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  Reviews by: Robert Aaltone  

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Nikon 28mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor

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
- 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.