Nikon AF-D lens reviews

Thursday February 02 2012

Lens Review
Introduction | Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D | Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D | Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D | Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D

Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D mounted on a Nikon D3x

With a DxOMark overall score of 20, the Nikkor AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D is still a good, solid lens. (Just as a reminder, the 20mm f/2.8D achieved a DxOMark overall score of 21.)

Strong points Weak points
  • Satisfactory sharpness in the center, but we measured a fairly   noticeable loss across the field at all apertures. Sharpness is optimal   between f/4 and f/8.
  • Reasonably good transmission.
  • No distortion.
  • Very light-weight (205g).
  • Affordable (280 USD).
  • Still susceptible to significant vignetting, but quite a bit less than the 20mm f/2.8D.
  • Beware of chromatic aberrations, especially at wide apertures.

Comparison: Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D vs Carl Zeiss Distagon T 28mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon mounted on a Nikon D3x

With a DxO Mark Score of 23, the Carl Zeiss 28mm f/2.0 is the winner of this competition. But at only 3 points behind, the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 should not be dismissed out of hand… especially given that it is five times less expensive (!) than the Zeiss.

The advantages of the Nikon:

  • Half the weight of the Zeiss.
  • 1000 USD less expensive.
  • Negligeable distortion.
  • Autofocus (if the camera is equipped with a motor).

The advantages of the Carl Zeiss :

  • Better sharpness.
  • Brighter: a gain of 0.77EV at full aperture (which explains the difference in DxOMark scores).
  • Negligeable distortion.
  • Mechanical precision.

Some other available comparisons

The Nikon 28mm AF-D vs the latest in the G prime lens series:

Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D vs Nikkor AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED

Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D vs Nikkor AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

(Yet another opportunity to take note of the amazing progress that has taken place in just a decade!)

Of note:

  • As ever when considering Zeiss lenses, it’s important to keep in mind that they do not have autofocus.
  • Nikon AF-D lenses do not have self-contained motors and thus are dependent on the camera motor for autofocus.

Here we have analyzed its full-field performance when mounted on a Nikon D3x, but as per usual, performance results are available for this lens when mounted on other cameras — for example, the Nikon D5000 or the even older Nikon D200.