D700/D800 + new 28 1.8G. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Started May 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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russbarnes
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D700/D800 + new 28 1.8G. Hmmmmmmmmmm.
May 25, 2012

Many probably won't agree with this assessment in the long run, but having had the new 28 1.8G in my hands for the last couple of days, I'm sadly largely underwhelmed.

My standards for a lens are high. I can't help that, but Nikon set the bar and some serious expectation with the 85 1.8G which unfortunately is completely head and shoulders above this offering if you ask me.

So here it is. I've uploaded some images, but they're just test shots. You can view a comparison I did with my Nikon 24-70 at 28mm here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/russellbarnes/sets/72157629890945240/

Images labelled S: Taken at short range, focus on pink flower
Images labelled M: Taken at medium range, focus on wooden plant climber
Images labelled L: Taken at Infinity, focus on panelled fence at back of image

I repeated some tests with my D700, pretty much the same results.

My views:

1. It required AF adjustment to +14 which can't be a good start.

2. It's OK wide open but nothing to write home about.

3. This is the controversial bit: From 2.8 to 5.6 it matches the 24-70 in corners and across the frame. Now some would call this stellar performance. I don't because I don't think the 24-70 is Nikon's best by a long shot and in my view a latest prime should be beating a zoom that's been around the block a bit. On the other hand the 24-70 is a fully pro zoom and the 28 1.8G is a 'budget' prime (it's all relative - and it's really not that cheap at all). I'll let others argue that one.

4. By f/8 it is however better than the 24-70 for sure, excellent corner to corner and resolving much more detail, that much is obvious.

5. Bokeh is soft, if a little mis-shapen (7 bladed) and unfortunately makes heptagonal shapes at around f/4, not very smooth at times.

6. Another positive is that it clearly has very well controlled distortion (a small amount of barrel) by the looks of it and flare is well controlled so the Nano coat and aspherical elements do their job for sure.

7. It's very light and too plasticy. One plus, one minus maybe. It is a lot less to hold than the 85 1.8G and it looks and feels very flimsy indeed though does benefit from a metal mount. For those that care (I don't) it's made in China. The focus ring doesn't do well in manual, it feels rough. You wanted the truth though didn't you?

Now the problem is I've bought this lens not as a landscape lens to be shot at f/8-f/11 but as a low-light semi-wide option to shoot at f/1.8-f/2.8 and with that usage in mind it's definitely not an instant hit for me which is a damn shame. As I said, Nikon truly set my expectation with the 85 1.8G which is sparkling for the money. Really sparkling next to this. I had high hopes when I saw it came with a Nano coat and aspherical elements but the truth is I don't think it's worthy of gold ring status at all. It's going on eBay....

 russbarnes's gear list:russbarnes's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED +3 more
Nikon D700
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