Nikon 24mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor

I'd get one here.

Introduction

This is a very fast prime lens that is fairly affordable. I think that every Nikon shooter (who doesn't use a weird pseudo-DSLR, like the D40 or D60) should consider getting one, especially if you shoot film or have a full-frame DLSR.

I bought mine used off of eBay, but only because the seller was including a large set of filters that I was interested in reviewing.

Specifications

This is a hefty lens constructed of 9 groups of 9 elements. It is roughly the same size as either of the 50mm brothers (50mm f/1.4D and 50mm f/1.8D) but it weighs nearly twice as much.

Maximum Aperture: f/2.8

Minimum Aperture: f/22

Although the diaphragm is has only 7 blades, the bokeh is very pleasing with this lens making this a good lens (in theory) for portrait photography. It doesn't work out as a portrait lens if you're shooting a traditional "head and shoulders" shot because then you have to get too close to the subject for the right view and then the background is too visible and the subject can get very distorted. If, however, your subject is next to a car or another big prop, then this lens can work to your advantage being both wide enough to fit things in well and fast enough to give you the DoF you are seeking.

Closest Focusing Distance: 1 foot - This is fine for a lens not intended for macro use.

Angle of view: 84 degrees (full frame).

Performance

The lens was built when there were only SLRs, not fancy DSLRs like we have today. I see some slight purple fringing if I zoom in, but for regular print sizes it works fine.

In use on film cameras or a full-frame DSLR this lens produces very wide-angle shots with little optical distortion since it isn't super duper wide. On a DX sensor sized DSLR this lens behaves like a 35mm lens on a film camera, which is a nice prime length to have.

This is the fastest widest lens I own. Yes, I own and use wider, but they aren't as fast. So, for an indoor wedding when I want to do hand-held shots capturing the whole bridal party standing up front, this is the lens I like to use.

Other than that use, I don't find myself reaching for this lens a lot.

There is a slight bit of barrel distortion if you photograph a tile wall, but this isn't usually noticeable in real-life photography and is easily corrected in photoshop or DxO.

Alternatives

I have to admit that I didn't own this lens for very long, or use it very much. I got it thinking that for dark in-church weddings I would switch to it for an overall wider-angle shot. But, with weddings often being hectic, I never had the time.

Also, since I purchased the 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens I don't have any need for this 24mm prime lens as the zoom covers the 24mm range at the same maximum aperture (f/2.8).

It was a nice lens, and it took great photos. If you have access to this lens, but are on a budget that doesn't permit $1,400 zoom lenses, then hang onto it and enjoy the great photos it takes for a lot less money. Heck, with the savings you could maybe afford a nice vacation to be able to take great pictures, and being in the right spot is worth more than some fancy lens.

Examples

Following are some sample photos to demonstrate the power of this type of lens and some general uses which will likely yield good results. If you shoot things like these, then this lens may be a good one to think about adding to your camera bag.


While this certainly is not the best landscape photo I've taken it is because if I'm going to shoot true landscape with a DX camera I reach for a wider lens. I made this grab shot of my backyard just to show that the lens is very sharp and contrasty.

Even though this is a black and white image you can get an idea of the nice bokeh that this lens produces.