Saturday 28 February 2015

Nikon 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G lens review with samples

Nikon 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 G Lens Review

Nikon 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 G lens


The Nikon 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 G lens was included as a kit lens on many Nikon film cameras in the 90's.

The review of this lens will be with real world examples bolted onto a full frame DSLR.

The lens I'm using was extracted from a Nikon F55 film camera. I picked it up for less than $50 a few years back.

In part due to a well known blogger, these lenses are now hard to find. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 on ebay. Trying to find a good example is hard.

So what images do you actually get with this lens on a full frame DLSR? Let's find out...


Weight: 190g (so practically nothing)
Construction: mostly plastic
Close focus: .35m or 14inch (so very close)

What happens if I drop or bump it? It will break and you throw it away.

What we're using to test

We'll be testing this lens bolted onto a Canon 6d full frame DSLR. 

Why are we pairing a Nikon lens to a Canon body? Because I parted with my Nikon DSLR a while back.

To pair the Nikon lens to the Canon 6d we're using an adapter. This one is around $20 and provides no electronic controls - it's all manual including focusing without a focus aid.


All samples are straight out of the camera, no manipulation or cropping unless specifically stated.

Close Up

80mm at f5.6

100% centre crop

80mm at f5.6

Note the falloff in the corners in the above shot. This is expected as we're shooting at the lenses limits, and it's a kit lens. 

No problem with centre sharpness however.

100% centre crop

Stopping down the aperture improves things considerably - another two examples, one at 5.6 and the other stopped down.

80mm at f5.6

80mm stopped down
Note the colour differences between top and bottom of frame are purely because of lighting conditions. The thing to note is the improvement of drop off by stopping down.

The brick wall

28mm at f3.3
Above is another example of this lens at it's limit - this time 28mm and f3.3.

Notice the distortion and fall off in the corners. Corner sharpness suffers. This is not unexpected in a lens such as this.

However if you stop down the aperture, things get a lot better.

28mm stopped down

 Still a reasonable amount of distortion but sharpness in the corners improves noticeably.

100% centre crop
100% bottom left
Note this was manually focused without focusing aids, so you should expect sharpness to be better than these examples.

More samples




If you do find one of these, don't shoot wide open, stop down the aperture to find the sweet spot.

Good luck if you decide to hunt one on ebay...if at all possible inspect before buying...given it's construction not all Nikon 28-80 G lenses have survived in good condition.

Thanks for reading.


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