Nikon 28mm f/1.4 vs. Nikon 35mm f/1.8: A Detailed Lens Showdown for the Passionate Photographer

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Welcome to the fascinating world of photography lenses! If you’ve found yourself at the crossroads, deliberating between the artistic capabilities of Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the versatility of Nikon 35mm f/1.8, you’ve arrived at the right place. As you embark on your photographic journey, the lens you choose can drastically transform the stories your images tell, whether you’re capturing the delicate details of portraiture, the grandeur of landscapes, or the subtle narratives of street photography.

In this article, we’ll delve into an in-depth comparison of the two popular choices – the wide, dramatic 28mm lens and the classic, balanced 35mm lens. Both lenses are capable of astounding feats, but they bring distinct flavors to your images. This comparison will not only aid you in making an informed choice but will also introduce you to a world of creative possibilities these lenses can unlock.

So, are you intrigued to know how the 28mm lens can enhance your low-light captures or deliver beautifully isolated subjects? Or perhaps you’re curious about how the 35mm lens can handle a wide range of scenarios with its more neutral perspective and greater portability? Maybe you’re an aspiring street photographer looking for the right balance of discreetness and image quality, or a night artist seeking that perfect low-light performance?

With the answers to these questions and more, this article will equip you with a deeper understanding of these lenses, fueling your passion for photography, and guiding you to a lens choice that resonates with your unique style and needs. So, gear up for an illuminating journey that promises to transform the way you perceive the world through your viewfinder.

Let’s dive in!


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E EDNikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G ED
Max ApertureF1.4F1.8
Aperture TypeFixedFixed
Focal Range (mm)2835
Mount TypeNikon F (FX)Nikon F (FX)
Max Format35mm FF35mm FF

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and Nikon 35mm f/1.8 you’ve presented are both fixed-aperture lenses, designed for Nikon F (FX) mount, and compatible with a 35mm full-frame (FF) format. They share similarities in terms of function and usage, but their distinctions can cater to different photographic requirements and preferences.

Starting with the 28mm lens, this wide-angle lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, wider than the 35mm lens. A wider aperture means that it can allow more light into the camera, offering better performance in low light conditions. This advantage can be particularly beneficial if you often shoot in dimly lit environments or during nighttime. Additionally, a larger aperture can create a shallower depth of field, isolating subjects and creating a pleasing background blur. However, it’s also important to consider that wider aperture lenses can sometimes introduce more distortion or vignetting, especially when used at the widest focal lengths. These effects can often be corrected in post-processing, but it’s worth being mindful of this potential trade-off.

On the other hand, the 35mm lens comes with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, which is smaller than the 28mm lens but still relatively wide. While this lens might not perform as well as the 28mm lens in low-light conditions, it can still provide excellent image quality and good low-light performance. Its focal length of 35mm makes it slightly less wide than the 28mm lens, which can make it a better choice for photographers who prefer a more neutral perspective closer to the human eye’s natural field of view. It can be particularly suitable for general-purpose photography, including environmental portraits, street photography, and certain types of landscape shots.

To conclude, if you often shoot in low-light situations or want to achieve a shallower depth of field for isolating subjects, the 28mm f/1.4 lens could be the superior choice. Conversely, if you value a more neutral perspective and potentially greater portability and affordability, the 35mm f/1.8 lens might be more suitable.

Design and Ease of Use

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E EDNikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G ED
Diameter x Length (mm)⌀83×100.5mm⌀72×71.5mm
Weight (gr)645305
Filter Thread (mm)7758
Weather SealingYesNo
Distance ScaleYesYes
DoF ScaleYesYes
Hood SuppliedYesYes
Hood CodeHB-83HB-70

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 presented in the table differ mainly in terms of size and weight, factors that significantly affect usability and the photographer’s experience.

Firstly, the 28mm lens is larger, with a diameter of 83mm and a length of 100.5mm, compared to the 35mm lens, which has a smaller diameter of 72mm and a shorter length of 71.5mm. A larger lens can offer more room for optical elements, potentially resulting in better image quality. However, its larger size may make it less suitable for photographers who need a compact and portable setup, especially for street or travel photography. The larger size could make the photographer more noticeable, which might not be ideal when shooting discreetly.

The 28mm lens is considerably heavier, weighing in at 645 grams, compared to the 35mm lens, which weighs only 305 grams. A heavier lens might offer better build quality and durability, but it could also make your camera setup feel front-heavy, potentially leading to discomfort during long shooting sessions. On the flip side, a lighter lens like the 35mm could provide a better balance, especially when mounted on smaller camera bodies, and reduce the strain during extended periods of shooting.

The lighter weight of the 35mm lens also contributes to its overall portability, which could be a significant advantage when traveling or for on-the-go photographers who frequently change locations. Moreover, a lighter and smaller lens requires less storage space, making it more convenient for photographers with limited room in their camera bags.

In conclusion, if you have better optical performance and don’t mind the extra size and weight, the 28mm lens is the better choice. On the other hand, if portability, balance, and discreetness are of utmost importance, the lighter and smaller 35mm lens would likely be the superior option. It’s all about finding the right balance between performance and convenience that best aligns with your photography needs.

Lens Mount and Barrel

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 present contrasting features in relation to lens mount and lens barrel, vital components that directly influence the lens’ durability, weather-resistance, handling, and overall user experience.

Starting with the 28mm lens, the lens mount is constructed from resilient metal, ensuring a robust and secure attachment to camera bodies. Its noteworthy feature is a rubber gasket that fortifies the lens against environmental challenges like dust and moisture. Such a feature enhances the lens’s versatility, enabling its usage in a variety of demanding environmental conditions.

As for the lens barrel, it is a composite of plastic and metal elements, ensuring a balanced blend of durability and lightness. A unique scalloped shape enhances the grip, mitigating fatigue, especially significant considering the lens’s relatively heavy nature for a 28mm prime lens. This ergonomic design factor enhances handling and usability during prolonged usage. Despite its plastic construction, this lens does not compromise on aesthetics or durability. A 14-karat gold-filled debossed metal plate around the focus distance window adds a luxurious touch to its look.

Transitioning to the 35mm lens, it mirrors the 28mm lens in having a sturdy, dull-chromed metal mount with a protective rubber gasket, contributing to its resilience and suitability for outdoor photography. Its lens barrel is primarily plastic, making it lightweight and portable. The matte finish on the barrel enhances scratch resistance, extending the life of the lens. A standout feature is the Inner Focus (IF) design, which maintains the lens’s size regardless of the focus setting, adding to its compactness. Combined with the rubber-coated focus ring, these features ensure the lens is comfortable to use over extended periods.

Summing up, both lenses have their own unique strengths. If you prioritize durability, weather-resistance, and a luxurious aesthetic, the 28mm lens with its metal mount and unique scalloped barrel is the superior choice. However, if portability, user-friendly design, and ease of use in various focus settings are your preferences, then the 35mm lens, with its lightweight plastic barrel, could be the winner.

Weather Sealing

When comparing the weather sealing of the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, both of these two lenses offer some degree of protection against the elements. Still, they each have unique specifications that distinguish their performance.

Firstly, the 28mm lens provides comprehensive weather sealing designed for demanding environments. It has internal seals to protect against dust and moisture, allowing photographers to confidently capture shots in a wide range of conditions, including sandstorms, rainfall, and freezing temperatures. Additionally, the mount features a rubber gasket which guards against dust entering the camera, enhancing the overall resilience of the lens. One distinguishing feature of this lens is the fluorine coating on the front element. This coating not only amplifies its resistance to dust and moisture, but also makes cleaning easier by repelling water and grease, fortifying its already robust weather sealing and making it a versatile choice for outdoor photography in diverse conditions.

On the other hand, the 35mm lens has a more basic level of weather protection. The rubber gasket at the lens mount, a feature typical of many Nikon lenses, prevents dust and moisture from entering the camera body, enhancing its durability in harsh environments. However, it lacks the comprehensive internal sealing of the 28mm lens. Additionally, this lens does not feature a fluorine coating on the front element, a feature that can greatly enhance ease of cleaning and resistance to dust, moisture, and smudges.

In conclusion, while both lenses offer some level of weather resistance, the 28mm lens boasts a more extensive and comprehensive weather sealing system. With a fluorine coating, and a rubber gasket, it is better equipped to withstand a wider range of harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, if you often find yourself shooting in challenging weather or need to ensure the longevity of your lens, the 28mm lens would be the superior choice in terms of weather sealing.


Starting with the Nikon 28mm f/1.4, it is equipped with a single focus ring located conveniently at the front of the lens barrel. Its accessibility and rubberized grip design enhance user comfort and control. At approximately 30 centimeters wide, the ring provides ample space for manual focus adjustments. The smooth, precise rotation of the focus ring, along with its 135-degree throw, makes it suitable for wide open manual focusing. A key feature of this lens is the ‘fly by wire’ system, where adjusting the focus ring sends a command to the camera to change the focus, rather than mechanically moving lens elements. This technology provides unique tactile feedback. Additionally, the lens is equipped with a windowed distance scale. However, its small size and closely spaced markings at f/11 and f/16 limit its utility.

On the other hand, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 also features a single focus ring, but it is positioned in the middle of the lens barrel. The placement is still accessible and the ring, measuring around 2.5 cm wide, offers a comfortable grip thanks to its rubberized, profiled surface. While the ring operates smoothly, there is a slight delay between movement and response due to a bit of play in the coupling. This could affect precision when manual focusing is required. Like the 28mm lens, the 35mm lens also has a windowed distance scale, with a depth-of-field mark at f/16.

In conclusion, while both lenses offer well-designed rings with comfortable grip and accessible placement, the 28mm lens stands out for its superior user experience. It provides smooth and precise control, thanks to its wider ring and ‘fly by wire’ system that offers immediate feedback. Its focus ring’s adequate resistance ensures accurate focus adjustments, which can be particularly beneficial in challenging photography scenarios. Therefore, for photographers who prioritize precision, control, and a unique tactile experience, the 28mm lens is the superior choice for ring design.


The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 embraces simplicity with its single AF/MF toggle switch on the lens barrel. Its design promotes quick and efficient operation, as it falls conveniently under the thumb, offering easy accessibility. This toggle switch enables a smooth transition between auto-focus and manual focus modes. Moreover, it supports instant manual override in the M/A position – a handy feature for photographers requiring immediate focus adjustments without completely switching to manual mode. However, a drawback to the 28mm lens is the mounting index dot’s size and color. Its small size and white color might make it difficult for some users to quickly and accurately align the lens when attaching it to the camera, particularly in dim lighting conditions.

Conversely, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, with its minimalist design, also features an M/A and M switch, which is efficiently positioned on the side of the lens barrel. The M/A position supports autofocus with the flexibility of manual focus override, while the M position enables full manual focus operation. This intuitive switch design allows for swift and effective toggling between settings. A notable advantage is the clear marking of the switch, ensuring users can effortlessly discern their current mode.

In conclusion, both lenses provide streamlined and efficient switch designs that enhance user experience by offering convenient and quick operation. However, the 35mm lens, with its clear mode markings and strategic side placement, offers a slight edge over the 28mm lens. It mitigates the alignment challenges presented by the 28mm lens’s small and less noticeable mounting index dot. Hence, the 35mm lens emerges as the superior option when considering switch/button design and functionality.

Filter Thread

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the 35mm lens display distinct attributes when it comes to the filter thread aspect.

The 28mm lens incorporates a standard 77mm screw-on filter thread, making it effortless to attach various filters to the lens. The notable feature of this lens is its Rear Focus mechanism, where the front element and filter thread remain stationary when focusing. This design is advantageous for photographers using polarizing or graduated filters, as the effects of these filters won’t be altered during focus adjustments. Consequently, the 28mm lens establishes itself as highly compatible with diverse filter usage.

In contrast, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 hosts a 58mm filter thread. This size is commonplace among many Nikon lenses, making it simple and economical to interchange filters among these lenses. However, the thread is made of plastic, which could potentially be less durable with frequent filter changes. Nevertheless, like the 28mm lens, the 35mm lens’s filter thread does not rotate when focusing, making it user-friendly with polarizing or graduated neutral density filters. The fixed nature of the front element and filter thread also enhances the use of petal-shaped lens hoods, reducing lens flare and safeguarding the front element.

In sum, while both lenses offer non-rotating filter threads enhancing the use of polarizing and graduated filters, the 28mm lens with its 77mm metal filter thread provides more robustness and stability compared to the 35mm lens with its plastic 58mm thread. This factor, combined with the wide-ranging filter availability for its thread size, gives the 28mm lens a slight edge in terms of filter thread superiority.

Lens Hood

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the 35mm lens each come equipped with distinct lens hoods that contribute to their functionality and user experience.

The 28mm lens includes the HB-83 bayonet lens hood, found within the packaging. This hood is constructed of sturdy plastic, keeping the lens set-up lightweight yet durable. It sports a dull finish designed to mitigate reflections that might lead to lens flare or ghosting, enhancing image quality. Its bayonet-style attachment offers a quick and easy method for connecting and removing the hood with a simple twist, streamlining the photographer’s workflow. The hood’s shape is tailored to match the lens’s field of view, preventing it from blocking the frame. Further convenience is provided by the hood’s capacity to be reversed and stored on the lens, saving valuable space during transit. Despite this, it is generally advised to keep the hood attached to the lens consistently, as it helps reduce the potential for unwanted light artifacts and provides an added layer of protection for the front lens element.

On the other hand, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 comes with the petal-shaped HB-70 lens hood. This plastic hood features a bayonet-style mount, striking a balance between lightweight functionality and durability. The hood has an ergonomic bevel that makes attaching and detaching a breeze. It can be rotated smoothly, and when attached, it sits tightly without wobble, ensuring stability during shooting sessions. This robust attachment acts as an effective shield against unwanted light flares, thereby aiding in producing optimal images.

In conclusion, both lens hoods offer value with their lightweight construction, easy-to-attach bayonet mounts, and effective flare prevention. The choice between the two comes down to a matter of preference, given their slightly different designs.

Focusing and Optical Stabilization

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E EDNikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G ED
AF MotorRing-type ultrasonicSilent Wave Motor
Rotating Front ElementDoes not rotate on focusingDoes not rotate on focusing
Min Focus Distance0.28m0.25m
Max Magnification (X)0.170.24
Full-Time Manual FocusYesYes
Focus MethodInternalInternal

Focusing Performance

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and the 35mm lens each exhibit unique focusing performance characteristics, from autofocus to manual override functionalities.

The 28mm lens exhibits robust autofocus performance. While the focus mechanism is not entirely silent, emitting a faint hiss and clicks during operation, it is generally quiet. Its focusing speed is satisfactory, taking about 0.6 seconds to adjust from infinity to 0.4m. The lens also excels in low-light conditions, especially when paired with a contemporary camera body. It delivers a commendable performance even at a wide aperture of f/1.4, maintaining sharp focus. Nonetheless, it may necessitate some fine-tuning, particularly when the depth of field is minimal around a distance of 1m.

Its manual focus override is instantaneous and smooth, and the design of the focus ring enhances ease of use. Furthermore, the internally focusing design keeps the lens length constant, aiding in compactness and filter compatibility. Although the lens does exhibit focus breathing, the marginal increase in magnification from infinity to 0.4m should not be overly distracting in most shooting scenarios.

Conversely, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 offers efficient autofocus performance utilizing a ring-type ultrasonic system, which operates quietly and swiftly. It’s impressively fast, managing to focus from infinity to 35cm in about 0.5 seconds. The focus accuracy is dependable, often achieving dead-on focus. Despite the smooth manual focus operation, there is a slight slack between the focus ring movement and focus action, potentially causing minor annoyance to some users.

The inner focus design keeps the lens length constant, irrespective of focus and zoom settings. However, focus breathing is visible and might be noticeable for videographers as subjects in the background tend to appear larger when focusing closer.

In conclusion, both lenses deliver admirable autofocus performance, yet each with its unique attributes and slight trade-offs. The 28mm lens stands out with its superb low-light performance and accuracy at wide apertures, whereas the 35mm lens impresses with its ultra-quiet operation and swift focusing speed. Although both lenses exhibit focus breathing, the 28mm lens manages to keep this effect relatively minor. Therefore, considering all aspects, the 28mm lens offers a slightly superior focusing performance overall.

Optical Stabilization

Analyzing the optical stabilization of the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and Nikon 35mm f/1.8 reveals they both lack this feature, which is commonplace among wide-angle prime lenses. Given the wider field of view, these lenses aren’t as significantly impacted by the minor movements that optical stabilization counteracts.

The 28mm lens, with its large maximum aperture of f/1.4, enables quicker shutter speeds in low-light situations, which can help alleviate the effects of camera shake. However, it’s worth noting for photographers or videographers who often work in low-light or high-motion conditions, a lens offering built-in image stabilization or a camera providing in-body image stabilization might be more suitable.

Similarly, the 35mm lens also lacks optical stabilization. The absence of stabilization is typical in lenses with wider angles, and its impact is generally minimal given the broader scope of view and reduced susceptibility to camera shake.

Considering both lenses lack optical stabilization, the comparative superiority cannot be determined. However, the 28mm lens’s larger aperture might provide an edge in stabilizing images, especially in low-light scenarios by allowing faster shutter speeds.

In conclusion, optical stabilization is less critical for wide-angle lenses, but can still provide advantages in specific situations, such as low-light or handheld shooting. Other solutions like a tripod or in-body image stabilization can help achieve sharpness and stability. A fast lens with a larger aperture, like the 28mm lens, can also effectively counteract the absence of optical stabilization.

Image Quality

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm F1.4E EDNikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm F1.8G ED
Special Elements3 aspherical + 2 ED element, Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings1 ED glass element, 1 aspheric element
Diaphragm Blades97
Circular ApertureYesYes


Looking at the Nikon 28mm f/1.4, it exhibits both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations, albeit they are generally well-controlled. Lateral chromatic aberration, characterized by a purplish halo around dark objects against a bright sky or a greenish or magenta tint on blurred objects, is not severe and only appears in a small number of test shots, mostly at full aperture. Conveniently, this can be corrected with software like Lightroom. The lens also shows longitudinal chromatic aberration (loCA), seen as magenta coloration in the foreground and greenish tones in the background, especially when shooting at f1.4. This type of aberration is more difficult to correct post-shoot.

The lens unfortunately underperforms in terms of coma, causing point light sources like stars to appear with small tails even at f/2.8, thus it’s less ideal for astrophotography. Lastly, this lens exhibits some spherochromatism, especially seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds when shot wide open, which decreases as the lens is stopped down.

On the other hand, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 also exhibits both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations. The lateral chromatic aberration is relatively light and more controlled at wider apertures compared to similar lenses. However, it becomes more noticeable beyond f/2, but like its 28mm counterpart, it can be corrected in post-processing. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is slightly more problematic, showing as green fringing in blurred backgrounds and magenta fringes in out-of-focus foregrounds, especially in high-contrast scenes. This aberration is more challenging to correct in post-processing.

In terms of coma, this lens performs quite well up to f2.8, especially in extreme lighting conditions, but stopping down to at least f4 reduces coma effectively. Lastly, there is some minor spherochromatism, especially noticeable on high-resolution cameras, which can add slight color fringes to out-of-focus highlights.

In conclusion, both lenses exhibit both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations and spherochromatism, but the 28mm lens struggles more with coma. Conversely, the 35mm lens shows better control over coma, especially when stopping down to f4. Overall, the 35mm lens appears to handle aberrations more effectively, making it the superior choice in this regard.


The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 showcases an impressive sharpness performance across its aperture range. Center sharpness is superb, consistently delivering high-quality results from the widest aperture of f/1.4 through to f/16. In comparison, edge or corner sharpness is also noteworthy, particularly from f/1.4 through to f/11, with a slight decrease in quality at f/16. The lens manages to retain decent sharpness at its maximum aperture of f/1.4, although it isn’t as sharp in the corners as some other high-performance lenses.

By stopping down the lens, sharpness improves remarkably with peak sharpness occurring at f/2.8. This optimal performance persists until around f/11, beyond which the image tends to soften due to the onset of diffraction. The lens might display some softness in the corners at wide apertures, which improves substantially as you stop down. For consistent sharpness across the frame, f/5.6 would be the ideal aperture, but for maximum sharpness, it is advised to shoot at f/8 or larger.

Switching gears to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, it exhibits remarkable sharpness characteristics. The center sharpness is remarkable, even when shooting wide-open at f/1.8. This performance amplifies as you stop down the aperture, with the lens exhibiting exceptional sharpness at f/2.8 and narrower apertures. Corner sharpness starts off relatively weak at f/1.8 but sees significant improvement as you stop down, especially from f/4 onwards. The optimal aperture for this lens appears to be f/4, where all aspects of sharpness – center, mid-frame, and corner – are most balanced.

The sharpness starts to fade at f/16 due to diffraction. This lens’s impressive sharpness performance even rivals that of similar high-quality lenses, such as the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, when stopped down to f/4. Field curvature, particularly noticeable at the DX-corner, requires some adjustment in focusing for optimal resolution, but this doesn’t notably detract from the overall performance.

In summary, both lenses present excellent sharpness performance. The 28mm lens offers superior sharpness across a wide aperture range with peak performance at f/2.8. The 35mm lens, on the other hand, shows impressive sharpness, particularly from f/4 onwards, but may require some focus adjustment due to its field curvature. Given these features, for situations where corner sharpness and consistent sharpness across a wider aperture range are required, such as in landscape or architecture photography, the 28mm lens would be a superior choice. However, for scenarios where sharpness at mid to narrower apertures is more important, the 35mm lens could be a better fit.

Bokeh Quality

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 garners attention for its admirable bokeh quality. This is intriguing because such lenses aren’t typically recognized for creating outstanding bokeh. The out-of-focus areas created by this lens are described as smoothly transitioning and aesthetically pleasing. It adeptly focuses on the subject while blurring the background, maintaining a gradual shift from sharp to blurred areas. It might not rival the bokeh quality of the Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4, but it still offers a commendable performance. The bokeh quality is significantly improved compared to its older 28mm counterpart.

Its performance in astrophotography and nature photography showcases a beautiful contrast between the subject and the background. However, one should bear in mind that due to aspherical lens elements, the bokeh might seem onion-shaped when focusing on background highlights. Despite this, the lens is often applauded for its round, creamy, and soft bokeh, free of the typical ‘cat’s eye’ or ‘onion’ effects. From a technical perspective, considering aspects such as the rendering of point-light sources and the circle of confusion, this lens performs reasonably well. Though there is some spherochromatism at f/1.4, it is generally considered a minor issue.

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 produces a bokeh that differs based on the situation and settings. In the foreground, the lens tends to produce a smoother bokeh, especially when shooting at closer distances around 0.9m. However, as the distance increases, the bokeh starts to become more “nervous”, with outlines appearing in the background. This effect is more noticeable when photographing intricate backgrounds like foliage. Its maximum magnification of 0.24x and minimum focus distance of 25cm allow for effective subject isolation, creating a pleasing out-of-focus effect.

However, achieving this level of isolation is a bit more challenging when the subject is situated further away. Compared to lenses like the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G or the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, it’s clear that the latter two might offer superior bokeh rendering. Moreover, the bokeh quality may occasionally appear uneven, especially in the transition zone between in-focus and out-of-focus areas and far behind the focal plane. The shape of the out-of-focus highlights, although initially circular due to the rounded aperture blades, tends to distort at medium aperture settings, leading to this unevenness.

In conclusion, both lenses offer distinct bokeh qualities. The 28mm lens, with its smooth and pleasing bokeh and the ability to isolate subjects, provides a high degree of creative flexibility, especially when coupled with its outstanding sharpness. On the other hand, the 35mm lens produces varying bokeh effects depending on the situation and settings, and it may require careful handling to achieve the desired bokeh effect. If the aim is for a consistently pleasing and smooth bokeh, the 28mm lens has an edge. However, for scenarios where changing bokeh characteristics could add an artistic touch, the 35mm lens could be an interesting choice.


The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 showcases an impressive ability to manage flare and ghosting, largely attributed to its advanced coatings and design. When directly exposed to a potent light source, it largely remains free of artifacts, even when fully opened. Although there might be the occurrence of a faint ghost image when the light source is near the center, overall ghosting remains insignificant. At more contracted apertures, such as f/8, the lens yields delightful sun stars, accompanied by minimal ghosting.

Even under harsh conditions, such as direct sunlight in the frame, the degree of ghosting and flare is not considerable. When faced with a major light source like the sun during a solar eclipse, the lens still effectively mitigates flare and ghosting. The inclusion of Nikon’s nano-crystal coating technology significantly diminishes ghosting and flare issues, and also augments color and contrast in images. This becomes apparent in images taken directly towards the sun, where flare is barely detectable.

On the other hand, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 exhibits minimal flare and ghosting, even under strenuous conditions. When photographing against a powerful light source, only a few shots showcased discernible flares or feeble ghosting. The lens efficiently reduces the occurrence of veiling glare, thus preserving the depth and intensity of the black tones in the image. Even against the summer sun, with a stop of exposure compensation, the lens did not generate any ghosting or flares.

This resilience against flare and ghosting is credited to the lens’s super integrated coating (SIC), which adeptly mitigates these artifacts. However, at specific angles and particularly when stopped down to f/16, there may be occasional streaks of light in the frame, hinting at flare, but such incidents are quite infrequent. Bright lights intruding into the frame retain good contrast, although some moderate flaring might occur. It’s important to note, however, that utilizing UV and other filters may introduce more flares and ghosting into the images.

In conclusion, both lenses demonstrate competent handling of flare and ghosting. The 28mm lens, with its advanced coatings and nano-crystal technology, offers excellent control over these artifacts and excels even in extreme lighting conditions. The 35mm lens, aided by its super integrated coating, also offers commendable performance, with minor artifacts only in rare instances or with specific settings. Thus, both lenses manage flare and ghosting admirably, but the 28mm lens has a slight edge due to its resilience under even the most challenging conditions.


The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 tends to exhibit pronounced vignetting, especially when operating at wide-open apertures such as f/1.4. This phenomenon is characterized by a light falloff of over two stops towards the corners of the image. While some might view this as a disadvantage, this vignetting can serve as a creative tool, accentuating the center of the image. To curb the vignetting, one can opt for lens corrections, or stop down the aperture. By adjusting the aperture to f/2.8 in RAW and f/2 in jpeg, vignetting sees a significant reduction.

As the lens is further stopped down to around f/4 or smaller, vignetting becomes nearly inconsequential. Vignetting can also vary based on the focusing distance, being most marked at infinity. While post-processing software like Lightroom can be utilized to counteract vignetting, it may not always yield satisfactory results for this lens. However, some photographers might appreciate this characteristic, leveraging the aesthetic value that vignetting adds to their compositions, thus utilizing it to enhance the artistic appeal of their images.

Conversely, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 also displays substantial vignetting, particularly at wide-open apertures, measuring about 1.74 EV at its maximum aperture of f/1.4. By stopping down to f/1.8, vignetting is reduced to around 1 EV, signifying a considerable improvement. Again, post-processing software like Lightroom and DxO can be employed to manage vignetting. Moreover, the lens appears to handle filtering well, demonstrating no vignetting issues when operating with three stacked thick filters. However, one should bear in mind that the degree of vignetting can also be influenced by factors like focus distance and specific shooting conditions.

In conclusion, both lenses exhibit a significant degree of vignetting, particularly at wide-open apertures. However, the 35mm lens demonstrates better control, reducing the vignetting to a greater extent when stopped down. Thus, in terms of vignetting performance, the 35mm lens holds a slight edge over the 28mm lens.


The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 displays a moderate amount of barrel distortion, which is a common characteristic for wide-angle lenses. The extent of distortion varies between 0.4% and 1.2%, depending on different evaluations. However, this degree of distortion often goes unnoticed in images, especially in compositions devoid of straight lines. Although present, the barrel distortion can be easily rectified during post-processing using software tools like Lightroom or Photoshop. Also, several Nikon cameras and Adobe lens profiles offer automatic distortion correction for both JPEG and RAW images. In spite of the distortion, this lens manages to deliver exceptional image quality, holding its own among its counterparts.

On the other hand, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 displays a degree of distortion, but it remains reasonably controlled and manageable. With in-camera corrections disabled or while shooting in raw mode, it tends to produce some barrel distortion. When compared with other models, this lens exhibits similar distortion levels to the f/1.4G model, and notably outperforms its DX counterpart in this respect. However, when contrasted with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, the performance of the 35mm f/1.8G falls short due to Sigma’s nearly non-observable visible distortion. It should also be noted that the distortion degree can be influenced by the shooting conditions and the subject distance.

To conclude, both lenses exhibit some degree of barrel distortion, which is typical for wide-angle lenses. However, the 28mm lens displays less variation in distortion and manages it effectively while maintaining superior image quality. In terms of distortion control, the 28mm lens appears to have an edge over the 35mm lens.

Final Verdict

After comparing and contrasting the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 and Nikon 35mm f/1.8 in various categories, it’s clear that both have their own unique strengths and are better suited to different photography genres and experience levels.

For low-light photography or genres that benefit from a shallow depth of field, such as night photography, the 28mm f/1.4 lens stands out. Its superior performance in these areas may make it a better choice for professional photographers who need to isolate subjects or work in challenging lighting conditions. Its excellent handling of distortion, control over flare and ghosting, and overall image quality also make it well suited to architectural and landscape photography, where maintaining the integrity of lines and edges is paramount.

On the other hand, the 35mm f/1.8 lens, with its greater portability and affordability, is more appealing to street photographers, travel photographers, and those who value a more balanced, neutral perspective. Its superior control over aberrations and vignetting, coupled with its commendable sharpness at mid to narrower apertures, make it a strong performer in a variety of situations. This lens is also likely to be more suitable for beginners to intermediate photographers, given its user-friendly design and ease of use across various focus settings.

While the 28mm lens might require more experience to fully exploit its potential, it delivers superior results in challenging situations, such as in low light or when weather resistance is paramount. This might make it the go-to option for professional photographers or enthusiasts who are willing to invest time and effort to master their gear.

In conclusion, both lenses have their merits and the choice between the two will largely depend on the photographer’s preferred style, genre, and experience level. The 28mm lens is a stellar performer that provides flexibility and high-quality results, particularly suited to professional or more advanced photographers. Meanwhile, the 35mm lens is a reliable and user-friendly choice that’s well suited to beginners and intermediate photographers, offering good performance across a range of situations.

Meet the Author

Wei Mao

Wei was a cruise photographer who worked at Disney Cruise Line. He is a lucky traveler who has been to more than 20 countries with his camera while working on an around-the-world cruise. Photography has changed his view of the world forever. Now he wants more people to benefit from photography through his blog.

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