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Three Nikon lenses should please wide-angle enthusiasts

Create: 06/05/2017 - 16:07
Nikon 8-15mm, 10-20mm and 28mm

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 8-15mm is Nikon’s first full-frame fisheye zoom
  • 28mm prime lens is fast at f/1.4
  • 10-20mm is for DX APS-C Nikon bodies

Nikon’s latest trio of lenses celebrates wide-angle photography end with two zooms – one of them a fisheye – and a high-speed lens.

The 8-15mm and 28mm lenses are intended for Nikon’s FX full-frame sensor bodies, while the 10-20mm zoom is for bodies fitted with the smaller DX APS-C sensors. Note that these are branded as Nikkor lenses, which signifies a higher-quality product.

Although the lenses use the Nikon F bayonet, none of them have an aperture ring, as the aperture is controlled electromagnetically. This means that these are incompatible with all film cameras and a number of Nikon’s older digital models.

What’s special about the lenses? Read on.

AF-S Fisheye f/3.5-4.5 Nikkor 8-15mm E ED, US$1,249.95

This is Nikon’s first fisheye zoom, and it’s unique in that it creates a circular 180° fisheye image at 8mm and a filled-frame fisheye image at 15mm.

This is a Gold Ring Nikkor, which is intended for Nikon’s high-quality optics.

Because it’s a fisheye lens, the close-focus distance is very short – just 0.5 inches.

When mounted to a DX APS-C sensor Nikon body, the lens’ zoom range is 12-22.5mm.

This lenses uses 15 elements in 13 groups and includes three extra-low dispersion elements. Seven blades form the aperture. Because of the lens’ large front element, it’s not possible to use filters with this lens.

Autofocus is driven by Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor, and the lens focuses internally. Manual focus is permitted. There is a distance scale, which is visible through a sealed rectangular window on the barrel.

The lens is weather-sealed. It lacks vibration control, which isn’t unusual in a fisheye lens.

It comes with front and rear caps, a bayonet petal-shaped lens shade and soft case. When shooting at 8mm, the lens shade must be removed, or it will become part of the photo. The front cap covers the lens shade, and both can be removed at once.

The lens is 3 x 3.2 inches (77.5 x 83mm) and weighs a bit more than a pound at 17.2 ounces (485 grams).

It is available now.

AF-P DX Nikkor f/4.5-5.6 10-20mm G VR, US$309.95

The other zoom lens of the announced trio, this 10-20mm optic is intended for Nikon’s bodies fitted with a DX APS-C sensor, providing a full-frame equivalent range of 15-30mm.

This Nikkor lens has 14 elements in 11 groups and includes three aspherical elements. Seven blades form the aperture. It uses 72mm filters.

The 10-20mm uses a pulse motor for autofocus, which it says is quiet enough to be used for video. The lens focuses internally, and the close-focus distance is about 8½ inches (0.22 meters). The lens lacks a distance scale.

This lens has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction, which should help because the maximum aperture is somewhat small at f/4.5.

This is a compact and lightweight lens at 3 x 2.8 inches (77 x 73mm) and 8.2 ounces (230 grams). The lens comes with front and rear caps, a petal-shaped bayonet lens shade and a soft case.

Nikon expects this lens to begin shipping in June 2017.

AF-S NIKKOR f/1.4 28mm E ED, US$1,999.95

The only prime lens of the trio, this is a Gold Ring Nikkor, which is intended for Nikon’s high-quality optics.

This is a high-speed FX lens for full-frame digital cameras. On a DX APS-C camera, the full-frame equivalent focal length becomes 39mm.

There are 14 elements in 11 groups, including two extra-low-dispersion elements. Nine blades form the aperture, and the lens uses 77mm filters.

Nikon says that this is a rear-focusing lens, using its Silent Wave Motor for autofocus. Manual focus is also available. There is a distance scale, which is visible through a sealed rectangular window on the barrel.

Nikon says this lens has almost no visible distortion or aberration and excellent edge-to-edge sharpness.

It is 3.2 x 3.9 inches (83 x 100.5mm) and weighs 22.8 ounces (645 grams). The lens comes with front and rear caps, a petal-shaped bayonet lens shade and a soft case.

The Nikkor f/1.4 28mm lens is expected to begin shipping in June 2017.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.