Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nikkor AF 35-70mm f/2.8

I had used this lens long time ago with film, and more recently for a short while with digital. I never intended to keep it for digital, as the focal length is very weird for DX, but I used it enough to draw some conclusions that I am now sharing with you, hoping to help you.

+ smaller, lighter, and way cheaper than, say, the AF-S 24-70 f/2.8
+ professionally built, it can take a beating
+ superb image quality, no complaints at all.

- not great focal length for FX (not very wide), and practically pointless for DX (not at all wide)
- tends to flare a bit when shot against the sun
- considering the intended audience, this is an obsolete lens

35mm can be limiting on DX, but works OK with small objects

Intended Users
Great for:

  • it can be useful for portrait work that requires some flexibility (35mm isn't wide, but it's better than having to change your 50mm lens)
  • FX users on a tight budget who need a professional midrange zoom
  • it could be a great solution for certain indoor spaces, such as museums.

Not for:
  • if you are not on a tight budget, there are plenty of better (more sense-making) solutions out there
  • scenic landscapes. Not wide enough (for DX at least)
  • sports. too short focal length, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 make this a less-than-perfect solution

Final Verdict
A great lens, superb optically, very well built, and at a very competitive price. But it's also obsolete in more than one ways. The biggest issue is that it's not wide enough for DX, and there are better (albeit much more expensive) options - both in DX and FX. If you wanna try one, expect excellent image quality but also a bit of frustration when you realize it's neither wide nor long enough.

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