Friday, December 9, 2011
Everything Old Is New Again
With Christmas right around the corner I decided to buy a little something for myself considering the rest of the family get (take) more than their fair share. When I say “little something” I do mean little. For various reasons I sold both of the prime lenses that had for my Nikon; a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and a Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZF. I never looked back on the 50, but I started missing the 35 almost immediately. Despite its excellent image quality, I couldn’t justify keeping the Zeiss. Its heft made my already weighty kit even worse and there is no autofocus option. That said, 35mm is my favorite focal length by far. I had been hoping that Nikon would refresh their 35mm f/2, but to date they haven’t seen fit to do so. After some consideration and research I decided to buy the older lens from B&H.
The 35mm f/2 (henceforth the 35/2) has been around since 1995. Accordingly, it’s missing a lot of the fancy stuff on today’s Nikon lenses. No SWM, no Nano Crystal Coat, no Aspherical lens elements and no ED glass elements. On the upside the lens is very light weight and old school in design. Heck, it’s even got a depth of field scale. Nevertheless, I have a lot of questions. How sharp is it? Without a SWM how fast is it to autofocus? How will the older design from the days of film stand up to the 12 megapixel full frame sensor in my D700? Will it reveal every flaw? What about distortion and chromatic aberration, etc.? So, in order to get some answers, I will be using the 35/2 as my only lens over the holidays and report back in January. Please stay tuned.