Please name the sharpest Nikon lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Bob G, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Bob G

    Bob G Guest

    I'm switching to Nikon and I would like you to list the three Nikon
    lenses (current or not, but AF only) you think are the best in image

    Bob G, Feb 20, 2008
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  2. Nikon AF-D 50mm 1.8
    Torsten Driese, Feb 20, 2008
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  3. Bob G

    Tony Polson Guest

    Two conflicting questions: best image quality or the sharpest.

    Which is it?

    Or do you only consider sharpness when assessing image quality?
    Tony Polson, Feb 20, 2008
  4. Bob G

    nospam Guest

    14-24 f/2.8
    200-400vr f/4
    70-200vr f/2.8
    nospam, Feb 20, 2008
  5. Bob G

    C J Campbell Guest

    Opinions vary widely. The 55mm f/3.5 micro-Nikkor and the old
    Ultra-micro-Nikkor lenses get mentioned a lot in discussions like this.
    But none of these are AF.

    The fact is, image quality is far more dependent on the photographer
    than it is on the lens. Nearly all of Nikon's lens line-up has higher
    resolution than any of the sensors, anyway.

    Extremely wide and extremely small apertures will cause softness. It is
    no longer true that zoom lenses are softer than fixed lenses -- the
    extremely sharp 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-D and AF-S VR lenses being proof of
    C J Campbell, Feb 20, 2008
  6. Bob G

    Paul Furman Guest
    eliminating the ancient ones from his list:

    * Wide-angle lenses
    o 35 mm f/1.4 Nikkor
    o 28 mm f/2 Nikkor
    * Normal lenses
    o 50 mm f/1.8 Nikkor
    o 50 mm f/1.4 Nikkor (latest versions, including AF D)
    * Medium short ("portrait") lenses
    o AF 85 mm f/1.4 Nikkor
    o AF 105 mm f/2 DC Nikkor
    * Short telephoto lenses
    o AFS 200 mm f/2 ED IF VR G
    o AF 180 mm f/2.8 ED-IF Nikkor
    * Long telephoto lenses
    o AFS 300 mm f/2.8 ED-IF Nikkor (Mk. I only)
    o AFS 400 mm f/2.8 ED-IF G VR Nikkor
    o AFS 500 mm f/4 ED-IF Nikkor
    * Lenses for close-up photography
    o AFS 60 mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor ED G N (well, sometimes
    "newer" is in fact better!)
    o AF 200 mm f/4 ED-IF Micro-Nikkor
    o 85 mm f/2.8 PC-Micro-Nikkor
    * Zoom lenses
    o AFS 14-24 mm f/2.8 ED G N Nikkor
    o AFS 200-400 mm f/4 ED-IF VR G Nikkor
    o AFS 24-70 mm f/2.8 ED G FX Nikkor (the old king 28-70/2.8
    has been overthrown by a new, state-of-the-art optic)
    o AFS 70-200 mm f/2.8 G VR ED-IF Nikkor (a long march but
    leading to revolution)
    o AFS 17-35 mm f/2.8 ED-IF Nikkor
    * Late-breaking entries, too good not to be mentioned here
    o 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E ED N Nikkor (wide-angle tilt and shift)

    16mm f3.5 5
    18mm f3.5 4.5
    20mm f2.8 4.3-4.7
    24mm f2.8 AI 4.2-4.7
    28mm f3.5 AI 4.8
    28mm f2.8 AIS 4.8
    28mm f2 4-4.6
    35mm f2.8 PC AI - latest 4.8
    35mm f2 3.5-4.8
    50mm f1.8 larger metal-barrel 4.8
    50mm f1.2 5 at 4 to 15 feet or so, otherwise 3.6-4
    55mm f3.5 Micro 4.8 close, 3.8-4.5 near infinity
    55mm f2.8 Micro 5 at infinity, 4 close
    60mm f2.8 Micro AF 3.5 at infinity, 5.2 close
    85mm f2 4.8
    85mm f1.8 non-AI 4.8
    85mm f1.8 AF 4.9-5.2
    85mm f1.4 4.8
    100mm f2.8 E 4.8
    105mm f2.8 Micro 5 at infinity, 4.4 close
    105mm f2.8 AF Micro 4-4.5 at infinity, 4.8 close
    105mm f2.5 later 4.8
    135mm f2.8 compact 4.8
    135mm f2 4.9 beyond about 10', 3 at minimum focus
    180mm f2.8 EDIF AF 5.2
    300mm f4.5 ED non-IF 4.8
    300mm f4 EDIF AF 4.8
    300mm f2.8 EDIF 5
    400mm f5.6 EDIF 4.8
    400mm f3.5 EDIF 5
    17-35mm f2.8 EDIF AFS 4.8
    Paul Furman, Feb 20, 2008
  7. Bob G

    williams Guest

    Great question. Could someone please begin a new thread about Canon lenses
    with the Rebel Xti in mind?
    williams, Feb 20, 2008
  8. Best for what?

    The Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 is reputed to be the sharpest
    zoom lense ever produced. I don't own one, and have no
    intention of ever buying one.

    The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lense is also reputed to be one of
    the sharpest fixed focal length lenses around. I do own
    one. I never use it.

    See the point?

    Tell us what you want to do, and we can tell you what we
    think the best lenses are to do that specific thing.
    Just keep in mind that if 5 people respond, you'll
    probably get at least 3 lenses lists as "the best"! :)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Feb 20, 2008
  9. Bob G

    Pboud Guest

    Funny, I was doing a shoot in a low-light setting and the 50mm 1.8 saved
    my life. I don't really go anywhere without it.
    That's probably the best advice so far in this thread.

    Pboud, Feb 20, 2008
  10. Sure ... that's why nearly all the Nikon lenses at max out the MTF in all apertures?

    Look at e.g.
    establishing that the sensor at least resolves >2250 LW/PH
    (reaching 2264 and 2296 in the center respectively).

    Now, if the lenses would be near or over the sensor
    resolution, one would expect all values below f/8
    (diffraction!) to be above 2250 LW/PH --- center and border.

    Just these 2 excellently resolving lenses show that that's
    not so ... and after one sees:
    the claim "Nearly all of Nikon's lens line-up has higher resolution
    than any of the sensors" must be mistaken.

    Note: I am not saying Nikon lenses are bad, or that others do
    much better. I am merely saying that they simply don't outresolve
    the D200's sensor. And that many lenses do not even reach the
    sensors resolution, especially when used wide open or looking at
    the border performance.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 20, 2008
  11. Geez, Uncle Floyd, why don't you have a 28-70/2.8? It's the best lens to
    have on the D3, well the 24-70/2.8 might take a close second. My 28-70 goes
    right back on my D3 when the 500 isn't on there.

    Rita Berkowitz, Feb 20, 2008
  12. Bob G

    TH O Guest

    It's no longer true with the best, most expensive zooms. However, we
    also haven't seen many of the primes updated during these years. If the
    primes were updated using the latest optical designs, they would
    probably still end up on top.
    TH O, Feb 20, 2008
  13. Bob G

    dullpain Guest

    The worst Nikon lens is the 55-200, in any flavor, followed by the 18-200.
    dullpain, Feb 20, 2008
  14. Bob G

    Tony Polson Guest

    There is no real need to update them - they couldn't be any sharper,
    and their resolution is way in excess of any digital sensor we have
    seen from Nikon.

    Lenses such as the 24mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2.8D, 50mm f/1.8, 60mm f/2.8
    Micro, 85mm f/1.4, 105mm f/2.8 Micro and 180mm f/2.8 could not be
    improved upon - for sharpness. All are AF models.

    The 28mm f/2.8 non-D model is optically inferior to the D model.
    Tony Polson, Feb 20, 2008
  15. Bob G

    Tony Polson Guest

    That's true. The 18-55mm is also a very poor performer.

    When coming up with lists of good lenses, it is also worth listing
    those that should be avoided, and these three are best avoided.
    Tony Polson, Feb 20, 2008
  16. Bob G

    acl Guest

    That's true, but it depends on what you're measuring. I'm pretty sure
    that any lens I've ever used can outresolve the d200 sensor if the
    pattern has sufficient contrast, but that doesn't mean it's useful

    Anyway, resolution isn't the only thing to look at in a lens.
    acl, Feb 20, 2008
  17. Bob G

    tomm42 Guest

    Good list, also the Zeiss ZF lenses for Nikon especially the 25 f2.8
    or the 100 f2 Makro, but no AF, could also include the 50 f2 Makro.

    tomm42, Feb 21, 2008
  18. The one the best photographer is holding.
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 21, 2008
  19. Before dismissing the 55-200mm VR, I suggest taking a look at a
    set of safari photos referenced here: [www_nikonians_org]

    The worst Nikon lenses I've ever used are the original 43-86mm
    f/3.5 and the 120mm f/4.5 macro out of the "fun fun lens set."

    The worst constructed Nikon lens I've ever seen is the 30-60mm
    f/4~5.6 IX-Nikkor.
    Michael Benveniste, Feb 21, 2008
  20. MTF patterns have 100% contrast, black and white.

    If you lower your standards enough, you may or may not get
    Look at how much you see at 10% and less.
    Look how washed-out even 50% is compared to 100%.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Feb 21, 2008
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