Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8G Review

August 27, 2009 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |

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#1 vince

I just ordered this lens.  I’m looking forward to trying it out in a few days!

3:58 pm - Thursday, August 27, 2009

#2 Steve Tobin

I bought one of these lenses as soon as they came out. I have had several months now to use it and I am hooked. It is my lens of choice. I primarily photograph people and I like to use natural light. This lens is able to capture sharp pictures in amazingly dim light, indoors with little or no blur. (the blur can be controlled for it’s effect). The other thing I like about it is that it is small and inconspicuous. People do not seem as threatened by me approaching them for a picture. It’s like the camera does not look so scary. I am having a lot of fun with this lens.

1:33 am - Friday, August 28, 2009

#3 Henrik

Thank you for a great review :)

I have just bought one, so very excited :)

I have only one question:
“Why does NONE of the review pages have photos in dim light?  I mean, everybody is talking about what a great lens it is in dim light, but no one have any pictures in dim light???”

Best regards

5:48 pm - Monday, September 28, 2009

#4 Zoltan Arva-Toth

Henrik, you have a valid point. Our new review of the Nikon D300s has a number of low-light sample images taken with this lens though (newsstand, shop dummy, neon signs), so I suggest you check it out.

2:18 pm - Wednesday, October 7, 2009

#5 Henrik

Thank you :)  The pictures are like mine (using D5000), very nice in colors etc., but having relativily amount of ISO noise (if dark)...pixel peeping..

A nice lens for then money and I’m ok impressed with mine :)

One should search the internet for “nikon 35 1.8 noisy” and find that some models (incl. mine) have a “scraching” noise when focusing is difficult… more than the 18-55 kit lens :(

Agree with Steve Tobin above. I get some of mine blurred though even at ISO 6400.

6:31 pm - Thursday, October 8, 2009

#6 handytasche

i picked one of these up not too long ago and it’s hasn’t been off my camera since. the picture quality is outstanding even in low light and the thing is really fast! it did take a long time to find one though. i finally purchased one online when i saw a place list is as ‘In Stock’. However, I got a call the following day telling me it was not in stock but they expected it in 2 weeks. I decided to stick with them as no one else had it in stock anyway. well worth the wait and the $200.

1:46 pm - Monday, November 9, 2009

#7 Trevor

I bought this lens and tested last week. I was hoping that it would be much better in low light than the standard 18-55 VR kit lens.
Well it is better ; at the same ISO setting the shutter time is much shorter for the 35/F1.8 which obviously brings some advantages.
BUT it doesn’t have the VR feature!
In several hand held shots the 18-55, with VR switched on, I was able to get sharp images with no movement artifacts even though the shutter speed was lower. The VR brings an impressive equivalent improvement of a few stops. Those images were just as good as those taken with the faster shutter speed from the 35/F1.8

Now if the 35/F1.8 also had the VR it would be a real King of low light photos. And since that is one of the main ideas for me behind a fast lens I must ask why on earth did they leave it out. I would have been quite willing to pay a few dollars more for that. 
I wanted a lens that was better in low light than the kit lens

12:44 am - Friday, November 13, 2009

#8 Kim

VR is a doubleedged sword: It gives you the possibility to take pictures at much slower shutterspeeds than normal, but thus make you much more prone to subject-movement “smear” than you normally would. A kid
A fast lens give you faster shutterspeed, period!
So you don’t need to go messin’ in the slow regions at all :)
I think Nikon thinks that a 35mm on DX needs faster speeds than 1/50s to counter camerashake, any slower than that, you get subjectmotion-blur anyway, so no need for VR!
VR is for TELE!

2:00 pm - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#9 Dorothy

thanks for the review :)
been wanting to get this lens for a while
just wondering, where did you take those sample images?

12:38 pm - Friday, December 25, 2009

#10 Trevor

Kim is correct that slower speeds can be prone to subject movement. (clear!) but if my object is not jumping around I’d still prefer to pay some more and get VR included on a 35mm F1.8 lens like this.
Pity it isn’t.
like I mentioned the 18-55 kit lens with VR in low light & hand held shots pointing at still objects was just as good! (because it has VR)

I’m still glad I have the 35mm lens, but for other reasons. It is possible to get the background a bit blurry, with it opened right up, and make a nice bokeh e.g. christmas lights well behind in the background while close to details of the christmas tree.


5:07 pm - Thursday, December 31, 2009

#11 Zoltan Arva-Toth

Dorothy, the sample shots were taken in Hungary, most of them in Budapest.

10:50 am - Thursday, January 14, 2010

#12 riviera maya wedding

I purchased this lens about 4 months ago after my stock lens had taken enough abuse over a few years and finally gave out (i.e. it fell off the top of a moving car). This lens is used on a D40X for 2 primary types of photography: outdoor and small electronic product photos for brochure and web use.

7:19 am - Friday, February 5, 2010

#13 Expert R. Opinion

Iterations of f/stop & shutter speed are a mixed bag.

7:49 pm - Friday, February 19, 2010

#14 Mark

OK, do this is a great cheap lens.
But! How does it compare to the more expensive 35mm f2D?

3:18 pm - Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#15 Wendy Walker

I just bought this lens and does anyone know how to get the blurry background but sharp subject in front?  I guess it’s called Bokeh.  I am shooting on manual mode at F2.5 and my backgrounds are still clear.


3:51 am - Friday, September 3, 2010

#16 Frank Stanton

I have had this for a couple months, now. It is a really fun lens to have on a camera, especially walking around town. For its price, it is an outstanding lens. It is a street photgrapher’s dream.

3:04 pm - Monday, February 14, 2011

#17 Henrik Ohm


Buy one!!!!!  It’s very good ;-)  The noise was my camera hehe… it’s very sharp and light.

Still, remember that photos = light no matter how good a lens.

3:14 pm - Monday, February 14, 2011

#18 Jesse - Connecticut Wedding Photographer

For the price and image quality, you can never beat a simple ‘fixed fifty’. This is like my cameras surrogate body cap :)

6:47 am - Thursday, March 31, 2011

#19 Stephen

Does this score over a 50mm f/1.8?

7:48 am - Sunday, August 21, 2011

#20 Alonso

Yes a comparison between this and the similar priced 50mm could be nice. Also why in the sample images page, the caption says “50mm” instead of 35mm? Are you sure you took the photos using the 35 mm instead of using the 55mm one.

5:14 am - Sunday, August 19, 2012

#21 Jay

Trevor - This lens IS better than the kit lens in low light. Try to get f/1.8, or even f/2, or f/2.8-on the 18-55mm kit lens. Good luck with that. Who needs VR when using a tripod? The kit lens with VR on will NEVER equal the 35mm prime, on a tripod, since it can’t possibly attain the prime’s wider apertures. The point of this lens was to offer a fast prime that amateurs could easily afford…which is why VR was left off of it. Why should the rest of us have to pay $100.00 more for such a lens, to get VR on it-which we don’t need, or want-just to please someone like you who is too lazy to use a tripod? Then, too, as Kim says…VR is for telephoto lenses…which this isn’t.

Wendy - For good Bokeh (artistic blur) station your subject as far away from the background as possible, then get the lens as close to your subject as possible, and choose as wide an aperture (low f number) as possible. If the lens is too far way from the subject, or the background is too close to the subject, or the aperture used is too small (high f numbered) the Bokeh will be less appealing. You had a good aperture, but were probably too far away from your subject, or had the subject too close to the background.

This lens is a “normal” lens…since a 35mm focal length lens on a DX camera is equivalent to a 52.5mm lens on a “full Frame” / FX digital camera, or a 35mm film camera. A 50mm DX lens would be equivalent to a 75mm lens on an FX camera, so the 50mm DX lens would be a “short telephoto” lens image wise. This 35mm lens will slightly distort faces when shooting ‘head & shoulders’ portraits close up. The 50mm will be better for portraits, as it will produce less distortion.

This 35mmm is great for “normal” images. It works well for: landscapes, ‘street photos’, product photos, etc. It will be acceptable for portraits, but not ideal for them. The fast shutter speeds allowed by the wide apertures, would make it a good lens to use for sports photos. The wide aperture also makes it good for low light photos.

8:26 pm - Sunday, April 5, 2015

#22 myg

I just got my first camera… a d-3200 and will be shooting fitness competition bikini competitions and some sports mostly dancers coming off stage in small venue’s…what will this do for me and which would be better 35mm prime or 50mm prime.


5:56 pm - Saturday, October 3, 2015

#23 myg

also would this 35mm prime be good for car shows and motorcycle shows…

6:11 pm - Saturday, October 3, 2015

#24 Kim

The AF-S DX 35mm/1.8 (good as it is) do have loads of distortion, visible CA, ugly bokeh, and must be stopped down to at least f/4 to even resemble the center-sharpness of the newer AF-S DX 40mm/2.8 Micro-Nikkor wide open. (And the corners never gets as good)
All that for a meager 1-and-a-third stop more light? No way!
Anyone considering the DX 35mm/1.8 for general photography should go for the DX 40mm/2.8 instead, and get much better image quality and macro as a bonus! The ISO’s of modern cameras should make one aperture-stop irrelevant in lens decision.

8:47 am - Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Entry Tags

lens, nikon, prime, nikkor, DX, nikon 35mm, fixed focal, Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8G Review