Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 35 mm f/1.8 S

4 February 2020
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary


  • solid, weather-sealed and mostly metal barrel,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • very good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • moderate longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • negligible lateral chromatic aberration,
  • not especially bothersome spherical aberration,
  • lack of distortion problems,
  • moderate vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • silent and quiet autofocus,
  • sensible performance against bright light,
  • nice blurry areas.


  • distinct vignetting on full frame,
  • a lot of coma-related problems.
I always say that my perfect system should have at least two lines of fixed-focal lenses. One would consist of f/1.2-1.4 instruments, expensive and big, designed without any compromises, reflecting such priorities as excellent build and image quality. The second should consist of f/1.8-2.0 lenses, with perfect price/performance and dimensions/performance ratio. In the case of the Nikon F system it was really close – lately that company managed to construct a series of fixed-focal f/1.4 models with 24, 28, 35, 50, 58, 85 and 105 mm focal lengths and, additionally, they supplemented them with several cheaper f/1.8 instruments.

First launches of the Nikon Z system show that in this case the producers are going to follow similar tactics. It's really splendid that several interesting f/1.8 primes were added to that system so soon, especially that prices of new full frame mirrorless instrumets are usually quite steep; if Nikon at the beginning launched just f/1.2-1.4 lenses they would exclude a lot of amateur photographers from the group of their potential customers because most of them simply couldn't afford such expensive lenses. New f/1.8 models aren't among the cheapest anyway but still they are offered with far lower price tags that their faster equivalents.

As we've already mentioned prices – you have to spend almost $850 on the Nikkor Z 35 mm f/1.8 S and it's a lot. Its reflex camera counterpart retails for around $375 less. Of course you should take into account the fact that lens have been present on the market for several years now and its price has been adjusted. Apart from that the reflex camera lens fares weaker that the Nikkor, tested here, almost from every aspect. Also the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.8 Di VC USD, which can compete with the tested Nikkor without any problems, sits at a similar price point, being just slightly cheaper.

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Taking it all into account I think we would be far more comfortable if the price of the tested lens in Poland started with 2 instead of 3; still it seems that its optical performance is more than enough to justify that purchase and the image quality it is able to produce will allow you to forget empty space in your wallet very soon.