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Review by Markus Stamm, published August 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 and especially the segment of ultra wide angle lenses has seen a huge amount of development and improvements.
So, let's find out how a lens initially targeted at the consumer shooting film performs on the high resolution sensor of our current FX test camera, the Nikon D3x.
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 is no 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 the slotted drive screw operated by the camera. However, the focus path is quite short, so speed-wise the AF leaves nothing to be desired (reads: the AF is very fast).
|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 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.|