Provides maximum 1:2 reproduction ratio from 50-105mm
Hybrid-type aspherical lens element for minimized distortion
IF (Internal Focusing) technology for fast AF operation
Nine-blade rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural
cyclohexane Photocamel Master
Registered: October 2005 Location: SARATOGA, Calif., USA Posts: 8582
Review Date: Fri March 25, 2011
Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: $280.00
| Rating: 8
Sharp, great color, useful range, price is right
Susceptible to flare, not AF-S, focuses slow on certain bodies, range less useful on DX
(This review is primarily text reproduced and edited from a 2006 review of this lens, before FX digital cameras)
This was the original “upscale kit lens” back in the film days, eclipsed by the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX Nikkor on DX, which offers the same equivalent view. With the advent of FX digital cameras, this lens is again very useful, though there are now better options for a convenient walk-around zoom for your FX camera, such as the 24-120mm f/4G AF-S N VRII or the 28-300mm VRII.
Nikon dubs this lens a “High-Performance Standard Zoom” in the 2005 Nikon Full Line Product Guide (Volume 13). It features internal focusing (IF), D technology for 3D color matrix/matrix metering and fill flash (D), an aspherical element (ASP), and Nikon’s Super-Integrated Coating (SIC). It has 16 elements in 12 groups, the closest focusing distance is 1.5 ft at all focal lengths, and 0.7 ft on the macro setting from 50mm to 105mm.
The hood is the HB-18, which is rather large and increases the diameter of the lens significantly when used.
While the range of this lens isn’t quite as a useful on DX- providing a rough 42-158mm equivalent field of view- it is one sharp lens. No light fall-off or vignetting on DX. Contrast is quite good- markedly better than the popular 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX. Best results are obtained past f/8, though f/5.6 is certainly usable.. Personally, I’d place the sweet spot at f/11, and the good light I’m usually using this lens in f/11 is still perfectly hand-holdable. The macro feature actually works and gets you to half life-size magnification.
Bokeh looks pretty good, and due to the rounded diaphragm specular highlights retain a nice round appearance. Certainly much better than you’d expect from a $280 zoom lens. This lens is certainly capable of delivering portraits, though the variable aperture takes away some of the background control one would get from a faster constant aperture zoom.
Distortion is barely noticeable, and I actually have yet to see prominent distortion in any of my shots taken with this lens. Chromatic aberration is absent from images I’ve taken with the lens, even without ED elements.
The 28-105 suffers from flare worse than some other zooms I’ve used; if one is facing the sun the loss of contrast is fairly visible in the viewfinder. The hood is large, and does a decent job of shading the front element; also, it is of the plain round type, allowing one to set the camera down with the hood face down. You will want to protected the lens from all stray light, as the lens will exhibit ghosting.
The plastic construction is decent. The macro switch conveniently located near where one’s left thumb would rest when supporting the lens with the left hand under it, so switching to macro is easy. While focusing, the focusing collar turns with an audible noise, but the front element does not move while focusing as it is an IF lens. Zoom action is smooth and quick.
When manually focusing, the focusing ring makes noise, and does not feel anywhere near as nice as a true AF-S lens or a manual focus Nikkor, but it’s certainly better than some of the earliest AF Nikkors which had extremely dry, coarse actions- e.g. the 28-80mm. The lens does not really wobble like some of the really cheap consumer Nikkors when fully-extended, which is good. The barrel does make a quarter turn counterclockwise zooming from 28mm to 105mm though, so this makes polarizing filters and rectangular filters a hassle to use. Also, the collar around the front element where the lens hood is fitted rotates when you turn it; it feels kind of odd at first, but I guess if you were going from horizontal to vertical and you wanted to quickly preserve your filter alignment, you could use the white dot on the front of the lens as reference and simply turn the entire front.
As a general walk-around or mid-range lens on DX, the various 18-whatever options are better, such as the 18-105mm VR or the 18-70mm. On FX, this is a good lens to use with your D700 if you already own the lens, or as an inexpensive lens that will perform well if you don't want to shell out for at least the 24-120mm f/4G VRII.
I did not personally shoot a lot of frames on FX with this lens, but I don't recall seeing chromatic aberration or other major issues. There might be some light fall-off in the corners wide open, which would be typical of most lenses. I have no idea how this lens performs on the more demanding 24-megapixel D3X, but if you bought the $8000 USD D3X why are you putting a $300 lens on it?
(The 28-105 mounted on my D2H)
(105mm, f/5; this one's suffered a bit due to compression)
(105mm, f/8; lens shielded from the sun using a handheld hat)
(28mm, f/8 )
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