Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 28 mm f/1.8G

31 August 2012
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of this lens was based on RAW files from the Nikon D3x. The measurement errors ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 lpmm. It is worth reminding here that in the case of tests based on the D3x the decency level is set near 30-31 lpmm and the best fixed-focus lenses can reach as high as 45-46 lpmm. As we are going to compare the tested lens to the Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM, which was tested on the Canon EOS 1Ds MkII body it’s worth mentioning that the Canon results are usually by about 1 lpmm higher than those got on the Nikon D3x. When it comes to comparing the tested lens to the Sigma 28 mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical Macro we won’t have the slightest problems because its test was also performed on the Nikon D3x.

Let’s get down to facts and see how the Nikkor AF-S 28 mm f/1.8G fares in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor and full frame.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 28 mm f/1.8G - Image resolution

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The performance in the frame centre can be described only in superlatives. Although the lens can’t get to our official decency level at the maximum relative aperture it comes really close. By f/2.0 the MTF50 function value exceeds already the level of 30 lpmm so images there can be considered fully useful. On stopping down the resolution improves very quickly – by f/2.8 you get already 38 lpmm and by f/4.0 you see a bit over 42 lpmm. The peak of its possibilities the lens reaches by f/5.6, where the MTFs get to the value of 43.5 lpmm. These results are short of resolution records by about 2-3 lpmm. It is a pity; contemporary fixed-focus lenses like a 1.8/28 instrument are expected to break records and the Zeiss Distagon T* 28 mm f/2.0 ZF might be an example that it is possible. The Nikkor can’t perform as well because it doesn’t correct all optical aberrations as it should. In next chapters you will find out which aberrations we have in mind.

The performance on the edge of the frame is interesting. In quite wide area near the maximum relative aperture the results, presented on the edge of the smaller detector are comparable to those, observed on the edge of full frame. Then the achievements start looking different to look similar once again near f/11.

Overall the performance on the edge of the frame we like a bit less than that we observed in the centre. On the one hand already near f/2.8 you get a fully useful image; on the other hand the slower Zeiss still managed to fare better. It should be honestly admitted that the Nikkor is much better than the Canon 1.8/28 or the Sigma 1.8/28, in the frame centre and on the edge alike. The image quality follows here the price perfectly. The most expensive Ziess fares the best, the cheapest Canon and the Sigma are the worst. The tested Nikkor can be put right in the middle.

At the end of this chapter we traditionally present some photos of our resolution chart, taken in the JPEG format.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 28 mm f/1.8G - Image resolution