Additional Information on
Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle lense

 
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Nikon Autofocus AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D ultra-fast speed wideangle lens
Marketed 1993; Discontinued: 2006

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In 1993, in a surprise move, Nikon introduced a series of high performance AF-Nikkor lenses across the entire AF Nikkor lens group. IF I can recall accurately, they comprised of an AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D. a revised AF-Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D, AF-Nikkor zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D; AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D; a revised AF-Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D; AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D; AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D; AF-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D ED-IF as well as the AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D ED-IF. Similarly, a pair of AF TC-14E and TC-20E Teleconverters were also being introduced.

At the wide and ultrawideangle range. Other than the
AF-Nikkor zoom 20-35mm f/2.8D, Nikon also unveiled a true superwide lens AF-Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D. However, exciting as it might be, but attention of the entire photo community was centered on a AF-Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D because it has been a lapse of more than 20 years since Nikon last introduced a fast speed 28mm wideangle lens (MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0s). Further, it has been a long while since we last witnessed a widenagle lens with an incredibly bright f/1.4 aperture. (The old Nikkor classic MF Nikkor 35mm f/1.4s - widely regarded as one of the best wideangle around you can find for 35mm SLR photography was the last model from Nikon). Regardless of what camera labels, introduced a f/1.4 optical lens for 35mm photography is always a big event for the photographic community as a whole as it signifies progress and breakthrough. The release has even overshadowed eventual debut of the AF Zoom-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D; a fast speed ultra-wideangle zoom lens where Nikon has kept Nikon faithful waited for so long.

Key technical highlights:

* An amazingly fast, f/1.4 opening for maximum aperture wideangle lens, fastest 28mm wideangle available in the market in its class.
* The large aperture presents as a great tool for low-available ambient light photography
* Optically composed of a precision-ground aspherical lens element in its 11 elements in 8 groups optical design
* Robustly built, designed to last for heavy duty professional use.
* Exceptional optical performance, even extends to its closest range with incorporation of Nikon Close-Range Correction (CRC) element and an IF (Internal Focus) design
* Nikon latest SIC lens coating for containing ghost and flare under adverse light situation as well as providing a neutral yet natural colour rendition.

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Every established camera / lens manufacturer has a complete solution on lenses of different types, varieties and categories to serve market needs. Nikon can be regarded as one of the major player in the market but after switching to autofocus; Nikon SLR cameras lacked the same level of completeness in the AF Nikkor lens system as compared to the old days of manual focus photography. Although Nikon autofocus SLR cameras introduced during first quarter of the '90 had progressed tremendously with their far advance autofocus system but the corresponding progress for the AF Nikkor lens group was considered to be quite disappointing as a whole.

So, other than seemed like introduction of this ultra-fast speed autofocus wideangle lens served to beef up option for wider range of lens selection for photographers at the wideangle section; it also carried with an objective to re-brand Nikon 35mm autofocus system at the professional users market as Nikon could had realized the threat posted by the Canon EOS-1N for their Nikon F4s during that period. Basically, other than autofocus system on the camera, the AF Nikkor lens group also lacked enough varieties, selections for lens breed / types in professional use. So, some of the series of AF Nikkor lenses introduced along with this superbly crafted, high speed AF-D Nikkor 28mm wideangle lens were served to counter the negative perception that began to generate among professionals.

The AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle lens was designed from ground up as a native AF-D lens. This eliminates many issues such as compatibility, version history etc. and enables broad spectrum of usage with old and new series of Nikon SLR bodies. For Nikon SLR models that provides 3D Matrix Metering, Multi-Areas Autofocus detection and D-TTL flash control capability, this is a good companion wideangle lens for low available light or flash photography. For older Nikon SLR bodies, it delivers the corresponding features where each model provides. For an instance, except for autofocusing, it works just like an ordinary Nikkor lens on Nikon F3HP; Nikon FM3a or a full mechanical body like a Nikon FM2/T; with an older Nikon autofocus SLR such as Nikon F4, it autofocus, basic Matrix Metering works as well as the Matrix Balance Fill flash is offered the same way like a non-D AF Nikkor is mounted.

Potful of colors by  Michael Mathews http://www.pbase.com/mrmikemgm
Why don't try exploring combination of its close focus ability with a large aperture (in relation of its shallow DOF) ?

Pot of colors on a sunny morning...

Credit
: Image courtesy of Dr. Michael Mathews, Coppell, Texas, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

As with most notable large aperture lenses, I think you have to understand what the lens can offer rather than expecting it can deliver miracles for your photography. However, it has its strength as well as limitation and you cannot expect a perfect optical score in every department simply because you have paid an extra premium; if not, you might as well forget about thinking to invest into such a lens breed. This is not confined just to this AF-D 28/f1.4 but it applies on many other fast speed optical marvels such as Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM, a MF NOCT-Nikkor f/1.2, Leica M-Noctilux 1:1.0 or a Canon EF f/1.0L. We all know as long as cost and limitation is not an issue, it is easier for manufacturers to design ultra-fast lenses of standard or short telephoto lenses but it can be far more complex for wideangle lenses which uses retrofocus design. An example is the fast speed Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM, where I thought it is a very well designed ultra wideangle lens but Canon photographers seem not too enthusiastic about. Is there something wrong with the 24mm f/1.4 ? No. Simply because expectation was too high.

Nikon F5A with AF-Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle lens
So, the same goes for the AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D. It delivers an amazing fast lens speed of f/1.4 and offers available light shooting with a wide picture angle shooting never before made possible with a Nikkor wideangle lens. It has a wide 8-steps selection of apertures for total creative Depth of Field control and adding the extra benefit as a native D-spec lens configuration Hence, when you used it with any Nikon film or digital AF SLR model that enables 3D Matrix metering, you can enjoy full benefits of Nikon's most advance state in both ambient and flash exposure control with the camera.

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It is a big piece of optic and has a large piece of front lens element at the front section. It looks pretty well balance on a pro grade Nikon SLR body but compact Nikon SLR such as Nikon FM or Nikon FE class series it goes slightly out of proportion.

Is this a viable lens to invest ? Well, I guess you should evaluate yourself on whether your type of photography requires fast speed optic and next, if the price justifies for an investment. The AF-D 28/f1.4 is NOT entirely an affordable wideangle lens and if price is an issue, Nikon still offers an alternate AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D. Some may question the wisdom why not an intermediate lens speed of f/1.8 was offered instead of f/1.4 (such as the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM) but as I had commented earlier, the introduction was part of a re-branding process for Nikon and next, the Canon EF wideangle was a product that released in 1995 to partly counter this AF Nikkor with its remarkable lens speed. Although generally speaking, I wouldn't think the AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D was a hit commercial but it serves its presence on its own as a wideangle and indirectly has elevated image of Nikon AF Nikkor lens group.

Lantern festival at Toronto, Canada. by Pierre Dubeau
Lantern Festival @ Toronto

Credit: Image courtesy of Pierre Dubeau, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Physically, if the built quality of this AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D is the the standard adopted for all the Nikon autofocus lenses, probably most of us would not made so much complaints over the years. The lens has been treated with a typically high-end Nikkor lenses hammered-head coated hard covering which has a crinkle finishing. I was told it is a layer of industrial resin which is resistance to penetration of water or moisture as well as anti corrosive properties. Together with the overall weight (520g or approx. 18 oz) and dimension, it projects a very solid look and a rigid feel and helps enhancing its quality appearance. Various lens function and control are well displayed of various functions for photographer to use it. It has three rings. A M/A ring is positioned at the center for easy switching from manual or to auto focus operation. For situation where manual focusing is preferred, Nikon has designed the section with a truly generous 1-1/2" wide manual focusing ring. The aperture is located at near the full metal lens mount. A minimum aperture lock uses a slide switch design which is easy to operate. Three areas that I am still not entirely happy about are, the aperture ring which could be improved on its quality. Next, Nikon only offers two depth of field scales for f/11 and f/16 - could have added with another mid or larger aperture value. Lastly, as with most fast speed lenses, the minimum aperture f/16 could has been offered with a f/22.

Optically, technical highlights include a 11 elements in 8 groups design with an aspherical lens element is placed at the 9th element . It has an Internal Focus (IF design) as well as Close Range Correction (CRC) system for close range shooting. The CRC compensates itself within (It changes internally with an interval of 2 places of the lens group) and ensure the its excellent optical performance be maintained even at its closest focus distances (closest focusing distance is marked @0.35m (1.15'). However, its magnification ratio is a so-so ratio of 1/8.3. Shooting at its closest distance at its maximum aperture of f/1.4 depth of field can be very very shallow. For creative thinkers, by combining the shallow DOF and its 28mm field of view, this may provide interesting visual possibilities. The lens has a very large piece of front and rear lens element at two ends. It uses 72mm filter but the front filter ring does not rotate during focusing due to use of the Internal focus design. So, this makes use of special lens accessories easier. Note: the lens has incorporated with a rounded 9-blades diaphragm which is a rare treat. The use of multiple blades may contribute to a more natural out of focus blur. Although the lens has an incredible light gathering power but it will not turn a night into a day but it does offer a mean for situations where use artificial illuminations is not advisable or simply to preserve natural light in the pictures.

An illustration photo of Nikon balance fill flash by Alex Carothers
A dramatic illustration of a typical balance filled flash photo working with ambient light...

Credit
: Image courtesy of Alex Carothers, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

We mentioned flash photography earlier right ? The picture angle of the 28mm f/1.4D works with coverage of most popular flash units (Nikon termed theirs as "speedlights"). I guess Nikon's 3D balance fill-flash is one hell of a feature too for flash photography with a Nikon. I have selected some creative flash pictures at the Nikon F4s and Nikon F5 flash photography sectiosn as illustrations; you may use the showcase to explore other techniques with this AF Nikkor wideangle lens on your own. I am not a pro. But yes. I have bought this lens for my leisure photography because it presents enough of good features within to call for an investment. Although torn between this with another option of AF-Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D super wideangle lens, but senses told me to go for lens speed rather than picture angle.

Find your Nikon Speedlights selection: Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27 (1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003) (updated); Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series: Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002) (updated); Nikon MF- Speedlights | BC-Series | SB-1~SB-21 (except SB-20) |; Nikon MF- Macro-ringlight | SM1/SR1 | SM2/SR2 | SB-21 |

SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10 | SB-11 | SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accessories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

Update:- Nikon has recently announced discontinuation of many products in 2006; both the fabulous fast speed wideangle lenses of 18mm f/2.8D and AF 28/f1.4 were not spared. But it has opened up an opportunity for those who may still appreciate these class of fast speed lenses. It should be cheaper via used equipment channels such as Ebay. Try !

A view from the Seven hells series by Paul Jacklitch
Ticket attendance at the Seven Hells series by Paul.

Credit: Image courtesy of Paul Jacklitch, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
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Depth of Field Readout:- the lens only provides two depth of field visual guide for f/11 and f/16. The lens has been designed with a short rotation, and hence, the distance scales inside the focusing window is a little too blur for such usage. The instruction may come with a better and more accurate measurement, look for it (thrown the manual long ago, I don't have one now).

Minimum Aperture Lock
For programmed auto or when during shutter-priority auto shooting, use the minimum aperture lock lever to jock the lens aperture at f/16.
amswitch.gif   1. Set the lens to its minimum aperture (f/16).
2. Slide lock lever in the direction of the aperture ring and so the white dot on the lever aligns with the orange dot.
3. To release the lock, slide lever in reverse direction.

NOTE:- It is still okay if you have not lock the aperture to its smallest aperture (as long as it is there). Anyway, most Nikon AF SLR camera will signal the mistake set.

Important: 1) It is always a good practice and be careful not to spoil or damage the CPU contacts. 2) Do not attach the following accessories to the lens, as they may damage the CPU contacts of the lens. 3) Auto Extension Ring PK-1, Auto Extension Ring PK-11*, K1 Ring, Auto Ring BR 4 ** 4) This lens cannot be used with AF Finder DX-1 attached to the Nikon F3AF camera. * Use PK-11A instead. ** Use BR-6 instead. You should also check the instruction for more compatibility issues.

Technical Specifications for AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4s wideangle lens

Focal length: 28mm; Maximum aperture: f/1.4D with distance chip for compatible Nikon AF SLRs that incorporate such feature
Lens construction: 11 elements in 8 groups with an Aspherical lens element at 9th position; close range correction with floating lens element and IF design
Picture angle: 74° (53° for DX sensor-powered Digital SLRs: Lens coating: Nikon SIC
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 0.35m (1.15 ft ) to infinity (
OO)
Magnification ratio:- Maximum 1/8.3@0.35m; Distance information: Output into camera body
Aperture scale: f/1.4 to f/16 on both standard and aperture-direct readout scales
Diaphragm: Fully automatic; Number of Diaphragm blades used: 9

Optical construction illustration for Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle lens

MTF chart for Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle lens

<<<--- Nikon published MTF for this lens.


Exposure measurement: Via full-aperture method; distance info auto relay to camera body meter and exposure circuitry
Infrared compensation scale:- provided.
Lens Mount: Nikon bayonet mount; External front filter attachment frame: non-rotating
Depth of Filed Scales: yes. f/11 and f/16 only
Infra-index: Yes. Filter attachment size: 72mm
Dimensions: Approx. 75mm (3") dia. x 77.5mm (3-1/2")
Weight: Approx. 520g (18 oz)

Standard Accessories (Supplied)

Optional Accessories

Snap-On front lens cap (72mm)

Flexible lens pouch No. 62

Rear lens cap LF-1

Hard lens case CL-44, CP-9

Bayonet-type filters (L37C, A2, B2, 056) @72mm

Teleconverter TC-201s, TC-l4 A (see Nikon Teleconverter section for more info on applicable Nikon tele-extender)

Lens hood HK-7

AF-3; AF-4 (optional)

Usable. (0); AF-4 Usable. (1): ( ) Indicates maximum number of usable hoods (HN-36 for AF-3/HN-37 for AF-4).


NOTE
*: Nikon Circular polarizing filter II Usable (also with the Lens Hood HN-9, but not usable with the dedicated Lens Hood HK-7). NOTE**: Production Serial Numbers believed to have started from 400001 for this AF Nikkor wideangle lense; 200001 < 200132 - 207326 > Roland Vinks's data sheet -

A magnificent view of the Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC, Kuala Lumpur in a late evening..
The Magnificent Petronas Twin Towers-KLCC which is just next to my office.

This photo was extracted out from my
KLCC-Petronas Towers Series.

A selective of other shots appeared in my KLCC showcase were also taken with this lens with my
Nikon F3/T. Original file, available light. No filter. I like its incredible light gathering power.

NOTE
:- IF ever I have a choice, I simply dislike making use of my website development to publish my own pictures (because as a host, it is just not appropriate for me to do so). I always felt embarrassing to ask but neither other Nikonians are courageous to offer to help. So, this is just served to bridge temporarily until someone sent me a better picture to replace it. Yeap, I have this lens too and I hope whoever out there will spend some creative moment of yours from now on to present us some good illustrative shots later in this section. Yeah.. I do take pictures at times. Some of my personal works as well as guest's contribution are compiled / presented in a SEPARATE section which has a lesser degree of conflicting interest with website development. Lastly, all these showcased pictures used for these Nikkor lens sites will be port at that section as well.

Some suggestive web links (external) on this AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle:- CPU Nikkor lenses listed by LensID | A good review by Dante Stella | Another review by Michael Weber | Third handpicked review by Petri Kekkonen | Last review that I enjoyed reading by Ken Rockwell | Some boring cross fire between Nikon and Canon users |

Update:- Another highly recommended article by Marco Cavina, ITALY who prepared some of the optical analysis of the MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0S with AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D. It was written in Italian but you can make use of Google utility to translate: http://google


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AF-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s | AF-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D | AF-Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D

Version History: | RF Nikkor-W 2.8cm 1:3.5 | MF Nikon 2.8 cm f/3.5 Nikkor-H | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 Auto | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 non-Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 non-Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 non-Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 Ai | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 Ai-S | MF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S | MF Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 Ai-S | MF PC-Nikkor f/3.5 / F/4.0 | UW-Nikkor 28mm f/4.0 | Relative: Canon equivalent of the Autofocus EF 28mm f/1.8 USM & EF 28mm f/2.8 wideangle lens

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Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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