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Which is the best 28mm lens



I am thinking of buying the 28 f2.8 AIS, but have read the older 28 f3.5 is also very good (and it is alot cheaper). Can anyone tell me about the 28 f3.5?



I have both the f/2.8 AIS and the f/3.5 (which was converted to AI). By all means, the f/2.8 AIS is by far the superior lens. Having said that, the f/3.5 is a very servicable optic that is an acceptable choice if you don't need CRC or the extra 1/2 stop of the f/2.8. When shopping for an f/3.5, look for a later model with the larger rear element. The earlier ex&les (mine is a mid-life model that also exhibits this) may have problems with corner cut-off when using "standard" thinkness filters - thin rims are the order of the day.

People will no doubt comment on levels of barrel distortion in the f/3.5 - the f/2.8 is relatively distortion free - but I find that for MY normal pictorial use, it isn't much of an issue.

Another f/2.8 you may run across is the AI version which is optically different from the AIS model (&/& vs 8/8). The AI model is OK, but it does NOT have CRC.

Hope this helps...


I use a f3.5 daily and have used it for approx 15 years if you like street photography, reportage, any out door work its perfect,remember the goldern rule more photos are let down by camera shake than focus or lens quality.
Now I am going to make a statement and I hope lots of you disagree and we start a nice thread.If a photographer buys a 28F3.5 on ebay for £35.00 and a EM for £40 the photographer has a tool which up to 6x9inch print is the equal of ANY 35mm.In fact I have been looking and working in this direction for a long time now (I use a FE instead of the EM)I'm convinced the principle has some little merit, any way I look forward to being shot down in flames by someone who has a better argument.


Thanks Ian, I tend to agree with you about the camera shake and the lens quality/print size stuff. I am sure many will disagree and they may have a point, but for most practical purposes you are probably correct.



New Member
I use 28/3.5 N (noncoated) and tried to compare with the modern ais lens, and all what Bob said above is correct. I would like to add that the old lens when working in cloudy days the image color may a little bit comfortable and less contrastier than the new lens.


when I started using 35mm in 1960 I was told " all lenses are equal at F8" it was good advice then and still holds good.
And size is important; especially when you have been carrying it for an hour or so; so is screen brightness, camera shake, poor focus etc. Puts f3.5v2.8 in focus?
JON GIBBS wrote: when I started using 35mm in 1960 I was told " all lenses are equal at F8" it was good advice then and still holds good. And size is important; especially when you have been carrying it for an hour or so; so is screen rightness, camera shake, poor focus etc. Puts f3.5v2.8 in focus?

IMO, the 28mm f/2.8 AIS is the best bang for the buck. It focuses real close and has CRC. The distortion levels are very low and the lens is very sharp.

Bob Fowler



Active Member
Although I did not need them, I simply had to buy a 50mm f1.4 normal lens and a 28mm f3.5 wide-angle lens when I found them for a cheap price at a garage sale. I later sold the 50mm for a profit. I kept the 28mm because I discovered that it was one of the best lenses for shooting extreme close-ups (4X to 10X) by mounting it in the reverse position on a bellows unit.



I know I am little late because I just signed up this membership. What about 28/2? I love it so much. It is really fast and sharp lens. Of course it is more expensive than 28/2.8 and 28/3.5.

Kian-Guan Au


G'day everyone,

I too have just signed on with this site. In my opinion, the 28mm f2.8 AIS is one of the best, if not the best wide angle that Nikon has ever produced. I love mine, it's sharp, has great contrast and color reproduction, and allows for some very innovative close-up work. It's infinity performance may not be as good as the f2. Read the reviews at For your info, I have recently compiled and averaged all of the ratings that I can find on these (and all) Nikon lenses. Here are the results (out of 5.00):

28mm f2 AI,AIS 4.61, overall rank = 11
28mm f2.8 AIS 4.56, overall rank = 12

These appear to be the top 2 Nikkor wide angles, but always try one out for yourself, if possible. There were not enough ratings to rank the older f3.5, but it did get a 4.15 average from only two reviewers.

All this said, I also agree with general comments about camera and lens technique. You can obtain great images with just about any lens, if you know it's performance characteristics and limitations.



The Nikkor 28mm F/2.8 is simply put the best 28 mm of the manual Nikkor. When the conversion of AI to AIS was done, is my understanding that this was the only lens that changed in design( elements,CRC,etc.), all others lenses (AI),in all focal lenghts, remained unchanged.


Hi Steve
I realise this is an old post now and was wondering if you got yourself a 28mm in the end?
I was suprised to see that the 28mm f2.8 series E nikon did'nt get a mention.
I owned one of these in the 80s/90s and it proved to be a superb optic and they can be picked up for a very reasonable price these days.

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