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Autofocus Alternatives over 24mm AIS for D300

Jim Mohundro

Seattle, US
450 posts

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Jim Mohundro Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jul 2008
Mon 13-May-13 07:00 PM | edited Mon 13-May-13 07:55 PM by Jim Mohundro

I've just acquired a nice, clean little (compared to my D700) D300 with less than 10K actuations to use as a more light duty, casual, mostly exterior shooting option to carry in a small bag with a single "normal-like" lens mounted and with a minimum of accessories like a CF card or two and perhaps a spare battery.

I had intended to use my very nice 24mm f/2.8 AIS as the probable mounted lens but my older eyes are having a bit of a struggle with manual focusing. Fortunately with a lens this short and one that has that ingredient missing in most new lens design--a depth of field scale, I can pretty much rely on hyper focal distance focusing (I come from a long-time film camera experience).

I have been considering my lens options, however, when I feel frustrated by the manual focusing. I definitely want to keep my field of view perspective relatively close to a 35mm equivalent on the D700 or my old Nikon F and Leica M. Those 35mm lenses were always the most flexible for me.

I may well "re-develop" my ancient MFN skills with the 24 AIS, but I'd like to examine these alternatives: the relatively new 28mm f/1.8G, and the 24mm and 20mm AFD lenses. I think I can live with the field of view of any of the three mounted on the D300, and I'd be willing to trade my 24mm AIS plus my 35mm f/2 AFD in on the best three alternatives above.

Unfortunately, browsing the various reviews of all those alternatives hasn't helped me narrow my choice. DXO, SLRGear, Camera Labs and others all seem to differ--by my inference of their opinions--based on optical (e.g., focus shift with 28) and mechanical flaws (build and reliability) various reviewers have found through laboratory and some field testing of the 28, 24 and 20. On the other hand, while Thom has not reviewed the 28 f/1.8G, he seems to like both the 20 and 24 ADFs. I can see why I and perhaps some others can be confused by the inconsistency of opinions among professional reviewers.

Put another way, I'm sure I can live with any of the various focal lengths above using the chosen lens as the "normal", mostly daylight shooting lens. It is likely that some of my fellow Nikonians have used at least two out of the three lenses and have opinions that will be helpful to me if I find I prefer to go the AF route over refining my MF skills.

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