Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX

*Disclaimer: this is not a technical review of the lens.  

Out of the four Nikon lenses that I own, this is the only DX lens in the bunch.  The rest are FX lenses and there is a reason for that, which I will explain later on in the post.

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is a compact, fast, cost-effective, prime lens that I believe any photographer should have in their bag (there is an FX version, but it’s about twice the price).

You can pick up a new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens for about $260 CAD – used ones go for less.  The lens comes in Nikon’s standard, gold box with the following accessories:

  • Lens pouch
  • Top and bottom lens caps
  • Warranty papers
  • Lens hood

A “G” Lens:

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is a G lens, meaning that it does not have an aperture ring.  Aperture is controlled through the command dial on your Nikon DSLR.

Metal Mount:

I have an aversion to plastic mounts; therefore, thank you Nikon for putting a metal mount on the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens.  In all honesty, I really can’t see any manufacturer saving much money by putting plastic mounts on lenses.

Rubber Gasket: 

In order to keep dust and moisture out of your camera, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens has a rubber gasket on its mount.  Now, this does not make your camera waterproof, even less so if you don’t have an environmentally sealed camera.  The rubber gasket merely stops moisture and dirt from getting into your mirror box, but Nikon makes no claim that it is waterproof.

DX/FX:

As I had mentioned above, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is the only DX lens I have.  The rest of my lenses are FX lenses.  There is a good reason for this.

Though Nikon’s DX lenses are very good, there are two little caveats with them:

  1. The choice of focal lengths is limited
  2. They are not designed to work on FX cameras.

DX lenses are specifically designed to work with DX cameras and their cropped sensors.  This is not to say that they won’t attach to an FX camera or won’t work on an FX camera; but if you do use a DX lens on an FX camera, you are going to get some serious falloff (the corners of your photo will be cut off).  Though you could use DX crop mode, but then what would be the point of having a full frame camera?

Therefore, if you are going to buy this lens, make sure you have a DX camera and not an FX (full frame) camera.

The reason that the rest of my lenses are FX lenses, is that maybe one day I will upgrade to a full frame camera body (D3)- it all depends on how long my D2x lasts.  So if you can, invest in some FX glass, even if you only have a DX camera body at the moment.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on FX glass either.  Here are the three FX lenses I have:

  1. 50mm f/1.8 G
  2. 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G VR
  3. 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G VR

Neither one of these lenses cost more than $700 CAD and can be bought for less used – my 24-85 was bought used.

The reason why I am telling you this is because if you invest in DX lenses only and then decide to go FX later, you will have to sell all of your DX lenses and spend more money on FX lenses.

Specifications:

Here are the specifications for the  Nikon 35mm f/1.8

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a cost-effective prime lens that is sharp and good in low light, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens.  Though, I would not recommend it for a full frame camera.

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