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Nikon 28mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

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16 90178 Jul 14, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
75% of reviewers $1,451.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.82
6.64
9.2
1921NAS_180

Specifications:
This exceptionally fast autofocus wide-angle lens is perfect for low-light photography

Precision ground-glass aspherical lens elements minimizes distortion and coma

Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is ideal for available light photography


 


          
LizWangPhotog
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Registered: May 23, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 1554
Review Date: Jul 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Skin tones, perfect focal length, low light, handles flare extremely well, AF accuracy
Cons:
AF slowness, needs micro-adjustment for f/1.4-1.8

I picked up one of these lenses used and was worried because of all of the reviews posted here. And, initially I experienced similar problems- the lens was soft wide open, and a lot of my pictures came out blurry.

I tried this lens on three cameras: d3, d3s, and D7000 and compared it to my 24 1.4g, and found that the color representation was stunningly better on the 28mm than the 24. And, that's saying a lot because I LOVE my 24 1.4g for its color, sharpness, and IQ.

So, I gave it another shot...spend 30 minutes or so AF fine-tuning (which is a must-have feature on a Nikon), and found the sweet spot. Now, the lens focuses spot-on sharp at 1.8 and above, and crazy sharp at 2.8 on my D7000.

For my D3 and D3s, it was spot-on out of the box from f/1.8 on, and needed some micro adjustment for 1.4.

The good:

- Amazing film color representation and great contrast. Shots just come out of the camera looking edited. The skin of your subject is a beautiful peach tone, vs most of the modern lenses that go too red or too orange. I've shot with almost every D and G lens in the Nikon digital lineup, and this one is the only lens that makes me think I'm still shooting film.
- Unlike most of the G lenses that handle sun flare by dampening it into this blue/green nasty look, this lens doesn't even need a hood- it just soaks in the sunlight and produces a fabulous image with nice warm tones.
- GREAT range. 24 can tend to be too wide for documentation, and eventually you get sick of everything looking super wide. The 28mm has a feeling of belonging as an every-day lens, but with the wide-angle sharpness and feel. 35mm tends to be too close and boxy, and shooting vertically on a 35 makes your subject's head look oversized.

The bad:

-It's about 60% as fast AF as the 24-70 and about 75% as fast as the 24 1.4. So, if you're going to use this to track subjects, shoot a lot. For wide portraits, objects, etc, this is an awesome lens. And, if you don't mind 1 out of every 5 shots coming out soft, AF is not an issue.
- You'll need to have AF fine tune (D3, D3s, D300s, D7000) because it'll need a little tweaking. But once you do, watch out.
- The price. Nikon doesn't seem interested in coming out with an update to this, so you either have this, or the junky 28mm 2.8. Most pros who like the 28mm range will have to bite the bullet at get this lens or shoot zooms. Thus the price. I got a pretty good deal on one, but still paid a considerable amount more than my 24 1.4g.


Jul 14, 2011
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Rayder
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Registered: Aug 15, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 30
Review Date: Aug 30, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Was good for newspaper photographers (shooting film) who wanted to isolate subject in crowded environment (picture district attorney on courthouse steps).
Cons:
Overrated, not sharper than any of the other pro-quality lenses in their f-stop range (28/2.8D, 17-35, 28-70).

I had this lens for a short time, and shot it with both film and digital.

Wide open, it was nothing to write home about (lots of flare and coma).

Stopped down, it got better, but not better than the other 28mm lenses.

This lens used to sell used (like new) for less than half its list price for a reason: it's reputation among pros was low.

Now that Nikon discontinued it, it's rare and expensive. That doesn't make it a good lens.


Aug 30, 2008
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Jeff Spain
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Registered: Jan 4, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light, superb quality
Cons:
None

The sharpest prime zoom I have ever used. Wonderful glass, solid build. No issues at all. I used this for years on my film camera. Since switching to digital, I no longer use this size lens and it has sat around unused for a few years. Just sold it for more than I paid for it.

Highly recomend if this is your focal length. Most my work is portaits and I need at least 35mm or higher.


Jan 4, 2008
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Chipouille
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Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Location: Afghanistan
Posts: 206
Review Date: Dec 22, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: This is an update - I previously reviewed this lens long ago, now I own a D3, and everything has changed...
Cons:
Vignetting - still strong wide open, and that's it !

My 28mm is back ! As a 28mm... It now works as it was intended, with its original FOV, and its legendary sharpness is back - at least on the D3.
It was quite soft on my D200 (wide open) and now it's tack sharp at 1,4 but it needs to be properly focussed. This aspect is critical, otherwise you tend to obtain some not-quite-so-sharp images.
I had no AF fine adjustment to perform on the D3, perfect immediately.
The bokeh (wide open only) is stunning.
Combined with very high useable ISO, I was able to shoot in-situ portraits only lit by one candle or by a blue LED comig fro ma small electronic device.
This is just incredible - but true !

10 / 10 again.


Dec 22, 2007
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David Baldwin
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Registered: Jun 28, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2840
Review Date: Nov 8, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Not a review only an update to one
Cons:
Not a review only an update to one

One statement I made in my review has been made obsolete, Since my last post Nikon have of course announced a full frame body, in principle allowing the 28mm to be used as a proper wide again (I have not had the opportunity to try my lens on the D3).

I have recently made some tripod mounted tests comparing my Nikkor 28mm f1.4 and the Canon 24mm f1.4L, both of which I own. For these tests the Nikkor was mounted on my Canon 40D body using a Novoflex adaptor.

At full aperture the Nikkor and Canon both performed well on star fields, particularly after the lenses had been carefully focused using the 40D's excellent "Live View" feature. Careful focusing seems to me to be a particular requirement of these fast wides, more so than I would have expected.

I also assessed these lenses, at full aperture, on normal daytime subjects, and in my opinion the Nikkor had noticeably better control of chromatic aberrations. Aside from this the Canon and Nikon were pretty comparable at wide apertures. Both are excellent low light lenses.


Nov 8, 2007
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PhotoproX
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Registered: Apr 6, 2007
Location: Albania
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Had this lens for about a month and used it on film and digital Nikon bodies. I tried to like it, but it doesnt live up to the hype the Internet has created. Build quality is great, IQ is excellent stopped down but so are the AF 28/2.8 or Nikons 2.8 zooms. Subject isolation at 1.4 is far (!) less than on 35 or 50mm lenses at comparable aperture. This is not a "40mm f1.4" equivalent on a DX body. You get a 40mm field of view with a 28mm depth of field (simple law of physics).

Remember: This lens was discontinued by Nikon because it has quite a mediocre reputation and did not sell well.

Just because there is no better alternative for DX bodies doesnt make this one an Über-lens.

I sold mine and will wait for an updated, fast, wide AF-S prime in the future.


Sep 21, 2007
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Robert Aaltone
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Registered: Jul 18, 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: - fast aperture - wide on film - very solid construction - internal focusing - very smooth bokeh, awesome thanks to 9 blades - good at f/1.4, very good at f/2 and from f/2.8 to f/5.6 it's down right excellent - as good as the 17-35mm at f/8 28mm (tested on film) - low light contrast and colors - minimal vignetting, all gone by f/2 already! - minimal barrel distortion for a lens this wide (0.4%) - shadow detail - fantastic event/wedding prime
Cons:
- only about 7000 ever made, discontinued due to ban of lead used in construction - aftermarket price anything from USD 2400 to 3600 on eBay - insurance does not help when it's very difficult to find a replacement - due to price and performance it's justifiable only for dedicated use: low light

This fantastic prime was discontinued due to ban on lead used in the construction. With the anticipation of a FF Nikon DSLR aftermarket price on eBay has rocketed from 1700 USD (April 2006) to more than 3000 USD (June 2007).

You get what you pay for, quality is awesome. The real question is not "Is it worth the investment?" but rather "Do I need the quality it delivers?"

Emotions and collector feelings aside, financially speaking this lens is worth it's price only if you are a Nikon DSLR pro who needs income from event, concert and wedding photography. I am constantly reminded of its performance in the form of appraisal from clients, who simply are not used to seeing the moody low light photos it produces, much less motion frozen in low light without flash. It's a lens to capture the mood, using available light. The bokeh is very smooth and shadow detail is excellent, as is color reproduction.

I use it at f/2 to f/5.6 and the results (resolution, vignetting, detail, CA, distortion) are by far better than the Nikkor 35mm f/2 or the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. The difference in performance to these lenses is big but not as big as the price difference - the investment is justifiable if you need out-of-camera results to improve your profit margins. For amateur use you have to be a hardcore Nikon enthusiast to justify the purchase.

Anyone using flash with this legendary Nikkor should be sentenced to eternal damnation.


Jul 18, 2007
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David Baldwin
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Registered: Jun 28, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2840
Review Date: Jun 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extreme speed coupled with beautiful image quality even at full aperture. Wonderful build quality.
Cons:
Cost, also sadly it's no longer made ;-(

I've been privileged to have built my photography around this amazing lens for the last 11 years or so. They really don't make lenses this brilliant anymore.

Even at full aperture the quality is excellent, star images are beautifully reproduced, the dreaded sagittal coma flare is very well controlled. The infinity point on the focus scale is precise and definite showing how well the lens was assembled.

This is a big, heavy lens, but it is very well made, and I fully expect it will become a cult classic for Nikon collectors, it certainly deserves to be. It is an enormous shame that Nikon don't make a full frame pro body to make full use of this lenses' wide angle capabilities, and for this reason sadly I personally consider the 28mm f1.4 to be a film lens.

Using this lens at f1.4, with push processed film at 3200 ISO, really shows how little light you need for photography. For a (large) sample image please visit:

http://www.nightfolio.co.uk/subpages/la15.html


Jun 28, 2007
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azenis
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Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 433
Review Date: Feb 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, relatively sharp wide open, amazing bokeh.
Cons:
Price

There is vampire blood in this lens. It lives at night and can't get enough of it.

Bokeh is very dreamy.. almost paint-like... something almost impossible to find on other lenses.

If the Noct was Nikon's milestone in Ai/Ai-S, this is for sure the milestone in AF-D.


Feb 24, 2007
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Carlo r. lopez
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Registered: Nov 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 26
Review Date: Nov 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fantastic build, hand ground aspherical front element, great low light capabilities, very fast lens, nikkor cult classic
Cons:
noisy autofocusing, tends to hunt in the dark, steep price, questionable aperture ring integrity

Overall i really love this lens and feel very priviledged to actualy own one. it takes some getting used to and the noisy autofocusing can be quite a drag but once you get the focus down and click the shutter you will be blessed with spectacular images. this lens is called the "lightmagnet" for the reason it is very capable of making the most of ambient lighting.

get this lens, if you can still get your hands on it as it has been discontinued. but be prepared to pay big


Nov 7, 2006
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frankpetronio
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Registered: Apr 27, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 413
Review Date: May 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent build quality, smooth luxurious focusing for an AF lens, nice balance on a pro body (D1, D2). Hard to make it flare.
Cons:
Heavier and larger (72mm filter) than most middle range primes. Seems better for a film camera than digital. Big lenshade for a digital - I substituted a smaller metal 72mm screw-in shade and pinch cap for digital use.

I lusted after this lens and finally got one for my D2X. It was much better than the 17-55/2.8 @ 28mm. And it handled very nicely on the D2X body. However, after having it for several months I bought a 35/2 for a D70 body and was surprised to see the 35/2 beat the 28/1.4 @ f/2. Considering the price and weight difference to gain one stop, I switched to the 35/2 and saved over $1000.

True the 35/2 is nowhere near as nice a build but I can buy 5 of them for the price of this lens!

The bokeh on the 28/1.4 is nicer than the cheaper lenses in flaring situations because of the extra aperture blades. And it doesn't flare as much as the smaller primes (20/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.4, etc.).

I think this was probably an awesome lens on a F100 or pro film body. It would be too large (IMHO) on a D70 or D200 - but I think all the recent lenses are too large these days.

I used to own a Leica Summilux ASPH and was expecting this to be in the same range. I don't think it is.


May 2, 2006
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cta888
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Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp, excellent contrast and colours, minimal flare.
Cons:
None (OK, maybe the price?)

A perfect lens not only for night but for day shooting as well. It's size is very well balanced with smaller bodies (like D70, D100, F100). Focus is not very fast -similar to the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D-, but it works even in the worst light conditions.
Rugged construction, feels very good in the hand.
Very enjoyable lens although not very affordable.


Aug 11, 2005
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Bonedaddy
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Registered: May 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 27
Review Date: Jun 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic Low light performance
Cons:
Cost

This is the best lowlight lens I have ever used. At the price it should be. At f1.4 the center of the frame is very sharp with the edges being a little softer. At f2.0 and beyond it is outstanding. I can handhold this lens at 1/10 second and get great shots.

I just wish Nikon would come out with a full frame digital camera so the lens would become a true 28 again.


Jun 21, 2005
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Chipouille
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Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Location: Afghanistan
Posts: 206
Review Date: Oct 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp at 1.4 - superb colors and contrast - sturdy, solid, metal, old school...
Cons:
AF speed ordinary, expensive

This is an extraordinary lens. Invented and built to work in the dark, precisely at 1.4, handheld.
Just buy one, wait until night comes, and get out !
Only looking into the viewfinder is an amazing expericence. You'll immediately notice a difference, even if you had other excellent lenses before.
Use 100 to 400 ISO films, no tripod. Walk silent, breathe, aim, shoot, leave.
If I ever come to learn that someone used a flash with this lens, I'll personnaly find the guy, gently kick his ass and teach him all the possibilities this marvel enables.
The sharpness at 1.4 is just amazing. Beyond... I don't really know, I don't really care...
Nice but sometimes strange bokeh (probably due to the aspheric element).
Just be very careful when you focus close : 1.4, even at 28mm, doesn't provide much depth of field.
Be careful to flare when used with skylight or neutral filters, avoid using one if you work with small bright spots in the field : the lens alone does another perfect job here.
When you focus to infinity, it IS infinity for real : stars in the sky will remain small bright spots ! ...And almost no coma...

Yes I love this lens, try one if you can !




Oct 18, 2004
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Unregistered
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Location: Afghanistan
Review Date: Sep 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,490.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp even at 1.4, almost no coma, no distortion. Narrow DOF for such a wide angle.
Cons:
Some light fall off and mostly... the price. AF could be faster and quieter but I don't care.

This is the ultimate low/available light wide angle. It is as sharp at 1.4 as a lens could be, no Leica Summicron or Noctilux does better. I only use it at 1.4 ! Why stop down ? To get more depth of field ? Because sharpness hardly doesn't need to improve except in the far corners.
Let's say : 1.4 : 90 % velvia 100 F resolution is exploited.
2 : 90 % Velvia 50 resolution and 100 % 100F resolution.
2.8 : 100 % Velvia 50 even in the corners.
Constrast is very high from 1.4 to 16. Falloff is quite heavy at 1.4. Little flare only in extreme contrasts (violent corner spotlight against dark background).
Built like a tank, perfectly balanced, stable. I only wish it could focus a little closer.


Sep 11, 2004
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Jimmy Lui
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Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jun 29, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,925.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This is an absolutely extraordinary lens. It is as sharp at f/1.4 !
Cons:
Too Pricy and Bokeh is funny due to the aspheric element!

This baby lives for low light and effectively turns night into day. If you are on a budget, I would suggest you get the 35mm f/2.0D AF lens that will gives pretty good performance at about one-seventh of the price.

Jun 29, 2003
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Nikon 28mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
16 90178 Jul 14, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
75% of reviewers $1,451.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.82
6.64
9.2
1921NAS_180