Last Updated on 06/13/2019 by Mark Beckenbach
It may be the highest ranked Nikon 35mm lens at DXOMark, but it falls short of the competition.
The Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 lens was one of the original lenses launched alongside the new Nikon Z6 and Z7 Mirrorless cameras that the company released last year. While the lens got a decent score in their tests, the lens falls short of the performance displayed by competing lenses that cost about the same. Join us after the break for a more in-depth look at what DXOMark discovered, and to see how the lens stacks up against some of its closest competitors.
In the tests conducted by DXOMark, the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 scored a 38 overall. That score in itself isn’t shabby; most people who use it will be quite happy with the images they create. When we took the lens out onto the streets for our real world review we were impressed with what it could do. But, while under the microscope at DXOMark, the lens didn’t quite match up to other lenses in its class and price range.
For overall sharpness, the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 scored 30 points, while the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art scored 30, and the Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC USD scored 29. On the front of it, it would seem the 35mm f1.8 S from Nikon has done pretty well, but both the Sigma and the Tamron were tested quite some time ago on a camera that is able to resolve less detail than the Nikon Z7 that the Nikon 35mm f1.8 S was tested on.
Compared to the offering from Nikon, the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art and the Tamron 35mm f1.8 both exhibited less barrel distortion (0.3 Sigma, 0.2 Tamron, and 0.5 Nikon), while the Sigma proved to be better when it comes to light transmission (1.6 Sigma compared to 1.9 for the Nikon), and the Tamron fared better than the Nikon when it came to fringing (4 for the Tamron and 5 for the Nikon). These results are a little shocking when you consider that the Sigma 35mm f1.4 was released in 2012, and the Tamron in 2015.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Both DXOMark and ourselves were impressed with the overall sharpness and performance of the lens when shot wide open at f1.8, and it’s consistency as you work your way down through the apertures. As we have stated before, tests done in a lab are wildly different from using the lens in real world settings, so don’t just take one source as gospel when it comes to things like this, but do use the results as a way to better educate yourself before dropping hard earned cash on new glass.
If you like the idea of a native Z mount 35mm lens for your Nikon Z6 or Z7, by all means grab the Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 S. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it, but just keep in mind that you’ll likely get better performance from adapting either the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art or the Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC USD to your camera instead. What do you think about the findings from DXOMark? Let us know in the comment section below.