Information on Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Lens


NIkon Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s (Ai-S).

The middle of the road

The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 line was the one to be introduced in the Nikon's 28mm range. It provided the middle ground between the top of the range f/2 and economical f/3.5 lines, combining a relatively bright f/2.8 speed with compact size and relatively low cost. This compromise between quality and price made it a popular model. It is no surprise then that this line is the only one that was represented in Nikon's autofocus lineup (other than the exotic f/1.4), and is the only one that remains in production (in manual and autofocus forms) in late 2008.

The lens is compact & lightweight, but the presence of quality feel is all over as physically, it is solidly built. Its image quality has long been recognized as top class Nikkor performer as it has packed with some of the best optical innovation Nikon has developed for their MF wideangles within. The lens closes down to a minimum focusing distance that few other Nikkor lenses be able to match while retaining same high optical performance at such close distance.The Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s also famed for its ability to deliver images of extremely high contrast and resolution. It has long been a favorite among many seasoned photographers as one of the best wideangle lens for all round photography. The 74 degree picture field view also enables it to be as one of the most practical lens for PR photography. It also stops down to f/22 for greater depth of field control while on the other hand, it is also one of the few Nikkor lens that can project a astonishing 9X Magnification when reverse mount onto a bellow unit for close-up.

Manual Focus Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s wideangle lens
Compare this with the autofocus AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens group

The most attractive factor is still at its modest price versus the performance it can deliver. The faster version of the Nikkor wideangle at f/2.0 is no doubt an equally good wideangle lens, but the one stop faster lens speed also means you may have to pay double in your investment cost and thus, making the f/2.0 lens less appealing to many photographers who are cost conscious. The negative side of the slower f/3.5 version is restrictive to its slow maximum lens speed which makes it less practical to be considered as an all round usage wideangle. Overall, I can safely conclude the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s version may be one of the few Nikkor wideangle lens that I regarded it to have the best price over performance ratio. I used to own lenses at both 35, 24mm focal length - but when I decided to use 20mm as my ultrawides lens, the 28mm naturally becomes the lens that handle all my other wideangle needs.

Man versus Machine
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NIKON Nikkor manual focus wideangle 28mm f/2.8s

NIKON Nikkor manual focus wideangle 28mm f/2.8s front view

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Basically, it was because picture angle of the 35mm focal length lenses may often falls short to cover PR photography that may sometimes comprised of 4-6 human figures; while on the other hand, apparent distortion presents with a 24mm wideangle lens has become too prominent for general PR photography. So instead of carrying a few lenses of different focal length at the same time, I choose to settle with a moderate middle-of-the-road focal length at 28mm lens instead. Well, those day I thought I have made a good decision, even by now, neither I think that decision was wrong.

28mmAiNikonF4top.JPG 28mmf28AirearView.jpg
<<< ---- All images from my copyright-free image collection. eofooTM.gif Malaysian Internet Resources
Over the years, Nikkor wideangle at this focal length of 28mm have gone through quite a few stages in its lens development which has resulted in almost a perfect state in its design The Ai-S version which was introduced in 1981 and the second generation of the AI version of this lens has an improved optical design of 8 elements in 8 groups and focuses down to 0.2m (0.7ft) and providing an impressive Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1:3.9, making this lens the closest focus MF Nikkor wideangle lens ever. While the earlier version which has 7 elements in 7 group design but it can only focus down to 0.3m (1 ft). However, the newer Ai-S version weighs at 250g, which is slighter heavier than earlier one at 245g.

Nikon Series E wideangle 28mm f/2.8s
Nikon E-Series 28mm f/2.8s

Other than the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s featured here, there was actually a more economical alternative of a 28mm lens manufactured by Nikon. Back in November, 1979, Nikon shocked the photo community with the introduction of an ultra-compact SLR, the Nikon EM. "Shocked" because along with the introduction of the compact series of these Nikon SLRs (with Nikon FG and FG-20 to make up the series) were actually a new series of budget-class lenses ("E-Series") being introduced aiming to supplement the said entry level Nikon SLR camera(s). A Nikon 28mm f/2.8s ("Nikon" was used in the designation of these E-series lenses instead of "Nikkor") was among the first batch of such batch of this series of E-Series lenses. The 28mm E-Series wideangle lens has omitted an important feature found in most Nikkor lenses, i.e. the traditional meter coupling shoe that rest on top of the aperture ring has been omitted in the entire group of the E-Series lenses which signaled the departure of support from Nikon for older non-Ai-Spec Nikon camera bodies.
Overall, the E-Series lenses have a very strong sense of fragile and plastic feel. The first version of the Series E optic do not even provide a metal lens mounting ring and have a double row textured plastic focusing ring. The second version of the 28mm wideangle saw some improvement after heavy criticism from users over its physical construction, Nikon replaced the focusing ring with a double row rubberized which is closer to the Nikkor appearance. Further a narrow Aluminum lens mounting ring was added. However, on the plus note - the lens has a very compact design and very light in weight (weighs merely 150g !), attributed from a 5 elements in 5 groups design. However, despite the drawbacks in its exterior appearance, the lens is an equally SHARP optic.
Technical highlights relating to this Nikkor wideangle lens: * Wide 74° picture coverage lets you handle wide scope of applications, such as it can be used to take candids, portraits of people in their surroundings, landscapes, travel photos, night lights, architecture and interiors, nudes, and star trails etc. * Focuses down to 0.2m (0.7 ft.) - the closest minimum focusing distance of any Nikkor lens; Close-Range Correction System insures sharp images even at its closest focusing distance.* Excellent for high-magnification close-ups when mounted in reverse on a bellows unit - up to nearly 9X magnification is possible. * Superb picture quality from center to edges because it is extremely well corrected for coma and spherical aberration. * Exceptionally light - weighs only 250 grams. * Accepts popular 52mm filters.


Focal length/Aperture:
28mm f/2.8; Lens construction: 8 elements in 8 groups
Picture angle: 74°; Diaphragm: Automatic; Aperture scale: f/2.8 - f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales

Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:3.9
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with Ai cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai cameras. Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 0.2m (0.7 ft.) to infinity (

Weight: 250g; Dimensions: 63mm dia. x 53mm long (overall); 44.5mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 52mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Snap-On; Lens hood: HN-2 screw-in metal; Lens case: CL-30S herd leatherette, No. 62 soft pouch, or CP-8 plastic
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200, TC-201s, TC-14A; Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections. NOTE: Serial Number was believed to have been started with 635001 for this AIS version and 430001 for the Ai-Spec version

NIKON Nikkor manual focus wideangle 28mm f/2.8s
Manual Focus Versions:- 28mm focal length Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses:
Early non-AI versions | mid-1970 (pre-AI) | Late 1970 | Early 1980 - Present: 28mm f/2.0s | 28mm f/2.s8 | 28mm f/3.5s | Relative: PC-Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 and PC-Nikkor 28mm f/4.0

| Back | to Main Index Page of MF Nikkor lenses at 28mm focal length

AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8s autofocus wideangle lens
AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D autofocus wideangle lens
AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D autofocus wideangle lens

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specialises trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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