A friend of mine has a NIKON AF-S DX 35mm F/1.8G lens and I would like to purchase something (at least) equivalent for my Canon, if possible at a similar price.

As I understand it, while 35mm still counts a "normal" lens for the Nikon D90, for my Canon 40D, it would be a tad too long. Something around 30mm would probably be more appropriate, right?

If looked at the following models:

  • SIGMA 30mm F/1.4 EX DC HSM for Canon: sounds very good, but more then twice as expensive.
  • CANON EF 28mm F/1.8 USM: maybe too short? Same price as SIGMA.
  • CANON EF 28mm F/2.8: same price as Nikon 35mm lens, but only F/2.8.
  • CANON EF 35mm F/2.0: too long? Slightly more expensive as Nikon but only F/2.0.

It seems that an equivalent Canon lens will be around twice as expensive as the above Nikon. Is this correct? Or did I overlook something?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe this question I recently asked can help you a bit: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/7648/… \$\endgroup\$
    – eflorico
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @eWolf: thanks! Yes, the question pretty much boils down to a choice between those two lenses. Which one did you end up buying? Currently, I favor the Canon. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daniel I didn't buy any lens yet, but I'll go tomorrow. I'll try out both once again, but I tend pretty heavily to the Sigma. It's got 1.4 and way better image quality - the sharpness wasn't that important for me, but the Canon's got terrible purple fringing. \$\endgroup\$
    – eflorico
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daniel Here is a sample shot @ f/1.8 - the purple fringing is clearly visible: cl.ly/4Raw \$\endgroup\$
    – eflorico
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 11:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @eWolf - impressive! I'd love to see the same picture with the Sigma. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 12:39

4 Answers 4


I'd worry less about "what's comparable" and worry more about "what's right for you."

The difference in the crop factor between the Canon 40D (1.6x) and the Nikon D90 (1.5x) is fairly small: 56mm EFL vs 52.5mm EFL. That's only a 6.25% difference. If you take a step or two backwards, you'll have the same effective field of view. Have a look at the angle of view calculators here to get an idea.

Similarly: the difference between f/2.0 and f/1.8 isn't huge: only 1/3 of a stop. It's some additional control over depth of field and low-light performance, but probably not enough to make a big deal over in practice. See DOFMaster for more calculations.

Depending on what type of photography you're doing, you could easily lean towards the 28mm f/2.8 over the 35mm f/2. For example, the former would be better for landscapes, because it's wider and the smaller minimum aperture doesn't matter as much. For indoor shots of people, the reverse would be true.

There's going to be differences between the lenses themselves too. Any of the lenses you mentioned might be (less) sharper than the others, or than the equivalent Nikon lenses.

And, of course, it all has to fit into your budget.

So: take a look at how much you want to spend and what you want to photograph, and then pick the most appropriate lens out of your options. Don't worry about what Nikon has; it doesn't really affect you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice answer, especially for the careful attention to the photographer's needs (as opposed to providing an answer to the question as literally asked) and for providing quantitative rationale where appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – whuber
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for your answer. The top priority for me would be sharpness even in low-light conditions. I could probably live with anything between 28mm and 35mm. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 22:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 f1.8 to f2.0 is a minimal difference, i usually stop my Nikon DX 35mm f1.8 to f2.8 or such, for a bit larger DoF and better picture quality. worry more about lens construction, full time manual focus override, etc :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 12:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome, Daniel & everyone. "What are you trying to do" is probably the first question anyone asked for advice should give. The corollary to that is: "Keep your options open" when it comes to your gear, so that you can move into something new without plunking down more money. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 17:29

As said above, I shouldn't worry about the non-equivalence - just look at what you need.

Check out reviews for each of them, there are some great review sites out there. Might be worthing trying to hire one before buying.


I think it's worth pointing out that the Canon 35 f/2.0 is a full-frame lens, whereas the Nikon 35 f/1.8 is an APS-C lens. That's almost certainly the primary reason for the Canon being more expensive, even though it's marginally slower. It's probably bigger and heavier too -- for exactly the same reason.

As such, in choosing between the two, there's an extra factor to keep in mind: whether there's any chance that you would/will want to switch to a full-frame camera sometime. If so, the Canon might be a better investment despite the higher price.


You've pretty much hit the nail on the head. Among Canon's current lens lineup, they don't have comparable lens at a comparable price.

Thats not to say some of the lenses you've listed above aren't good choices depending on your budget and situation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I hoped I was wrong... so, if we accept the price difference, do you have a recommendation? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not enough of a Canon guy to speak to the quality of those lenses. On specs alone, one of the first two looks like a good choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 19:54

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