Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Markus Stamm

Introduction

The Nikkor AF-S DX 35 was announced at PMA 2009 and caught many by surprise. Not only because it was the only SLR related product announced by Nikon for this year's show (unlike widely expected, probably a reaction to the economic slowdown). With the currently available FX cameras on one hand and the aging range of fast Nikkor primes on the other hand many were expecting (or longing for) new full frame glass. Instead we got Nikon's second DX prime.

As usual we'll take a look at how the lens performs on an APS-C DSLR. The field-of-view here is equivalent to a 52.5mm lens on a full frame body, so the Nikkor behaves like a normal lens on DX cameras. This market niche up to now has been populated by a single third party product only (the Sigma EX 30/1.4 HSM). One of the reasons not to make this a FX lens most likely was affordability: from the first day the lens is available for below 200,- EUR (in Germany).

The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to an outer barrel made out of high quality plastics. The lens looks and feels like a little brother to the recently reviewed Nikkor AF-S 50, except the 35 does not feature a distance scale.

The rubberized focus ring is slightly damped and operates reasonably smooth. However there's a little play when changing the focus direction in manual focus mode. It's minimal, but can be a little disturbing during fine tuning (for example in magnified Live View mode). In this mode, the tested lens also showed a slight shift of the whole image when the focus direction was changed, not by much, though. The effect is invisible in the viewfinder, but easily noticeable in maximum magnification in Live View.

The physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus settings (rear focus group).

The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible. The filter thread has a diameter of 52 mm which is in line with most other short Nikkor primes. A dedicated (but rather short) hood with bayonet mount is part of the package, as well as a pouch to store and protect the lens.

Being an AF-S lens the DX 35 is compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs (including the motor-free entry level cameras D40, D40x and D60). There's manual override at any time and silent operation but the AF speed is not overly fast.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length52.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.7 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction8 elements in 6 groups (with one aspherical lens)
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.3 m
Dimensions70 x 52.5 mm
Weight200 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-46, barrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other featuresSilent-wave AF motor.




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