Experiences with Nikkor 35mm f1.8 AF-S DX ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mart_e, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. I'm looking to plug a gap in my most used lens line up which currently consists of:
    Nikkor 12-24DX
    Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D
    Nikkor 105mm Micro AF-S VR
    Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-S
    The gap I feel most keely at the moment is that 24-50 range.
    I do have an 18-70DX that came with my D70 - but I find some limitations on colour, bokeh, CA and sharpness - to the point that I never fell comfortable or confident when using it - I have therefore excluded it from my 'most used' list above.
    I would like to go with something like the 17-55DX or the 24-70 - but for the moment, the price is totally outside what I can justify.
    So - I'm looking at the 35mm prime as a possibility - sure it doesn't have the flexibility of either of the zooms above (or to be frank the IQ) - but I can get it for about £145 which is a fraction of the price of those two lenses.
    I would like to hear of anyone's experience with the lens - particularly on how bad the CA is in actual use, and on the overall bokeh quality.
    The lens will be used as a main carry round for general landscape, close up, architectural and general interior / people shots, an all rounder really. I appreciate there are other lenses that would full-fill those roles far better, but unfortunately they are also much more expensive.
    i also like the close up focus distance of approx 300mm.
    So any comments that may help in a decision on this are welcome.
    Many thanks,
    Martin
     
  2. Martin,
    I very much like the 35mm f/1.8
    CA is not too bad although my copy had some barrel distortion...easily fixed in CaptureNX2 though (I think it's easily fixed in Lightroom and ACR as well).
    Used this lens extensively and it was almost permanently affixed to my D90. When I sold my D9o, the 35mm went with it. I have yet to replace it, and probably will replace it with the 35mm f/1.4 as I plan on moving to Full frame in the future.
     
  3. Thanks Richard,
    I should probably also have added that I'm using these lenses on a D90 - with no plans to upgrade in the short-term (I had planned to go for a D700 - but that's on hold for the present too).
    Martin
     
  4. When the lens was introduced and the first reviews and samples appeared, I had been skeptical. To boot, I never liked the FOV of a "normal" lens - and I purchased one nonetheless. And am very glad I did. Granted, bokeh isn't the greatest and if you look for CA, you are going to find it - but the lens sees quite frequent use. So much so, that I even contemplated getting a D90 and use it with the 35 exclusively.
    Alternatives: Sigma 30/1.4 and Sigma 28/1.8 - certainly better bokeh but also higher price.
     
  5. I would like to hear of anyone's experience with the lens - particularly on how bad the CA is in actual use, and on the overall bokeh quality.
    The lens will be used as a main carry round for general landscape, close up, architectural and general interior / people shots, an all rounder really. I appreciate there are other lenses that would full-fill those roles far better, but unfortunately they are also much more expensive.
    i also like the close up focus distance of approx 300mm.​
    I too use it on a D90 as a general purpose lens. The images that it produces are sharp with a lovely warm tone, typical of many Nikon lenses. Nikon has made an effort in this lens to improves the bokeh and in my hand, I found it to be generally better than, say the 50/1.8 lens. It may not be as good as the Sigma but I would say that for most situations, it should be good enough. CA is reported to be an issue, but it does not bother me.
    For close up or general candid, keep in mind that this is a 35mm lens after all so when you get really close to the subject, perspective distortion will show up.
     
  6. Lots of people have the 35 1.8 prime, so I'm sure you'll get lots of responses. For me, it's my most used lens. CA has not been an issue. It has not jumped out at me, even though I do notice CA on other lenses. I've used it with both a D60 (no CA correction) and on a D5000 (with CA correction) and I've never had an issue with it.
    The bokeh reputedly isn't the best, but I think it's good. Bokeh only falls short for me in challenging bokeh situations: bright skies showing through gaps in dense foliage for example. I have a Sigma 50, which has awesome bokeh, but in practice, 90% of the time for me at least, it's splitting hairs to tell the difference between the two.
    Close focusing: in my experience, this lens is piss poor with close focusing. It will focus at 300mm (barely), but I think depending on what you're taking pictures of, the magnification ratio will not be what you're after. Close focusing to me seems to magnify every weak point of this lens, nervous bokeh, CA's further goofing with your bokeh.
    I used to yank out the kit lens for close focusing instead of the 35mm before I got the 60 micro. Maybe it's just me.
     
  7. I love mine.
    Bokeh, it's not the champ, if you need that, consider the Sigma, but I love the images I get with it.
     
  8. It's good enough to take with you for an all day event. I went hiking this past summer with it on my D300 as my primary lens, and brought a second zoom lens in my pack, the 55-200mm VR. I shot with the 35mm for the photos on the way up and back down the trail, and only used the zoom to get detail photos of the south face of Mt. Rainier.
    I love this lens, and hope its success will spur Nikon to offer more DX primes in the future. Such as a 24mm f1.8 AF-S.
     
  9. the CA will be worse on a d70 than a d90.
    as far as IQ, 35/1.8 is pretty sharp.
    however, the sigma 30/1.4 is a better lens is almost every aspect. it's faster, has better IQ, much better bokeh, and manual-AF override. also, i find 30mm on DX a better perspective than 35mm.
    the siggy 30 is not quite as good in the corners stopped down as the 35/1.8, but i personally don't buy a sub-2.8er to shoot at f/8 all day.
    best thing about the 35, besides IQ, is probably its small size. it's practically invisible on my d90, so it's almost perfect for street shooting and candids. you can use it for landscape, but that's not where it shines.
    if i were you, though, looking at what you currently have i'd strongly consider the tamron 17-50/2.8, which is only a little less fast than the 35/1.8, covers a wider, highly-useful range on DX, and is compact enough for walkaround. it's as good at f/8 or 9 as the 16-85, but has 2.8 if you need it. the 17-50 truly does stay on the camera all day, whereas the 35 is more of a special-purpose lens when i want to "go small" or for indoor candids.
    btw, you would also be well-served by the tamron 28-75/2.8, which would plug the gap and also cover some of the gap you have between 50 and 105mm.
    IMO, 50-75mm on DX is right in the portrait sweet spot--i find 50mm to be a bit short--and this would make sense for you since you already have a 12-24. i'm not sure if the gap between 24 and 50 would be as big a deal to me as 50-75, but maybe it is for you.
     
  10. This is a gem of a lens. I own some great lenses all costing 5-10X as much as this lens. Yet I continue to use this lens. It is sharper than the 24-70mm 2.8 (granted both are sharp lenses), as sharp as all the 1.4 glass I own (50mm, 24mm, 85mm 1.4) . It probably has the best performance to price ratio of any of Nikon's lenses in my opinion. I never was bothered by CA. It is sharp wide open. Guess what? I use it on my D700 FX cameras all the time. Just disable the DX crop mode and you have a decent 35mm lens. It vignettes a little in the corners when stopped down, but I like that effect for portraits/ photojournalism. As a wedding photographer, I often add some vignette in post anyways.
    The only real cons I have of this lens is that I can't use it for receptions with off camera flash. The off camera flash usually introduces a tunnel effect and does some weird things that don't look to pretty. Also sometimes you need 1.4, sometimes that little bit extra shutter speed a 1.4 lens gives you is needed. Once the new nikon 35mm 1.4 comes out I'll get it, but I will also keep the 35mm 1.8. It will always have a spot in my bag/bags somewhere.
     
  11. It's a fantastic lens, I use it on my D90 all the time. Just like a 50/1.8 on a film camera.
     
  12. whereas the 35 is more of a special-purpose lens when i want to "go small" or for indoor candids.​
    I agree. I took the 17-55/2.8 together with the 35/1.8 with me to Japan. I took the latter b/c I thought f1.8 comes in handy in shooting in those dark temples. For the entire 10 day trip, the 35/1.8 was used only once. With the excellent low light performance of the D90 and D-lighting, a 35/1.8 lens is not all that useful if you have a f2.8 zoom that covers the same range. However if you need something really small and high quality as a one lens kit, the 35/1.8 is the lens to take.
     
  13. This is a gem of a lens.​
    A very accurate comment. I use mine on a Fuji S5 so straight JPEGS out of the camera and I don't see any CA, plus the bokeh is beautiful. This is just a brilliant little lens and incredible value for the money.
    ... if you need something really small and high quality as a one lens kit, the 35/1.8 is the lens to take.​
    I absolutely agree with this.
     
  14. Sorry for not revisiting for a few days.
    Wanted to thank everyone for their comments. Eric has put the cat amongst the pigeons though. I'm working within tight budgetary constraints, but I would like to plug that gap between 24 + 50 hence the thoughts of the 35mm f.8 for the seemingly bargain price of £175.
    Talk of the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 has led me astray though. For a little more than twice the price of the 35mm, I could get the 17-50 and a lot more flexibility (or even the 28-75mm) both if which also have VC.
    I'm now debating whether to use the extra cash to move to one of those instead (probably the 17-50 as it is that 24-50 range that I miss more than 50-105) and the 24 to 28 gap on DX (or 36 to 42mm in non-DX old money) will probably be quite significant for me.
    I could just about stretch to either of those - the 17-50 is £349 - so actually in at about double the 35mm.
    Any thoughts ?
    Thanks again
    Martin
     
  15. Hi Mart,
    I own both the 35mm 1.8 and the Tamron 17-50 (non-VC). I like them both, though since getting the 17-50 I don't shoot the 35 1.8 nearly as much.
    Some images, all shot on my D300:
    35 f1.8: http://bjornsramblings.blogspot.com/search?q=35mm+1.8
    Tamron: http://bjornsramblings.blogspot.com/search/label/Tamron%2017-50
    I do think that the Tamron is a great walk around lens and I enjoy shooting wider than 35mm. Hopefully having some images shot on both lenses by the same shooter will be helpful.
     
  16. Thanks Bjorn, really useful looking through your galleries - especially since your shooting style is very similar to the type that I often aim for (very textural).
    It looks as though the 17-50 is definitely a very capable lens - just got to go and count my pennies now.
    Thanks,
    Martin
     
  17. Thanks folks, just ordered the Tamron 17-50 (newer VC version) for pick up lunch time today. Got a great deal on it too with it coming in at less than 2x the price of the 35mm f1.8.
    The idea is that it will probably become my main walk-around lens - with the others used for their specific niches.
    I'll post a few thoughts on the lens in a few days if anyone else is interested.
    Thanks again,
    Martin
     
  18. I'm currently travelling with this lens, a Nikon D40 and.. 18-55 VR as backup. That's it. Been on the road four months now. Dropped it once and had to send it in for repairs here in Tel Aviv. They did a fine job but I had to buy a cheap zoom while it was in the shop. I use it day and night and have not been disappointed by the results.
     

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