Tai Shimizu

iOS & Mac Developer

Creator of the iOS photography apps Gridditor & Filterstorm, the Mac drawing app Inkist, the Mac HDR app Light Compressor, and the experimental web browser Torii.

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Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI Review

This review is a work in progress and will be updated

Overall: 4 out of 5

Optics: 4.5

Price on Used Market: ~$200 USD

Value at $200 USD: 3.5

A fast wide-normal, the 35 f/2 AI is a lens design Nikon used for generations (non-ai through AI-S) due to its great IQ.

Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais 2 thumb.jpgMy copy of this lens has seen better days, but it’s still sharp despite scratches on the front element.

Assorted Information

Max Aperture f/2
Min Aperture f/22
Aperture Blades 7
Close Focus 0.27m/.9ft
Filter Thread 52mm
Hard Infinity Stop? Yes
Built in Hood? No

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review fountain thumb.jpg

Image Quality

Image quality the strong suit of this lens. It’s sharp and contrasty all the way from f/2, sharpest at f/4, and good through f/11. Edge sharpness isn’t great at f/2, but improves significantly by f/5.6. Boke is good for a 35mm lens, but you’ll get better results on any of nikon’s 50mm f/1.4 used on full frame as compared to this on a DX crop. It has no problems with chromatic aberration, and no problems with distortion. There can be, however, some ghosting.

That’s No Moon (it’s a screw) — w/PN-11 Extension Tube

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikkor 35mm f2 pn11 extension tube screw thumb.jpg

Operation

Exactly what you’d expect from this type of lens. A small, light lens, with smooth focusing. ½ turn gets you from the excellent close focus of 0.27m/.9ft to infinity at which there’s a hard stop (yay).

Spiderweb — Full Frame (D700) Reverse Mounted

http:  taishimizu.com pictures happy thanksgiving nikon 35mm f2 ai reversed spiderweb thumb.jpg

The lens is also fairly useful reverse mounted. The working distance is too small to use with bugs, but it gets you 1.4x magnification with a miniscule depth of field.

Nikon FE, 35mm f/2, Fuji Velvia 50

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikon fe fuji velvia 50 manhattan bridge thumb.jpg

Final Word

This is a great lens with great IQ. The only problem is the competition at this focal length is also great. If you’re okay with a Manual Focus lens, the 35mm f/1.4 gives you an extra stop (though for 3 times the price). The autofocus 35mm f/2 will cost you another $150. And for the same price, the 35mm f/1.8 gets you an extra ⅓ of a stop and AF-S, but will only work on a DX cropped camera. There’s a lot of choices to be had here, and if rumor pans out, we may even be getting a 35mm f/1.4 AF-S for full frame cameras.

More Photos with this Lens

All images with a DX Crop except those marked with a film type.

Full Frame (D700), @f/8

http:  taishimizu.com pictures happy thanksgiving nikon 35mm f2 ai foggy lake thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review field thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikon 35mm f2 ais mushroom thumb.jpg

Nikon FE, 35mm f/2, Fuji Velvia 50

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikon fe fuji velvia 50 brooklyn bridge thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review interview thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review fence thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review close focus thumb.jpg

Magsafe Macbook Power — with Pn-11

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikkor 35mm f2 pn11 extension tube mag safe power thumb.jpg

You can use this lens with a PN-11 extension tube to bring the close focus to almost nothing. Image quality remains great, and it gives you a wider perspective than most macro, but it’s not that useful.

Full Frame (D700) Reverse Mounted

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review reverse mounted spiderweb 2 thumb.jpg

Full Frame (D700) Reverse Mounted

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review reverse mounted moss thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review profile thumb.jpg

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review violin girl thumb.jpg

More Photos of this Lens

http:  taishimizu.com pictures nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais review nikon nikkor 35mm f2 ais mount thumb.jpg

Posted by tai on 2009-10-02 09:22:37. Comments (4) | Tiny link

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Comments

Thanks

Hi i have also this great lens with a D700. I whas thinking to give the samyang 35 1.4 also a try

Posted by Nic Vortec (anon) on 2011-01-22 16:09:02.

Nikkor 35 mm/f2

Thanks for review-have this lens for many years & Nikkor 85 mm/f2 used on my Nikon FM. Considering purchase of used Nikon body e.g. D 90 to use with these lenses. Have been told these lens unsatisfactory for dslr so I was pleased to find your site with objective comments. Greatly appreciate any thoughts you have about my following above idea with limited expenditure. Ques-in Philadelphia area( Sky line & Japanese Garden,Fairmont Park)? Regards, Ralph , email: re701@msn.com

Posted by Ralph (anon) on 2013-10-29 20:09:05.

Nikkor 35 mm/f2

Thanks for review-have this lens for many years & Nikkor 85 mm/f2 used on my Nikon FM. Considering purchase of used Nikon body e.g. D 90 to use with these lenses. Have been told these lens unsatisfactory for dslr so I was pleased to find your site with objective comments. Greatly appreciate any thoughts you have about my following above idea with limited expenditure. Ques-in Philadelphia area( Sky line & Japanese Garden,Fairmont Park)? Regards, Ralph , email: re701@msn.com

Posted by Ralph (anon) on 2013-10-29 20:09:30.

Using on Sony A7rII

I bought this lens in September 2017 to use on my Son yA7rII. LOVE it! Creamy, smooth bokeh, sharp-enough in the center wide open with a nice vignetting. The thing that I like the best is that wide open, at moderate distances, you can isolate your subject w/a shallow depth of field, yet still get a sense of the (out of focus) environment due to it being a 35mm.

Posted by Sheldon (anon) on 2017-11-09 00:06:36.
All content © Tai Shimizu unless otherwise indicated.