35mm f/1.4 AIS

Crossed Leaves

A thing of beauty. My first non-non-AI manual lens. It will replace my 35mm f/2 O and 50mm f/1.4 S for regular carrying purposes, and will probably be the lens most often on my camera when I’m not looking for birds.

35mm f/1.4 AIS

Rørslett says that this lens

Its imaging capacity quickly increases when the aperture is set to f/2.8 and peak performance is reached between f/4 and f/5.6. In this quite narrow range it produces tremendously sharp images. To illustrate its imaging potential: In the peak range it is possible to discern objects that actually measure <1 mm within a recorded area of 5 by 8 m. You'll need at least 40X magnification to observe these tiny details on the film, but they certainly are there . This shows the unbelievable level of detail that can be resolved on film by this lens!

Which is one of the reasons I bought it — because my 35mm f/2 O, especially when shooting at f/2-f/2.8, is a bit soft, especially when thinking about film enlargement, rather than digital, where sharpening is simple and fast.

But while that’s part of the lens’s appeal and a big part of why I bought it, so far, I just haven’t been able to stop shooting at f/1.4. Sharpness, shmarpness, look at this:

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

And this:

35mm f/1.4 Test Shots

Woo! Sharpness is overrated. Bokeh is where it’s at!

Of course, neither sharp focus nor soft focus nor great or little depth of field in and of themselves are enough to make a photograph worthwhile. But it’s good to have these tools when you need them, and this lens definitely expands my toolkit.

I’ll try to bust out the tripod and do some test shots comparing this lens with the 35mm f/2. I already tried this last night, but I had my tripod set up too close to a TV, and I wound up with crazy flare from the TV, affecting the 35mm f/2 considerably. I was able to determine (from some handheld tests that aren’t conclusive for sharpness) that the f/1.4 AIS is about 1/2-2/3 of a stop faster than the 35mm f/2 when shooting at f/2. This is doubtless attributable to the lack of multicoatings on the 35mm f/2.


Comments are closed.