While I was away, On February 9th, Nikon announced a new lens that should make D40, D40x and D60 users happy. Older Nikkor AF lenses rely on the camera’s built-in motor to work the auto focus, which is something the aforementioned camera models lack. We have been waiting for Nikon to revamp their prime lenses to include the motor so that these newer entry-level cameras could take advantage of auto-focus but until now, only the 50mm f/1.4 lens was re-introduced as AF-S (The “S” indicates that the lens has a motor). However, it was still a pricey lens for consumers to purchase at about $500 when all they wanted was the 50mm f/1.8, which normally goes for about $130 in Canada.

So what’s this new lens? Well, it’s not the 50mm f/1.8 (pictured above) but I think this one might be better. It’s the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G prime lens which gives the angle equivalent of 52.5mm if it was on a full frame or 35 mm body. Check out the announcement article here. It goes for $199.95 in the US while the MSRP in Canada is $279.95 and will ship starting in late March.

This is a DX lens which was designed for use on a crop sensor body although full frame (FX) cameras can still use it but will be cropped. So, even though it’s a 35mm focal length lens, it will give you a “normal” view comparable to a 50mm lens on a FX or 35mm film camera. For an explanation about crop sensors (DX) vs. full frame (FX) or 35mm film cameras, you can read about it in more detail in a tutorial entitled “Lenses: Focal Length“.

Whether 35mm works better for you than the 50mm focal length depends on your personal preference. Some friends who use the 50mm wish it was a little wider as they had trouble taking photos of groups of people indoors. The 35mm will give you a wider angle of view, which some photographers might enjoy. Those who are used to using a 50mm on a crop sensor camera body might not like the wider 35mm focal length.

Either way, now that Nikon has an affordable prime lens that even D40, D40x or D60 users can use with auto-focus, I can now recommend those entry-level bodies to friends looking to purchase a DLSR.

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit laurahana.com.