nikkor lens evaluation

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nwilkins

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Hi everyone,

I have a Nikkor 28/3.5 which is a great little lens but I was hoping a 28/2 would be even better. I bought one used and it looked mint - no marks on the glass, little dust inside. However when used wide open at F2 the performance was terrible. I am attaching two photos of the lenses on a tripod wide open to show you how much worse the 28/2 was. Now I realize my old one wide open is F3.5 so it's not a true comparison, but there is something wrong with the 28/2, right?

The 28/2 didn't seem to have these problems once stopped down to 5.6 or so, but it did not seem to be quite as good as the 28/3.5 until after F8. Stopped way down it looked better that the 3.5 but this was due to improved micro-contrast rather than better resolution.

I returned the 28/2 but now I'm wondering if the image quality will be noticeably better than the 28/3.5 - it really is a nice little lens. Will I notice a big difference if I get a working 28/2 for real world use, or only if I shoot brick walls?

Thanks!
 

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dynachrome

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I have two 28/3.5 AI Nikkors. They are both very sharp. The 28/3.8 AIS is supposed to be better in the close-up range. If I need to be in the close-up range and I do not need the 28mm focal length I just use a 55/2.8 AIS. All of the 28/2 Nikkors are supposed to be very good so yours may not have been in good condition.
 
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nwilkins

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I shot the lens in all kinds of lighting conditions and it was the same story wide open. These two test shots both were taken with the sun behind the camera (partly sunny partly cloudy day), both on a tripod with cable release. Could someone have takenit apart at some point and put it back together wrong?
 

Xmas

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a trace of fogging can make a big difference and is difficult to detect but a few scratches are easy to detect but won't detract from performance. Having a lens cleaned is expensive sending back cheap.

If you don't need /2 stick with /2.8 or /3.5.

My /3.5 needs lots a work but don't feel the need for an upgrade may strip it if I get snowed in.
 

jochen

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Hello,
the 1:2,0/28 is a rather old design and you cannot expect more from such this wide opened lens fully open. A 1:2,8/35 however is a well proven design which is much easier to correct. Take the 1:2,8/28 AiS with floating elements (not Ai!) this is one of the best 28 mm lenses on the market.
 
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nwilkins

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Hey Jochen I am not sure I agree with you there - the 28/2 also has floating elements/CRC. FWIW this was an AIS version of the lens.
 

E. von Hoegh

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Hi everyone,

I have a Nikkor 28/3.5 which is a great little lens but I was hoping a 28/2 would be even better. I bought one used and it looked mint - no marks on the glass, little dust inside. However when used wide open at F2 the performance was terrible. I am attaching two photos of the lenses on a tripod wide open to show you how much worse the 28/2 was. Now I realize my old one wide open is F3.5 so it's not a true comparison, but there is something wrong with the 28/2, right?

The 28/2 didn't seem to have these problems once stopped down to 5.6 or so, but it did not seem to be quite as good as the 28/3.5 until after F8. Stopped way down it looked better that the 3.5 but this was due to improved micro-contrast rather than better resolution.

I returned the 28/2 but now I'm wondering if the image quality will be noticeably better than the 28/3.5 - it really is a nice little lens. Will I notice a big difference if I get a working 28/2 for real world use, or only if I shoot brick walls?

Thanks!

Why do you expect it to be better? I have the 3.5, and it's a superb lens - the biggest issue is slightly dark corners wide open, which disappear by 5.6 or so.
The main reasons to use the f:2 version are (of course) the maximum aperture and it's attendant shallow dof, and the close range correction. High speed films have improved greatly, so fast lenses aren't as neccesary as they once were. The other aspects may be important to you though.
As a sort of parallel, I once had the 35/2.8 and the 35/2, both pre-ai. I kept the f:2 because it had more even illumination.
 

E. von Hoegh

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Hello,
the 1:2,0/28 is a rather old design and you cannot expect more from such this wide opened lens fully open. A 1:2,8/35 however is a well proven design which is much easier to correct. Take the 1:2,8/28 AiS with floating elements (not Ai!) this is one of the best 28 mm lenses on the market.

The 28/3.5 dates from 1959, it was one of the original lineup for the F.
 
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nwilkins

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hmmm... so which of the two pix is "much worse" again?

the one with virtually no contrast, and extreme softness everywhere except the dead centre of the frame, and what looks like flare all around the edges of the negative.
 
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nwilkins

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Why do you expect it to be better? I have the 3.5, and it's a superb lens - the biggest issue is slightly dark corners wide open, which disappear by 5.6 or so.
The main reasons to use the f:2 version are (of course) the maximum aperture and it's attendant shallow dof, and the close range correction. High speed films have improved greatly, so fast lenses aren't as neccesary as they once were. The other aspects may be important to you though.
As a sort of parallel, I once had the 35/2.8 and the 35/2, both pre-ai. I kept the f:2 because it had more even illumination.

well I really wanted the extra stop and a half of lens speed, and thought the CRC would make for better performance throughout the whole focusing range. I am now considering going a cheaper route and getting a 35/2 for low light situations and holding on to the 28/3.5.
 

E. von Hoegh

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well I really wanted the extra stop and a half of lens speed, and thought the CRC would make for better performance throughout the whole focusing range. I am now considering going a cheaper route and getting a 35/2 for low light situations and holding on to the 28/3.5.

It doesn't. Actually it doesn't make a huge differenc closeup, either, at least not on the subjects I use a 28 on (I tried one before I settled on the 3.5 version - not to mention the price difference - the 28 is about the nicest $40 lens I've ever seen :wink:).
I have a 35/2 Nikkor O that I am very happy with, I don't think you'll be dissapointed with that lens.
 
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nwilkins

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thanks E. Another thing I noticed is that the distance scale markings on the AIS 28/2 were much harder to use than on my 28/3.5 (which is a pre-AI K series). I assume this is due to a change in focusing throw? Do all AIS lenses have shorter throw (and therefore less useful lens barrel markings)?
 

E. von Hoegh

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thanks E. Another thing I noticed is that the distance scale markings on the AIS 28/2 were much harder to use than on my 28/3.5 (which is a pre-AI K series). I assume this is due to a change in focusing throw? Do all AIS lenses have shorter throw (and therefore less useful lens barrel markings)?

I don't really know. Perhaps, because the f:2 focusses closer than the 3.5, more markings are crammed into the same space? I never had the two at one time to compare; besides I rarely look at the scales. Your "K" version - I think yours has a rubber insert on the focussing ring - should be basically the same as mine, a pre-ai with factory ai conversion.
 
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E., the 28mm 3.5 was recalculated when it went to Ai-s.
Something seems wrong, both my 28mm f/2 don't look like this wide open. It does have front CRC like the 28mm f/2.8 Ai-s (which is an excellent refinement of the f/2 design BTW) and wide open you will see a bit of field curvature so make very sure what you have in focus is what you want, its not Flat Field and the later 3.5 is much better in this regards (and I think you're seeing some of this). Try the test again with more focus bracketing with f/2 you really have to nail the focus even if its a broad/landscape type shot. IMO the f/2 lens strength is mid to close distances (1-2.5 meters) when its wide open or close to it in low light.
 

E. von Hoegh

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E., the 28mm 3.5 was recalculated when it went to Ai-s.
Something seems wrong, both my 28mm f/2 don't look like this wide open. It does have front CRC like the 28mm f/2.8 Ai-s (which is an excellent refinement of the f/2 design BTW) and wide open you will see a bit of field curvature so make very sure what you have in focus is what you want, its not Flat Field and the later 3.5 is much better in this regards (and I think you're seeing some of this). Try the test again with more focus bracketing with f/2 you really have to nail the focus even if its a broad/landscape type shot. IMO the f/2 lens strength is mid to close distances (1-2.5 meters) when its wide open or close to it in low light.

Right, that's what I thought. Mine is a converted pre-ai, the Op's is a 'K', so both are pre-ai-s and should behave similarly.
 
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nwilkins

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thanks RidingWaves - I am pretty positive something was drastically wrong with the lens or else it would not have such a stellar reputation. FWIW I did extensive testing with all different focus distances and apertures and the thing was awful wide open and only rivalled the 3.5 after F8, as I said. In any case I am glad I returned it!
 
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I have two 28/3.5 AI Nikkors. They are both very sharp. The 28/3.8 AIS is supposed to be better in the close-up range. If I need to be in the close-up range and I do not need the 28mm focal length I just use a 55/2.8 AIS. All of the 28/2 Nikkors are supposed to be very good so yours may not have been in good condition.
you picked a good real-world representation for your sample image test.th3.5 seems obviously better. Ithink, what you see is whar you'll get.
 
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The front CRC is not too complex but its very much possible that it was cleaned and reassembled incorrectly. If you really don't need the extra stop the f/2.8 Ai-s is truly stellar, and I'll never not use my old Non-Ai 28mm f/3.5, it just has 'a look'. I like 28's!!
 
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nwilkins

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yes if anything I think this episode has confirmed that I will just keep using the 28/3.5 for wideangle (maybe one day I'll get a 24/2.8) and I will go for a 35/2 in case I need something in low light - a 35 shouldn't be too bad at F2 in terms of depth of field. Certainly more useable than my 50 at F1.4.
 

Yebisu

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That 28/2 doesn't look right. Should be sharper and more contrasty even wide open. The 28/3.5 looks good. I have an Ai version of this lens and it's a great little lens and very affordable.
 

vlasta

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Hello nwilkins,

I had tried one 28/2, well on digital FF body (D700), and it was awful in corners till 5.6. In center it was better than 28/2.8 AiS fully open, but overall for landscapes it was unacceptable.
 

rolleiman

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I own a 28mm 2.8 AI lens and it's excellent. Also have a 35mm f2 AI and it's also of a high standard even wide open. I wonder at the reason you purchased a 28mm f2 lens?....These kind of fast wide angle lenses were designed primarily for available light hand held photography. If most of your photography is daylight camera on tripod stuff, you'd be better off with the 3.5 version.
Finally some of us believe those early Nikon lenses made for the "F" etc., were made to a higher standard than the later AIs range. I believe production was shifted outside of Japan by then. Possibly "building down to a price" had entered the equation by then, replacing the previous maxim of excellence at all costs to combat the German Leicas?
 
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nwilkins

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Hi Rolleiman,

I was indeed looking for a 28/2 for available light handheld stuff. If I'm using a tripod I'm not going to be shooting 35mm.
 
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