all the Nikon lens designers retire, or what?
common email query I get has to do with which Nikkor lens should
be purchased. That's not an easy question by itself, as to really
answer it you need to learn about the photographer asking
the question; what's right for photographer A isn't necessarily
the best bet for photographer B. But many times in answering
these questions I end up in the Rabbit Hole of Missing Lenses.
believe me? Here's just a short list of what Nikon should have
produced but hasn't:
Some DX Primes. While zooms are flexible,
they're also big, even in DX-land. DX promises small, and
a DX prime would fit into just about any bag. Just as every
serious Nikon film user
has a 20mm or
24mm prime somewhere in his or her kit, the DSLR users all
want a 12mm f/2.8G DX and a 16mm f/2.8G DX (and with 52mm
you). And when you make these, Nikon, don't forget the DOF
PCs. While the 85mm PC is a very nice lens, it's
not the first modern PC most of us would have asked for. With
the 1.5x angle
of view change, the 28mm PC became a mostly unusable 42mm PC
equivalent (and there's even worse news if you've got a body
that doesn't meter with AI lenses, such as the D70 or D100).
Perspective Control is used mostly in two types of photography:
(specifically architectural, but also nature) and macro. At
present, we only have the macro capability. What we want is
something less than 30mm equivalent for our DSLRs (e.g., an
18mm f/4P PC DX).
us More VR.
Canon currently has at least 10 IS lenses, Nikon 4 VR lenses
with one more (that most people can't afford) announced.
in numbers isn't as important as the missing vibration
reduction lenses. Where's the consumer telephoto (e.g., 70-300mm
f/4-5.6G AF-S VR)? Where is any exotic fixed focal length telephoto
(e.g., 500mm f/4G AF-S VR)? Even adding only those two
to the current lineup
would go a long way to leveling the field (though some just
won't be happy until all the telephotos have VR). Hey Nikon,
if you're going to do it right, bring back a famous old
f/2G AF-S VR, that'll turn some heads and empty some wallets. Update: the 70-300mm appeared. In mid-2007 there are now nine VR lenses, so some progress has been made.
Back the Legends and Fill in the Gaps. An
autofocus version of the 105mm f/2.5 would be nice (it should
be less expensive than the Micro-Nikkor
and DC 105mm's, and that famous optical performance at a reasonable
price is really missing in the mid-telephoto range right now).
f/3.5 or the 70-200mm f/4 resurrected as the mid-level telephoto
zoom would be quite welcome, even more so if any of the latest
goodies were added (VR, AF-S). I've heard a few people ask
whether the 24mm f/2 would ever make it to AF-land. As some
have discovered, the 50mm f/1.2 NOCT is fabulous as a night
lens, but, it too never made it to AF-land. And I can't tell
Nikon how many digital body sales they've lost because
there is no digital (modern) equivalent to the Medical Nikkor
f/4; add a
D-TTL/I-TTL ring flash and update it to AF and they're back
owning that market. Speaking of missing in action, where's
the 400mm f/5.6G anything (VR, AF-S, whatever)? The 35-105mm
gets mentioned from time to time as being more interesting
now that we're in DSLR world (essentially would become a 50-150mm
zoom equivalent), but it, too is MIA.
the Ante on the Basics. The 85mm f/1.4 should
be an AF-S lens, maybe even VR. Ditto the 180mm f/2.8. The
70-300mm has already
been mentioned as needing an overhaul. The Micro-Nikkors need
VR and perhaps AF-S. Update: we got the 70-300mm and one Micro-Nikkor; still waiting for the rest.
I've come up with 20 lenses, only three of which are really new
designs. So let's set up a delivery schedule:
2005: 12mm f/2.8G DX, 24mm f/2G, 70-300mm f/4-5.6G
AF-S (VR), 180mm f/2.8G AF-S, 200mm f/4G Micro-Nikkor VR AF-S,
and 500mm f/4G AF-S VR (very do-able
actually). This list shows that Nikon is serious
about filling in the gaps and bringing its best lenses up to
18mm f/4P PC, 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S, 85mm f/1.4G AF-S VR,
300mm f/2G AF-S VR, 400mm f/5.6G AF-S. This list
carries over the gap-filling and updating, but also points out
that Nikon is still working on the exotic (the PC and 300mm).
16mm f/2.8G DX, 50mm f/1.2G NOCT, 105mm f/2.5G AF-S, remaining
Micro-Nikkors VR'd. This list shows that Nikon
is going to dot the I's and cross the T's, filling out the
lineup in great detail.
Nikon, nudge those lens designers back into action on the above
wish list, give
us everything else when you can, add VR versions of the 300mm
f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8, and 600mm f/4 when you can, and we customers
may even let you design two or three lenses we aren't expecting
during that time frame.
what I'm wishing for as my birthday once upon rolls upon us.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way to blow out way too many