Nikon 35mm f/1.8G Announcement

The Consumer Electronics Show is taking place in Las Vegas this week, which means lots of announcements of all kinds of gadgets, including cameras and lenses. As usual, we will be picking and covering the most important announcements that are related to the photography industry. One of the biggest news today is the announcement of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G full-frame lens. Ever since the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens came out back in 2009 (which got wildly popular for Nikon DX cameras thanks to its excellent performance and low price), many Nikon shooters have been asking for a budget version of the lens for full-frame cameras. Although the professional Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is an excellent chunk of glass (see our in-depth review), it is too expensive for many photo enthusiasts and hobbyists. And that’s exactly the gap that the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is designed to fill. At an MSRP price of $599, the lens is over 2.5x less expensive than its big brother. It is also twice lighter!

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED

At the same time, the insanely sharp Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens (see our review) with its $899 price presents a challenge for the 35mm f/1.8G. Potential buyers might choose to go with the more expensive Sigma, which not only beats the 35mm f/1.8G lens in sharpness (preliminary assessment based on the MTF), but also has a faster aperture of f/1.4. Let’s take a look at the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G in more detail.

Here are some of the lens specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  2. Focal Length: 35mm
  3. Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
  4. Minimum Aperture: f/16
  5. Format: FX/35mm
  6. Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 44°
  7. Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 63°
  8. Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.24x
  9. Lens Elements: 11
  10. Lens Groups: 8
  11. Diaphragm Blades: 7
  12. Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  13. Autofocus: Yes
  14. AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  15. Internal Focusing: Yes
  16. Minimum Focus Distance: 0.82 ft. (0.25m)
  17. Focus Mode: Auto, Manual
  18. G-type: Yes
  19. Filter Size: 58mm
  20. Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  21. Dimensions (Approx.): 2.83 in. (72 mm) x 2.81 in. (71.5 mm)
  22. Weight (Approx.): 10.7 oz. (305 g)

If you would like to see more details, including lens construction, please see our Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G page in the lens database.

MTF Chart

Here is the MTF Chart of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens:

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED MTF Chart

A quick analysis:
At the maximum aperture of f/1.8, the lens has excellent contrast and sharpness in the center. Performance falls off from the center towards the corners, with pretty good mid-frame performance. The wavy nature of the blue line indicates presence of some field curvature, so expect mid-frame performance to drop from the center. Corners look very good as well for both contrast and sharpness. Bokeh will not be spectacular, thanks to the separation of the straight and dotted lines above, plus the presence of aspherical lens element will paint the inner side of bokeh highlights with some “onion rings”. Check out my article on reading lens MTF charts if you want to be able to analyze MTF data yourself.

Compared to Nikon 35mm f/1.4G

Let’s take a look at how the lens compares to the much more expensive f/1.4 version:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G MTF vs Nikon 35mm f/1.4G MTF

The center frame performance is definitely better than what the more expensive Nikon 35mm f/1.4G can deliver. The 35mm f/1.8G has a faster fall towards the mid-frame, so it definitely has more field curvature issues. Corners look very good, once again seems better than what the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is capable of producing. Bokeh quality should be similar on both, perhaps slightly better on the 35mm f/1.8G. Overall, looks like we have a very similar situation as with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and 85mm f/1.8G lenses – the 35mm f/1.8G seems like another excellent value.

Since Nikon MTF charts only show wide open performance in a simulated environment, I will have to test the 35mm f/1.8G in a lab to discover its real strengths and weaknesses at different apertures, from center to corner.

Press Release

Here is the official press release:

A wide-angle 35mm fixed focal length (prime) lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 compatible with the Nikon FX format

TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED, a wide-angle 35mm fixed focal length (prime) lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras.

The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED*1 is an extremely portable lens that, when used with a Nikon digital SLR camera, offers the bright viewfinder image of a fast fixed focal length lens and the beautiful blur characteristics of a shallow depth of field.
In addition, adoption of an ED lens element and an aspherical lens element, which ensure superior image quality, and optical design that controls sagittal coma flare*2 for excellent point image formation make the lens capable of maximizing the distinctive characteristics of high pixel-count digital SLR cameras with expression of the finest details.
Releasing the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED responds to a variety of needs by enriching our fast prime lens lineup covering focal lengths from wide-angle to the mid-telephoto range.

*1 When used with a Nikon DX-format digital SLR camera, the effective angle of view is equivalent to that of a lens with a 52.5mm focal length.
*2 A phenomenon with which the edges of pinpoint light sources in photos of night landscapes and the like are not rendered as point images, but appear distorted to resemble the outspread wings of a bird in flight

Nikon considers point-image formation with design of all NIKKOR lenses, utilizing its long history of striving for the ideal of rendering point images as sharp points. The AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G, which offers superior point-image rendering from maximum aperture, was another fast, fixed focal length lens developed with this same design concept and released last year. Our lineup already includes the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G, which offers similar characteristics, and we have continued this design concept with the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED.

The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED responds to the needs of users looking for a high-performance, wide-angle fixed focal length lens that can easily be taken anywhere, as well as those who want to enjoy capture of more impressive in portraits, night landscapes, photos of starry skies, and the like.

AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Primary Features

  1. Optical design that considers point image formation for very little sagittal coma flare
  2. A new optical design utilizing ED and aspherical lens elements for superior optical performance that enables excellent resolution and contrast
  3. Convenient portability with good balance when mounted on camera bodies
  4. Smooth blur characteristics that render subjects more impressively
  5. A Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for fast and quiet autofocusing

Pre-Order Links

You can pre-order your copy of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G through our trusted reseller, B&H for $596.95. Or you can also pre-order it through Adorama.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) David B
    January 6, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Happy new year to the team!
    The $599 price makes it dangerously close to Sigma 35/1.4 which sometimes goes on sale for not much more. I suppose one thing going for the Nikon is it is 300 grams vs more than 600 grams for the Sigma. So it is smaller and lighter. Probably will balance nice on DF.

    • 12
      ) Ricardo Vaz
      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      $600,00 is far less than $900,00, 50% is a big difference. I think it will sell Ok, but the perfoemnce will not be as good as the sigma 1.4

  2. 2
    ) Cherag Tantra
    January 6, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Nasim,

    Thanks for the information, I am hoping once you have your hand on this lens would be able to compare it with the very impressive Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM. I have a D800e and was seriously considering the Sigma but once I was made aware of this launch by Nikon thought of holding off until they are both tested side by side.

    Looking forward to your valuable comments.

    Regards,
    Cherag

    • 3
      ) Cherag Tantra
      January 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Nasim,

      Apologies for the typo for your name, damn predictive texts.

      Regards,
      Cherag

      • January 6, 2014 at 11:54 pm

        Cherag, do not worry, it happens. I fixed the error :)

        • 9
          ) Cherag Tantra
          January 7, 2014 at 5:58 am

          Thanks Nasim.

  3. 5
    ) MartinG
    January 7, 2014 at 12:19 am

    The 35mm 1.8 and 1.4 look good, but surely this is a focal length covered quite well already. It should make some prime lens buyers happy. BUT :-( Yet another announcement with no sign of the 300 F4 VRIII. Why???What are they waiting for?

  4. 6
    ) Jorge Balarin
    January 7, 2014 at 2:33 am

    That’s a announcement that I really like.

  5. 7
    ) Chris
    January 7, 2014 at 2:36 am

    I have to say – i think the biggest variable is copy sample for the Sigma lens. If you get a good copy of the Sigma 1.4 (that doesn’t need meddling with that silly Sigma usb-port-adjuster for all focus points) – then it is truly a difficult lens to beat in terms of of overall IQ – by almost any lens. I think I got lucky with my Sigma copy… but it is simply stunning on a D800.

    I can’t imagine opting for the Nikon for only a few hundred less, even with the lesser weight of the Nikon (frankly – the build quality of the Sigma lens is also a real plus – I personally really like the balance and heft of the lens).

    This is, in my opinion, too little, too late from Nikon. Given the excellent quality of the 28mm 1.8, and the 50mm 1.8 – this really only fills a smaller prime ‘niche’ for most people. Had they had matched the DX 35mm 1.8 price… that would be another story. But at $600 – I’d still pay a little more, for a lot more with the Sigma.

    • 17
      ) Brian Mahoney
      January 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      I’m in agreement with you. I do not have any qualms shelling out a couple hundred dollars more for a piece of glass that will surely last several cameras. $300 dollars difference over 10+ years is a no brainer to me. I think the new generation of camera sensors have already left many people wishing they had put a little more money out to begin with.

      Saving money in the short term can cost you in the long term.

  6. 8
    ) Erol Cagdas
    January 7, 2014 at 5:09 am

    I really welcome Nikon’s move to introduce an affordable 35mm FX prime into the market. Once I will make a switch to FX, I will have more options than a Sigma 35mm or Nikon 35mm 1.4.
    I am pretty sure the Sigma is a wonderful, affordable, piece of glass. But…. should the Nikon 35mm FX prove itself in great optical quality, the 2/3rds of a stop difference is not that much of an issue to me, as I will consider the lighter weight and/or portability of the Nikon.
    Looking forward for another great review and comparison with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Nasim!

  7. 10
    ) Dave Culpin
    January 7, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Why is the 35mm f/1.8G so much more expensive than the 50mm f/1.8g? :-(

    • 31
      ) Pranav
      February 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Here in India, 35mm 1.8, 50mm 1.8 and 55-200 come with same price tag. In last couple of days, the price has dropped from 200USD to approx 135USD.

  8. 11
    ) ceaiu
    January 7, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Good releases from both Nikon (35mm f1.8) and Sigma (50mm f1.4).
    Hopefully others will follow at CP+ … Nikon 24mm f1.8G, Sigma 24mm f1.4 …

    • 24
      ) Pixel
      January 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      50mm is always a very simple optical construction. Always!
      This is pure physics, 35mm is much more difficult. Compare lense size, you will notice differences, too.

      However, always remember this rule – 50mm simple to construct and manufacture.

  9. 13
    ) Jorge Balarin
    January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with you. That’s the comparison I’m waiting for. I had the opportunity to test Sigma for two days and I was very satisfied; but the Nikon is significantly cheaper – at least for me – and if it works so good as the 50mm f/1.8 I think I will buy it.

  10. 14
    ) C
    January 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

    The Maximum Reproduction Ratio should be 0.24x instead of 0.16x

    http://www.nikon-image.com/products/lens/af/fx/singlefocal/af-s_35mmf18g_ed.htm
    http://www.nikon.com.hk/en_HK/product/nikkor-lenses/fx-format/single-focal-length/wide-angle/af-s-nikkor-35mm-f1-8g-ed#techspecs

    This piece of information (0.16x) in nikonusa is wrong because 35mm f/1.8G ED having 0.25m minimum focus distance, it should normally have ~0.24x (like the 35mm f/2D). Only 35mm lens having 0.3m minimum focus, like 35mm f/1.4G, has maximum reproduction ratio of ~0.16x.

  11. 15
    ) Matt
    January 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I am really happy that Nikon finally got around to making this lens. 35mm is my favorite focal length, and I’ve been waiting years for this… so that I can sell my big, heavy, expensive 35mm f/1.4G and pocket the difference! Given Nikon’s recent track record with their superb f/1.8G lenses, I suspect this lens will be just as good – if not better – than the f/1.4G.

  12. 16
    ) drew PARNELL
    January 9, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    Thank you, to the team for good interesting website.
    I have owned and used Sigma in the past but resent a focus ring that turns the opposite way to Nikon. Maybe Nikon have got it wrong historically. Added the fact that the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 will not nudge focus whilst in auto-focus unlike the good operation of a G lens.
    I think for the sake of your readers wanting a considered view, the Sigma fans are stating brilliance with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 which, although might be the case, is not all the case.
    Look forward to your review, thanks.

  13. 18
    ) Ivan
    January 13, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I think it doesn’t come close to sigma 35 1.4 in terms of sharpness at widest aperture

  14. 19
    ) Jon
    January 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for the write up Nasim! Despite the amazing performance of the Siggy, I may still try out this lens.

    This is mostly because the Siggy does not balance well on my DF, and given that my preferred focal length for travel is 35mm, that makes life a little hard for me… Sometimes life is simpler with less options!

  15. 20
    ) wochomi
    January 16, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Hi ..
    I don’t if any of you shutterbugs have actually plugged in a 35mm f/1.8G DX on a D600 body to try.
    I switched off the autocrop mode, and the pictures came out without vignette. Switched on the auto crop mode and the pictures appeared ‘zoomed in’ (probably the auto crop).
    So if the cheaper DX version is actually a FX lens in DX shell?
    Why not try it for yourselves and let me know…

    • 23
      ) Peter Goodman
      January 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Ho, I totally second this. The vignetting varies with focused distance, and with aperture. I’ve found that between f/2.8 and f/4 gives the least vignetting for both near to far focused distances. At very near focus distances there tends to be very little vignetting. The main problem is that you cant stop down for increased performance because the vignetting goes from darker, to mechanically cutoff blackness. For its price (£150 new in UK) it is a total bargain, particularly if using indoors with flash where corners of the frame tend to be dark anyway.

      Pete.

  16. 21
    ) dpopham
    January 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Nasim,
    When you do a full review of this lens, you know you will…, pls touch on the option of a Voitlander f2 40mm on a d800e if possible.
    That is going to be the biggest decision I will be making when I purchase something in this category.
    Thanks. dfp

  17. 22
    ) Peter Goodman
    January 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Nasim, like many others I am very interested in this lens. I have one question though. In your discussion of the MTF curve you say that “Bokeh will not be spectacular, thanks to the separation of the straight and dotted lines above”. I read your excellent article about how to read MTF curves, and in that you said that you wouldn’t try to make conclusions about bokeh from MTF charts alone. I’m confused as to how you know from the MTF that the bokeh wont be great? Or is that conclusion from other aspects of the design you can see?

    Thanks, Pete.

    • January 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Peter, yes, MTF data should not be solely used to judge bokeh quality and there are different reasons. For one, there are different aspects of bokeh that can be subjectively judged to be pleasant or unpleasant. For example, if a lens uses aspherical elements, those can produce something called “onion bokeh”, where the highlights do not appear smooth. That part can never be seen in MTF graphs. Another part of bokeh is the transition of background elements – it can be either very smooth (as in the case of portrait lenses optimized to yield the smoothest backgrounds) or pretty harsh (as on most cheap consumer zoom lenses). This transition is typically what’s indicated on MTF charts. If the two lines separate too much, it means that those transitions are harsh. If they are very close (as on the 58mm f/1.4G lens), then the background transitions are typically smooth. But like I’ve said, that’s only one part of the story. So when I said that the bokeh will not be spectacular, I only meant that part of it. The rest needs to be evaluated before drawing any conclusions :)

      • 26
        ) Peter Goodman
        January 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm

        Hi Nasim, Thanks for clarifying this for me. :) Im eagerly waiting for first impression reviews. I noticed there are already a few low res sample images on different region Nikon sites which look good to me, but too low res to know yet. I think I saw samples on the Japanese site and one of the mid east sites.
        Thanks, Pete.

        • 27
          ) Peter Goodman
          January 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm

          The two sites I saw samples on were Nikon USA and Japan. The bokeh on the USA shots looks good to me, but not sure how challenging those shots are for bokeh. Pete.

  18. 28
    ) Gareth
    February 2, 2014 at 2:51 am

    “the lens is over 2.5x less expensive than its big brother. It is also twice lighter!”

    This is absolutely terrible use of English. It’s nonsensical. You’re using multiples to describe fractions.

    “2.5x less expensive” I have no clue what that actually means. Why not “just over 1/3 of the price”, or “under 40% of the price”.

    “twice lighter!”. Do you mean it’s half, 50%, of the weight?

  19. 29
    ) Jared
    February 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Tried the new 35 1.8g ed and the Sigma 35 1.4.

    Both have great focus speed (unlike the Nikon 1.4g) but the Sigma blows away the 1.8g at 1.8. The Nikon was softer and suffered from chromatic aberration and the sigma did not in the same scenario, of course the Sigma was stopped down and the Nikon was wide open.

    I bought the Sigma, not on sale. The value is better IMO. I shoot weddings.

  20. 30
    ) Ryan
    February 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I am very excited about this lens. I like shooting with the 1.8 primes (50 and 85 mostly) on my D800, but was sad when they seemingly opted for the 28mm focal length instead of 35mm. So much so that I bought the 35 1.4 which is amazing on the D800, but it is heavier compared to the 1.8 series. I will be happy to get the 1.8 and have a nice walk around semi-wide/normal lens.

  21. 32
    ) Thanh
    March 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Hi Nasim,
    When will you compare side by side of the two lenses Nikkor 35mm 1.8G ED and Sigma 35 1.4 DG?

    I was quite satisfied with the Nikkor 35mm DX on DX body as hobbit photography, but recently moved to FX to achieve better IQ. Still wonder which version of 35mm lens to go with: Nikkor 1.8 ED or Sigma 1.4 DG? Mean while, I temporarily use Nikkor 35 f/2D and don’t feel its performance as good as 35mm 1.8 DX version’s, especially at f/2.8 or wider.

    I really like the weight and size of Nikkor 35mm 1.8 ED version, but very excited about the sharpness of Sigma 1.4. Note sure it’s worth to sacrifice the portable of Nikkor version to the sharpness of Sigma version.

    Besides, Sigma shows many cases in which buyers have to change defected lens until they got a good-as-expected one. I live in a developing country where I don’t think I can exchange the lens after buying it, therefore it’s really bad if I got a bad copy of Sigma lens. I would trust Nikon’s quality control more.

    Therefore, I really wait for your comparison before making decision. Thank you.

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