I have been playing with the new Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED FX lens for a week now and have taken it out a few times when the weather got a little better (it has been snowy and extremely windy during the past week here in Colorado). So far the lens seems like another winner. It is small, lightweight and is capable of rendering images with beautiful colors and high contrast. While I have not performed any lab tests, judging from the images I have captured so far, it seems to be very sharp optically, from the center to the corners at infinity:
There is some noticeable lateral chromatic aberration visible towards the corners of the frame, but it is not bad and can be easily corrected in post-processing. While Lightroom 5.3 does not have a lens profile for the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G yet, Adobe has already released Camera RAW 8.4 Release Candidate that has a built-in profile now, so you can already make corrections in Camera RAW in Photoshop. The lens profile will be bundled with Lightroom 5.4 when it is officially released.
Although wide-angle lenses should not be used for photographing portraits, I wanted to include a sample image of my daughter Jasmine taken at a relatively close distance to demonstrate sharpness and bokeh. The image is shot wide open at f/1.8:
The image is a little front-focused (she was moving a lot) and I did not get perfect details of her eyes, but you can see how sharp her eyebrows and eyelids look at 100% view. The background is rendered smoothly and bokeh looks pretty nice with no harsh edges.
Here is another image shot at f/1.8 indoors:
Vignetting wide open is not as bad as on some fast aperture lenses, so you won’t have to worry about corrections in post. Distortion also seems to be under control.
Obviously much more testing awaits the lens and I am planning to do some direct comparisons with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens to see how the two stack up against each other. Judging from what I see so far, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G seems to be a great low-cost alternative to the very expensive Nikon 35mm f/1.4G. It might not be as good as the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 optically (and not as fast), but it is also $300 cheaper!
More to come!