Nikon 35mm 1.8G vs 40mm 2.8G

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ericgraham, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. I have been researching these two lenses for some time now and am still undecided. I will be shooting mostly indoors with this lens
    taking candids of my kids. My main concerns are will the 40mm shoot and focus well enough in low light situations. Not wildly low light,
    just your normal indoor one or two lamps on scenario. I have seen plenty of image samples of both and, although mostly subjective, the
    40mm seems to have better bokeh. If anybody has any input or experience with either of these lenses it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Definitely the 35mm F1.8G. For two reason. One, you need a wider angle lens indoor, confine places like home, living rooms , etc. The second, you get more speed of the F1.8 lens and easier to focus for the camera. It is very simple.
  3. pge


    That full stop (just slightly more) would be the deciding factor for me.
  4. Will this be on a DX or FX camera?
  5. for indoors, wider apertures are preferable. the 35/1.8's bokeh isn't great, but not super-lousy, either. a bigger problem is CA. still, it most likely focuses faster than the 40mm (or any macro lens, for that matter).
  6. This will be on a DX camera, Nikon D7000. I have an18-200 and have shot in both 35 and 40mm to see if I preferred a focal length, and I didn't. On my crop sensor they are 52 and 60mm respectively and I just didn't notice a big difference there. But the low light factor is a big one for me. Would the 40mm do ok in low light or would it possibly struggle? I'm not against the 35mm it's just the bokeh appears so much smoother on the 40mm.
  7. SCL


    I'd forget the bokeh issue given your stated purpose for the need the speed. Very doubtful you'll be producing shots where bokeh is the all consuming factor in the environment you described.
  8. Think of it this way: the f/2.8 on the 40mm is only slightly faster than the fastest your 18-200 can be when it's opened all the way up at the wide end. Try shooting with that 18-200 at 18mm and f/3.5, and then imagine you could get half a stop more light. That's all the 40mm is going to do for you.

    The 35/1.8 is a better move. Or, look for an in-good-shape used Sigma 30/1.4, which makes prettier out of focus backgrounds when wide open, if that's important to you (I like that 30/1.4 a lot on DX bodies).
  9. Thank you for all the thoughtful replies.
    Matt - I never thought of it that way regarding the 18-200 wide open, good point. Bokeh is important to me because I shoot up close to most subjects and want the most attractive background blur I can achieve. Are there any known issues with the Sigma 30mm 1.4?
  10. Are there any known issues with the Sigma 30mm 1.4?​
    It's a bigger, chunkier, heavier lens than the Nikon 35/1.8. It's built around using it at wider apertures, and what makes it appealing (compared to the Nikon) sort of disappears once you stop it down (say, past f/4). But I only ever use it between 1.4 and 2 or so anyway - if I'm stopping down more than that on DX, I'm probably using the 17-50/2.8 zoom anyway.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Nikon 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S is a macro lens. Unless you intend to shoot a lot of macros, you are better off with a faster, regular lens such as the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S.
  12. About "bokeh"; OoF rendition changes with aperture. If you compare the 35/1.8 to the 40/2.8, both at full aperture, you`ll certainly notice that the "nervousness" of the faster lens is more noticeable... just stop it down to f2.8 and differences will be not as obvious.
    Also notice that some macro lens` image samples are taken at very close distances, where the magnification provide a high background blur... just shot with any other lens at the very same magnification and aperture, and the blur will be quite close. So I wonder about how much different the bokeh could be between this two lenses.
    The f1.8 bokeh could be bad with highlight spots or high contrast thin areas beyond the focus plane, but you`ll always have the chance of looking for a less contrasty or softer background, where a wider aperture will provide an even softer appearance. With the f2.8 lens, you`ll be always limited to that aperture.
    The advantage of the 40/2.8 is that is not distance limited, so you can focus up to almost the lens` barrel (notice that the 35/1.8 can also focus quite close), and I wonder if the Micro is optimized for closer distances.
    I second Matt`s recommendations, I think the 35 is a more versatile choice, and the Sigma 30/1.4 it`s worth a look.
  13. The only reason I'm concerned about the bokeh of these two different lenses is after looking at sample images from both.
    The 35 seems to render harsher looking backgrounds than the 40. The general consensus seems to be the 35mm
    however and I most likely will opt for that choice. As for the Sigma it has mixed reviews mostly with focusing issues.
    Although it seems this may be a user issue rather than a lens issue.
  14. I use the 35 all the time with my D300s, it's a great low light lens. I don't yet own the 40 micro but I have borrowed one and the real advantage compared to the 35 is the great close focusing ability of the 40 and possible future macro use.
  15. Mark,

    Did you have a preference and if so, why? Was there a noticeable difference in the quality of bokeh? And lastly, how
    was the performance of the 40 in low light situations? I'm just trying to gather as much info and opinions as possible.
  16. I've got the earlier EX version of the Sigma 30mm 1.4 and it's a coma monster.......any point light source in the corners is a wonderful kite shape. I tried some astrophotography and they are great in the middle but the corners....eeek!
    I gather the MK II is better all round, especially the CA and Coma Correction.
  17. Is the MK II the art version of that lens?
  18. Does anyone have experience with the 40 indoors with your average lighting conditions i.e., evenings indoors?
  19. Kids, candids, indoors, evening - you'll
    need all the shutter speed you can get
    which strongly suggests the 35/1.8.
    Even 35mm might not be wide enough
    - the new Sigma 30/1.4 Art might be
    what you are looking for - it just costs
    as much (or more) than the two
    Nikkors together. The Nikkor 28/1.8
    costs even more but doesn't seem to
    be doing too well on DX anyway.

    Personally, I would not go for an f/2.8
    lens if my main purpose was shooting
    indoors at low light. It's the difference
    of shooting at ISO 4000 or even ISO
    6400 vs ISO 1600 (with f/1.8 or f/1.4,
  20. You guys have definitely convinced me to go with either the 35mm or 30mm. Thank you for all the thoughtful replies.
  21. Bokeh is important to me because I shoot up close to most subjects and want the most attractive background blur I can achieve.​
    i have the 35/1.8 and the 30/1.4 I, as well as a tokina 35/2.8 macro (which is discontinued but worth tracking down on the used market for its superior build, better close-focus, and easy-peezy MF switch).
    the 35/1.8 is pretty sharp and very compact. For $200, it offers great bang for the buck performance, and is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. so it's great as a just-in case lens when you dont have a lot of room in your bag. you're expecting a lot,however, if you also want it to have great bokeh and no optical flaws.
    the 30/1.4 renders more detail than the 35/1.8 and has great bokeh for a normal lens. the corners never quite get sharp and coma can be an issue, but it has a lot of character if used right. it doesnt focus particularly close, however, which IMO is a bigger flaw than the poor corner performance. for indoor use, there is a big difference, well a noticeable difference anyway, between 30mm and 35mm. basically, the 30/1.4 is worth the extra money if you're trying to decide between that and the 1.8.
    the 35/2.8 is the sharpest of all three and focuses super-close. it's sharper at 2.8 than either of the other two. its bokeh is at least as good as the sigma, and subject isolation shots really pop at close magnification. however, it's the least-used out of the three for me, because of the slower aperture. i suspect the 40/2.8's performance will be very similar to the tokina's, except it doesnt focus as close and its not as wide.
    if bokeh is high on your list, then we're back to the 30/1.4 or 40/2.8, because the 35/1.8 is not gonna cut it in that department. but, here's the thing: bokeh is very subjective. a 2.8 macro and a 1.4 normal lens have different characteristics. even though the tokina 35 is drop-dead sharp and awesome bokeh is achievable at close range, the ability to just take backgrounds out with wide apertures and shoot in extreme low-light at normal shooting distances with the 30/1.4 opens up a lot of creative possibilities. the backgrounds are defocused enough so that the main subject stands out in comparison, even though the macro lens is technically sharper and capable of rendering more detail. so it kind of comes down to how much available light you have and how close you'll be shooting. if you dont need to be within a foot of your subject, but more, say at environmental portrait length, then the 30/1.4 is a better choice. also if fast AF is anywhere on your list of priorities (although the tokina 35 is surprisingly pretty snappy until you get past 1:2). if you're mainly photographing still subjects at close range in less than extremely-poor lighting conditions, the macro lens is the better option.
  22. Just for completeness - the new 35/1.8 FX might also be an option - though at $600 it's even more expensive than the Sigma 30/1.4 Art. The Nikkor's performance on both DX and FX is an unknown though at this point.
  23. Dieter and Eric: Thanks for the additional information, all very helpful. And you're absolutely right, bokeh is subjective. And it's something I don't want to compromise on if I don't have to. The Sigma 30mm 1.4 is a very attractive option except for some of the focusing issues I keep reading about. It's gonna come to me getting my hands on any one of these lenses and shooting with it. If I don't like it I can always just sell it.
  24. I just purchased a Nikon 35mm f2. The
    more time I spend researching and
    looking the less time I spend shooting.
    Thanks for all the great input.
  25. Eric,
    I got the same situation as yours. I bought Nikon 35mm f/2D for street photography for several weeks, but still wondering and searching a lot in some forums to find out which lens is better to get: Nikon 35 1.8 ED or Sigma 35 1.4 DG? The more time I spend on the Internet, the less time I spare for shooting on the streets :) (as you said).
    By the way, I want to use it mostly for street photography. I viewed many photos taken by Sigma 35 1.4 DG, Nikon 35 1.8 DX... that people posted onto Flickr and saw those photos are good but not really "amazing" and "tack sharp" as I expected. So street photos are street photos; they need much more things than just only a good piece of glass.
  26. Quick update. I ended up buying the 40mm 2.8G as well. I spent about three weeks with this lens and the 35mm f2 I purchased. In the end I kept the 35mm f2 and sent the 40mm back. Both were great lenses but the 35mm was just a tad faster to autofocus especially in lower light situations. And I also noticed in all test shots that the 40mm was slighty darker overall and I had to make adjustments to lighten it up. As far as bokeh goes which was a big factor for me if you read some previous comments, the only difference I noted was with any light spots on the 40mm they were rounded and generally more attractive then the 35mm's which were slightly octagonal. But the better low light performance was the kicker in the end. Plus I plan on re purchasing a used F100 to play around on and the gelded lens definitely won't work for that. Thanks for all the great input.
  27. You can use a G lens on an F100. It has the same lens compatibility as an FX digital - G, AFS, VR, D, AI, all work the same. I used to use a 50mm 1.8G and a Tamron 70-300 that's their equivalent on G on mine. A DX lens on an F100 is a problem, though.

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