Let me start this review by saying that I have a favorable bias toward Nikon 28-105mm AF-D. Saying that I have used this lens a lot is an understatement. This lens is the de facto kit lens on my full-frame DSLR, and I have brought it almost everywhere I went.
Produced between 1998 and 2006, this lens is quite a steal for its given cheap price of $120 on average. The focal length zoom between 28mm and 105mm is very useful because you cover a lot of range for daily use.
Build and Handling
The lens build is okayish. It’s made of plastic entirely save for the mounting part which is metal. The plasticky build feels icky at first, but it helps keep the weight low — just shy of 450 grams!
Take note that this lens extends forward to zoom and rotates while doing so, making the use of graduated ND filters a hassle.
The focus ring is disappointingly short. It seems that 28-10mm was made specifically for auto-focus and not for manual handling. This proved tricky if you wish to shoot at a slower shutter speed for long exposure. You might fumble a bit before getting a good result.
One nifty fact: the copy I acquired did not come with a lens hood, so I bought a Nikon HB-27 hood which fits perfectly albeit intended for a different lens.
The Nikon 28-105mm AF-D is not a stellar lens, I have to admit. It wasn’t designated as Nikon’s top-of-the-line lenses.
Yet I simply love how it performs. It’s sharp when needed, and produces images that will satisfy you unless you go pixel-peeking. I will let the photos included in this article talk for themselves.
As I mentioned before the focus ring is short. But I have never even had the need to focus manually with norma shots since the focusing speed is quite fast and surprisingly accurate. I could nail photos of moving objects with a modest success ratio.
There’s a small switch near the focus ring that turns ‘macro’ capability on or off, which can only be switched once you zoom to 50mm. It’s not a real macro function, but it lets you get quite close to small objects.
This might be my favorite part of the lens since this means I can do a quick macro without changing to a dedicated macro. Also to note, activating the macro lets you focus manually longer: twice the distance of normal focus.
Don’t expect spectacular bokeh in the background though. They look unappealingly roundish and rough.
More in this series…
It’s hard to objectively measure the rating of Nikon 28-105mm AF-D simply because I had used it far too often. It’s a low-priced, versatile lens that offers you a lot of possibilities, whether for portraiture, macro, or street photography.
And it has served me well. Although for long travel I prefer to use an all-in-one super zoom lens, for any occasions of short travel or going out on short notice I would definitely mount this lens on my Nikon camera body. It just does not disappoint.
Final score: 8/10