Im building a Nikon kit.
I'm starting with Nikon F, 28mm f2.0, 58mm f1.4, and 105mm f2.5 non-ai.
What's a good affordable 20mm and telephoto (180mm/200mm)
I hear varying opinions, opticially are all of teh f3.5/f4.0 lenses comparable? I'm interested in this speed because it is affordable. I'd like one to be decent close up and at long distances. I hear mixed reports between the original 72mm filter threaded ones and the later 52mm filter threaded ones. I know slrs vs rfs are apples and orange comparisons but I'm even thinking of skipping this focal lenght and just getting a skopar. I'm mostly interested in mid to small aperture performance.
180mm vs 200mm
I'd go with the non-ED 180mm f2.8. Well the 180mm f2.8 is supposed to be legendary but it takes larger filter threads. The 200mm is supposed to be easier to carry, I think. Both are very affordabe so the cost is not so much of an issue. I don't really need the speed but the 180mm f2.8 would be brighter and easier to focus.
I use a Nikon F (and an F3) and have the Nikkor 20-mm f3.5 UD, It was ai'd when I bought it used about twelve years ago. I use it fairly often and have no complaints about the image quality, and it is very-well constructed, although heavy. I am a cheap-skate so wouldn't have spent a lot on it, maybe $150. The 72-mm filter size is a little inconvenient, but what I saved on this lens went towards a small set of 72-mm filters that I ended up needing for other lenses anyway.
Here is a link to some information on it: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...des/20mmud.htm
Although a minor issue, I try to standardize on lens speed (2.8), so I don't have to change the maximum aperture setting on the F. Many Nikkor's are at f2.8, and they are usually not the most expensive versions within a wide range of focal lengths. If you are mainly interested in mid-to small aperture performance, f2.8 lenses may be good enough. I don't get too concerned about comparing lens resolutions -- as the saying goes, the best lens is a tripod.
I have no experience with the other lenses.
All of Nikon 180mm f/2.8's are fine lenses, but at current prices I suggest going with an ED version. While it's by no means a fragile lens, a lot of 180mm's saw professional use, with all of knocks and bumps that goes along with such use. Don't buy without a return privilege and shoot a sample roll as soon as you receive the lens.
OTOH, I've seen quite a few "closet queen" 200mm f/4's of all types. It's a wonderful lens to use "in hand," but at f/4 and f/5.6 chromatic aberration can get a bit intrusive. Watch out for fungus, though.
The only Nikon 20mm lenses I've used are 20mm f/2.8's. Both the AI-s and AF versions use the same optical formula, and each is a good performer especially at middle distances. But each also has noticeable barrel distortion with a bit of a mustache "kicker."
There is also the 200 f4 Micro Nikkor, kind of nice as a carry all day, everything from ships at sea to closeups of tide pool critters.
I've got multiple lenses of all the versions of the 180: P, P.C, ED and AF. All are fine lenses. I'd go first with the ED version, simply spectacular. The AF might be better closer up and the internal focus makes it a fast handling lens, but for the money the ED can't be beat. Amazing image quality: I just posted a shot done with one of mine at http://four-silver-atoms.com/2012/11...-nikkor-180mm/
However, the 180 and in particular the P.C is a real sleeper. Very sharp especially mid-distances, more color fringing closer in and further away wider open on digital but digital shows lots of this anyway on longer older lenses and software tweaks can handle it well. The P version had a reduced multi-coating, and after Pentax went nuts on promoting their Super Multicoating Nikon had to follow suit and offer lenses with additional multi-coating, and that became the P.C version. Both are fine, the C version handles backlit, flat light and strong colors better, but the P has a certain delicacy to B&W images, a lovely portrait lens for the ladies if you can use a lens that long. Both can be found for very little money, and as medium distance tele's they certainly shine, you'll probably be only limited by your tripod use and atmospheric clarity for optimum sharpness. The ED edges both these by a decent amount but not SO much that the P or P.C are unusable, if you're doing mostly B&W and some color print and slide you'll hardly notice.
Also, don't knock those Pro used thrashed lenses in this length, I've picked up a few amazing deals just because the cosmetics were fairly beat, but the Pro use a filter religiously and consequently the glass was nearly mint, and one I got like this (an ED version) has the most smooth focusing, loose but so smooth, you could tell some shooter used it every day. I think I got it for 35.00 on ebay, a true bargain. Keep your eyes out....
I have, and love, my 20mm f4. It weighs nothing. Mine was never AI-updated, so it's my everyday lens on my old Nikkormat for which I don't have a 50mm. Perhaps a little distortion at the far edges, but it's never bothered me.