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35/2 AF-D versus 35/1.4 AIS

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by cotdt, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    I already have a 35/2 AF-D, and I'm thinking of eventually upgrading it to a 35/1.4 AIS, which is one of the few lenses that I've never used. Is the 35/1.4 better than the 35/2 at f/2? I care about sharpness, contrast, and bokeh smoothness.

    I don't care about autofocus, since this lens will be for my manual focus cameras. I already have a Sigma 30/1.4 for my D50. Unfortunately, that lens gives me black corners on FX.
  2. PPPOEx


    Jan 13, 2008
    Hi Phil,

    I don't have the AF 35mm F2 but 35mm F1.4, here are some pics.(shoot by jpg fine mode)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  3. I think you would have to test each lens at the desired aperture and make your comparison that way. I have the 35 F2 AFD and I had the 35mm F1.4 AIS.
    The real joy of a large aperture lens is the ability to see thru the viwfinder and the lens focuses easily with such limited depth of field.
  4. Yikes ...

    Difficult descision - the 35/1.4 is more expensive yet I like its bokeh better yet - I had the 35/2 twice and really loved its low light performance more than the 50/1.4 - yet I preferred the images generated by the 50mm lenses back then - now I find the 35/1.4 on the D3 truly amazing.
  5. liftoff


    Dec 21, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Timely thread! I've been wanting a 35 and haven't been able to make a choice. I've never used either the f/2 or f/1.4. Does anyone have an idea which one might provide a good companion with my D80 (I might upgrade to a D300 in a few months)?
  6. Difficult decision the 35/1.4 is a Manual Focus lens and the 35/2 an auto-focus lens - really depends on what you photograph as well as your style of photography.

    This is the 35/1.4 - just showing its DOF wide open...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And another one wide open

    View attachment 220952

    But it is super sharp closed down... And a pleasure to use once you get used to it.

    More pictures from the 35/1.4 can be found here: 34/1.4 Does Paris The 35/1.4 is built like a tank and is more expensive as well than the 35/2...

    View attachment 220953
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. liftoff


    Dec 21, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thank you for the info! I've been following your "Does Paris" threads and admiring your shots. Very nicely done! I'm not quite sure how I would fare with a MF only lens and that is the only thing holding me back from the 35/1.4
    The funny thing is I put my 60/2.8 micro on my D80 to take a indoor available afternoon light shot and was a couple of minutes into it before I remembered it is an AF lens. I have always used MF on this lens for micro during the short time I've owned it (Dec '07). I can focus manually well enough if I have time so with some practice maybe not so bad.

    I really like the color, the "look" and bokeh of the 35/1.4 and the build quality is a bonus! I think I'm sold...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. TheCommons


    Jul 2, 2008
    LA, CA ;)
    The Dude: the 2nd pic with the 1.4 wide open is amazing. Almost looks as if you were zooming
  9. Holy Crap! This Shot blew me away haha :eek:  Now I want a 35 1.4

  10. Thanks for posting the shots. I had been eyeing the 1.4 but now need to think as it will be a balance between getting the speed and seeing whether the 2.0 has better bokeh than the examples. Seems to have very poor bokeh which probably means sharpness.

    No the other hand, the bokeh looks great in your samples. Maybe to do with specular highlights or sample issues.
  11. Bokeh is a strange animal - only a couple of lenses really cream the background most of the time. The 50/1.4 is up there the 85/1.4 is certainly one and so is the 200/2 aside from these three lenses I am sure there are some which do a decent job most of the time but the three above are truly consistent.

    I really like the 35/1.4 for its sharpness closed down to f/5.6 in bright sunlight.

    A couple of examples again with the 35/1.4 just to show the creamed bokeh - the closer you are to your subject the creamier the bokeh will be - my experience has been the more separation you have from your subject the clearer your background will be and the closer you are to your subject the "meltier" your bokeh will look - specially in Macro photography.

    Case in point... Focus on the cup

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    Focus on the pedestrian guard post

    View attachment 220956

    The bokeh from the 35/1.4 is to say the least weird and dreamy yet pleasing IMHO - it has a unique signature which can't be duplicated in post process (not yet at least) and with not other lens... Plus is is really sharp closed down a little - a terrific image maker - gimme a couple of months and once my new found love with this lens has subsided a little, when the novelty has worn off if you will - I may be a little less subjective about its qualities and a tad more objective. This said - Frits was right - it is a great lens.

    One of my first wide open shot with it, sitting down at a cafe a quick grab shot slightly out of focus but still usable IMHO.

    View attachment 220957

    100% crop

    View attachment 220958

    Another DOF example from the lens...

    View attachment 220959

    Not sure I would shoot the 35/1.4 wide open all the time but it has a distinct look when shot at 1.4. I definitively need to use it a lot more and probably get a 35/2 AF once more in order to compare the two again.

    Both the 35/2 and 35/1.4 are very good lenses - the one you buy comes down to what you want out of it - out of the images you want to produce, I feel the 35/1.4 matches my style of shooting more than the 35/2 did for many reasons one is that I did not like it on a DX sensor and did not like its image rendition - I like shooting wide open and had better results for what I wanted with the 50/1.8 and 50/1.4 then I ever achieved with the 35/2. The 35/2 never matched my style of shooting - a personal preference but Edward Neal always had terrific results with his 35/2.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2008
  12. Wow. Thanks for taking the time Dude.

    I can see that bokeh is not a strong point with very harsh and intrusive specular highlights.

    I read though (and can see) that it is very sharp.

  13. You are most welcomed

    You are most welcomed, I went back to the Louvre yesterday and took a few pictures with the 35/1.4 - at 1.4 it is too soft for museum shots but at f2 it is plenty sharp - I guess that when you nail the focus point with at 1.4 it is great otherwise f3 is plenty sharp with the 1.4 perhaps this is why Nikon made the latest 35mm a f/2 lens as opposed to a 1.4 lens... Who really knows outside of Nikon - I am sure the resulting selling price was a factor at the decision time...

    I took this one with the 50/1.4 as well but here it is with the 35/1.4 at f2

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    and the same one at f/1.4 with the 35/1.4

    View attachment 220961

    A different image at f/5.6 this time

    View attachment 220962

    and now back at f2 through a plate glass

    View attachment 220963

    And f2 again but I did not nail the focus on it - wanted it on the face... This would have been better at f5.6

    View attachment 220964

    This said I love the 35/1.4 on the D3 and haven't tried the 35/2 on the D3 and I might be equally pleased with the 35/2 on it as I am with the 35/1.4 ...

    The main reason to purchase the 35/1.4 is to shoot it wide open otherwise why buy it - the thing is - a little like the 50/1.2 AI-S, last time I looked and that was a couple of months back, the 35/1.4 AI-S was still in the Nikon line up. Nikon still manufactures this lens... In Canada you can get the 35/1.4 new for about $1000 to $1100 and the 35/2 D for less than $400 ... There is a reason why people get the 35/1.4 at a substantial mark up over the 35/2, keep in mind the 35/2 has auto focus and the 35/1.4 is manual focus...

    A little like the 50/1.2 - the 35/1.4 can be really sharp wide open when you nail the focus - is you miss it by a fraction of a hair's width your resulting image will look soft but when nailed - wide open the resulting image will be stunning...

    The main thing is - are you willing to risk having less keepers or softer images vs. the alternative and that should weight in your decision process. To me is was a case of... I got mine almost the price of a 35/2 - I couldn't pass it up and only now, in the past few weeks - did I fall in "like" with it.
  14. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    Thanks for the pics. The 35/1.4 seems sharp wide open and I like the dreamy rendition, but the bokeh is busy. The bokeh on the 35/2 is even busier. In this regard the Sigma 30/1.4 is much superior to the 35's. Hmm... I think I will check out the 28/2 and see if I like its rendition more.
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