alternative to the 17-35mm AF-S.
a bit smaller than the 17-35mm. Still, this lens takes 77mm
filters on the front, so it's not insubstantial.
of view: 62°-100° with 35mm, 44°-76°
Close focus: 1.25 feet (33cm)
Filter thread: 77mm
Weight: 13.1 ounces (370g)
as a lower cost alternative to the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S,
this wide angle zoom raised a lot of eyebrows with its ED label
and low price. Suddenly, everyone was asking "just how good
is this lens? Do I really need the more expensive AF-S sibling?"
How wide can it go? Really, really wide. Here's the view
from the curb directly beneath the Eiffel Tower (you'd need
a 14mm lens to get the four "feet" in the picture).
F100, Fujifilm Provia.
I've noted elsewhere, I'm a big fan of wide angle lenses and used
the 20-35mm f/2.8D for quite some time before moving on to the
newer alternatives. The 18-35mm zoom intrigued me for two reasons:
its lighter weight and closer focus. I don't really need fast
apertures in my wide angle lenses, and the extra six degrees of
view was a nice extra touch.
first glance, the Nikkor 18-35mm looks to be a cousin to the old
Sigma 18-35mm. But closer examination shows quite a few differences,
including a smaller filter size, better build quality, and better
Nikkor has a variable maximum aperture that ranges from f/3.5
at 18mm to f/4.5 at 35mm (intermediary positions: f/3.8 at 20mm,
f/4 at 24mm, f/4.4 at 28mm). The minimum aperture is a constant
f/22. There is a click stop at f/4, but no mark. Focusing can
be as close as 1.08 foot (.33m) at any zoom setting. An infrared
focusing mark is provided, but only for the 18mm setting. The
IF in the name indicates that it is an internal focus lens, meaning
the front element does not move during zoom or focus. The D in
the name means that focus distance is used in flash metering calculations
by the camera. The ED indicates that one of the elements is made
of Nikon's unique extra-low dispersion glass. As with all ED lenses,
the lens focuses past infinity under normal temperature conditions.
manual zoom and focus rings are separate, and easily distinguished.
At the front of the lens, you'll be screwing in 77mm accessories
(Nikon's larger standard, shared by several other large front-element
lenses). If you have to know, there are 11 elements in 8 groups.
One of those elements is a compound aspherical element. The lens
formula is simpler than the 20-35mm I used to use, but that by
itself doesn't mean anything.
lens comes with the HB-23 hood, but you'll have to pony up extra
cash for the optional soft lens pouch (CL-S2). Nikon claims that
the lens can be used with the TC-201 or TC-14A teleconverters,
but I doubt many will ever test that claim.
size is slightly smaller in both dimensions than the 20-35mm or
17-35mm, but build quality is also less impressive, using a lighter
barrel material and more plastic.
focus and zoom rings are easily distinguished. The zoom ring has
a decent feel, almost the equal of the professional lenses. The
focus ring isn't quite as good, as it has the usual autofocus "looseness,"
but it is better than many recent lower-priced Nikkors. Both the
focus and zoom go from one extreme to the other in slightly less
than a quarter of a turn.
aperture ring has a poor feel to it. With many Nikkors, it's easy
to set apertures between click stops, but not with this lens. There's
an awkwardness I haven't found on other Nikkors, though it does
click into the full stops with certainty. For some reason, setting
apertures going from f/22 to f/3.5 feels better than vice versa,
and there's a clunky "clank" sound as you pass by each
full stop. Of course, most modern Nikon bodies require you to lock
the aperture at its minimum setting and control f/stops using the
command dial, but for those of us who still use lenses on manual
Nikon bodies, I'd call the aperture ring on this camera sub-par.
front element is not recessed, as it is on some wide angles. With
its big curved glass, it's easy to accidentally touch it or bump
it against something, so be careful where you point the camera and
practice "safe lens" by keeping the hood on. The rear
element is recessed at most zoom settings, but it, too, sticks out
when the lens is zoomed at 18mm. You might want to zoom in prior
to removing the lens from the camera.
butterfly-style lens hood bayonets onto the front piece, and is
made of cheap, flexible, plastic. Getting the bayonet lined up is
helped by a small white dot on both parts. Unfortunately, you won't
see the dot on the lens unless you're behind the camera--if you
try to put the bayonet on from the front, you can't see the alignment
mark. On the plus side, you can leave the hood on and get the lens
cap on and off if you have small fingers.
you've got an N80, be aware that the lens cuts off the flash at
anything wider than 28mm or closer than 3.3 feet (1m) (for the N70
crowd, that changes to 4.9 feet [1.5m]). Nikon does not recommend
using the 18-35mm with the N65 or N60 due to excessive flash vignetting.
warnings to be aware of: don't use the PK1, PK-11, BR-4, or K1 rings
with this lens (use a PK-11a or BR-6/BR-2A combo). You also shouldn't
use this lens with the F3AF if you're using the DX-1 finder.
both impressed and disappointed with this lens. Impressed with the
results stopped down and the reasonable amount of light falloff
(not as visible as with the Sigma 18-35mm, for example). On the
other hand, at wider apertures, the corners are visibly soft and
the center is not quite as good as the Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8. Looking
at the example picture of the Eiffel Tower taken at 18mm, above,
there's fair to good sharpness pretty much right to the very corner--the
trees in the lower right corner are sharper than they appear in
the JPEG shown here. In the very corner of that shot, visible distortion
adds a touch of softness, but this only occurs in the very corner
on full frame bodies. Center sharpness is good to very good, depending
upon aperture. While I wouldn't hold this lens up as one of Nikon's
sharpest lenses, I also don't think it qualifies as one of the least
sharp, either. On a digital SLR with a reduced frame of view, the
lens shines, however. Since most of the deficiencies are corner
related, a 1.5x angle of view crop does wonders for the performance
disappointment lies in the fact that this 18-35mm is the least sharp
of the Nikkor wide-angle zooms. Both the 17-35mm and 20-35mm f/2.8
zooms are visibly sharper; but of course, what did I expect considering
the low price of the 18-35mm? I'd put this wide-angle zoom in about
the same category as the 24-120mm: sharp enough if handled correctly,
but soft enough with film bodies at the widest settings that you
need to watch what you put in the corners.
me describe the sharpness a different way: if you're never going
to blow up a photo beyond 8x10 inches, this lens is plenty sharp
at virtually any aperture. If you make an occasional 11x14 or 14x20
inch print, you need to watch which apertures you use and what you
put in the corners (don't put items with intricate detail at the
edges, especially if you're using apertures of f/5.6 or wider).
Wide open, light falloff is visible, but it is mostly gone by f/8
(the Eiffel was shot at f/5.6--you can still see falloff, even in
those of you thinking about using this lens on the D1 series body
or D100: good choice! The issues of light falloff and sharpness
don't really come into play, since the D1 and D100 only use the
central portion of the lens. Only at the widest aperture will you
see any softness or falloff, and it's quite minimal. This is the
wide angle lens of choice on a D1 or D100 unless you need a faster
aperture (in which case the 17-35mm
is a better choice).
wasn't as much of a problem as I thought it would be, even pointed
into the sun. But I did find several instances of very minor flare
when direct light hits the front element--I couldn't see this problem
in the viewfinder, but it was clearly evident on resulting slides.
The supplied hood helps a bit, but in situations where there is
a great deal of direct light, keep a close eye on what light is
hitting the lens. The Sigma 14mm and 18-35mm lenses have higher
flare levels, but if you really want to be as flare free as possible,
you'll want to consider a fixed focal length Nikkor, like the 18mm
AF (an underrated lens, by the way).
less barrel distortion than I expected at the widest focal length,
but it's still there, well into the visible range. Stick a horizon
towards the top or bottom of the frame and you'll get a slightly
curved line. At the 35mm end, the barrel distortion is reduced to
levels most won't notice (still there, though).
is good, though not as good as the 20-35mm f/2.8 I normally use.
Contrast seems better than the Sigma 18-35mm I've used, though I
don't have any apples-to-apples comparison slides to substantiate
I was somewhat pleased with the lens. Considering the reasonable
price, the performance is actually quite good. Even so, comparing
shots with my 20-35mm f/2.8 with shots with this 18-35mm, in most
cases I'd rather have the more expensive 20-35mm (duh!).
Not a professional build, especially the clunky aperture ring.
Still, it's solid, and the focus and zoom rings are smooth, if
depth of field scale.
softness. Wide open you'll certainly see a moderate amount
of softness in the corners at 18mm. As you stop down (or zoom
in), the softness becomes acceptable and barely noticeable.
a digital body it shines.
Get rid of the corners and this lens does quite well. D1 and D100
owners will like this lens.
Decent value for 35mm users, great value for digital users.