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Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Lens Review

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G  


 

November 2011 (updated Feb. 2013)
(tested with Nikon D7000)

The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G lens was announced in February 2009. This was the second DX prime lens produced by Nikon, made specifically for DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors (the first DX prime lens was the AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G ED). It has a built in motor so it will autofocus with all of Nikon's DSLRs.

This is a plastic lens with a metal lens mount. The mount has a rubber gasket to help keep out dust. The focus ring is rubber coated. I found it to be a little stiff to turn. On the barrel is a manual focus switch. Autofocus can also be overridden just by turning the focus ring. Overall the lens has a solid build to it. As an AF-S lens I found the autofocus to be accurate but not as fast as more expensive Nikon lenses. The filter ring doesn't rotate so using a polarizer or other filter is not a problem. .

Center sharpness of the 35mm f/1.8G DX is excellent wide open up to f/11 where diffraction starts to occur. The corners and borders are a bit soft wide open but one stop down to f/2.8 and sharpness is very good. Overall lens sharpness was best at f/4.

There's some barrel distortion, more than usual for a prime lens. It's fairly easy to correct with post processing. Vignetting is visible wide open. But one stop down to f/2.8 and it's all but eliminated. Chromatic aberration is slight wide open but is more visible at f/2.8 and beyond. It's easily correctable in camera (if available), or with post processing. Flare isn't a problem, but as with all lenses it's a good idea to use the lens hood. I was expecting the bokeh to be better than it was. Wide open it was a bit messy. It looked best at f/4. Overall though it's acceptable.

The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is a really nice lens. It's small, cheap, and produces excellent images. I bought one for low light situations where I can't or don't want to use a flash. With a DX camera the effective field of view is 52.5mm, which is considered the "normal" angle of view. It does serve well as a general purpose lens, including street photography and indoor events. It's also not bad for landscapes, although I prefer to use a zoom for that. It's a bit short for portraits. The 85mm f/1.8D or the 105mm f/2.8g Micro would be better choices. I have to admit that I don't use my 35mm f/1.8G DX lens that often, but I probably should.

(Update Feb. 2013 - I sold the 35mm f/1.8G DX when I switched to full frame).

 

Specifications:

Focal length 35mm
Maximum aperture f/1.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens Construction 8 elements in 6 groups
Angle of view 44o
Closest focusing distance 3m (0.98 ft)
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.16x
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Auto focus type AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)
Filter diameter 52 mm
Macro No
Dimensions 70 mm (2.8 in) x 52.5 mm (2.1 in)(Diameter x Length)
Weight 200g (7 oz)



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