AF Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED
Just as expected - excellent!
First of all, it cracks me up that one of the few reviews I read that was on target and really put this lens in it's proper place was one by a review site that is constantly derided for reviewing things he's never owned. Well, he was right on target for this one, and obviously owned and used it. If you're cruising the web for reviews, then you know who I mean. There are not a ton of reviews out there on this lens because it's pricey for a prime lens, and doesn't have the versatility or cache of the 14-24.
It's not a lens for everyone, and to get the best image quality you really need to use CaptureNX2 or a later gen body that can correct vignetting and distortion. The distortion is not bad, but it's not simple barrel, and you need NX2 to make it right - plus you only lose a tiny amount of image, I would say it's effectively a 15-16mm after correction.
The main reason I bought this lens is to take very wide large group people shots, at night, in close quarters. Yes, the corners are really soft at 2.8, and don't really get tack sharp ever, even at f11 - they're pretty much 'acceptable' there. But I don't care about the corners - I'm cropping the image anyway, and this lens is perfect for me.
Another good comment I saw (from someone who also actually owned and had used the lens as well as the 14-24) was 'horses for courses', and the fact that it has significantly less distortion as the 14-24 at 14. It does not have the reportage versatility of the 14-24, but honestly I do reportage, and it's just not my cup of tea.
Do your research carefully, and if you fit the profile for this lens, there's really nothing better. Low, controllable distortion (if you use the right software), very sharp in the center, sharp edges at 5.6 or above, useable corners at f8 and above, manageable vignetting.
July 6, 2013
Beautifully crafted lens
This is one beautifully crafted lens and so solidly put together with none of that plastic fantastic stuff that have on more modern designs, which worries me. It is not particularly sharp out the corners at f2.8 with fairly significant vignetting, but that does not concern me one little bit because the much heralded 13mm only opened out to f5.6 and was a far more expensive and much heavier lens than this one. From f5.8 to f11 it is razor sharp all over all over the picture as one could expect from a professional calibre lens.
I have actually tried to deliberately get "creative flare" effects by deliberately pointing it into the sun but is highly resistant to it because understandably the manufacturers look on that as a bad thing.
November 26, 2011
Extremely Sharp, but ...
I purchased this lens as a refurbished Nikon USA product. I use it on a Nikon D7000 (APC-C size sensor), so it gives me an effective 21 mm focal length. This is perfect for my usage, as I am not interested in grossly exaggerated wide angle images. It is sharp corner-to-corner, even at f/2.8 with one caveat: It back focuses. I tried another sample and it also back focused. To assure maximum sharpness, you will need to use the lens on a nikon camera with the "AF fine tune" option available, e.g. D7000, et. al. The settings are "AF fine tune - on" and "saved values" - minus fifteen (-15). This will produce quite noticeably sharper images than at "default 0" setting, (no AF fine tuning). Thus, the lens remains sharp from closest focusing distance to infinity. You can test the need for AF fine tuning on your lens by auto focusing on an object with lettering at about 10 feet distance and taking a photograph. Then take a second photograph by auto focusing the same as before, but before taking the photograph, change the "M/A" ring on the lens to "M" (manual focusing) and turn the focus ring counter-clockwise a little to a closer focusing distance and then take the photograph. Compare the two. If the second photograph is sharper than the first, your lens back focuses and you need to make the "AF fine tune" adjustment on your camera. See attached photos: #1 is default (0) #2 is (-15 AF fine tuning). These are cropped more than 200%.
March 29, 2011
After using/owning Nikons since 1975 (I still have my F2 and lenses), the 14mm is my all-time favorite!! It takes a little getting used to so that you avoid including your toes in the frame, but the results for so many types of photography (travel, interiors, close-ups, etc) are great and it actually promotes creativity. For some unusual angles, put this lens on and shoot from the ground up. After owning the 14mm for 10 years, I'm still amazed at what it can do.
November 8, 2010
Another Great Lens
Excellent quality lens as are all Nikon pro level lenses. As an extreme-wide glass, it should be used carefully. There is little distortion, but it works best when including an object near to the camera and focusing about 1/3rd of the way in and at f/11 - f/22. Try to keep the camera level and you will achieve astounding results.
July 30, 2010