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Keywords: Nikon Nikkor Wide Prime 35mm


Registered: December 2011
Posts: 7
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by 123click
Review Date: 12/4/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Takes a front filter, very compact, resonably sharp, low distortion.
Cons: Window glare is dreadful.

A wide angle lens with great center sharpness but not as good as my 14mm but at a third the cost what could you expect? and what's more it can take a front filter when conditions are too dirty to pull out my 14mm which has no protection at all.

From my experience the image quality of this lens suffers most with window glare so much detail in stained glass windows or leadlight windows is completely drowned out with background glare so I much prefer my 14mm for interiors for that reason.

Registered: November 2009
Posts: 21
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by lightknight
Review Date: 12/21/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $600.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: light, great image quality
Cons: could be better built

After reading some so-so reviews of it I am surprised by how good it is.

Trying it in the store against a Nikkor 24mm and a Nikkor 17-35 F2.8 on my D700, it comfortably won over these lenses showing very acceptable /impressive IQ on the borders (not much point in looking at the centre IMO). It was soft on the border at F2.8 but sharpened up quite nicely by F5.6. By F8 it was tack sharp while there appeared to be slight softening by F16. In my experience there are limited uses for a wide angle at f stops wider than 5.6 so softness at F2.8-F4 simply isn't a big issue.
What really surprised me was how easily it beat the redoubtable Nikon 17-35. This also has the significant issue of severe (at least in the shots I took) vignetting at 17mm/F2.8-5.6. The 20mm 2.8 also vignettes at F2.8 but nowhere near as much. The 17-35 has the ultrasonic motor - but to be honest why bother on a wide angle? The only slight issue is with CA but I have seen much much worse here and its largely fixed within Adobe Lightroom. There is also some flare but this IS a ultrawide on FX after all.

I will update this as my images come in (see link below), but from my shots to date I am very pleased. Less so with its build quality - which isn't bad - but comparing with, say a Tokina 12-24 or (even better) the 11-16 2.8 its easy to see where construction could be improved - the Tokina lenses are built like a tank and this little prime isn't. And this of course is the challenge for the Photographer: a light, easy to carry (but fixed focal) lens vs the adaptable zoom that's a pain to lug everywhere. You pays your money and take your choice but as you can see here it has excellent sharpness right to the edge of the frame


I suspect that if people say its soft its because they are not composing properly. What do I mean? well put some foreground interest in, manually set the focus using the hyperfocal markings and then look. If one shoots "a view" it wont look good as small objects 10 metres away are too far away to look sharp. Try it.

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 31
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by andre_
Review Date: 12/8/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: no flare, no CA, open shadows (like all old Nikkor lenses)
Cons: distorsion isn't simple to correct

I've been three samples of this lense.
The two AFD worked very well, but the only AF (non-D) had a lot of flare, more than others.
I like this wideangle on FF (D700), for the close-to-perfect rendition and for the lowest contrast than the hypersaturated new zooms.
The details are more in the shadows, and the the final print are better, for me.
I dislike only the distorsion, that isn't a simple pincushin but is like "a wave" (very hard to correct in Photoshop).
Actually the distorsion is not visible or nasty, but if the correction is needed... is hard to do.

Registered: March 2007
Posts: 6
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by Iyhel
Review Date: 3/13/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $200.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, sharp, cheapest wide angle prime solution for digital
Cons: Soft in the corners widde open

I was looking for some light and bright wide angle lens to replace a nice but heavy Tokina 12-24/4.

Of course I would have appreciate something wider, but 14mm is not exactly the same price... I've learnt to live with this field of view and got a fisheye to go wider - and I'm happy wih that combination.

Construction is ok, nothing great but nothing to complain about (mine is a AF non-D, 21 years old, still in perfect condition !).

It is a little soft wide open, especially in the corners, but quite sharp from f/4 to f/11; and I rather shoot some pictures that are a little soft than miss them, thanks to the additionnal stop (compared to the Tokina or Nikon zooms).

There are some light chromatic aberrations (much less than on the Tokina) and some noticeable fuzzy distorsion, but that's to be expected on such wide angles and it doesn't really bother me.

I don't like zooms and enjoy lightweight primes - so this one was the perfect pick for me.
If you're not looking for the widest one, I would suggest to get a 24/2.8 instead (D version with new optics), it is sharper and better suits digital sensors. (I've heard the 20mm is quite soft on 10Mpx sensors ; on 6MPx it's really ok)

PS : for French reading ones, I did a short comparaison of this lens and Toinka's 12-24/4 and Nikon's 18-55 at 20mm :

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 36
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by Ross_Alford
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: high build quality, small and compact, moderately ultrawide on film
Cons: lots of CA on film and digital, not very wide on digital

I have the older AIS version of this lens, but have read that the optics were unchanged in the move to autofocus. As other reviewers have noted, this was one of my favorite lenses when shooting on film, but its usefulness on digital is limited by the fact that it becomes a 30mm equivalent; instead of ultrawide it is only moderately wide.

However, it is a joy to use simply because it is so small and light, and because it is relatively fast, it makes manual focuing easy. My main use for in in digital has been doing near-infrared using a Hoya R72 filter--its relatively small filter size means that you can buy an infrared filter that will fit it without spending hundreds of dollars (the price of 77mm IR filters is pretty horrifying, while 62mm ones are very reasonable), and because my MF lens, and judging from the product photo on, the AF lens too, has an infrared focusing mark, it is a lot easier to focus correctly without so much guessing. I put the lens on a D70, expose using the histogram, focus by guess and setting to the IR mark, and frame using a 28mm auxiliary finder for a rangefinder camera in the flash shoe of the D70 (with electrical tape on the bottom of it to avoid shorting out the flash contacts). At ISO 400, I can shoot at about 1/60 to 1/125 at f/2.8 handheld in full sunlight and get very nice IR effects.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 7
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by leprechaun
Review Date: 1/7/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Beautiful lens for film
Cons: Not that useful for digital

Had this lens for awhile. Love it on a film body, seldom use it on a digital.

For film, it's lovely; wide and pretty fast.

On a digital body, it's coverge is only average. You can get the same width from a kit lens.

Never had a problem with mine after much use. Don't regret buying it. It has and still does serve me well (I still shoot a good amount of film).

Got an N80 and intend to keep using it indefinitely? Buy this lens. Shooting digital or planning to? Put your money elsewhere.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 8
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by cottontop
Review Date: 12/27/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 10 


Sharp Nikkor with excellent contrast. Exactly the
same optics as my previous AIS version.

Great lightweight landscape lens stopped down on a

All wide angle lenses have some problems. But both
distortion and chromatic aberration are easily ttvf
remedied with software these days.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 4
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by acarodp
Review Date: 12/22/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp, very good color rendition on film, compact
Cons: not negligible vignetting at 2.8, much better on film than on digital

This lens was one of my favorite as long as I shooted on film. A LARGE number of my best photos was made with it, it spent lot of time on my F5. This is a small, (relatively) inexpensive lens that truly opens the wide angle range to film shooters delivering excellent sharpness, good colors, and very high contrast even in cases when internal reflexes may be a problem. Its only minor drawback is that it shows a significant light falloff when shooting wide open (significant, not terrible), which is not surprising given the focal length and the aperture.

Unfortunately, an accident damaged the rear lens of mine some time ago. It had to be replaced and I doubt the repair was done properly. Afterwards I tested it on my D200 where it showed disappointing sharpness performances, worse than the Nikkor 12-24 F4 and the Nikkor 18-70 F3.5 4.5 at the same focal length. Given the doubts on the repair, I cannot say if this lens is intrinsecally worse on digital than on film until I can test another one. It would be a pity, given on DX it becomes a small and fast 28 mm at a very reasonable price.

Nevertheless, I can surely say it is an absolutely NECESSARY lens for anyone shooting wide angle on film.


Registered: December 2006
Posts: 10
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by mbunge
Review Date: 12/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $100.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp images, great focal length
Cons: None

This is the lens that opened my eyes to wide angle photography when I bought it 10 years ago. As a news photographer, this lens was on my film body 90 percent of the time. I got some of my best shots with it. When I don't want to intimidate a group of schoolkids or at a social event, I will use this lens in manual mode on my D200 or D1. It's a reliable, durable lens. Excellent image quality. I won't part with it.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 6
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by weisgrau
Review Date: 12/7/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $275.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, Sharp, Good Contrast
Cons: None on Digital SLR

This lens on a Nikon DSLR approximates a 30mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The medium wide angle coverage of this lens on a DSLR makes it a great all purpose lens. Couple it with a 50mm and you have a 35mm equivalent of a 30mm and a 75mm. That is as close to ideal for documentary photography and photojournalism as on can get for working in close.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 5
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by TeoK
Review Date: 11/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: small, handy, relatevely fast
Cons: expensive, quality control

agree with the previous poster - this lens is not superbly sharp as Nikkor 24mm/F 2.8

Yet, imo, it's still a good alternative to bulky zoom lenses on digital body with nice snapshooter view of 32mm lens.

This lens is prone to aperture cease at wide open - this happened twice! with mine (the reapir is costly-$125+ so get long term warranty)

Registered: August 2006
Posts: 9
Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor review by sduford
Review Date: 8/1/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, well built
Cons: Lots of CA and distortion

I was somewhat disapoitned with this lens on my D200. It showed a lot of CA when wide open, and also has a fair bit of distortion. Contrast is good but sharpness is just average.


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