Now I am not really a prime user, and prefer the versatility and flexibility my zooms offer me. That said when it comes to low light and being able to increase light coming in through the lens by more than a stop, then already primes show an advantage.
Primes generally are considered to be able to give a clearer images since there is no compromise between focus and adjusted zoom.


A photo of the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 upright with Box

There is a running general opinion that you do not use DX ( cropped frame ) lenses on Full Frame (FX) bodies, I assume because the final image will possibly be so heavily distorted it will be useless. I am not quite sure what other reason there can be, other than the DX lens is not built with the FX body in mind.


Another photo of the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 this time upside down and with a lens hood


A photo of the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 upright

With that said What finally made me decide to buy the 35mm I cannot say, I will say at the price it was an easy buy. Since I am not a prime user at all I was reluctant to pick-up a lens I may never use, so the NIKON 35mm DX 1.8 make a perfect test lens, since it is cheap and a nice small lens.


Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 – Top view of the 7 blades

My quick overview of the Nikon 35mm 1.8 DX lens. This lens is a lightweight at only 200grams and 52.5mm long and a whopping 72mm with the lens hood on. It is quite impressive that within 52.5mm there are 8 lenses in 6 groups, and it is a 7 bladed diaphragm. Just a little thought, your new age mobile phone only weighs in at a few grams less than this lens.


35mm DX 1.8 photo of a flower


35mm DX 1.8 photo of same flower now really closeup

Now down to the important bit, how does it like being on a Full Frame body. First of all it works! Secondly ( for what it is ) it works very well ! Well mostly. Since I am primarily a Wedding photographer, I have a certain set of expectations from my lens, that being a robust and reliable lens that can produce a clean image.
Having played with this lens for about 3 months now I have a fair idea of what to expect from this lens and where its limitations lie in relation to my Full Frame Body.
Lets start with quality of lens build, in short it is what I expect from a Nikon lens, well built and solid. There is a lot built into this 200gram lens and somewhere in all that they made sure it stayed together as it should.
Now a few little hiccups I have encountered which I am not sure falls into reliability or image quality, it probably is a bit of both. I seem unable to get the 35mm DX to fine tune it on the FX body, and while this is fairly minor in this case, a little fine tuning would be good. So knowing that I need to make a tiny adjustment for the lens everytime I do a shot with a small Depth of Field, all is well.
I find I use the focus ring on occasion and while it is small it is quite easy to work with, so again all is good.


35mm DX 1.8 comparison images … at F1.8 / F4.0 / F8.0 / F16


Close-up of that green fuzzy stuff


The Vignetting at its worst F22 / ISO 800 / 1/200s


The Vignetting is only slightly obvious in this photo – F4 / ISO 200 / 1/400s

Now down to the main part, the images and how do images come out on the other end. There is always a certain amount of vignetting and on occasion I can simply crop it out, while there are occasions when I simply have to leave it in, this has meant that I now shoot generally aim to shoot for the centre and adjust the image accordingly in post production, so I do not get caught with to much vignetting. This means it can be significant enough that I am aware of it and while I shoot a wedding I know that and work with it, it can also from the start create a wonderful mood to an image, so it can be a real win. I tend to photography Weddings as they happen, a very candid and over the shoulder manner, this means that when I have that slight vignetting it can really be adding to the photo and creating a bit more depth that I may have had to consider adding in post production. I have used this lens now at a number of weddings, with off camera flash to bright sunny days

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Same Sex Wedding and using the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8

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Using the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 you can see a slight bit of vignetting

The great thing is it is also a very nice little lens to use as a run around, it really ensure that my camera has a small footprint and since I do not have to worry about a huge heavy lens it makes it so much easier to carry around and pull out for a few quick photos.
How bad is the vignetting you may want to know, and the best way is with the images you see, and while in some photos there is barely any vignetting in others it can be quite pronounced.

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Using the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 and in this Wedding Photo the vignetting is more obvious … although I add more … kinda

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Using the Nikon 35mm DX 1.8 and in this Wedding Photo the vignetting is there , it could also have been added in post.

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This Wedding Photo overlooking the Thames has heavy vignetting on the left from the 35mm DX 1.8 which I left in on purpose. I was happy with what it added to the photo.

Why have I not gone for the 35mm 1.8 for the Full Frame you may ask, well this little guy works well and I do not use it enough that it I want to spend more a 35mm 1.8. One day when I find myself using the 35mm more often at weddings or for portraits then I can see no reason not to get the 35mm, but as it stands it is a wonderful and fun little lens that I can use on a day out or even when working and I need that extra stop of light.
Would I recommend the 35mm 1.8 DX on a full frame, if you are willing to work with the vignetting then yes otherwise go out and spend a lot more on the full frame lens. The 35mm DX is far from perfect on full frame bodies, it is however very light and excellent value for the price, and thats a big yes.

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This photo of the bride has a little pronounced vignetting which I think is from the 35mm, possibly with a little extra added in post

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Looking at this luverly chocolate Wedding Cake, this shows just how clean the 35mm DX 1.8 can be

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This photo looking into the wedding party who cares about vignetting

So if you looking for a fun, run-around lens and have not need for a zoom on your full frame , have a look at this lens…
A little note: I like my 35mm 1.8 DX so much that I went out and bought the Nikon 85mm AFS 1.8, which I will have something say about in a little while. Right now I have to give it a good going over.


Do you have a Question ?
What are your thoughts on the 35mm DX 1.8 on a Full Frame Body ?

Let me know what is on your mind.

Article by Dewan Demmer of Dewan Demmer Photography