The Nikon 20mm f/1.8G DSLR Lens(review) is a great lens featuring amazing autofocus ability which is exclusively dedicated to astrophotography, landscape, architecture, and environmental portrait photography. 

The Nikon Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 prime lens was first launched on September 12, 2014. Since then it has received a lot more attention and was hugely popularized among photographers.

In this article, we have completely gone through every aspect of this lens such as features, design, and performance which is explained in detail.

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Nikon 20mm F/1.8G Review

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Overview

Nikon 20mm F/1.8G DSLR LENS

The Nikon Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G DSLR lens(review) is great in design and has 1.3 stops which are very fast than the older Nikon of this type. The demand for this DSLR lens is huge as it has great optical performance.

Though the zoom lenses give more advanced features and give more flexibility while photo shoots. But there are some listed problems with the zoom lenses such as high price, heavyweight, smaller aperture, and relatively low optics.

But in the case of prime lenses, they have more advantages over the zoom lenses and you don’t need any expertise while playing with this kind of lenses. The focal length adjustment and appropriate aperture value give more productivity to the prime lenses as compared to the zoom lenses.

Generally, photographers use shorter focal lengths while shooting for the architecture, landscape, night sky photo shoots, etc. So, this Nikon 20mm f/1.8ED DSLR Lens(review) is a great option for those photographers.

It has been seen that there are lots of users who are getting confused while choosing the right prime lenses for their cameras. You can see a lot of debate on the prime lenses which have the focal length of 20mm, 24mm, and 28mm. Though these all lenses have a good performance you may not be able to identify the issues unless and until use them in a more versatile way. 

The Nikon Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED is a lightweight, compact type of lens meant for the ultra-wide perspective. The lens is well compatible with the FX-format bodies and can perform better in low light situations giving better shallow depth of field.

Besides that Nikkor 20mm, f/1.8G ED comes with an advanced optical design that includes aspherical elements and extra-low dispersion glass elements.

The silent wave motor is very innovative and gives better and accurate autofocus. Min. focus distance is generally 0.66ft and the lens produces a beautiful bokeh effect over the subjects.

Specifications

  • Focal length : 20mm
  • Max. aperture : f/1.8
  • Min. aperture : f/16
  • Mount type : Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Compatible with : Performs best on FX format bodies and can be mount on DX format bodies
  • Max. angle of view : 70 degree on DX-format
  • Max. angle of view : 94 degree on FX-format
  • Optical design : 13 elements in 11 groups
  • Max. reproduction ratio : 0.23x
  • No. of diaphragm blades : 7 
  • Has super integrated coating
  • Great autofocus : Silent wave motor
  • Internal focusing : yes
  • Min. focus distance : 0.66ft
  • Focus modes include auto and manual
  • Filter size : 77mm
  • Weight : 355g

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Design and Handling

The build quality is solid (mimic with the 35mm f/1.8G ED) as the lens is highly compact and lightweight. Talking about the lens construction it has quite advanced in design. The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G prime lens has 13 elements ( in 11 groups). Out of which 2 lens elements are extra-low dispersion lens elements which are meant for better sharpness and contrast over the subjects.

Besides that, there are 2 aspherical lens elements that have the maximum potential to remove spherical aberrations. The exterior part of the lens is mostly made of plastic and gives metal mount options for the camera bodies.

There is a rubber gasket that can be found on the lens particularly in the lens mount area that prevents the entry of dust particles into the cameras. The lens gives smoother performance while handheld. Due to the 1.3 stops faster aperture, the lens set a benchmark compared to the other type of lenses of this class.

The DSLR camera lens has a gold ring found on the front barrel of the lens and has a complex design. The ultra nanocoating and 2 extra-low dispersion elements adding the best features to this lens compared to the 35mm f/1.8G.

The filter size is 77mm but is plastic-type. But that seems okay as in this price and advanced optical design makes the lens a superior one. You can not see any issues while using the polarizing filter. The focus of the lens does not move a bit with this kind of filter.

Unlike the other prime DSLR lenses, the front element of the lens do not move while in operation which ensures the lens elements are not deep inside. So, you can easily clean the lens without worrying about the dust particles (which generally get attached to the out-of-reach areas).

With a thumb and index finger, you can easily operate the focus ring as the thick focus ring ensures great manual focusing over the subject and gives a smoother performance.

Like any other lenses, it has an HB-72 lens hood which covers tightly to the lens elements. There are two switches; the M/A and M switch (found on the side of the lens) gives better autofocus and it also includes manual focus override which is a great sign of this lens.

The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G has a great potential in autofocus which recognizes the subject very easily which is generally reflected on the I-button(on the LCD screen).

As mentioned above the lens is very compact and lightweight, the lens is a little heavier than the older 20mm f/1.8. The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED weighs around 355g which is also heavier than Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G (weighs 300g).

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Performance

Nikon 20mm f/1.8 review lens

As far as the performance is concerned the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G DSLR Lens(review) is a very good lens and gives maximum desired results. It has a silent wave motor that makes no noise during operation and is very fast in operation.

The autofocus operation is quite fast and the minimum focusing distance is 0.66ft. If you instantly focus on the closest subject and quickly focus on the farther distance then this lens only takes half a second which is really incredible.

Be it bright light or low light the autofocus operates quite nicely and gives impressive results. The autofocus quality in low light situations is remarkably good if you use the lens in modern DSLR cameras while the autofocus ability of the lens struggles a bit on the older DSLR cameras. The autofocus is quite faster on the D750 and D810 DSLRs.

The lens is quite impressive in sharpness as you stopped down the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED lens gives incredible results and can outperform the lenses like 28mm f/1.8G and 24mm f/1.4G. For the wide-angle perspective, the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 is the best lens as it gives more sharpness.

When the aperture opens widely it draws maximum light supposed to perform very strongly giving out the best center sharpness. The maximum center sharpness can be achieved at the f/5.6, this is the value where both the corners and nid region look sharper.

The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G does not have focus shift and field curvature which makes the lens better control on the focus. The superior optical design, especially micro-contrast is really amazing like other expensive lenses. The super integrated nano-coating and high-quality glasses make this lens a great lens that gives promising colors.

Talking about the bokeh effect, the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G lens does not yield a better bokeh effect like other wide-angle lenses. It gives onion ring type bokeh even when stopped down. To get a better bokeh effect you have to stand very close to the subjects so that the subject and background can be separated easily. But there is a little issue on close distance photoshoots as it shows little distortions. But that’s okay.

As mentioned earlier the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G DSLR Lens(review) is the best lens for architecture and landscape photoshoots. The vignetting performance of the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G varies along with aperture ranges. It has been seen that the vignetting levels are quite obvious at the close distances for the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G. 

But at the infinity, it shows more vignetting levels as corners achieve dark. In expert review, one should use a versatile filter holder so as to minimize the significant amount of distortion.

The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G has a great optical design that includes high-quality nano-coating which can effectively reduce ghosting and flares. While on bright light shooting there is very less amount of ghosting and flare. But the flares and ghosting can be more if you use UV and other filters. So, overall the lens is good over flare and ghosting.

Talking about the distortion, it gives the same amount of barrel distortion as 24mm f/1.4G ED and 28mm f/1.8G ED which generally gives 1.06% of barrel distortion. But the latest version of Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED can effectively minimize distortion or else on post-processing (Using Photoshop and lightroom) you can get pretty good results.

There is a little or negligible amount of lateral chromatic aberration which can be found on the images while using Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED. But that’s okay because this can be removed using Photoshop and Lightroom. However, there can be some axial chromatic aberrations that can be found using this lens.

The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G has the potential to perform well at large apertures for the infrared converter cameras but at the aperture of f/5.6, it has been some spots on the center of the frame.

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Pros 

  • Gives better sharpness when stopping down
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Great silent focusing
  • Low distortion for wide angle lens
  • No lateral chromatic aberrations
  • Great optical Nano-crystal coating
  • Worth for money

Cons

  • Visible chromatic aberrations on the corner
  • Offers little bit of barrel distortion
  • Sensitivity towards backlighting

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Conclusion

After going through each and every feature it seems that the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G DSLR Lens(review) is a good lens compared to the 24mm and 35mm Nikon lenses. Though it has some little bit of issues that can be minimized effectively which is mentioned above.

At a reasonable price, this Nikon Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G offers great excellent images because of its advanced optical design which includes remarkable lens elements, silent wave motor, and great control over autofocus operation which makes this lens a must-buy for everyone.

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