Review Nikon AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (N DX)

Nikon 18-35 mm review @ DX
Both the Nikon 18-35 mm f/3.5-f/4.5 and the 16-35 mm f/4, are suited for FX and DX cameras, but this new zoom is lower in price. How good is it?

In 2000, the Nikon AF 18-35 mm f/3.5 – 4.5 D IF-ED was released. But with the spectacular rise of digital photography, the demands we put on a lens have been getting heavier. The best lens designers are able with modern lens designs to meet those heavier requirements. I can thus well imagine that Nikon in January 2013 found it high time to come out with a modern version of this attraction wide-angle zoom lens. If you compare the Nikon 18-35 mm f/3.5-f/4.5 with the Nikon 16-35 mm f/4, then both are suited for both FX and DX cameras, but this new zoom is lower in price (by almost 500 euro). I shoot a lot and with pleasure with a wide-angle zoom lens and prefer a focal length of 24 mm (converted to a full frame sensor) or smaller. This lens manages that, but not in combination with our DX-test camera, the Nikon D7100.

Nikon 18-35 mm review @ DX


Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED test @ Nikon D7100

The 2x zoom range when used on a Nikon D7100 in terms of field of view is equivalent to the zoom range of 28-53 mm zoom lens on a camera with an FX sensor. On a Nikon D7100 with a DX sensor, that amounts to an angle of 76° – 44°. That may seem relatively limited for a walkaround lens, but if you are in a landscape, in a building or in an urban environment, then you usually don’t need more than a 2x zoom. The Nikon AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED is equally suitable for use on a camera with an FX sensor, such as the Nikon D610, when used on a camera with a DX sensor, such as the Nikon D5300 or Nikon D7100.

Construction and autofocus


This lens is very well made and with a weight of less than 4 ounces, fits comfortably in your hand. It is much smaller and lighter than the Nikkon 16-35 mm f/4.0 VR! The high-quality lens construction is (of course) fitted a metal mount with (less obviously) a rubber, weatherproof seal. There is 1 switch on the lens: for autofocus that you can manually overrule at any time (A/M) and manual focus (M). The focusing ring makes a 90-degree turn if you focus from 28 cm to infinity. The shortest focusing distance at all focal lengths is 28 cm, measured from the sensor. The front lens is then less than 20 cm away from your subject.

This lens is easy to take with you: it is less than 10 cm long and wide. With a filter size of 77 mm, the lens does look quite impressive from the front.

You no longer see it in the type-designation of this lens, but the Nikon 18-35 mm of course makes use of internal focus (IF). It is much easier to move a small element in the lens than to turn the heavy front lens around. The autofocus drive of Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor ensures quite well that the AF is quick, precise and super quiet. Thanks to the built-in SWM AF motor, you have control over the AF with all Nikon cameras. There is no sign of searching in low light. This lens is not fitted with built-in image stabilization, but a lens bag and a lens hood are included,

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  Because this lens is designed for use on a larger sensor, you have when used on a Nikon D7100 no trouble at all from vignetting. At maximum aperture at all focal lengths, the maximum vignetting at all focal lengths is about 0.5 stop. Once you open the aperture another stop, the amount of vignetting is halved, and you got have no more trouble with it.  vignet


  When used on a Nikon D7100, the Nikon AF-S 18-35 mm ED delivers jpg files without any visible distortion. It is nice that this applies to the whole zoom range. distort



The Nikon 18-35 mm has 7 aperture blades with a round aperture opening, which means that the bokeh with stopping down does not develop any angles. But just as with most other wide-angle zoom lenses, you are buying this lens for large depth of field that you can achieve and not for the bokeh.






The design of the Nikon 18-35 mm lens consists of 12 elements in 8 groups. Complex designs with many lenses are often sensitive to backlight. In this case, it is not perfect, but it works well. To prevent internal reflections, Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating is applied: it reduces ghosting and light flecks. Even so, we saw in a few practice shots with direct backlight some ghosts.



  When it comes to sharpness, the Nikon 18-35 mm is about as good as the Tokina 17-35 mm, which we previously tested. The sharpness is just very good for this type of zoom lens. But both have to give it up to the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8, which is in a class of its own. At all focal lengths, we measure the highest sharpness at f/5.6. In the measurements, the sharpness in the corners at full aperture is less than in the center. The difference, however, is generally too small to see in practice. Only at maximum aperture would you find anything to criticize. Resolutie

Chromatic aberration

The optical design includes three aspherical lenses and two elements of ED glass (extra low dispersion), with which Nikon wants to achieve the highest possible resolution and at the same time, as much as possible, to correct unwanted deviations and biases. In terms of chromatic aberration, they partially succeeded. You see that the in-camera correction of jpg files is clearly higher scoring for absence of chromatic aberration. If you are shooting in jpg, you will never suffer from chromatic aberration with the Nikon 18-35 mm.
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Conclusion Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED test

  {insertgrid ID = 387} See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses.
  ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: “What you see is what you get”. {insertgrid ID = 308}
  ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. {insertgrid ID = 309}



  • High center sharpness, low distortion and vignetting
  • Highly resistant to flare
  • Fast, silent and accurate AF
  • SWM makes AF possible on cameras without built-in AF motor (Nikon D3300/Nikon D5300)
  • Handy and light
  • Sharpness in the corners lags behind the center
  • Less nice bokeh
  • No built-in image stabilization

The Nikon AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED is suitable for both cameras with FX sensors and DX sensors, but it’s a lot cheaper than the Nikon 16-35 mm f/4. If you now have a camera with a DX sensor, such as the Nikon D3200, D5200 or the Nikon D7100, and you’re not planning to ever step up to a camera with a full-frame (FX) sensor, then this Nikon 16-35 mm has a fierce competitor in the form of the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8.

But if you are eventually planning to purchase a camera with an FX sensor, then the Nikon 18-35 mm ED is an attractive wide-angle zoom with a solid construction, quiet, fast and accurate AF, good optical performance and a reasonable price tag. The list price of the Nikon AF-S 18-35 mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED is 749 euros.


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