9 out of 10 points and recommendedVery high image quality and construction, low vignetting, very good internal reflexes suppressionexpensive (but worth the price)
This is truly a pleasant lens to use. The build and finishing are very pleasant, the AF fast and silent, the image is crisp and the color rendition very pleasant. Two points stand out in my opinion. First, the very low light falloff, hardly noticeable even at 12 mm. Second, the excellent containment of internal reflexes. Even with strongly contrasted images and bright light sources in the frame, ghosting and flare remain minimal ad the contrast is well preserved.reviewed December 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $1,585)
It is clearly an expensive lens, but well worth the price (the high price I paid is typical on european markets, I bought it in Italy)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedVery sharp, very good color rendition on film, compactnot 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.reviewed December 22nd, 2006
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.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedvery, very, very sharp. Well built, silent nad (relatively) fast AFoccasional AF hunt (uncommon)
This is one of the best lenses I own. I mostly use it as a "normal" tele lens on my D200, much more rarely for macro.reviewed April 27th, 2007 (purchased for $817)
I bought it for I wanted a medium-long fast tele lens, and zooms are much bulkier and no as sharp (yes even the 70-200 2.8 VR) and of course much more expensive.
This lens looks truly well built, sturdy metal with a pleasant (for my tastes) finish. The AF is rather fast and truly silent, with a pleasantly damped ring for manual focus or AF retouch. The tripod collar is a nice plus and is easily detachable. The lens is overall compact and nice to handle, and its length does not vary when focusing. It is a very pleasant lens to use.
But more important, this lens is extremely sharp already from 2.8, and has negligible chromatic aberration and purple fringing. It beats the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR in all these fields ath the same focal length. At 5.6, I would say, is already exceeding what the D200 can resolve. Contrast is always very high, some flare can sometimes creep in if sunlight falls on the front element, using the hood solves the issue.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedfast,sharp,lightweight and smallsome flare, contrast loss and aberrations around poin light sources at 1.4, but nothing unesected at such apertures.
I have the impression that some reviewers forget that build a 1.4 lens nears an optical nightmare. No lens can have high contrast and corner sharpness at such an aperture.reviewed April 27th, 2007 (purchased for $460)
This one fares very well, for its f1.4 images are pretty exploitable (Nikon D200 here). Nevertheless you have to know that contrast is going to be low, sharpness suffers somewhat, flare is a problem, and you should be aware that bright point light sources over a dark background will cast funny aberration patterns around them, especially if off-axis. But stopping down a bit quickly reduces these problems to a negligible level, and the lent is basically OK from f2 onwards. This is actually the main difference with respect to the 50 1.8, that is still suffering a lot at f2.
At f4-f5.6 it fully exploits the D200 resolution corner to corner.
I find this focal length also very pleasant on DX cameras, and like to walk around with only this one. But of course this depends on your tastes and photographic interests. It is also great for low light shots of events. It is not the lens I use more, but when you need it, nothing can really replace it. And it is so small, light and (relatively) inexpensive that I cannot think going out without it.