Unboxing the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor lens

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My UPS driver just dropped off the latest Nikon lens, the 20mm f/1.8 AFG G Nikkor. I thought I’d share the unboxing joy with you all in the video above. I purchased this lens myself from B&H Photo. I’ve posted the specifications and my first impressions after the jump.

Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor mounted on a Nikon D810 DSLR.
Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor mounted on a Nikon D810 DSLR.

Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Specifications

  • Focal length: 20mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8-16
  • Angle of view on Nikon FX mount: 94°
  • Angle of view on Nikon DX mount: 70° (roughly equivalent to a 30mm lens)
  • 13 Elements in 11 groups
  • 7 diaphragm blades
  • Minimum focus distance: 20cm/ 7.87in
  • Dimensions: 3.2×3.1″
  • Weight: 357g/12.6oz
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Lens mount: Nikon F (G-type), compatible with DX and FX Nikon DSLRs

Full specifications at www.nikon.com

Initial impressions

This is a small, compact lens. It’s really not much larger than the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor. It’s easy to handle, and has a really nice minimum focus distance of only 20cm. With Nano-crystal coat, I expect it to deliver good sharpness and contrast. Although there is a wide, rubber-coated focus ring, the focus scale is quite compressed. The lens has the standard MA/M switch on the side for quickly switching between autofocus and manual focus modes.

In my quick tests, I found corner sharpness to be good wide-open, and very good by f/2.8. Light fall-off was very noticeable at f/1.8, but was negligible between f/2.8-4. Light fall-off is, of course, easily correctable in post-processing, especially if you shoot RAW. I saw some purple/magenta color fringing shooting wide-open that was easily removable in Lightroom, too. At this time, Adobe does not have a lens profile for this lens; I imagine one will be added soon.

Do you need it?

I think this lens is going to be great for anyone looking to get creative wide-angle shots with shallower depth of field than most wide zooms. The fast f/1.8 aperture means that the 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor is ideal for low-light and night/astrophotography. I’ll be putting mine through its paces very soon. With its small size and weight, a standard 77mm filter thread, and a price tag that’s less than half the 24mm f/1.4 Nikkor, I think a lot of enthusiasts will find that the 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor is a good value and excellent wide-angle prime for Nikon DSLR bodies.

20mm f/1.8 AFS G Lens Applications
  • Low-light indoor photography
  • Creative street photography with shallow(er) depth of field than most wide-angle zooms
  • Astro/Night photography
  • With a street price of just under $800, the 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor isn’t exactly inexpensive, but it’s wider and far less pricey than the 24mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor, which retails for nearly $2000. Moreover, it’s small, light, and takes 77mm front filters, which can be very useful.

One thought on “Unboxing the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AFS G Nikkor lens”

  1. Jason- thanks for the update. Your review is spot on. I had a blast shooting the Oregon Coast this week with this lens wide open. I am thrilled with this len’s performance, especially in low light. So glad I bought it.

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