As a passionate photographer, you know that choosing the right lens can be the difference between capturing an ordinary shot and creating an extraordinary masterpiece. Whether you’re a veteran pro, a budding enthusiast, or a complete beginner, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different lenses is crucial to getting the most out of your photography.
In this in-depth comparison of the 35mm and 40mm lenses, we aim to dissolve your doubts and steer you towards the lens that aligns best with your photographic style and requirements. Are you looking for a lens that excels in low light conditions or maybe one that provides a shallower depth of field? Perhaps you value portability and discretion for unobtrusive street photography or require a more substantial lens for robust outdoor shooting? Or, you might be seeking a lens that offers superior control of flare and ghosting, excellent focusing performance, or a pleasing bokeh effect? We’ve got you covered!
This article promises to delve into the nuanced characteristics of these two popular lens choices, exploring their distinct features, comparing their performance in various scenarios, and addressing the different skill levels and genres they’re suited to. Not only will this guide help you make a well-informed decision, but it will also enhance your understanding of lens technology and its impact on the quality of your photos.
So, strap in and join us on this journey of exploration as we illuminate the world of lenses and bring you closer to finding the perfect partner for your camera. You’re one step away from unlocking a new level of photographic excellence!
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 40mm F2|
|Focal Range (mm)||35||40|
|Mount Type||Nikon Z||Nikon Z|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
Comparing the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 and the Nikon Z 40mm f/2, we notice that both are fixed aperture lenses for the Nikon Z mount, designed to cover a 35mm full-frame format. Being fixed aperture lenses, they offer consistent low-light performance and image quality throughout their focal range.
The 35mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. A larger aperture allows more light to reach the camera sensor, providing better low light performance, shallow depth of field for better subject isolation, and an increased ability to capture images with reduced motion blur. It could also offer better image quality in terms of sharpness, contrast, and chromatic aberration reduction. However, it might also introduce some lens distortions and vignetting, especially in wide-angle shots.
The 40mm lens, on the other hand, has a maximum aperture of f/2.0. This is slightly smaller than the 35mm lens, meaning it allows slightly less light to enter the camera. This could potentially affect low-light performance and the degree of background blur. But for well-lit environments or when using a tripod, this difference in aperture might not be significant.
Regarding the focal length, the 35mm lens is a wide-angle lens, making it great for landscape, street, and environmental portrait photography. The wider view can capture more of the scene in a single frame, but it might distort the subjects if they are too close to the lens.
The 40mm lens has a slightly longer focal length. This focal length is closer to the “normal” field of view (around 50mm) that is said to resemble human vision. This makes it more versatile and ideal for a variety of genres, from portraits to landscapes, and street photography.
In conclusion, the 35mm lens might be superior in low light scenarios and for achieving a shallower depth of field, while the 40mm lens offers a bit more versatility in terms of field of view.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 40mm F2|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀73×86mm||⌀70×45.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||62||52|
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 measures ⌀73×86mm in diameter and length, and weighs 370 grams. Its relatively larger size and weight might provide a more robust feel and potentially better build quality. However, this comes with the trade-off of added weight to your camera setup. Over an extended shooting session, this might lead to fatigue more quickly. Additionally, its larger size might make it more noticeable, which could potentially draw attention in a public setting like street photography.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2, at ⌀70×45.5mm and 170 grams, is significantly smaller and lighter. This makes it more portable and less tiring to carry around, especially when traveling or during prolonged shooting sessions. Its smaller footprint also means it will take up less space in your camera bag. In situations where discretion is key, such as street photography, the smaller size of the 40mm lens can allow you to blend in more seamlessly. Moreover, the lighter weight of this lens would also make lens swapping quicker and more convenient, particularly in fast-paced shooting environments.
In summary, if portability and discretion are high priorities, the 40mm lens would be a superior choice due to its compact dimensions and lighter weight. However, if these factors are less important to you, the 35mm lens might be preferable due to potential advantages related to its larger size and weight, such as a more substantial handling experience.
Lens Mount and Barrel
Starting with the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8, its mount is crafted from metal, ensuring a secure and long-lasting connection with the camera body. The presence of four locking ears offers a tight fit that prevents lens tilting and promotes optimal lens performance. An additional layer of protection is provided by a rubber gasket which safeguards against dust and debris penetration. This demonstrates a well-thought-out design that mixes the durability of a metal mount with the resilience of a rubber seal.
The lens barrel, on the other hand, primarily employs high-quality plastic with sections of metal, notably the focus ring and mount. Despite being predominantly plastic, the lens barrel imparts a feeling of durability and toughness. This blend of materials also aids in making the lens lighter and easier to handle in varying weather conditions.
Contrastingly, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 adopts a different approach. Its lens mount is entirely made of plastic, diverging from the more traditional metal mounts. The absence of a rubber gasket implies a lower level of environmental resistance, which could make it susceptible to dust and other particles over time. The inclusion of a hard plastic lip attempts to mitigate this, but it may not match the protection offered by a rubber gasket. Furthermore, constant coupling with the metal bayonet of the Nikon Z cameras could potentially expedite wear and tear.
The lens barrel shares a similar design, being primarily plastic including the lens mount and filter threads. While this choice enhances its lightweight nature and compactness, it may also raise concerns regarding long-term durability. The minimalist finish of the lens, however, is visually appealing and aligns with its simplistic design philosophy.
In conclusion, each lens offers unique advantages. The 35mm lens excels in robustness and durability with its metal mount and rubber gasket, while also leveraging the practicality of a high-quality plastic barrel. The 40mm lens shines in its compact and lightweight design, promoting portability and affordability at the expense of potentially reduced longevity. Therefore, the superior choice hinges on your photographic requirements. If durability and performance in a variety of environments are a priority, the 35mm lens is the better choice. However, if you value compactness, lightness, and affordability, the 40mm lens could serve you well.
Looking into the weather sealing of both the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 and 40mm lenses, it’s apparent that this feature plays a significant role in lens durability and performance under diverse environmental conditions.
For the 35mm lens, it showcases a comprehensive weather sealing strategy. Key to its protective approach is a rubber gasket at the lens mount, acting as a barrier against dust and moisture. Along with this, there are six individual rubber rings distributed throughout the lens, providing further protection to several of its components. This robust sealing methodology ensures the lens performs consistently across a spectrum of weather conditions – from scorching and sandy to icy and wet – validating its reliability and versatility.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 adopts a more limited approach to weather sealing. While it does have internal seals to resist drips at key points such as the focus ring and the front of the barrel, it lacks a rubber gasket at the lens mount. This absence could make the lens more vulnerable to dust and water, potentially compromising its usability in harsh outdoor conditions. That being said, the lens employs internal focusing, which mitigates the risk of dust or air entering the lens during operation.
To summarize, each lens has its merits in terms of weather sealing. The 35mm lens, with its comprehensive sealing design, provides a higher level of protection against diverse weather conditions, making it a reliable companion for rigorous outdoor photography. The 40mm lens, while offering basic weather sealing, might be less resilient against harsh environmental elements due to the absence of a rubber gasket at the mount. Nevertheless, it still maintains some resistance against dust and moisture, courtesy of its internal focusing mechanism.
In light of these observations, if your photography requires shooting in a wide variety of outdoor conditions and environments, the 35mm lens with its superior weather sealing could serve as a reliable tool, ensuring consistent performance and protecting your investment in the long run. However, for controlled environments or less demanding outdoor scenarios, the 40mm lens could still be a viable, more affordable option.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 features a substantial single control ring that also serves as the focus ring. Positioned towards the front of the lens, it’s notably wide at 38mm, aiding easy accessibility. The ring is finely knurled and crafted from metal, which despite not being rubberized, delivers a smooth operation and a firm grip. A small degree of play exists in the ring, yet this does not significantly hamper the user experience. The ring can be intuitively overridden for manual focus and is customizable to control various functions such as aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO settings. This flexible design is quite impressive, accommodating individual shooting requirements and preferences.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 adopts a similar design strategy. Its singular control ring, also located towards the lens’s front, is encased in a rubberized material, ensuring a firm grip and a superior tactile experience. With a width of 16mm, the ring is ergonomically friendly, catering to a range of hand sizes. However, the ring’s sensitivity could lead to unintended setting changes. Like its 35mm counterpart, this ring can also be customized for different functionalities, adding to its versatility. Its plastic construction may not feel as premium as the metal ring on the 35mm lens, but it does contribute to the lens’s overall lightweight design and portability.
In conclusion, both lens rings provide their unique benefits. The 35mm lens’s ring impresses with its wide, metal construction and smooth operation, allowing for precise control and a robust feel. On the other hand, the 40mm lens’s ring, with its rubberized finish and lighter weight, offers a comfortable grip and enhanced portability. Although it’s sensitive to touch, its versatility and ergonomics make it a strong contender. If the priority is durable construction and smooth operation, the 35mm lens stands out. However, if a comfortable grip and lightweight design are your preferences, the 40mm lens would be your pick.
When considering the switches and buttons on these lenses, the designs reflect a preference for minimalism and user-friendly operation.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 is characterized by a sleek design, featuring a single, self-explanatory A/M switch for toggling between auto and manual focus. This uncluttered approach, with a sole switch, enhances its aesthetic appeal and ensures straightforward usage, enabling rapid adjustments to focusing modes as dictated by the shooting scenario. This design accentuates functionality and user convenience, reducing the learning curve for photographers and providing a streamlined, visually pleasing look.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 takes minimalism even further by eliminating any physical switches or buttons. The noticeable absence of the typically present AF/MF switch means that to deactivate autofocus, you would need to adjust the AF settings directly on the camera. The lens also lacks features like a focus limiter, IS switch, stabilizer switch, focus or depth-of-field scales, an infra-red focus index, and focus lock buttons. Additionally, it doesn’t cater to any special features through physical buttons. Despite the absence of in-lens stabilization, cameras with stabilization, such as the Z9, can still provide a stabilizing effect. This bare-bones design enhances the lens’s compactness and lightness, making it a convenient travel companion or a suitable choice for extended use.
Summing up, both lenses take a streamlined approach to their switch and button design, aiming to optimize ease of use. However, their designs meet different user preferences. If quick and easy access to manual focus is a priority, the 35mm lens with its A/M switch is the clear choice. Conversely, if compactness, lightweight design, and extreme simplicity are valued more, then the 40mm lens fits the bill. The lack of physical switches might be a hindrance for some, but it does contribute to the lens’s portability and sleek aesthetics.
Analyzing the filter thread of these lenses, we notice some shared traits as well as key differences in size and compatibility.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 comes with a filter thread size of 62mm, a prevalent size used in other lenses within the Nikon Z series, such as the Z 50mm f/1.8 S. This uniformity brings a practical advantage for photographers, enabling them to use the same filters across different lenses. While the filter thread is plastic, which may be less durable than metal, it still manages to secure filters reliably without loosening, thereby testifying to its robustness.
A standout feature is the non-rotating design of the front section, including the filter thread, during focusing. This is particularly handy when using orientation-sensitive filters, such as polarizing and variable ND filters, enhancing their ease of use. Additionally, this design choice helps prevent dust or air intake during focusing, thereby aiding in maintaining the lens’s cleanliness and durability.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 incorporates a 52mm filter thread, a standard size common to numerous filters, offering photographers considerable convenience, especially if they extensively use filters. Like its 35mm counterpart, this lens’s filter thread is made of plastic, which might compromise durability but contributes to the lens’s lightweight nature and affordability.
Similar to the 35mm lens, this lens’s filter thread doesn’t rotate during focusing. This design aspect is vital for photographers who use polarizing or graduated neutral density filters, which require a fixed orientation to function effectively. The implementation of internal focusing further ensures that the physical size remains unchanged during focusing, removing any potential complications when filters are attached.
To summarize, both lenses exhibit a focus on practicality, with non-rotating filter threads that greatly facilitate the use of orientation-specific filters. The choice between the two largely depends on the filter size preference and compatibility with existing gear. If one’s collection includes 62mm filters or other Nikon Z series lenses, the 35mm lens would be a more economical choice. However, for those with a broader collection of universal 52mm filters, the 40mm lens would provide better compatibility. It’s worth noting that while both filter threads are plastic, their non-rotating design ensures reliable usage, allowing photographers to exploit the full benefits of various filters.
When it comes to lens hoods, these two lenses offer contrasting experiences.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 includes the HB-89 bayonet hood in the package. Being a bayonet hood, it ensures a secure fit, which is easy to attach and remove. The lens hood is constructed of plastic, offering lightweight durability. The size of the hood is relatively large, which serves to effectively prevent stray sunlight from reaching the front lens element, thereby reducing flare and maintaining image contrast. The hood can be easily locked and unlocked. For convenience and compactness during storage, the hood can be attached in a reverse position, reducing the lens’s footprint in your camera bag.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 does not include a lens hood in the package. Nikon has likely made this decision as a cost-saving measure, in order to keep the lens affordable. If you wish to use a lens hood with this lens, you would need to purchase an aftermarket hood that fits the 52mm filter attachment thread. This means you would have to find a lens hood separately, which could be an additional expense and require extra effort to find a compatible hood.
To conclude, the lens hood of the 35mm lens, included in the package, adds convenience and protects the lens from stray light and physical impacts. The ability to reverse mount the hood for storage is an additional advantage. On the other hand, the 40mm lens does not include a lens hood, which may be an inconvenience for photographers who regularly use hoods. If lens protection and light control are essential aspects of your photography, the 35mm lens, with its included and conveniently designed HB-89 bayonet hood, stands out as the superior choice.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 40mm F2|
|AF Motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||0.25m||0.29m|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.19||0.17|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 demonstrates respectable autofocus performance, with an approximate focus time from infinity to 0.42m in around 0.5 seconds. Although this speed is not instantaneous, it proves reliable and precise, boasting a high repeatability rate. Its proficiency is further emphasized in low-light conditions, demonstrating its adaptability. This lens also allows for manual focus override, giving photographers the flexibility to adjust the focus at any moment, albeit with a noticeable lag. The lens employs a built-in stepping motor designed for quiet operation, minimizing auditory distractions, particularly beneficial for video recording. Any generated noise, barely discernible externally, might be recorded when using the camera’s built-in microphone.
The 35mm lens is designed with an internal focusing mechanism, ensuring the lens’ length remains constant irrespective of focus or zoom adjustments. This feature also means the front element does not rotate when focusing, advantageous for those using polarizing filters. This lens displays minimal focus breathing, and while it is equipped with a focus-by-wire system, the implications are rather positive, resulting in fast and precise autofocus with a silent operation due to the focus ring’s electronic connection.
Contrarily, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 boasts a faster autofocus performance, focusing from infinity to 0.46m in around 0.3 seconds, albeit with occasional reluctance to focus from the minimum object distance, a problem potentially more pronounced in low-light conditions. Any operational noise generated by the autofocus motor is barely audible, proving beneficial for video recording.
The manual focus override feature is efficiently implemented, allowing adjustments by simply rotating the focus ring. Similarly to the 35mm lens, the 40mm lens also utilizes an internally focusing design, ensuring a constant overall length, irrespective of focus adjustments. Minimal focus breathing is present in this lens; however, the resulting magnification change is insignificant and should not prove distracting during video shooting.
Upon analyzing both lenses, the 35mm lens offers a more reliable and versatile focusing performance, with particular efficiency in low-light conditions and a higher repeatability rate. The silent operation offered by both lenses is commendable, with the 35mm lens providing a slight edge due to its focus-by-wire system. While the 40mm lens might focus more quickly, it struggles with minimum object distance focusing, and could encounter more difficulties in low-light conditions. Hence, the 35mm lens offers superior focusing performance, providing a combination of precision, reliability, and versatile functionality.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 lacks a built-in optical stabilization feature. Instead, it capitalizes on the in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system found in Nikon Z series cameras, like the Z7. This coordination compensates for camera movements such as roll, pitch, and yaw. Real-world hand-held tests suggest an improvement of about 2 to 3 stops, with Nikon claiming an improvement of up to 5 stops under ideal conditions. The Vibration Reduction (VR) feature in the camera body, coupled with the lens, enables capturing sharp images even at slower shutter speeds, a promising prospect evidenced by the ability to produce a sharp image at a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds.
However, it is important to remember that such outcomes could fluctuate depending on the photographer’s stability and shooting conditions. Despite lacking built-in stabilization, this lens’s ability to utilize all five axes of the Nikon Z cameras’ stabilization system is advantageous, particularly for video recording and focus stacking.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2, similar to the 35mm lens, does not possess built-in optical stabilization. It banks on the IBIS provided by specific Nikon camera bodies, such as full-frame Z-mount bodies. In terms of stabilization enhancement, it yields approximately 3 stops of improvement. In practicality, this implies the potential to use shutter speeds nearly three times slower than the norm, without generating blur from camera shake.
Comparing the two, the 35mm lens seems to hold an edge over the 40mm lens in terms of optical stabilization. While both lenses lack internal stabilization and rely on the camera’s IBIS system, the 35mm lens’ collaboration with Nikon’s VR and its compatibility with all five axes of the camera’s stabilization feature provide it with a marked advantage. Therefore, in terms of optical stabilization, the 35mm lens appears to deliver a more effective performance, offering a wider range of stabilization assistance in a variety of shooting scenarios.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 40mm F2|
|Special Elements||2 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal Coat||2 aspherical elements, Super Integrated Coating|
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 displays several chromatic aberration traits, including visible longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA) up to an aperture of f/2.8. This is evidenced by magenta halos at high-contrast edges in the foreground and green halos in the background. It’s important to note, though, that lateral chromatic aberration is well-controlled, even at wider apertures. This lens necessitates some autofocus fine-tuning, possibly due to the LoCA.
When it comes to coma, there’s a mild presence at larger apertures, particularly between f/1.8 and f/2.8, but this is resolved by stopping down to f/4. This lens also reveals some spherochromatism, a type of spherical aberration that tends to occur in fast lenses of moderate focal length, specifically when shooting high-contrast items at full aperture. The lens contains a couple of extra-low dispersion elements and three aspherical lenses to mitigate spherical aberration and distortion.
Contrarily, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 shows considerable chromatic aberration, primarily LoCA, which can be observed as purple and green halos in transitions from sharp focus to background blur. This is more noticeable at wider apertures like f/2.0 and f/2.8, and it’s tricky to rectify in post-processing.
Spherochromatism is rather pronounced in this lens, causing color fringes on objects that aren’t in perfect focus at large apertures. This aberration appears mostly when shooting contrasty subjects at full aperture and is more common in fast lenses of moderate focal length. However, the in-camera corrections provided by Nikon’s Z cameras can suppress lateral chromatic aberration effectively and offer solutions for distortion, diffraction, and falloff.
When we compare the aberrations of the two lenses, it becomes evident that the 35mm lens has an advantage. Despite both lenses displaying LoCA and spherochromatism, the 35mm lens exhibits better control over these aberrations, especially in terms of lateral chromatic aberration. The presence of extra-low dispersion elements and aspherical lenses further enhances its performance by reducing spherical aberration and distortion. Therefore, when considering aberration characteristics, the 35mm lens outperforms the 40mm lens.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 stands out with its remarkable sharpness. At its maximum aperture, the center sharpness is slightly weaker, but stopping down to f/2.8 brings out exceptional crispness. The sharpness at the corner and mid-frame at f/2.8 is appreciable, and the best results across the frame are observed at f/5.6. Interestingly, the lens maintains good sharpness even at f/13. The close-up image quality softens at f/1.8 but gradually improves at f/2.8 and f/4, although it doesn’t reach the same level of sharpness as at normal focal distances.
When put up against the Zeiss 28mm f1.4 Otus, this lens lags slightly in the FX-corner, but is a marked improvement over its predecessor, the Nikon 35mm f1.8G. Moreover, it surpasses the Sigma 35mm f/1.8 Art at all apertures, showcasing a noticeable difference in sharpness at both the center and extreme corners.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 manifests commendable sharpness at various apertures and distances. Central sharpness is robust, starting from f/2 and maintaining excellence up to f/11. Though stopping down to f/2.8 or f/4 might slightly augment the center sharpness, it’s still fairly good even at f/16 despite diffraction limiting the sharpness at this aperture. The corner sharpness is laudable, with a significant improvement at f/2.8, and by f/4, the image becomes uniformly sharp. The optimum corner performance is within the f/5.6 to f/11 range according to the Imatest results.
In comparing the sharpness of the two lenses, the 35mm lens showcases greater versatility, demonstrating high sharpness across various apertures and distances. Meanwhile, the 40mm lens provides a robust sharpness, especially in the center, and shows strong performance from f/5.6 onwards. However, given the broad consistency and adaptability of the 35mm lens over its 40mm counterpart, it is the superior option for those seeking edge-to-edge sharpness across a range of apertures and focal distances.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 delivers a generally pleasing bokeh effect, which is commendable for a lens of this focal length. The soft blur effect created in out-of-focus areas does contain slight edge definition in brighter regions, which may appear slightly distracting to some observers. Onion-shaped rings in highlights, a trait linked to aspherical lens elements, can also be seen.
An element that might affect the overall smoothness of the bokeh is the noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA). This effect causes magenta halos around high-contrast edges in the foreground and green halos in the background. The LoCA’s impact reduces as the aperture narrows down. However, the lens has a redeeming feature where it keeps the out-of-focus points of light circular, thanks to its nine rounded diaphragm blades, contributing to the overall bokeh quality.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 creates a smooth and visually pleasing bokeh effect, particularly when shooting closer to the subject at f/2. This quality results in a softer out-of-focus background, enhancing the separation between the subject and the background. This is further assisted by the lens’ nine-blade diaphragm, which confers a rounded and uniform bokeh appearance.
Some downsides are that the bokeh can appear slightly cluttered in moderately out-of-focus regions, particularly when the background isn’t far enough from the subject. There may also be mild longitudinal chromatic aberration in challenging lighting conditions, although it doesn’t significantly compromise the image aesthetics.
Comparing the bokeh quality of these two lenses, the 35mm lens produces a satisfactory bokeh effect, considering its focal length, but the presence of LoCA and onion-shaped rings can be slightly distracting. The 40mm lens, on the other hand, creates a smoother and more appealing bokeh, especially when focusing closer to the subject. While it has minor imperfections, its overall bokeh quality is more consistent, thus making the 40mm lens the superior choice in terms of bokeh quality.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 exhibits excellent control over flare and ghosting. Nikon’s advanced technologies, including the anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat and the multi-layered Super Integrated Coating, effectively increase light transmission while minimizing disruptive flare and ghosting effects. Even in scenarios where the sun is directly within the frame, this lens remarkably minimizes ghosting and flare.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that this lens copes well with strong light sources, consistently rendering deep blacks and maintaining little veiling glare. However, it should be remembered that the appearance of flare and ghosting can be influenced by variables such as aperture and light angle.
In comparison, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 shows a somewhat higher degree of flare and ghosting when exposed to strong light sources. Direct light can result in visible flares and ghosts, but the lens maintains a good contrast ratio, with areas outside of these artifacts remaining quite dark. An examination of flare across varying aperture values reveals a noticeable red dot at f/16, as well as some rainbow-colored flare around the light source across different apertures.
Despite these findings, the lens’s overall performance remains praiseworthy. When it comes to ghosting, the lens stands out, demonstrating very little ghosting in various use cases. Thus, despite the occasional instances of flare and ghosting, the lens generally controls these effects quite effectively under most shooting conditions.
Comparatively, the 35mm lens offers superior control of flare and ghosting, demonstrating exceptional resistance to these potential artifacts even in challenging light conditions. While the 40mm lens performs commendably, the presence of flares and ghosting when faced with direct light sources slightly hampers its performance in this aspect. Thus, in terms of flare and ghosting control, the 35mm lens comes out on top.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 demonstrates commendable control over vignetting, with only a moderate amount noticeable at the maximum aperture of f/1.8 during infinity focus. Interestingly, even at this aperture, the vignetting is not overwhelmingly dark, rather there is a slight decrease in exposure. Notably, the use of filters doesn’t intensify vignetting issues, with even up to four 62mm filters being stackable without inducing noticeable vignetting on a full-frame camera.
The vignetting characteristics remain largely consistent across both close and infinity focus, with a slight exacerbation at infinity. However, once the aperture is reduced to f/2.8, the vignetting essentially disappears. If you disable the in-camera Vignette Correction feature, vignetting does increase, but at the default “NORM” setting, it’s rarely a significant issue during regular shooting.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 exhibits a degree of vignetting, which is particularly evident at wider apertures like f/2 and during infinity focus. Despite the presence of this optical phenomenon, it’s not overly disruptive and is effectively managed with in-camera corrections or post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom.
Remarkably, even the use of multiple stacked filters doesn’t augment the vignetting. With the reduction of aperture to f/2.8 or f/4, the vignetting becomes less noticeable, especially with software corrections. However, it’s worth noting that there can be a slight contrast drop at wider apertures in bright lighting conditions, which is more attributed to lens flare than vignetting.
Comparing these two lenses, the 35mm lens exhibits superior control over vignetting, showing minimal darkening even at its widest aperture and maintaining this performance across different focus distances and with multiple filters. While the 40mm lens manages vignetting quite effectively, it presents slightly more pronounced darkening at wider apertures and during infinity focus. Therefore, in terms of managing vignetting, the 35mm lens takes the lead.
The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 displays a moderate amount of barrel distortion, with lab tests indicating a distortion rate of -1.21%. Despite this, the distortion is typically unnoticeable in most images. In the instances where it might be visible, modern post-processing tools such as Lightroom and Photoshop have efficient correction capabilities that help to eliminate this issue. Additionally, cameras like the Nikon Z6 and Z7 offer in-built Auto Distortion Control which further helps in managing the distortion when enabled.
On the contrary, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 displays a considerably lower amount of barrel distortion as observed from controlled tests, with a distortion rate of only 0.62%. This negligible distortion tends to go unnoticed, especially while photographing subjects with straight lines, such as architectural structures. However, if shooting in RAW format without applying any distortion correction, some barrel distortion might become visible. Much like the 35mm lens, distortion can be effortlessly corrected using Lightroom’s built-in lens profile or by enabling the in-camera auto-correction feature.
In a comparative context, the 40mm lens exhibits less distortion compared to the 35mm lens, making it superior in this regard. However, it’s important to note that in most practical photography situations, these distortion levels are unlikely to significantly impact the overall image quality. The distortion in both lenses can be easily corrected using in-camera settings or post-processing tools, making this a minor consideration in the context of the overall lens performance.
In the world of photography, the choice of a lens often dictates the success of capturing desired shots. After careful analysis and comparison, both the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 and Nikon Z 40mm f/2 have unique strengths that cater to different genres of photography, and users with varying skill levels.
The 35mm lens, with its superior performance in low light and control over depth of field, is advantageous for indoor events, night-time cityscapes, or any scenario where lighting is a challenge. Its robustness, durable metal mount, weather sealing, and excellent flare control are beneficial for outdoor photographers who encounter varying environmental conditions. Given the lens’s complex handling and vast functionality, this lens is well suited for intermediate and professional photographers who have the technical knowledge to exploit these features. With its impressive sharpness, efficient aberration control, and superior focusing performance, the 35mm lens is a robust tool for those prioritizing precision and consistency.
On the other hand, the 40mm lens, due to its compact design and light weight, is a great fit for street and travel photography where portability and discretion are crucial. It also offers more versatility in the field of view, allowing photographers to capture a bit more of the scene. Furthermore, its smoother bokeh makes it appealing for portrait photography, where a pleasing out-of-focus background is desirable. This lens, due to its simplicity and ease of use, is more suited for beginner photographers or those preferring a lightweight lens. Though it exhibits lower distortion and manages vignetting efficiently, it slightly falls behind the 35mm lens in aspects like aberration control and optical stabilization.
In a nutshell, both lenses have their unique pros and cons, which makes them suitable for different genres of photography and photographers with varying skill levels. The 35mm lens is more versatile, offering superior technical performance which is more beneficial for experienced photographers. The 40mm lens, with its compact design, simplicity, and pleasing bokeh, caters well to the needs of beginner photographers and those who prioritize portability.