Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AIS Review
Photography is a fun job, an awesome hobby but it can be so damn expensive at times. This is a stereotypical problem that many people face when wanting new gear. In 2015 I wanted to shoot some black and white film in Hong Kong but I knew the city was extremely compact and crowded so I needed a wide manual focus lens for my Nikon FM. I really wanted to buy the Nikkor 20mm lens, but I could not justify the money on a lens that I thought I would never use again so I settled for this lens, the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AIS.
When the lens arrived, I was surprised at how compact and heavy the lens was. This was my first AIS lens I had bought, all my previous experience with film cameras had been with Pentax, so the manual Nikkor lens was a completely new and exciting to me.
The Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AIS lens was first introduced in 1977 and was designed to have 9 elements in 9 groups, with a floating element for CRC.
|Field of view||84 degrees (on FX)|
|Dimensions||46 x 60mm (48 x 60mm at minimum focus distance)|
|Optical construction||9 elements in 9 groups|
|Aperture blades||7, straight|
|Minimum focus distance||29cm (20cm from the front element)|
|Mount||AI-S, no CPU|
This lens is built like a tank. The body is constructed from metal and it feels extremely solid and well made. The lens barrel has engraved markings for aperture and focus distance, which makes this lens extremely easy to work with. The construction of the aperture ring is nice and clicky, each twist of the aperture ring gives a nice audible click and feels good. Just the right amount of resistance when adjusting the aperture while your camera is up against your eye. The focus ring on this lens is buttery smooth, and nailing manual focus is easy as the lens gives you have a long focus throw so you can be nice and precise with the focus ring but not too long that it takes all day to get it into focus.
I have used this lens a lot since buying it in early 2015, both on my film bodies and on my digital bodies. This lens is spectacular and it is by far my most used prime lens that I own.
This lens works so well on both film and digital and I have started to use this lens at work as well and I have gotten some amazing shots with this lens.
So let’s start with how the lens renders a scene.
I love the way this lens renders the scene, it is sharp, contrasty, has almost no chromatic aberrations. This was very surprising as I expected this old lens to give me lots of ugly purple fridges on my photos but I cannot remember ever seeing any chromatic aberration on any photos with this lens.
The lens has a little distortion but it is very acceptable and easy to correct in your editing software but I seldom do this. I rarely shoot architecture and I like the way that the lens renders the image
This lens does draw a nice contrasty image. When I shoot with this lens and look at the photo, it always leaves me happy looking at the image. The colors come out nice and warm on my digital cameras and the photos have a nice punch on my film cameras.
The lens CRC system means you can get up close to your subject(about 20cm) so you can get some shallow depth of field but I usually use this lens on my aps-c cameras like my Nikon D500 as it works out to be around a 35mm focal length. The bokeh from this lens is ok but not beautiful. I often use this lens to shoot photos in the pub with my friends and I can usually blow out the background with this lens.
If this lens does have a weakness, it will be with lens flare. When shooting into the sun, you can get some flaring going across your image, it is not terrible but it will be there if the sun is in the image. I tried shooting with a lens hood on but it did not help much.
When dealing with manual focus lens, having a section on focusing with the lens seems almost moronic, but this lens focuses really easily. The focus ring is smooth and getting focus on the lens is easy. On a full-frame or film camera, 24mm is pretty wide and you have a lot of depth of field to work with. On my digital aps-c cameras, the lens is also easy to focus. Using the digital rangefinder is so easy and quick when you get used to it.
The last section that I want to go over is the color rendering of the lens. All Nikon AIS lens tend to render the same contrast image, which is beautiful in my opinion. The colors and the image have a warmth that is missing in many modern-day lenses.
To sum this lens up is very easy. This is my most commonly used manual focus lens for both film and digital. It is constructed like a tank, compact, easy to focus and sharp. You could not ask for anything else from this lens.
- Image Quality: 4 out of 5
- Focus speed: 0 out of 5 manual focus lens
- Build quality: 5 out of 5