Along with the Nikon D7000, Nikon today released two more lenses – Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S and Nikon 200mm f/2G ED VR II AF-S, both pro-level upgrades to the existing 35mm f/1.4 and 200mm f/2 lenses. The Nikon 35mm f/1.4G has been long overdue, since the last f/1.4 version of the lens was released back in 1982 with no autofocus. The 35mm line of lenses was later changed to f/2.0 and the last “D” version of the lens, known as “Nikon 35mm f/2.0D” has been the only 35mm lens that can autofocus on current Nikon DSLRs. The Nikon 35mm f/1.4G re-establishes the 35mm line with an ultra-fast aperture of f/1.4 and sets new standards with the latest optical technologies from Nikon. It is the third professional prime lens Nikon has updated this year (Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and Nikon 85mm f/1.4G were released earlier), which shows Nikon’s commitment to upgrade the entire line of popular prime lenses that have not been touched for years.
NOTE: I posted a full Nikon 35mm f/1.4G Review after the announcement.
The Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is an ultra-fast, FX wide-angle lens that is suitable for many kinds of photography such as landscape, architectural, wedding, photojournalism and astrophotography.
- Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both FX and DX-format D-SLRs. DX-format D-SLR the angle of view is equivalent to a focal length of 52.5mm in FX/35mm format.
- Rear Focus (RF) provides smooth and fast autofocus while eliminating front barrel rotation and lens length changes.
- Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus.
- Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm renders a more natural appearance to out-of-focus image elements.
- Nano Crystal Coat further reduces ghosting and interior flare across a wide range of wavelengths for even greater image clarity.
- Aspherical lens element virtually eliminates coma and other types of aberration, even when shooting at the widest available aperture.
- M/A Focus Mode Switch enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation now enhanced with a refined MF driving mechanism to reduces focus time lag and improve ease of use in M/A mode.
- Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances light transmission efficiency and offers superior color consistency and reduced flare.
- Focal Length: 35mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
- Minimum Aperture: f/16
- Lens (Elements): 10
- Lens (Groups): 7
- Compatible Format(s): FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode, 35mm Film
- Nano Crystal Coat: Yes
- Aspherical (Elements): 1
- Autofocus: Yes
- AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.98 ft.
- Rear Focusing: Yes
- Filter Size: 67mm
- Dimensions (Approx.): 3.27×3.52 in. (Diameter x Length) 83×89.5mm (Diameter x Length)
- Weight (Approx.): 21.2 oz. (600g)
Compared to Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AIS and Nikon 35mm f/2.0D
The manual focus (AIS) version of the 35mm lens suffered from many different problems such as coma and lateral aberrations and soft images at large apertures between f/1.4 and f/2.8 (which Nikon has still been selling at a steep price of over $1K). The f/2.0D version was a little better, with increased sharpness at large apertures and less coma + aberrations. I could not find MTF data from the old f/1.4 AIS, but here is the comparison between the f/2.0D and the new f/1.4G:
As you can see, the new Nikon 35mm f/1.4G beats the f/2.0D version in every way, from center to corners, which is very impressive. The new optics with Nano Crystal Coat significantly flare and ghosting, while the aspherical element eliminates chroma and lateral aberrations – the plague of the previous generation 35mm lenses. Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) will result in the same smooth and silent autofocus performance as in most current Nikon lenses and the new M/A switch will allow manual focus override without having to change anything else on camera or on the lens.
I am personally very excited about this lens for two reasons – the focal length is just perfect for everyday photography and the fast aperture of f/1.4 means that I can shoot beautiful portraits with soft and creamy bokeh without having to use flash in low-light situations. Another beautiful lens for wedding and landscape photography!
Price and Availability
Obviously, a lens like the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is not going to be cheap – it will retail for $1799.95 and will be available in mid-November of 2010.