After several patents appeared online Nikon has officially revealed a new 28mm f/1.8, successor to the AI-S 28mm f/2.0 from 1981 (and a superb performer optically that was generally underrated because of the focal length). I used to have one and it was a better performer optically than either the AI-S 35mm f2.0 and even the vaunted 35mm f/1.4, which I also owned. It was left on a F2AS permanently in preference to those lenses but it couldn't matched by any other wide-angle in Nikon's range.
This new model has the gold ring that once signified the use of low dispersion (ED or sometimes Super ED) glass (in tele lenses originally but that changed to include all focal lengths), unfortunately Nikon has changed their marketing strategy yet again as this lens is devoid of any such expensive glass types. It does however adopt two aspherical elements, which will help keep the size and weight down. It also boasts a single Nano Crystal Coat layer to reduce ghosting and flare while according to the press release it is weather sealed as well (it adopts rear focusing, so there's no extending barrel to seal).
The new lens, which can also serve double duty on a APS-C crop camera (equivalent to the angle of view from a 40mm) will have a RRP of £619.99 / Eur 739 (inc VAT) / $699.95and will be available from 24th May. The new lens was announced alongside the new D3200 (not covered), an interesting addition if only because of its new 24MP sensor.
US dealer Adorama is taking pre-orders on the new equipment here:
Despite the inclusion of the gold ring around the circumference, the new 28mm f/1.8 does not include ED glass. This signals a departure for Nikon.
Reasonable imaging performance can be expected at f/1.8, though the corner performance does not look particularly impressive from this chart (though still similar to rival offerrings such as the CZ Distagon T* 2/28). It remains to be seen just how pleasing the image is rendered in that area, and how it improves when stopped down.