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Home » Camera Lens Reviews » Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Review

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Review

Looking to find more information regarding the Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED? Read our latest review to learn more about the Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED, its specifications, and if it’s a good camera lens for you. 

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Overview

The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is, without a doubt, one of the best lenses on the market today. When it first appeared, this was a lens that every professional photographer had in their bag and is still just as effective today. This lens won’t autofocus on some of the cheapest cropped sensor cameras, but will function well on all FX cameras up to and including the d7000.

Nikon’s finest years were when this lens was made. Everything about this lens screams high quality, from its robust and sturdy construction to the heft of the item. This lens came with a hard case that features form-fitting red velveteen covered foam. The case has a clamshell lid with leather magnetized buckles that indicate how well the lens was constructed.

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Specifications

The Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED was first announced on 02/01/1999 with a Nikon F FX mount type. Below is a summary of this len’s specifications: 

Indicative Price: N/A

Focal Range: 28-70mm

Aperture: F/ 2.8

Filter Diameter (millimeters): 77

Maximum Diameter (millimeters): 88.5

Number Of Lenses: 15

Length (millimeters): 121.5

AF Motor: AF Motor

Stabilization: None

Zoom Type: Ring

Tripod Mount: None Available

Colors Available: Black, Light Grey

Manual Focus: Yes

Weight (grams): 935

How Does Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Score? 

Below are the lens metric scores we’ve measured for this specific lens:

Sharpness: 7.5/10

The lens has very good resolution throughout the picture region and excellent values when stopped down. The border shows great clarity at all the tested apertures. With decent resolution wide open, the extreme corners start a bit lower, but they improve to excellent levels when stopped down.

When zoomed in to 40mm, the situation is very similar, with one exception: Both borders and corners were able to achieve excellent resolution when stopped down to f/8. The center resolution dropped somewhat at the widest focal length setting, but it remained high all the way through f/4. Both edges and corners maintain excellent clarity across all examined apertures.

Vignetting: 5.6/10

For a fast zoom lens, the vignetting is quite well controlled. It is most apparent wide open, as it should be, but decreasing the amount of light fall-off by stopping down eliminates the problem. For most subjects, from f/4 onwards it shouldn’t be an issue.

Chromatic Aberration: 2.5/10

Chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are well controlled at most focal lengths. Only at 70mm wide open do they become somewhat obvious, however stopping down slightly already reduces the amount considerably. Please keep in mind that chromatic aberration can usually be corrected in software or by the camera’s built-in corrections (most current Nikon DSLRs automatically remove chromatic aberration if you shoot JPGs).

Distortion: 5/10

The distortion characteristic of the lens is typical for many other zooms. There is obvious barrel distortion at the wide end, however it is fairly well tolerated with a radius of 2.4%. There is no visible distortion at medium focal length settings, but there is pincushion distortion at the long end of the zoom range (approximately 1-2%).

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Performance

The focus is excellent throughout the zoom range, requiring only 0.3m to achieve maximum sharpness at all focal lengths. The focus is fast and silent, even for video recording. Friction in the bearings of the focus ring is minimal, so it rotates smoothly, though not as nice as higher-end lenses or AF-S primes.

The lens extends slightly when zooming towards 70 mm but does not rotate during this operation. When focusing closer it extends a bit further; however no part of this lens ever comes into contact with anything other than air (i.e., there are no moving elements inside the lens that extend). This decreases its resistance to dust and moisture compared to many other Nikon zooms that don’t retract (the 18-200mm VR, for example).

The aperture mechanism is very efficient in terms of its physical size. It has rounded blades, which are always beneficial in terms of smooth bokeh (out-of-focus blurriness). The rounded blades also make the aperture more round when closed down all the way to f/22, resulting in much nicer sun stars when you create them by stopping the lens down far enough. 

There is no zoom creep over time, but there is a lock at 28 mm which can be activated or deactivated by pulling back the locking pin just under the zoom ring and rotating it into position.

Something to keep in mind is the bokeh quality of this lens, which is not always stellar. The round aperture helps, but it also creates odd-shaped out of focus highlights when the lens is opened up wide.

The color rendition of this lens is very good, particularly when stopped down a bit. When used at f/2.8 or wider, however, there are visible differences to Nikon’s prime lenses which produce more accurate colors for certain subjects (such as people). This difference usually manifests itself in an increased amount of magenta in skin tones and other settings with skin tones or many different colors that are quite similar for this lens compared to prime lenses.

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED Pros and Cons

Below are some of the pros and cons regarding this lens. 

Pros: 

  • Strong build quality
  • Very sharp with solid contrast and color rendition
  • Quick focus
  • Nice balance and bokeh

Cons: 

  • Somewhat large and cumbersome
  • Autofocus not as quick as USM equivalent
  • Full field of view is somewhat shorter than other comparable lenses out there on the market today

Our Verdict

The Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED is a superlative standard zoom that is on par with Nikon’s best lenses. It produces very sharp images and has nice color rendition, as well as quick focus and a pleasing design. Although it is not as small as some of the third party lenses out there on the market today (Sigma, Tamron), its quality still beats those competitors hands down.

The lens becomes increasingly more cumbersome to use at focal length extremes because of its size and weight; however this is something that you’ll get used to after taking several pictures with it and handling it for a few days. If you want a 28-70mm f/2.8 lens from Nikon – we recommend this one over the older AF-D version simply due to its superior build quality and much more accurate color rendition than the older lens.

If you’re looking for a great standard zoom with an f/2.8 aperture, yet don’t want to spend the extra cash on Nikon’s top-of-the-line lenses (this one currently retails at around $1,200), then this is definitely the right lens for you. This lens will last many years to come and will serve you well in most situations that require a standard zoom; its performance is very good throughout its entire range without exception, making it truly versatile.