I had the chance to stop by Glazer’s Camera in Seattle today to test out the 35mm f/2 lens. I’ve owned the 1.4 version for a while, and while it produces excellent results, the focus is slow (better with the newest firmware), hunts slightly before locking focus, the motor is noisy, and the lens hood is just stupid.
Immediately upon trying the focus on the new 35mm f/2, I noticed that is quick and doesn’t hunt, it’s completely silent (in a store anyway), and it’s nice and compact. Some people really care about weather sealing, but I would use a rain cover anyways, so it’s a moot point to me.
Here’s what I noticed, at f/2, the older 35mm f/1.4 lens is slightly sharper in the center — and I mean slightly.
In all comparison shots shown, the 35mm f/1.4 is on the left and the 35mm f/2 is on the right.
At the edges, the 35mm f/2 lens was the sharper of the two lenses (again, the 35mm f/1.4 is on the left for these next two shots).
Lastly, here’s the photos side by side (again, the f/1.4 is on the left and the f/2 is on the right).
The image quality is so close it’s really indistinguishable at f/2 unless you’re pixel peeping. If I didn’t have the f/1.4 already, I would buy the f/2 and save $200. Being that I already own the f/1.4, I’m not sure it’s worth selling it at such a loss to switch.
One crucial point is that the 35mm f/1.4 can shoot at f/1.4. There’s something special about the results it can provide. Benefits of shooting at f/1.4 include: lower ISO in various situations (i.e. less noise in photos), more bokeh, and great subject separation.
Here’s a few shots from the 35mm f/1.4 shot at f/1.4.
I hate reviews where there is no clear decision and at the end the reviewer says “it’s up to you.” If that was the case, why’d I read the review! In this case, it’s a tough choice! For now, I’ll stick with being able to shoot at f/1.4. Although, I might end up selling it just to have the faster AF.