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Brian Tobey
Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8 G AF-S
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S

NIKON 35MM 1.8G VS 50MM 1.8G

ACUITY:
 
9.0
BOKEH:
 
7.4
BUILD:
 
8.4
VALUE:
 
9.5
OVERALL:
 
9.0
ACUITY:
 
9.2
BOKEH:
 
9.0
BUILD:
 
8.6
VALUE:
 
9.6
OVERALL:
 
9.3

Last Updated: Aril 16, 2012 | By Brian Tobey Email Google+

SUMMARY


INTRODUCTION:

This article presents a simple comparison between two popular prime lenses from Nikon. Although one is an FX lens and can be used on either DX or FX bodies, this comparison is limited strictly to DX bodies, as the 35mm f/1.8G is a DX lens and is constrained to DX sized sensors. The 35mm f/1.8G (DX) and 50mm f/1.8G are similarly priced and provide excellent optical performance well beyond the standard kit lenses, 18-55mm and 55-200mm. All testing was completed using a Nikon D90 which provides sufficient resolution power, up to 90 lp/mm.

The 35mm was first introduced in March 2009, while the 50mm came later in mid 2011. The 50mm has an advantage on DX cameras because the lens is designed to render beyond the boundaries of the DX sensor to meet FX needs. So when comparing corners the 50mm should be compared on an FX body to keep it fair, but I already said upfront that this was limited to DX sensors / camera bodies.

Both are built well for at an affordable price. Both have a rubber ass gasket seal with metal mounts. Both feature manual focus override or M/A M. Both have similar autofocus speed and accuracy. The 50mm offers a tighter field of view, which depending on your needs or situation, can be limiting. The 35mm provides a wider field of view, which is considered normal or similar to the human eye for DX cameras. However, the 50mm offers a better perspective for portrait use, which is pleasing for photographs of people.



PERFORMANCE


SHARPNESS:

After a simple review of the images below, you can observe that the 50mm f/1.8G is sharper than the 35mm f/1.8G, this is true even at f/4. This is true for both corner performance and center performance.


CENTER SHARPNESS COMPARISON:

35mm f/1.8G vs 50mm f/1.8G center



CORNER SHARPNESS COMPARISON:

35mm f/1.8G vs 50mm f/1.8G corner



DISTORTION:

Both have similar barrel distortion that is easily corrected for in post processing.


CHROMATIC ABERRATION:

Lateral chromatic aberration can be corrected in post processing. In fact Nikon corrects for this inside most cameras automatically. However, longitudinal chromatic aberration is not easily corrected for. Longitudinal chromatic aberration occurs often with prime lenses when wide open. The 35mm has much worse longitudinal chromatic abberations below f/2.8, but equals out around f/4.


VIGNETTE / LIGHT FALL OFF:

Light fall off should not be compared as the 50mm is designed for FX and has an advantage.


FLARE:

Flare is well contained in both lenses.


BOKEH:

The bokeh is a much better on the 50mm than the 35mm. It has a more even distribution, with less rings around out of focus edges.

35mm f/1.8G vs 50mm f/1.8G bokeh



SIZE COMPARISON:

The 35mm is one of the smallest lenses that feature AF-S. It fits comfortably on most DX bodies with a good weight balance. When comparing it to the 50mm f/1.8 (right), it is roughly the same size but with a slightly smaller diameter. It is also smaller than the 18-55mm kit lens.

Nikon 35mm 1.8 Size Comparison

FILTERS:

The 35mm takes standard 52mm filters, where as the 50mm takes an odd 58mm filter thread. 52mm is a much more common thread, as most older lenses were built around this design.

SERIAL NUMBERS:

Both are made in China and serial numbers can be found on the backside or bottom of the lenses.




PRICING - PURCHASE SUGGESTIONS


Current eBay Auctions
Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 DX AF-S G Lens

CURRENT PRICE: $112
BID COUNT: 33
END DATE: Friday the 24th
END TIME: 21:30 ZULU

Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 DX AF-S G Lens

CURRENT PRICE: $111
BID COUNT: 26
END DATE: Thursday the 23rd
END TIME: 20:11 ZULU

Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 DX AF-S G Lens

CURRENT PRICE: $118
BID COUNT: 19
END DATE: Thursday the 23rd
END TIME: 23:00 ZULU

PURCHASING SUGGESTIONS:

I would just buy these lenses brand new. When you buy them used, you do not get much of a discount, $20 or so. I would buy it from Amazon or Adorama, as they typically provide free shipping and some of the best discounts. They are authorized Nikon dealers that offer full USA warranties.

In case you are considering purchasing used, I have provided the latest ebay auctions for the 35mm f/1.8G on the right.



CONCLUSION


RECOMMENDATIONS:

Aright, clearly the 50mm f/1.8G wins out here, unless you need the wider perspective of the 35mm. Remember that we arenít quite comparing apples to apples here. The 35mm offers a better general purpose photography field of view that is much more forgiving. However, the 50mm when used on DX bodies offers a much more pleasing portrait lens that accentuates pictures of people, blurring backgrounds to a peaceful abyss. If it was me deciding, I would go with the 50mm. However, the 35mm is still an excellent lens. If you already own the 35mm, I would stick to it, as it far exceeds any kit lens that may have came with your camera.

You can read the full review of the 50mm f/1.8G or the 35mm f/1.8G here at btobey.com.




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