Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

Started Sep 18, 2017 | Discussions thread
azoele Contributing Member • Posts: 663
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

Ah, the 35 1.4G... so many memories
Lovely build, small and unobtrusive, loved to handle it.

But if you complain about the autofocus with the D4 and the D5, you should have seen what it would do on the D700 and the D3s... now, those are bad memories for me!

Also, no matter fine tunes or live view focus: the 35 is just one heck of a ugly (sharpness wide open and near wide open wise) lens. It is just not sharp. When I review images taken with it and the D700/D3s, the softness at ƒ1.4 is such that it seems like I'm shooting with a lens from another generation. Wonderful lens ƒ2.8+, crystal clear, but a disaster at ƒ1.4-2.

On the other hand, I still remember vividly the first day I received the Sigma 35 1.4 Art. Mounted it on the D4, and it was sharpat ƒ1.4. I was speechless! (coming from the very weak 1.4G trio, 24/35/85, the Sigma seemed to come from another planet The Sigma was exceedingly sharp at ƒ1.4, and it even improved a bit stopping down.
I kept both 35s for some time, and eventually shot both side by side, evaluated sharpness and useability, and... pronto the Nikon got sold.

So no: you are most definitely not alone.

As to the 28, now that's another beast altogether...
It belongs to the newer generation, similar to the 105 1.4E, where Nikon changed its approach and priorities.
The 28 1.4E is very sharp already wide open, has a nice bokeh, and acceptable control of aberrations. And it focuses reliably.
So, if you like the 28mm focal length, you simply can't go wrong with it.
If you instead prefer 35mm, the Sigma is certainly an excellent choice.


MichaelK81 wrote:

I've owned this lens for a number of years, taking it out of my camera bag form time to time. Every time I do, I figure I'll give it another chance. And every time it disappoints. For full body environmental portraits, the thing is just too darn soft at 1.4. I've toyed with AF-Fine Tune time and time again, but the softness seems inherent. When I recently upgraded my camera from the D4 to D5, I've seen a significant improvement in AF accuracy on my 85 1.4 and 105 1.4. The D5 seemed to breathe new light into those lenses. Sadly, the 35 remains unchanged.

I've referenced DXO Mark to see how the 35 1.4 stacks up, and true to my experience with this lens, it doesn't rate very well.

I can't say I'll be sorry to part with it. I'm going to give the 28 1.4 a try. Reviews are limited, and the lens doesn't appear on DXO Mark yet, but the 35 is going off on eBay tomorrow.

Just thought I'd share my experience.

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'The human race is a race of cowards. And I'm not only marching in that procession, but carrying a banner.'
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