Review Comparison: Nikon 35mm f/1.8 ED G vs 35mm f/2 AF-D

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I just received my Nikon 35mm 1.8 ED G lens which is on rebate right now for about $499. I bought it to replace my Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D lens mainly for the improved focus speed, lighter weight and cheaper cost compared to the Sigma 35 Art. So far my initial impressions is that the G lens focuses very fast, it's sharper at the edges and weighs not much more than the D lens. In terms of sharpness, I actually think the D version is a bit sharper in the center wide open, but the difference is barely noticeable only if scrutinizing the image for awhile! I think where the G version shines is the focus speed and corner sharpness. Using the outer focus area of my D800, the G has a better overall image wide open. The D version tends to be soft on the edges and needs to be stopped down quite a bit to even out sharpness across the frame.

Though if you're a center focus type shooter the D is just as good. In fact comparing the two they're really not too far off. If one doesn't care for corner sharpness or faster focus speed/tracking, I'd definitely save my money and get the D instead.

I can post some pictures if anyone is interested. I'll probably be keeping the G and selling the D. Though I wanted to post my initial thoughts between the two before putting it up for sale for those looking at a 35mm FL lens. ;)
 
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I think my AF non-D is faster than any modern AF-S prime
it is a metal, made in japan version
and just looks more discreet for its main job..street work
don't care much about corners
 
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I think my AF non-D is faster than any modern AF-S prime
it is a metal, made in japan version
and just looks more discreet for its main job..street work
don't care much about corners
Street work has pretty much gone to my M43 gear. I'm also using the D3S & D800 for digital and corner softness is really noticeable with the D800 since I tend to be an off-center shooter. Plus I'm using an N80 for film and focus speeds with AF-D lenses are pretty slow. With AF-S lenses it's pretty much on par with my digital bodies even with the older multi CAM-900 AF module.
 
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Thanks so much for posting this. I'm trying to make up my mind quickly between these two lenses, before the rebate goes away, and I'm torn. I'd really love to see some comparison shots, low light if possible. I'd also really like seeing a couple of shots of the two lenses side by side, since (smaller) size does matter a bit to me. Honestly, if they're as close as you say they are, I'd just as soon go for the lower profile (and less expensive) f/2 D.
 
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Thanks so much for posting this. I'm trying to make up my mind quickly between these two lenses, before the rebate goes away, and I'm torn. I'd really love to see some comparison shots, low light if possible. I'd also really like seeing a couple of shots of the two lenses side by side, since (smaller) size does matter a bit to me. Honestly, if they're as close as you say they are, I'd just as soon go for the lower profile (and less expensive) f/2 D.
Like I said, as long as focus speed/tracking and edge sharpness isn't a concern, I'd go with with a newer model D version. If you want good tracking for chasing little kids or something, I find the G incredibly fast.

In terms of build, they're both plasticky. The D is more compact, but the inner barrel moves up and down. The G is taller, but has a thicker MF focus ring and the barrel is a fixed length. In terms of weight, the D is incredibly light. In fact mounting both on a camera and you won't notice much difference.

Since I just got it this afternoon, I probably won't be able to shoot any samples until the weekend!
 
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Here's a quick bokeh comparison between the two of my daughter! The G version's OOF areas are noticeably smoother, with more rounded spherical highlights, while the D has the more hexagonal OOF areas. The D shot is a slightly older photo, but you get the idea in terms of rendering. I'll shoot some more over the weekend! The D has a little bit of bite to it, while the G has a smoother overall rendering. These lenses definitely feel different.

G shot:
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D shot:
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Here's another D shot to illustrate the OOF areas. If anything, sharpness between the two is not an issue:
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my older 35/2 is metal and not D
neither of these lenses are boke kings

this was taken in the blink of an eye
I don't think the OOF is any worse than the newer model

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Are you talking about the AI-S model or the AF non-D? Anyways, not saying one is better than the other, but each lens definitely has advantages which are more dependent on the photographer's needs. If anything, the quality of the D lens is more of a testament of how good it is! Since I have both with me at the moment I figure it wouldn't hurt to showcase the similarities and differences. ;)

my older 35/2 is metal and not D
neither of these lenses are boke kings

this was taken in the blink of an eye
I don't think the OOF is any worse than the newer model

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Nice shots, Jonathan, and a beautiful daughter.

I've been thinking of a 35 for going out at night with friends and family, where in tight restaurants the 50 sometimes isn't wide enough. It seems like the f/2 D would be more than adequate for snaps like that, but I'd also like the option to try some evening streetscape shots while out and about, and that's where I wonder about the corner sharpness. That seems to be the most consistent complaint from people in the reading I've done online. I'd probably be looking to use the lens a lot at 2.0 to 2.8.
 
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Nice shots, Jonathan, and a beautiful daughter.

I've been thinking of a 35 for going out at night with friends and family, where in tight restaurants the 50 sometimes isn't wide enough. It seems like the f/2 D would be more than adequate for snaps like that, but I'd also like the option to try some evening streetscape shots while out and about, and that's where I wonder about the corner sharpness. That seems to be the most consistent complaint from people in the reading I've done online. I'd probably be looking to use the lens a lot at 2.0 to 2.8.
I'm going to try and shoot the lens tonight, they're lighting up 26 miles of road with giant spotlights for the LA Marathon this Sunday. That is if I can get out of the house without the kids! :D
 
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Here's a quick bokeh comparison between the two of my daughter! The G version's OOF areas are noticeably smoother, with more rounded spherical highlights, while the D has the more hexagonal OOF areas. The D shot is a slightly older photo, but you get the idea in terms of rendering. I'll shoot some more over the weekend! The D has a little bit of bite to it, while the G has a smoother overall rendering. These lenses definitely feel different.

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


D shot:
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Here's another D shot to illustrate the OOF areas. If anything, sharpness between the two is not an issue:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
i like your old school processing in your D image!

I think my AF non-D is faster than any modern AF-S prime
it is a metal, made in japan version
and just looks more discreet for its main job..street work
don't care much about corners
when I was looking for a nice 35mm prime I was looking for that exact one..the non-D version. They didnt make many but I wanted a 35mm in a whim and settled on MF 35mm nikkor-o f2 pre-AI.
 
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I had a 35D. made in Thailand or where ever and it was ok
sold it when I went zooms for while

I searched for a while for a 35 AF nikkor...no D, made in Japan
got one finally and will never let it go
have the HN3 metal screw in hood instead of these huge plastic bayonet deals
just looks old school cool

I don't shoot architecture or landscapes really
I don't really care about corners

YMMV

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The late model 35mm f/2 D I have with the new style gold box is stamped made in Japan. I don't think they ever off shored this camera for production, either that or they recently brought it back to Japan to be made.

I had a 35D. made in Thailand or where ever and it was ok
sold it when I went zooms for while

I searched for a while for a 35 AF nikkor...no D, made in Japan
got one finally and will never let it go
have the HN3 metal screw in hood instead of these huge plastic bayonet deals
just looks old school cool

I don't shoot architecture or landscapes really
I don't really care about corners

YMMV

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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The late model 35mm f/2 D I have with the new style gold box is stamped made in Japan. I don't think they ever off shored this camera for production, either that or they recently brought it back to Japan to be made.

think you are right Jonathan
mine just feels more solid , better made I guess
 
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Are the optics the same betwween the D and non-D versions? Your shots look really good, Frank.

I guess one advantage of the D version is that I can still buy one new today.
 
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I believe the optics are the same
6/5 grouping

maybe just be a perceived difference by me
or I have an excellent older copy...

either way, for me
the size/weight/quick focus/close focus is perfect for what I use it for
street work 99% of the time

I tried the Sigma Art
way too heavy and large

the 35/1.8G doesn't interest me at all
 
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I agree, the Sigma is way too big and heavy, although I did have the 30mm 1.4 DX version and loved the rendering and how bright it was. The Nikon 1.8G does I interest me, but I wish it were a little less expensive and slightly smaller (I thought one advantage of primes was their small size?).
 
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Are the optics the same betwween the D and non-D versions? Your shots look really good, Frank.

I guess one advantage of the D version is that I can still buy one new today.
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/AFNikkor/AF35mm/

After the introduction of the Nikon F90(x) (N90(s)); and along with a broad scale general lens updating program conducted by Nikon, the AF Nikkor 35mm f/2.0s wideangle lens also had gone through a round of lens update and this probably could have been occurred around March, 1995 where a distance sensor has been incorporated within, enabling compatible Nikon SLRs that offer 3D Matrix Metering system for an improved level of metering and exposure accuracy. The AF-D Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D is marginally larger than the non-D predecessor but it weighs slightly lighter at 205g (non-D lens weighs at 215g). Other than these, it is an exact replication of the non-D predecessor.
 

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