DxOMark test results for the Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens


DxOMark published their test result and conclusion for the Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED ultra-wide zoom lens ($746.95):

"With the price close to the Tokina, this new Nikon’s ‘moderate to slow’ variable aperture, all-plastic construction and lack of an aperture collar may all be viewed as shortcomings. Looking on the up-side, the material choice means the lens weighs just 385g and yet, even after adopting a large 77mm filter size, it somehow retains relatively compact dimensions making it highly portable. As for the optical quality, it’s first class and will no doubt be a good match for the inevitable high-resolution bodies that must surely exist on the drawing boards of Nikon facilities in Tokyo and Sendai."

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • John


  • NikonFanboy

    Wow That means D4X is due any time sooner..g8…

    • Anto de Chav

      Thats puts smile on my face,,,

  • Gertjan

    Good to have a replacement for the IF-ED, which I found a huge disappointment.

  • lorenzo

    I would have liked to see it in comparison with the Nikkor 16-35 f/4.

    • Dave in NC

      You can go to the DxO web site and select “compare lenses” to see this alongside the 16-35 f/4. The 18-35 has an overall score of 22 and the 16-35 has an overall score of 23. I have the 16-35 and like it a lot. The good score for the 18-35 was surprising to me. The lighter weight seems quite attractive. Now I hope Nikon comes out with an updated 14mm rectilinear prime!

      • Dave in NC

        I screwed up. I was comparing the 16-35 to the 24-85, not the new 18-35. The results for the 18-35 are impressive.

  • Maertyn

    Awesome Lens!!!

  • Tutu

    Please note that in your screenshots overall scores of the lens are not using the same camera. Some use the D800 and some the D3X.

    16-35 with D800 is 23

    • I fixed that – refresh your browser please.

    • Genkakuzai

      Yeah that was a bit surprising, took a few seconds before I spotted it. Still though, excellent performance from the newcomer. Must say though, the VR on the 16-35mm f/4G is awesome in low light situations.

      • jk

        but the VR in wide range deteriorates IQ really bad.

        • Genkakuzai

          Yeah I haven’t really seen any sign of that, having taking plenty of shots both with and without VR on. And even assuming you’re right, I’d still rather have an in-focus usable image taken at 1/8s shutter speed, than not being able to take the shot at all. Which would’ve been the case many times without VR in lowlight situations.

        • Csaba

          Who told you that?

          • jk

            I did test it myself , and realized it.
            every zoom lens in this range or std zoom range with VR or IS had some IQ issue.
            the new Canon 24-70f4LIS has some bad flare issue . the Nikon aFS24-120f4VR has very soft around 50mm, and the 16-35f4VR is very soft into the corners and so on.

            • Csaba

              Those issues are completely unrelated to VR or IS. EVERY zoom of this focal range has compromises. The 24-120mm is a bit soft from 40 to 70mm, but that has nothing to do with VR. In fact, you can turn VR off if it concerns you, but I never do it personally.

              All the images you see shot at F/4 (starting from the 4th image, exif info on top right corner) was shot with the 24-120mm, VR on. You can see all focal lengths used, even the “soft” range. I have never seen evidence that VR might compromise image quality (except when using the camera on tripod, where I turn VR off, but even when I forget it, I don’t see image degradation).

  • Spy Black

    You really love to rile up the animals, ay?…

  • MeLike

    I swear… I will not buy anymore expensive lenses after looking at DxOMark test results. How’s my 18-55mm VR lens performed?

    • greger


  • Paul

    Actually, the new lens doesn’t perform as well as you might think when taking a closer look. The distortion properties are awful at 18mm and never becomes decent across the entire range. The resolution is decent at f/5.6 in the 18-24mm range but tapers off fast to levels that are laughable compared to the Nikon 16-35 and Tokina 16-28. This lens is practically unusable at 35mm and only good at f/8 around 28mm. See for yourself:


    • Arschloch

      Seriously, who cares how a wide angle lens performs at 35mm???

      • Um, someone who likes shooting at 35mm? 18-35mm is a nice range for full frame.

    • derek

      I guess what Paul is saying is that you could never be a photographer using this lens. Funny thing is the distortion is worse on the 16-35mm and resolution is better on the 18-35mm.

      • Paul

        You are exactly wrong; where the two lenses overlap, there’s less distortion and better resolution on the 16-35mm, the Tokina notwithstanding…

        • derek

          I am right. I do not care about where they overlap. At 16mm, the 16-35 has the worst distortion of any lens I have ever looked through. No big deal, it can be fixed and it is a very nice lens. However, to say the 18-35mm is unusable and laughable make you look like a snob. I have seen great results from the former 18-35mm and the new version is much better. For any photographer on a budget this is a great lens. The Canon 17-40mm has got a better build but the Nikon 18-35mm is sharper. Do not let remarks like Paul’s steer you away from this lens.

          • jk

            right and the VR is not that important in this super wide range.
            so if 18mm is wide enough , then there is no contest but this new cheap zoom wins over anything else(maybe the 14-24 better but it is too huge).

        • jk

          why do you like Photozone more than DXO?

          • xb897

            just look at Photozone.de and you will know why.

          • derek

            Actually, Photozone gave a good rating to the 18-35mm as well. OQ-3stars, MQ-3.5stars, PP-4stars. Photozones rating for the 16-35mm is OQ-2.5 stars, MQ-4.5stars, PP-2.5stars.

            • Anto de Chav

              One of the problems with Photozone or DXO is that sample variation is always a factor which may skew a lens score.. Roger Cicala is a good source for cross referencing as he tests multiple copies which gives an aggregate score.. I’m not dissing DXO or Photozone but using one sample of a lens has it’s drawback’s.

            • jk

              thanks for the info, I love Roger’s test too.
              but I don’t think he tested this one.

    • jk

      I trust DXO more than a tiny private review site from Germany.

      • I like both. Photozone discusses stuff like bokeh and build quality which Dxo does not.

        • jk

          DXO does it too if you go their forum or comment section of it.

          • Dxo’s comments section is, frankly, disturbing. I wonder if the folks there actually ever take photographs.

  • BroncoBro

    more useless information. anyone have any ideas for making interesting and exciting photographs with this lens?

    • Aldo

      I’m looking for ideas as well. Putting my subject close to the lens and then getting a background in a clever way usually gives a good abstract perception shot… I got bored of them though. Using it to just capture “more stuff” never really satisfied me….when wide. I use a 15mm but close though…

      • patto01

        I don’t know what kind of photography you guys are into but ultrawides really shine in landscape and architectural photography. Even then, it’s not just about capturing “more stuff.” Kinda limited for most other things.

        • Aldo

          I do event photography… I use it to give a perspective shot here and there… It’s not about using the right or wrong lens… it’s about paring a superwide with some creativity to get a cool picture.

          • patto01

            I can’t imagine doing event photography. Occasionally I have to do something similar (too difficult to describe here) and I don’t like it. I prefer a subject that doesn’t move so much 😉

            • BroncoBro

              I’m not sure I “like” them either…but I like the checks.

          • BroncoBro

            I do a fair number of events, too; conferences, business socials, etc. I’m shooting with a D300s, so for me the Sigma 10-20mm has worked well. What you need to watch for is going too wide and getting a lot of distortion on the heads of the folks on the sides. But, if I keep the wide end to say, 13-14mm, I’m good. The perspective is pleasing in that it feels like you, the viewer, are part of the group being photographed. I shoot with strobe, and, depending on how the ambient light is, I’m amazed that I get soft focus on the backgrounds. I shoot wide open and work close, so even at 14mm I get some softening.

    • BroncoBro

      I’m going through a shoot I did for a mining company that shows historic communities near the mine site. I used a Sigma 10-20mm on a D300s to get this shot of 19th Century tailings left by dredge operations back then. Negotiations with the new mining effort resulted in the company’s agreement to restore the area back to its natural state. I know this shot was is a bit wider than the lens described here, but I think you’d get similar results with it on a FF camera.

      • Csaba

        I think people asking for pictures taken with the Nikkor 18-35mm F/3.5-45G ED lens, preferably on a high-res FX body. Just sayin 😉

    • Guest

      I’m going through a shoot I did for a mining company that shows historic communities near the mine site. I used a Sigma 10-20mm on a D300s to get this shot of 19th Century tailings left by dredge operations back then. Negotiations with the new mining effort resulted in the company’s agreement to restore the area back to its natural state. I know this shot was is a bit wider than the lens described here, but I think you’d get similar results with it on a FF camera. I exaggerated the vignetting to give a “lunar” effect.

  • PhotoLaw

    Wow is right… only 2 overall points lower than my 14-24mm on a D4. That must be a great lens, or a horribly flawed test. Just the same, I think I’ll keep my 14-24mm. Ha! I know, I know, different f-stops, different range, etc. but really, what good is an overall score if you can’t use it to compare all the “wide zooms”? Dxo… kinda cool software, practically useless test results.

    • Discontinued

      Huh? And your (overall) point is exactly what?

      There is more than an overall score. What makes you think, measured sharpness, distortion, or chr. aberration are “useless test results”?

      To me this Dxo-bashing-fashion seems to be rather childish.

      • DT

        Its all about who has the most expensive equipment.

    • Sahaja

      Not everybody wants to spend their money on a D4 and the 14-24mm.

      For the money the18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G looks like a winner.

      • Moneykeeper

        D4 body price < D800 + 14-24
        D4 body weight < D800 + 14-24

        You can't make any picture with D4 body…
        But you can get lighter and cheaper with D600!

        • Moneykeeper

          Oops… “>”, not “<"

      • Anto de Chav

        D4 is really only worth buying if you need speed or work in extreme climates..

  • jk

    this lens seems like a great light weight convenient zoom. I have the 16-35mm f4VR and Zeiss 18mm f3.5+ Zeiss 25mm f2ZF2 in this range, but I may replace my 16-35mm f4VR with this new light weight zoom. this lens looks really good optically, and it weighs just 330g and quite a bit shorter than the 16-35mmf4VR.
    so when I do not need Zeiss or Nikon f1.4 super prime class IQ but more practical convenient zoom solution, this lens seems really useful , maybe this one + the 24-120mmf4VR +70-200mm f4VR make really nice light weight daylight hiking kit.

    • Studor

      I have the 16-35 too. It’s not that heavy, common!

      Also, the 16-35 has VR and is 2mm wider, which is not insignificant.

      Unless you are always shooting wide open, the old 18-35mm is much better value (yes, I have that lens as well) and is around $250 or less.

      • jk

        thanks but I don’t need a heavy wide zoom because I must also carry the 24-70f2.8 and 105f2.8Vr or 70-200f2.8VR when I go hiking.
        and ultra wide is not my most used lens anyway, it is important but not most important, so I don’t think it is where most of my money should go for.
        to me the 70-200mm is the most important bread and butter kind of zoom and then the 85mm.
        but thanks for your comment.

  • bogdan

    Great post

  • Remedy

    Well for DX users there is absolutely no reason to buy this over the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8. For an FX users it’s a quite nice, reasonably sized and “affordable” lens. Good to see it performing that well.

  • JosengSisiw

    I have been using this lens with D800 for a month now and for as long as you knew how to use wide angle lenses you can always avoid the distortion exageration it comes with this kind of lens. This lens is fun to hang in your neck all day and so far the resolution and the sharpness I am getting from it is I can consider exceptional for the price. I pity all those scientist who has not even use the lens and yet already have the nerve to critisized it based on what they see on the chart. No lens can ever satisfy you, as you are appreciating more the dots and lines instead of the picture itself.

    • Hey, Joseng, are you still using and liking it? I’m thinking of stepping down from my 14-24 (size, weight, filters) and giving this a go.

      • JosengSisiw1

        yes its a fantastic sharp lens & now its supported by LR..

  • Back to top