Massive 35mm lens comparison!

Started Mar 19, 2009 | Discussions thread
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JurassicPizza Contributing Member • Posts: 813
Massive 35mm lens comparison!

Because I have been obsessing about it, I did a comparison at 35mm of four very popular lenses on my D300: 35G f/1.8 DX, 35D f/2, 17-55 f/2.8 DX, and 16-85 DX VR.

I did center and corner crops for each lens at every aperture, all processed in Adobe Camera Raw, plus a set from the 35G processed via Capture NX2.

Shooting conditions: tripod, mirror up, incandescent lighting with custom white balance, ISO 200, RAW. I did the NX2 processing because the 35G (as has been noted elsewhere) has pretty substantial CA, and NX2 fixes it perfectly. VR was off on the 16-85.


  • The 35G has more distortion than the 35D, but not much. Both zooms are much worse in that department.

  • Wide open the 35G is amazingly sharp, and with CA removed in NX2, the corners are fantastic at almost every aperture. The 35D is pretty awful in comparison.

  • The 35D images come out the lightest, next the 17-55, and the 35G and 16-85 exposures are very close.

  • The 16-85 holds its own!

  • All lenses look pretty decent at f/8 and even f/11 is starting to show a hint of diffraction softness.

None of this should really be news, but I wanted to see it myself. Enjoy! My new travel mid-range kit is probably going to be the 16-85 plus the 35G.

Here is the full scene with the two crop areas highlighted. Yes, it's a near-subject test. After all this effort I'm not sure I want to do another for distant subjects!

And here are the crops:

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