Review Nikon 28mm f/1.8 G @ FX

Nikon 28mm f/1.8S sample image
Nikon 28mm f/1.8S sample image

Fixed focal length lenses like this 28 mm are designed for the photographer who is looking for maximum sharpness, minimum distortion and vignetting and maximum brightness. This combination of properties you normally don’t get in a zoom lens. The “big” brands deliver the fixed focal lengths usually in two variants: the bright and cheap version for the serious amateur, and the professional version, which is heavier, typically a bit brighter and in any case much more expensive. The subject of today’s review falls into the first category, but with f/1.8 a higher brightness than most amateur wide-angle lenses, which usually go no further than f/2.8.

Click on the product for specifications, prices and test results.

Construction and auto focus Nikon AF-S 28 mm f/1.8 G

This 28 mm is suitable for full-frame bodies, in which case you can talk about a real wide angle, but of course also for APS-C cameras, in which the effective focal length is 42 mm. This type of lens is therefore suitable for landscapes but also for “all-round” documentary use. The lens has a plastic housing; this makes for a low weight (approx. 300 g) and saves on costs. It makes the lens though more susceptible to front focus/back focus (thermal expansion) and somewhat more vulnerable than with an all-metal body. There is a wide rubber focus ring and a small window that shows the distance setting. With a switch, you select MF or M/A, in which case you automatically focus but can dial “through the focus point” by hand. One advantage of a bright lens is that the auto focus is faster and as a rule also operates more precisely. When focusing by hand, a slight “play” between ring and focusing mechanism is noticeable, a disadvantage when you’re zoomed in via Live View on your LCD screen (or connected laptop or tablet) to focus.{insertgrid ID = 289}

Vignetting Nikon 28mm 1.8G

There is visible vignetting at maximum aperture (f/1.8), but with one stop stopping down, it’s as good as gone in jpg files. With the uncorrected RAW files there’s still visible vignetting at f/2.8. For a (wide angle) lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor, that’s not a crazy result. It’s also easy to correct with software when visible vignetting is present.VignetNikon28mmFXcornervignet
Bmage cutout of an outer corner (100%) of two shots with the same subject. In a direct comparison, you can see the effect of vignetting: when you see the individual shots, it’s not noticeable.

Distortion Nikon 28mm 1.8G

Distortion with a fixed focal length lens ought to be practically zero, and in JPEG that’s true. However, that’s the result of in-camera correction in jpg files by the Nikon D800E. The uncorrected RAW file shows visible barrel distortion of more than 1%.DistortionNikon28mmFX


This lens has no trouble with flare — see the picture shown here with the sun fully in frame. This is really a very, very good result, especially for a wide-angle lens, which usually has more trouble with flare.


For a lens in the prosumer category (the serious amateur but not the full-pro photographer), the lens performs surprisingly well. The center sharpness (measured on the top-end professional D800E) is excellent. The corner sharpness lags a bit behind at large apertures, but starting at f/4 it’s “good”, and at f/8, even excellent.ResolutieNikon28mmFX

SampleImageBoekesteyn, ‘s Graveland, Nikon 28 mm f/1.8 @ f/4, 1/1600 sec, 100 ISO

Please note that these resolutions are only achievable if your camera sensor is good enough for it. We used the D800; less expensive full-frame bodies will probably not deliver this resolution. The sharpness in the center is already very good from full aperture, but with the sharpness in the corners, you really visibly benefit from a couple of stops stopping down. Click on the image for a few cutouts from the corners of the image.Corner-sharpnessCentrumscherpte

Chromatic aberration

Chromatic aberration is as good as absent, partly because Nikon automatically corrects jpg files that are stored in the camera for chromatic aberration. That is already apparent from the practice shot with the tree branches above, but also from our Imatest laboratory data. In this case, the low chromatic aberration is due to a good lens design. The RAW files on which no correction is applied also suffer from no chromatic aberration.CANikon28mmFX

Bokeh Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8 G

You don’t buy a wide-angle lens for the nice bokeh, but precisely because of the great depth of field. Yet the 7 rounded aperture blades, thanks in part to the high brightness, deliver a relatively beautiful background blur/bokeh. From the onion-ring pattern, it’s apparent that aspheric lenses are used in the design of the Nikon 28 mm 1.8 G.FX28mmbokeh

Conclusion Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8 G review with Nikon D800E



  • High brightness
  • Good image quality: high center sharpness from full aperture, acceptable distortion
  • Partly because of high brightness, a beautiful bokeh is attainable
  • Reasonably priced


  • Less nice in construction than high-end Nikons

Click on the product for specifications, prices and test results.

This Nikon 28 mm f/1.8 is an attractive lens with very good resolution and a reasonable price/quality ratio. The Nikon 28 mm f/2.8 is 300 euros cheaper. The Nikon 24 mm f/1.4 (Nikon 28 mm f/1.4 D has been out of production since 2006) is much more expensive: 2150 euros!


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