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Nikon 35mm f/2
AF-D NIKKOR (1989-)

© 2003-2012 KenRockwell.com

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Nikon 35mm f/2.0 AF

Nikon AF-NIKKOR 35mm f/2D (FX, DX and 35mm coverage,52mm filters, 7.0 oz./200g, about $360). enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these directly to it at Adorama and at Amazon or used at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

July 2012, Christmas 2010, 2003     Nikon Reviews    Nikon Lenses   All Reviews

 

Introduction

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

This is a bargain of a wonderful FX lens for any purpose.

It's sharp, small, light and fast.

 

Specifications

Optics

Six elements in five groups.

 

Coverage

35mm film, FX and DX.

 

Diaphragm

7 conventional blades.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Close Focus

0.8 feet (0.25 meters), marked.

 

Maximunm Reproduction Ratio

1:4.2.

 

Hood

HN-3 screw-in metal hood, optionsl.

You don't need it; this lens has great flare performance.

 

Size

2.5" (63mm) around by 2.1" (53mm) long.

 

Weight

7.040 oz. (199.6g), measured.

Nikon specifies 8 oz. (215g).

 

Nikon Product Number

1923.

 

Price, USA

$360, Christmas 2010.

 

Performance

 

Autofocus

AF action is very, very fast on an F100 or any Nikon.

One full turn of the AF screw focuses the lens from infinity to 3.'

 

Optics

Optically this was the best 35mm lens from Nikon until the 35mm f/1.4 AF-S came out in 2010.

This f/2 AF lens is much better that the 35mm f/2.0 AI-s manual focus, with very little coma even at f/2.0.

I prefer this f/2 AF lens also to the 35mm f/1.4 AI-s manual-focus lens because the two perform about as well at f/2. At f/1.4 the 35mm f/1.4 AI-s is not very good, so I would shoot it at f/2 anyway.

This 35mm f/2D AF is free from ghosts, unlike the 35mm f/2.0 AI-s which is among Nikon's worst for ghosts.

 

Compared

The manual-focus Voigtländer 40mm f/2 is better-made and sharper than any of the Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D, 45mm f/2.8 AI-P or 50mm f/1.8 AF-D.

To show this, here are crops from the top right corner of 100% FX 12MP (D3 or D700) images:

Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D Voigtlander 40mm f/2
Nikon 45mm f/2.8 P Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D

Printed full-image at this size, these would be about 42 x 28" (105 x 70cm) prints, at least as seen on most 100 DPI computer monitors.

You'll never see this much difference in actual photos among these all-excellent lenses; in this case, I shot them in a way that would exaggerate the differences as much as possible.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)       performance     top

Falloff is visible at f/2, improves greatly at f/2.8, and is gone by f/4.

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

 

Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D falloff on FX and film at infinity, no correction.

f/2
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Mechanics

The 35mm f/2D AF is typical for AF lenses for mechanical quality. The filter thread is cheap plastic, so watch out when you attach filters. Otherwise the mount and internals seem like sturdy metal.

The 35mm f/2D AF focuses very, very close. It gets to about 1/4 life size. This is another great unknown feature of this lens. It does not have close-range correction as the 28mm f/1.4 D AF and 35mm f/1.4 AI-s do. Therefore the 35mm f/2D AF is fuzzy in the corners at close distances at large apertures. This not a problem unless you are silly enough to shoot flat art in the dark hand-held.

It has the barrel distortion typical to Nikkor wide angles. This distortion is not obvious through most Nikon viewfinders, since they incorporate complementary pincushion distortion.

THere was one serious and fatal design flaw present around the year 2000. Nikon claims to have fixed it as of June 2001, and I've never seen it again.

3 out of 4 that I saw back then, including new ones on display in stores, had lubricant leaked onto the diaphragm blades. Many of these lenses work OK with the lubricant on the diaphragm blades, however one new one I saw in a store was so gummed up that I thought that the F100 I was being shown in 1999 had a broken depth-of-field preview. In fact the diaphragm was gummed open, and only after twiddling with the lens did we realize it was all gummed up right on the dealer's shelf.

If you get an old used lens, this could lead to gross overexposure for daylight shots. You won't see this on prints, because print film has enough exposure latitude, but on slides or digital it will be very obvious. With a closed-loop exposure system camera like the FA your exposures ought to be OK, even though you may wind up shooting at full aperture and not realizing it.

Considering that Nikon USA offers a 5 year warranty for new AF lenses, don't worry about this too much. Just buy new legitimate Nikon USA product. You can have Nikon repair this for you if it causes a problem. If you buy used, look very carefully. Make sure to tweak the automatic diaphragm pin to wiggle the blades around, because if the lens has this problem and the blades haven't moved in a while you'll not see the lubricant on the visible parts of the blades. Also the one I had did have lubricant on the blades and worked fine that way, just as other samples I saw. Who knows, just watch out. This lens is inexpensive enough that I suggest you buy it new with a USA warranty.

Reader Tim in Green Bay, Wisconsin, reports that his new gray market lens, serial number 329006 bought 18 April 2001 from B&H, seems OK. Tim has seen three other 35/2s and all of them had some oil on the blades and all worked OK. He also reports that his new lens is marked "Made in Japan." Tim also says that storing the lens on it's side makes the oil problem worse, and storing the lens facing up (resting on the rear cap) helps. Storing the lens facing up for three weeks seems to eliminate the problem.

Good news: I visited Nikon in Torrance, California USA, on 11 June 2001 and asked them if they had a fix yet. Luckily they told me that they have a cure if your lens has this problem. They also told me that Nikon Japan told them they have now have fixed the problem on new lenses, but that waits to be seen. I was told that this fix actually changes something inside the lens so it won't happen again. Bravo!

 

Recommendations

This is a jewel of a small, fast sharp lens and really doesn't do anything differently than the seven times more expensive 28mm f/1.4D AF does, and the 35mm f/2D focuses faster and closer, too. I only sold mine because I was lucky enough to find a used 28mm f/1.4D AF that I could afford.

 

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