Before reading this conclusion, it is best to take in the context behind it. For example, the focus shift behavior and how to mitigate it. These pages are the key for that context.
- Focus Comparison: Refocusing for Each Aperture vs Focusing Wide Open (Stunted Aspen Amid Boulders)
- Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall
- Examples Handheld: Bishop Creek (Validating Focus Accuracy of the Nikon Z7)
This is a lens with pronounced focus shift, for which I have a strong distaste. So why at about $847 do I recommend it? Well, there are some reservations. Those looking for the best, particularly f/1.4 through f/4 are better off using the Zeiss Milvus 35m f/1.4 with the Nikon FTZ lens adapter.
Another issue is lens skew—the sample I tested has a weak left side. My recommendation is conditional based upon the assumption of a lens with good symmetry.
The interesting thing in shooting the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S at the same time as the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF (on Sony A7R III) is how the Batis is far more consistent, with edge to edge sharpness wide open, and also free of focus-shift. The Zeiss offering is hard to criticize as a real thoroughbred offering; the Nikon 35/1.8S seems to be a cheater-design lens made to meet a price point hence its not so great outer-zone performance for the first several stops (this might be related to mandatory distortion correction, a red flag to me for lens designs). Still it can be an excellent lens stopped down; see Validating Focus Accuracy, Exposure, Handheld with IBIS and Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 (Bishop Creek).