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Review Nikon AF-S 35 mm f/1.8 G ED (@ DX)

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Fine Nikon DX standard lens

Since February 2014, the Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 G AF-S has been available. We previously reviewed a Nikon 28 mm f/1.8 G, 50 mm f/1.8 G and an 85 mm f/1.8 G. This 35 mm lens probably completes the series of 1.8 G lenses with a fixed focal length that are suitable for both FX and DX. With a list price of 579 euros, this is a lighter, more compact and more attractively priced alternative for the brighter, but much more expensive Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 G AF-S. And the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35 mm f/1.8 G is in turn more expensive than the Nikon 35 mm DX 1.8 G, which is designed for cameras with a DX sensor, and with which the image on an FX camera will be cut off. How does the most recent Nikon 35 mm fixed focal length perform on a DX camera in comparison with the two Nikon 35 mm lenses that we previously reviewed?

Nikkor35

apc35On a Nikon DX camera, the 35 mm f/1.8 G is a fine standard lens and ideal for street photography and (urban) landscape photography.

Build and auto focus

 
This lens is made in China and contains primarily high-quality plastic. The mount is metal and sealed against moisture, which is not noticeable, as far as I'm concerned. Ergonomically seen, this is a fantastic lens to use on a Nikon DX camera.
Thanks to Nikon's SWM (Silent Wave Motor), the auto focus is precise, smooth, silent and fast. Also thanks to the SWM AF motor, you also have auto focus available on the Nikon D3x00 or D5x00 camera. The shortest focal distance amounts to 0.25 m. For those who want to use the lens for video, there are signs of "focus breathing": the image of the Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 AF-S becomes a bit larger when you focus from infinity to close-up.
Specifications
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED
Image Stabilization:-
lenses/ groups:8 / 6
length x diameter:72 / 72
filter size:58
Weight:305
Lens hood:+

Vignetting

As to be expected from a lens that is designed for use on a camera with a larger FX sensor, vignetting is nothing to worry about. At full aperture, vignetting is visible, but after stopping down 1 stop, that's already completely gone. Here, too, there's no difference from the other two Nikon 35 mm lenses with a fixed focal length that we saw earlier.

d7100jpgvignet

apsc35mmbeachNikon 35 mm f/1.8 G, ISO 100, 1/6400 sec, f/1.8

Distortion

If we look at the distortion in uncorrected RAW files, then the Nikon 35 mm f/1.4 G performs a bit better than the Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 G, while the Nikon 35 mm DX f/1.8 G shows more distortion. In Capture NX, DxO Optics, Lightroom or Photoshop, distortion in RAW files is simple to correct with the included lens correction profiles.
For saving the jpg files, we set the test camera so that correction is done for distortion. Those who photograph in jpg will not come across any visible distortion at all.

jpgdistortd7100

Flare

 

Even under extreme circumstances – think about photographing directly against the sun – we did not encounter any ghosts. The optical construction consists of 11 elements in 8 groups. In addition, one aspherical lens element and one ED glass element are applied in order to prevent chromatic aberration and for sharp, contrast-rich shots. Point light sources are therefore displayed with a minimum of chromatic aberration, and that's important for night shots.

Lensdesign

Sharpness

 

At full aperture, you already have a sharp image in which the corners and edges lag a bit behind the center. The highest sharpness in the center will be reached at f/5. In the corners, that's f/5.6. Thereafter, the sharpness drops off slowly as a result of diffraction. We measured the sharpness of unsharpened RAW files and in-camera jpg files (standard image style) that were simultaneously saved in the camera with Imatest. The RAW files scored a bit higher for resolution than the jpg files. On the basis of the assessment of the practice shots, we have the impression that the measured values for the RAW files in this case were the best match for what we saw..

Resolutie

apc35sampleNikon 35 mm f/1.8 G, ISO 125, 1/6400 sec, f/1.8

Chromatic aberration

 
You have to enlarge the RAW files to 200%, as in the excerpt shown here, in order to make lateral chromatic aberration in uncorrected RAW files visible. In jpg files, you don't see any lateral chromatic aberration at all. As with most bright lenses, you can find color bokeh at full aperture: green and purple edges at sharp contrast transitions in front of and behind the focal point, but not in such measure that it's anything to worry about.. d7100CA

Bokeh

Thanks to the large aperture of f/1.8, this lens offers exceptional control over the focal depth. In this way, you can create a clear separation between the subject and its background. As may be expected from a bright NIKKOR lens, special attention is paid with this lens to the display options: The bokeh is round and nicely soft, thanks to the rounded aperture and the especially fine gradation of the image distortion from the focal point to the background.

bokehapsc

Conclusion Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 review with Nikon D7100

Nikon35mm

See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses.
 

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections (distortion, chromatic aberration) applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".

35
53
8.1
7.2
9.5
7.8
9.7
7

 

ECPure RAW score: This table shows the presentation of this lens if the file is saved in the camera as a RAW file. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.

35
53
8.2
8.2
9.2
9.1
7.2
7

Pros

  • High build quality and image quality
  • Very insensitive to backlighting
  • Must-have focal length for DX
  • Suitable for both FX and DX
  • Includes lens bag and sun cap

Cons

  • For DX, the less expensive Nikon 35 mm DX f/1.8 G is just as good, but less expensive

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 is designed for Nikon FX cameras, but is also an excellent option for Nikon DX-format photographers. The ngle of view is equivalent to a 50mm standard lens on a camera with FX sensor.
Therefore a 35mm lens with a large aperture should be in the equipment of all DX photographers. Are you not going to ever switch to an FX camera, then the cheaper Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX is as good, but cheaper

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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