Imagine the allure of capturing a stunning cityscape with all its intricate details or the thrill of documenting the dynamism of a bustling street, with its tapestry of sights and emotions. Or consider the nuanced art of portraying the unique essence of a person through portraiture. In the enchanting world of photography, the lens you use plays a starring role in bringing your artistic vision to life.
Whether you’re an aspiring shutterbug, a seasoned hobbyist, or a pro behind the camera, choosing the right lens can be a game-changer for your photography journey. Today, we’re diving into the captivating comparison between two popular lenses from Nikon’s versatile lineup—the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8.
Why compare these two, you ask? Well, they are close siblings in the wide-angle family but offer unique characteristics that cater to different needs and genres of photography. The 28mm lens, with its broader field of view, is a boon for landscape or street photographers, while the 35mm lens is praised for its more natural perspective, perfect for environmental portraits or evocative event photography.
In this article, we aim to dissect the nuances of these two lenses, examining their attributes through various elements like low-light performance, distortion control, build quality, and much more. This deep-dive will not only help you discern the better-suited lens for your photography style but also empower you to maximize their potential and enhance your craft.
So, if you’re contemplating investing in a new lens or simply wish to expand your knowledge, this article will be a enlightening read. Unearth the distinctive charm and strengths of the 28mm and 35mm lenses and how they could be your next key to unlocking photographic excellence. Step into this intriguing exploration, and let’s help you find your perfect lens companion.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S
|Focal Range (mm)
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 share similarities, such as being fixed-aperture lenses and compatible with the Nikon Z mount, which means they maintain the same maximum aperture throughout the entire focal range, resulting in consistent performance. Their maximum format is also 35mm full frame, meaning they are designed to cover the image circle of a full frame sensor, resulting in no crop factor and optimal image quality.
Now let’s delve into their differences and how they affect photography.
Starting with the 28mm lens, it has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. In photography, aperture controls the amount of light entering the camera sensor. A narrower aperture like f/2.8 provides a more extensive depth of field compared to f/1.8. So this wide angle lens is more suitable for landscape and architectural photography where you’d want the entire scene in focus. However, it doesn’t have the same low light performance and blur from diffraction compared with f/1.8. Given these features, the 28mm lens would be more suited for situations where there is more light, and a deeper depth of field is required.
On the other hand, the 35mm lens has a larger maximum aperture of f/1.8. A wider aperture allows more light to enter the camera, which is beneficial for shooting in low light conditions. It creates a shallower depth of field, useful for isolating subjects and creating a pleasing background blur. While this could lead to less visibility of sensor dust and decreased intensity of starbursts, it may increase blur from lens aberrations. Consequently, the 35mm lens is better for shooting in low light conditions and when subject isolation is desirable.
Another consideration is the focal length. The 28mm lens is a wide-angle lens that provides a broad view of the scene. It’s ideal for capturing landscapes, architecture, or cramped indoor spaces. The 35mm lens, being a slightly longer focal length, offers a more natural perspective similar to human vision. It is excellent for street photography, environmental portraits, and everyday shooting.
Lastly, there’s a trade-off between the aperture size, weight, and cost of the lens. Lenses with larger apertures like the 35mm f/1.8 are generally heavier and more expensive than their counterparts with smaller apertures like the 28mm f/2.8. If portability and budget are important factors, the 28mm lens might be a better fit.
In conclusion, if low-light performance, subject isolation, and a more natural perspective are your top priorities, the 35mm F1.8 lens might be the better choice. However, if you require a wider field of view, deeper depth of field, and a more budget-friendly and lightweight option, the 28mm f/2.8 lens would be more suited to your needs.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S
|Diameter x Length (mm)
|Filter Thread (mm)
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 have differing dimensions and weights, both of which can significantly influence a photographer’s shooting experience.
Firstly, looking at the 28mm lens, it has a diameter of 70mm and a length of 43mm. Its relatively compact size is beneficial for photographers who need to carry their gear around for extended periods. Moreover, this lens weighs only 155 grams, which makes it a lightweight option. These characteristics offer several advantages.
For instance, this lens’s smaller size and weight add to its portability, allowing it to be easily transported, which is particularly beneficial when traveling or walking around for extended periods. Due to its compact size, it can also be stored more conveniently, taking less space in your camera bag and leaving room for additional gear.
Furthermore, its weight contributes to a better overall balance of your camera setup, preventing your camera from feeling front-heavy and unbalanced, ensuring comfortable and extended shooting sessions. Its discreet size makes it less conspicuous, beneficial for street photography where blending into the crowd often leads to more candid shots. Lastly, a lighter lens like the 28mm one is easier to handle when you need to swap lenses quickly, an essential factor in fast-paced environments.
In contrast, the 35mm lens has a diameter of 73mm and a length of 86mm, making it significantly larger than the 28mm lens. Additionally, it weighs considerably more at 370 grams. The larger size and weight of this lens could potentially make it more challenging to handle and carry for extended periods.
On the one hand, the bigger size could make storage more challenging, as it would take up more space in your camera bag. On the other hand, the heavier weight might lead to a front-heavy and unbalanced camera setup, causing potential discomfort during longer shoots. Furthermore, its more noticeable size could make you stand out more, possibly attracting unwanted attention when shooting in public spaces. Lastly, handling a heavier lens when swapping lenses could be more challenging in fast-paced shooting environments.
In conclusion, if portability, discreetness, and ease of lens swapping are priorities, the 28mm lens is superior due to its smaller size and lighter weight. However, if these factors are less of a concern for you, the 35mm lens might be an acceptable choice, bearing in mind the potential challenges related to its larger size and heavier weight.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 features a lens mount constructed of polycarbonate, a strong type of plastic celebrated for its resilience, even outperforming some metal mounts. However, it’s advised against carrying your camera by this lens, as excessive stress could potentially compromise its plastic mount. This mount relies on a hard plastic lip for sealing, aiming to keep out dust and moisture, although it lacks a specific weather-sealing feature like a rubber gasket. In terms of its lens barrel, it’s mainly plastic, which contributes to its lightweight feel. While some might perceive this as less sturdy, it’s worth noting that the barrel is precisely engineered and of solid build. A plastic focus ring, enveloped in rubber, ensures a comfortable grip and smooth focusing adjustments.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 has a metal lens mount, offering a robust and secure attachment to the camera body. The presence of four locking ears on the mount ensures a tight fit, reducing lens tilt and promoting optimal lens performance. Additionally, this lens mount incorporates a rubber gasket to safeguard against dust and debris intrusion. In terms of its barrel, it’s mostly plastic with some sections made of metal, adding to its durability. Despite the plastic components, the lens feels robust and sturdy, demonstrating that plastic can indeed stand up to tough conditions. Interestingly, the use of plastic can make the lens more manageable in extreme cold, where metal parts might become uncomfortably cold to touch.
If a lightweight, cost-effective, and smooth-to-adjust focus ring lens is appealing, the 28mm lens, with its primarily plastic construction, could be your go-to. However, if a sturdy feel and added protective features against dust and debris are your primary concerns, the 35mm lens, with its metal mount and durable lens barrel, offers clear advantages.
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 present distinct characteristics in terms of weather sealing.
The 28mm lens doesn’t have an explicit weather-sealing feature. Its design omits a dust gasket at the lens mount, and there are no apparent water ingress points. Though primarily composed of plastic components, it has a hard plastic lip at the lens mount, aiming to serve as a seal against dirt and dust. The lens has shown resilience in moderate weather conditions, continuing to perform well even after short exposure to rain. However, its weather resistance has its limits and is not specifically designed to withstand harsh conditions without added protective measures.
Contrastingly, the 35mm lens has a well-thought-out weather sealing system. It incorporates a rubber gasket at the lens mount, enhancing the lens-camera connection and providing a barrier against dust and moisture. Additionally, the lens features six distinct rubber rings located strategically around various parts, offering comprehensive weather resistance. Tested in diverse environments, this lens proves reliable, maintaining consistent performance irrespective of weather conditions.
Understanding the importance of weather sealing largely depends on your photography circumstances. It pertains to protective features preventing environmental elements, like dust or moisture, from infiltrating a lens. While not necessarily crucial for controlled, indoor settings, weather sealing becomes advantageous for outdoor and unpredictable conditions.
Comparatively, the 35mm lens with its robust weather sealing offers superior protection and reliability, especially beneficial for photographers frequently working in challenging environments. Though the 28mm lens has demonstrated reasonable resilience, its weather resistance is not explicit and falls short under harsh conditions. So, if your photography often has you contending with the elements, the 35mm lens would be your reliable companion. However, if you usually operate in more controlled conditions, and value a more lightweight setup, the 28mm lens could suffice, providing you take additional protective measures when necessary.
Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it boasts a singular ring – the focus ring, situated towards the lens front. The rubber-coated ring offers a pleasant grip, enhancing the user’s interaction. The fly-by-wire system contributes to a smooth rotation, allowing precise adjustments during manual focusing. The ring design is relatively simple, omitting any extras such as a windowed distance scale or depth-of-field indicator.
However, a standout feature is the ring’s versatility with Nikon Z series cameras. Initially serving as a focus ring, it can be programmed to control other settings, such as ISO or aperture, making it highly adaptable to individual shooting styles and various conditions. This customization contributes to the lens’s ergonomics and overall user-friendliness. The tactile feedback from the ring is satisfying, providing an appropriate level of resistance when rotated.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 features a single wide control ring that also functions as a focus ring. It’s conveniently located at the lens front and boasts a substantial width of 38mm. Unlike the 28mm lens, this ring is made of finely knurled metal and lacks rubberization. Despite this, the ring is impressively smooth in operation, easily adjusted even with minimal effort. The metal construction and knurling provide a sturdy feel and good grip.
Although the ring has a slight play, it doesn’t significantly affect the overall experience. The ring offers default instant manual-focus override but can also be customized to control settings like aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO, or even be entirely deactivated. This flexibility enhances user adaptability to various shooting preferences.
Evaluating the two, both rings have their distinct advantages. The 28mm lens offers a rubber-coated ring for an improved grip, while the 35mm lens provides a substantial, finely knurled metal ring for a robust feel. Both rings can be customized according to user preferences. However, if we consider factors such as grip comfort, control precision, and versatility, the 28mm lens’s focus ring appears to offer a slightly superior user experience due to its tactile feedback and comfortable grip. Conversely, if durability and a substantial, robust feel are more important, the 35mm lens’s metal ring could be the more appealing choice.
The two lenses, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8, present different approaches to their use of switches and buttons, thereby affecting their overall user interaction.
Starting with the 28mm lens, this model opts for a minimalist external design with no switches or buttons. Instead, it delegates any adjustments for autofocus or manual focus settings to the camera’s menu system or function buttons on the camera body. This reliance on the camera’s controls offers a sleeker physical appearance for the lens, although it may lead to more complex or less intuitive operations. Users would have to navigate through the camera’s menu system or recall their custom button assignments to alter these settings. Furthermore, the absence of a direct AF/MF switch indicates that shifting between autofocus and manual focus necessitates manipulating the camera’s settings, which could be less convenient for photographers who frequently alternate between these modes.
Conversely, the 35mm lens takes a simplistic design approach with a single physical switch – the A/M switch. This switch allows the user to effortlessly flip between auto and manual focus modes. The simplicity of its usage and its easy-to-locate position ensures quick changes between focus modes as required. The lens, although simple, prioritizes functionality and user-friendliness. The absence of numerous switches and buttons reduces potential confusion and offers a clean, uncluttered aesthetic.
Comparing both, each lens has its pros and cons. The 28mm lens’s button-less design offers a sleek, uncluttered look, but may complicate operations for some users. In contrast, the 35mm lens strikes a balance between simplicity and functionality with its single, easy-to-use switch.
In conclusion, if we consider ease of use and convenience, the 35mm lens, with its single, well-placed A/M switch, stands out as the superior choice. It allows quick, intuitive shifts between auto and manual focus, enhancing user experience, especially for photographers who frequently need to switch modes.
Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it boasts a 52mm filter thread. This size is quite standard, making it easy for photographers to find compatible filters. The lens’s filter thread is constructed from plastic, which might not be as robust as metal but typically stands up well to regular use. A significant feature is that the front element, along with the filter thread, remains stationary during focusing. This static characteristic is beneficial when using polarizing or graduated neutral density filters, which demand a specific alignment and could be disturbed if lens elements rotate during focusing.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 comes with a 62mm filter thread. This size is shared with other Nikon Z series lenses, like the Z 50mm f/1.8 S. This commonality is advantageous as it permits photographers to interchange filters across different lenses, providing a practical benefit. Much like its 28mm counterpart, this lens features a plastic filter thread that remains secure and doesn’t loosen in use, despite the lighter material. Similar to the 28mm lens, the front part of this lens, including the filter thread, does not rotate when focusing. This feature is highly valuable when using filters that are sensitive to orientation, such as polarizing and variable ND filters. Also, the static front helps to maintain cleanliness by preventing dust or air suction during focusing.
Comparing both lenses, each one offers unique benefits. The 28mm lens with its standard 52mm filter thread simplifies filter selection, while the 35mm lens promotes filter interchangeability among other Nikon Z series lenses with its 62mm filter thread.
In conclusion, considering convenience and flexibility, the 35mm lens stands out due to its shared filter thread size with other Nikon Z series lenses. This feature facilitates the interchangeability of filters across multiple lenses, offering an appealing benefit for photographers who utilize a range of Nikon Z series lenses in their repertoire.
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 does not come with a lens hood included in the box. While Nikon has not specified an official lens hood designed specifically for this model, there are third-party alternatives compatible with its 52mm filter thread. Models such as the F-Foto HF-52 or the LingoFoto HN-2, available online, can serve as suitable options. These non-official products can still provide some level of light blockage and lens protection, but compatibility and fitting might not be as seamless as an original accessory.
On the contrary, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 includes a lens hood right from the start. Identified as the HB-89 bayonet hood, this is a welcome inclusion, offering immediate convenience and lens protection. Constructed from lightweight and durable plastic, this bayonet-style hood ensures a secure fit, easy attachment, and removal. Its substantial size provides excellent shielding from stray sunlight hitting the front lens element, reducing potential for lens flare and maintaining image contrast. Another advantage is that you can attach the hood in a reverse position to decrease the lens footprint during storage.
Comparatively, the 35mm lens provides a more comprehensive solution by including a tailored lens hood. The bayonet hood offers a snug fit, ease of use, and substantial light protection, while also giving the option for reverse attachment when not in use.
In conclusion, the 35mm lens, with its included HB-89 bayonet hood, delivers superior user experience and lens protection. This convenience right out of the box, paired with the hood’s functional design and easy handling, make it a winning choice over the 28mm lens that lacks a manufacturer-specified lens hood.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S
|Rotating Front Element
|Does not rotate on focusing
|Does not rotate on focusing
|Min Focus Distance
|Max Magnification (X)
|Full-Time Manual Focus
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and 35mm lenses both exhibit unique attributes when considering focusing performance, with notable differences that may influence your choice depending on your specific needs.
The 28mm lens boasts a dual motor focusing system, including a stepping motor, which is typical for Nikon Z-mount lenses. This contributes to a robust autofocus performance, generally quick and on par with other lenses in the same class. The design also incorporates internal focusing, keeping the lens size consistent irrespective of the focus and zoom settings, which is beneficial when working with polarizing filters. Furthermore, this lens provides a minimum focusing distance of 7.5″ (.19m), enabling close-up photography.
It’s noteworthy that there might be some focus breathing, or slight change in angle of view when focusing, but it generally won’t be conspicuous in most scenarios. However, in low light conditions, the lens may have a bit of difficulty, particularly with continuous autofocus. An intriguing feature is the instant manual-focus override, providing a smooth and seamless transition to manual focus when necessary. Finally, this lens prides itself on its silent autofocus operation, ideal for video recording and situations where noise minimization is crucial.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 offers moderate autofocus speed, taking a moment to adjust focus from close distances to infinity and vice versa. It’s not instantaneous, but it is accurate, with a high repeatability rate of 98% according to Reikan FoCal tests. Similar to the 28mm lens, it employs internal focusing, meaning the lens size remains constant, and the front element does not rotate during focusing.
The 35mm lens, however, has slightly different manual focus characteristics. While it does offer manual-focus override, you might experience a slight delay when manually rotating the focus ring. Noise-wise, the lens motor is designed for quiet operation, although you might detect a faint buzz during video recording. Another noteworthy feature is the focus-by-wire system, contributing to fast focusing speed and excellent autofocus precision.
When we assess both lenses, it’s clear that the 28mm lens provides a quicker autofocus performance and a smoother manual-focus override transition, whereas the 35mm lens excels in low-light situations, has a higher autofocus repeatability rate, and features an effective focus-by-wire system.
In conclusion, although both lenses offer robust focusing performance, the 28mm lens, with its rapid and silent autofocus operation and instant manual-focus override, delivers a slightly superior user experience. It presents an ideal choice for users prioritizing speed and seamless transition between autofocus and manual focus modes.
When evaluating optical stabilization for the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8, there are some key similarities and differences worth noting, as both lenses rely on in-camera stabilization methods.
The 28mm lens, interestingly, lacks any internal optical stabilization. However, if you’re utilizing a camera with internal sensor-shift Image Stabilization or Vibration Reduction capabilities, this lens can still yield stable images. This kind of stabilization, where the camera sensor adjusts to offset minor movements, pairs effectively with the lens. It offers an improvement of approximately two stops, which implies you could use slower shutter speeds, thus helping in low-light conditions when longer exposures are required. The stabilization operation is generally silent, avoiding any noticeable noise. However, the effectiveness of stabilization is not solely lens-dependent; it can also rely on factors like your hand-holding technique and shooting conditions.
The 35mm lens, similar to the 28mm lens, does not have internal optical stabilization. Yet, it is designed to work synergistically with Nikon Z series cameras’ in-body image stabilization, capable of adjusting roll, pitch, and yaw movements. With these cameras, this lens can offer an improvement of roughly 2 to 3 stops in real-world conditions. However, under ideal circumstances and with excellent technique, you could potentially achieve up to 5 stops of improvement, as per Nikon’s claims. Notably, the 35mm lens utilizes all five axes of stabilization offered by Nikon Z cameras, which offers a significant edge over non-native lenses that only cater to pitch, yaw, and roll stabilization. This aspect makes this lens valuable for video recording and focus stacking, even without built-in stabilization.
To summarize, both lenses do not possess internal optical stabilization but can be paired effectively with cameras that have in-body stabilization capabilities. However, the 35mm lens edges out the 28mm in terms of working with Nikon Z series cameras, utilizing all five axes of stabilization, and potentially offering a higher improvement in stops under perfect conditions. Therefore, in the realm of optical stabilization, the 35mm lens appears to offer a slightly superior performance.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S
|2 aspherical elements
|2 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal Coat
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 displays a variety of aberrations depending on different conditions. Notably, longitudinal chromatic aberration, a type of color distortion seen as color fringes along high-contrast edges, is present when shooting wide open and remains somewhat visible at f/4, being more pronounced in the near field than the far field. However, this lens performs admirably in controlling lateral chromatic aberration. A related aberration, spherochromatism, is also evident, especially at larger apertures like f/2.8, resulting in color fringes on out-of-focus highlights.
Coma, a defect that causes off-axis point sources to appear comet-like, is higher than typical f/1.8 lenses, primarily affecting the full-frame corners at f/2.8, but it diminishes significantly by f/4 and disappears by f/5.6. Spherical aberration, leading to what’s often termed as “color bokeh,” is present, especially when shooting at full aperture, but improves by f/4 and is eliminated by f/5.6. While these aberrations can be challenging, certain camera settings and post-processing techniques can lessen their impacts, for instance, Nikon’s Z cameras’ automatic correction for lateral color fringes.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 showcases specific chromatic aberration traits. It displays noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration up to f/2.8, causing color fringing along contrast edges. However, this lens effectively manages lateral chromatic aberration, even at wider apertures.
Some degree of coma is visible at larger apertures but diminishes completely by f/4, an important consideration for astrophotography or night-time cityscapes where coma can be particularly evident. Spherical aberration is also detectable, signified by spherochromatism, but it lessens as the aperture is reduced. Remarkably, this lens includes a pair of extra-low dispersion elements and three aspherical lenses to counteract spherical aberration and distortion.
In conclusion, while both lenses exhibit a variety of aberrations, the 35mm lens manages these distortions more effectively, particularly with its design incorporating extra-low dispersion and aspherical elements. It shows better control over coma and spherical aberration, making it the superior choice in terms of aberration management.
Taking a closer look at the sharpness attributes of the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8, both render images with notable clarity and definition, but in different ways.
The 28mm lens offers impressive central sharpness at all aperture values, excelling particularly at its widest aperture of f/2.8, a testament to its superior optical design. The corners, however, display some softness at wider apertures, particularly at f/2.8, a common trait among lenses of this category. Stopping down to f/4 considerably improves corner sharpness, albeit it may not match the center’s precision. This corner softness is likely a result of factors like field curvature and sagittal coma flare, the latter of which is more evident in night skies or astronomical subjects.
The lens achieves optimal sharpness around f/4 to f/5.6, where both the center and corners yield commendable results. However, using smaller apertures (f/11 or below) could induce softness due to diffraction, so it’s best to avoid these if sharpness is your key focus. The lens shows superior sharpness performance at distance compared to close-ups. In wide-angle applications, the lens yields impressively sharp images when stopped down to approximately f/8.
Conversely, the 35mm lens displays outstanding sharpness throughout its performance. The central sharpness, while slightly weaker at maximum aperture, greatly improves at f/2.8. The corner and mid-frame sharpness are satisfactory at f/2.8, and the lens reaches its peak performance at f/5.6. Remarkably, it still provides good sharpness even at f/13. Close-up image quality is a bit softer at f/1.8, with sharpness incrementally improving at f/2.8 and f/4, but not quite reaching the sharpness levels observed at standard focal distances.
This lens, when compared to the Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus, lags slightly in the full-frame corner sharpness, but it marks an improvement over its F-mount predecessor, the Nikon 35mm f1.8G. It even outshines the Sigma 35mm f/1.8 Art in terms of sharpness at all apertures, with a noticeable difference in the center and extreme corners.
Drawing conclusions, while both lenses possess admirable sharpness characteristics, the 35mm lens outperforms its 28mm counterpart in a broader range of apertures and distances, making it the more versatile option for those seeking superior sharpness.
Investigating the bokeh quality of the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 provides a unique view into how each lens handles out-of-focus areas.
The 28mm lens, despite its wide angle and relatively slower aperture, offers a bokeh that is considered fairly pleasing. Its transition from in-focus to out-of-focus zones is handled smoothly, a characteristic seen in newer Nikkor lenses. The bokeh effect is subtle, seamlessly merging with the overall image instead of drawing attention. A slight onion-skinning effect is present in the out-of-focus highlights but doesn’t noticeably detract from the image quality. However, when the aperture is stopped down, the circles of confusion, or blur disks, do not maintain an entirely round shape, revealing some elongation and potential inconsistencies with the aperture blades. But despite these minor points, the bokeh performance is reasonably satisfactory for a lens of this kind.
On the other hand, the 35mm lens presents a bokeh quality that’s generally commendable for a lens of its type. Its out-of-focus areas render a soft, pleasing blur, though there’s a hint of edge definition in brighter zones that might distract some. Onion-shaped rings in highlights are evident, typical of lenses with aspherical elements. The lens shows a discernible degree of longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA) that may result in a slightly uneasy and distracting bokeh, particularly in the backdrop. This LoCA effect generates magenta halos along high-contrast edges in the foreground and green halos in the background, an effect that decreases as you stop down the aperture. Despite these minute flaws, the lens successfully keeps out-of-focus light points circular, thanks to its nine rounded diaphragm blades.
In conclusion, although both lenses offer a satisfactory bokeh quality in their own right, the 28mm lens has a slight edge due to its smoother transition between in-focus and out-of-focus areas and a subtler blending of bokeh into the overall image. However, bear in mind that wide-angle lenses aren’t typically praised for their bokeh, and these qualities may only come into play in specific scenarios such as environmental portraiture or close-up photography.
Let’s delve into the performance of the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 in terms of flare and ghosting.
The 28mm lens demonstrates admirable control over these optical anomalies. Even under challenging lighting conditions, such as shooting directly into the sun or close to the frame edge, this lens manages flare and ghosting exceptionally well. A faint hint of veiling flare is observed at its widest aperture of f/2.8, a testament to its well-engineered optical design and effective anti-reflective coatings. Though flare is not entirely eradicated, it’s subdued to a level where it doesn’t significantly degrade image quality. In terms of ghosting, the lens does a commendable job ensuring that in-frame or near-edge-of-frame lighting does not result in pronounced ghosting artifacts, thus allowing for increased creative flexibility when incorporating strong light sources in compositions.
In contrast, the 35mm lens exhibits remarkable control over flare and ghosting as well. With Nikon’s application of the anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat technology and the multi-layered Super Integrated Coating, this lens significantly boosts light transmission while keeping flare and ghosting at bay. Real-world use reveals minimal ghosting and flare, even with direct sunlight in the frame. The lens’ flare performance remains unimpaired regardless of the angle of incoming light and sun’s position. Even when provoked with a strong light source to induce glare and ghosting, this lens renders deep blacks with little veiling glare. However, it’s worth noting that the occurrence of flare and ghosting can be influenced by factors such as aperture and the angle of light incidence on the lens.
To conclude, both lenses exhibit excellent control over flare and ghosting. But the 35mm lens takes a slight lead due to Nikon’s use of advanced coatings, which allows it to maintain image quality even when faced with challenging light scenarios. Hence, in terms of mitigating flare and ghosting, the 35mm lens claims a minor but significant advantage.
When comparing the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 in the context of vignetting, a few distinctions become apparent.
The 28mm lens exhibits a prominent vignetting effect, especially noticeable in the extreme corners when deployed on a full-frame (FX) sensor. This effect peaks at the maximum aperture of f/2.8, showing a light reduction of over 1EV at the corners, which is quite significant. Yet, the vignetting is mostly negligible within a large circle that encapsulates the DX corners. As you narrow the aperture, the vignetting diminishes and by f/4, correction measures might not even be necessary for most types of photography. Nikon’s Vignette control can help reduce this, but it does not entirely eliminate the corner vignetting on FX format at its default setting.
Nonetheless, you have the flexibility to mitigate vignetting in post-production, especially when shooting in RAW, or using the in-camera falloff adjustments. The necessity of controlling vignetting will, of course, depend on your image’s particular needs. Also, don’t forget that vignetting can sometimes be utilized creatively, focusing the viewer’s attention towards the frame’s center, or adding an artistic touch to your images. The lens doesn’t compound vignetting issues when using filters – stacking multiple standard 52mm screw-in filters on a full-frame doesn’t cause any additional vignetting.
Conversely, the 35mm lens exhibits a notably lower level of vignetting. The effect is more pronounced at f/1.8 with infinity focus, but even then, it’s not excessively severe. Moreover, using filters with the lens doesn’t introduce additional vignetting. Vignetting characteristics seem to remain similar at both close and infinity focus, with infinity focus appearing slightly worse.
However, upon stopping down to f/2.8, the vignetting effect is virtually eliminated. With Vignette Correction set to its default NORM setting, vignetting doesn’t pose a significant issue in practical shooting. You can also stack up to four regular 62mm filters without introducing vignetting on a full-frame camera. This lens, therefore, manages vignetting quite well.
In conclusion, while both lenses exhibit vignetting to some extent, the 35mm lens appears to handle it better. Its vignetting effect is not as pronounced and tends to disappear quicker as the aperture is stopped down, giving it an edge in this regard.
The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 offers an impressive control of distortion. When paired with Nikon’s Z cameras, distortion correction is always activated and isn’t possible to be disabled, which contributes to a refined output. For meticulous scientific applications, a slight adjustment could be applied to camera-corrected images using a +0.5 factor in Photoshop’s lens correction filter, leading to flawless results. However, for raw data instead of JPG images, distortion correction depends on the software processing the raw data into visible images, and the in-camera correction may not be applicable. Although there’s a mild presence of pin-cushion distortion even with corrections enabled, the overall distortion management of this lens is quite effective for typical photography uses.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 exhibits a moderate degree of barrel distortion, as shown by Imatest measurements indicating a -1.21% distortion rate. However, this distortion isn’t particularly noticeable in the majority of images. The distortion can be automatically corrected using post-processing software like Lightroom that automatically applies distortion correction to images. Furthermore, if a Nikon Z6 or Z7 camera is utilized, Auto Distortion Control can be enabled in the shooting menu to correct this distortion in-camera. Even if uncorrected in-camera, it’s straightforward to fully correct the distortion using Photoshop’s lens correction filter. Thus, while some inherent distortion exists, it can be easily managed and shouldn’t significantly affect the image quality.
To conclude, while both lenses exhibit some level of distortion, both are capable of mitigating it effectively. However, the 28mm lens, with its slight pin-cushion distortion, manages distortion more efficiently than the 35mm lens, making it superior in terms of distortion control.
For beginners, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 offers advantages like a wider field of view, greater depth of field, budget-friendliness, portability, and an easy-to-adjust focus ring. These features make it a flexible and forgiving lens to learn with, covering genres like landscape, street, and environmental portraits effectively. Moreover, its superior vignetting and distortion control make it an excellent starter lens for those just dipping their toes into photography.
Intermediate photographers may start valuing the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 lens’s low-light performance, subject isolation, sturdy feel, protective features, weather sealing, and more natural perspective. These features make it ideal for environmental portraits, event, documentary and low-light photography. Its robust weather sealing proves beneficial when shooting in harsh environments. Also, the 35mm lens’s sharpness and better aberration management will help create more professional-looking images.
For professional photographers, the choice becomes more nuanced. If you’re shooting in challenging environments, the 35mm lens’s robust weather sealing and handling of flare and ghosting offer substantial advantages. Its versatility and natural perspective will give professional documentary, event, and street photographers a creative edge. Also, the 35mm’s edge in optical stabilization when paired with Nikon Z series cameras might prove crucial for some professional applications.
On the other hand, the 28mm lens, with its consistent performance, effective distortion control, and satisfactory bokeh quality may also be appealing to certain professionals.