First Impressions: Nikon 35mm f1.8 G ED (F Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (1 of 6)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

Earlier this year, Nikon announced their update their new 35mm f1.8 lens. But unlike the previous version, this lens was specifically designed for full frame cameras. The company already had an f1.4 version out, but this new optic is aimed at the person not reaching for as high hanging fruit. It sports seven aperture blades, 11 elements in 8 groups, a minimum aperture for f16, and weighs just 305 grams.

Needless to say, it feels like a complete featherweight when attached to the Nikon D800. But it sure doesn’t perform like it.

Tech Specs

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (6 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Taken from the B&H Photo listing of the lens

Performance
Focal Length 35mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 52.5 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.8 – 16
Camera Mount Type Nikon F
Format Compatibility Nikon FX/35mm Film
Nikon DX
Angle of View 63°
APS-C Picture Angle: 44°
Minimum Focus Distance 9.84″ (25 cm)
Magnification 0.16x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:6
Elements/Groups 11/8
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread 58 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.83 x 2.81″ (72 x 71.5 mm)
Weight 10.76 oz (305 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (3 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

Nikon’s 35mm f1.8 is much like many of the company’s other lenses. For what it’s worth though, it is one of the larger f1.8 prime lenses that we’ve seen and tested. It is a tad larger than the company’s 50mm f1.8 but smaller than the company’s 85mm f1.8–both of which have been reviewed by us.

When you first look at the front, you notice the 58mm filter thread and a modestly sized lens hood.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (2 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

The lens is characterized by a massive (for its overall size) focusing ring. It takes up around half of the body while the lens’s distance scale is behind this. Like many autofocus lenses, almost no depth of field scale is present. At a focal length like this, we sure would have liked one.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (5 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

The side of the lens is home to the single control on the lens, which switches it from manual focusing to autofocusing with manual override. The lens has no other switches or control otherwise given that this isn’t a macro lens or has VC built in.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (4 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

While this isn’t the absolutely best built of Nikon’s lenses, it sure is far from being the worst. The company’s 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4, and their trifecta of zoom lenses have something about them that makes them feel ever so solid. But the f1.8 offering doesn’t share these genetics. The lens also is not weather sealed–but instead is billed as an affordable and lightweight option. In this regard, Nikon absolutely reached their goal.

Autofocusing

When testing this lens out on the Nikon D800, we feel that the focusing is indeed snappy. We tested it out in both low light and good light and didn’t have much of an issue providing that we selected the focusing point beforehand. In some cases so far though, it hasn’t been accurately focusing on where we tell it to and with further testing we figured out that we needed to Fine Tune the AF on the lens. This is something we don’t often expect of their lenses–as each time that we’ve brought one in for testing they’ve always been superb.

But no matter, this is minor and once it is fixed there are no issues.

Image Quality

Here are some first image samples.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (1 of 16)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (3 of 16)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (4 of 16)ISO 4001-400 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (5 of 16)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 3.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (6 of 16)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (7 of 16)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (8 of 16)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (10 of 16)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (11 of 16)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (13 of 16)ISO 8001-320 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (14 of 16)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (15 of 16)ISO 8001-100 sec at f - 2.8

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (2 of 16)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 4.0

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (9 of 16)ISO 4001-1250 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 first samples (12 of 16)ISO 8001-160 sec at f - 1.8

First Impressions

So far, we’re quite impressed by what the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens can do. It is sharp wide open, has some beautiful bokeh, focuses quickly, and at just under $600 is quite capable.

Stay tuned for our full review to come.

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