kukkurovaca PRO 3:27am, 9 August 2008
I don't have any shots of this lens yet, and I don't have any real tests. I actually did shoot some comparison shots between this lens and my 35mm f/2, but they weren't conclusive because there was a source of flare just outside the frame. I will say this for sure: the AIS lens is like 1/2 or 2/3 of a stop faster than the 35mm f/2 at f/2. This is probably due to the lack of modern coatings on my non-AI 35mm; increased flare means decreased light transmission.

And yes, of course I immediately shot a bunch at f/1.4.

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

Why did I get this lens when I already have the 35mm f/2, which I *love*?

* This lets me stop carrying my 50mm f/1.4 just for low-light shooting.
* I wanted better optical performance at f/2.
* I wanted to be able to get in close (about a foot) while shooting at f/1.4. Why? See the images above.
* Rorslett raves about the resolution of this lens stopped down when enlarging with film. I need a lens that meets that description.

I'd appreciate it if no one asked me how much I paid for this. (Sadly, my days of being able to say all my manual lenses cost less than $100 are now over.)

Update:

Here's the lens itself:

35mm f/1.4 AIS
A-A-Ron 9 years ago
mmm. i'll be the first to say it, i'm jealous.
be sure to fill us in after some more use with it.
BeWePa PRO 9 years ago
Congratulations ! Sounds exciting.

I will say this for sure: the AIS lens is like 1/2 or 2/3 of a stop faster than the 35mm f/2 at f/2
Do I understand this correctly by "when both lenses are at f2" ? (it took me some time to realize your other 35 was uncoated).

The pictures are promising. It seems this lens has a quite different personality than the 35 f2.
Nantonos PRO 9 years ago
Congrats on your (estimated 3-400 USD) purchase! I hear from other folks that its a very fine lens.

What is the focus throw on this AiS version? How do you find the focus handling? (I ask because some AiS lenses have shorter throws than the corresponding Ai version).
Congratulations and welcome to the Over $100 Club. It is a fun club!
kukkurovaca PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by kukkurovaca (member) 9 years ago
bmpw66 --


Do I understand this correctly by "when both lenses are at f2" ? (it took me some time to realize your other 35 was uncoated).


Yeah, at first I thought it was changes in light level from a nearby TV, but then I shot something with a stable light source. The difference is immediately visible to the eye and in the histogram. It's not quite a full stop, but it's definitely an appreciable difference.

Nantonos --


What is the focus throw on this AiS version? How do you find the focus handling? (I ask because some AiS lenses have shorter throws than the corresponding Ai version).


The focus throw is shorter, but the dampening is better; I'd call it a wash. They're both pretty easy to focus. (Be easier if I had better eyes, but that's not really something you can saddle the lens with.)

Also, in the course of my first attempts at comparison test shots, I determined experimentally that this lens/camera combo is capable of sustaining a 2-3 foot fall with no noticeable damage... : )

Lesson of the day: Check to make sure your QR plates are fully seated before allowing a slightly heavy lens to flop your tripod head forward.
soundman1024 9 years ago
I joined the +$100 club with my last lens. The waters are alright on this side, and as a bonus it seems to have been a cure for new lens fever for me. By that I mean I haven't bought a new one since. I can say I think you've got me wanting to do away with my 50mm E based on these photos.

Also the heavy glass flopping tripod head phenomenon is one I've experienced as well. It seems to be particularly worse with my ball head tripod.
Karl Gunnarsson PRO 9 years ago
Man, you're not half as dumb at lens dropping as I am. Back at my old place I had a habit of putting my cameras on top of a low chest in the hallway as I came home. One time I pick up my D40 without noticing the Zorki lies on top of the D40's strap. Luckily the chest wasn't very high but the Jupiter-8 lens on the Zorki is aluminium.

Bent lip on the lens meaning the filter screw thread is borked and I can't put a lens cap on. Could have gone worse. Doesn't surprise me that old Nikon lenses are stronger than old Russian ones :)

Oh, and congrats on the new lens. I find my 30mm to be too narrow on the D40 but a 35mm f/1.4 on a Nikon film body sounds like a dream!
kukkurovaca PRO 9 years ago
soundman --


The waters are alright on this side, and as a bonus it seems to have been a cure for new lens fever for me


Yeah, except now that the taboo is broken, I find myself really wanting a 105mm f/1.8.... : )


I find my 30mm to be too narrow on the D40 but a 35mm f/1.4 on a Nikon film body sounds like a dream!


I like 35mm on DX (roughly equivalent to a normal lens), but I skew towards the long end in my focal length choices across the board. : )

But, fortunately, I like 35mm on film too, especially when working near the close focusing limit.

One small problem for me -- someone removed the meter coupling prong! I'll have to check to see if KEH has spares. Of course, it's not like I need metering when I shoot digital, but I have slide film in the Nikkormat right now, and I'd rather not guesstimate it.
rlnv 9 years ago
You should be able to do stopped-down metering with your Nikkormat. Just activate your meter and hit the depth of field preview button.
kukkurovaca PRO 9 years ago
Comparison between the 35mm f/2 O Non-AI and the 35mm f/1.4 AIS is here. Feel free to download the original files and scrutinize to your heart's delight.

Summary:

The AIS is between 1/3 and 2/3 of a stop faster than the f/2. It does appear to be sharper in the aperture range tested (f/2-f/5.6). I'm not great at spotting distortion, but I do think the 1.4 has some (which is what I've seen reported elsewhere). At f/2, the 35mm f/1.4 has slightly smoother bokeh than the f/2.

These are unedited conversions from Capture NX. I shot with low sharpening and contrast settings in-camera.
BeWePa PRO 9 years ago
Thank for the comparision. It seems to be a real nice lens.

As an object (ie not talking about the pictures) I find the non-AI version of the 1.4 especially beautyful. I think it is the radiocative lens which turns yellowish with the time.
basegrinder 9 years ago
I have a couple pictures with a yellowed 50mm S. very cool effect I think, especially since I was taking pix of antiques.
kukkurovaca PRO 9 years ago
I finally started to get over the f/1.4 thing, and I've got some shots at smaller apertures (f/4-f/8):

All Wound Up

(View at large/original if you want to see the carpet texture detail.)

Telltale

Graduation

Even when stopped down a bit, the out of focus areas are rendered quite smoothly, and sharpness and contrast are quite good.
basegrinder 9 years ago
According to some guy (posted his page in this group) the 50mm 1.4 was "optimized" for close up in a few instances/series.



which makes sense in that:

1. It is VERRRRRRY nice @ 1.4 up to about 10' maybe more...haven't tested that.

2. It is VERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY bad @ 1.4 at or near infinity. gets that horrid mossy look especially on things like tree brances.
*laky PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by *laky (member) 9 years ago
Nice purchase!

The 35/1.4 AIS is considered one of the sharpest nikkor lens (see www.naturfotograf.com/bestof.html) and your f4 pictures really confirm that.

I have the previous AI version but I have no idea what the differences are. I get better results stopped down to f2 as well.

On optimisation, I think a lot of the fast MF Japanese lens are optimised for close focus due to the bokeh craze in Japan. Close-up subject in tack sharp focus and background a complete messy blurry haze.
kukkurovaca PRO 9 years ago
Did a quick comparison today (I may post the shots later, or I may delete them and not bother, depending on how I'm feeling when I download the card), and the 35mm f/1.4 AIS is definitely also faster, and sharper, than my 50mm f/1.4 S at both f/1.4 and f/2. The light-transmission difference is, however, less severe than with my 35mm f/2.
kukkurovaca PRO 9 years ago
Here are the shots -- just handheld, nothing extensive:

www.flickr.com/photos/kukkurovaca/sets/72157606824603803/
whatadqr 8 years ago
I just got a line on a clean AI (not AIS) 35mm f/1.4 for $250.

Does that sound right?
Seems cheap to me...

...
kukkurovaca PRO 8 years ago
If it's in good shape, that's on the low side, even if it's not the AIS.
Jock? PRO 8 years ago
That's how much I paid (in AU$, mind) for an AI 35/2.
Zenndott 8 years ago
I have the Ai version, and find it to be a great lens for flower photography. I would never let it go.

Ajisai.jpg


Alex
James Kaarremaa 8 years ago
I really want one but these days I have so much trouble manual focusing. It's partly my eyes partly my camera. My 85mm f1.4 AIS sits fairly unused and my 50mm f1.8 AI I use on occasion but it still gives me trouble. I think AF is in my lens future.
kukkurovaca PRO 8 years ago

I really want one but these days I have so much trouble manual focusing. It's partly my eyes partly my camera. My 85mm f1.4 AIS sits fairly unused and my 50mm f1.8 AI I use on occasion but it still gives me trouble. I think AF is in my lens future.


DOF won't be as absurdly shallow with the 35mm f/1.4 as with the 85 (unless you're focusing very close)....still, it might be an issue.
C. Strife 8 years ago
35mm 1.4G rumored to come out in Oct.

--
Seen in the group"No metering lenses on Nikon DSLRs" (?)
kukkurovaca PRO 8 years ago

35mm 1.4G rumored to come out in Oct.


Would be a smart move for Nikon to make, although I hope they do more than just add an AF-S motor and take off the aperture ring this time. If Nikon can merge the strengths of its existing 35mm lenses and bump up the sharpness wide open, they'll have one badass lens.
C. Strife 8 years ago
along the same lines will be the 85 1.4G...so lets see if the rumors are true come this oct....

--
Seen in the group"No metering lenses on Nikon DSLRs" (?)
Jock? PRO 8 years ago
The problem, Nick, is that the current AF 35/2 isn't as optically strong as the AI / AI-S version.

They'd have a better lens if they started there and fixed the flare/ghost thing.
tryex00 8 years ago
It's a beautiful lens. It was my first other lens after I bought an FM2n with the 50 f1.4 Ais. Hope you enjoy it. :)
mausgabe PRO 7 years ago
I picked up a 35/2 AIS recently. I have until tomorrow to decide whether to keep it. Since I'm planning to sell / trade a few other lenses (20/2.8D, 24/2.8D, 35/2D, Tamron 28-75/2.8 non-BIM, Tokina 300/4), I'm considering picking up a 35/1.4 AIS instead (tomorrow or later, depending on the sales / trades).

I love the 50/1.2 AIS. Is the 35/1.4 AIS worth it? (I might just buy it new.)
kukkurovaca PRO 7 years ago

Is the 35/1.4 AIS worth it? (I might just buy it new.)


Depends. The 35mm f/2 is in many ways a better all-around lens. Flatter field, less distortion, and more reliably smooth bokeh. On the downside, it is more vulnerable to flare and ghosting.

The 35mm f/1.4 is fantastically sharp, esp. at f/5.6. It also gives you the option of shooting at f/1.4 when you need it -- the lens isn't at its best wide open, but it's better to have the option than not. However, its edge/corner performance is not as good as the 35mm f/2, and the bokeh is...interesting. Sometimes that means interestingly awesome, sometimes it means distracting.

Also, something to bear in mind when evaluating this lens is whether you plan to shoot it mostly on DX or mostly on FX or film. On DX, you're trimming the edges off anyway, and so the performance will be better overall.

If you mostly want to use the lens for things like street and documentary work (or photojournalism -- this lens was really built for that), the 35mm f/1.4 is pretty much the bee's knees.

If you want something for landscape or architecture or other such applications where corner performance and distortion are more likely to be important, I'd say stick with the 35mm f/2, or perhaps one of the 28mm lenses.
mausgabe PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by mausgabe (member) 7 years ago
Thanks! I'm shooting D700. I have the 28/2 AI, 50/1.2 AIS, 85/2 AIS (so-so) and 100/2.8E.

I just happened to have the newly acquired 35/2 AIS with me when we had an impromptu fire drill. I'm on the First Responders team, so I took photos of our new stretcher:

New Gear Demo

I like the lens -- was just musing re the faster one (and its relative sharpness @ f/2 & f/2.8). I did try a used 35/1.4 awhile ago, but wasn't into 35mm FL that much at the time.

Hmm, maybe I "need" both? ;-)
kukkurovaca PRO 7 years ago

I like the lens -- was just musing re the faster one (and its relative sharpness @ f/2 & f/2.8). I did try a used 35/1.4 awhile ago, but wasn't into 35mm FL that much at the time.

Hmm, maybe I "need" both? ;-)


The 35mm f/1.4 is probably sharper, particularly at f/2.8 and f/4. However, bear in mind that my perceptions are based on my comparison between it and the 35mm f/2 O pre-AI. I believe the O is the same optical formula as the later f/2 versions (until the AF model), but the lack of multicoating means that the O is going to lose a lot more contrast, and so appear softer, than the f/2 AIS would.

It's hard to say that you really need both -- but then, I've steadfastly refused to part with either of mine. Ultimately, I think it comes down to whether you crave that fast aperture and center sharpness enough to outweigh the added cost and the lens's faults in other areas. For me, it works out that way; the 35mm f/1.4 AIS is my most-used Nikon lens. (Well, it used to be. Now it's the 2.8cm f/3.5, but that's because I shoot so much infrared now.)
mausgabe PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by mausgabe (member) 7 years ago
Since I have f/2.8 AF options (zooms), I'm leaning towards the 35/1.4 AIS rather than keeping the 35/2 AIS (or 35/2D). I do remember the 35/1.4's bokeh could be a bit "prominent" at some apertures, but I like its performance wide open, as well as stopped down a bit.

Here's a series of test shots I took last year @ f/8, f/1.4 and f/1.4 + deliberate front focus -- the middle one represents part of the reason I'd get it again:
The Fountain - Version 1 by mausgabe

The Fountain - Version 2 by mausgabe

The Fountain - Version 3 by mausgabe

Hard to decide, though -- sometimes I prefer the 28mm's FOV.

Thanks!
spokanekelly PRO 7 years ago
I just got a 35/1.4 a few months ago. I finally got around to shooting with it and love it on my D200. I find it to be super sharp at f2 and above. f1.4 isn't bad either. There's a few recent shots with it in my photostream.
mausgabe PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by mausgabe (member) 7 years ago
I'm going to stand pat for now and keep the 35/2 AIS.

My manual focus set remains 28/2 AI, 35/2 AIS, 50/1.2 AIS, 85/2 AIS and 100/2.8 E.

Thanks, KUK and everyone else, for the input -- much appreciated.
achilles_ds 7 years ago
congrats on the purchase!! happy shooting!!
basegrinder 7 years ago
At the price these lenses are at and the price the 35mm G is I'm not sure this lens is worth it for most people.
kukkurovaca PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by kukkurovaca (member) 7 years ago

At the price these lenses are at and the price the 35mm G is I'm not sure this lens is worth it for most people.


Definitely. Particularly since the 35mm G is sharper at f/1.8-2 than the 35mm f/1.4 is.

For those who like manual focus lenses and those who insist on distance scales, I definitely recommend the 35mm f/2, provided they can find a reasonably priced copy. The 35mm f/1.4 AIS is a lot harder to recommend to the average photographer, even the average photographer who's into old glass.

Which is why I seldom advise people to buy it unless they already have a pretty good suspicion that they want one. : )
Woof. 7 years ago
just sold my Nikkor-O C 35/2 for £43 on ebay UK (had the proper Ai kit on it)... which I wouild say was a very reasonable price (paid £35 for it late last year)

nice lens... slideshow for anyone bored enough to watch
Silviano Carrillo 7 years ago
Tremendously soft, but why are you using it like a semi-macro?
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