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Nikon Lens Update – Feb 2010

Nikon has announced 2 lenses today. A 16-35mm f4 and the 24mm f1.4.  The 24mm is no surprise to me, but I actually thought the 16-35 was going to be 16-70 f4 so I fell a little short here. Actually, that’s a lot short.


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Here is a recap of what I said was coming way back on the 14 Jul 2009.

Available November 2009:

AF-S 85mm f1.4 (edit: got this one mixed with the other 85mm DX lens).
AF-S 35mm f1.4 (edit: wasn’t announced this round)

Announced end of January 2010, available March 2010.

AF-S 85mm f3.5 DX macro (edit: again, this was released, not the 85 f1.4 FX)
AF-S 24mm f1.4
Interchangeable Lens Camera with a 50mm film equivalent lens

5 metre waterproof camera

So my timing was almost spot on with 24mm and now everyone’s complaining about the price. Well, what did people expect? Here’s a lens that is being talked about endlessly on the forums for as long as internet forums have existed.

Yes, it is expensive. But if you need it, you get it.

Nikkor AF-S 24mm f1.4

I am currently using a 24 f2.0 lens on a Nikon FE film camera. And I love it. This lens will probably be on the list of gear to buy later.

So, what’s the deal with the 16-35 f4 VR lens then? Who knows. I said Nikon wasn’t famous for putting f4 into their lenses, but that they probably needed to respond to market pressure to do so. Afterall, Canon have been doing it for a while, and they make some seriously nice glass.

Could this finally be the turning point for Nikon and the lens strategy. The answer is yes, but the turning point happened a little while ago. There is a strategy that exists contrary to what people believe and you will start to see more lenses than we have had in the past. I expect to see about 10 lenses in 2010. Some new, some updates.

Now that the 24mm has been released, you can expect to see the 24 and 85mm rumors starting to reemerge.

I would expect to see the 24-85mm f2.8-4 VRII  and 70-200mm f4 VRII as well. To complete this list, you can see an all-in-one lens like the 28-300mm for FX cameras announced, and it may even be the next announcement. Nikon have no 28-300mm lens and D700 users are forced to pick up a Tamron (albeit a nice lens) if they want a walkaround lens like the 18-200 on the DX bodies.

The 80-400mm lens will get an update this year just before Photokina. I’m going to go right out on a limb here and tell you my guess will be on the 9th September, 2010. Oh oh, what’s that sound. That’s the sound of my limb breaking.

Something else that will be updated will be the cheap kit lens, the 55-200. It will have improved AF-S motor and VRII. This will actually be a nice update and compete nicely with the competitions offerings.

Reading the reactions on one of the forums about today’s announcements, one member said:

Interesting that they have VR on a 16-35. I would love Canon to update the 17-40, although I hadn’t thought we’d see IS, maybe, it’s not so silly. I’d love to see how the 16-35 f/4 VR stacks up against the excellent 17-35 f/2.8 not to mention the 14-24 f/2.8 as well of course Canon’s offerings. If per chance the 16-35 is cheaper than the 14-28 and demonstrably superior to the Canon glass, I’d consider it for my 5D II.

Slowly but surely Nikon is filling in the gaps, but they still have a long way to go: 70-200 f/4 VR, 80-400 f/4-5.6 AF-S VR II,   300 f/4 AF-S VR II,   35 f/1.4,   85 f/1.4 AF-S VR, something similar to Canon’s MP-E, 100 f/2 AF-S VR.

And I would agree with this assessment too. The other lenses to keep a look out for are the

10.5mm f2.8 DX fisheye
14mm f2.8
50mm f1.8
135mm f1.8 VR
200mm f4 micro
300mm f4 VR

Of course, you can add to this list what was mentioned above, in the

24-85mm
35mm
85mm f1.4
80-400
28-300
70-200 f4 VR

and you would have yourself a pretty complete list of candidates for the next 18 months. Oh and sorry, I believe the 85mm f1.4 will not include VR. At least, that’s what I’m led to believe.

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