The AF-S DX 35mm lens from Nikon is a well priced prime lens (AU$399) that is useful for a variety of shooting situations. Its focal length means that it's a general or normal lens, equivalent to a 52.5mm prime on a film or full frame FX camera. A prime lens is a fixed focal length lens, meaning there is no zoom. However, as a result, prime lenses are generally sharper than their zoom counterparts, have a wider maximum aperture allowing for increased flexibility in low-light shooting, and creative depth of field effects.
The DX moniker means that the lens is intended for use on Nikon's DX cameras rather than full-frame FX ones (though they can be mounted on these bodies, with resulting images at a reduced resolution and with black surrounds).
Design and features
The lens construction is metal, with black plastic casing and a rubberised focusing ring. There are no aperture ring (instead, it's all controlled through the camera) or distance measuring markers and there's just one switch, the standard Autofocus/Manual (M/A-M). Inside the box you will also get a lens hood (HB-45) and a carrying case. For Nikon's entry-level cameras without an autofocus motor built into the camera body (such as the D40, D60,and ), the 35mm has one built-in to the lens. The filter thread is 52mm and there is no image stabilisation (or vibration reduction) built into the lens. It weighs roughly 200g and is pretty compact, making it smaller and lighter than the kit 18-55mm lens that is paired with many of Nikon's entry-level cameras.
With a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens is ideal for general portraiture and can deliver some pleasing bokeh and shallow depth of field.
Even at f/3.5, the 35mm lens has some excellent bokeh and shallow depth of field. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)