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Nikon 35 mm f1.8

Nikon 35 mm f1.8

By: Hoan K. Trinh

Just a warning, this will probably be the laziest lens review that you will ever read.

The 35mm f1.8 lens is a great lens and it’s a lens that I often go to when I have a hard time deciding which lens to take with me for the day.    Photographers often have to make compromises between the amount of gears that they want to haul along and the amount of weight and hassle that they are willing to put up with.  The 35mm f1.8 is a very good compromise if you are shooting on cropped body cameras, thus I often go to this lens when I want a hassle free day.  That said, it is not my favorite lens, probably because it is a jack of all trades and not particular good at anything.  Okay, it is a very good walk around lens but that does not count  as being good at something, does it?  Did I hear someone says street photography?  The 35 mm focal length is not truly wide enough for landscape photography and not enough of a telephoto for portraiture, but at 35mm, it’s an excellent compromise for just about everything.  One other thing that is reasonably cool about this lens is that at 35mm, the lens gives you approximately the same field of view as your own vision, not any wider nor any longer, so what you see with your own eyes is what you captures on the camera.  But I kind of get bore with that same field of view after a while (this happen afterward when I go home and review the files).

The above was my general impressions and opinions of the lens.  Let’s talk about the technical qualities of the lens (a very important aspect of a lens review)

Technically, this lens is a very sharp lens, especially if you stop it down to f2.8 or better.  It is still plenty sharp at f1.8, but let’s just say, it is noticeably softer at f1.8.  But to reiterate, this lens overall is very sharp, as sharp as any professional lens out there that might cost much more.   It certainly does not give an inch to any of the other more expensive professional grade zoom lenses in my bag when it come to sharpness.

Vignetting:  The lens does have some vignetting at f1.8 which is typical of just about any lenses when use wide open.  I never find it to be an issue in my work.  If you like to have minimal vignetting or add your own vignetting, this is a simple step in post processing.

At f1.8, this lens is very good in low light, this is typical of a lot of fixed lenses.  The f1.8 aperture does allow for bit flexibility in low light situation, this flexibility is something that zoom lenses cannot offer, obviously, you lose the flexibility of a zoom.  There is always some kind of trade off in photography.

This lens is also very light.  I actually don’t know the weight of the lens off hand, but it is fair to say that this lens is essentially weightless.  Weightless in the sense that you won’t know that it is there.  This is  a factor no one really considered until you have to carry your camera around your neck for the whole day.  For the image quality, low light capability, and weight, you simply cannot beat this lens if you are on a cropped body dslr.

Last but not least, we have to have sample images.  For the sample images, please see my two other blog articles where my images were shot exclusively on the Nikon 35mm f1.8.  This is the lazy part I was referring to in my thesis statement.

Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love

All the photos in this article were shot on the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens, in fact, it was the only lens I used for the whole trip.  All of the landscape photos were shot between f7.1 to f9 or f11…..I don’t remember exactly.  The portrait photos were shot at between f1.8 to f2.8.   All shot was taken on the Nikon D40.


All the photos in this article were shot on the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens, in fact, it was the only lens I brought for the whole trip.  All the indoor indoor photos were taken at f1.8 to 2.8 due to the lighting condition.  Most of the outdoor shot was taken at f5.6 to f8 to convey the whole story.  All shot was taken on the Nikon D90.


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