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SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s
  
 
r_o_b_s_o_n
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p.1 #1 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Hi there...

I am returning to FM after a hiatus of several years, some may remember my name, some may not, but that's beside the point.

I just received a 20mm f2.8 Ai-s in the mail from an ebay auction. I've been eagerly awaiting this lens, as I've wanted a small, lightweight wide prime. The reviews I've read on this lens peg it as one of the best wide primes Nikon has made. While I had no expectations of anything that would rival the 14-24 f2.8 in terms of image quality, the reports I have read suggested that the lens is fairly sharp in the centre wide open, with some softness to be expected in the corners, which is fine. The reports also went on to suggest that things improved @ f4 and by f5.6 the lens was sharp across the field with optimal sharpness @ f8/f11 before deteriorating @ f16/f22. The images I have seen on the net from the lens (not THIS sample) looked terrific.

Here's the thing though. My lens appears to be abnormally soft everywhere but the centre of the frame. Stopping down doesn't improve things much. The auction description said that the lens was "NEW IN ORIGINAL BOX" and "Nikon 20mm manual focus f/2.8 New in original box Purchased for $650 from B&H as a back up lens Never used in field, only for studio testing". There was no indication of any damage, and indeed the condition of the lens itself would suggest this as well. The lens looks like new, very clean. But the images look off,

Here are a few samples, with more (full resolution) on my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoff_robson/sets/72157635170796226/









I'm happy to entertain any thoughts or comments. Is this anything that anyone has seen before? Any possible remedies? What course of action would you recommend I take from here?

Thanks for any thoughts and comments.

Geoff




Aug 21, 2013 at 09:32 AM
Guari
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p.1 #2 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


I have the same lens which I bought new from Hong Kong 1 year ago. I'm sorry to say but you got a lemon, that lens is defective.

Hope you can sort it out.



Aug 21, 2013 at 09:36 AM
leighton w
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p.1 #3 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


First of all welcome back. Second, you definitely have a defective lens. I hope the seller had a return policy, good luck.


Aug 21, 2013 at 09:47 AM
rankamateur
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p.1 #4 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


I had the same lens and my copy was no better. The problem with the review your referring to is you have no clue whether he is referring to landscape shots or closeups in the rating. Mine performed decent from closeup to 50ft and after that it was not something I would prefer for landscape work. I have the 20mm 3.5 UD and it is way better than the 2.8 was.


Aug 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM
r_o_b_s_o_n
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p.1 #5 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


rankamateur wrote:
I had the same lens and my copy was no better. The problem with the review your referring to is you have no clue whether he is referring to landscape shots or closeups in the rating. Mine performed decent from closeup to 50ft and after that it was not something I would prefer for landscape work. I have the 20mm 3.5 UD and it is way better than the 2.8 was.



I would assume that if you had similar results to what I've shown in my examples, you had a dud as well. The quality of images that this lens is capable of producing is truly something to be appreciated. I have contacted the seller and requested information about his experiences with the lens and asked to have him send me some sample images taken with the lens. Damn it. According to ebay the seller has a 14 day refund agreement, so I have opened a case and have requested to send the lens back. If he can warranty it, I told him I would accept the replacement and cover shipping if he was willing to do that



Aug 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM
camerapapi
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p.1 #6 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


You can be sure that the lens you bought had some rough handling. The 20mm Nikkor lens, from what I know, is an excellent optics.
My recommendation is to have the lens checked by a reputable repair station and I would recommend Authorized Photo Service out of Morton Grove, Illinois. They will look at the lens and give you over the phone an estimate of the repairs.
I am going to assume since it is the most frequent cause for these issues that the lens has been dropped or banged against a hard surface causing a misalignment of the internal elements.
Since you are already in the process of sending the lens back I would say that is most probably your best solution.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.



Aug 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM
DTOB
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p.1 #7 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Looks like a PC lens. Sorry for your misfortune, good luck in getting it all sorted.



Aug 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Smiert Spionam
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p.1 #8 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


That lens doesn't match modern wides, but those images are really awful, and something's definitely messed up.

Sorry.

; (



Aug 21, 2013 at 01:40 PM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #9 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


I owned one of these from new and sold shortly after the switch to digital. It never really impressed me when capturing pixels certainly not like it was with film.

Your copy is definitely damaged, I suspect the CRC mechanism is malfunctioning, send it back.



Aug 21, 2013 at 02:53 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #10 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Wide open...



I bought the lens used on the Buy and Sell board and discovered only after its arrival that at that time it had the last serial number listed on photosynthesis.co.nz, 302774. The site now lists the last serial number a 303140. We know the lens is still in production.

Whether you got a new lens or a new/old lens depends on the serial number, of course. But what is clear is that the lens you bought is defective. Although I don't often shoot this wide, I never hesitate to use the lens and it has always performed well. I don't generally use it for close shooting, mainly in crowded situations where I need the width. Here is a shot taken at f/8.


Return the lens and if you can't send it in for a CLA. Clearly it is useless in its present condition. Good luck sorting it out.



Aug 21, 2013 at 03:29 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



DABNIK
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p.1 #11 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


I agree with the above. You have been sent a defective lens. I have the same lens bought used and even wide open have never had an image that is even close to your re: sharpness or lack of. God thing you opened a case immediately with EB. Hopefully the seller will step up & honour the deal.
Good luck. It is really a great lens. I use it all the time in my travels & have it on my D700 in Ca. as I type this

Get a good copy & you will be happy

Good luck



Aug 21, 2013 at 04:15 PM
MikeW
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p.1 #12 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


looks like you zoomed while taking a shot or a lens baby, not right anyways.


Aug 21, 2013 at 04:43 PM
r_o_b_s_o_n
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p.1 #13 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


So, I took the lens to one of my local camera shops today, and then also the local repair center, and also called Nikon Canada about having it repaired. The guy at the local shop checked the lens out, and pointed out that the front element seemed loose. Indeed when holding the camera in a horizontal orientation (normal picture taking position) you can press on the front element and there seems to be about 1mm of play. Also, gently shaking the lens/camera will produce a slight knocking sound. I have read a few sources online that suggest this knocking sound is "normal" and a by-product of the CRC system. I can accept the slight knocking noise, but I can't imagine the front element should have ANY play what so ever. Has any one else ever had any experiences with loose front elements, or the knocking noise described?

I took the lens to the local repair centre and they had a quick look at it, and said it would need a complete disassembly and reassembly to put back together properly and ensure everything is located properly and tightened to the correct spec. They quoted a minimum of $100. I spoked with Nikon on the phone and they quoted up to $279 for the repair. well that is crap. Meanwhile i have initiated an 'item not as described case' on ebay, and have contacted the seller indicating that I would like a full refund or have him pursue a warranty claim through Nikon/B&H.

Damn it. I just want the gorgeous lens I thought I was going to be getting!!

Thanks for listening to my rant, and for backing up my thoughts.



Aug 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM
hijazist
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p.1 #14 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Sorry to hear that but that risk comes with buying from the bay. Many times I bought items described as like-new from 100% sellers and the lens arrived either with a mechanical issue or severe cosmetic imperfection, I never learn my lesson though On the other hand, I never had one single issue from buying here on the B&S...


Aug 22, 2013 at 12:25 AM
rattymouse
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p.1 #15 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Wow.....just wow. The images in the OP are so bad that it is difficult to think one would even need to ask if they were OK! I have never seen even cheap, throw away lenses look so awful.

Good luck getting a refund. You should have no problem with what you have shown us.



Aug 22, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Jan Brittenson
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p.1 #16 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


Talk to the seller, and show your images - I'm sure they'll agree it's defective. Any serious seller would offer to take it back, or pay for you to get it fixed. They'd end up paying the same anyway before they could sell it to anyone else.



Aug 22, 2013 at 01:05 AM
dimitris77
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p.1 #17 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


This is really bad. Send it back.


Aug 22, 2013 at 01:15 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #18 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


I think somebody took it apart. Didn't getit together right. I might try screwing front element back in with my fingernails if it wouldn't jeopardize return.

If the $100 repair did it you'd have an excellent lens I think. So you can't lose more than that, and you'd have an in-spec 20.



Aug 23, 2013 at 07:00 PM
molson
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p.1 #19 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


The 20mm f2.8 AIS is the sharpest 20mm Nikon made... but your copy has obviously taken a very severe impact, or has been taken apart and tampered with (or both...)


Aug 24, 2013 at 04:42 PM
bellyface
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p.1 #20 · SOFT Nikkor 20mm f2.8 Ai-s


supposed to be insanely sharp. Looks like one of the rear elements were dropped in in reverse. It happens when some techs take them apart to clean the elements. They put them back together the wrong way. 12 elements in 9 groups... anything is possible to be out of place...


Aug 24, 2013 at 05:24 PM
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