Nikon 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G Review (Awesome Wide Lens!)

NIKON 18-35MM F3.5-4.5 G REVIEW (AWESOME WIDE LENS!)

There are two lenses I don't think I could live without, and the Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G is definitely one of them (the other is any good 70-200mm). I don't often review gear on this blog because there's so much out there already on every piece of photo equipment imaginable, but there's only a few good reviews on this beautiful lens. When I bought it in 2015, all that was out there in internet land was one good article and a video from legendary nature photographer Moose Peterson raving about it. I thought I'd carve out some time, now that I've had two years to use it, to talk about this awesome wide-angle zoom and why it's not being traded or sold for as long as I shoot Nikon. 

I've put 1,000s of shots through the Nikon 18-35G and have taken it on all my trips since the winter of 2015. It's been my main super-wide angle lens in Iceland (twice), Boston, Sweden, North Carolina's mountains and beaches, and the Canadian Rockies. It's lightweight, well-made, sharp, works with 77mm filter systems with no vignetting, and shows very little distortion or chromatic aberration. I'm not going to talk about the specs much, instead I'll mainly touch on why I like this lens so much and why it's always in my bag. I'd also like to share some of my favorite images that I've made using this lens. If you want boring old charts and graphs, pictures of brick walls and stuffed animals, or side by side comparisons with other lenses, you should probably go elsewhere. To borrow the words of Moose Peterson, "I'm not a chart photographer." 

 Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G wide angle lens on a D600

Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G wide angle lens on a D600

technical specs:

Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet
Focal Length Range: 18-35mm
Zoom Ratio: 1.9 x
Maximum Aperture: f/ 3.5
Minimum Aperture: f/ 22-29
Format: FX / 35mm
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 100°
Minimum Angle of View (FX-format): 63°
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.2 x
Lens Elements: 12
Lens Groups: 8
Compatible Format(s): FX,  DX , 35mm Film
Diaphragm Blades: 7
Distance Information: Yes
ED Glass Elements: 2
Aspherical Elements: 3
Super Integrated Coating: Yes
Autofocus: Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
Internal Focusing: Yes
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.92  ft. ( 0.28 m) 
Focus Mode: Manual , Manual/Auto
G-type: Yes
Filter Size: 77mm
Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length): (83mm) (95mm)
Approx. Weight: 13.6 oz. (385 g)

pros:

- Lightweight and durable poly-carbonate construction
- Weather-sealed
- Produces very sharp images with little to no color fringing or distortion
- Sharp at all apertures and focal lengths (especially around f8 - f13 for landscapes)
- Relatively inexpensive at $500-700 USD
- Works great with Lee and Nisi 77mm polarizers and filter systems
- Compact size fits in any camera backpack
- 18-35mm FX zoom range remains versatile even on a DX sensor body (equivalent to ~28-52mm)
- Fast autofocus with manual override
- Very close minimum focus distance
 

cons:

Racking my brain here... For me there are none really. If two extra millimeters was essential, then the more expensive, larger, and heavier Nikon 16-35mm G might be a good choice. It's considered a "pro lens" (though I'm technically a professional and use the 18-35G). The difference in 16mm and 18mm on a full frame camera is like taking one step backward, so that's not worth the $400 price difference to me. In all honesty, I can't think of a reason not to recommend this lens, especially to the weight-conscious travel photographer. The only negative I can think of is that it's difficult to find this lens in used condition because people that own it like it so much.

In The Field:

Here are a few of my favorite images made with the Nikon 18-35G. I purchased mine new on eBay from a trusted North American seller with the standard 1 year warrantee. I would also recommend purchasing it on AmazonB&H, or Henry's for my Canadian readers. Always shop around for the best price and remember plane tickets are better than gear. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

 Peyto Lake, Banff National Park (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 29mm, ISO100, f13, 1/6 sec, tripod, polarizer, 3 stop grad. ND)

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 29mm, ISO100, f13, 1/6 sec, tripod, polarizer, 3 stop grad. ND)

 Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park (Nikon D7100, 18-35G : 18mm, ISO 100, f11, 8 sec, tripod, polarizer, 3 stop grad. ND, 6 stop ND)

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park (Nikon D7100, 18-35G : 18mm, ISO 100, f11, 8 sec, tripod, polarizer, 3 stop grad. ND, 6 stop ND)

 Intracoastal Waterway, Calabash, N.C. (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 35mm, ISO 100, f8, 2.5 sec, tripod)

Intracoastal Waterway, Calabash, N.C. (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 35mm, ISO 100, f8, 2.5 sec, tripod)

 Old Town Stockholm, Sweden (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 18mm, ISO 400, f8, 1/100 sec, handheld)

Old Town Stockholm, Sweden (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 18mm, ISO 400, f8, 1/100 sec, handheld)

 Dyrholaey, Iceland (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 35mm, ISO 100, f10, 3 sec, tripod, polarizer, 6 stop ND)

Dyrholaey, Iceland (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 35mm, ISO 100, f10, 3 sec, tripod, polarizer, 6 stop ND)

 Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 26mm, ISO 100, f14, 1/4 sec, tripod, polarizer)

Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland (Nikon D600, 18-35G : 26mm, ISO 100, f14, 1/4 sec, tripod, polarizer)

For the full list of the photography gear I use, click here.