PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

9Feb/0911

Finally, *sigh*

At last Nikon has launched a lens that should have been available in the D70’s lifetime.  This is what the kit lens should have been for the D200.  This lens (and hopefully its brethren to come) legitimize the APS-C / DX format. Without this kind of lens, DX can't be taken seriously.

Take a look at the new AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX:

It's great news.  There's dozens of people I need to go recommend this to!


Comments (11) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I think I will order this lens…I wonder how long it will take to get.

  2. I disagree: You will never see a prime as a ‘kit’ lens that’s not what kits are about. Most buyers of a kit want versatility. That would be a zoom. And the 18-70 was/is a pretty nice lens. Mine actually better at the wide end. It’s priced nice will. Hopefully it will perform well.

    • I accept your disagreement, but don’t change my mind. I don’t know of a more versatile lens than a fast fifty. People would learn to compose better if they picked up primes more often, photography would be enriched.

  3. And its just $199!!

  4. This lens is years too late. $200 is a great price point but I’m not buying a prime DX lens. There is no reason to. I cannot believe it’s DX.

    Topslakr

    • Nikon offered a good rationale for it being DX. They wanted to aim at people who could spend $200 but not what an FX version would cost for the same quality. I think that the price and image format makes it a great product, quality-for-price ratio is sky-high.

      In fact, the combination of a D60-level camera with the AF-S 35mm and AF-S 60mm would make a terrific kit, with image quality in a different time zone from what the overlapping zooms could give you.

      The 2nd piece of the rationale is that you can expect Nikon to ship another FX 35mm “some day” and that it will be a premium lens that goes up against the Canon L. It will have all the features you’d want it to have (Nano!) and it will cost 4-5x more than this one. That’s the lens they want you to buy, and they’ll make sure to position it so it’s the only one for you.

      As for me, I suspect that I will return to DX (from FX currently) sooner or later. Ever since I got the D700 I’ve been thinking that I should have gotten a D300 instead.

  5. “As for me, I suspect that I will return to DX (from FX currently) sooner or later. Ever since I got the D700 I’ve been thinking that I should have gotten a D300 instead.”

    How comes? 🙂

    This new dx lens tells us that nikon and probably canon too, will keep aiming fx at the upper class…

    Seeing all these fx cameras launched in this period I really thought that the 35 standard is making a come-back and cropped size market will be slowly accaparated by 4/3 systems only…

  6. The benefits of FX are real. It is simply my personal judgement, having had all the relevant gear in my hands for extended periods of time, that the extra cost isn’t where I want my money to disappear. The $1000-$1500 premium of FX over DX isn’t substantiated in my opinion.

    This is because the primary benefit, improved performance at higher ISOs, is completely a moving target. The difference between DX and FX in that department is either: (1) one stop, or (2) one generation. Therefore my argument presently is that since current FX performance is about where I need it to be, then next-generation DX cameras will be where I need them to be.

    The other benefits of FX, the 1.0x factor and greater micro-contrast… haven’t proven to be as practically useful as I had predicted. I did not start this conversion with old crappy lenses that didn’t resolve well on DX. I started with the best Zeiss lenses which already resolved more pixel density than DX is packing. So the micro-contrast is the same to me, D80 to D700 side by side.

  7. I agree that, had this lens been released 2, 3, 4 years ago, it would have had a much larger effect on how people use Nikon DSLR today.

    Consider the D40/60 user who has a kit lens, probably a 70-300VR as a ‘second lens’ and now wants a ‘fast normal lens’. Their choices (taking into account both price and availability) are

    a) Nikkor AF-D 50mm f/1.8 (will meter, but MF only on that body; a bit long)
    b) Nikkor AIS 50mm f/1.8 (no metering, but nicer MF; a bit long)
    c) Sigma 30mm f/1.4

    With the release of this new Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8 Nikon is suddenly back in the game at a price/quality point that makes sense.

    Comparing the MTF to that of the AF-D 35mm f/2 is instructive, also. That lens clearly had cut-down optics compared to the AIS version. This new lens looks a lot better.

  8. I completely agree that primes are the way to go. I have 4 primes and the kit zoom I got with my D70. It just seems to be a marketing decision: look at all the kit zooms Nikon has introduced, a new one for every consumer DSLR!

    What is totally intriguing/confusing is the DX angle. Certainly suggests that Nikon is committed to DX for some not short time frame. But where do they go from here.

  9. I think DX is a wise compromise of both engineering and practical photography arguments. At least until FX manufacturing costs come substantially lower, which may take a very long time.

    The only argument that DX seems ill-equipped to face is gear machoism: “my sensor is bigger than your sensor”. It can’t stand up to that.

    Perhaps what I would like to see more of, are 1.3x crop sensors. I’m up for a new compromise.


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