AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G – Review

nikkor af-s 35mm f/1.8 G

Designed for crop-body Nikon dSLRs, the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G is one of the cheapest new prime lenses available for DX Nikon systems (along with the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G), and it is a nice lower-mid-level alternative to the kit zoom lenses that accompany the less expensive Nikon bodies. 

Tech SpecsAF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G

  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • Format: Nikon F-Mount / DX
  • Max/Min Aperture: f/1.8 – f/22
  • Aperture Blades: 7
  • Focus Type: Silent-Wave Ring Type
  • Glass: 8 Elements in 6 Groups
  • Filter Thread: 52mm

The Good

The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G is a relatively fast lens and is quite sharp wide open in the center of the frame.  Color and contrast are quite acceptable, especially considering the price point of less than $200. Vignetting (edge falloff) is minimal, probably primarily due to the crop-factor of the DX-format sensor on the cameras it was designed for. Bokeh is generally appealing, but this is a very subjective determination.

It focuses internally (at the rear of the lens), meaning that the focusing distance to the subject doesn’t change and screw-in filters (such as a 52mm circular polarizer) will stay put during focusing. It’s also very light (~ 210g / 7.4oz) and compact (2.8″ x 2.1″), making it a nice mate for lighter/smaller dSLRs, such as the D3400 or even cheaper and nearly just as good D3300 (my review is here).The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G

This lens features full-time manual focus override, meaning you can turn the focus ring at any time to focus. And, it’s got a built-in focus motor, meaning it will work on any of the cheapest Nikon dSLRs that require a lens with a built-in motor.

The approximately field of view is equivalent to 52mm on a full-frame body, making this lens a “standard”  or “normal” focal length on crop bodies (as opposed to “wide” or “telephoto).

The Not As Good

The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G feels a little on the cheapish side, but that’s to be expected in a budget lens. There is no focus distance scale, which may or may not be a big deal to any given photographer. There is a bit of both purple (magenta) and green fringing in some scenarios, but it’s not excessive (in my opinion). There is also some noticeable softening at the edges of the frame with the lens wide open. But again, this is not uncommon for fast-prime lenses in a lower price point. Stopped down to f/2.8 resolves the edge blurring for the most part.

The Verdict

The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G is a good value lens. It’s fast, cheap, compact, reasonably sharp, and has pretty good bokeh. If you are a budget-minded photographer looking for a handy prime for your Nikon body, this is a great alternative to the standard 50mm f/1.8.