After asking this question I'm thinking the 35mm prime lens will do the job for me. Since I take a number of photos indoors and in low light conditions, this lens will let me sty reasonably close to my subjects and still be crisp. The question now is do I get the new 35mm DX lens or the 2.0f full frame. I'm looking for any justification for the extra $100 or so for the 35mm 2.0f. Here are links to the Canadian prices:

Nikkor AF 35mm 2.0F $399 AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G $279

Thanks for all the help and insight. Really liking this stackexchange site so far.

Update: Just wanted to state that I have a D90 so the auto-focus motor isn't an issue. More so the quality of the lens and the speed of focus. Update #2: So I just bought the 35mm DX 1.8f off of B&H. First time ordering from them, so we'll see how that goes. Should get the lens in a couple days - excited to give it a try and see how much difference it makes compared to the 50mm prime. Thanks all for your help and suggestions.

  • 1
    A 50mm or 85mm lens would be better for portraits, the perspective that longer focal lengths gives is more flattering. But, I can understand wanting to not have to stand far away from one's subject.
    – Alex Black
    Aug 13 '10 at 15:09
  • Very true... shooting a head a shoulders shot with a 35mm will make the person look like they have a large nose... perspective distortion could be pretty funky the closer you get to the subject. This would be a great lens for indoor natural light shots as well as street shooting... just don't get too close! Aug 13 '10 at 15:26

If you are on a DX camera, the DX lens makes more sense as it is built for your sensor size. Plus it's a great lens. On the other hand, if you anticipate switching to an FX camera anytime soon, you may prefer to buy the FX lens for future compatibility.

You'll have to decide what's more important: a great lens now, or forward compatibility for a camera change that may or may not happen.

For what it's worth, my suggestion would be to get the DX lens now - you could always sell it later if need be.


The biggest argument for the AF 35mm 2.0F is that you could still use it if you switch to full frame someday. If you have no intention to ever make that switch, it looks like the 1.8 is actually a better lens optically, and at a lower price.

  • 4
    +1. Here's Thom Hogan on the f/2, including a comparison with the f/1.8: bythom.com/Nikkor-35mm-D-lensreview.htm
    – Reid
    Aug 13 '10 at 15:19
  • I have no immediate plans to go full-frame, but i'd like to one day. depends on if I start making money from photography or if it remains a 'non-paying' hobby. Aug 13 '10 at 16:15
  • 1
    Keep in mind that even $400 at some unspecified future date isn't a whole lot of money when compared with the necessary investment for FF. You may also be interested in this question w.r.t. DX vs. FX: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/840/dx-or-fx-lenses
    – Reid
    Aug 13 '10 at 16:33

If you have a Nikon body without an auto-focus motor (e.g. D40, D60, D3000, D5000, etc), then you'll want the DX lens with AF-S (built in focus motor). The FX lens won't autofocus on any of these bodies.

If you have a full-frame body (the D700/D3/D3s/D3x) you'll want the FX lens, the DX lens suffers a lot of fall off (or vignetting) on a full-frame body (see http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/35mm-f18.htm#fo).

From what I've read the FX lens is slower to focus (its much older) but has better looking bokeh.

  • I have the D90 so i'm in the middle of both camps. Either will work. Nice bokeh is a bonus, but clarity and sharpness are probably my biggest requirements. Aug 13 '10 at 16:16

Just to add to the reponses in a non-Nikon fashion, if you're doing low-light photography then the faster the lens, the better. So, if the FF path is distant or unlikely, you might want to go with the f/1.8 for more light. Even then, later on, you can always look to sell the lens if you go FF or even keep it if you want to have vignetting effects just for fun (or if you keep your current as a backup).


I'd get the 35/1.8 if you're on a DX camera (I own the lens). It's newer, lighter, has full-time manual focus override, 1/3 of a stop faster and is cheaper to boot.

From what I've seen on the used market it keeps its value quite well, so don't be afraid to buy it to try it out!

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