It has been four (4) months since acquisition and I only have good things to say about this lens. Price-wise, it's a bang for the buck and affordable prime lens although I was able to purchase mine over and above the published listed price. Its performance and optical quality have so far exceeded my expectation for a cheap prime lens costing USD250 or less.
When fitted to a DX-format Nikon DSLR like my D300, the 35mm focal length renders a picture angle approximating the classic normal angle of view of a 50mm lens on a Nikon FX-format digital SLR or a 35mm film camera. A normal lens, without limitations on the viewfinder, would give you a field of view without magnification of the image or increasing or decreasing the field of view of what you're seeing with or without the viewfinder. This 35mm DX lens multiplied by Nikon's 1.5 crop factor would equate to a 52.5mm focal length or approximately that of a 50mm standard lens.
The lens comes with a supplied plastic lens hood maybe because it was designed as a wide angle and it is prone to chromatic aberrations on high contrast scenes or where there are extreme highlights on the background. Though considered as a normal lens, the bokeh is not that pleasing compared to a similar 50mm f/1.8 lens much more the 50mm f/1.4 lens. Although an AF-S lens, the focusing speed of this version is only comparable to that of the 50mm AF-D versions without the gliding sound of the D versions.
Having tried this lens on available light and flash photography, I would say that it renders sharper image when used with flash but as long as there are sufficient light source, natural or deflected, it will still produce a wonderfully sharp image. Because it is made of hard plastics, it is lighter than the usual 50mm D versions or even the 35mm D version. From the samples uploaded, one can easily perceive that the best uses of this lens would be travel, environmental photography or general purpose photography.
Next to the Nikkor 20mm, the 35mm focal length on a DX body perfectly suits my compositional style of taking full body shots more than half body or head shots. It can even fulfill the role of a portrait lens if you want to shoot half body or head shots and the results are surprisingly amazing. You will need to come closer to your subject in order to get the desired compositional crop and this takes sharper images because of the shorter distance between the lens and the subject.
Shown in the photo on the right is my portrait shot where it was taken so close to the subject to get a head shot crop like this. Perhaps the only complaint they have on this lens is its tendency to produce barrel distortion. It's not an issue with me as the same can be easily remedied in Capture NX or in Photoshop. All told about its respectably reliable performance, I still have to test this lens shooting portraits on natural and available light. It is said to perform well in low light situations but I have to try and evaluate the experience myself.
For modelling credits, from top to bottom, I would like to thank the following pretty ladies: Ingrid Dela Paz taken at U.P. campus, Diliman, Quezon City; Edzen Pineda and Kim Dimatulac taken at the Heritage Park in Taguig City; Sandra Palma taken at Nu.Vo Greenbelt, Makati; Joanna Gonzales and Kristin Villarosa taken at Luminosi Studio in Makati.