On my quest for a wider field of view than my 50mm f/2 I was debating what lens to try and get. Most budget, full-manual, excellent quality old geezers wouldn’t fit sports nor low-light sports shooting for their inherit lack of auto-focus and metering on my D5100. This sadly narrowed down my choices to either 24 or 28mm D series lenses and being stuck with manual focus, or the 35 DX. Price point is neck-a-neck with some D lenses’ used prices exceeding the 35’s new price, so I went ahead and bit the bullet.
Build is naturally utter crap compared to the oldies, but it does help shave weight and balance out the addition of all the electronics and the Silent Wave Motor. I can live with that, I think. The focus ring is plasticy and hisses at you ever so slightly when you turn it. Might loosen up with heavy use from what I can tell. Another note about the focus ring is that its made to be able to slip past its end points like the ring on my 18-70mm, and that was most likely made to prevent breaking the mechanism in the rough kind of hands. Now, the good parts about the build are the metal mount and internal focusing that allows easy use of polarizing filters and hoods.
Onto the impressions.
First of all, the field of view:
Is it superbly wide? No. Is it enough to actually work with? Much more so than the 75mm-like 50mm I have. And well, auto-focus capability and metering.
Now, something I noticed RIGHT away and its one of the main downsides of this, budget lens- fringing. Oh god does it fringe from f/1.8-2.8. It’s funny to me that my 1966 50mm lens is absolutely flawless compared to this 2009 technological gismo with glass, but this is a price to pay for on-board auto-focus motor, metering, and <$400 price tag.
This can be taken care of via our digital dark rooms, but its sheer presence makes me cringe. Quite hard.
So, how does it perform in the environments I feels its really made for- lower light? Quite well if not excellent considering the auto options it offers. Ability to just point and click does come in handy for situations of opportunity, so here are some of the first sample shots.
Granted I like the old-school hex/angular bokeh, but fully circular “smooth” one is quite nice as well (and preferred by most out there, right?).
So, prior to testing out actual close-proximity sport shots, this lens is a very decent contender for low-light quick-draw situations.
Would I use it as a walkabout prime? Sure, since my 18-70mm is f/3.5-4.5 and f/3.5-4 on the 35 G makes quite decent snaps and its half the size and wright to lug around.
Would I use it for creative still shots? From my impressions, probably not since my 50mm has absolutely 0 issues that this lens has save for having a more blockeh bokeh (which I actually prefer).
I’d say, stay tuned for my action shot impressions once I get a chance to snap some.