Even at f/3.5, the 35mm lens has some excellent bokeh and shallow depth of field. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)
Performance and image quality
Fortunately, the 35mm is a fast performer and finds focus easily in optimum lighting; in dim situations the AF assist beam works in conjunction with the lens which provides responsive and accurate focusing in under a second. Edge-to-edge sharpness across the frame is excellent, exhibiting all the pleasing properties that we have come to expect from prime lenses. Naturally, the lens is most sharp around 1.5/2 stops from its maximum aperture. The shot below was taken at f/8, 1/400, ISO 200 with a D3000.
(Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)
There is a degree of barrel distortion that can be seen in everyday situations, though this can be corrected in post-processing; Nikon's Capture NX software has specific functionalities to correct for distortions. Chromatic aberration is quite pronounced, especially at open apertures, though this is relatively characteristic of prime lenses at this level.
Most people new to SLR photography will choose a zoom lens or a telephoto as their first lens, but there's a lot to be said about prime lenses — crisp and sharp images, depth of field effects, and portability. The AF-S DX 35mm from Nikon is all of these things, and a worthwhile addition to any DX photographer's kit.