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Summary

The Nikon Z 35mm f1.4 is pretty compact and lightweight, it has a large f1.4 focal ratio but is still less expensive than the Z 35mm f1.8 S. Plus it has a multifunction ring in addition to the focus ring which makes handling of different functions more comfortable than on the one-ringed Z 35mm f1.8 S. If the new lens can also score with decent optical performance and a softer Bokeh the Z 35mm f1.4 should be a very interesting alternative to the Z 35mm f1.8 S.

Buy it now!

Check prices on the Nikkor Z 35mm f1.4 at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon Z 35mm f1.4 review so far
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The Z 35mm f1.4 is not the lens everyone was expecting: Nikon’s last lens roadmap from October 2023 showed an S-line 35mm lens expected to be large, heavy, expensive, and f1.2 as it was placed alongside their other f1.2 prime lenses. Now Nikon brings us their first f1.4 lens for Z-mount which only weighs a bit over 400g, is relatively compact, and at 729 EUR / 597 USD / 649 GBP very affordable. And in a welcome deviation from their f1.8 line of prime lenses Nikon also added a separate control-ring to the focus ring. The Z 35mm f1.4 is corrected for full-frame sensors and should become available mid July.

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Facts and features

Let’s compare Nikon’s Z 35mm f1.4 to their Z 35mm f1.8 S (for more details on that lens see my Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 S review). As usual I’ve rated the features with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s better than average or even state of the art, a [0] if it’s standard or just average, and [-] if there’s a disadvantage.

Size (diameter x length): 75 x 87mm (3.0 x 3.5in.), the lens hood probably adds around 35mm. The Z 35mm f1.8 S is 73 x 86mm + 48mm lens hood. [+]

Weight: 415g (14.7 oz.) plus around 30g for the plastic lens hood. The Z 35mm f1.8 S is 364g + 30g lens hood. [+]

Optics: 11 elements in 9 groups including 2 aspherical elements which is similar to the Z 35mm f1.8 S. [+]

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Minimum object distance is 0.27m (0.89ft.) which results in a very short working distance of around 16cm. The Z 35mm f1.4 has a maximum magnification of 1:5.6 which is not much. A magnification of 1:10 should be achieved at around 0.4m object distance. The Z 35mm f1.8 S achieves a maximum magnification of 1:4.8 with manual focus. [0]

Image stabilization: Both lenses have no optical stabilization (VR). But Nikon’s full-frame Z bodies provide built-in sensor-shift stabilization over 5 axis – plus an optional electronic stabilization in video mode. [0]

Filter-thread: Both lenses use 62mm filters. [+]

Autofocus: Both lenses offer autofocus with built-in focus drive. Manual-focus override is by simply turning the dedicated focus ring. The focus ring has the usual variable gearing which allows for very precise manual focus when turned slowly. You can reverse the focus ring direction and switch to linear response with different settings for focus throw. [+]

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Aperture ring: The Z 35mm f1.4 has a slim multi-function control ring which can be assigned to operate the aperture (which is the default), exposure compensation, or ISO sensitivity – or simply switched off. It is located behind the focus ring. On the Z 35mm f1.8 S the focus ring can be configured to act as multi-function ring – but then you lose the manual focus override functionality. [+]

Lens profile: All Z-Nikkors come with a lens profile which can be controlled from the camera. Vignette control offers the usual options of High, Normal, Low and Off. Diffraction compensation and probably also Auto distortion control can be activated or deactivated. [+]

Both lenses cover full frame/FX or smaller sensors. [+]

Price: 729 EUR (incl. 19% VAT)/ 597 USD / 649 GBP. The Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 S currently sells for 759 EUR / 697 USD / 649 GBP. [+]

The Z 35mm f1.4 comes with the usual flimsy pouch with no strings to pull it close. The lens hood is included and is reversible for transport. [0]

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Sealing: yes. Both lenses have a rubber grommet at the lens-mount plus further special weather-sealing throughout the construction. [+]

At a score of 0[-]/3[0]/10[+] the Nikon Z 35mm f1.4 turns out to be well featured: The lens is pretty compact and lightweight, it has a large f1.4 focal ratio but is still less expensive than the Z 35mm f1.8 S. Plus it has a multifunction ring in addition to the focus ring which makes handling of different functions much more comfortable than on the one-ringed Z 35mm f1.8 S.

If the new lens can also score with decent optical performance and a softer Bokeh the Z 35mm f1.4 should be a very interesting alternative to the Z 35mm f1.8 S.


Sharpness and contrast

Let’s have a look at the theoretical performance of the Nikon Z 35mm f1.4 and compare it to their Z 35mm f1.8 S:

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Above: Nikon Z 35mm f1.4 at f1.4 (left), Z 35mm f1.8 S at f1.8 (right)

These MTF charts show the computed lens-performance of lenses wide open at infinity without influence of diffraction at 10 line-pairs/mm (red) and 30 lp/mm (blue). Higher values are better (more contrast) and the closer the dotted and solid lines are together the less contrast dependents on the orientation of the test-pattern (less astigmatism). The x-axis displays the distance from the optical axis (=center of the sensor) in mm. In my full review I’ll show you the real life performance at 4 mm (“center”), 13 mm (APS-C/DX-corner), and 20 mm (FF/FX-corner) on a 45MP Nikon Z8 body.

From the charts the Z 35mm f1.4 is definitively softer than the Z 35mm f1.8 S – but that is at f1.4. Stopping the new lens down to f1.8 might well bring central sharpness up to comparable levels. And while the Z 35mm f1.8 S stays pretty sharp even beyond the DX image-circle the decline in resolution of fine details towards the corners of the Z 35mm f1.4 is relatively moderate and not too steep.

In my full review I’ll show you how this theoretical performance translates into real life results. Check back soon!

Check prices on the Nikkor Z 35mm f1.4 at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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