Lens review

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

12 June 2014
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • sensible image quality on the edge of APS-C,
  • moderate distortion,
  • low coma in the corners of APS-C/DX,
  • vignetting level lower than that of its rivals,
  • sensible performance against bright light,
  • blur pleasing to the eye,
  • silent quick and accurate autofocus.


  • noticeable astigmatism,
  • a bit too high longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • high coma in corners of full frame,
  • huge vignetting on full frame.

I don’t doubt that the new Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.8G ED is a much better option than a bit older and also much more expensive Nikkor AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G. The difference in aperture fastness is not dramatically big and the newer and cheaper model fares better near the maximum relative aperture; its correction of the chromatic aberration, vignetting or distortion is better as well. In fact it would be difficult to find a category in which the more expensive model is decisively better than the cheaper one. Its advantages seem to be centered around the facts that its aperture is faster and it is produced in Japan. The good performance of the cheaper device makes us happy – it is a huge plus, especially that the Nikkor 1.8/35 ED is able to produce sharp images in the frame centre already from the maximum relative aperture and its vignetting correction puts to shame even faster instruments.

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On the other hand the Nikon company is a bit flippant when it comes to launching their new lenses, as they don’t pay any attention to the moves of their rivals. The rivals, however, don’t let the grass grow under their feet. The 2/35 IS model produced by Canon showed that you can offer a better 35 mm device for a similar amount of money. You can compare those two directly because the faster aperture of the Nikkor is balanced by the stabilization offered by the Canon. The Sigma 1.4/35, only one thousand PLN more expensive, is practically better than the Nikkor in all categories – starting from the build quality, through the better aperture fastness and ending with a better performance in all optical categories.

It seems the career of the Nikkor 1.8/35G ED won’t be easy. One part of potential buyers have already purchased the 1.4/35 model; the others own the older 2/35D model and its successor doesn’t encourage them to change that. Those who have reflex cameras with smaller sensors would rather focus on the excellent and cheap AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G. Another group will save a bit more money for the Sigma 1.4/35, better than the Nikkor in every respect. Those who want to spend rather less than more and don’t plan to shoot dynamic scenes might get more interested in the cheaper and manual Samyang 1.4/35. The fans of solid manual devices for a change can choose from two Zeiss lenses with the same focal length.

The price might become the Nikkor’s big advantage though. If, right after the launch , it costs 1999 PLN it means after a while it will be noticeably cheaper. Then it might become a really attractive offer, able to catch the attention of many potential buyers.