| NOTE: In
an attempt to revamp & rearrange content in this website, there is now a newly developed section featuring various MF Nikkor lenses, please bookmark the new site for future updates. As for SLR bodies,
please refer to: - Nikkormat,
Nikon EM/FG/FG20, FM series,
& Nikon F4 |
The last version of the 20mm F2.8 ? I hope not...
Nikkor 20mm f/2.8
Ultra-wideangle lens can be very tricky in field work. But
once you master its characteristics, it excels with quite a broad scope of application.
Basically, the rectilinear characteristic (It renders straight lines as a straight
line in the final image, it also determines the quality of the lens build) when combined
with the expansive picture angle that it offers, can be an ideal lens for general
indoor photography. Besides, it also generates a greater depth of field compared
with general lenses of longer focal length, and distinctively exaggerates space between
the fore and background. To restrict the creative application for a lens like the
20mm F2.8 Nikkor featured here to only indoor or interior photography is quite unfair.
When used intelligently it can yield breathtaking images in all purpose application
like: architecture, travel, landscape or scenic, and perhaps - even portraiture !
The manual focus Nikkor 20mm f2.8 is a very well constructed
lens - typical of Nikkor famed build quality. I don't actually use or owned an AF
version of the 20mm, but that is not an important factor as the immense depth of
field with a moderate aperture of f5.6 or smaller, can handle most equivalent "AF"
capabilities. (e.g. at f5.6 focus at 5 ft, depth of field starts roughly
from 3.5' to 15'.who needs to focus anyway ? - check your DOF scale on the lens).
Actually, if you have already owned an manual focus version, it is not necessary
to invest into a 20mm AF version. BUT other than autofocus function when used with
an AF camera, there are more these AF Nikkor can provide you if you think they are
indispensable to you. Such as you will have the additional advantage of utilizing
the full capabilities in a modern AF SLR, features such as Multi-Program AE, shutter
priority AE, new exciting metering capabilities with ambience light or extend to
TTL flash exposure control.
I could have raise some protest making this statement here....
Recently, we tried to used this
lens to create a Quicktime scenario for a client. I use
this lens quite extensively for my personal photography. In fact, this lens mounted
on my camera more than any other lenses among all my Nikkors. Earlier, we mentioned
the lens can exaggerate space and dimension, this characteristic feature is one of
the main reasons why some photographers prefer to use ultrawides for some specific
photographic sessions. I have seen some really stunning images when combined well
with elements like shadows and vibrant colors to enhance space, dimension and visual
impact (Just take a visit to Eric Meola's site and see the famous Nikon advt. - the "American Dream",
he used a old 20mm f4 to captured that image). I would not recommend anyone to jump
into ultrawide photography without first getting accustomed with a feel of ultrawideangles.
The 20mm focal length can be a perfect entry to the medium. Get yourself comfortable
first (Borrow one first if possible).Get used to the various aspects of how to tackle
the characteristics and usage of the lens before you get involved with even broader
angle of view of lenses like 18mm, 15mm
or even 13mm (If you can afford
one, coz' this lens is a special order lens and is very expensive)... Nikkor wideangles
have always been regarded as one of Nikon's strengths and the 20mm and many others
has helped Nikon established a very good status in some specific photographic applications
like news and reportage.
The 20mm & 24mm are two of many photographers' favourite lenses, even in this
era of all zoom lenses - at least, I am one of them.
It is good to see Nikon eventually introduced some exciting ultra-wide zoom such
as the AF 20-35mm f2.8 and most recently, a 17-35mm zoom. Well, only complaint is,
they are still very pricey for general comfort. It looks like just have to chew the
old faithful featured here for a longwhile...
||Closing in with CRC System
Some general tips:
Always working in closer to your subject of interest and try keeping
the film plane parallel (Unless you want to exaggerate
and manipulate perspective). I know it is a bit troublesome,just try to knee down
to half length when photographing people (unless you want to try some creative act
with its distorting nature when work in close), use their waist or chest height as
your center - especially IF you are taller than the subject of interest (What else
?.. your favourite 'sexy creature').
The Nikkor 20mm mounted on a Nikon FA (Hey, taught
my nephew's EeWyn's on his first trial on effective scanning with a low end
scanner, not bad huh ? But need a lot of attention to yield pleasing results).
Optically, this manual lens incorporates Nikon's Close
Range Correction system to greatly improve image quality when shooting close range,
as opposed to the earlier version of the f3.5, thumbs up for Nikon's effort. With
12 lens elements in 9 groups (Same for both AF and the manual version, see images
at the top of the page), the angle of view is 94°, takes 62mm filters and with
minimum aperture of f22 (You need not to have smaller than that, most Ultra-wideangles
have immense depth of field when you are well versed with its depth of field scales)
and lastly, sized compactly, merely 260g in weight.
A view of a very old Nikkor 20mm f4 - though it is not impossible
to find one in the used market. But may be for those who has never seen how the older
version looks like, here it is.
Subsequently an upgrade for the 20mm, to f3.5 which
I used to own for a while and disposed off when the f2.8 version was introduced.
The f3.5 version of the 20mm Nikkor
| Back | to index
Home - Photography in Malaysia
A pictorial history of:
Nikon, Hasselblad, Rollei.
© 1999. leofoo˘
Web Development Team.
This is a personal contributing article to Michael Liu's Nikon
Site. Made with a PowerMac.
Broadcasting with a RedHat˘
Linux powered server.