Nikon NIKKOR 28mm 1:3.5 Ai-S Lens (f/3.5)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR 28mm 1:3.5 Ai-S Lens (f/3.5).

Overall Rating:

This lens was introduced in 1981 and retired in 1989. It replaced the 1977 Ai version with the same optics which were superior to the pre-Ai versions by having a smaller front element and a larger rear element allowing for more even coverage of the camera sensor. It also has some thicker elements which help with the peripheral brightness. It doesn't feature close-range correction like its faster cousins the 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S and 28mm f/2.0 Ai-S lenses. It has a 0.3 meters / 1 foot minimum focus which gives it a reproduction ratio of 1:7.4. About 40,000 units were produced.

This fairly sharp little lens exhibits somewhat high color fringing for a prime or even compared to some zooms of its day like the Zoom-NIKKOR 35-105mm Ai-S lens. That said, color fringing is easy to remove in post.

color fringing at f/5.6
color fringing, corner

This lens has some barrel distortion to deal with.

barrel distortion

This lens exhibits coma and the bokeh is fair.


It is excellent for infrared photography.

infrared at f/11

This lens is Ai-S compatible so it will work with some Nikon bodies in program and aperture priority mode and the front element does NOT rotate when focusing so using a polarizer is easier. The optical performance is improved from the earlier Nikkor 28mm/3.5 by having slightly greater sharpness, but both exhibit similar color fringing.

This is an all-metal design with excellent manual focusing. There is no play in the focus collar. The build quality, though, is not as high as that of the earlier AI lenses.

This lens has a focus and depth of field scale.

Diffraction begins around f/8.

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Nikon lens construction legend

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