LensTip.com

Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

10 December 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between the tested lens, its predecessor and other market rivals. Basically it confirms the impressions you get after handling the tested lens. When you take other instruments of this class or the Nikkor 16-35 mm f/4.0 VR into your hand it seems you deal with something heavy and solid. When you take the new Nikkor 18-35 mm, such an impression evaporates instantly – it is physically light and plastic. Also the comparison of weights between the tested Nikkor and other lenses, presented in this chart, shows the difference clearly - only its predecessor is lighter than the Nikkor and it weighs just 5 grams less; still you must remember that the older version has one element less and comes without the SWM motor. Looking at other parameters you find out that the Nikkor doesn’t stick out in this group with anything special and it does have less diaphragm blades than the Sigma and the Tokina.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned between two Nikkors: the 16–35 mm f/4.0 VR and the  AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality



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The Nikkor AF-S 18–35 mm f/3.5–4.5G ED starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 19 mm in diameter. At 18 mm the rear element is situated on the same level as the contacts, on passing to 35 mm it hides inside the tube almost 2.5 cm deep. The fact that the interior of the tube from the side of the mount is blackened and matted properly should be emphasized. Only if you look very deep inside you can see a crack between the rim of the rear element casing and the tube through which you can glance some screws and inner construction parts.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality

The proper casing of the lens is already made of plastics and a white dot, making the alignment with a camera easier, and a serial number of the lens are among its first significant features. Then there is a zoom ring, 19 mm wide, most of which occupied by rubber ribs. Under it you can find focal length markings at 18, 24, 28 and 35 mm. The ring moves smoothly and is well-damped.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality

Further on you find another immobile part of the casing on which there is a plate with the name and the parameters of the lens; they surround a distance scale behind a window, expressed in meters and feet. On the left you see a focusing mechanism mode switch (M/A-M). On the opposite side of the distance scale you find the basic parameters and properties of the lens given once again and also the information that it was produced in China.

A manual focus ring is the next part of the casing – it is covered by rubber ribbing and 15 mm wide, with the working range of about 90 degrees. I’ve noticed for some time now that manual focus rings of most of Nikkors we’ve been testing have slacks and it concerns even the most expensive devices, produced by that company. The Nikkor’s AF-S 18–35 mm f/3.5–4.5G ED manual focus ring is not flawless as well – in fact its slack is so pronounced that, while changing the direction of the turn of the ring, you have to move two ribs before the ring ‘catches’ and starts shifting the distance scale. I am really puzzled here: all other companies can produce rings which work properly (apart from some accidental slip-ups of course) but finding a contemporary produced Nikkor with a ring which moves without any slacks is as probable as a significant win on the lottery…

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality

Behind the manual focus ring you see a hood mount. A front element is noticeably convex, with a diameter of 48 mm. It is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter. The element moves – it is hidden the deepest inside the casing at 28 mm and its most shallow position can be observed at 18 mm.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality


When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 12 elements positioned in 8 groups (two ED elements and three aspherical ones among them). Inside, there is also an aperture with seven blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the shortest focal length and f/29 at the longest focal length.

Buyers get also both caps, a petal-type hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Build quality