Nikon 18-35mm G User Review

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions
mskad
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Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
Mar 27, 2013

Today I received the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Lens. Since I know that a lot of people here are on the fence about this lens, and because of the very few reviews (if any) available online, I decided to take it for a quick test and post my very superficial initial impressions along with few sample images (all taken with Nikon D600).

The short version: I can't believe it's not butter! The images I've got after playing with it for 1 hour of so are way beyond my expectation. Sharp across the frame (except the very extreme corners, and I really mean extreme), great colors, great macro and micro contrast, accurate fast and silent AF, unbelievable flare resistance (may be even better than the nano coated Nikon 28mm G), light and compact but doesn't feel cheap at all and very smooth and well damped zoom action. And also, great for close-ups.

Unless I am missing something (which is very possible since I only had the lens for few hours), this might quickly become the new reference in the "affordable" UWA zoom lens category.

I tested the lens with the sun in the frame and there is absolutely no flare at all. Also, no purple fringing. As for CA, they disappear completely and magically in Lightroom. Even vignetting seems to be on the low side. Distortion is of course there, but it doesn't bother me and in any case it should be pretty easy to build a profile for this lens in Lightroom.

Close up performance is great and shows amazing details and again, no visible CA. Even out of focus rendering seems to be pretty good, may be better (more neutral) than what I am getting with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens.

Here are some more images, all taken with Nikon D600, handheld and processed with Lightroom. Comments and questions are welcome.

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kiirokurisu
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Interesting... looks like at least at the wide end the performance is very similar to the 16-35 VR at 18mm. For those that can do without the VR (I can't) and nano coat, this looks like being a very good option.

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mskad
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SORRY FOR DOUBLE POST!
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Sorry for the double post. I also posted this as a "formal" lens review and it has been automatically added to this forum. Sorry for that.

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jfk
jfk
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Great shots!

...and I concur with your findings.  It's a great wide angle lens.  Sharp across the frame, except for the very extreme corners, and sharp at far distance for landscapes.  I'm beginning to think it will make a great general walk-around lens.  Close focus distance is a nice bonus, and adds to the fun factor.   I think it's fast becomming my favorite lens.

If your on the fence about this lens...don't be.

jfk

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rpps
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to jfk, Mar 27, 2013

Nice clear sharp photos this lens has started to get my interest now, I just lightened up a few of your photos I thought they were a bit dark

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Nikon D600 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +2 more
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mskad
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Testing for flare
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Test shot to see how the lens behaves regarding flare. Seems pretty good to me!

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rpps
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Re: Testing for flare
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Me too also I'm amazed how clear and sharp it is at f3.5

 rpps's gear list:rpps's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +2 more
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Ernie Misner
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Re: Testing for flare
In reply to rpps, Mar 27, 2013

I thought all the new Nikors has Nano Crystal Coating....?

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narddogg81
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Re: Testing for flare
In reply to Ernie Misner, Mar 27, 2013

only the high end ones.  it will have a giant N on it if its nano.  although if the flare resistance is as good as this guy is saying it might not matter much that its not nano

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breivogel
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

I agree with you.  I have tested the new 18-35,  the  old 17-35, and 16-35vr on a D800.  Have since returned the 16-35.  I would say that the 18-35 is as good as the 17-35 at f4 - f8, and definitely superior to the 16-35 in the corners and borders.  As it weighs 1/2 of the other two lenses,  the 18-35 seems to be the way to go unless you need the F2.8 (nice for bright viewfinder) or  VR, especially if you are a hiker like me.

As an aside, I also have the 24-85VR and was a bit unhappy with it at 24mm.  Got a 24-120, thinking that it must be better (at 2x the price).  Turned out, it is not.  The 120mm res is marginal (compared to  cropping 85mm) and the corner and border sharpness is so-so at 24 (similar to the 24-85, though perhaps more symmetrical blurring).

Am thinking that my lightweight travel kit will be 18-35, 24-85, 70-300, plus 85/ f1.8.

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rpps
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to breivogel, Mar 27, 2013

I bought the Tamron 24-70 f 2.8 and that is sharp in the corners but mine has a problem on the RHS it's pretty soft until you reach f 6.3 and above at all focal lengths. So it's back to the supplier to have the lens checked and aligned.

I'm just about over trying to find a lens that performs as well as it's claimed, I think it's a bit of a lottery draw if you happen upon a good aligned lens. In disgust I just ordered a Fuji Finepix X100, I'm sick of all the editing and just want a camera that does a decent job on exposure and sharpness straight from the camera without any processing.

It only has a 35mm lens as standard so I will have to get use to the way I frame things but I don't care.

You are lucky to find a lens that in my opinion looks spot on and no visable IQ problems

 rpps's gear list:rpps's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +2 more
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mobi1
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to rpps, Mar 27, 2013

Sorry for a newbie question,

I see that in most of these shots, the near object seems relatively larger than far objects.

I thought this is a characteristics of ultra wide angle lenses and 18 mm is not considered UWA.

So why it appears like that?

Can I achieve same effect with my 18-55 kit lens?

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rubank
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mobi1, Mar 27, 2013

mobi1 wrote:

Sorry for a newbie question,

I see that in most of these shots, the near object seems relatively larger than far objects.

I thought this is a characteristics of ultra wide angle lenses and 18 mm is not considered UWA.

So why it appears like that?

Can I achieve same effect with my 18-55 kit lens?

Your kit lens tells me you use a DX camera. That means your 18mm is the equivalent of 27 mm on an FX camera. So no, you won´t get that UWA effect on your equipment; you need a 12 mm lens for that.

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tamasine
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Thanks for the review.  It looks to have excellent IQ and would be idea for me with its focal range.

The other lens I'd considered is the 24-85 VR but this one seems to be much sharper at all FLs, albeit missing the VR advantage.

The only thing I'd miss is VR, especially for shooting inside museums or in low light.  I guess with the D600's fantastic high ISO capabilities you could get round the lack of VR by bumping the ISO up and still achieving good results handheld?

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mskad
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to tamasine, Mar 27, 2013

tamasine wrote:

Thanks for the review.  It looks to have excellent IQ and would be idea for me with its focal range.

The other lens I'd considered is the 24-85 VR but this one seems to be much sharper at all FLs, albeit missing the VR advantage.

I like the 24-85mm lens very much too, but it is not as good in the corners than this one.

The only thing I'd miss is VR, especially for shooting inside museums or in low light.  I guess with the D600's fantastic high ISO capabilities you could get round the lack of VR by bumping the ISO up and still achieving good results handheld?

Indeed! Between the short focal length and the D600 high ISO performance, lack of VR is not really an issue. Below is a test shot with the 18-35mm G at ISO 3200, with 1:1 crop.

Full image

1:1 crop

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ki11ua
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Great test shots & thank you.

H haven't found yet on the net any actual flare resistance test shots.

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Sony SLT-A55 Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM +6 more
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lukep
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to ki11ua, Mar 27, 2013

i really like my 16-35 but this lens is looking interesting.  What i really want is to shoot into the sun.  or shoot into the sun for portraits and use fill flash - if flair is that much better i might have to consider this lens

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Neocon
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Excellent work showing what one can expect.  Particularly like that you used wider aperatures.  Personally believe that at f11 the size of the hole is more important than the glass.

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rudi_s
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to breivogel, Mar 27, 2013

breivogel wrote:

Am thinking that my lightweight travel kit will be 18-35, 24-85, 70-300, plus 85/ f1.8.

I´m looking for a lightweight travel kit too, and your lineup looks quite good, though I´d change the 70-300 for the 70-200 f4.

The new 18-35 seems to offer good IQ for low cost. Maybe it will complete my traveling staff, I don´t think it will replace my 14-24.

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JOrmsby
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Re: Nikon 18-35mm G User Review
In reply to mskad, Mar 27, 2013

Nice shots. I've also been interested in putting this lens of a D600, and got to play with both at my camera store yesterday. I agree, I was really surprised and impressed how well damped the zoom and focus rings were. It really felt like a quality lens. Also very lightweight, seems perfect for travel. Every sample image I've seen on the web so far has been very sharp, save for the very extreme corners at wider apertures. Can't wait for my tax return to buy one myself!

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Nikon D600 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8 Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM +2 more
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