This is the new (as of 2009) standard lens for DX format cameras. It produces a similar perspective as the standard 50mm on the FX format cameras. More precisely, when mounted on a DX body the lens offers a focal length of nearly 53mm which is a nice focal length for portraits and general shots of people. Even though this lens is designed for the DX cameras, you can mount it on the larger sensor FX cameras and use it with great success, though there are some limitations you need to be aware of. Read on to found out!
|AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX lens mounted on the D90|
It’s a nice little lens with some very good characteristics. Its light and mainly made out of plastic but well constructed. The rear mount is metal and the lens includes weather sealing for better protection against dust and moisture. It has a standard AFS motor for silent operation but no focus distance or DOF information window to inform the user. This lens is especially good for use on Nikons lighter DSLR’s because of its small size, low weight and AFS motor. As a standard lens for DX cameras, such as the D5000, this is a perfect match. On a larger body, such as the D3, the lens starts to disappear.
The lens really excels between f/2.8 and f/11. Its a great choice for lower end cameras in place of the usual zoom lens. Primary reason to get this over a kit lens is that it’s much sharper and can be used in low light situations to get higher shutter speeds and better AF performance. Opening this lens wide open at ISO 3200 allows for some great images in darker venues without having to use flash.
|AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX lens mounted on the D300|
- Aperture range: f/1.8 – f/22
- Minimum Angle of View (DX-format) 44°
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio 0.16x
- Lens Elements 8
- Lens Groups 6
- Diaphragm Blades 7
- Aspherical Elements 1
- Super Integrated Coating Yes
- Minimum Focus Distance 0.3m
- Filter Size 52mm Screw-on
- Dimensions 70×52.5mm (Diameter x Length)
- Weight 200g
Color fringing: A small amount of color fringing in high contrast scenes can become annoying at times, though in most lighting situations will go unnoticed.
Diffraction: Diffraction shows itself quite early on the D7000 so I would recommend avoiding f/13 onwards if that matters to you. On the D7000, I like using f/2.8 for small DOF and f/5.6 for maximum optical performance. I will use f/11 and f/13 only if I need a lot of DOF.
Vignetting: Vignetting is well controlled at all apertures with some non-obtrusive light falloff up until f/2.2. I wouldnt worry about it unless you are shooting a white wall.
Flaring: Flaring can be a problem if shooting against the sun or other bright light sources and its a shame this lens doesn’t offer the Nano crystal coating as found on other modern Nikkors. This is one lens i wouldn’t put a protective filter on, especially if shooting into a bright light source.The supplied bayonet hood is nicely built, fits on tightly and can be fitted backwards for easier storage.
Color: This lens is slightly cool, meaning that when switching from another lens while shooting a portrait, you will notice a color shift in the results. Nothing you can’t fix, but worth noting.
Bokeh: The bokeh is OK, though a little harsh wide open but a lot more pleasing at f/2.8
Distortion: Distortion is very noticeable and obviously you wouldn’t use this affordable lens for architectural photography.
Autofocusing: Autofocusing speed is quite fast since it only uses the rear optical group. This also means that the filter mount and front elements don’t move during focusing. The wide aperture also helps the lock on capabilities of the AF on any camera. You get manual focusing at any time simply by moving the focusing ring, though I would have liked the manual focusing feel to be a bit more tight and maybe a bit more precise. The lens offers the standard M/A – M switch allowing the user to switch from “AF with manual override” over to “Manual focus only” with ease.
Performance in detail as seen on the D7000
- f/1.8: Great center sharpness but not quite as sharp or contrasty as smaller apertures. Edges are at their worst here.
- f/2.8: Sharper but not by much.
- f/4: Better in alla aspects but not by much.
- f/5.6: This is the best performing aperture. Not much difference from f/2.8.
- f/8: The range of best sharpness ends here starting from f/2.8.
- f/11: From here downwards, performance is impacted due to diffraction.
Turn off the Auto DX mode and you will get a surprise – this lens can be used as a true 35mm wide angle on the FX format cameras. Yes, there is some vignetting but its a lot better than what you get from other lenses like some of the Sigma wide angle zooms. Mechanical vignetting both from the DX lens and from the use of any filters is more solid looking and cannot be removed. Light fall off or optical vignetting is your main and only problem when using this lens on a FX body. It does not go away at any aperture but can be mostly removed quite satisfactorily in Lightroom or other RAW development programs.
I love this lens! It’s a nice little lens with some very good characteristics. It’s so sharp at times that you would think I used a more expensive lens (albeit in the center). It focuses fast and accurately, its tiny and light and basically does everything well – it’s even well priced. A normal lens for DX cameras that excels in low light non flash photography. But don’t restrict its use there, as I said, it does everything well. It can even be used on a full frame camera with some success (look further down for more info). I just wish all Nikon lenses were like this – inexpensive and well performing! Must have for DX users!
Pictures taken with the AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX on D7000
|Nikon D7000 & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (wide open)|
Nikon D7000 & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (wide open)
Pictures taken with the AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX on D700FX
|Nikon D700FX & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (f/3.5 with Lens profile enabled in Lightroom) Notice how light falloff improves in the shot below due to closer focusing.|
|Nikon D700FX & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (f/3.5 with Lens profile enabled in Lightroom)|
|Nikon D700FX & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (wide open – no correction)|
|Nikon D700FX & AFS 35mm f/1.8G DX (wide open – no correction)
MTF chart as published by Nikon