I need a fast lens with autofocus for taking indoor shots with my Nikon D3000. I have been looking at the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S for a while and now that I am ready to get one they are next to impossible to find. Is this lens being replaced or discontinued? If so does anyone have a recommendation for similar lens in the same price range?
It's a relatively new lens and popular lens, so it would shock me if it was being discontinued or replaced.
During the Christmas season, they became incredibly popular as presents and the supply dwindled (increasing the price considerably for a bit, even on Amazon).
It's one of the cheapest lenses available for DX cameras and not too shabby either! The stores are probably still behind on the stocking from the holiday season.
Either give it time, or check out the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 or Nikon/Sigma 50mm f/1.4 - although these are more expensive. (Realize the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 won't autofocus on your D3000).
It's only a couple of years old, and it fits a very good niche (DX, small, cheap, fast, relatively wide). I really doubt it will get discontinued soon.
But I doubt anyone except Nikon has anything more than speculation on this topic.
Similar lenses: You pretty much have to go with the 50mm to get anything with the same price point, speed, and quality. I'd recommend the 35mm f/2 AF-D (it's a very similar lens for not much more) except that it won't autofocus on your D3000.
This lens was launched just two years ago — it's unlikely that it'd be discontinued or replaced so soon. In fact, they've been selling like hotcakes ever since that launch, and it seems like they're always on the verge of being out of stock. I suspect you're just seeing that at work. I'd go ahead and preorder from one of the big reputable places; it shouldn't be too long of a wait.
I got one a couple months ago, it's an amazing lens for the price. Like someone else said, preorder one and you'll be safe. If we consider the needs you mentioned, I'm afraid this is maybe the only match for a nikon DX for some simple reasons. It's also the best match, so cheer up! First, let's see the problem with alternatives:
other good, fast and affordable nikon lenses around that focal lenght won't autofocus on DX cameras (no internal motor)
the sigma 30 f1.4, its main competitor, is freaking sturdy and sports a beautiful BIG front diameter, for me it was love at first sight! it has a distance scale, but I would say it's optically inferior (distortion, glare). The autofocus might be not as accurate as with the nikkor (one could expect that), it weights much more(well, that's about taste, but on super light DXs it can get you kinda unbalanced), no manual/auto focus switch(this is true only in the version for nikons, I wonder why), almost double the price, a bit too wide for, say, portrait, architectural detail, still life (not that the nikkor is made for such things, but it's a bit better - well, it's made for almost everything). The guy at the photo store even told me it's not as fast as they claim.
That said, I used the nikkor 35 for a while and I'm really satisfied. At 800 ISO f1.8 I get decent handheld shots at night outdoor with street lamps neon signs etc, and perfect shots indoor in average artificial light or outdoor at dawn/sunset. The bokeh is much better than I expected from photos I'd seen around, really good!
- IMHO its main flaw is purple fringing, rarely visible at first glance, still it's easy to get.
In the end, if I got back I wouldn't hesitate and I'd get it again. I'm sure with a bit of patience you'll get one, it's unlikely to be discontinued any soon.
According to info passed by Thom Hogan's site, Nikon's lens factory in Tochigi was affected by earthquake and therefore closed for almost two weeks. Therefore there could be shortage of many Nikon lenses. Also, the factory in Sendai making FX bodies was severely damaged.