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Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

1913NAS_180
Review Date: Jul 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: cheap compared to the 18mm 2.8, 'wide enough' on digital though not nearly as fun as with film, good wide open, very compact, AF-D version focuses quickly, very little flare
Cons:
softness or diffraction starting at around f/5 - f/7 on my lens, not as wide as I'd like on digital, there are better primes out there. Almost unnoticeable vignetting wide open in very bright conditions even on a digital body.

First off, I'm quite sure that I don't have the best example of this lens here. When I first got it I did a lot of shooting wide open and was loving the results. But when I started stopping the lens down a bit (like f/5.6) I saw some really bad diffraction or softness, especially where there's bright light.

Other than the above issue I love the lens. It's fast, small, relatively cheap, pretty wide, and has a nice warm color rendition that I kind of like compared to my 18-70 and 70-210. The lens hood can get in the way of an onboard flash and gives you less room to work with the focusing ring, but you really don't need to use the hood except when shooting in the worst light. I've yet to see any lens flare when using this lens with the hood.

I have however seen a slight hint of vignetting when shooting wide open in very bright conditions, even on my digital body. This wasn't something I was expecting to see... but it's barely there and likely not a problem for most any digital shooter who wants to use this lens.

My understanding is that the 24 or 28mm 2.8 lenses are better overall lenses than this 20mm 2.8, but if you're looking for a wide prime that's cheap and relatively sharp then this is the lens for you. The Nikon primes double or triple in price once you get to 18mm and wider, and 24mm and narrower is too close to the fov of a 35mm lens on a film body. This is the sweet spot in value for wide Nikon primes.


 
Nikon 70-210mm f/4-5.6D AF

70-210
Review Date: Jun 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good speed, good value, good quality, good feel, takes great pictures, decent bokeh, not too large or heavy. Just an overall great lens!
Cons:
Front element rotates while focusing. Weird filter size. Push-pull may be a bit of a negative. non-D focuses to infinity and back *very* slowly.

I've had this lens for just over a month now. I got it used on KEH for $130 shipped. I have the non-D version. The D version simply has a more quickly geared auto-focus motor which would be very nice to have, but I can live without it for the price that I paid for this thing. It seems like it takes forever for this lens to focus to infinity and back if it can't focus the first time around.

All I can say is that I'm very happy I bought this lens. I like it more every time I use it. The f/4 is quite acceptable at 70mm and f/5.6 isn't all that bad at 210mm. It's a relatively sharp lens with good color and resolution.

The lens is built well and handles well. I actually kind of like the push-pull zoom since it's rather smooth and quick to use. The filter size is 67mm which is kind of weird for a Nikon lens.

It's a great cheap lens.. but it's also a lens that can compete well with other options in the $500+ range today. If you're considering it just save yourself the time and pick one up. You won't regret it.