Nikon 35/1.8 or Tokina 35/2.8

Started Apr 1, 2011 | Discussions thread
jonikon
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Re: Nikon 35/1.8 or Tokina 35/2.8
In reply to bkh7508, Apr 3, 2011

bkh7508 wrote:

It is difficult to find the Nikon 35/1.8 nowadays, but I managed to get a copy from local Best Buy store.

Maybe I have high expectation, I find the 3.5/1.8 is just an okay lens. I realized most fast prime lens is soft when wide open. Below F2.8, it is not as good as my 16-85. It is pretty sharp above F3.5 but it is just about the same as 16-85. Also it has pretty obvious barrel distortion. Not sure if this is just my copy, but I don't think I have front or back focus issues. It is a good lens for its original list price of $199, but for the current asking price (over $300), it is definitely not a good buy.

I bought the 35/1.8 mainly for use in low light. But the IQ of 35/1.8 is really not that good below 2.8. I am thinking about returning the Nikon to get the Tokina 3.5/2.8. From I read it is sharper than the Nikon in all F stops. The advantage of the Nikon (faster) is gone because of its poor IQ below F2.8. The Tokina also has the bonus of macro capability.

Should I keep the Nikon (I only paid $199) or try the Tokina ($279 in B&H)?

Thanks!

Keep in mind that the lowest f number for a lens is only given for when it is focused at infinity. As you focus closer from infinity, your effective aperture is reduced from f1.8 to something less (it varies by lens, but you can see this in the EXIF). What this means is that at working distances of around 10 feet or less your aperture blades are still fully open at f2.0 so you really don't get the sharpness benefit of "stopping down" until the aperture blades actually move a bit, which would be around f2.8 in your case.

I don't have the Nikkor 35 f1.8, but you could look at your EXIF files for when you shot the aperture "wide open" to find out what the effective maximum aperture is at say 6 feet. I would guess the maximum EA would be around f2.2 if it is a decent lens.

Best regards,
Jon

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