Best 35mm Lenses For Nikon Cameras – 2021 Ultimate Round-up

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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, the variety and quality of 35mm lenses have greatly improved, resulting in better and sharper models.

To ensure you choose the right lens, this guide includes some of our favorite 35mm lenses for Nikon cameras and the features to consider before purchasing one. So, make sure you stick till the end to find the lens that best suits your needs! 

Comparison Chart of the Best 35mm Lenses For Nikon

  • Designed with an internal floating focusing system, and FLD and SLD glass elements
  • Minimum focus of 11.81”, maximum magnifications of 1:5.2, and a filter thread measuring 67mm
  • Equipped with an ultrasonic type ring-type AF motor, the Sigma F1.4 Art is the best overall unit on our list
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  • Ultrasonic-type autofocus motor has full-time manual focusing
  • Rear focusing system makes the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR the runner-up on our list
  • Equipped with a macro focus range of 0.25 meters, a minimum aperture of f/16, and a maximum aperture of f/1.8
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  • Boasts a minimum focus distance (MOD) of 11.4”
  • Designed with dynamic close focusing capability, the Tamron is the best for the money
  • Equipped with a vibration compensation (VC) system and a high-speed autofocus system with ultrasonic drive (USD)
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  • Boasts a maximum angle of view of 44° and a minimum focus distance of 1 ft.
  • Designed with a rounded 9-blade diaphragm, rear focus, and an aspherical lens element
  • Zoom lock switch secures the barrel and prevents the Nikon from extending during transport
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  • Has a focus rotation of 227 degrees
  • Designed with a nine-blade aperture, T* coating, and special glass materials
  • Boasts 14 elements arranged in 11 groups, including aspherical lens elements
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What Does 35mm Lens Mean?

The focal length of a lens determines the magnification and angle of view of the model. The angle of view tells us how much of the scene the lens is able to capture, while magnification determines how large the captured elements will be. To put it simply, the longer the focal length, the higher the magnification, and the narrower the angle of view.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

The kit lens that’s included with a DSLR or an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera is a good example of a 35mm lens. Many photographers also consider a 35mm lens to be a normal lens, as it reproduces an image similar to what you see with your own eyes. These lenses are also incredibly versatile and can be used for almost every type of photography, including street, landscape, and portrait.

How to Choose a 35mm Lens

Choosing the perfect 35mm lens depends on the type and style of photography you’re planning to do. No photographer wants to spend more money than necessary and they certainly don’t want to waste any money purchasing another lens to replace poor quality ones. To ensure you make the right investment, the following are some things to consider before finalizing your purchase:

Weather Sealing

If you’re planning to shoot outdoors, it’s advisable to purchase a weather-sealed model 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.

Lighting Conditions While Shooting 

Perhaps the biggest determining factor when purchasing a 35mm lens is the amount of light you’ll need to gather and focus on your sensor. If you’re going to have powerful strobes and are planning on controlling your light, then it’s better to purchase a 35mm lens that features an aperture of f/2.8.

However, if you’re going to shoot outdoors or in dimly lit areas, then it’s advisable to choose the fastest 35mm lens, with an aperture of f/1.4 or f/2.

Are You Comfortable With Manual Focus?

As mentioned above, the type of photography you’re planning on doing will determine the right lens for you. 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. 

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 lens for Nikon is no easy task. To help with your decision, the following are detailed reviews of some of our favorite models. So, read on to find the lens that’s ideal for you!

Best Overall:
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Nikon, Black, 3.7 x 3.03 x 3.03 (340306)


  • Comes with a lens hood and a carrying case 
  • Hypersonic motor ensures accurate, quiet, and high-speed autofocus
  • FLD and SLD glass elements help correct chromatic and axial aberration
  • Large 1.4 aperture ensures stunningly sharp images 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
  • Lacks a rubber gasket to protect the mount from debris and dust

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. He found the sharpness to be incredible, the bokeh to be fantastic, and reported that subjects stood out perfectly as the background melted away. However, some customers experienced focus issues and had to keep calibrating the unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Sigma 35mm Art has numerous incredible features that make the pictures truly burst with life. The large f/1.4 aperture helps achieve selective focus effects and a shallow depth of field, while the optical layout controls chromatic and spherical aberrations, resulting in enhanced clarity and sharpness. A super multi-layer coating further minimizes ghosting and flare, ensuring greater color accuracy and contrast in strong lighting conditions.

Who Will Use This Most

The Sigma 35mm is an incredible all-round lens perfect for event and wedding photographers. It can also be used for street photography or any documentary-style photography. Since it beautifully separates the subjects from the background, it is also ideal for environmental portraits.

Bottom Line

An incredible achievement all around, the Sigma Art is undoubtedly a brilliant prime lens. 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. However, the lack of weather sealing might make it undesirable for some.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Silent Wave Motor ensures precise, fast, and quiet autofocusing
  • AS and ED glass elements minimize distortion and produce outstanding contrast
  • Super Integrated Coatings enhance contrast and color by virtually eliminating ghosting
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it easy to capture dazzling photos and stunning HD videos
  • 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 and stated that it produced great image quality. Users also found the focus to be snappy and quiet and reported that it focused quickly in low-light conditions, as well. While most buyers reported minimal aberrations, some experienced slight vignetting at f/1.8. Some customers were also disappointed with the poor build quality.

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.

Who Will Use This Most

The AF-S NIKKOR is a compact and lightweight prime wide-angle lens that’s perfect for everyday shooting. Highly recommended by professional photographers for shooting wide angles and portrait pictures, the unit is also ideal for candid and event photographers.

Bottom Line

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. The unit is perfect for portraiture and is designed with focusing motors that truly make it a joy to use. However, the corner sharpness could be improved.

Best for the Money:
Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (model F012) For Nikon


  • Ultra-Silent Drive ensures quick and silent focusing
  • Rounded 9-blade aperture ensures impressive image quality with a nice bokeh
  • Tap-in console enables photographers to apply fine-tuning and firmware updates
  • Fluorine coating repels water and fingerprints, providing excellent light transmission
  • Compact design and excellent weight distribution make the Tamron easy and comfortable to use


  • Vignetting is a bit severe on FX frames
  • Slower than other models
  • Viewing angle is moderate and could be enhanced

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone loved the Tamron and recommended the lens to other photographers, as well. Users particularly liked the vibration control and stated that the unit enabled them to capture sharp hand-held exposures quickly. Buyers were also impressed with the build quality, fluorine coatings, and the close focusing distance. However, customers found it a bit heavy, while some experienced focusing issues and reported terrible factory calibration.

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-blade iris creates an incredibly attractive bokeh. The Tamron is also designed with autofocus, ensuring fast and silent focusing. Lastly, barrel distortions are well controlled, resulting in tack sharp images.

Who Will Use This Most

While the Tamron can be used for all types of photography, it is the perfect walk-around lens for street and city photography. It can also be used by cinematographers or hybrid photographers. However, the unit is not ideal for close-ups of individuals on the street.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Tamron is an incredible lens and certainly deserves a place on our list of top picks. Designed with weather-sealing, image stabilization, and excellent weight distribution, the unit is extremely comfortable and easy to use. However, it is a bit slower compared to other models.

4. Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G Fixed Focal Length Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Aspherical lens element reduces coma and all other types of aberration
  • Nanocrystal coat reduces interior flare and ghosting, providing greater image clarity
  • Eliminates lens length changes and front barrel rotation while providing fast and smooth autofocus
  • Super Integrated Coating increases light transmission efficiency and delivers superior color consistency
  • Enables photographers to quickly change between autofocus and manual operation, resulting in enhanced ease of use


  • Has a heavier price tag than other models
  • Vignetting is pretty strong at the maximum aperture
  • Autofocus speed is a bit slower than other Nikon zoom lens

What Recent Buyers Report

A vast majority of people who invested in the Nikon AF FX loved its performance and stated that it was worth every penny. Users found the autofocus fast and the bokeh and color incredibly beautiful. They also stated that it captured clear, tack-sharp images and gave depth to shadows. However, some customers reported that it was slow and disliked its heavy weight.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Incorporating state-of-the-art optical technology designed for both DX and FX sensors, the Nikon stands out from the crowd because of its image quality. This unit enables photographers to capture images with amazing contrast and clarity in even the most challenging light conditions. Furthermore, the unit snaps into focus quickly and produces almost no noise, thanks to Nikon's exclusive Silent Wave Motor technology.

Who Will Use This Most

Since the maximum f/1.4 aperture provides dramatic separation between a softened background and the subject, the Nikon is ideal for shooting weddings, environmental portraits, architecture, photojournalism, and travel. It can also be used for interior photography and astrophotography.

Bottom Line 

Arguably one of Nikon's sharpest shooting lenses, the Nikon is truly an incredible piece of equipment. Designed with a nanocrystal coat, Super Integrated Coating, and an aspherical lens element, the unit ensures clear, sharp images with beautiful contrast and color. However, it is a bit more expensive than other models.

5. Carl Zeiss 2111-637 Milvus 35mm F/1.4 ZF.2

Carl Zeiss 2111-637 Milvus 35mm F/1.4 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F Mount


  • Excellent skin tone rendition makes it suitable for different skin tones and types
  • Long focus rotation provides photographers with accurate manual focus control
  • Weather sealing protects against moisture and dust, ensuring reliability and durability
  • Even balance between edge and center creates sharp, crisp images over the entire image field
  • Click stops can be switched off, enabling silent and smooth aperture changes while shooting video


  • More expensive than other lenses
  • A bit bulky and heavy
  • Manual focus might not be suitable for all

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all buyers loved the Carl Zeiss Milvus, with one user even stating that it made uninspiring pictures pop. They were impressed with the color response, micro-contrast, and sharpness. They also found that it excelled at smooth transitions and foreground/background separation. However, consumers found it to be rather heavy, while some stated that the coma at f/1.4 – f/2.8 was quite bad.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Carl Zeiss Milvus primarily stands out to us because of its build and image quality. Excelling in every possible way, the unit delivers incredibly sharp image quality, gives off lovely colors, handles distortion extremely well, and features the exclusive Zeiss micro-contrast and pop. The bokeh is beautiful, creamy, and simply lovely.

Who Will Use This Most

Since the Carl Zeiss Milvus creates incredibly clean images, it is perfect for several different types of photography, including portraiture, architecture, flower, and landscape photography. The unit is also extremely suitable for videography.

Bottom Line 

Designed for professional photographers, the weather-sealed lens delivers exceptional quality and ensures long-term durability and reliability. The bright, high-quality optic creates incredibly sharp images with smooth bokeh, making it truly a pleasure to use. However, it is a bit heavier and pricier than other models.

Advantages of Investing in a Quality 35mm Lens

While a 35mm lens is a versatile, dependable, and well-rounded piece of glass, it is a pretty big investment. Some other advantages of investing in one of the most versatile and usable primes include:

Big Apertures

Quality models usually feature maximum apertures. This makes it easier for photographers to get soft, blurry backgrounds for portraits. A bigger aperture enables photographers to capture sharp images in challenging light situations as well, without compromising on shutter speed. A larger aperture also results in a shallow depth of field, making it easier to achieve a beautifully soft bokeh-filled background.

Compact Size

Quality 35mm lenses often have a small and compact design, making them easier to store and carry around than longer, heavier lenses such as telephotos. The lightweight and compact design further make this model ideal for travel photography or as a walk-around lens.


Quality 35mm lenses have excellent versatility. They can be attached to full-frame cameras to achieve a standard landscape view or onto crop sensor cameras for an effective longer focal length for portraits. They can further be used for weddings, architecture, macro photography, and street photography, as well.


The best 35mm lens really depends on the type of photography you're into and the features you consider most important. For us, the best overall lens is the Sigma F1.4 Art DG HSM, but make sure you go through all the aforementioned reviews to find the lens that best suits your photography needs.

People Also Ask

Choosing a camera lens 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, following are some frequently asked questions:

What is a 35mm Lens Good For?

A 35mm lens is extremely versatile and can be used for almost every type of photography, including portraiture, landscapes, travel shots, real estate photography, macro photography, product photography, and street photography. The lens is also used by many wedding photographers because of its incredible versatility.

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.

Is a 35mm DX Lens Actually 35mm?

A 35mm DX lens is not actually 35mm but has a focal length of 50mm. This is because of the crop factor. The crop factor can be simply defined as the difference between the standard, full-size 35mm film and the sensor size. 

Is a 35mm Lens Good for Group Shots?

A 35mm lens is one of the best lenses for group shots. This is because the lens enables photographers to capture larger groups without the help of rows.

Is 35mm a Good Portrait Lens?

A 35mm lens is perhaps the best lens for portraiture. Although it can make some parts of normal-sized people appear larger than normal, they can capture truly great portraits if you pull back and include the entire scene.

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Hi, I’m Andy. I’ve been taking pictures for just about as long as I’ve been old enough to hold a camera. I studied photography in community college after high school but was encouraged to follow a career path that was more stable. I do gigs here and there on the side but never took the leap to focus my efforts full-time. When Pam reached out to me through a mutual friend, I jumped on the opportunity to be a writer. Favorite type of photography: macro and street.