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Pre-Order: The new Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AFS-G, an affordable full-frame ultra-wide lens

By Matthew Saville on January 29th 2013

If you remember recently, we reported on a rumor that Nikon was going to release an 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5.  Well, here it is!  It can be yours for only $749… (US, pre-order here on B&H)

Pre-Order the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AFS-G ED:   (Available ~March 2013)

MTF Chart

Press Release

An Ultra Wide-Angle Wonder for FX-Format Photographers
Nikon’s newest ultra-wide-angle NIKKOR offering, the AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, features a useful wide-angle focal length of 18-35mm (1.9x zoom equivalent). This FX-format lens is ideal for  large group shots, architecture and photographing or shooting HD video in tight interiors. Performance is optimized for ultra-high-pixel-count D-SLR cameras including the Nikon D800 series and D600, while providing close focus up to .92 feet (approx. 11 inches). The 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 presents a new, lightweight wide-angle option for FX-format D-SLR shooters.

The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED packs NIKKOR quality and performance within an extremely compact and lightweight 0.85 lb. (385g) body, making it easy to carry while on location or on-the-go. Constructed with 12 elements in 8 groups, Nikon’s newest wide-angle lens features a seven-blade diaphragm that allows for beautiful and precise image blur, ED glass to help ensure outstanding performance with minimal chromatic aberration while Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) reduces ghosting even in backlit situations. Two focus modes are available including M/A (AF with manual override) and M (Manual) in addition to a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) that enables quiet AF operation.

Specifications and Opinions

  • Autofocus: AFS-G (SWM)
    This is one of the main changes for this lens, compared to the previous 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D.  This new version has the “Silent Wave Motor” type autofocus, which is much more convenient, quiet, and reliable as far as autofocus is concerned.  Of course most landscape photographers focus manually anyways, so this point may not be very important unless you use the lens to photograph action sports or something.  (In which case you might want something a little more rugged, like the 16-35 f/4 VR.)
  • Optics: ED, AS, …but no “N”
    The “optics nomenclature” is the same as the previous lens, with Aspherical lens elements and ED coatings, but no (pricey) Nano-coating.  This is understandable for a lens of this value, and the new MTF charts look sharper than the previous version, (click here!) …but are still not flawless.  Of course MTF charts are captured wide open, so at this point there is no telling what the stopped-down performance is.  (Especially considering that the official sample images are web-resolution!  We will update this post if we find any D800-size sample images!  ;-)
  • Stabilization: NO
    Sorry, folks, this lens is supposed to be affordable and lightweight, what did you expect?   Again if you want rock-solid construction and stabilization, your option is the 16-35 f/4 VR.  The 18-35mm AFS-G is for people who wish to keep their lens weights down, as well as cost.
  • Construction: Plastic
    The new 18-35mm AFS-G is mostly plastic, however it does have one structural improvement over it’s predecessor:  Internal moving parts, or at least non-moving filter threads.  The older lens had a moving front filter portion, which is often a slight compromise in overall ruggedness, AKA the mark of a kit zoom.  (Not always true, but mostly)  Either way, this lens is built to be ultra-light for use on a camera like the Nikon D600.  Compared to a D800 and for example the Nikon 17-35 f/2.8, the 18-35 on a D600 would be a whole 18 oz (510 g) lighter!

  • Measurements:
  • Filter size – 77mm  (The pro standard)
  • Minimum focus distance – 0.94 / 0.28m  (Just a couple inches from the front of the lens!)
  • Weight – 385 g. / 13.5 oz  (Lighter than any other Nikon full-frame ultra-wide!)
  • Dimensions – 3.3″x3.7″ / 83x95mm
  • Angle of View – 100°-63° (FX) / 76°-44° (DX)
  • Aperture – 7 blades, rounded (rounded means nice bokeh, but 7 blades could possibly mean better sunstars when stopped down!)

For more information, visit Nikon’s official product page HERE, or view sample images HERE.


…So, does this mean that we probably won’t see a Nikon 16-35 f/2.8 AFS-G VR N any time soon?  Probably so.  But this lens falls into a completely different class / market anyways.

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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. dragfree007

    If image quality is good, a superlight WA zoom would be great. I’ll happily trade one stop in exchange for nearly a pound of weight. But I’ll wait at least until reputable reviewers have reported on production models and posted full image files before even thinking about forming an opinion regarding its merit.

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  2. Kristopher

    This would have been a amazing 2.8 lens

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  3. Jason Lee


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  4. Richardaevans2

    Disappointing! Just another consumer grade lens! Great for amateurs and soccer moms but real useless for pro fast shooters.

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