Life with the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX

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Jun 4, 2007
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Rockville, MD
[size=+1]This lens is phenomenal.[/size]

Not just because of optical performance or because or price. All that's great too, but what makes it phenomenal to me is how I'm able to use it in ways I've been unable to with other lenses, and thus get shots I haven't been able to get before.

I've been shooting with it on my D40. For the first time I've finally got a camera body and lens combo small enough and light enough and capable enough to want to carry the thing around the house with me all day long. It's so small and light that it never gets in the way. I can do dishes with it strapped across my shoulder if I want. I shoot my kids with this thing, and you never know when they're going to randomly do something cute that you want to photograph. Now I've finally got the perfect setup.

Compared to the 17-55DX f/2.8: This lens will certainly get the job done and the blazing fast AF speed is superior to the little 35/1.8g here, but it's just too big and cumbersome to want to carry around the house all the time. Plus chasing my toddler around and maneuvering in tight quarters I'm too worried about smacking someone or something accidentally and injuring them. I'm not so worried about the lens, LOL. If I want to do any natural light shooting, f/2.8 is just too slow too which necessitates a flash at all times.

Compared to 18-55 kit lenses: This lens is small and light enough to want to carry around the house all day, but just plain lacks the speed. Flash range is very limited and forget about any natural light shooting.

Compared to 35mm f/2D: Doesn't AF on the D40 bodies for one, and isn't as sharp wide open either. I shot with one of these on my D80 a ton, but was never fully pleased with the results wide open, and any body with the screwdriver motor in it to turn the AF on one of these lenses is way bigger than the D40 bodies are. My D50 which I believe is the smallest body with the screwdriver motor is closer in size to my old D80 than it is the D40. In fact it may even be a pretty much identical chassis just with some features stripped out vs the 80.

Compared to 50mm f/1.4G AF-S: The compactness and lightweight is there, and unlike the 35/1.8g the AF is so fast and accurate that it'll stay locked onto anything I throw at it. Except the focal length is a bit too long on DX which makes it less useful. This lens has now found its originally intended home on my F100.

This 35/1.8g DX is ideally suited for this sort of stuff. It's as sharp as I'd ever need or want it to be wide-open at, and draws blood a stop down, just like the 17-55. Color, contrast, and all of the subjective qualities from Nikon's pro lenses are in this little guy. One of my first reactions was "wow it looks just like the 17-55!". :smile: My only complaint is that the AF isn't quite quick enough to stay locked onto a erratically moving toddler at f/1.8, so I've been getting better results at 2.8. The 50/1.4g AF-S will stay locked onto anything I throw at it, but as stated the FL is 'wrong' on DX.

Bonus: The whole setup (D40 + 35/1.8g + SB-400) is compact enough that I can use it holding it in reverse with my right hand for a self-portrait. It's also small and light enough that I can hold it forward with my left-hand when needed. It will fit in any tiny flat spot you just happen to find in your cluttered house. It will also fit right on top of the tiny spot on my nightstand, no problem. It can go literally anywhere with you. In fact I think I'm going to go out and buy a whole new camera bag just for this tiny little setup because I know I'm going to be shooting with this thing a ton. hence the thread title, "life with the 35/1.8g". . :smile:

Anyhow, onto some pics. :tongue:

1/50s, f/1.8, iso800
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1/320s, f/2, iso400, bounced sb-400
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1/500s, f/1.8, iso800, bounced sb-400, running away trying to shut a bathroom door on me, lol
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same as above, about to shut the door
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same as above, being silly rolling around on the floor
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1/60s, f/1.8, iso800, 2 stops of bounced sb-400, shot reversed handed no problem. feeding my baby boy
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dinner, f/5.6
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1/250s, f/2.8, iso200, bounced sb-400 (some cooked sushi for her :wink: )
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1/125s, f/2.8, iso400, bounced sb-400, our daughter holding our son (3 wks old)
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1/250s, f/1.8, iso800, bounced sb-400. Thought this was cute of her brushing her teeth until I realized that wasn't her toothbrush, doh! :-p
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1/60s, f/1.8, iso800, natural light, dee-dee (little brother) before bedtime
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[size=+2]THANK YOU NIKON![/size] :smile:

more pics shortly :cool:
 
Joined
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breakfast...

What the hey... Never had a camera strapped around my neck or sitting on a corner of the counter while cooking breakfast on Saturday morning because everything else has just plain been to big.

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It doesn't focus as closely as the 35mm f/2D does, but it'll do. :wink:


Self portrait burping my baby boy. Shot with my right hand holding the camera backwards. :tongue:

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my daughter playing with her sunglasses. 1/320s, f/1.8, iso400 for these, bounced sb-400

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1/200s, f/2.8, iso400, chasing daddy up the stairs
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same as above, bubble tea lol
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the tom boy tries on a dress for her mom, lol
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I just can't see it. I'm thinking more along the lines of overalls, muds, and frogs in the pocket for this thing! :tongue:
 
Joined
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nap time, 1/8s, f/1.8, iso1600 and the noise will easily clean up later. No problem to hand hold this thing down to very slow shutter speeds

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pillow fight, or maybe "pillow chase" is more accurate! :smile: 1/320s, f/2.8, iso400, bounced sb-400

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all tired out!
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There's finally some buds on the trees outside and some flowers here and there starting to bloom, so I'm going to try to get outside this week if the miserable weather ever clears up and get some nice spring time photos with this little guy. In the meantime, I've been having way too much fun chasing my daughter around the house getting a ton of photos that I've never been able to get before. A lot of these aren't very artistic no, but these are the photos we're going to be looking back on many many years from now when our kids are grown and falling over from laughter and being so happy we were able to capture this to re-live these silly times and games. :smile: This little $200 lens is a god send.
 
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Nutley, New Jersey
very nice shots..but im not sure why you couldnt get these shots with any other lenses as you mentioned? lol

also you said f/2.8 is too slow for natural light shooting? :eek: are you mad? :smile:

I can get those same shots with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or your Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 lol :smile: (your also using a flash in alot of your shots as well arent you? thats not natural in the slightest)


Im very happy for you that you are enjoying the lens and wish you the best! I know what it feels like to fall in love with a lens (a la my 85mm f/1.4) so go for it!!
 
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New York
Steve, beautiful shots and kids there. I agreed w/ everything you said about 35/1.8G and the comparison you've made. This lens is exactly what I've been waiting for.
 
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Jul 20, 2007
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Steve: the new 35/1.8 seems to capture your life very nicely, it looks to be a wonderful lens. Nikon should have made this one a long time ago when they first started making DX cameras!
 
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Ordered mine on 2/10 from Amazon. Shipped today, expected delivery on Wednesday. Perfect timing: 3 grandchildren arriving Friday to stay the weekend.

With this lens and my 12-24 and 16-85, I may be tempted to sell the 17-55. Steve, are you going to hang onto yours?
 
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Very nice pic's. Mine will be here tomorrow. So this lens sounds like it has a nice balance on a D40/60. One thing I never liked about the Sigma 30mm on my D60 was the balance sucked and was to front heavy and big. Can't wait.
 
N

Nuteshack

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awesome Steve ....the magic of going light. you're going to be dangerous with that new 50 1.4 on the d700...;-)
 
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Feb 8, 2008
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Thanks for posting this! Glad to see people are liking this lens. I am dying to find one for sale at a reasonable price. The wait continues. LOL
 
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nice set steve. the af has me quite concerned about buying one cos the 35 is reasonably fast. i also find mine pretty sharp wide open so i dont think i can justify the extra cost for 1.8 and a likely loss in AF speed. if i had a d40 it'd be a no brainer though.
 
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Wow Steve
you really fell in love with it!
So happy for you!!!!
Thanks Dino, oh yes definitely loving this setup. We had a bit of a rocky start with the AF speed and snappiness not quite being what I'm used to from pro level lenses, but just a quick adjustment in technique and getting used to a new lens and away we went. Weather was bad all weekend. Can't wait to get outside to give this thing a whirl too. :smile:

very nice shots..but im not sure why you couldnt get these shots with any other lenses as you mentioned? lol

also you said f/2.8 is too slow for natural light shooting? :eek: are you mad? :smile:

I can get those same shots with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or your Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 lol :smile: (your also using a flash in alot of your shots as well arent you? thats not natural in the slightest)


Im very happy for you that you are enjoying the lens and wish you the best! I know what it feels like to fall in love with a lens (a la my 85mm f/1.4) so go for it!!
Don, you're right. There's absolutely no technical reason why my 17-55 couldn't have gotten any of these shots. Except that that lens is too big and cumbersome to want to carry around the house all day, and gets in the way when I'm trying to do actual around the house work whereas the 35/1.8g doesn't. That means I always have to set the D40/17-55 setup down somewhere, whereas I can wear the D40/35g all day long, and thus get shots I'd have normally missed. All of these photos are just everyday examples of a lot of the silly stuff that goes on in my house that I've always wanted to get photos of but never have. When I can literally wear this setup around the house all day if I want and not worry about smacking something with it or having it get in the way, never again will I say "oh man that's cute, darn it where's my camera??" :smile:

Yeah a lot were with flash, but if I want to shoot natural light f/2.8 does get slow. f/1.8 is better, and 1.4 is even better than that. Then the biggest challenge is keeping what you want in focus, especially if your subject is moving.
 
Joined
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Steve, beautiful shots and kids there. I agreed w/ everything you said about 35/1.8G and the comparison you've made. This lens is exactly what I've been waiting for.
Steve, beautiful family and wonderful shots...glad you're enjoying your new lens!!
Wonderful shots, Steve. I can't wait to get my hands on that lens!
wow steve! wonderful! ill get mine tomorrow. i cant wait! thanks for sharing!
Thanks guys! :smile:

Steve: the new 35/1.8 seems to capture your life very nicely, it looks to be a wonderful lens. Nikon should have made this one a long time ago when they first started making DX cameras!
Robert, yeah it would have been nice if this came out two years ago when the D40 came out. :tongue: I guess maybe Nikon was priming the market with a lot of 40/40x/60 owners, and then gave them some time to figure out what primes were and why they might want them such that now they'll be able to sell a ton of them really quickly. I can't think of a better lens at a better price point for Nikon to come out with especially in a really bad economy. Should be a nice little "pot boiler" lens for Nikon this year. :smile:


Good work Steve.
I'm very happy w/the 35DX on my D40; the balance and feel is just about perfect.
Very nice pic's. Mine will be here tomorrow. So this lens sounds like it has a nice balance on a D40/60. One thing I never liked about the Sigma 30mm on my D60 was the balance sucked and was to front heavy and big. Can't wait.
Yup, it's perfect! I've never shot with the Sigma but I don't even know I'm holding or carrying a camera with this body and lens, and can hold the camera however I want, reverse handed, backwards, etc. :biggrin: And when I'm wearing the thing over my shoulder with it resting against my body it stays horizontal and ready to go vs the 17-55 which of course would droop down and flop around a lot.
 
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nice set steve. the af has me quite concerned about buying one cos the 35 is reasonably fast. i also find mine pretty sharp wide open so i dont think i can justify the extra cost for 1.8 and a likely loss in AF speed. if i had a d40 it'd be a no brainer though.

nice set Steve, glad to hear you're enjoying the lens.

Like Rooz, I'm concerned about the AF speed, looks like I'll hang onto my Siggy 30 since I need it for basketball.
I haven't quite been able to put my finger on what's lacking with the lens AF wise. Unlike the 17-55 or 50/1.4g, the AF mechanism in this thing is so small and lightweight that it's very difficult to hear or feel much of anything, which makes it tough to figure out what's going on. I think the coarse focus adjust speed (near to far focus and back) is about the same as the 50/1.4g (which isn't all that fast), so that probably isn't it. The best I can figure is that the fine focus adjust and tracking ability is what's lacking. On the pro stuff you can hear the AF-S mechanism making rapid fine adjustments at a rate of maybe 10-20 Hz whereas this one is clearly slower and does maybe only 5-10 Hz (no idea if these rates are accurate, just 'earballing' it). So I think what happens is that the fine focus tracking adjust rate is slow enough that it can lose lock and then go off into la-la land, or you subject just drifts out of your DOF and it doesn't necessarily catch up in time for your shot. This would explain why my keeper rate has gone way up stopped down to 2.8 since you get a little more DOF to make up for an AF mechanism that might not quite be able to keep up with my wildly gyrating toddler, heh heh. :smile:

If AF speed is critical then this is probably not the lens for you. It's still good enough that I can work around it so I'm pleased (esp for the money), but that'd be my only complaint so far.
 
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