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Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 Lens vs Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens vs Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens vs Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

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I am going to take group photos tonight for my church, few hundred people. I don’t expect everybody to be sharp and clear in the frame, but at least I shall get a better lens to shoot as good as I can.

Saw the Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 lens in my dry cabinet, so I thought of using it. Manual focus is not going to be a problem, since I am going to pre-focus and shoot from a tripod. I would expect the prime lens to deliver better result than the superzoom Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens.


No, not going to experiment tonight, so I do a pre-test first.

Shoot using my Nikon D3s, Mirror lock up mode (to minimize mirror bounce vibration), handheld shot. Both using F/5.6.

Nikon AIS 28mm F/2.8 Lens

AIS28mm(Full frame view)

AIS28mm-crop(100% crop)

Nikon AFS VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G Lens

28-300mm-resize(Full frame view)

28-300mm-resize-crop(100% crop)

As you can see from the above, surprisingly the 28-300mm lens is able to produce sharper and higher contrast image! I actually did a few extra shots, and the results are consistent. Either my AIS 28mm is a lemon, or technology has advanced so much that even a superzoom of today is already better than the best prime from the old days!

You bet I am going to use the 28-300mm tonight. 🙂

Update at 6.07pm

Ok, I decided to go take two other lenses and compare with the 28-300mm lens.


  1. Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens
  2. Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

Nikon AFS VR 24-70mm F/2.8 Lens

nikon-24-70mmAt 24mm, full frame

nikon-24-70mm-cropAt 24mm, 100% crop

Zoom to 28mm, to compare with 28-300mm lens.

nikon-24-70mm-28mm-cropZoom to 28mm, 100% crop

Tamron AF 24-70mm F/2.8 VC Lens

tamron24-70mm-24at 24mm, full frame


at 24mm, 100% crop

tamron24-70mm-28Zoom to 28mm, full frame

tamron24-70mm-28-cropZoom to 28mm, 100% crop


I noticed that the shots from Tamron lens seems to be over exposed, shot at F/5.6, 1/80s, while the Nikon 24-70mm is at F/5.6, 1/100s. Both on Aperture priority.

In terms of sharpness, I don’t see any difference. The Tamron photos seems softer due to overexposure, but after corrected both to similar exposure in Corel Paint Shop Pro, I couldn’t see any difference in sharpness. In fact, when comparing to 28-300mm lens, I couldn’t see difference in sharpness as well.

Quite possibly due to the limitation of my D3s 12MP sensor resolution that couldn’t differentiate the quality of those lenses…or my unscientific test (which is how I shoot in real life).

I decided to take the more versatile 28-300mm lens for tonight shots, and it is going to be the lens for my D3s in future. 🙂