Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AIS Review

 

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My original setup when I first bought this lens, the Nikon FM and the Nikkor 24mm 2.8 lens.

 

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.

 

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My current setup, the Nikon F2 and the Nikkor 24mm 2.8

 

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.

 

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The Nikkor 24mm 2.8 lens on my work slr, the Nikon F100

 

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.

Technical Specifications

Focal length 24mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Field of view 84 degrees (on FX)
Weight 250g
Dimensions 46 x 60mm (48 x 60mm at minimum focus distance)
Optical construction 9 elements in 9 groups
Aperture blades 7, straight
Filter diameter 52mm
Minimum focus distance 29cm (20cm from the front element)
Hood HN-1, optional
Mount AI-S, no CPU

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The all metal body feels good and looks great on film SLR

 

 

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The lens engravings are great and make setting the aperture and focal distances very easy with its color coding system.

 

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.

 

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Mounted on my Nikon F2, this lens feels perfect for working quickly.

 

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.

 

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I use the lens a lot on my Digital aps-c bodies, especial my Nikon D500. On smaller bodies, this lens perfectly balances and gives you an approximately 35mm field of view.

 

 

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.

 

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This was shot on my D3s and the Nikkor 24mm 2.8 AIS lens. I use this lens a lot because it is sharper than all the zoom lenses that I own.

 

So let’s start off with how the lens renders a scene.

 

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One of my first shots with this lens in Hong Kong

 

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.

 

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One of my uses of this lens is when I go to some bars with my friends. At 2.8, this lens is fast enough to use indoors with a decent ISO.

 

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 almost never shoot architecture and I like the way that the lens renders the image

 

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This lens does not have a lot of distortions, so shoot buildings should be ok but this would not be my first choice for architecture.

 

This lens really 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.

 

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The lens renders colors nicely and it is generally pleasing to my eye.

 

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On film, this lens really shines for me. It is easy to focus and the images come out nice and sharp

 

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Close focusing of 30 cm lens you get up nice and close to objects.

 

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I use this lens a lot when shooting graffiti artists. The lens is small and does not draw too much attention when you’re shooting.

 

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The lens sharp wide open but you can get some slight vignetting in the corners at times. It’s not terrible but it is there if you look for it.

 

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The lens shot wide open can still render some out of focus areas, just make sure you get nice and close to your subject. The CRC system on this lens is perfect for that.

 

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.

 

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I shoot a lot of product type shots with this lens on my Nikon D500. Again you can see that bokeh is decent, but not great.

 

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.

 

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Shooting directly into the sun can and will generate lens flares. They are not terrible and I kind of enjoy them.

 

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 really 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 really quick when you get used to it.

 

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This lens is easy to focus on a DSLR, just look for the green dot in the bottom of the screen. If you see it, then you know that your image is in sharp focus.

 

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.

 

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I may change my camera on a daily bases, depending on what I feel like shooting, but this lens is always with me. On film or digital, this lens has never disappointed me.

 

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Shooting indoors and focusing in low light is easy thanks to manually focusing the lens. My friend was shooting here with her Canon and auto-focus lens and she had a lot of difficulties getting focus in the low light.

 

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.

 

Rating

  • Image Quality: 4 out of 5
  • Focus speed: 0 out of 5 manual focus lens
  • Build quality: 5 out of 5

 

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