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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Magic of the Nikon 35mm f2.0 AF D



Nikon 35mm f2.0 AF D

This little gem has fast become my favourite lens. If I had to pick one lens, and only one lens, this would be it. It's tough because I love my Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 AF-S, but it's not as fast, and not as light, and while the 28-70mm f2.8 is FANTASTIC, it doesn't have the character and charm of the little 35mm f2.0. You'd be surprised too how much faster 2.0 is than 2.8. It doesn't seem like much, but it often looks huge... and it's the "look" that matters.

My Nikon 50mm f1.8 is feeling neglected. It's a little sweet-heart too. At about $100, you just can't go wrong with the Nikon 50mm 1.8. It's tack sharp, fast to focus, and has great low-light ability. I used to shoot a LOT with my Nikon 50mm f1.8 (and my Nikon 50mm f1.4 too), but the 50's have taken a back seat to the 35mm f2.0

There's something I just love about the feel of the 35mm f2 on one of my D300 Nikons. It's light... sure. It's tack sharp... yup. Super resistant to flare... check. Very small and not in your face the way a big f2.8 zoom like the Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 or the newer Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 can be... yeah, it's got that. No intimidation factor from the little 35 when pointed at a subject.

But it's more than all of that combined... more than the sum total of it's characteristics and parts. It has character... not just characteristics. It exudes personality. I may be crazy, but I think my Nikon 35mm f2 has a soul. I can see it when I look at the photos we take together. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and my 35mm f2 has a beautiful eye.

Beyond the sharpness and clarity that the 35 delivers, beyond the beautiful bokeh and low-light capturing power, the images have soul. They speak to me in a way that is hard to describe, unless of course, you too have this lens and you're sitting there nodding your head as you read this, understanding exactly what I'm saying.



My daughter Lilly is 13 months old. Most of my favourite shots of her are from my Nikon 35mm f2. I know in years to come, when I look back at these precious memories, my appreciation of my little 35 will be even greater.

Even in my wedding work, I find the Nikon 35mm f2.0 to be incredible. It's so light that it doesn't leave me with aching hands and sore arms, even after prolonged use. It's so fast that capturing available light shots at the church is easy. Combined with the lower shutter speed requirements compared to a longer lens (i.e. using the old "one over the focal length" rule... the longer the lens, the higher shutter speed you need... a rule that's even more critical with cropped sensor DSLR's where you should factor in the sensor and allow 1.5X [1.6X if you're a Canon shooter] the lens length as your lowest shutter speed to avoid blurry images), I find the 35mm f2 to be great for natural light during a wedding ceremony.

Portrait work is no different. The Nikon 35mm f2.0 works it's charms. Especially with kids, where they're often moving quickly, the 35's fast 2.0 maximum aperture allows you to stay at a higher shutter speed and still shoot natural light. The focal length is great for getting in close, but not too close. It's size again is a plus, as it's small and not intimidating to small children the way a larger lens can sometimes be.

I really don't have anything negative to say about my Nikon 35mm f2.0. Sure, some will complain that it hasn't be up-dated to AF-S. I say, who cares. It focuses fast and sure. From what I've seen of the newest AF-S primes, they aren't focussing any faster than my 35mm f2. Maybe a little quieter, but really, my 35 is pretty quiet. Quieter is always nice, but the little 35mm f2 is already pretty quiet.


Nikon 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX

The new Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX looks nice, but you can't use it on a FX body. You CAN use the 35mm f2.0 on an FX DSLR like the D3, D3X, and D700 (and hopefully my soon to be released dream camera... the Nikon D800).

I you haven't tried the Nikon 35mm f2.0, I urge you to treat yourself and try one. Borrow one from a friend, rent one, or just go out and buy one! I recommend getting the 35mm f2.0 over the newer 35mm f1.8, even if you don't currently shoot an FX body. You may be shooting a DX body like the Nikon D300, D90, or D40 now, but down the road we're going to see more of the Nikon line go FX, so you'll be glad you bought the Nikon 35mm AF f2.0 D over the Nikon 35 AF-S f1.8 G DX.

4 comments:

Svit said...

Hey there!

I own this lens (35mm F/2) on Nikon D700 body. It is absolutely stunning, as you said. It produces very nice bokeh. It is accurate, fast and sharp even wide open! I love it. My favorite lens!

Here is a shot, how it looks on my d700 @ F/2
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/5237/dsc2891.png

On D300, you get the same view angle as 50mm lens on FX. Hope you'll move to full frame body soon, and use the whole potential of this lens. :)

Best regards,

S

Svit said...

Hey there!

I own this lens (35mm F/2) on Nikon D700 body. It is absolutely stunning, as you said. It produces very nice bokeh. It is accurate, fast and sharp even wide open! I love it. My favorite lens!

Here is a shot, how it looks on my d700 @ F/2
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/5237/dsc2891.png

On D300, you get the same view angle as 50mm lens on FX. Hope you'll move to full frame body soon, and use the whole potential of this lens. :)

Best regards,

S

Anonymous said...

Hi all

The Nikon 35mm f2 is not sharp in the corners on "full" format at apertures larger than f8. Apart from this, its a nice, anonymous and light lens for everyday shooting. I use it because i need a 35 prime with AF. I really hope this lens is upgraded soon. Hopefully next in line after the 70-200.

Br, John

Anonymous said...

I too use the AF 35mm f/2D and although it's sharp in the center, the corners are very soft up to f/8. The new AF-S 35mm f/1.4G seems to be a much better lens, but it's huge and very expensive. The manual Samyang 35mm f/1.4 is almost as good as the new Nikon, but lacks autofocus and it's even bigger then the Nikon.