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Thread: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    In the Nikon D3s - now out thread, Graham Welland wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Some new updated FX primes at the mid-wide to wide end wouldn't go amiss it's true. The current pro zooms (14-24/24-70) are excellent but a new nano coated AF-S 35/1.4, a 24 and a 21 would be wonderful.
    I hope Graham won't mind my using his post as an example of the most common request for new wide angle prime lenses from Nikon. It's just that in asking for those particular lenses he illustrates an issue that has puzzled me for quite a while now: why doesn't the 28mm focal length get any love?

    Canon offers 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 L-series primes (and a consumer-grade USM 28/1.8). Leica offers 21/1.4, 24/1.4, and 35/1.4 lenses (and, admittedly, a superb 28/2). However the rumors on upcoming Leica lenses focus on a redesigned 35/1.4 rather than a 28/1.4. Nikon currently offers only a consumer-grade 28/2.8 and rumors concerning new Nikon primes consistently mention 24/1.4, 36/1.4, and 85/1.4 lenses rather than a redesigned 28/1.4.

    I can do 95% of my shooting with lenses in the 28mm to 90mm range so -- unlike perhaps a majority of members in this or any other forum -- if there were no lenses wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm, it would have hardly any impact on the kinds of pictures I like to make.

    But consequently this means 28mm is a key focal length for me. So my question is: when/why did the 28mm fall out of fashion/favor?

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    Well, let me add the reason why I didn't mention the 28 in my post ... I already have the Nikon 28/1.4 AFD although obviously a more modern AF-S example might conceivably be better.

    Personally I enjoy the speed & character of the lens although personally I would rather have a 35/1.4 AF-S if it were available. I also have the 35/2 AFD which is pretty old now and I'm sure a new formulation of that lens would be a lot sharper and better overall - not that it's a bad lens but faster & incrementally better is always a good thing.

    With respect to the 24 & 21 (plus also 28 & 35), I'd just love for Nikon to produce some competitive lenses that would compare to the Zeiss ZF glass. I've had all these focal lengths in ZF and Zeiss have done a magnificent job with these lenses. The opportunity is for Nikon to offer comparable quality but in an AF package.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 18th October 2009 at 03:43.

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    Re: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    In the Nikon D3s - now out thread, Graham Welland wrote:



    I can do 95% of my shooting with lenses in the 28mm to 90mm range so -- unlike perhaps a majority of members in this or any other forum -- if there were no lenses wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm, it would have hardly any impact on the kinds of pictures I like to make.

    But consequently this means 28mm is a key focal length for me. So my question is: when/why did the 28mm fall out of fashion/favor?
    I agree I could do everything with 28-90 as well, maybe even 28-50. I'm not sure why Nikon discontinued the 28 1.4, but I suspect in recent years, with things like the GRD, Sigma DP1 etc., people are once again starting to see the advantages of the 28 mm focal length. I would even settle for a new Nikkor 28 2.0 AF, just for the smaller size. The MF one I used to own, really was a nice lens, but I found not having AF meant it got used very little.

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    Re: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    Well my opinion is that the Leica 28mm latest version is about as good as it gets at this focal length. The lens is small and lightweight and makes for superb images. Viva Leica and let's hope that Nikon and others get going on primes of their own

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Well, let me add the reason why I didn't mention the 28 in my post ... I already have the Nikon 28/1.4 AFD although obviously a more modern AF-S example might conceivably be better.

    Personally I enjoy the speed & character of the lens although personally I would rather have a 35/1.4 AF-S if it were available. I also have the 35/2 AFD which is pretty old now and I'm sure a new formulation of that lens would be a lot sharper and better overall - not that it's a bad lens but faster & incrementally better is always a good thing.

    With respect to the 24 & 21 (plus also 28 & 35), I'd just love for Nikon to produce some competitive lenses that would compare to the Zeiss ZF glass. I've had all these focal lengths in ZF and Zeiss have done a magnificent job with these lenses. The opportunity is for Nikon to offer comparable quality but in an AF package.
    Graham, that's more than a good enough reason for omitting the 28mm from your original request. And I totally agree with you about the Zeiss lenses -- if Zeiss released ZA (auto-focus for Sony Alpha mount) versions of their current manual-focus 28mm and 35mm ZF/ZK lenses, that might be almost enough to tempt me into the Sony camp.

    Quote Originally Posted by clay stewart View Post
    I agree I could do everything with 28-90 as well, maybe even 28-50. I'm not sure why Nikon discontinued the 28 1.4, but I suspect in recent years, with things like the GRD, Sigma DP1 etc., people are once again starting to see the advantages of the 28 mm focal length. I would even settle for a new Nikkor 28 2.0 AF, just for the smaller size. The MF one I used to own, really was a nice lens, but I found not having AF meant it got used very little.
    Clay, I understand that the Nikon 28/1.4 was expensive to manufacture and used lead in some of the glass, so it was environmentally dodgy. I have a Nikkor 28/2 AI-S and it's indeed a lovely lens. I'd be more than happy with an AF version of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Well my opinion is that the Leica 28mm latest version is about as good as it gets at this focal length. The lens is small and lightweight and makes for superb images. Viva Leica and let's hope that Nikon and others get going on primes of their own Woody
    Woody, if I were buying a Leica (either a secondhand M8/M8.2 or an M9), the 28mm Summicron is the first lens I'd want. I'm still curious, though, as to why Leica don't offer a 28mm Summilux. I can't believe they wouldn't want to rise to the challenge, particularly since the 21mm and 24mm Summiluxes have been so well received.

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    Senior Member leif e's Avatar
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    Re: 28mm: the red-headed stepchild of wide-angle lenses?

    Good question!

    15 or 20 years ago I loved my 28s (Rokkors and Nikkors), but found anything wider a bit risqué. Now, the 21´s my favourite lens (along with the 35).
    I actually believe this is one reason I cannot really find a digital favorite camera, I just don´t like the crop thing. Using a great 28 as a 42 just feels wrong. Full format SLR as well as M9 is out of reach so far (hoping for a better 2nd hand D700 market as the D3s enters the market).

    The lack of fast primes in general, however, is a bigger problem and I don´t like zooms. So; I´ve settled for a CV 15 as a "21" on my RD-1 and manual focus Nikkors on my D200. Today I got a Nikkor 1,4/85 ais in the mail and the 1,4/35 is round the bend. Real wides are best handled on rangefinders anyway. Then; a 2/24 to act as my 35 - though not fast enough.

    leif e
    F2, FM2, D700, 3,5/20 UD, 2/35, 3,5/55, CV 2,5/75 (all ai or ai´d), 1,8/85 af-d,
    2,8/60 af-d

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