Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G

8 May 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The image resolution of Nikkor 1.8/35 has been measured on the strength of RAW files from Nikon D200. The measuring errors oscillated between 1.3 lpmm in the maximum aperture range and 0.4 lpmm for closed aperture.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G - Image resolution

The above graph illustrates results of the test. As far as the center of the frame is concerned, Nikkor 1.8/35 has won high praise. Even at maximum aperture the results go as high as 35 lpmm, at f/2.0 brushing against 38 lpmm, and at f/2.8 exceed marginally 43 lpmm. The highest result – 45.6 lpmm – is  noted for aperture f/4.0. It’s worth to say that this performance is noticeably better than Nikon’s 2/35 which reached less than 31 lpmm, at 2.8 slightly over 40 lpmm. What’s more, the new Nikkor can easily contend with 2/35 Zeiss Distagon, which at its maximum aperture achieved 39 lpmm, f/2.8 roughly 43 lpmm. As you can see, within measuring error, these results don’t differ!

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Can such a cheap and new lens put more expensive rivals in their place? Unfortunately, it’s not that good. The reasons to complain can be found at the edge of the frame. For apertures f/1.8-2.0 Nikkor records results below 30 lpmm, so beneath the level we recognize as good. After closing the aperture to more than f/2.0 we get pictures of decent quality. But just decent, as disproportion between the center and the edge of the frame is really large.

We must mention, though, that the new Nikkor, although far worse that Zeiss 2/35, still shines compared to the older Nikkor 2/35. To get fairly sharp corners you needed to close the old model to more than f/2.8. On the contrary, starting from f/5.6 up the older model entered higher sharpness level. Next chapters will show us the reason for this kind of behavior.

Below there are picture clippings of the center of our test chart, obtained from JPEG files captured simultaneously with RAW files.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G - Image resolution