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AF-S 35mm /f1.4G Photos and Thoughts

Dan Brown , Jun 26, 2011; 08:48 p.m.

I recently acquired this lens had have a few thoughts and pictures to share.

The lens is surprisingly large. However, it is also remarkably fine and exudes quality in every way. When handled, it is rock solid and has no loose bits or any internal rattling. I expected it to require 77m filters, but it takes 67mm. The focusing ring turns as smooth as silk and exhibits no backlash or hysteresis. Not greasy feeling, more like baby powder smoothness. It is very easy to manually focus. Autofocus is dead silent on my D700. The hood is made from thinker material and mounts more solidly than any other Nikon hood I have used. When mounted on my D700, the whole package blends together beautifully and handles with great comfort and ease (I have big hands). It appears "professional" in every way.

Here are some picture. First, the 35/1.4 next to a 50/1.4, 85,1.8, and 135/2.0 both without hoods and with the proper Nikon hoods in place:

Below, a shot taken at f1.4, 1/6400, ISO200:

Now, same perspective, but hyperfocal f16, 1/60, ISO 200

Now, a few shots inside Billy Bob's Texas, just to show what it can do in low light:
f1.4, 1/60, ISO2000:

f1.4, 1/500, ISO2000:

This hall was not visible with the naked eye:
f1/4, 1/13, ISO2000:

f2.5, 1/60, ISO2000

f2.5, 1/800, ISO 2000:


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Jerry Litynski , Jun 27, 2011; 12:59 a.m.

The 'old' 35mm f1.4 Ais Nikkor lens takes a 52mm filter. Progress = 67mm, I guess.

Glad to read that you are more than pleased with Nikon's latest version....

Shun Cheung , Jun 27, 2011; 01:23 a.m.

Jerry, there are a lot of differences between the two versions of 35mm, f1.4 lenses, and the only issue you comment about is the filter size?

I have the 35mm/f1.4 AI-S, and it shows a moderate amount of chromatic aberration on DSLRs, similar to the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S. Hopefully that is mostly cleaned up on the AF-S version.

Keith B , Jun 27, 2011; 04:15 a.m.

From your shots and comments, it is certainly a lens to consider.
However, this is the first time I've seen the feel of an old-fashioned manual-focus helicoid described with the faintly pejorative term "greasy feeling", and the damped-rubbery dead feeling of a AFS lens focus action expressed as "baby powder smooth". I'll have to see for myself when I get a chance to examine one.

Jose Angel , Jun 27, 2011; 05:19 a.m.

Maybe I`d refer to the classic greased lenses as "fluid dampened" ones and the current AFS lenses as a "tonning-down, dry-gear dampening" type. Baby powder, like graphite powder, are "dry" lubricants... :)
Thanks for the info, Dan. The size of the lens is certainly remarkable (like it was the AiS in its age).

Richard Snow , Jun 27, 2011; 09:09 a.m.

I have this lens and it's beautiful... I posted previously on it but have not had the time to post more photos I've taken with it. Possibly later this week.


Peter Hamm , Jun 27, 2011; 09:15 a.m.

I had no idea it was so huge, such a monster!

and btw, now I want some Texas BBQ!

Dan Brown , Jun 27, 2011; 10:26 a.m.

Richard, please do post some of your shots, I'd enjoy looking them over.

m allegretta , Jun 27, 2011; 04:00 p.m.

Thanks for the pictures and discussion. I am considering buying this lens. I never owned a straight 35mm. When I use wide angle zoom lenses (25-50, 20-35), I often gravitate toward the f=35mm region. The focal length is not too wide and does not distort near the edges. The question is, will I really need 1.4? Your last 5 pictures show examples when the wide aperture comes handy. Discreet photography without flash in subdued light is where this lens works best. Why choose this lens over the old 35mm? It's better corrected, with a modern lens formula. The size is obviously intimidating but necessary. There must be room for a motor and electronics inside. The plastic keeps the weight low. I think this is the reasonable choice for environmental photos in most situations.

Dan Brown , Jun 27, 2011; 05:18 p.m.

@Keith B.
I didn't mean to be critical of the AIS Nikkor, they are fine. However, I have used a fair number of AF-S Nikkors in manual focus mode, including the 16-85 DX, 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, and 300/4. This new AF-S 'G' Nikkor is noticeably better feeling and precise. Nikon has done something new internally, I suspect. There is no hesitation, it feels like the focus ring is bolted to the lens group. The ends of the rotation travel stop crisply at hard mechanical stops. The resistance is smooth and even all the way from close to infinity. Very easy to make subtle fine adjustments when going for the 'just right' spot. It's not "fluid" but it is talcum power silky. I really think Nikon has taken some extra engineering efforts to improve this aspect of this lens. Hopefully the 24/1.4 and 85/1.4 as well.

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