Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nikon announces two new FX lenses...

Nikon announced a couple of new high-end lenses aimed towards the pro and advanced amateur market. Both lenses are weather-sealed and feature durable construction with a magnesium alloy barrel.

Let's start with I find to be a very odd choice for a wide-angle zoom, the AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR. This is the first Nikon wide-angle zoom to include VR II Vibration Reduction which Nikon claims allows you to hand-hold shots at 4 stops slower shutter speeds than normal. So at 16mm you should be able to hand-hold shots a full 1 second exposure!?! (I'm pretty skeptical on this one).

Nikon claims this lens "addresses market feedback for a more affordable alternative to the professional AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED or more recent AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED ultra-wide-angle lens”. At $1259 I don't really see this lens as affordable.

Personally, I'm surprised at the addition of VR in a lens this wide. In the press release they pair this lens with the D700. Being that the D700 is such an awesome low-light camera it renders the need for VR on a wide-angle completely obsolete. I mean let's face it, if your exposure is 1/35 @ f/4 ISO 6400 then you're probably in complete darkness.

On the plus side, I'm sure this lens has gotten some trickle down technology from Nikon's 14-24mm f/2.8 which should definitely make this lens sharp as a tack. Of course this lens has the Nano-Crystal coating which helps tame lens flare and ghosting and the super-fast and quiet AF-S focus motor. So IQ should be pretty good on this lens.

Most of my low-light shooting comprises moving subjects so the VR is relatively useless to me. I'd rather have the faster aperture to bump up the shutter speed. However, I do think this might make a great lens for my D300s.

Onto the next lens, the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED. Now this is a lens I can really sink my teeth into. Nikon hasn't an fast wide-angle prime since it discontinued the 28mm f/1.4. The 28mm became so sought after prices skyrocketed into the $4-5K range. Although this lens is expensive it will be half the price of the 28mm (although it will probably drive the 28's price way down possibly making it more affordable).

I think the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G will make a great walking around lens, perfect for photojournalistc shots and street photography, especially at night. This lens will also be great for DX cameras as a moderately wide-angle fast lens. It will be the equivalent to a 33mm focal length.

Keeping with all of Nikon's new lenses this one also sports the Nano-Crystal coating and the AF-S focus motor.

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