New: Cosina Nokton 35mm f/1.2 for Nikon Z mount

Japanese lens manufacturer Cosina has announced the Nokton D35mm f/1.2 for Nikon APS-C Z mount cameras, including the Z50 and Z-FC. It’s manual focus but, unlike many of these types of lenses, it’s been made 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 is it for ?

Check out these sweet electronic contacts. Cosina

On APS-C cameras, a 35mm focal length has the equivalent field of view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame body. So with that f/1.2 aperture, what we’re really talking about here is an affordable, ultra-fast, normal portrait lens.

For this focal length and aperture, the Nokton D35mm is also very small and light. It measures 2.6 inches wide by 1.6 inches long and weighs just 8.1 ounces. With a Nikon Z fc or Z50 you have a nice setup for compact, lightweight, travel and street photography. The front takes 46mm filters.

Of course, whether you’re shooting portraits or working on the street, with the D35mm you’ll do so without autofocus, which limits the overall appeal of the lens somewhat. It certainly offers more to amateur shooters looking for bokeh on a budget, rather than professionals who need a reliable, fast-focusing lens.

Optical design

A lens diagram of the new Cosina Nokton D35mm f/1.2 for Nikon Z-mount
The Nokton D35mm f/1.2 has eight elements in six groups. Cosina

The Nokton D35mm uses eight elements in six groups, including an “anomalous partially dispersed glass” element in a double Gaussian configuration. Cosina says 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 its small size and light weight.

Cosina also boasts of “beautiful bokeh”, thanks to a 12-blade diaphragm. Blurred point light sources should be rendered as blurred circles rather than polygons.

The minimum focusing distance is 11.8 inches. It’s good enough for close-ups but won’t make macro shots possible.

Focus and aperture

A photo taken with the new Cosina Nokton D35mm f/1.2 for Nikon Z-mount
Nikon’s focus assist tools work with the new lens. Tetsu Lida

The D35mm doesn’t have autofocus, so when wide open getting crisp, clear shots can be a challenge. However, Cosina says the lens was designed in a way to make this possible.

The lens uses an “all-metal helical unit” with “high-precision, high-quality grease” so focusing is smooth and easy with fine adjustments. It also relies on your Z-mount camera for three “focus assist functions”:

  • The focus point will change color in the EVF.
  • You can use focus peaking.
  • And you can use the zoom button to check the details.

For walk work you can close the aperture (it’s manually adjusted on the lens and the minimum is f/16) and use the lens markings or pre-focus to get good shots .

Due to the power connection, the D35mm will work with in-body image stabilization, so camera shake shouldn’t be a problem. 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 in DX mode. To achieve full electronic communication, your camera’s firmware will need to be up to date.

Stewart C. Hartline