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35mm lenses are popular for all types of photography, ranging from boudoir and weddings to wildlife and landscapes. This makes the selection of the perfect 35mm lens extremely important as you’re probably going to use it in several different scenarios.
Over the years, its variety and quality have greatly improved, resulting in better and sharper models.
To ensure you choose an optic with the right focal length and aperture, this guide includes some of our favorite 35mm optics for Nikon cameras and the features to consider before purchasing one. So, make sure you stick to the end to find the optics that best suits your needs!
- Review of the Best 35mm Lenses for Nikon Cameras
- Comparison Chart of the Best 35mm Lenses For Nikon
- What Does 35mm Lens Mean?
- How to Choose a 35mm Lens
- Advantages of Investing in a Quality 35mm Lens
- People Also Ask
Review of the Best 35mm Lenses for Nikon Cameras
35mm lenses are usually very easy to use and deliver high image quality at a lower cost. However, with so many units available today, choosing the best 35mm lenses for Nikon is no easy task. To help with your decision, the following are detailed reviews of some of our favorite models.
Best Overall: Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM
- The minimum aperture of f/16 makes it ideal for shooting group portraits
- Hypersonic motor ensures accurate, quiet, and high-speed autofocus
- Like the Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8, its nine diaphragm blades ensures production of an impressive bokeh quality
- Like the f/2.8 aperture, the maximum aperture of f/1.4 ensures stunningly image quality even in low light conditions
- Floating focus system delivers superior optical performance with objects at closer shooting distances
- Does not have image stabilization
- A bit heavier than other models
What Recent Buyers Report
Almost all buyers loved the performance of the Sigma 35mm Art, with one user even stating it was the best investment in photography he had ever made. It employs two aspherical elements to help minimize distortions and aspherical aberrations for enhanced image clarity and sharpness. However, with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.2, this lens reduces the subject’s size, making it unsuitable for macro photography.
Why It Stands Out to Us
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art has numerous incredible features that make the pictures truly burst with life. Like the f/2.8 aperture, the large maximum aperture of f 1.4 makes it ideal for use in poorly lit conditions. In its optical design, it incorporates eight aspherical elements in six groups to help suppress chromatic and spherical aberrations, resulting in enhanced clarity and sharpness.
Just like the nano crystal coat, the super multi-layer coating on the front element helps minimize ghosting and flare, ensuring greater color accuracy and contrast even in strongly lit conditions.
Who Will Use This Most
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is an incredible all-round optic perfect for wedding and street photography. With a minimum aperture of f/16, it offers a larger depth of field, making it suitable for capturing group portraits. The short 35mm focal length allows it to capture wide-angle photos, making it ideal for exterior photography.
An incredible achievement all around, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art is undoubtedly a brilliant prime that features a minimum focus distance of 11.8 inches. With an eye-popping and stunning image quality, durable build quality, and extremely fast focusing, this unit is useful for practically all types of photography. Typically, it comes with an aperture ring that helps you to adjust the aperture to suit your shutter speed and lighting condition.
- 35mm focal length, 52.5mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 56mm equivalent focal length on...
- F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum, This model is compatible with all current Nikon cameras (both DX...
- Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
Runner-up: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8
- Silent Wave Motor ensures precise, fast, and quiet autofocusing
- Low dispersion and aspherical elements minimize distortion and produce outstanding contrast
- Its f/22 minimum aperture makes suitable for long exposure photography
- It is one of the most lightweight lens on our list and ideal for use when shooting for a prolonged period
- Innovative combination of natural perspective and f/1.8 maximum aperture results in brilliant low-light performance and better depth of field control
- Vignetting is severe at f/1.8
- Corner sharpness is a bit disappointing
- A bit more expensive than other models
What Recent Buyers Report
Most people were extremely satisfied with the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 and stated that it produced great image quality. Like the Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD, its maximum aperture of f/1.8 creates a shallow depth of field which brings the subject into a sharper focus, resulting in high quality images. The focus ring allows you to manually fine-tune your focus for enhanced image sharpness and clarity.
While most buyers reported minimal aberrations, some experienced slight vignetting at f/1.8 maximum aperture.
Why It Stands Out to Us
Nikon’s autofocus is what truly sets it apart from its competitors. Combined with the smart focusing system, the unit was extremely fast to focus, leaving little to complain about. The unit also focused consistently in normal and low lighting conditions and was rarely off focus.
With a maximum magnification ratio of 0.16x, it is ideal for macro photography. It employs one low dispersion element and two aspherical elements to minimize chromatic aberrations for improved image clarity and reduced color fringing.
Who will Use This Most
With a weight of 0.44 pounds the AF-S NIKKOR is lighter than the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM, making it ideal for shooting for an extended period without your wrists hurting. Its minimum aperture of f/22 makes it a perfect lens for long exposure photography without the need of adding a filter.
Sharp enough for almost all uses, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR captures images with good bokeh and sharp color that can further be enhanced with Nikon’s RAW file versatility. However, the bokeh quality produced by the seven diaphragm blades is less appealing than the nine diaphragm blades of Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8.
- Lens not zoomable; 35 millimeter focal length, Macro Focus Range : 0.25 meter
- 52.5 millimeter equivalent focal length on DX Format cameras; F1.8 maximum aperture, F16 minimum
- Ultrasonic type AF motor with full time manual focusing; 58 millimeter filters; Note: Refer the user...
Best for the Money: Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD
- The fluorine coating on the front element offers protection against fingerprints and smudges
- Like the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM the nine diaphragm blades ensures impressive image quality with a nice bokeh
- The minimum aperture of f/16 makes it suitable for landscape and street photography where you want to put the entire photo into focus
- Like the Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm f/1.8, the anti flare technology ensures production of crisp photos even when working in backlit conditions
- With a short 35mm focal length, this lens has a compact design and excellent weight distribution that make it easy and comfortable to use
- Vignetting is a bit severe especially on full frame cameras
- Slower than other models
- Viewing angle is moderate and could be enhanced
What Recent Buyers Report
Almost everyone loved the Tamron AFF012N-700 SP and recommended the lens to other photographers, as well. Buyers were also impressed with the build quality and the minimum focus distance. The minimum aperture of f/16 makes it a perfect choice for landscape photography where you want the background and foreground in focus.
Why It Stands Out to Us
Designed with ten components in nine groups, the unit offers numerous incredible features at an extremely affordable price. The vibration reduction feature is phenomenal, while the nine diaphragm blades creates an incredibly attractive bokeh. With a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens allows more light into the camera’s sensor, making it an ideal choice even when working in low-light conditions.
The front element features a fluorine coating to protect it against smudges and fingerprints, enhancing ease of cleaning.
Who Will Use This Most
While the Tamron can be used for all types of photography, it is the perfect for walk-around and everyday photography. However, the unit is not ideal for close-ups of individuals on the street. Just like the nano crystal coat, the fluorine coating on the front element suppresses surface reflections and ghosting for improved contrast and color neutrality even when working in strongly-lit conditions.
With a diameter x length of 3.17 x 3.1 inches, this optics is compact and ideal for a shooting handheld. However, it is a bit slower compared to other models.
- Fast f/1.8 aperture
- Dynamic close focusing capability
- VC (Vibration Compensation) system
Comparison Chart of the Best 35mm Lenses For Nikon
What Does 35mm Lens Mean?
The full frame focal length of a lens determines the maximum magnification ratio and angle of view of the model. The angle of view tells us how much of the scene the optic is able to capture, while magnification determines how large the captured elements will be.
For instance, when using the same camera sensor size such as the full frame size, the longer full frame focal length causes a higher maximum magnification ratio and narrower angle of view. In most cases, these optics have almost the same diameter x length.
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM
The kit that’s included with a DSLR or interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras is a good example of a 35mm optic. Generally, the 35mm full frame focal length is a wide angle lens when paired with a full frame camera, and a normal lens that reproduces an image similar to what you see with your own eyes when paired with a crop-factor camera.
How to Choose a 35mm Lens
Choosing a lens with a 35mm full frame focal length primarily depends on the type and style of photography you’re planning to do. For instance, if you want to capture real estate exterior photos, you can consider going for the 35mm focal length as it can allow you to capture a wider view, and if you want to capture close ups, you can go for one with a smaller minimum focus distance.
If you are shooting handheld, you can go for one with a smaller diameter x length. No photographer wants to spend more money than necessary.
If you’re planning to shoot outdoors, it’s advisable to purchase a weather-sealed model such as Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM if your budget allows it. This way, you can easily take your lens out, without worrying about any dust or rain that might damage it. The small diameter x length also makes them lightweight, and can withstand falls without breaking.
Lighting Conditions While Shooting
If you’re going to have powerful strobes and are planning on controlling your light, then it’s better to purchase a 35mm optic that features an aperture ring that will allow you to precisely set the aperture.
However, if you’re going to shoot outdoors or in dimly lit areas, then it’s advisable to choose the fastest one, with a maximum aperture of f 1.4 or f /2.8, or use the camera’s exposure compensation feature. However, for better performance in low-light situations, it is advisable to pair it with full frame cameras since the lens mount is compatible with full frame cameras.
Are You Comfortable With Manual Focus?
As mentioned above, the type of photography you’re planning on doing will determine the right lens mount, minimum focus distance, maximum magnification ratio and aperture diaphragm blades that will suit your situation. If you’re going to shoot situations or people where there isn’t a lot of movement, then a manual focus lens is advisable.
However, if you’re going to shoot anything with plenty of movement, a lens with autofocus will be better suited to your needs. You can also go for Nikon cameras that feature wide angle lens mount so you can use ultra wide angle lenses if you want to cover a much larger view without panning.
Advantages of Investing in a Quality 35mm Lens
While 35mm is a popular focal length that is versatile, dependable, and well-rounded piece of glass, it is a pretty big investment.
Quality models usually feature a maximum aperture of around f 1.4 like the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM . This makes it easier for photographers to get soft, blurry backgrounds for portraits. A bigger aperture on a full frame camera ranges from f/1.2 to f/2.8 and enables many photographers to capture sharp images in challenging light situations as well, without compromising on shutter speed.
Unlike a minimum aperture, a maximum aperture results in a shallow depth of field, making it easier to achieve a beautifully soft bokeh-filled background. In most cases, even a wide aperture won’t affect the optics’s overall diameter x length.
Quality 35mm optics often have a small diameter x length, making them easier to store and carry around than longer and heavier ones such as telephotos. The lightweight and compact design further make this model ideal for travel photography or as a walk-around lens.
Whether it’s a Sony E format optics on a Sony E mount or the Nikon DX optics, quality 35mm optics have excellent versatility and are compatible with a wide range of lens mount. Usually, the versatile lens mount allows them to be attached to full frame cameras to achieve a standard landscape view or onto crop sensor cameras such as the Sony E mount cameras for an effective longer focal length for portraits.
They can further be used for everyday photography in landscape photography, or even closeups depending on the minimum focus distance.
People Also Ask
Choosing a camera lens with the right minimum focus distance, maximum reproduction ratio, maximum magnification ratio and lens mount can be a very technical and difficult task for individuals who are just starting to experiment with photography. To make sure you don’t regret your decision and to help clear any confusion you might have, the following are some frequently asked questions:
Why Are 35mm Lenses so Expensive?
35mm lenses are usually harder to design, feature fine mechanics, and contain special glass elements in considerable quantities. They’re also assembled with narrow tolerances and have sophisticated coatings to reduce flare, resulting in a heavier price tag, just like the full frame Canon RF format lenses. Some lenses such as the Sigma 35mm f 1.4 art lens also includes an aperture ring that allows you to precisely adjust the aperture to blur the background.
Is a 35mm DX Actually 35mm?
A 35mm DX optic is not actually 35mm but has a focal length of around 50mm. Generally, Nikon F mount vs DX is like the full frame Canon EF format vs crop-factor EF-S. That means the DX format can be compared by the Sony E format for the Sony E mount.
This is because it is designed for use in a lens mount of crop factor cameras such as the Sony E mount cameras. The crop factor like the one in Sony E mount cameras can be simply defined as the difference between the standard, full-size 35mm film and the sensor size.
Is a 35mm Good for Group Shots?
A 35mm optic is a perfect choice for group shots. Unlike the view of a Sony E format on a Sony E mount, the focal length allows a wider field of view, enabling you to capture larger groups without the help of rows. Generally, these optics’ diameter x length is also small, allowing you to shoot group photos handheld during hiking and camping trips.
Is 35mm a Good Portrait Lens?
A 35mm lens is an ideal option for portraiture especially when used with a full frame camera. Although it can make some parts of normal-sized people appear larger than normal when using it on full frame cameras due to the full frame focal length, they can capture truly great portraits if you pull back and include the entire scene.
The best 35mm optic really depends on the type of photography you’re into and the features you consider most important. For us, the best overall optic is the Sigma 35mm F 1.4 Art lens, but make sure you go through all the aforementioned reviews to find one that best suits your photography needs.