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Review by Markus Stamm, published October 2011
Special thanks to A. Alger and Andy Aungthwin for providing their lenses!
The Nikkor AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D ED was released in 2000 and at the time it was the first consumer grade ultra-wide angle zoom lens by Nikon representing an affordable alternative to the professional grade and much more expensive f/2.8 zoom lenses (like the AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8) or less flexible wide angle primes.
The photographic market has changed drastically since then. Due to the smaller size of sensors in digital SLRs compared to film, full-frame wide-angles became a popular choice as standard zoom lenses on DX cameras.
In this review we'll find out how the lens performs on our current DX test camera, the Nikon D7000.
The build quality of the lens is good and in line with other consumer grade lenses of that era. Both the zoom and focus ring operate smoothly without being damped though. As you can see in the product images below the lens extends a bit when zooming towards the wide-end of the range.
The lens features an internal focusing (IF) design so the front element does not rotate and using a polarizer isn't a problem. The physical size remains constant during focus operations (not during zooming).
Unfortunately the 18-35mm ED does not take advantage of a silent-wave AF drive - it relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. On current entry-level Nikon DSLRs, that don't feature such a drive screw anymore, the lens can only be focused manually. On higher grade DX DSLRs, however, the AF works and it does so very fast, due to a quite short focus path.
|Equiv. focal length||27-52.5 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. max. f-stops||f/5.3-6.8 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field - not speed)|
|Optical construction||11 elements in 8 groups inc. 1x ED and 1x aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.33 m (max. magnification ratio 1:6.7)|
|Dimensions||83 mm x 83 mm|
|Filter size||77 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||Nikon HB-23, petal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Lens provides distance (D) information to the camera.|