The Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D is not a lens many people have personal experience with. Part because it is quite rare (only 7333 where ever made), part because it was and still is rather expensive. Nikon stated in their article about the AF 28mm/1.4D on their NIKKOR – The Thousand and One Nights site, that the development of this lens took about 10 years till it finally was released into the wild at the end of 1993.
Unfortunately it was discontinued in 2005 leaving the Nikkor AF line without a fast f/1.4 wide-angle lens, till the Nikkor AF-S 24mm/1.4G appeared in the beginning, and the Nikkor AF-S 35mm/1.4G at the end of 2010.
Some people call it the wide-angle Noct Nikkor, probably because of its enhanced shadow detail and the polished aspherical lens element that is responsible for it’s reduced coma.
So, is this ‘legendary’ Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D the flawless Überlens? No, of course not. But it’s a very fine wide angle lens on a FX body, that still can hold-up against the new Nikkor AF-S 24/1.4G and AF-S 35/1.4G. Call me old fashioned, but I really like that it has an aperture ring.
Even my sample that was rebuilt from Nikon Germany (except the front element, the filter ring, plastic exterior and the aperture ring, it’s made from ~90% new parts), is a bit soft wide open with pronounced vignetting (as expected). Sharpness picks up nicely from f/2 and the bokeh of the AF 28mm/1.4D is quite good. Distortion is a bit stronger than the AF-S 24mm/1.4G (distortion correction in Lightroom is +6 for the 28/1.4D and +3 for the 24/1.4G) but on the other hand the 28/1.4D to me seems more resistant to flare.
Another thing is the AF speed. While I sometimes swear about the sluggish AF speed of my AF-S 35mm/1.4G, the AF 28mm/1.4D is always quick enough.
–Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D flare
–Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D vs. Nikkor AF-S 35mm/1.4G bokeh comparison
–AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D at the Nikon product archive
–NIKKOR – The Thousand and One Nights Tale 28: AF Nikkor 28 mm f/1.4D
–AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D article at mir.com
–AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D at Fotozones.com
Update May 4, 2012:
Photozone just posted a test report of the Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D on the D3x
IFAIK Photozone is the only site in the whole WWW where the Nikkor AF 28mm/1.4D is tested on D7000 and D3x and one can compare it to the newer Nikkor AF-S 24mm/1.4G, Nikkor AF-S 28mm/1.8G and Nikkor AF-S 35mm/1.4G.