New gear: Cosina Nokton D35mm f/1.2 for Nikon APS-C Z-mount
This new manual focus lens is manufactured under license from Nikon and has full electronic communication with Z-mount bodies
Japanese lens manufacturer Cosina has announced the Nokton D35mm f/1.2 for Nikon Z-mount APS-C cameras, including the Z50 and Z fc. It’s manual focus but, unlike a lot of these kinds of lenses, it’s been manufactured under license from Nikon so it still has full electronic communication with a Z-mount body.
The Nokton D35mm will be available in March for around $720.
Who’s it for?
On APS-C cameras, a 35mm focal length has the equivalent field-of-view to a 50mm lens on a full-frame body. So, with that aperture of f/1.2, what we’re really talking about here is an affordable, super-fast, normal portrait lens.
For that focal length and aperture, the Nokton D35mm is also very small and light. It’s 2.6-inches wide by 1.6-inches long and weighs just 8.1 ounces. With a Nikon Z fc or Z50, you’ve got a nice compact, light, travel-and-street photography set up. The front takes 46mm filters.
Of course, whether you’re shooting portraits or street work, with the D35mm you will be doing it without autofocus which limits the broad appeal of the lens somewhat. It certainly offers more for amateur shooters looking for bokeh on a budget, rather than professionals who need a fast-focusing and reliable lens.
The Nokton D35mm uses eight elements in six groups including one “abnormal partially dispersed glass” element in a double-Gauss configuration. Cosina says that the elements are arranged “almost symmetrically around the aperture”, which you can see in the lens diagram above. This basically means that the lens should offer good optical performance, despite being small and light.
Cosina also boasts of “beautiful bokeh,” thanks to a 12-blade diaphragm. Out-of-focus point-light sources should be rendered as soft circles, rather than polygons.
The minimum focusing distance is 11.8 inches. That’s good enough for close-ups but won’t make macro photos possible.
Focus & aperture
The D35mm has no autofocus so, when wide-open, getting sharp in-focus shots could be a challenge. However, Cosina claims that the lens has been designed in such a way to make it possible.
The lens uses an “all-metal helicoid unit” with “high precision and high-quality grease” so that focusing is smooth and easy with fine adjustments. It also relies on your Z-mount camera for three “focusing assistances functions”:
- The focus point will change color in the EVF.
- You can use focus peaking.
- And you can use the zoom button to check details.
For walk-around work, you can close the aperture down (it’s adjusted manually on the lens and the minimum is f/16) and use the lens markings or pre-focus to get good photos.
Because of the electrical connection, the D35mm will work with in-body image stabilization so camera shake shouldn’t be much of a problem. The EXIF data will also be accurate.
Price and availability
The Cosina Nokton D35mm f/1.2 will be available in March with a suggested retail price of 83,000 yen (~$720). It is designed to work with Nikon APS-C Z-mount cameras, however, it will work on any Z-mount camera as long as you manually put it into DX mode. To get full electronic communication, your camera’s firmware will need to be up-to-date.