Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G

10 February 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of the Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G was based on RAW files from the Nikon D3x. A session based on a body of the Nikon D200 with the sensor smaller than full frame was performed independently. The measurement errors ranged from 0.3 to 1.1 lpmm. The graph below presents achievements of the tested lens in the frame centre, on the edge of the smaller DX sensor and on the edge of full frame.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution

Trying to avoid what is unavoidable would be foolish so let’s state at once that the graph above doesn’t impress us much. The main reason is the performance at the maximum relative aperture. In the frame centre the lens reaches only 25 lpmm when the decency level is situated near 30-31 lpmm. It is a bit sad – after all we buy a very expensive, professional lens of this class in order to get a useful relative aperture. In the case of the Nikkor we are disappointed as the lens’s performance lacks a lot here. You can remind here that the Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4L USM didn’t have any problem with providing useful images by f/1.4.

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Is there any consolation? Fortunately there is. By implementing f/1.8 –f/2.0 apertures we can make images useful. What’s more, on further stopping down you see a very steep improvement of image quality so by f/4.0 we get record values of over 46 lpmm. Resolution records are exactly the kind of results we expect from this type of lens. However, I suppose everybody would give up these several lpmm by f/4.0 just to get the same number of lpmm more by f/1.4…

The frame edge doesn’t console us much. On the smaller DX sensor and on full frame we must stop down the lens to f/2.8 to get rid of low image quality. Once again it is not a performance we expect from an expensive, fixed-focal system lens.

It’s worth adding that the results we got on the D3x caused so much consternation among our editorial office staff that we decided to perform one more photo session – this time based on the Nikon D200. Unfortunately the results weren’t even slightly better, remaining in perfect accordance, within the margin of error, with the numbers we had got previously.

The photos below presents our test chart crops taken from JPEG files saved along RAW files.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G - Image resolution