24mm f/2.8 AI-s
DEAL, July 2013: Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI-s brand-new for just $439.
Sharpness Comparison to all other 24mm lenses August 2010
Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AF-D (same optics in a plastic poackage.)
This used to be a very popular lens. It's sharp, compact and very well made. As most Nikon AI-s lenses of its era it is a masterpiece of mechanical construction.
How good is it? Today in 2013, Nikon stil makes it. Back in the 1980s, it was the lens with which Galen Rowell made many of his most iconic images. Why> Because it's small and sharp. Galen rprefered this to the faster 24mm f/2 because Galen felt that the f/2 version had more flare.
Today, Nikon also makes these same great oprics in a cheaper plastic mout as the Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AF-D.
This manual-focus Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-s works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital.
On the D4, D800, D800E, D600, D3X, D3s, D3, D7100, D7000, D700, D300, D200, D2 and F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 24mm and f/2.8 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. It works great in aperture-preferred as well as manual modes on these cameras.
The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5100 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hotshoe adapter, or the free Pocket Light Meter app to meter manually.
See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AI, AI-s" column for this lens.
It has close-range correction (CRC) and has the usual Nikon barrel distortion.
It focuses to one foot or 0.3m.
It has a seven-bladed diaphragm stopping down to f/22.
It has nine elements in nine groups.
Filter thread is 52mm.
It is 2.2" (57mm) long by 2.5" (63mm) around and weighs 9 oz. (250g).
It has the usual Nikon wide-angle performance: great performance all over when stopped down and great in the center at all apertures.
It has the usual light falloff and fuzziness due to coma in the corners at full aperture that improves a stop or two down.
Once stopped down a couple of stops it's great.
I find the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 24mm f/2.8 (55mm filter thread) is superior due to lower distortion and less coma wide open. The Minolta lens also has CRC.
If you want an inexpensive high-performance manual-focus 24mm lens, go for it!
Nikon still makes them, and B&H Photo-Video still sells them brand-new in 2008.
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