Nikon has no less than three 35mm prime lenses in its lens range and as well as the f/1.8 model we’re testing, there’s the older 35mm f/2D AF and the professional 35mm f/1.4G AF-S which costs a fraction under £1390.
The 35mm f/1.8 is designed for use with Nikon’s DX format D-SLRs such as the D5100 and D7000 and offers a 52.5mm equivalent with the 1.5x crop factor applied. Good news for Nikon D-SLR owners who don’t have an AF motor in the body (D60/D3100/D5100 users) is the addition of Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which means you’re not restricted to manual focus on these cameras and also benefit from a fast and quiet AF performance.
Weighing 210g, it’s constructed with 8 elements in 6 groups with one hybrid aspherical lens, and features seven aperture blades and a metal lens mount for durability. In terms of design, it looks very basic without a focus distance indicator or any distance markings on the barrel.
The MF/AF switch is easy to locate thanks to its raised profile, and the focus ring offers a pleasing and superbly-weighted resistance across its range. A faint high-frequency whirr was heard as the lens focused, but AF performance was quick and smooth with no signs of hunting. The advantage of internal focusing means the front element doesn’t rotate so there are no issues when attaching graduated filters or polarisers to the 52mm thread.
Included in the price is Nikon’s HB-46 lens hood, which can be reversed onto the lens to free up a bit of space in your camera bag.
- Street price: £151 (As of July 2016)
- Maximum aperture: f/1.8
- Minimum aperture: f/22
- Construction: 8 elements 6 groups
- Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
- Visit: www.nikon.co.uk
This review was first published in the Spring 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.