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

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So I forced myself to lug my D3S and 35mm 1.8 ED G this morning for some quick test snaps (I usually bring my mirrorless cameras for non-work shooting). My impressions so far is that the 35 1.8 ED G, is a good all-around performer with no glaring weaknesses, uniform sharpness, smooth'ish bokeh, retains the close focus of the previous D version and the AF is just darn quick. On the flip note, the lens is so all-around decent, it's a little boring! Sort of reminds me a Toyota Camry, smooth ride but not particularly exciting in any way. It's even boring to look at! lol

I'm still going to keep it though. I find this lens aimed as a lightweight alternative to the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art. I can see hauling this lens around for events and portrait work paired with my 85 1.8 G. I'd easily get the D if none of what I pointed out is a necessity to your photography. The 35 D pros being price, smaller size, made in Japan (if that matters to anyone) and having an aperture ring for backwards compatibility (also great for adapting to mirrorless cameras for that every reason). Saying that the G is just a nice and refined lens. It's smaller than the 28 G and a bit bigger than the 50 1.8 G. A good 'tweener lens in the Nikon prime line up!

A couple samples on the 35 1.8 ED G:
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A size comparison between the G and D, with the D barrel fully extended:

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The 35 1.8 ED G mounted on my film Nikon N80 (my smallest FX camera :p):
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Thanks for taking the time to post all of these, Jonathan. Great shots. So when you say "I usually bring my mirrorless cameras for non-work shooting," I take that to mean you're a professional photographer? That actually makes me lean a little more toward the D lens, since I'm no pro and would probably be adequately served by the older lens. Plus I've had this idea (which I'm starting to realize is unrealistic) that my D610 plus small and light primes can be just as unobtrusive and stealthy as mirrorless setups.
 
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Thanks for taking the time to post all of these, Jonathan. Great shots. So when you say "I usually bring my mirrorless cameras for non-work shooting," I take that to mean you're a professional photographer? That actually makes me lean a little more toward the D lens, since I'm no pro and would probably be adequately served by the older lens. Plus I've had this idea (which I'm starting to realize is unrealistic) that my D610 plus small and light primes can be just as unobtrusive and stealthy as mirrorless setups.
I'd buy the D as new or a used one that's a newer factory run. I've had older D models that weren't as sharp wide open, but the one I have is pretty darn good at f/2 and it's a newer model.

Also I've owned the Sigma 35 1.4 Art, and that lens was just too heavy for me. I purchased the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art instead, but that lens works better at it's FL and size for the way I shoot. I much prefer a lighter lens when it comes to the 35mm focal length.

Here are a couple samples with the 35 D and D3 I took awhile ago just for comparison sakes. The D800/10 will push the lens a bit harder, but I think on a D610 body, it should be okay:

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A couple shots adapted to a Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera body with focal reducer adapter:
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Wileec

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I don't have experience with these lenses, but the larger issue I did run into when trying older primes was much more CA when existing zooms and primes already in my toolbox showed none. This was for wider primes than the 35mm in this thread, but the CA issue is one I have heard of from a few sources, in general terms, with the older lenses. It may not be an issue with the 35mm, but like I said, it was definitely an issue with wider older primes that I considered.

My experience regarding center sharpness with softer corners mirrors what's been mentioned in the thread. For me, newer zooms and primes were as sharp, or sharper in the center, and definitely sharper overall.
 
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Nice shots Jonathan. I've had all three (35/1.8G, 35/2D, 35/1.4A) and honestly like them all, the 1.8G is probably the best considering all trade offs (size/weight, sharpness, etc). People complain a lot about the D but for what I use a 35mm prime for, I don't really care if it doesn't have sharp corners.
 
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Nice shots Jonathan. I've had all three (35/1.8G, 35/2D, 35/1.4A) and honestly like them all, the 1.8G is probably the best considering all trade offs (size/weight, sharpness, etc). People complain a lot about the D but for what I use a 35mm prime for, I don't really care if it doesn't have sharp corners.
I think I've spent more time convincing people the D version is still a viable option in this thread! :p For me I just want better focus tracking and corner performance without dealing with the weight of the Sigma 35 Art. The 35 1.8 G in my mind is the 'tweener lens between the D and the Art lens.
 
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Wileec

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It's my opinion that that is the nature of the current batch of Nikon f/1.8 lenses. They aren't quite the tool of the f/1.4 lenses, but in often have a bit better corner to corner capability and the $$, size and weight savings for 2/3 stop less separation makes them great tools.
 

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