Yongnuo’s new 35mm f/2 for Nikon is kind of interesting

Sep 5, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Yongnuo’s new 35mm f/2 for Nikon is kind of interesting

Sep 5, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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yn35mmf2

Recently, Yongnuo announced their 35mm f/2 lens for Nikon. It’s basically the YN 35mm f/2 for Canon but with a Nikon mount. What makes this interesting is that it’s different to both of Nikon’s similar offerings; the 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX, and the 35mm f/2D AF.

Notably, it is both a full frame lens and appears to have a built in AF motor. Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8G features a built in AF motor, but designed for DX bodies. Nikon’s 35mm f/2D is full frame, but lacks the built in AF motor. If you want full frame with a built in AF motor and the Nikon name, you’ll have to get the 35mm f/1.4 which is significantly more expensive.

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Yongnuo is a name that many photographers have come to trust. For the most part, the gear they make stands up to the job well. Their prices are pretty good, too. At this price, though, I wonder how good this lens could truly be.

I’ve used Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens on crop bodies. It’s not a very impressive hunk of glass. It’s about what you’d expect from a $200 lens. Yongnou would have to try pretty hard to make a worse lens, even at half the cost.

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Whether it will be able to keep up with the Nikon 35mm f/2D AF, is another matter. It’s a much better quality lens, with a higher price tag. I’ve used this lens as well, and even on a crop body, it’s a very good lens – assuming you’re using a DX body with an AF motor.

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Like most modern G type Nikon lenses, the Yongnuo 35mm f/2 contains no aperture ring. This means that you’re unable to shoot fully manual on film bodies that don’t have a dedicated aperture dial. Which is basically everything except the F100, F5 and F6. You’ll still get Shutter priority and P mode on some bodies like the N90s, but no aperture priority or manual.

So, if compatibility with older Nikon cameras is a concern, you might want to just go the extra cost and get the Nikon 35mm f/2 instead. But, if you’re in the market for an inexpensive 35mm lens, and you’re only shooting modern DSLRs, then whether you’re full frame or crop, this looks like a great inexpensive solution.

  • View-angle Coverate:
    Diagonal: 46 Degree
    Vertical: 27 Degree
    Horizontal: 40 Degree
  • Lens Structure: 5 sets, 7 pieces
  • Minimum Aperture: F/16
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.25m
  • Lens Filter Thread: 58mm
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.23X
  • Drive system: DC Motor
  • Maximum Diameter and Length: 74*59mm

One significant difference here is that this lens uses 58mm filters, whereas the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G and f/2D lenses both use 52mm filters. So, bear that in mind. If you already own a 52mm polarising filter, NDs, etc, then you won’t be able to use them with this lens. This essentially knocks up the price of the lens if you have to buy them all again in 58mm size.

The lens is available now through Amazon and eBay, and is expected to arrive at B&H and other retailers soon. The Yongnuo 35mm f/2 costs around $100, but to give you a price comparison, here’s the Yongnuo along with the three current Nikon 35mm options.

I’d be curious to see how this lens works in the real world. I’ve been thinking about picking up a 35mm f/2D for video recently, but I might have to check this out to satisfy my curiosity. Even if it only ends up being used as a video lens for shooting behind the scenes, you can’t go wrong for what it costs.

How about you? Will you pick one of these up? Have you tried the Yongnuo 35mm f/2 for Canon? How does it compare with the competition? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Update: There is also the 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ED lens, for full frame Nikon bodies that completely skipped me by. Thank you, George for pointing that out. This would appear to satisfy the full frame & built in AF motor specs, but at over 5x the cost of the Yongnuo, it would be interesting to see the two side by side. I imagine the Nikon would win out, though.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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25 responses to “Yongnuo’s new 35mm f/2 for Nikon is kind of interesting”

  1. George Kalogeris Avatar
    George Kalogeris

    Thanks for your valuable opinion.
    Just add in the comparison
    Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1:1.8G ED
    at $526

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Hey, thanks for that, I hadn’t realised Nikon had finally updated their full frame 35mm. :)

      1. Samuel Ashdown Avatar
        Samuel Ashdown

        or Sigmas 35mm offering from the art range. Thats a 1.4 and a mere £600. I’ve got the 50mm and its beautiful.

      2. Spiteful Avatar
        Spiteful

        Try 2 years ago…!

  2. Vedran Papeš Avatar
    Vedran Papeš

    Worth buying now or first waiting for price drop and more user reviews?

  3. chinatek Avatar
    chinatek

    This author has no idea what he’s talking about. The Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX is one of the best crop lenses Nikon has ever made, and a lot of people even use it on full frame for its quality and value. Check DXOmark or any of a million other reviews available on the net. The 35/2, OTOH, is pretty mediocre. See also numerous resources out there. Normally, oddball pixel peepers on the net like this guy don’t bother me, but this statement regarding the relative merits of these lenses is just wrong on every subjective and objective measure.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      I love how people tell me to “check DXOmark” and then call me a pixel peeper.

      No, I actually own the lens, and have used it many times when forced to. I just find it very underwhelming, especially for large prints.

    2. Mihai Aruxandei Avatar
      Mihai Aruxandei

      I used this 35 dx on a d800 and it’s pretty soft and it dark all around on fx, on DX is very soft, on the other side the cheap 50 from canon it;s mediocre on my 70d, but much sharper on my 5d, also no vignietting. pretty much sold all those lenses and stuck with the sigma 35 on both nikon and canon side.

      1. Roberto Avatar
        Roberto

        Sounds like you need to do some AF fine tuning.

    3. Craig Conway Avatar
      Craig Conway

      Good point. Go to DXO and compare the two lenses. The DX 35mm 1.8 lens on a DX body (like D90) scores better than the full frame 35mm f/2 on a DX body. This is because DX lenses are optimized for DX bodies. The 35mm 1.8 DX lens is a miracle on DX bodies – and DXO mark has the numbers to prove it.

    4. Yoichi franck Avatar
      Yoichi franck

      i will buy this great YONGNUO’S NEW 35MM F/2

  4. Edoardo Avatar
    Edoardo

    The autor must have mistaken the two Nikon lens when he says:
    – 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX is not a very impressive hunk of glass.
    – 35mm f/2D AF is another matter. It’s a much better quality lens.

    The AFD is the hunk of glass here and the AF-S is what Nikon could sell at twice the price.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Perhaps I just got a particularly bad sample of the 35mm f/1.8G DX, but the one I have really isn’t that great.

      The 35mm f/2D has always produced beautiful prints for me. Personal experience is a wonderful thing.

      1. Arc170 Avatar
        Arc170

        Would this lens work on a d7100 ok? What would the difference be on a dx body?

        1. Craig Conway Avatar
          Craig Conway

          Arc170 – It would work on a Nikon D7100.

  5. j cortes Avatar
    j cortes

    There is also a Tamron 35 1.8 VC option.

  6. M Ark Avatar
    M Ark

    “… and appears to have a built in AF motor”
    At a camera expo lately I asked the Yongnuo sales lady the same thing, and could not get a definite answer from her.

    1. Craig Conway Avatar
      Craig Conway

      You can tell by looking at the back of the lens, does it have a slot for the screw motor ?

  7. Craig Conway Avatar
    Craig Conway

    John Aldred – the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens scores higher on DX bodies, according to DXO mark, than the 35mm f/2 lens. The 35mm 1.8 DX lens is a miracle on DX bodies, because of it’s image quality and price point ($160 street). DXO mark has the tests to prove it – go see for yourself.

  8. Moslem's Feeds Avatar
    Moslem’s Feeds

    Hi mate
    i just got my new nikon D3300, does this 35mm f/2 yongnuo work properly on my cam? The mount and what about the autofocus? Thanks

    1. Roberto Avatar
      Roberto

      Hi Moslem,
      It looks like this lens will work on your D3300. I would think the Nikon 35/1.8DX would be a better choice though. It’s cheap, sharp, and sample variation is not that high.

  9. Sara Petercokeleyson Avatar
    Sara Petercokeleyson

    I just got it the other day. It’s actually not a bad lens. Pretty good for the price. I do own the nikkor 50mm 1.8, so I’m comparing it to that…the 35 has a slightly louder and slower af motor and the nikkor is a little easier to put on the camera. I’d say buy it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. $100 isn’t bad at all.

  10. Tom Freda Avatar
    Tom Freda

    I would agree that the author possibly got a bad copy. I’ve used the 35mm f1.8 DX on my son’s Nikon and was truly impressed. I say this as someone who meticulously AF-Fine Tunes FX lenses and knows sharpness when I see it. The sweet spot appears to be around f/4, from my results. PhotoZone’s testing seems to coincide.

  11. Yoichi franck Avatar
    Yoichi franck

    this lens is better than the Nikon 50mm in focus

  12. Yoichi franck Avatar
    Yoichi franck

    thanks for the post