Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens Review

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Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens Conclusion
Nikon DX camera owners looking to explore the 50mm mystique or add a great low light lens (see sample, below) to their bag will find the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G lens a very good option. It’s got great image quality and even though it’s not a zoom, it’s a remarkably versatile lens. At $200 (suggested retail price) it’s a bit on the expensive side compared to an actual 50mm lens. But then again, it’s not a standard 50mm lens, is it? If you’ve got a Nikon DSLR body without a built-in auto focus motor it’s really the only game in town. And if you have a D90 or a D300, your other option is the 35mm f/2D Nikkor, which has a slower maximum aperture and sells for $150 more. If you want the traditional 50mm angle-of-view and image quality for your Nikon DX body, the 35mm Nikkor DX lens delivers the goods.

Low light Nikon 35mm DX lens sample photo
This photo was shot in very, very low light. Exposure settings were ISO 1600 and 1/25th second at the 35mm DX Nikkor’s maximum aperture of f/1.8. This photo probably wouldn’t have been possible without that fast, f/1.8 aperture.

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX Nikkor lens with lens shade, box and Nikon D5000 camera

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Franglais says:

    Good. I keep on telling people to rush out and buy it. The comparison out out-of-focus with the other lenses is interesting, I didn’t try it. But my favourite image is the cat

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for commenting. And thanks for posting a user review for it, too :-)

    My favorite photo is the cat, too. The combination of usable ISO 1600 and f/1.8 is hard to beat. The only thing missing is VR! The other photos aren’t masterpieces. But hopefully they demonstrate why you’d want to use a fast aperture prime lens. And I was also very curious to see how the 35mm DX lens compared to the 50mm at full frame. It compares very well, although the bokeh isn’t quite as nice. The tradeoff is the little bit more depth-of-field you get from the 35mm lens makes focusing easier when the lens is wide open.

    We don’t have very many sample photos in the gallery from the 35mm DX lens. I went out and took some more last night just to add to the pool. If you have some, please upload to the gallery so we have a better selection of samples. I hadn’t included a link to all the 35mm DX photos in the gallery because there weren’t enough. If we can add a few more I’ll add that link.

  • Paul B says:

    Indeed have just picked up a D5000 with kit and am debating whether the 35mm f/1.8 is necessary/essential but given my taste for natural light and resistance to using a flash I think this is probably a must-have. Thanks for the review. And, agree the cat photo was exactly what I was looking in demonstrating the advantages of the lens! (and is a nice photo)

  • Tim G says:

    I’ve had one of these for a few months now and use it on my D300. Overall I find it excellent, and the only weak points for me are the lack of a focus scale and the slightly rough feel when focusing manually, neither of which are a major problem. The results are far, far better than my 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and noticably better than my 50mm f/1.8 or 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR. I will be ebaying the 50mm as I just don’t use it any more.

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