Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G

10 February 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The comparison between basic properties of the Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4 G and those of other lenses of this class is presented in the following chart. As you see the Nikkor isn’t a physically big device. The Canon and the Zeiss are significantly longer, feature bigger front elements and, of course, it entails a bigger filter thread diameter. The Sony 1.4/35G seems to be a very slight instrument compared to other lenses of this class but it had to pay for its dimensions with weak performance.

The picture below shows the Nikkor 1.4/35 positioned between the Sigma 1.4/30 (very similar parameters but you must remember that the Sigma is designed for smaller sensors) and the full frame Nikkor 1.8/50.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

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The lens starts with a metal bayonet mount inside which you can find a rear element, less than 2.5 cm in diameter. What’s interesting the element changes its position during focusing – it is on the same level as contacts at infinity and it hides about 1 centimeter deep when we pass to the minimum focus. The hidden element reveals inner parts of the lens so we can examine some electronics, situated there as well. However, it also means you should forget about the lens being fully sealed …

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

On the barrel, immediately behind the mount, there is a plate with the name and parameters of the lens and a capital „N”, meaning Nano Crystal coatings have been used. Inside the plate you can find a window with a distance scale, expressed in meters and feet, and right below it – depth of field markings by f/16 aperture. On the left there is a focusing mechanism mode switch (M/A-M) and on the other side of the lens – information about the diameter of filters and the inscription “Made in Japan”.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

In the next part of the lens you can find a ribbed manual focus ring, 23 mm wide. It works smoothly and is well-damped allowing you very precise settings. Running through the whole scale you must turn it through 120 degrees.

At the front of the lens there is an immobile front element with a diameter of almost 5 cm. It is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 67 mm in diameter, and a hood thread as well.

When it comes to the optical construction the Nikkor 1.4/35 consists of 10 elements positioned in 7 groups. The producer didn’t decide to use low-dispersion glass. One of elements is aspherical. A circular aperture has nine diaphragm blades and it can be closed down to f/16 maximum.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Build quality

The small number of element is a bit surprising here. The Canon and the Zeiss feature 11 of them so one more. The much cheaper Samyang 1.4/35, which is being launched on the market, boast as many as 12 optical elements. Only the old Sony construction (adopted from the Minolta system) also has 10 elements but it fared very badly in our tests.

The buyer gets both caps, a petal-type lens hood and a soft pouch included in box.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Build quality