9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharpness at any aperture, bokehA little heavy ?
Pin sharp all over its aperture range, especially from f/2 to f/5.6.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $900)
The "natural" bokeh is great and Defocus Control is just a little more fun.
Built solid and resilient. Manual focus ring is perfectly smooth.
It's heavy for a prime, but not so much, especially considering the f/2 aperture.
It doesn't get 10/10 just because there is a recurrent frontfocus problem in some series (mine... easily fixed by Nikon under warranty however) and at this price point, it's a pity that they don't control it and fix it at manufacture. So just don't get it second hand if you cannot test it and get any problem fixed under warranty.
Probably my favourite lens along with the 180/2.8. Since I have it, I have been considering changing my DSLR (currently D50) to get a better viewer as it is sometimes hard to use manually with such a shallow depth of field !
I put some samples to show the DC effect there : http://iyhel.free.fr/laodh/spip.php?article19 (sorry, that's in French only for now).
8 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, sharp, cheapest wide angle prime solution for digitalSoft 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.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
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 : http://iyhel.free.fr/laodh/spip.php?article1
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, bright, light, cheapAbsolutely none
Oh, sure, optical quality is a little under the f/1.4 one.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $200)
Sure, there is nothing special to say about construction quality.
Yeah, corners are a little soft from f/1.8 to 2.2.
And maybe the bokeh is a little hard.
But hell at this ridiculous price you get a top quality prime. And a damn lightweight one.
Some claim they don't like the angle on digital, I never had any problem with that. Once you've got it "in your eye" you'll enjoy it for any subject - landscapes as well as portraits.
The only thing that could make me switch to a 50/1.4 or a 45/2.8 is the bokeh, which is a little hard (compared to my 105/2 and 180/2.8... not a fair challenge I admit); however it gives very nice effects at night with out of focus lightsources.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, sharp, rather cheapNo focus range limiter combiend with slow AF
This is a must-have lens for anyone who enjoys primes.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $360)
Image sharpness is excellent at any aperture, the bokeh and color rendering delicious, it's light and easy to handle.
My only regret is that there is no focus range limiter in order to have it hunt a little less in dim light conditions. With a limiter I wouldn't complain about the slow AF.
This is - as any old Nikkor - a durable lens: mine is over 20 years old and optics are still flawless - just a few wear on the body.
If you get it second hand, I would suggest to look for an early one, without the M/A switch which seems to be a pain in the ass, and if possible the rubber ring version, not the plastic one which is not that wmooth to use.
I have tried the 70-200VR, and the convenience of a zoom was not enough to convince me to handle twice the weight of my 180 ! (optical qualities are comparable, maybe slightly slightly better for the prime)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedSharpness, construction, low distorsion at the wide endWeight, chormatic aberrations
Sharpness is good, especially at the wide end. Distorsion is highly acceptable as well.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $550)
This lens is a tank - a non volontary drop test confrimed that - with the pros... and the cons : weight.
I owned it for 4 months and changed it, it is clearly no bad lens but :
- I don't really enjoy zooms
- chromatic aberrations are omnipresent when you shoot against light - easily correctbile on PS or Gimp, but I don't want to bother with too much post-treatment
- this is typically a landscape lens, and I enjoy hiking light : there is almost 1 pound difference between this one and my 20/2.8
If these are no problem to you, just go for it !
8 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, versatile, AF-SAt this price point ? None !
Nice basic lens, you don't need more to enter the DSLR world.reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $50)
It is excellent nowhere, but bad nowhere as well. And it's really versatile, more in my opinion than the 18-70 as it allows you to try proxyphtography thanks to its shot minimal focus distance.
I think you could spend a long time shooting with it and be happy - if you don't, as I did, get a 50mm prime in the same time. It obviously suffers the comparison, especially, in lowlight operation, manual focus, and bokeh. But it's worth the $.