Which 35mm lens for NIKON F6 and D610 ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Jean-Claude, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. I own the Nikon 35mm AFD f2 which is very light to carry around but not of best contrast nor sharpness.

    Anyone here to recommand a nice piece of glass to suit my Nikon F6 and D610. Preferably autofocus. I would like a lens where one sees a real difference, in real life, not on graphics. Thank you.
  2. Budget?
    "Cheapest" solution: Nikon AF-S 35/1.8G
    Expensive solution: Nikon AF-S 35/1.4G
    In-between: Sigma 35/1.4 Art
    With image stabilization: Tamron 35/1.8 VC
    Albin''s images likes this.
  3. Thank you.
    I read bad feedback for the Sigma due to front/back focus. Many users complain. What are your thoughts?
    What about the Zeiss 35 mm f2?
  4. Of the ones I mentioned, I own the Sigma - using it on a D810. So far, I have no complaints.
    The Zeiss is manual focus - not something I would recommend since focusing screens in AF cameras aren't all that suitable for manual focusing.
  5. After spending a fair bit of time in the shop trying out several 35mm lenses on my D800, I ended up with the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC. It serves me well on my full frame digital bodies(D800, D600, D3s) and on late model film cameras(F5, F6, F100).

    I was not impressed with the build quality of the Nikon AF-S f/1.8G, especially for the price, and the optical quality wasn't great either. The Sigma is dead sharp, but in my case I was buying it the day before I left to go on a trip, found that it front focused pretty badly, and there was no way I would have been able to get the dock in time to fine-tune the focus. It also weighs quite a bit.

    Fast "normal" primes with stabilization are something of an anomaly, which is part of what initially attracted me to the Tamron. I've been quite happy with its optical quality, and for handheld available light photography stabilization makes up for the 1/2 stop speed loss over the Sigma. 24mp+ digital sensors are unforgiving when it comes to focus error and also really serve to illustrate that depth of field is something of a made-up idea-even though I have some f/1.4 lenses I find them to be of limited use at f/1.4 on high resolution sensors.
  6. I had trouble with the 35mm Sigma Art, despite some efforts at tuning it on the dock. I've not reset everything yet for my D850; the D810 and D850 seem to be a bit better behaved than my D800 was, which could be luck or could be because they allegedly have some better internal calibration for different focal lengths. With live view, it's well-behaved; on the D800 I basically didn't trust it at all with the contrast-detect AF points, and have several widely out-of-focus images from a family wedding to prove it. On the plus side, you'd probably be much less able to tell on film than on the D610, and I may have been unlucky with either my 35mm or my D800's AF calibration.

    If you don't mind bending your choice of specification slightly, the new 40mm Sigma Art seems to have stellar reviews in terms of maintaining edge-to-edge sharpness (the MTF chart is ridiculous in comparison with the 35mm). It's huge and expensive (though not as much as the 35mm Nikkor), though. I'm considering swapping my 35mm Sigma for that, although I'm still deciding whether my 50mm should go as well. I've not tried it myself yet. One word of warning: I don't know whether it's an "E-aperture" lens (I tried looking online and actually haven't found anything that says) - i.e. whether it has an aperture lever or just has electronic aperture control. The 85mm Sigma Art is E-aperture; the 35mm and 50mm aren't (unless I'm misremembering). The F6 won't control the aperture on an E-aperture lens, so if the 40mm is "E", that may rule it out for you unless you always want to shoot wide open.

    It's been a while since I saw it reviewed (because I haven't looked), but the manual focus Samyang/Rokinon 35mm tended to get good reviews and is very cheap for what it is. I don't claim it's perfect - and you would have manual focus to deal with (but also live view, on the dSLR).

    I've no experience of the Tamron, but I wouldn't vouch against it if f/1.8 is enough subject separation for you.

    Good luck, whatever you choose.
  7. The 40mm is E, as are the 105, 135, 14, and 28. There appear to be two E zooms: 12-24 and 24-70 (the 14-24 ought to per Sigma's announcement but B&H's website doesn't list it as a feature). I can confirm that neither the 35 or 50 are (and also not the 24).
  8. Ah, thank you. I hoped someone knew. Okay, so much for that suggestion (until Nikon make an F7 to replace that F6 with!) :)
  9. Try Dieter Schaefer's excellent suggestion of Tamron 35/1.8 VC first, and if for some reason you don 't like it backtrack from there to other possibilities. I wouldn't worry much over f/1.8 vs 1.4: its immaterial to exposure in these days of 6400 ISO being "common", and the subject isolation/bokeh difference vs 1.4 is highly dependent on whether that f/1.4 lens is actually functioning properly. The huge Sigma has gorgeous optics but iffy AF accuracy, the Nikkor AFS f/1.4 has a barrel made of Tupperware and isn't particularly quick at AF. The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 AFS significantly improves on the old 35/2 AFD in test charts, but in actual photography its optics are dull as dishwater: more even sharpness and less CA than the AFD, but boring to my eye. And like the f/14 AFS, the build quality is laughable at the price asked: you'd swear Nikon deliberately sought out the cheapest tackiest plastic they could possibly find for their f/1.8 lineup, then inflated the barrels with helium.

    The Zeiss manual focus lenses are incredible, providing a color/contrast "look" completely different from Nikkor. But they're very expensive for what they are, and manually focusing with most Nikon DSLRs is a nightmare (the finder screen doesn't really show accurate focus, and forget the green arrow focus indicator: it tends to front or back focus). My personal 35mm lenses are both old manual-focus Nikkors: 35mm f/2 Nikkor-OC and f/1.4 AIS. I've been shooting the 35/2 as my primary lens for so many years I can focus it blindfolded, but wouldn't recommend trying this if you've been weaned on the AFD.

    I picked up the f/1.4 AIS after several people here fervently recommended its unique qualities: they were right, the lens is amazing (tho more fun today on digital than when I last tried it 25 years ago on film). Very compact for an f/1.4 (barely bigger than the f2 AFD), pin sharp like a Zeiss at f/4-f/8 yet wildly dreamy/painterly at f/1.4. Beautiful piece of glass, but eccentric/quirky- a lens you learn to love, but not necessarily a daily driver until you get the hang of it. For typical AF work, go for the nifty Tamron.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  10. Bonsoir Orsetto!

    I remember I wwrote you were a university teacher. You confirm tonight but I l also discover a language artist : "iffy AF", a "barrel made of Tupperware", "optics dull as dishwater", "inflate barrels with helium".

    To be honest I studied at an interpreter school and enjoy your linguistic imagery:) One point for you. One more I should say.

    To resume: paint and dream wildly with a 1.8 skiny lens, pin a sharp AF point and inflate your pictures with helium so they easily curl the wawes out to the world.

    What else?
  11. I'm still awaiting my 40mm Sigma, it's currently held up in Customs.:(

    My 35mm and 50mm Art have gone, although I kept my 24>35mm f2 Art.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  12. The barrel is made of a magnesium alloy, with some plastic surface finish material.
  13. What do you mean by "my 35 + 50mm are gone"? Something wrong?Are you happy with your 24-35?
  14. Reading about the Samyang 35mm and the 1.4 lenses and AF issues as you mention:

    "Many lenses, including the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 are often improperly calibrated, which means that you could end up with out of focus pictures when trusting the camera’s manual focus assist feature. The Samyang 35mm f/1.4 that I had certainly had focus calibration problems, because I could not obtain any in-focus shots when using manual focus assist. "
  15. I believe Mike bit the bullet and did the trade that I'm considering: replacing both the 35mm and 50mm with the 40mm. It's a bit less flexible than the combination (I'd really like Sigma to update both the 35mm and 50mm to the image quality of the 40mm), but the 35mm and 50mm were very early in the Art series, and the 40mm is clearly a step up. The combined 35mm and 50mm price (at least in trade in) is similar to the 40mm. I'm a little hesitant because I use the 50mm a reasonable amount (and it happens to have the right filter thread for my LPR filter), but I do have a share of alternative 50mm lenses.
  16. Since RJ (IIRC) educated me: technically the issue is the camera's focus calibration: the AF points aren't quite equidistant with the sensor, relative to the optical path involving the mirror. For a given rear nodal point, you can correct it (and that's what AF fine tune does); if I've understood, it's possible that the D810 and later allow for some movement during focus. The issue with the Sigma 35mm is, I believe, that the position of the rear nodal point moves significantly during focus (the same is true of the 80-200 AF-D), meaning that a single AF fine tune isn't enough to fix it; this is why the Sigma dock lets you tune at multiple focal lengths, but even with that I was struggling (and I'm not quite sure how the tuning in the lens affects things in the camera).

    I'm not sure to what extent the Samyang has the same issue - you could certainly AF fine tune the dSLR body, but I suspect not the F6.
    Jean-Claude likes this.
  17. Tamron announces the development of three lenses - two for full-frame DSLRs and one for full-frame mirrorless cameras:
    for full-frame DSLR cameras—the 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043) zoom lens and the SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD (Model F045) fixed focal lens; and a new high-speed ultra wide-angle zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras—the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A046).

    So, better wait a little either for a price drop for the old model (f1.8) or a new toy to play with, no?
  18. What kind of trade-in are you getting? The combined price of the 35 and 50 here in the States is $1850 - so I expect at best about $925 in trade-in (an actual quote from a major dealer in the US amounts to $760); the cost of the 40 new is $1400. Not exactly numbers that make me jump for joy:(
  19. Lets just say my Sigma 35mm + 50mm Art + £100 = Sigma 40mm 1.4 Art.

    I was using the 35mm and 50mm to digitize flat copy ~ A3 sized on a copystand and on close inspection the edges were soft, esp on the 35mm, even at the sharpest aperture of 4/5.6.

    Sigma A 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM review - Image resolution - LensTip.com

    Sigma A 50 mm f/1.4 DG HSM review - Image resolution - LensTip.com

    These graphs pretty much sum up what i can see with my images. The 50mm is better but nowhere near what I'm hoping for with...

    Sigma A 40 mm f/1.4 DG HSM review - Image resolution - LensTip.com

    These are tested results not just manufacturers MTFs, so should be comparable between them.

    I like my 24-35mm Art. It's not a huge zoom range but when the flexibility is needed, it's super sharp @ 5.6 at all focal lengths.

    I'm also doing a lot of 3D-object (sculpture) focus stacking where DoF isn't an issue so the sharpest aperture can be used, which for the 40mm is f2.8/4.

    It means you don't get any diffraction problems as you don't stop down the aperture to get the DoF needed, you just take more pix at different focused distances... and let the software sort it out....:cool:!!
  20. Impressive - I assume your 40mm isn't from a UK dealer (since you mentioned it is being held up in customs)?

    Wouldn't a macro lens be more suitable for that kind of application? Though I would be hard pressed to come up with a macro lens that gives corner-to-corner sharpness in the focal length range that you appear to need for your copy stand. Seems to be quite a demanding application, so I can see why trading the 35 and 50 for the 40 makes sense for you.

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