Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

Started Sep 18, 2017 | Discussions
mmeerdam Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: The 35G is a major comparative problem

I agree with you analysis. Even worse, i bet there isn't a new 35mm 1.4 in f mount coming from nikon ever.

I'm sure they will prioritize a fast 35mm mirrorless lens as they can't do all at once . From the rumors the f mount as it is will be out or take a second seat in the medium to long term.

I'm a Canon shooter who went Sony while eying the d810 but returned to Canon within the year waiting what the d850 would be. It took longer than expected but boy i would like to switch but now nikon lenses are a serious holdout. i have a 35 1.4 L II, 24-70 2.8 L II, 70-200 2.8 L II, a 85mm 1.8 and would like a good 50 1.4 added. Nikon can only match or best above 70mm, which i use the least. below 70 everything is a real step back, so much so that i would go all sigma if i were to switch but that af consistency :(.

If the 35,50 and 24-70 were as good as canon would switch today.

anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 9,237
Re: The 35G is a major comparative problem
4

Good points. I've been saying, ever since the 105/1.4E came out, that Nikon *seriously* needed to upgrade a few of their key lenses, and the 35/1.4G tops that list easily. After reading your post, I feel even more strongly that it needs to be done. There is little doubt that if I were an event shooter (I'm not - I'm studio/landscape) I would have some Canon in my kit as well for the reasons you specify. I can't deal with Sony - or any mirrorless - I absolutely abhor working through an EVF, and ergonomically working with their bodies is a mess. I tried shooting with an A7rII once, and it was like trying to tie your shoes with pencils (a saying a co-worker of mine uses), just frustration. I'd give up photography if Sony were the only player left, and that's saying something.

Nikon has been frustrating to say the least. Along the past 5 years, which is where I've done most of my serious lens re-evaluation and testing to find out what truly works best with the D8xx bodies I shoot, I would have been happy to purchase all Nikon brand if they were the best at each critical focal length I shoot, but once I sat my former Nikon-only bias aside and got open minded and serious with evaluation, it's no wonder I shoot Zeiss and Sigma Art alongside my Nikon glass these days. That money all could have gone to Nikon is they hadn't have been so asleep at the wheel in the lens department, for sure. But I prefer Nikon ergonomics, and when the guys hit one out of the park (105/1.4E, 70-200/2.8E-FL), they hit one out of the park. Nobody is perfect, but of the big manufacturers, Nikon certainly is the one that needs (IMO) the most work.

-m

Raymond Wave Contributing Member • Posts: 898
Sigma Arts need the dock in most cases
2

That's how pretty much all Sigma ARTs have performed before I've calibrated them with the dock. Especially 50 Art used to drive me crazy doing exactly what you describe, but after getting the dock and calibrating, it turned into super-reliable.

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em jo photo Regular Member • Posts: 353
Competitive Choices
1

anotherMike wrote:

Good points. I've been saying, ever since the 105/1.4E came out, that Nikon *seriously* needed to upgrade a few of their key lenses, and the 35/1.4G tops that list easily . . . .

Nobody is perfect, but of the big manufacturers, Nikon certainly is the one that needs (IMO) the most work.

-m

This thought really pulls us right down to the heart of the matter--namely, that if you criticize the 35G (as I have) you're also criticizing the design strategy that drove the excellent new E primes--the 105/1.4E and 28/1.4E (which I do).

Because it strikes me that Nikon has aimed the new "E" primes at the workhorse 35 & 85 primes you'd consider from Canon or Sony. They're inviting you to shoot your wide normals a little wider--tell a little more of the story, carry one wide prime instead of two; or shoot your near-teles a little tighter, leverage the 105's excellent field rendition even at distance, even with a little compression. The suggestion, basically: "You know what will make your 35mm and 85mm work really stand out? Shooting it at 28mm and 105mm." It's no coincidence that they buttonholed Marko Marinkovic--who makes a point of shooting a minimal D750 + 35G + 85G setup--to photograph the 28E's publicity and ad stills.

Nikon did the same thing with the 58G. Zeiss, Sigma, et al. were suddenly making the "hot rod 50" a thing, so Nikon joined the party but on its own terms--with a little focal length tweak and optics aimed at specific, portrait-oriented design priorities: field rendition-clarity-purity and defocus quality over MTFs.

(And you might also argue that the idiosyncratic "strategery" isn't new--that the 28/1.4D was, back in the day, a "how 'bout you carry just one wide prime" answer to Canon's 24 and 35 1.4 Ls.)

It's a soft suggestion, of course. The 24G, 35G, 50G, and 85G all exist. But they just aren't special like Canon's 35, 50, and 85 Ls are. On the other hand, Canon's fast 28 and 105 primes are ancient; Sony's 28/2 is down-market and its 105 APO is . . . strange.

So Nikon's play is gutsy, in a way. But the big gamble, of course, is that you're willing to indulge the suggestion--that you like Nikon's idea of tweaking what would have been your 24, 35, 50, 85, 135 work toward 28, 58, and 105. That you can make the shifts your own. Marko Marinkovic certainly seems to have come out the other side with a new appreciation of the 28mm field of view.

Nikon is right in the sense that you can use a 28 or a 105 in most of the cases you'd ordinarily reach for a 35 or an 85, and the results will absolutely look unique for the shift (especially given the lenses in question). The question is whether the difference works for you--you don't want to be working for the difference.

And I just don't know how many of us can jump into that without reservation. I certainly can't.

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,353
Re: Competitive Choices
3

em jo photo wrote:

This thought really pulls us right down to the heart of the matter--namely, that if you criticize the 35G (as I have) you're also criticizing the design strategy that drove the excellent new E primes--the 105/1.4E and 28/1.4E (which I do).

If the 105/1.4E and 28/1.4E have inherited the 35/1.4G design strategy, then it is highly diluted.  I find only a vestige of the 58/1.4G and 35/1.4G characters in the E lenses - manifesting primarily as smooth focus transitions - and consider them to have very different applications.

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- Marianne

sfnikon Senior Member • Posts: 2,298
Re: Competitive Choices
2

The 24G, 35G, 50G, and 85G all exist. But they just aren't special like Canon's 35, 50, and 85 Ls are.

Absolutely no science behind statements like this just opinion.   In the same spirit I'll express my feeling that my 24G and 35G are very 'special' as are my 200/2 and new 105E.   I define special as beautiful bokeh and rendering.

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Jake

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em jo photo Regular Member • Posts: 353
Re: Competitive Choices

Marianne Oelund wrote:

em jo photo wrote:

This thought really pulls us right down to the heart of the matter--namely, that if you criticize the 35G (as I have) you're also criticizing the design strategy that drove the excellent new E primes--the 105/1.4E and 28/1.4E (which I do).

If the 105/1.4E and 28/1.4E have inherited the 35/1.4G design strategy, then it is highly diluted. I find only a vestige of the 58/1.4G and 35/1.4G characters in the E lenses - manifesting primarily as smooth focus transitions - and consider them to have very different applications.

You have misread me, Marianne, or--far more likely--I have been unclear.

I did not mean to suggest, in any way, that the new E lenses inherited aspects of the 35G design, either optically or mechanically.

Let me try that statement you've quoted up there in green, again:

If you criticize the 35G (as I have), you're also implicitly criticizing Nikon for producing the 28E / 105E lenses before updating the 35G (which I do).

Not only do I recognize (and agree with you!) that the current 35G design does not appear to have strongly influence or informed the 28E's execution, but I also wish, deeply, that Nikon had redesigned the 35G with a few of the new E-series prime ideas before applying them to a wholly new 28mm f/1.4 lens.

Why? Because I suspect that the 35mm focal length may get more use by more photographers over a wider variety of photographic disciplines. It's a more important lens for the system. (I could be completely wrong about that, of course. If I am, I would encourage you to correct me.) But if Nikon's argument for producing the 28E before giving us a better fast 35 is that you might successfully enhance or reconsider your would-be-35mm work by reaching for an outstanding 28mm 1.4 instead, I'm not entirely sold it would be a positive or productive shift for me.

(Then again, I'm not a very good photographer!)

Make sense?

If not, no worries. I'll stick to my snapshooting and leave the advanced Nikon lens roadmap shepherding to folks who have a better understanding of the optics and photographic applications involved. Happy shooting!

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em jo photo Regular Member • Posts: 353
The Dude Abides

sfnikon wrote:

The 24G, 35G, 50G, and 85G all exist. But they just aren't special like Canon's 35, 50, and 85 Ls are.

Absolutely no science behind statements like this just opinion. In the same spirit I'll express my feeling that my 24G and 35G are very 'special' as are my 200/2 and new 105E. I define special as beautiful bokeh and rendering.

Good clarification, Mr. SF!

My post forgot to explicitly state the proper disclaimer for everything I've written, here. I'll include it in my next post, if I write another!

But, for the record, you're a bit too kind with me--the problem is worse than you observe. Namely: not only is much (most?) of what I write nothing more than narrowly-conceived and poorly-articulated opinion--it isn't even trying to masquerade as fact, science, or objectivity. The best I can provide is the junkfood of forum chatter, best read occasionally with high skepticism, or not at all. It is likely to be significantly misinformed in ways I lack the experience, education, and perspective to even anticipate.

That said, I have much faith in the critical reader's powers to perceive as much, which you've fortunately confirmed right here. Hopefully, no prospective 24G or 35G buyers were inadvertently dissuaded from purchasing optics they will both enjoy and find wholly worth their investment.

Happy shooting!

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coudet Veteran Member • Posts: 4,077
Re: Competitive Choices

em jo photo wrote:

But they just aren't special like Canon's 35, 50

There's nothing even remotely special about the performance of Canon 50/1.2.

theraven871 Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

I own both the Nikon 35mm 1.4 and the Sigma art 35mm 1.4.

I've had a love/hate relationship with these lenses for years.   I always want to go a bit wider or more telephoto.   Perhaps it is just my style of shooting, but I always feel as if I'm stuck at a focal length that doesn't work well for me.

At weddings, when I'm using multiple camera bodies, I will use the 28mm or 24mm primes much more than the 35mm.    Or I'll even use the 50mm.

The 35mm seems to be too much of an "in-between" lens.   I still using it from time to time for the obvious shots where it excels......but its not my preferred focal length.

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camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G
1

theraven871 wrote:

The 35mm seems to be too much of an "in-between" lens. I still using it from time to time for the obvious shots where it excels......but its not my preferred focal length.

I feel quite the opposite. I prefer the 35 over any other focal length for a walkaround prime. It's my normal lens when I don't want to shoot with a zoom. I have the old 28-105mm that I don't really use anymore, and the newer 24-85mm VR which I use quite often. The former had little distortion and a macro feature, which was great. But no VR. The latter has VR but horrendous distortion at 24mm and just OK image quality at 85mm. But I like the small size and low weight. Tried the Tamron 24-70 2.8 but it's just too big and heavy for me.

The 35mm 1.4G is a great lens for me. Sharp (I shoot mainly at f5.6-f8 but use f2.8 often and quality is corner to corner sharp there too), awesome color (I find that skin tones are especially superb with this lens), and f1.4 when I need it (for night photography mostly). Built well, weather sealed (definitely need this in Seattle!), and has that cool gold ring as it's a Pro lens. N coating improves color fidelity and I can tell - colors really pop with this lens!

So haters gonna hate, I know a lot of you think this lens is a dog. But I am happy with it and it's gonna be welded to my Nikon Df for a long time.

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saaber1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,513
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G
2

FWIW I really like the Tamron 35mm 1.8 VC. Very sharp, nice bokeh, very fast and accurate AF, excellent build quality, image stabilization, and costs $580. Here is a random snapshot from yesterday (just a nothing-special snapshot but it shows the bokeh). To me it has Zeiss-like rendering (while perhaps lacking some of the Zeiss microcontrast seen in many zeiss lenses).

OP MichaelK81 Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

I've never tried the Sigma.  I certainly understand about this lens being sharper once stopped down, although the same can be said of any fast prime.  The truth is, I shoot most of my portrait work with the 35 wide-open at 1.4.  It's unfortunate this lens cannot be tamed.

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OP MichaelK81 Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

Well, I can tell you that after receiving my 28 1.4 and using it on two portrait sessions, I'm really, really liking it.  Its wider perspective enriches most environmental portraits with more scenery (which can always be cropped later if you wish), but its autofocus accuracy and reliability is where it shines.  Even in strongly backlit situations it's proven effective on many levels of magnitude better than my 35 1.4.  I am not sorry to part with the 35.  Not one bit

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MICHAEL KORMOS PHOTOGRAPHY™, New York
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OP MichaelK81 Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

I couldn't agree with you more.  It's a professional-grade prime lens.  It should perform well regardless of what f-stop is used.  Nikon knows 35mm is a portrait/environmental portrait/street lens.  The performance is certainly lacking in the focus department.  Every time I think I got "the shot", I have to review the photo on my LCD and zoom-in to 100% to see how the focus turned out before I get cheery.

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OP MichaelK81 Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G

Agree with your points on the 105/1.4.  It's been my favorite for portraits eversince it was released.  I've found its AF consistency better than the 85/1.4.

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saaber1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,513
Re: Frustrated with the 35 1.4G
1

FYI here are a couple fun SOOC pics of someone's lost random glasses in fence I saw walking around yesterday with the Tamron 35 1.8 VC. The last time I saw such a huge change from in focus to crazy blur was with the Milvus 85 1.4 and 105 F2DC. Kind of neat for a 35mm lens. The second shot I was trying to focus through the glasses (exposure change between the 2 was manual).

OP MichaelK81 Regular Member • Posts: 205
Loving the 28/1.4 so far
3

I just wanted to follow up to my post and say that I've quickly grown to love the 28/1.4.  It's not a 35mm perspective, for sure.  However, if you maintain horizontal framing, subject distortion is still manageable, especially if you keep them off the very sides.

And the sharpness wide-open, is phenomenal on my D5 and D850.  Sharing two quick edits from recent portrait sessions:

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MICHAEL KORMOS PHOTOGRAPHY™, New York
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