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Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Gordon Laing, June 2010

More results : Sharpness / 35mm vs 16-85mm / 35mm vs 18-105mm / 35mm vs 18-200mm II / Geometry / Vignetting

Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8G Vignetting / Light fall-off

To measure the Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8G's vignetting and light fall-off we photographed a white target with a highly diffused filter. The lens was manually focused to infinity and tested with its aperture wide open. The image was shot in RAW mode to avoid any in-camera corrections, then analysed with Imatest and the full area presented here at a reduced resolution. This time, bigger percentages are better. Results for other general-purpose lenses are discussed below.

Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8G vignetting
Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G vignetting (DX body)
DX 35mm f/1.8G at f1.8
Mean corner fall-off: 65.2%
AF-S 50mm f/1.4G at f1.4 (on DX format body)
Mean corner fall-off: 74.8%

The Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8G's average light fall-off in the corners with its aperture wide-open was measured at 65.2%. You can see an example of this above left, and alongside it, one taken with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G mounted on a DX format body, where the latter's light fall-off was measured as 74.8%.

The AF-S 50mm f/1.4G unsurprisingly performs better here as it's designed for use on full-frame FX-format bodies, whereas the DX 35mm f/1.8G is designed for cropped-frame DX-format bodies. But judging from the images above which illustrate a worse-case scenario for light fall-off, it's not a huge issue for either lens even at their maximum apertures. Yes, there is some darkening in the corners, but it's a gradual fall-off on each model which is quite discreet in most real-life photos.

In our tests with the DX 35mm f/1.8G, this light fall-off was also greatly reduced at f2.8 and essentially eliminated by f4, which coincidentally was also the sweetspot for the lens in terms of overall sharpness and contrast.

In our real-life tests, you'll also see each of the Nikkor zooms we tested at a focal length of 35mm suffered from more noticeable light fall-off in their corners at their maximum apertures, and only really began to reduce between f5.6 and f8. So if your goal is to optically eliminate vignetting without resorting to digital correction, the DX 35mm f/1.8G will typically do it at least two stops sooner than a typical general-purpose zoom.

That's enough for our formal tests now, so let's check out some more real-life sample images in our Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8G Gallery.

Note we've included some results below for various kit zooms at the wide and long ends of their focal ranges

Vignetting / Light fall-off on typical kit zooms (bigger percentages are better)

Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
DX 18-55mm VR at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 48.3%
DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 63.9%
DX 18-105mm VR at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 67.7%
DX 18-105mm VR at 105mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 69.9%

Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
Nikkor DX 18-200mm VR II f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
DX 16-85mm VR at 16mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 59%
DX 16-85mm VR at 85mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 78.2%
DX 18-200mm VR II at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 60.2%
DX 18-200mm VR II at 200mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 71.8%

More results : Sharpness / 35mm vs 16-85mm / 35mm vs 18-105mm / 35mm vs 18-200mm II / Geometry / Vignetting

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