Are you teetering on the edge of a photographic decision? Has your hunt for the perfect lens to capture the world in wide-angle splendor led you to the doorstep of the Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.4? Then, welcome! You’re in the right place.
In this article, we delve into a detailed comparison of these two exceptional lenses. Whether you’re drawn to the grandeur of landscapes, the precision of architecture, the mystery of celestial bodies, or the storytelling potential of environmental portraits, these lenses have a lot to offer.
We understand that photography isn’t just about capturing an image—it’s about capturing a perspective, a moment, a narrative. It’s about quality, versatility, and flexibility. That’s why we’re not just comparing specs here. We’re examining how these lenses perform in real-world scenarios, how they handle different lighting situations, and how their unique features can enhance your photography experience.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of which lens best fits your specific needs and photographic style. Moreover, you’ll learn about how to maximize the potential of whichever lens you choose—whether that’s the slightly wider 24mm lens, perfect for expansive landscapes and low-light astrophotography, or the 28mm lens, with its impressive sharpness and beautiful bokeh, ideal for architectural and portrait photography.
So, get ready to embark on a journey through the world of wide-angle photography, as we put the 24mm and 28mm lenses head-to-head, giving you the insights you need to make an informed decision.
Let’s dive in and uncover the magic these lenses can bring to your photography.
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm F1.8G ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E ED|
|Focal Range (mm)||24||28|
|Mount Type||Nikon F (FX)||Nikon F (FX)|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 both offer wide-angle focal lengths suitable for a range of photography genres, including landscapes, architecture, and astrophotography. They share some common characteristics, such as a fixed aperture and the same Nikon F (FX) mount type, indicating that they are designed for full-frame (35mm FF) cameras.
Starting with the 24mm lens, it has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. This wide aperture will allow a considerable amount of light to enter the camera, which is beneficial for shooting in low light conditions. However, it’s important to note that a wider aperture can create a shallower depth of field, which could potentially blur out elements in a scene that you might want to keep in focus. This lens could be an excellent choice if you plan to shoot in low light environments or want to achieve a shallower depth of field.
On the other hand, the 28mm lens, with its maximum aperture of f/1.4, can let in even more light than the 24mm lens. This could be advantageous in even darker conditions, providing sharper images with less noise. However, keep in mind that the wider aperture could create an even shallower depth of field, which might not be necessary for situations where you want the entire scene to be in focus, such as in landscape photography.
Both lenses have a fixed aperture, which means they maintain the same maximum aperture throughout the entire focus range. This feature generally leads to better image quality, consistent low-light performance, and a more robust build quality.
In terms of focal length, the 24mm lens will offer a slightly wider field of view compared to the 28mm lens. This could be beneficial for capturing broader scenes, such as expansive landscapes or architectural interiors. Conversely, the 28mm lens, while still a wide-angle lens, offers a slightly narrower field of view, which might be preferable for street photography or when you want to exclude unnecessary elements from your frame.
Both lenses, being prime lenses, are likely to deliver excellent image quality. Prime lenses are often sharper, exhibit less chromatic aberration, and offer better contrast than their zoom counterparts. They’re also generally smaller and lighter, making them a convenient choice for photographers who prioritize portability.
In conclusion, choosing between the 24mm and 28mm lens depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you often find yourself shooting in low light conditions and need a lens that can let in as much light as possible, or if you desire a slightly narrower field of view, the 28mm f/1.4 lens may be your top pick. However, if you’re looking for a lens that offers a wider field of view for capturing expansive scenes, the 24mm f/1.8 lens could be the superior choice. Both lenses, given their similar characteristics, will undoubtedly serve you well in a variety of wide-angle photography situations.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm F1.8G ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E ED|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀77.5×83mm||⌀83×100.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||72||77|
|Zoom Method||No Zoom||No Zoom|
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 28mm f/1.4, both being wide-angle lenses, are suitable for capturing broad scenes in photography genres such as landscapes, architecture, and astrophotography. However, their dimensions and weight can significantly impact their usability and practicality in different scenarios.
The 24mm lens, with its dimensions of ⌀77.5×83mm and a weight of 355 grams, is both smaller and lighter than the 28mm lens. This compactness and lightness can offer several benefits. For instance, it would be easier to carry around, especially when traveling or walking around for extended periods. This makes it a more convenient choice for photographers who prioritize portability.
A lighter lens can also contribute to better balance in your camera setup. When paired with a camera body, the 24mm lens is less likely to make the setup front-heavy, providing a more comfortable shooting experience, especially during longer shoots. Additionally, its smaller size could be beneficial for street photographers, as it would draw less attention, allowing them to capture candid shots more discreetly. Lastly, its compactness means it will take up less space in your camera bag, leaving room for additional gear, and will be easier to handle when swapping lenses in fast-paced environments.
On the other hand, the 28mm lens, with its dimensions of ⌀83×100.5mm and a weight of 645 grams, is significantly larger and heavier than the 24mm lens. This might make it less ideal for photographers who need to carry their gear for extended periods, as it could lead to quicker fatigue. The increased weight and size could also make the camera setup feel unbalanced and potentially more difficult to handle, especially for those with smaller hands or during prolonged shoots. Furthermore, its larger size might make it more conspicuous in situations where discretion is needed.
However, it’s worth noting that a larger lens sometimes implies a more complex optical design or a larger maximum aperture, potentially leading to better image quality.
In conclusion, based on the given dimensions and weight, the 24mm lens has a clear advantage in terms of portability, balance, discreetness, and storage efficiency. This would make it a superior choice for photographers who frequently shoot on-the-go or prioritize a lightweight and compact setup.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.4, both featuring robust construction, offer unique characteristics in terms of their lens mount and barrel, contributing to their performance, durability, and user experience.
Starting with the 24mm lens, its lens mount is crafted from solid metal, promising a secure and sturdy connection to the camera body. The use of metal here enhances the lens’s longevity, a crucial attribute for gear that sees regular professional use involving frequent handling and changing. Adding to its durability is a rubber gasket that encircles the mount, acting as a barrier against potential contaminants such as dust and moisture. This feature boosts the lens’s resilience in harsh environments or inclement weather, thereby expanding its usability.
The lens barrel of the 24mm lens is predominantly plastic, offering the advantage of a lighter feel while maintaining a respectable level of robustness. The smooth and sleek finish not only lends it an attractive look but also augments its ergonomic design. Furthermore, the barrel doesn’t change length during zooming or focusing, a feature that improves handling. The plastic construction, despite its lightness, ensures a well-balanced feel, especially beneficial when used with lightweight DSLR cameras.
Switching to the 28mm lens, it also boasts a metal lens mount, ensuring a reliable and durable attachment to camera bodies. Similarly, it features a protective rubber gasket, reinforcing its resistance against dust and moisture. These characteristics contribute to the lens’s resilience in diverse environmental conditions, making it a versatile tool for photographers who find themselves in challenging situations.
The 28mm lens’s barrel, like the 24mm lens, is primarily plastic, blending sturdiness with a lightweight design. A unique scalloped shape enhances grip and reduces fatigue, especially appreciated given its heavier weight for a 28mm prime lens. Additionally, it boasts a 14-karat gold-filled debossed metal plate, adding a touch of luxury and professionalism to its appearance. Despite being largely plastic, this lens is designed for enduring use, emulating the durability of its metal counterparts.
In summary, both lenses exhibit excellent construction with their sturdy mounts and durable barrels. However, the 28mm lens stands out with its grip-enhancing scalloped shape, providing a unique blend of functionality and aesthetics. In contrast, the 24mm lens’s compactness and lighter weight might be more appealing to photographers seeking portability and ease of handling. Hence, determining the superior lens largely boils down to individual needs and preferences. If premium aesthetics and grip comfort are your priority, the 28mm lens might be your winner. However, if a lighter, more compact design is what you desire, the 24mm lens may be the superior choice.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.4, each featuring weather sealing, present different degrees of protection against environmental elements, which can significantly impact their durability and performance under various conditions.
The 24mm lens provides a basic level of weather sealing, mainly in the form of a rubber gasket situated around the lens mount. This gasket offers a barrier against dust and moisture, protecting the lens and camera body, especially during lens changes in unfavorable conditions. However, it is worth noting that this sealing is not comprehensive.
While the rubber gasket contributes to the lens’s resilience against dust and moisture, it does not provide full weather protection. Therefore, users should exercise caution when utilizing this lens in adverse weather. To further safeguard the lens, a UV filter could be employed on the front end for added protection.
In contrast, the 28mm lens boasts extensive weather sealing, fortifying it against harsh environments. This lens incorporates internal sealing against dust and moisture, allowing photographers to operate even in challenging conditions such as sandstorms, rain, and freezing temperatures. The presence of a rubber gasket on the mount strengthens the lens’s overall defense against the elements by preventing dust from entering the camera chamber.
Moreover, the front element of the lens benefits from a fluorine coating. This feature not only enhances its resistance to dust and moisture but also simplifies cleaning by repelling water and grease. Consequently, this fluorine coating amplifies the lens’s weather sealing, making it a trustworthy option for outdoor photography across diverse scenarios.
In conclusion, while both lenses offer weather sealing to some degree, the 28mm lens outshines the 24mm lens due to its comprehensive protection against harsh elements. Its internal sealing, rubber gasket, and fluorine-coated front element combine to provide superior defense, making it a more reliable choice for outdoor photography in a variety of challenging conditions. Therefore, if weather sealing is a critical consideration for your photography needs, the 28mm lens would likely be the superior option.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.4 both feature a single focus ring design, with each delivering unique functionalities and user experiences.
The 24mm lens boasts a wide, well-ribbed focus ring, occupying about half of the lens body. This design ensures a firm grip and facilitates straightforward manual focus operation. The placement of the focus ring towards the front of the lens barrel allows easy access with the left hand while the camera is operated by the right. The focus ring, made of rubber with ribs running parallel to the lens body, provides a tactile experience and augments grip.
However, the ring exhibits a bit of slack or play, meaning a slight delay is evident between when you turn the ring and when the lens begins to focus. This characteristic may complicate fine-tuning of focus at larger apertures. Despite this, the lens has a short overall focus throw, requiring minimal rotation to shift from the closest focusing distance to infinity. As for the focus scale, it includes a windowed distance scale in both feet and meters. Nonetheless, the depth-of-field scale only contains markings for f/16 due to the short focusing throw, which might restrict its utility for some users.
On the other hand, the 28mm lens incorporates a focus ring positioned at the front of the lens barrel for easy adjustment. The rubberized grip of the ring ensures a comfortable and secure hold during operation. At approximately an inch wide, the ring offers an ample grip for manual focusing. The focus ring promises a smooth and precise rotation with a throw of 135 degrees, which is ideal for manual focus wide open. With a reasonable amount of resistance, the ring allows for meticulous focus adjustments.
The ‘fly by wire’ system means that turning the focus ring sends a signal to adjust the camera’s focus motor rather than physically moving an element within the lens, providing a unique feel and response. The ring does not exhibit any slack or play, ensuring immediate response to focus adjustment. Similar to the 24mm lens, the 28mm lens also features a windowed distance scale. However, the small size means that the depth of field scale markings for f/11 and f/16 are close together, limiting its usefulness.
In conclusion, while both lenses offer well-placed and easy-to-grip focus rings, the 28mm lens stands out for its precision, immediate response, and unique ‘fly by wire’ system, providing superior control and feedback. Consequently, if precision and immediate response are of paramount importance to your photography, the 28mm lens may be the superior choice.
Both the Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon 28mm f/1.4 follow a user-friendly design philosophy with a focus on simplicity and ease of use in their switches and buttons, each featuring a single autofocus/manual focus (AF/MF) switch.
In the 24mm lens, this switch is conveniently placed on the side of the lens body, allowing photographers to effortlessly shift between autofocus and manual focus modes. When in M/A position, the lens primarily operates in autofocus mode, but manual adjustments can be made by turning the focus ring, enhancing versatility, especially for close-up photography where precise focus adjustments may be required.
This intuitive design, combined with a wide, ribbed focusing ring at the front of the lens barrel, promotes easy manual focusing. Despite its minimalist switch design, the 24mm lens’s simplicity bolsters its user-friendly nature and contributes to a sleek, uncluttered look.
On the other hand, the 28mm lens also features a single AF/MF switch, placed within easy thumb reach on the lens barrel for quick operation. Like the 24mm lens, it supports auto-focus with manual override (M/A position), allowing photographers to fine-tune focus without fully switching to manual mode. This feature is extremely beneficial for those needing quick adjustments.
However, the lens’s mounting index dot, which aids in aligning the lens when mounting it to the camera body, is white and relatively small. This could make it somewhat difficult to see, particularly in low-light conditions, causing potential challenges during lens attachment.
In conclusion, while both lenses showcase an effective, user-friendly switch design.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 is equipped with a 72mm filter thread, which is larger than earlier Nikon 1.8 models that had 67mm threads. This larger thread is made of plastic, and one significant feature is that neither the front element nor the filter thread rotates when the lens is focusing. This stationary design is advantageous when using polarizing filters, which need a fixed orientation for optimal performance. Furthermore, the non-extending barrel during focusing promotes convenience when using a variety of filters. So, this lens, with its non-rotating, non-extending properties, proves highly accommodating for different filter types.
On the other hand, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 carries a standard 77mm screw-on filter thread. Similar to the 24mm lens, the 28mm lens’s front element and filter thread do not rotate or extend when focusing, courtesy of its Rear Focus mechanism. This feature ensures the effectiveness of polarizing or graduated filters remains consistent while adjusting focus. Consequently, this lens also proves to be highly user-friendly for integrating various filters into your photography.
In conclusion, while both lenses offer user-friendly filter threads that don’t rotate or extend while focusing, the 28mm lens edges ahead due to its larger standard filter size of 77mm, which typically has a wider variety of filters available. Furthermore, if you already own lenses with this common filter thread size, it would allow for the sharing of filters between lenses. So, if you’re heavily into using various types of filters, the 28mm lens might be the better option for you.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 and 28mm lenses both come with included lens hoods, vital accessories that reduce lens flare and offer protection to the lens.
The 24mm lens is bundled with the Nikon HB-76 hood, a petal-shaped accessory made from plastic. This hood attaches securely to the front of the lens via a bayonet fitting, a design that facilitates swift and easy attachment and detachment. Its ergonomic bevel is efficient in reducing unwanted light that could degrade image quality through flare.
When not in use, the lens hood can be reversed for easy storage, although this prevents access to the focus ring. Despite being made of plastic, the hood is thick and sturdy, providing significant protection for the lens. It blends in seamlessly with the overall aesthetic of the lens, enhancing not only its appearance but also its performance and lifespan by reducing lens flare and offering protection.
The Nikon 28mm f/1.4, on the other hand, is accompanied by the HB-83 bayonet lens hood. Constructed from robust plastic, it maintains the lightweight nature of the lens setup. The hood’s dull finish is designed to minimize reflections that could lead to lens flares or ghosting. The bayonet design allows for quick and easy attachment and detachment, with its shape tailored to the lens’s field of view to prevent it from appearing in the frame and obstructing the image.
Like the 24mm lens, the hood of the 28mm lens can also be reversed for storage, offering convenience during transportation. It is recommended to keep the hood mounted on the lens at all times to enhance image quality and provide an additional layer of protection for the front lens element.
Comparatively, both lens hoods serve their purpose well in reducing lens flare and providing protection. However, the 28mm lens’s hood has a slight edge due to its tailored design that prevents it from appearing in the frame, a potential issue with generic or poorly designed lens hoods. Additionally, the hood’s dull finish is specifically designed to minimize reflections, further reducing the potential for lens flare or ghosting.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm F1.8G ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E ED|
|AF Motor||Silent Wave Motor||Ring-type ultrasonic|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||0.23m||0.28m|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.2||0.17|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
The Silent Wave Motor of the Nikon 24mm f/1.8 ensures a quiet autofocusing operation, minimizing any distracting noise during shoots. The focusing speed of this lens is exceptional, transitioning from close focus to infinity in roughly one second. This lens outperforms certain counterparts, such as the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G, in this aspect. The lens’ adaptability to varied lighting conditions is proven by its reliable autofocus in low-light situations, even at its maximum aperture of f/1.8.
However, there are instances where it might show some limitations, such as in eye autofocus mode when photographing people. For manual focus enthusiasts, the lens provides a large rubber focusing ring, conveniently located for smooth operation. It offers an instant manual focus override, allowing users to switch to manual focusing without having to move a switch. The lens maintains a constant length regardless of the focus setting, thanks to its internal focusing design. Furthermore, its front element remains stationary during focusing, a feature beneficial for polarizer users. The lens also exhibits minimal focus breathing, adding to the overall excellence of its focusing performance.
In contrast, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 displays solid autofocusing performance, although it emits a faint hiss and clicks that might be picked up during video recording. Its focusing speed, although not ultra-fast, is still commendable, moving from infinity to 0.4m in approximately 0.6 seconds. The lens displays consistent autofocus acquisition in low-light situations and exhibits remarkable accuracy, delivering perfect focus even at a wide aperture of f/1.4.
However, it may require fine-tuning for exact focus, especially at a distance around 1m where the depth of field is minimal. For manual focusing, the 28mm lens offers an instant override. Its focus ring is designed for easy grip and rotation, ensuring a smooth manual focusing experience. Similar to the 24mm lens, this lens also follows an internal focusing design, maintaining a constant length regardless of focus settings. The front element does not rotate during focusing, an advantage for polarizer or graduated filter users. However, the lens does exhibit some focus breathing, slightly magnifying the image at closer focusing distances, which might be noticeable when pulling focus during video recording.
In summary, both lenses deliver solid focusing performances with their respective strengths. However, the 24mm lens, with its faster focusing speed, quiet operation, and minimal focus breathing, edges out slightly over the 28mm lens. Its manual focus override feature further enhances its versatility, making it a better option for those who require a balance between swift autofocus and precise manual focus control.
When examining the Nikon 24mm f/1.8, it’s clear that it lacks built-in optical stabilization. This absence is not unusual for prime lenses, particularly wide-angle ones, which instead lean on their larger maximum aperture to accommodate low light conditions rather than utilizing image stabilization. Consequently, when using this lens, photographers would have to depend on stabilization features in their camera bodies (if available), the utilization of a tripod, or adjustments such as increasing the ISO or widening the aperture to ensure image sharpness even at slower shutter speeds.
Similarly, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 also doesn’t incorporate optical stabilization. This feature is often less crucial in wide-angle prime lenses, as their broader field of view is less influenced by minor movements, which image stabilization is designed to correct. The larger maximum aperture of f/1.4 in this lens helps in achieving faster shutter speeds under low light conditions, reducing the effect of camera shake. However, for those frequently involved in low light or high-motion scenarios, such as videographers or certain photographers, a lens with built-in image stabilization or a camera with in-body image stabilization might be worth considering.
In conclusion, neither the 24mm nor the 28mm lens offers built-in optical stabilization, a feature that is less critical for wide-angle lenses due to their inherent resistance to camera shake. For situations demanding stabilization, photographers can rely on alternatives such as larger apertures, higher ISO settings, tripods, or in-camera stabilization features.
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm F1.8G ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E ED|
|Special Elements||2 ED and 2 aspherical elements + nano crystal coat||3 aspherical + 2 ED element, Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings|
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 exhibits impressive control over chromatic aberration, showing only minimal evidence of it even in high contrast scenarios. However, it does display some longitudinal chromatic aberration, distinguishable as magenta tones in the foreground and greenish ones in the background, an effect that nearly vanishes by f5.6. The lens does exhibit some degree of coma, particularly noticeable in astrophotography, where it distorts stars into butterfly-like shapes towards the edges of the frame.
Additionally, there’s some presence of spherical aberration, or “color bokeh,” resulting in magenta and green fringes in slightly out-of-focus areas. However, as with many aberrations, this effect lessens when the aperture is reduced. Despite minor issues with coma and spherochromatism, the lens’s prowess in limiting chromatic aberration is noteworthy, and most aberrations can be mitigated with aperture adjustments or post-processing corrections.
On the other hand, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 displays both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations, though these are generally well-contained. Lateral chromatic aberration, characterized by a purple halo around dark objects against a bright sky and a green or magenta tint on out-of-focus objects, is barely visible in a handful of test shots, primarily at full aperture. This effect can be easily rectified using post-processing software. The longitudinal chromatic aberration, manifesting as magenta in the foreground and greenish hues in the background when shooting at f1.4, is less pronounced than in many other f1.4 lenses, although it’s more challenging to correct post-shoot.
Coma is a weakness of this lens, especially evident at f/2.8, making it less suited for astrophotography. The lens also shows some spherochromatism, noticeable as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds when shot wide open. However, this effect reduces as the lens is stopped down.
In summary, both lenses show a commendable handling of chromatic aberration, though the 24mm lens performs slightly better. Both have some issues with coma, especially in astrophotography. Spherochromatism is noticeable in both lenses, but it reduces as the aperture is closed down. Given the overall comparison, the 24mm lens has a slight edge in managing aberrations, especially in terms of chromatic aberration control.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 exhibits a commendable sharpness profile. Its center sharpness is exemplary, even at a wide-open aperture from f/1.8, becoming especially prominent at f/2.8, and maintaining this high performance up to f/11. The corner sharpness, while showing minor softness at the widest aperture, markedly improves when the lens is stopped down. The lens reaches its optimum sharpness at f/11, resulting in an image that’s impressively sharp across the frame. Notably, diffraction could cause image softening beyond f/16.
The lens performs well even in APS-C mode, with impressive results on high-resolution 45-megapixel full-frame cameras, although image quality can benefit from slightly stopping down in critical situations. Despite minor issues with corner sharpness at wider apertures, this lens provides high detail, contrast, and overall image quality, making it suitable for various photography genres.
In contrast, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 also delivers exceptional sharpness across its aperture range. Its center sharpness is notable, with excellent results from the widest aperture of f/1.4 through to f/16. Corner sharpness, while not perfect at the widest aperture compared to other high-performance lenses, improves dramatically when stopped down, reaching peak performance at f/2.8. The lens maintains this high sharpness up to around f/11, after which diffraction can cause slight softness at f/16.
This lens offers consistent sharpness across the frame from f/5.6 and achieves maximum sharpness at f/8 or larger. In practical terms, the lens delivers excellent sharpness at f/2.8 and is capable of capturing extremely sharp images, whether they are architectural structures or night sky star fields.
In conclusion, both lenses offer exceptional sharpness across various apertures. However, considering the performance at wider apertures and the consistency of sharpness across the frame, the 28mm lens appears to have a slight advantage. Despite the 24mm lens’s impressive performance, the 28mm lens’s ability to deliver excellent sharpness even at its widest aperture of f/1.4 sets it apart, making it the superior option in terms of sharpness.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 delivers a generally pleasing bokeh, presenting as smooth and uncluttered. It has seven diaphragm blades that contribute to a less busy bokeh compared to certain competitors like the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. Although the Sigma tends to create a more blurred background at the same f-number, the 24mm lens yields cleaner results.
However, it does display a ‘cat’s eye’ bokeh effect, particularly noticeable in the frame corners, which may influence the bokeh’s perception depending on individual preferences. Some might favor the more blurred but somewhat patterned bokeh of the Sigma, while others might lean towards the cleaner but less blurred bokeh of the 24mm lens.
On the other hand, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4, although not typically renowned for exceptional bokeh, presents a remarkable bokeh quality. It effectively blurs the background while keeping subjects in sharp focus, creating a smooth transition from sharp to out-of-focus areas. The lens’s bokeh is notably enhanced compared to older 28mm models, offering a delightful separation between subjects and the background. This attribute is especially beneficial in astrophotography and nature photography.
Despite showing some onion-shaped bokeh due to the use of aspherical lens elements and minor spherochromatism at f/1.4, the lens is praised for its round, creamy, and soft bokeh, free from common effects such as ‘cat’s eye’. The lens also demonstrates the ability to isolate subjects against a blurred background effectively in various practical scenarios.
In conclusion, while the 24mm lens provides a decent bokeh, the 28mm lens stands out with its impressive bokeh quality. Despite the inherent challenges of creating pleasing bokeh with wide-angle lenses, the 28mm lens manages to deliver an exceptional performance, thus making it the superior choice when considering bokeh quality.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 exhibits an admirable performance in mitigating flare and ghosting, even under strong light conditions. This is a significant attribute since wide-angle lenses are often more exposed to direct light sources, leading to potential flare, ghosting, and contrast reduction. Under a challenging test with strong light hitting the lens directly at f11, the lens performed well, displaying moderate flare and ghosting, less than what might be typically observed with other lenses under similar circumstances.
This impressive control over flare and ghosting is in part due to the Nano coating applied to the lens’ glass elements, which significantly helps to reduce these artifacts. Even when the sun is located near the frame’s center, the lens manages to effectively control flares. Any minor flares present can be easily corrected using post-processing software. However, despite the lens’ commendable handling of flare and ghosting, it is important to remember that no lens is entirely immune to these effects, particularly under strong direct light.
In contrast, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 handles flare and ghosting exceptionally well, largely due to its advanced lens design and coatings. It remains relatively clear of artifacts even when a strong light source shines directly into it, even when used wide open. A minor and weak ghost image might appear when the light source is near the center, but overall, ghosting remains minimal.
This lens produces beautiful sun stars at smaller apertures like f8, with only a slight increase in ghosting. Even under extreme light conditions, such as during a solar eclipse, the lens continues to effectively control flare and ghosting. This is largely due to Nikon’s nano-crystal coating technology present in this lens, which significantly reduces ghosting and flare issues and enhances color and contrast in images.
In summary, while both lenses perform well in controlling flare and ghosting, the 28mm lens’s advanced coatings and design give it an edge over the 24mm lens. Therefore, in the context of flare and ghosting control, the 28mm lens is superior.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 manifests noticeable vignetting, particularly at wider apertures such as f/1.8, where the image’s corners can be darker by a full stop compared to the center. This lens’s vignetting is most significant when used in full-frame mode without in-camera corrections. However, the vignetting issue significantly decreases as the lens is stopped down. By f/2.8, the vignetting is greatly reduced, and by f/4, it’s almost imperceptible.
Although some photographers might find this a concern, the issue can be effectively resolved using post-processing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom that have built-in lens profiles for this particular lens. Therefore, even though vignetting is present at wider apertures, it can be managed in post-processing, ensuring image quality remains high.
On the other hand, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 also displays noticeable vignetting, especially when shot wide open at f/1.4, with a light falloff of over two stops towards the image’s corners. This vignetting effect can be used artistically to focus attention on the image’s center. However, if undesirable, you can reduce the effect by applying lens corrections or stopping down the aperture. By f/2.8 in RAW and f/2 in jpeg, vignetting is significantly lessened, and by f/4, it becomes nearly negligible. Interestingly, the extent of vignetting is also influenced by the focusing distance, with the effect being most pronounced at infinity.
While software corrections can be used to address vignetting, some users have found the tool’s performance with this lens to be unsatisfactory. Conversely, some photographers value the aesthetic quality the vignetting adds to the images and choose to retain it in their shots. Therefore, this lens’s vignetting can be seen as an artistic tool, depending on the photographer’s creative vision.
In conclusion, both lenses exhibit vignetting, particularly at wider apertures, but this effect can be mitigated with post-processing software or by stopping down the aperture. However, given that the vignetting on the 24mm lens is more easily corrected with software, and it becomes mostly unnoticeable by f/4, the 24mm lens has a slight edge in terms of superior vignetting control.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 displays a moderate level of distortion, most noticeable as barrel distortion, especially when focusing up close. This effect becomes more pronounced when the lens is used on a full-frame camera and shot wide open at f/1.8. Nevertheless, it remains within acceptable limits for a lens of this category. This distortion, while observable, can be effectively mitigated using in-camera corrections or post-processing software such as Photoshop’s Lens Distortion tool. Despite the presence of distortion, it doesn’t significantly affect the lens’s overall performance and is relatively standard for a lens with these specifications. It’s essential to consider these characteristics based on your shooting scenario’s specific requirements. However, the distortion shouldn’t deter most photography applications.
On the other hand, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 displays a minor level of barrel distortion, a common occurrence with wide-angle lenses. This lens’s distortion ranges between 0.4% to 1.2% across different reports. This distortion, although present, is not usually noticeable in most shots, especially those lacking straight lines. The barrel distortion can be readily rectified in post-processing using software like Lightroom or Photoshop. Additionally, some Nikon cameras and Adobe lens profiles can automatically correct this distortion for JPEG and RAW images, respectively. This lens performs exceptionally well for its type, effectively managing distortion while also delivering superior image quality.
In conclusion, both lenses exhibit barrel distortion, which is typical for wide-angle lenses. However, the 28mm lens displays less distortion, and this distortion is often not noticeable in most shots. Furthermore, it can be readily corrected using in-camera features or post-processing software. Therefore, in terms of superior distortion control, the 28mm lens has the edge.
For landscape photography, a wider field of view is often desirable to capture expansive vistas. The 24mm lens, with its broader perspective, would be the preferable choice here. The lens’s superior control of vignetting and chromatic aberrations is beneficial in this genre, where these effects can be more apparent due to the extensive scenes captured.
When it comes to architectural photography, distortion becomes a crucial factor, as it can alter the straight lines and shapes that are inherent to architectural structures. Given its better control of distortion, the 28mm lens would be a superior choice. Its impressive sharpness across the frame would also ensure that all architectural details are captured with clarity.
For astrophotography, coma and chromatic aberration control are paramount, as they can affect the rendering of stars and other celestial bodies. The 24mm lens has a slight advantage in managing aberrations, making it a more suitable choice for astrophotography. Its faster focusing speed could also be beneficial when adjusting focus in low light conditions.
In environmental portrait photography, the quality of bokeh becomes a more significant factor, as it affects the aesthetic of the background blur. The 28mm lens, with its superior bokeh quality, would be ideal for this genre. Its robust weather sealing also ensures it can handle a variety of outdoor conditions during portrait sessions.
In summary, the choice between the 24mm and 28mm lens depends heavily on the specific genre of wide-angle photography you’re interested in. For landscapes and astrophotography, the 24mm lens’s wider field of view and better aberration control give it the edge. Conversely, for architectural and environmental portrait photography, the 28mm lens’s superior distortion control, sharpness, and bokeh quality make it the superior choice. Regardless, both lenses are capable performers and would serve any wide-angle photographer well.