Nikkor 28mm f3.5 manual focus prime lens
Focal Length: 28mm.
Maximum Aperture: f/3.5.
Min Aperture: f/22
Optics: 6 elements in 6 groups, multicoated.
Diaphragm: 7 blades
Filter Size: 52mm
Close Focus: 1′ or 0.3m
This is my Nikkor 28mm f3.5 manual focus prime lens. (picture of lens to come)
It is one of my more recent acquisitions so I have yet to take it out for too much testing at this time. This lens covers 35mm full frame and is an old film lens. It displays some vignette when shot wide open as exhibited in test shots bellow along with a small amount of distortion. It is quite acceptably sharp on the Pixel dense 36mp a7r sensor and I find the bokeh quite pleasing for a reasonably wide angle lens though you can see a swirl to the out of focus area in the fifth photo of the flowers. This lens to me displays qualities of that classic Nikon signature rendering I see from work shot with classic nikkor primes. I really must take it out for some more thorough field testing in the future.
Here are some general test shots mounted on my Sony A7r:
(as usual click on images to see larger and sharper)
This shot was taken on my recently acquired Minolta 28mm f2 lens. I bought this lens as fast wide to mainly shoot live bands in lowlight but have just been starting to test it. It seems to be a reasonable performer, but what I like most about this shot is the fact that it shows both river shores on either side of me. This is a 21 image stitch shot in a grid.
(As always please click on images to see larger)
I still very much enjoy shooting my roll once a month for our 1 day in 1 roll Facebook group. Here is an earlier post from more about he beginning of the group: 1 Day in 1 Roll : Event #1 ….and #2
I find myself so busy these days that the group deciding to have a monthly day that is agreed upon that we will all go out and shoot a roll kind of makes it something that I just regularly put aside each month. I must admit that I was rather happy that last months March shoot was decided for Easter Sunday. I was fortunate enough that the family had decided to go down to the river foreshore for a little easter brunch. I was very happy about this as I had been wanting to get back down to the Swan River foreshore southside for some time to shoot some more film stitches of the city. I had very much enjoyed it last time but had only had 400iso film on me, thus it was grainier than I’d like. This time I was going prepared, with my Contax 137md equiped with my Carl zeiss Plannar 50mm 1.7, Yashica 28mm f2.8 ML and my Yashica 135mm 2.8 all excellent lenses and best of all I had decided to load up some of my absolute favorite film Kodak Ektar 100. I had a bit of a happy snap as I walked around the area we had camped out for our family breakfast. Here are a few of those snaps:
(Please remember to click on images to see at larger size)
The first thing that gets me every time I visit the south foreshore is that spectacular view of our fair City.
(Taken using my Ysahica 28mm f2.8 ML manual focus lens on Contax 137MD using Kodak Ektar 100)
I remember going out on these boats when I was very young with my step father Saxon. They still create some great imagery for me.
(Taken using my Yashica 135mm f2.8 manual focus lens on Contax 137MD using Kodak Ektar 100)
Which brings me round to why I brought this camera these lenses and loaded one of my favorite all time colour films.
Most of this stuff here is still a work in progress, but I wanted to get my roll up so I wasn’t too far behind with the rest of 1 day 1 roll Facebook group.
This is a 7 image stitch taken using my Carl Zeiss 50mm f2.8 T* coated. While I love this lens and am happy this stitch, having shot it I instantly remember thinking that the city just felt too small during snapping that.
So that is why I took this next 15 image stitch using my Yashica 135mm f2.8 ML I am quite happy with how this turned out for a large film stitch. Please do take the time if you can and click on the image and view it full size.
Thank you for taking the time to view my 1 day in 1 roll from march. I hope you have enjoyed some of my shots on Kodak Ektar 100 of the Perth city Southern foreshore.
If you have read my review of the Slr magic 35mm 1.7 lens, you will know that I shot exclusively with these 2 Slr magic lenses for the final 4 months of last year (2011). I thoroughly enjoyed shooting both lenses, they both are very complementary to the Nex camera. I find they both have very good contrast and colour when in comparison to the 2 kit lenses. As I explained in my review of the 35mm, I always for some reason reached for that one more, I guess it just seemed more fun. However that lens has some serious short comings that you will not really notice till you blow your image up on you PC screen, such as quite soft edges due to harsh vignetting and there is some barrel distortion. However like I said in that review, as long as you keep this in mind and make it work for you it is a terribly creative lens.
This lens is a different kettle of fish. It arrived well packaged and boxed in superb time along with their 35mm and again the first thing I was impressed by was the quality for such a cheap lens. The first thing you notice upon inspecting the lens is that it does not have your typical aperture blade, instead it seems to have an aperture disc that rotates to different cut aperture openings within it and this achieves aperture stops. While fine for still photo taking, I could see how this may hamper the lens’s effectiveness for footage, as when you change aperture you will actually close the lens to light as you move in between the click stops due to this disc for aperture. This ring seems to click into place nicely and sturdily and the focus ring turns smoothly and freely. So of course out I went, put the dog on the leash and off to the park for an initial round of test shooting. (I must apologise for not recording the aperture settings as the Nex does not do this for manual lenses. All photos taken from jpeg as the Nex raw could not be processed at the time, this has since been rectified.)
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/160
The first thing you notice is how nice and sharp and how articulated the front of this tree is, then you notice that creamy silky smooth, out of focus area or bokeh, as some refer to it, almost melts. The colour rendition is also truly supreme. It is funny how for some unknown reason I just didn’t reach for this lens as often as the 35mm when out shooting, as when I look back on all these test shots I am truly astounded at just how good this lens in that you can have for less than $150aus, brand new!
You will see why I rave so much when you see this next pic, I was throwing the ball for my dog and best mate ‘Dengis’ and in between his running about I was trying to snap a decent portrait of him eagerly anticipating the throw of the ball, I think this shot captures that moment quite well, from the whiskers on his nose, to the slobber and grass on his tongue from returning the ball, he such a happy character.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/320
Of course as you know if you read my review of the Slr magic 35mm lens I now had to do more shooting after such positive first time out test results. So I packed up my bag with my Nex-5 and my two new Slr Magic lenses and off I went into our city here in Western Australia, Perth, to do a more comprehensive test run. Having been shooting the 35mm for the first half of my trip into town, I now switched to my Slr magic 28mm. I was still at the sculptures I photographed in the 35mm review, so my first round of test shooting began there.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/4000
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/4000
The first thing you notice from these test shots is how sharp this lens is in comparison to the 35mm, notice how clean and crisp the edges are. I really like the way it renders, however not much colour and light in this spot so I move on in search of something more vibrant to test this baby out on. The very next thing I come across when leaving the sculptures is this street that has cobbled stones, as opposed to the typical bitumen of the average roads, and has some classic, vintage looking buildings running up the sides. It is bright noon sun, however the colours look so earthy and warm, this lens renders this shot seamlessly.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/4000
Still this is not the colour I am in search of to really test the pop of this lens. However along my journey across town in search of such a shot I stumble across this vibrant young street performer. Her smile is just beaming as she performs her martial arts dance, her skirt twirling about her as she speedily skips around. Perfect action shot scenario. So I take aim, focusing with the Nex manual focusing aids is a charm and with the well built, nice and smooth ring of this lens capturing a moving target is a breeze. I feel the lens captured this moment perfectly, from all the detail or her swinging skirt, to her vibrant outfit, to rendering the skin tones perfectly too.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/800
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/1000
Wanting to test just how sharp this little sucker was, I then took aim at the city skyline to give me some nice right angles, so I could really test how sharp this lens was and see if there is any corner softness or distortion.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/4000
As you can see the copy I received is almost flawless, very sharp from corner to corner with almost nil line distortion.Very impressive for a lens of this price category. Not being done with this lens I had one more test up my sleeve. I went back home, packed Lisa in the car on the premise of getting dinner, and headed on down to Scarborough beach as it got on to evening. I wanted to test how this lens would render evening low-light and basic portraiture.
Iso 200 Sh. Sp. 1/80
This shot was actually taken while Lisa was meant to be pulling a face, but I snapped it while she was smiling instead, isn’t she beautiful? I love this shot, the out of focus area is smooth and creamy and the skin tones are warm and accurate, without reddening.
All in all this lens represents significant bang for buck. If you are chasing a lens for your Nex that is sharp from corner to corner, renders in a nice classic way and has great colour and contrast without breaking the bank, then I could not more highly recommend this lens. It meets all the requirements, with the only major drawback being the disc style aperture that could be a hindrance to capturing video. Looking back over these test shots I now feel the fool for not reaching for this lens more than it’s 35mm brother, it is clearly a Superior performer that I will be remembering to fit in my kit bag more often.
Ok, so I shot exclusively with my 2 Slr magic lenses from August 2011 till December 2011, I got some great shots and now feel I can discus what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of the lenses.
I’d like to start out with the 35mm as this is the one that I naturally just kept reaching for at first. It just felt fun to use, and when I looked at the screen on the Nex I was always very excited with the shots I grabbed with this lens. It’s funny that of the 2 lenses, this one always grabbed me more when out shooting over the 28mm, however when I got home and loaded them up on my computer, that was always where I found my love for the 28mm, but more on this later.
Upon receiving my package from SLR magic containing my 2 lenses and adjustable macro extension, I was very impressed by the packaging, it all seemed quite nice and had a feeling of quality I was not expecting this for such relatively inexpensive lenses. I remember being so eager to go shooting with these lenses when they arrived, I took a few brief snaps around the house to get the hang of focusing manually on the Nex, which is a dream by the way with it’s focus peaking and magnification. (however I must admit to not having recorded the aperture stops for each image and the Nex does not record your aperture settings on manual lenses for obvious reasons)
Once feeling comfortable enough, I chucked the dog on the leash and proceeded to the local park to give him a run and go shooting with this lens. The first thing I noted with this test was how easy this lens was to focus, the are no click stops for aperture, so it is great for video too. The rings turned freely and smoothly and did not feel loose or plastic-y at all. Not having much around I was reduced to shooting my dog and the local nature, however these shots turned out to be some great tests for me.
This shot was probably my favourite from this quick walk around the park. I like how it articulated the grain on the trunk.
Sh. Sp. 1/50 ISO 200
However I quickly noticed once I loaded the shots up on my PC that this lens had quite bad lens distortion as is quite plain in the next pic. It does not always seem to be in the same place in pictures, which leads me to believe that this distortion point rotates around as you focus, so it will depend on the distance from the subject to where the placement is. I’m not sure if this obvious lens distortion is in all examples of the lenses or if it is just this particular copy that I have.
You can see from this test shot where the lens distortion is quite prevalent. Sh. Sp. 1/250 ISO 200
Although this would be seen by some as quite a serious problem in this lens, it still was and is not a deal breaker for me. I did not buy this lens to get the most awesome, crystal clear, drop dead beautiful captures. No, I bought this lens as it was advertised to me, as a great creative lens and this is exactly what it is. If you buy this lens and expect it to give you perfect, leica or zeiss like images then you will be sorely disappointed and I have to question what you thought you were going to get for a lens that you get change out of $150AU.Still this was just the beginning for me, I had already caught the bug for shooting manually on the Nex. It just feels so good, it’s like meditation, it makes you slow down, really think about and compose your shot and then snap. Manual shooting makes you a better photographer, period.
Wanting to get out more and experiment with my new lenses I planned to go into town (Perth) that very next w/e, since I had gig posters to put up for our next show, I figured why not kill 2 birds.The first shot I snapped was just of a typical street sign right outside of the parking complex I had left my car in. I was that keen to get shooting, I just snapped the first thing I saw as I got out on the street. Even just by looking in the viewfinder, I was already impressed by the way the colours popped with this lens, it seemed right away to have more contrast than the native auto lenses.
It’s pretty close to midday so the sun is pretty harsh, but I like it in these, it conveys Perth city, we live under harsh summer sun. Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200
I still am blown away by the colour that these lenses convey to the sensor, it just seems miles and above the rendition from the kit lenses. I think this is probably one of the greatest factors in these lower end SLR magic lenses, they obviously have quite decent multi-coating. Combine that with the relatively fast f1.7 of this lens and you fun, creative walk-around that can handle low-light quite well.
Again still midday so the sun is quite harsh… They were running a Vegemite van in town giving out samples, how Aussie is that? Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200
I must admit that it was only from these first few town shots that I first truly noticed the full extent of the actually quite heavy vignetting to the edges of the lens. Again this was not really that much of a deal breaker for me, as I quite liked how it frames what you want the viewer to see.
As shown here you are always going to have really soft edges with this lens, as long as you take that into account, I think it can work for you. Sh. Sp. 1/3200 ISO 200
Again it is all about how you use this lens, very creative I feel, and as these 2 shots show, it performs quite well in normal low-light. Sh. Sp. 1/2000 ISO 200
Being new to shooting completely manually I wanted to see how I would go capturing some action shots, I was lucky enough that some teens were skating in front of a new monument that was being erected. I was impressed that this lens was actually fast to focus, the rings turned very smoothly and freely, without feeling loose, but firm and tight, fast enough I could capture kids flying through the air.
Having now become much more aware of the soft edges due to reasonably vignetting, (I believe the lens only just covers the whole Nex APS-C sensor) I thought I should shoot some lines to gather the lenses effect on them out to the edges.
As you can see still quite sharp in the center, but you get large displacement out to the edges.Having now felt comfortable with the lens and having figured out the pros and cons to shooting with it for what, I wanted to put it through it’s paces in a more professional capacity. Knowing the band was not far off releasing our then brand new single , I wanted to organise a promo shoot, to get some great photos of the band to help promote and also to put this baby through her paces in a more demanding scenario.
It was on this shoot that I noticed that the vignetting will often cause you to get that ‘swirling’ bokeh feel. I feel it is useful in some instances, giving the shot a feeling of movement behind a stationary object. Sh. Sp. 1/4000 ISO 200
So all in all after shooting with this lens for around 3 months I feel I can give it the thumbs up. It is not the stellar performer that you will get from other lens manufacturers for quite a lot more money, but it is creative. Extremely so. In fact I feel this lens fits into the ‘it is so bad it is good’ category. Because when you start adding up that it has barrel distortion around the center of some of your images and you have very soft edges due to vignetting that also effects bokeh in a kind of swirling way, I guess it starts to sound like a bit of a dud on paper. But, if you take into account that you will pick it up for less than $150AU, it has great colours and the build quality actually feels quite good, If used right this lens is a winner. If you take into account this short comings when shooting you will actually start to make the flaws work for you and create some amazing images. I also feel that if this is your first foray into manual lens shooting, you could do far worse than splashing out on this lens. It feels good on the end of the camera and it will make you slow down and compose your shots better.
All in all I have a real soft spot for this lens and it will always be in my kit. While not even coming close to some of my great glass like my SMC takumars or Minolta rokkors, this lens does things that they cannot do, and this is due to it’s unique imperfections which make it a classic creative tool for your Nex.
(all photos were taken jpeg as there was no way to process the Nex raw at the time, this has now been rectified)