Let’s pick up where we left after the first installment of food photography, shall we? This blog post will cover Nikon lenses that you can successfully use for the purpose of photographing food. Please keep in mind that the information I present below is a personal opinion based on my experience so far, which I do not think is subject to change anytime soon, as I like my set-up very much.
Nikon has just announced a brand new lens for the CX mount – the Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2. While this news might not be interesting for Nikon DSLR, it surely will be to anyone that owns a Nikon 1 camera system. It is the first Nikon 1 lens with an insanely fast aperture of f/1.2, Nano Crystal Coat, Silent Wave Motor and a real manual focus ring. With a focal length of 32mm, this lens is equivalent to an 86mm lens on full-frame, which makes it a really nice portrait lens. In terms of depth of field, because the sensor of the Nikon 1 system is only 1 inch in size, the full frame equivalent would be around f/3.2 – a downside of a small sensor. Still, considering how much technology Nikon put into this lens, it will surely be the sharpest lens in the Nikon 1 line.
Along with the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens, the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens has also been announced (the first announcement was posted here). Initially, I wanted to post both announcements in a single article, but after reading about the new 800mm lens in detail, I decided to do a separate post on it. Why? Because the new 800mm has a lot of new technological advancements that I believe will make their way into future Nikkor lenses. At a jaw-dropping price of $17,899.95, the Nikon 800mm f/5.6 is surely not for everyone. However, considering what this lens has to offer, there is no other equivalent lens on the market today in terms of optical performance – more on this below.
Until the 800mm f/5.6 came out, Nikon’s longest super telephoto lens was the Nikon 600mm f/4G VR. To get longer focal lengths, one would have to use teleconverters – 2.0x with the 400mm f/2.8 to get to 800mm f/5.6, 1.4x with the 500mm f/4 to get to 700mm f/5.6 or 1.4x with the 600mm f/4 to get to 840mm f/5.6. Unfortunately, no other TC combination resulted in acceptably good autofocus performance and accuracy. So why do we need a dedicated 800mm f/5.6 lens, if one could get to 800mm with teleconverters? Because teleconverters degrade image quality, AF performance and AF accuracy, whereas properly arranging optical elements inside the lens can yield maximum performance. So a true 800mm lens will always yield better results than a shorter lens with a teleconverter attached to it. In addition, with the latest generation Nikon DSLRs that can autofocus at small apertures up to f/8, one could get even longer focal lengths with a separate teleconverter. Which is exactly what Nikon did with the 800mm that ships with the TC800-1.25E teleconverter that provides additional magnification to get to 1000mm. Sounds like an overkill, but it has its uses – whether in sport, news, wildlife photography or other special needs.
Along with a slew of new point and shoot cameras (which we at Photography Life do not particularly care about), Nikon announced an updated version of the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens – a budget lens designed for both DX and FX cameras. The new Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED replaces the 13 year old 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D lens, which had never been a popular lens to begin with. So it was about time to update the lens with better optics, AF-S and other newer technologies.
So what does the updated 18-35mm bring to the table compared to the previous model? First of all, the focus motor has been replaced with the latest generation AF-S motor, which means that autofocus will work on any modern Nikon DSLR, including entry-level models like D3200 without a built-in motor. Second, the optical formula has been updated – the new 18-35mm has 12 elements in 8 groups, versus 11 elements in 8 groups on the AF-D version. More ED and Aspherical lens elements have also been added for better clarity and contrast. Third, thanks to this updated optical design, the minimal focus distance has also been shortened to 0.28m from 0.33m. Fourth, the new lens is of “G” type, which means that the aperture ring is no longer there. Fifth, the lens exterior has been completely redesigned to make it look just like all modern AF-S lenses and the typical M/A / M switch has also been added. Lastly, the new 18-35mm is slightly larger than the old version and also weighs 15 grams heavier.
One topic that many of us Nikon shooters often discuss between each other in local groups, online forums and various photography clubs, is lenses that we wish Nikon had. Sometimes a desired lens comes from our experience from using a lens from another brand, sometimes it is something that does not exist, but we wish existed to make our photography easier, more fun, etc. While Nikon has been doing a great job filling in the holes during the last several years, with lenses like >Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR, 24-120mm f/4G VR, 28mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.8G, 85mm f/1.8G and 70-200mm f/4G VR, there are still plenty of lenses that Nikon should have in its arsenal. In this article, I will go over the most desired future Nikon lenses, the ones that have not been released yet, but I really wish to see come to life soon. I guess you can also call the below a “wishlist” of unannounced Nikon lenses.
1) DX LENSES
I will first start out with DX primes. While I believe the DX market will probably go away sometime in the future (as I pessimistically shared in my “why DX has no future article“), thanks to the fast growth of the mirrorless market and lack of attention to DX users from Nikon, there are still a lot more DX cameras out there today than FX. If Nikon wants to keep its DX line attractive for the next 5-6 years, it should not only develop great DX camera bodies, but also great DX lens options.
I know that many of our readers have been patiently waiting for me to publish my upcoming Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR Review (Update: the review has been posted right here). While the review is under way, I have a lot of gear in my hands that I need to test and hence, it is a little delayed. Thanks to my friend David Bassett, I had a chance to play with the 70-200mm f/4 for the last couple of days until I receive my copy from B&H (should be arriving later this week, along with the Sigma 70-200mm and Tamron 70-200mm). One of the first things I did after I got the lens, was mount the lens on my D800E and test it in a lab environment for its resolution capabilities. As you can see from the below comparisons with my beloved Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, the 70-200mm f/4G VR performed incredibly well. I am stunned and seriously in love – wife said that she doesn’t mind :) Once again, Nikon produced an absolute winner, a true gem that will quickly become a favorite lens by many. First, we had the 50mm f/1.8G, then the 85mm f/1.8G and now the 70-200mm f/4G. As I have said before, it is a good time to be a Nikonian! Superb camera bodies, excellent lenses – a great system overall.
So here is the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR @ 70mm:
Looks like Nikon is finally going to announce the long-awaited Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR Lens at the PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York, according to our friends at Nikon Rumors. Many Nikon fans have been complaining for years about not having a cheaper and lighter alternative to the superb Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II (see our Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II Review). Nikon has never had a 70-200mm f/4 lens in its history – a 70-210mm f/4 lens was produced way back in 1986, which was later replaced by a variable aperture 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D version in 1993 (discontinued later). Canon has had its 70-200mm f/4 model since 1999 and an updated (current) IS version came out back in 2006. The Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS has been a very popular lens among the Canon user base ever since, because of its excellent price/weight/performance ratio. It will be interesting to see what the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR will offer.
It is also rumored that the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR lens will have a “new generation VR system”. For now I do not know what this truly means and what this new VR system does differently from the current VR II technology, but I am anxiously waiting for details from the official press release. If the VR system does turn out to be new, then we can expect minor updates to the high-end pro lenses fairly soon (Nikon will probably start from the expensive super telephoto lenses like 600mm f/4 first).
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR lens, also known as “AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR”, which was announced together with the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX in June of 2012. The Nikon 24-85mm VR is an affordable consumer-grade lens targeted at photo enthusiasts that need a mid-range zoom lens with optical stabilization for everyday photography. It is an update to the short-lived Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED that was introduced in 2002 and discontinued in 2006, and it might also replace the older Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF that is still in production as of today. With an equivalent focal length of 36-128mm on DX sensor, it is better suited to be used on full-frame cameras. When the full-frame Nikon D600 budget DSLR was announced in late 2012, Nikon included the 24-85mm VR as a kit lens option, so I think we will be seeing this lens bundled with FX cameras in the future.
After testing a set of brand new 28mm lenses for my Nikon 28mm f/1.8G Review a couple of weeks ago, I was rather disappointed by the overall performance of the lens. Both samples that I tested exhibited visible focus shift and field curvature issues, which impacted performance in a “wavy” pattern. This weekend, I decided to give another Nikon 28mm f/1.8G a try and see if it has the same optical issues (borrowed from our team member Bob Vishneski).
To my surprise, the third lens sample performed much better in comparison to the first two. Here is the original chart that I published in my review:
This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 28mm f/1.8G lens that was announced in April of 2012 together with the Nikon D3200 DSLR. Lately, Nikon has been busy releasing great and affordable fast prime lenses. First, it was the excellent Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, which turned out to be a better buy than its bigger brother, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G. Then Nikon surprised us with the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, which also turned out to be a phenomenal lens. And now we have the Nikon 28mm f/1.8G, which despite a difference in focal length could be a great alternative to the very expensive, but superb Nikon 24mm f/1.4G.
The Nikon 28mm f/1.8G lens is a professional-grade lens for enthusiasts and professionals that need high quality optics of a fixed wide-angle lens with a large aperture of f/1.8 for low-light situations and shallow depth of field to isolate subjects from the background. The lens is designed for both FX and DX sensors (equivalent of 42mm on DX). Nikon has incorporated the latest technology and optical formulas to this lens, including AF-S silent-wave focus motor and Nano crystal coating. With its focal length of 28mm, the lens is not as wide as the 24mm f/1.4G, making it a little more suitable for general everyday photography.