Michael Axel , Aug 12, 2010; 12:11 p.m.
Jack, this thread has all the hallmarks of a pineapple grenade, but let me tell you my little story, for which no one else may agree. I started with Mamiya Sekor and Pentax cameras and lenses. I was not thrilled with the image quality. I wasn't getting the saturation I had hoped for, and some lenses had less than ideal sharpness and contrast compared to the old Zeiss Ikon Contessa I used, but you can chalk up a lot of it to poor lab quality back in the 70s.
Besides wandering into medium format, I invested heavily in a Canon FD system, which I loved because it was so reliable and well built. Lenses were fine, but not easy to find in my area. When I joined up with a US distributor of cameras, I met a colleague who worked for Nikon. He wanted me out of Canon (of course) and loaned me most of his lenses (between 16mm and 500mm) to shoot an airshow. When I received the images back, I was so impressed with the exceptional sharpness, color, quality and consistency across the lens line, that I sold almost all my Canon FD equipment (held on to my Canon EFs), and bought a Nikon FM and a bunch of lenses.
Though I still enjoy shooting Canon's now, I mostly shoot with Nikon and find no reason to change. I owned a 28mm f/2.8 briefly, and it didn't strike me as one of the better lenses in the line up. But I later bought the f/2 version and it was very good. It is just that 28mm seems to be an awkward angle for me. I prefer a 24mm / 35mm combo. I don't think anyone can quantify what is acceptable build and image quality for what you need a lens or system for.