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20mm f2.8, worth a try on D3?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Richard Peters, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. I've seen the above lens second hand for £200 and I'm wondering if it would be a nice addition to my lens collection for the times I want to go a little wider than the beast.

    I've read a couple of threads on here where it gets mixed reactions but I'm wondering if its a bargain at the price I've seen it for.

    Lack of wide open sharpness isn't the end of the world as it would be used more for landscapes etc anyway where more DOF is required - so whats the quality like once you start getting around over the f4 mark?

    I've seen the Sigma 20 f1.8 for the same price second hand, how does that compare? Although like the appeal of the more compact Nikkor.

    So, what we saying...yay or nay?
  2. I'm not shooting FF, but I love my new-to-me 20mm f/2.8. I got the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 at first, but it's huge and heavy (over 1 lb. and takes 82mm filters. The color and contrast were fantastic, but I didn't have much luck with sharpness wide open and opted for the smaller, lighter Nikon 20mm instead (9 oz. and 62mm filters). I've read unfavorable reviews of this lens on line and have heard many complain about the softness in the corners, but really, on a wide angle that you're primarily using for landscapes, I would think you'll be stopped down enough so this isn't much of an issue.

    Even Thom Hogan, in his recent article, Rationalizing Lenses, says the small, light 20mm f/2.8 is among the best options at 20mm due to it's portability.

    Far from a scientific comparison, but you might get the idea:

    Sigma 20mm f/1.8:

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    1/400 @ f/8, ISO 400

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    1/15 @ f/1.8, ISO 100, SB-600

    Nikon 20mm f/2.8:

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    1/15 @ f/5.6, ISO 100, SB-600

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    1/15 @ f/2.8, ISO 100, SB-600

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    1/400 @ f/11, ISO 100 (should have had the flash with me)

    I liked the color and contrast of the Sigma better, but the size and sharpness of the Nikkor made it the obvious choice for me.

    All images shot with DX sensor, D80.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2008
  3. AndyE


    May 2, 2005
    Vienna, Austria
    I like the combo, but to me 200 pounds sound a bit high. Maybe it is LNIB?

    D700 & AiS 20mm/2.8 (30sec, f2.8, ISO 800, No moon in the sky)
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  4. How much US dollars is 200 pounds?
  5. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    About 400
  6. I used a 20/2.8 to complement my 28-70/2.8, and found it to be a very useful bit of kit. It would be super wide on your d3, and quite lightweight and affordable compared to the 14-24/2.8. I've sold mine in favor of a 12-24/4 Nikkor, but that's not an option for your D3.
  7. I've got a friend who is very happy using his 10.5 fish in crop mode on his D3. As long as you aren't making huge enlargements, you should be fine up to 24-30 inch prints.
  8. Thanks for the replies so far. I've read there ay be a variation in samples with this lens with some people saying its not that sharp and others saying its good but just not wide open - there is some talk that it starts to soften up again at f5.6 which I'm hoping was just from an owner with a defective lens!

    In the uk the lens is around £360 new.
  9. Does the seller warrant the lens to be in good operating condition and offer a return privilege? I'd never buy a used lens "as is". There's no way of telling what kind of abuse it might have had from prior owners. That's a much bigger issue than sample variation.
  10. I use mine with my 28-105. Great walk around kit.
  11. arela


    Jan 15, 2008
    I use my AF 20mm f/2.8 a lot, mostly on my F5.
  12. papah


    May 5, 2007
    My light D3 kit:
    20mm 2.8 AF
    24-120 VR
    200mm f4 AI

    My Big time D3 kit:
    14-24 2.8
    24-70 2.8
    70-200 VR
    and a slave to carry for me...
  13. For what it's worth I researched a number of WA options for the D700 when I switched from Canon and, other than some isolated bad experiences or perceptions, I felt this lens was a fairly safe buy at the right price. It is always hard to judge perception and image samples as so much depends on prior experience/skill but there were enough very nice shots to convince. I would not spend £360 on it new but SH I would have been keen up to around the £200 mark. It is nice and pocket sized and ceertainly wide on FF. Any issues should resolve themselves at F8.0, so unless you need an indoor widey it should be fine. I opted for the 25mm Zeiss in the end just because I found a mint sample at a very decent price and I am not a super-wide shooter.
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