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Nikon's classic 28mm shoot out.

Nikon Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS and 28mm f/2 AI

If you have not seen it yet, infinity tests are in part one.

How big of a difference does the minimum focus distance make? Up close and wide open with the 28mm f2 AI.

Up close and wide open with the 28mm f/2.8 AIS.

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 FE at 28mm f/4 and minimum focus. At 1/200 I believe there is some motion blur going on here, but even on a tripod the Nikkor 28mm 2.8 AIS is sharper at mfd and f4.

It has a unique look wide open, and a good copy is sharp at f2, but there is a lot of sample variation. I've seen one that was mediocre wide open and two that were terrible. There is some CA wide open too, this is with auto correction for it on in photoshop. The nose texture and hair detail is impressive.

With the sun just out of the frame flare control is impressive, shot wide open again.

Word on the street says that the Nikkor 28mm f/2 AI is sharper stopped down for distant subjects while the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-S is better wide open and on closer objects.

At f/2.8 it's impressive how much less vignetting the 28mm f/2 AI has, even in a scene like this. Shot on a tripod using the same polarizer on both lenses.

100% center crops

Sides a few inches above the paw print where they were sharp due to field curvature, which doesn't seem as severe as the 28mm f/1.8G and certainly not the Zeiss 28mm f2.

Centers at f/4


Sides at f/5.6

Conclusion? With my two copies they appear very similar in the center. Even with 10x magnified focusing it's hard to tell the two apart, more comes down to focusing ability. The 28mm f/2.8 AI-S is certainly better at the edges, up close and far away unlike popular belief. At least for my copies. The smaller size, lighter weight and closer minimum focus distance all stack up in its favor, although for subject separation on objects a few feet away the 28mm f/2 has the one stop advantage.

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S at f/8



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