Interestingly, he mentions Nikon needs to gear up production to meet demand for the 70-180 micro (among others). Most other rumors put this lens as being on it's way to being discontinued. While I would prefer Thom to be the one who's right on this (the lens is wonderful, especially on digittal), he is outnumbered by those who think it's being discontinued. Thom usually averages around 50/50 for the accuracy of his predictions, so who really knows....
The 70-180 micro nikkor zoom is not in the newest Nikon Product Book, which I got from my local Nikon dealer. This leads me to believe it is discontinued although they forgot to delete it from the text about micro nikkors (oops!).
Shoot nature with respect and don't trample it or startle its inhabitants. :)
Thom's comment regarding a VR version of the Nikon AFS 500mm is interesting, since I have heard that "rumor" before. Is there any substantiating information regarding Nikon announcing that lens this Fall?
I think Nikon's overdue for a budget 70-200, sort of to compete with the red brand's 70-200 f/4 L. Something with a constant aperture (f/4 would be ideal), SWM, and choice of colours as long as it's black - I'll be first in line to buy.
Second that, third that, fourth that, ad nauseum! Nikon - come on - let's get with the program - Canon's already on their second iteration (although I'd seriously have to be numbed to buy their DO version for over a thousand USD)!
First, he needs to get his stuff straight. The NOCT was a 58mm not a 50mm.
Second, he underestimates the significance of a lens like the 135 f/2 not just for its DC control, but as a moderate telephoto with a fast aperture. The 135 seems a lot more useful to me than the 180 f/2.8. If Nikon would merely update the 135 optics enough to work with the 1.4x teleconverter, you could have a 189 f/2.8.
Third, I would not hold my breath waiting for a 400 f/5.6.
I think someone right here at Nikonians even discussed this fact. Nikon is of the opinion that the 300 f/4 with the 1.4x teleconverter will easily give photographers a quality 420mm f/5.6, so why bother making yet another lens.
I think Nikon has been very smart about what lenses they have produced over the last few years. They are obliviously looking at the gaps in their product line, but also trying to determine what tools make sense.
Here is my example. The updated 200 f/2 is exactly what was needed. People are always complaining about the size and weight of the 400 f/2.8, and they want a 400 f/4 like that white lens manufacture. Well, the 200 f/2 gives you a 400 f/4 when used with the 2.0x teleconverter.
Now I know the standard argument, that using teleconverters is not the same as a straight lens design. But my point is that I think most people exaggerate the quality difference. The images I have seen from Nikon teleconverters look excellent, and to me the argument becomes trivial. Also, with the new 1.7x teleconverter coming to life, Nikon and I are of the same thinking. Teleconverters can get people what they want without making every single focal length and aperture combination.
I see Nikon eventually phasing out obvious old designs. Not that they are bad, but just past their day. I am thinking the 35-70 f/2.8 mainly. All those other odd ball lenses as well (24-85 f/2.8-4 , 28-105, etc.).
The idea of creating a prime simply for the DX format is stupid. Other than the fisheye need of the 10.5 for digital guys, the need, size, and weight issues of primes lenses are insignificant IMHO. Most primes in the 2.8 range are already small. You only get into the size and weight equation when you start talking about 1.4 lenses. I carry 1.4 lenses with me all the time, no problem. Other than the isolation and DOF issues you gain with 1.4 and f/2 lenses, I hardly see digital guys getting artsy with their framing and subject matter, and even then most are shooting between ISO 200-800, so the standard 2.8 and f/4 lenses are just fine for their needs.
Now I know that their is a side argument for everything I have said, but when the rubber has to meet the road and dollars are spent by Nikon to make these lenses, they are not going to make a lenses for just a handful of photographers. There has to be at least some significant number of people that would want the product.
I would love to see all the lenses updates to AF-S. VR I am not so concerned about. Yes, Nikon probably needs to take some time to revisit their PC line-up. Would I rush out and buy the 85mm f/1.4 if it was updated to AF-S? I don’t think so. The one in my current possession is working just fine.
Now the idea of a 300 f/2 does sound interesting, and I would gladly stand in line to get an AF-S NOCT lens
>Now I know that their is a side argument for everything I >have said, but when the rubber has to meet the road and >dollars are spent by Nikon to make these lenses, they are >not going to make a lenses for just a handful of >photographers. There has to be at least some significant >number of people that would want the product.
Nikon sees, correctly, that the big money lies in the consumer market. As much as I would like to see Nikon round-out their selection by introducing more lenses like the AF-S VR 200mm f/2G, a lens like an AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G will probably outsell the 200mm by probably a factor of 20:1 or more.
I wouldn't be surprised if Nikon sells more AF-S DX 18-70mm lenses than all the prime super-telephotos (300mm+) put together this year.
The wide angle DX prime is at the top of my list. When travelling light in the film days, I always made room in my pocket for the 20mm prime for that occasional shot that really needed wide or for cramped indoor shooting.
Currently there is nothing that comes close for digital. 14mm prime? 12-24 zoom? Even ignoring the price, neither is particularly pocketable. I've been tempted by a the 10.5, but I'd buy a 14mm f/2.8 DX tomorrow!
It's more complicated than that. I have a 35mm 3.5mm lens for my Pentax 645. It's considerably larger than a 35mm 2.0 Nikon lens, even though the Nikon lens has a larger aperture. The difference between the two is coverage. A lens that provides a bigger imaging circle will generally be larger and heavier than one with a small imaging circle.
I suspect that DX primes would be fairly compact compared with 35mm lenses having similar focal lengths and apertures. For some styles of photography and shooting preferences, they might be a good choice.
>Am I just nuts or would a 14mm f/2.8 DX be no smaller than >the current 14mm? > >I say this based on the equation of f-stops: f=(focal >length)/(diameter of the opening) > >Nowhere in that equation does the lens design ask how big >the projection area is. > >So the bigger that focal length gets the bigger that lens >has to get to keep the same f-stop. > >Want to minimize distortion? That is when you end up with >those bubble-like front elements. I don't see how you avoid >it. Granted, I am no optical engineer.
OK, complete the calculation: a 14mm f/2.8 would need a front element at least 5mm in diameter. Doesn't sound big to me!
As for the large glass needed to reduce distortion on such a wide angle, consider that the angle of view covered by the current 14mm on a film camera is 104 degrees, but on a DSLR, only 90 degrees is needed--less than the coverage of the 20mm on film.
It's a bit more complicated than this because of the fixed lens mount-to-CCD distance in back, but on the whole, a 14mm DX would not need to be much different in size than the current 20mm.
That is a good list - I would LOVE for Nikon to add a 300mm f4 AF-S VR and a 80-400mm AF-S VR. I have not purchsed a long lens right now because I'm waiting for somthing like this to come out.
But the lens that I would buy if it came out right now would be a 400 f3.5 (yeap, the old formula) AF-S. I don't need a VR on that as I think it is a waste to have VR on big long lensed unless they can compensate for tripod vibration. A 400mm f5.6 AF-S VR could also be very usefull.
Now, lets see - I would get the 300mm f4 AF-S VR with a 1.7xTC in a heart beat.
I would get the 80-400mm AF-S VR for travel second (so I need these two lenses)
If the 400mm 3.5 (you can even roundit off to f4) AF-S (VR) would go to the top of the list if you can make it less than 2k (dream on). But I think this would be my perfect length so I would get it eventually along with the 1.7xTC - Try to make it under 3.8k and we have a deal.
I do think Nikon would do well with a 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF-S VR if its optically right.
From a manufacturing perspective, any company has the following constraints:
1. Limited resources: there are only so many talented engineers available to work at one time. You can't design every good idea.
2. Design and development costs a lot of money. They obviously need to invest it in the areas where the can get a return.
3. Limited manufacturing: you can't build everything that's been designed simultaneously. Determining what gets built is usually about predecting demand for the products.
(I'm guessing that Nikon also relaxes #2 above to get high profile products to the market, like the 200 f/2.)
I agree that there are too many mid-range zooms. Seems like the 18-70, 28-105, and 24-120 VR cover the consumer market well. I also agree about bringing back some of the classic lenses. And I'd like to see a wide-angle PC lens.
I don't agree about the DX primes. Given points #1 and #2 above, this will only dilute the available resources. Developing and producing these lenses means they're not working on the other stuff we want.
Most importantly (imo) Nikon needs a great 70-200 f/4 zoom. I know they are losing sales to Canon due to that one lens. Adding VR to one-up Canon would be a nice touch. This is not the lens I most want to buy, but I think it's the lens they most need to sell.
Sadly I agree with your point on DX lenses. On the 70-200mm F4 it is ironic that they had one and dropped it. I like my used AF 70-210mm F4 very much. Also agreed is that adding VR would be the crowning touch.
"The Micro-Nikkors need VR and perhaps AF-S. " Somehow I don't understand where Thom came up with this. If I am shooting between 1:2 and 1:1, I am probably on a tripod and manually focusing the lens. Adding VR would certainly change the lens formula to be able to add the floating element and for what gain? Also, I use my 105 in manual mode more than in AF so why add the extra weight and bulk of the AFS?
I initially was perplexed as well about why he'd be asking for VR on the macro lenses. But after thinking about it I realized that I rarely used a tripod to shoot insects that tend to move a lot. I'm chasing them all over the place and can never catch one using a tripod. In this one case I think the VR/macro combo would be nice to have.
Having said that, I'll say also that this is a very low priority for me relative to other things Nikon could deliver.