Which prime lens? 35mm 1.8 DX or 50mm 1.8g?

Started Oct 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
Big Daddie Contributing Member • Posts: 936
Re: Which prime lens? 35mm 1.8 DX or 50mm 1.8g?

bocajrs wrote:


Those that have either or both, can you please chime on lowlight AF, bokah etc between these two.


I found AF speed to be the about the same between the two.  Maybe the 50/1.8G is a tiny bit faster.  Neither is especially fast at AF (especially compared to, say, a 24-70/2.8), but "fast enough" for me.  While I don't think the 50/1.8G produces exceptional bokeh (especially stopped down somewhat), I think it's bokeh is significantly better than the 35/1.8G's.  Both are very sharp when you get a good copy.  They both have a little bit of distortion.

One thing about the 35/1.8G is that its t-stop is notably slower.  That is, while its max aperture is physically f/1.8, the amount of light it actually lets through (transmission) is worse than the 50/1.8G.  All lenses have some penalty on the light transmission, it's just that the 35/1.8G is a bit worse than others -- maybe a third or a half of a stop in comparison.

But I think they're both great values and "should own" lenses for most people, especially as a complement to slower zooms.  I suspect that most people will find the 35mm length more useful on DX, but most people may not be you.

As others here have said, which focal length is right for you is going to mightily depend on you.   While shooting on DX until two months ago, I owned and used BOTH the 35/1.8G and the 50/1.8G.  Even before the 50/1.8G was released, I owned all of the other three Nikon autofocusing 50's (1.8D, 1.4D, and 1.8G) and the Sigma 50/1.4.  When the 35/1.8G was released, I bought it and was very happy with it even though I had the 50's for quite some time.

For my own shooting, the 35 was a very nice "general purpose fast lens," useful for indoor shots, restaurants, etc.  On DX, the 50 was a good short portrait lens.  Not head shots -- it's too short for that -- but full-body, waist-up, etc.

After my move to FX, the 50/1.8G has now become my "general purpose fast lens."  I haven't tried the 35/1.8G on FX yet.  Obviously there's major areas chopped out depending on distance and aperture, but I'm curious how it'll do in 1.2 crop mode on a D800E.  But it's best to think of it as a DX lens and you would sell it if/when you move to full-frame.  It's so cheap that I don't think it's a big deal to do so.

Good luck!

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