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Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED
Zeiss ZF.2 21mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

vs Nikon 20mm f/1.8G: Mt Conness Glacier Remnants (Nikon D810)

Shot with the 36-megapixel Nikon D810 at ISO 64.

The Zeiss ZF.2/ZE 21mm f/2.8 Distagon has long reigned as the champ in the ~21mm range for its high brilliance and strong control of color aberrations. Weaknesses include wave-type distortion, a mild forward field curvature in the outer zones, and an off-center cyan tinge.

In October 2014, the Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED arrived on the scene, and your author quickly gained the impression that it might be Nikon’s best wide angle lens. With an aggressively faster lens speed, a reasonable supposition is that it might have to make some compromises, but at f/2.8 it is already stopped down by 4/3 stop while the 21/2.8 Distagon is wide open and thus it has a chance to eliminate any wide-open weaknesses. Moreover it benefits from all modern design techniques as of 2014, and lens design certainly has made progress.

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