Thoughts on the 28mm f1.8 G?

Joined
Jul 29, 2007
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Recently returned a 28mm f2.8 AF-D because it was soft at all apertures (tried it on several cameras, same results). So, I'm looking at the Nikon 28mm f1.8 G.

My main reasons for not going with this lens to begin with were:

- Mostly plastic.
- Made in China.
- High price for mostly plastic, non pro-built lens.
- Reviews seem to be split between some who love it and some who are not impressed with it.

Yes, it's not a 1.4, so I'm not expecting top shelf build quality. However, I don't want to waste over $600 on a plastic lens that won't last me more than a year or two.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck finding a large aperture, decent lens that covers that focal length for under $1000.

I would like something with f2.8 or faster. Please don't hate me for this, but in all my years shooting Nikon (since 1984), I have never had any luck getting sharp, contrasty images at the widest aperture of any Nikon lens ever. Usually I have to stop down 1 or two stops to get that sharp, contrasty image I like.

So, my reasoning for a 1.8 is that I'm expecting decent results at f3.5 or f4.0. Same with an f2.8 lens.

I thought about the 16-35mm f4.0, but I would probably have to shoot at f5.6 to get the best performance of that lens. That would require higher ISO on my D750, which would mean more noise.

Again, please don't hate me for my reasoning behind wanting a faster lens. My logic is based on the dozens of Nikon lenses I have personally owned in the past 3 decades.

So, what are your thoughts on the 28mm f1.8 G? Is it as flimsy or delicate as some describe it? Is it sharp at least at f4.0? Is it worth the $600+ price tag?
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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Los Angeles, USA
Unfortunately many of the new Nikon lenses feel a bit plasticky nowadays. Second some of the best lenses Nikon is making is coming out of China, including lenses like the 300mm f/4 PF VR and 105mm f/1.4 E lenses. As long as you buy Nikon USA, you'll get 5 years warranty coverage either way.

Saying all that the 28mm f/1.8 G is a good lens with rich contrast and colors (it's an N coated lens). Though from my experience I found the 35mm f/1.8 ED FX lens a bit more consistent in performance in regards to focus. If you're going to shoot stopped down, have you considered the 18-35mm G lens? That lens is very sharp, affordable, light weight and should be fine shooting at 28mm at f/5.6. I currently own the 16-35mm f/4 VR, but I've gone through several copies of that lens and finally found a copy that was consistently sharp.

Also with new camera bodies, it's highly recommended you use AF fine tune adjustments with most of your fast primes to get the best results.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
1,026
Location
SW Florida
Thanks!! I did look at the 18-35 G as well; lots of reviews claim it is a sharp lens. My only hesitation is that I would be limited to stopping down to f5.6 most of the time. It would have a noticeable effect on bokeh.

I'm currently happy with my old Nikon 35mm f2.0 AF-D; I get great shots with it and my Nikon 24mm f2.8 AF-D as well. For what I shoot, I need something wider than 35mm but not as wide as 24mm. So, 28mm would be the perfect walk-around focal length for me.

If I had the money I would go with the 24-70mm f2.8 (non VR), but I really can't just justify the expense at this time.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
11,877
Location
NH, USA
Would a used lens be a possibility for you? Maybe a chance to get a higher quality lens that would fit your budget?

Also, what about older manual focus lenses? Not sure what you're shooting or if you need to be able to focus quickly, but that may be another alternative for you to consider.

I have a MF 28mm f2.8 AiS lens that I love with my D750. I'm used to running in manual mode for aperture, but certainly, it is more of a challenge trying to focus quickly.

Just some thoughts.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
1,026
Location
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Currently I have a store credit for the return of the 28mm f2.8 AF-D, so I'm stuck buying new.

As for manual focus, I used to love them back when my eyesight was better!
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
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Connecticut
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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I think it's a fantastic lens. I don't use mine as much because it's been replaced by my 24-70. When I did use it, it gave really good results, even wide open:

View attachment 1674619Stingray... by David G. Whitham, on Flickr

View attachment 1674620St Joseph High vs. Cromwell High - CIAC Class M Girls Basketball Finals by David G. Whitham, on Flickr

View attachment 1674621Maren by David G. Whitham, on Flickr

View attachment 1674622Fairfield Prep vs Hillhouse - SCC 2014 Championship by David G. Whitham, on Flickr

Nice images! Thanks for sharing!
 

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