses vary, so...YMMV: My results with *my* lenses:

    - The Nikkor, though 20+ years older is sharper wide open in the center, though softer on the edges
    - The Canon catches up by f5.6 and f8. Both are about equal there.
    - The Nikkor is sharper again at f11
    - The Nikkor flares when you shoot into the sun, but not nearly so much as the Canon which flared like a SOB
    - The Nikkor has slightly better bokeh (subjective evaluation); I noticed a five-sided highlight on the Canon (5 aperture blades)

    I only noticed sharpness differences when I enlarged it in photoshop to about 10x or so.

    I used to own the older 28mm f2.8 AI (not AIS). I'm actually thinking of switching back to the AI because it handles flare much better than the AIS and I never noticed whether it was softer or not. (I shoot into the sun a lot and often demand non-flaring lenses).

    The AIS 28 f2.8 is 8 elements, 8 groups, 7 blades and focuses at about .2m. The AI version is 7, 7, and 7 and focuses at .3m. The Canon is 5, 5, and 5. The build quality of the Nikkors is tank-like; the build of the Canon is excremental.
     
  22. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    +2 on that! no more falling back buildings :smile:
     
  23. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Excellent commonsense, I too don't go around taking shots of brickwalls and examinining the results under a microscope.........

    At the end of the day it is the person behind the camera that counts first, and the lens is second............photography has even dropped down to guys taking good pics with mobile phones.
     
  24. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I owned the AF-D for awhile. Nice lens. I regret selling it a little, but the 20-35 that replaced it, and the 17-35 that replaced that, haven't exactly been disappointments.

    The AI-S is supposedly the best Nikon 28, but I was impressed enough by the D that I'd have to be convinced with evidence. I think either one will do you well - select based on whether autofocus and electronic connectivity are useful.

    The 28/3.5, as mentioned, is a sleeper lens. If you're really on a tight budget it offers fantastic value for money. I rarely use a 28 at f/2.8.

    I currently have a 28/2.8 AI that I got inexpensively. I haven't seen enough from it to say for sure, but I am satisfied with it so far.
     
  25. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    I'd check out the Kiron models. Best minds of Nikon went off and did their own thing. I haven't owned one of thier 28mm lenses, but for manual focus Nikons, my Kirons are every bit as good - and often better - than my Nikkors.
     
  26. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The Kiron 28 is an f/2.0. I owned one in Yashica-Contax mount for many years. It wasn't all that sharp at f/2, but it was pretty decent at middle apertures. I didn't find it to be as good as any Nikon I've owned, but for the money, it was tremendous value for money.