Nikkor 20mm f1.8 AFS

16 May, 2015

Nikon’s fastest ultra-wide prime.

It’s been a LONG time since I was able to sit down and put a write up about a lens, from any brand, let alone Nikon.

Wedding work has consumed me.  I have however found some time to put a little something something up for the Wide-angle Junkies out there.

Read no further, if you LOVE your fast ultra-wides, there is no better bang for your buck lens out there, in ANY manufacturer.

This lens is that sweet.  Just go buy it and shoot.

There you go, I have said it… you can go now?  :)

Seriously though, what am I saying here?  Nikon has the legendary 14-24 and the 24mm f14… how can I say this?

Well, I still have both of those and each gets it’s specific use (although I have not touched the 24 since owning the 20…).

How about some captures first…

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When light isn’t your friend, this is my go to lens for wides.  Without even blinking.

Quite easily I could shoot with a 20mm and 58mm and be wholly content.  Let’s start with the positives,

Technically, the resolution charts is superb.  Corner to corner is fantastic, really, only the 24mm (which costs almost 3 times as much)

rivals this performance.  Vignetting is well controlled and so is aberrations.  Those 2 things though can be easily correct in LR or PS so no biggie there.

For astronomy shooters, the lens design makes light sources star shaped which is great (only when stopped down), but for wide open shooters, there is a soft glow to

light sources, I’m not fussed on this but there are no weird shapes protruding from street lamps.  So that’s always welcomed.

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The lens handles flare BEAUTIFULLY!  Nikon’s Nano coating really does work wonderfully, I rarely use a hood on my lenses and have yet to even open the hood packaging on the 20mm.

This is a god send because the next positive is probably the biggest for Landscape shooters… the 20mm takes filters!  77mm to be exact!  Something the 14-24 has struggled with it’s entire life.

Don’t underestimate how important this one feature is because at 20mm and with beautiful optics, Landscapers will be lining up for this lens like there is no tomorrow.

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Another huge positive which also becomes a negative is that it is light, physically.  Built like a toy (pretty much the f1.8 line AND the 58mm f1.4 are all now built like this).

Plastickly crap.  This of course makes it super light.  Balances beautifully on the Df, but feels like it’s not even there on the D810 and certainly D4s.

I believe that Nikon should have upgraded the body to a more robust and better feeling body, at least the 24mm f1.4, charge a little more… people will still pay it.

They clearly have the optical formula spot on.  I would go as so far as to say I prefer it to the Leica 21mm f1.4 Summilux (a $7000 Lens!).

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AF is quick, not lightning quick but very snappy.  Hand-holdability speed increases due to the weight balance.

It renders beautifully, for those that are bokeh lovers, for a fast ultrawide, I’m sure you will be stunned with the way it renders OOF areas, front or back.

Every Nikon user who enjoys wide angles should have this in the bag now – EVERY user.

That’s a big call.  Given it’s price point vs performance, really… there is no other option.

Grab one (if you can find one) and go out and shoot life, you won’t regret it.

How’s that for an endorsement?

If your unsure because 20mm is VERY wide on full frame, here is the link to my 24,35 and 85mm prime review to help you out.

24, 35, 85 review



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