Customer Review

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Lens! One of my favorite primes despite some issues., April 9, 2012
This review is from: Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S FX SWM Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
Optically, this is an amazing piece. I also have the 24mm 1.4G and 85 1.4G which are all equally as impressive, but I find this 35mm focal length to be much more useful as an "everyday" lens. 35mm on a full frame body can pass as wide angle for landscapes and architecture as well as a portrait lens. And because of its close focus ability, it serves as a semi-macro lens as well with about .2X magnification and close focusing to about 1 foot. Background defocus is also more pronounced than the 24mm due to the focal length, and bokeh is almost as beautiful as the 85 1.4G. I've used it on a D700 and now on a D800 and when I pixel peep the 36 megapixel file, I'm even more amazed at how sharp this lens is. It's tack sharp wide open at f/1.4, which was not something I expected, so much so that any increase in sharpness when stopped down was only really noticeable near the edges upon close inspection. Perhaps Nikon designed the optical formula to be this way? If so, I applaud them because if you're going to spend $1600 on a big and heavy fast prime lens, you'd want to shoot it wide open, otherwise there's no point in carrying the extra bulk.

I'm such a sucker for prime lenses that I've amassed a large of collection of Leica M primes, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Nikon, and Canon primes from new to older classics. This 35mm has to be up there among my top 5. The only sharper 35mm I've used is the latest version of the Leica M Summilux, but dare I say even that might not be as sharp wide as Nikon's at f/1.4. And this 35mm is certainly in the same class as the sharpness king in my collection: the Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2. But it's not about sharpness that makes this lens great. It's about usability. This is the lens that I'd likely keep if I could only have one, or bring with me if I could only carry one, simply because it can used for almost any type of shot. While it doesn't focus as fast as any of Nikon's pro zooms, it's fast enough for most purposes and that includes focus tracking fast moving subjects like kids or pets. On the D800, continuous AF works well and is often spot-on.

So what are the cons? There are very few but I'll list them: 1) AF motor is somewhat noisy (sounds cheap and even noisier than my copies of the 24mm and 85mm 1.4G) when the the lens is hunting for focus, 2) it's somewhat large and overly heavy for a regular prime (though nicely balanced and doesn't seem as large when mounted on a D800 or D4), and 3) the filter size is 67mm (why oh why did Nikon do this? The 24mm 1.4G is almost identical in barrel size, form, and overall dimensions and that lens uses the 77mm filter thread that most of the modern Nikon pro lenses use, so why 67mm for the 35? Does not compute). Despite these things, I'm still giving this lens 5 stars because they are far from deal-breakers and doesn't change the fact that I really love this lens.

Get one for your FX Nikon body today, you will love it. But if you shoot with a DX body, save your money and get the excellent 35mm f/1.8 DX version instead. The 1.4G version is expensive, big, and heavy and its optical advantages are only really exploited by a full frame sensor.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 11, 2015 10:40:23 AM PST
Tycoop says:
Very good review, thanks for posting. Have you had the chance to compare this lens to the Zeiss 35mm f/2, or the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4?
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