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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

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"The lens has +/– 11.5mm of shift, 8.5° of tilt, and revolves 90°. The ~$1,930 lens is the first of three new PC-E Nikkor lenses—the other two are coming this summer."

I just bought a beautiful not-quite-new Ebony 4x5 for a tad less.

Maybe Nikon are content to leave the market for general use primes for their cameras to Zeiss.

Has anybody checked out the "Glass and Gear" ad on the left? The prices for renting lenses seem extremely reasonable. It might be interesting to rent some of the new Nikon lenses when they become available.

Oh, and they apparently have a D3 available for rent, too (though the pricing on body rentals seems steep).

Best,
Adam

I would love to have the new tilt-shift, but Stephen is correct: Nikon does need to rejuvenate its more important primes. True, few neophytes will buy them, but there is a demand among more experiences users. I may never be able to afford them (and therefore I must content myself with the older, yet still beautiful, MF lenses), but newer models would further heighten the appeal of the system as a whole. What is more, the remodeling of certain primes would advance optical technology. Yes, NIkon is a business, so profits rather than altruism weigh heavily on such decisions, but a fiscally feasible upgrading of some models would benefit everyone in one way or another.

I wonder if you'll be able to modify it like you can the 85mm PC to put tilt and shift into the same plane...

My understanding of the Nikon Macro lens with VR is that the VR becomes progressively less enabled as you increase macro magnification to the point where there is no VR left.

I had looked at the 105mm VR macro but decided that since I already have a good lens at the 100mm range with VR (70-200mm) then I did not need it at regular mode and was effectively unavailable at macro end. I went for the tried and true Tamron 90mm F2,8 Di, which I find works perfectly maybe a little nosier and slower and not that much difference in resolution output.

Niels Henriksen

Well, I'll keep saving up for those lovely Zeiss AIS primes.

Dave said:

I wonder if you'll be able to modify it like you can the 85mm PC to put tilt and shift into the same plane...

I'd be worried that I might slip through a rip in the fabric of the Universe. ;-)

Care to elaborate on why this is is a desirable feature? I know little about this stuff.

Thanks

Charlie

Very disappointing release, especially if you wanted new primes.

A bit of an aside, but the success of the D40X only surprises me because it indicates buyers have more on the ball than I thought [smile].

The D200, D80 and D40X produced nearly identical image quality. The differences were in performance features and bells and whistles. If you didn't need the higher-level features, you didn't sacrifice photo quality by buying less expensive models. I steered several folks away from both the D200 and the D40 towards the 80 and 40X.

*IF* the D60 tests out well, it'll be a real winner for Nikon.

pax / Ctein

I'm pleased by the D60 announcement, particularly because I was thinking to myself how nice an infrared-conversion D300 would be, if only it weren't so expensive. Converting a D60 to a Live View infrared camera is a much more economical proposition. Color me giddy.

The lenses, on the other hand, do not excite me. I'd hoped for an AF-S revision of the 85/1.4, a still-expensive-but-accessible revision of the 28/1.4 to serve double-duty as a wide prime on FX and a normal prime on DX, and maybe even a modernized Noct-Nikkor (which would also serve double duty as a sublime portrait lens in DX format).

Great news for Zeiss and Voigtlander, that's what this is.

I think you're spot-on about the PC lens: only pros need it. It's for the Architectural Digest shooter who needs the shot in digital format RIGHT NOW. For the rest of us, shooting 4x5 transparencies on a used view camera outfit 1/3 the price is still going to give far better results.

To all: I don't think Nikon is done announcing lenses this year. I'm personally hoping for a revised 35mm prime, but we will see what comes this summer and in the fall.

Dave: According to Bjorn Rorslett, "Tilt and shift axes are set 90 degrees to each other, just like the 85 mm PC-Nikkor was delivered in its time; similar to the 85 it seemed possible to modify the lens to give parallel operation of tilt and shift when I probed the innards of this newcomer." See http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

Ctein: I still think the D40x/D60, the D80 and the D200/D300 are significantly different.

The biggest feature the D40x/D60 lacks is the viewfinder present in the D80 and the D200/D300. It also lacks and AF motor for use with non-AFS lenses. Of course, it is also the smallest, lightest and cheapest of the bunch.

The D80 has the larger D200/D300 viewfinder and an in-body motor for use with screw-drive lenses, but it lacks the aperture coupling mechanism of the D200 and D300 for metering with all of the old manual focus Nikon lenses. The lenses will mount and will work correctly if you guess your exposures or take a test shot and compensate, but it isn't as convenient and the lens/exposure data isn't written into your EXIF.

The D200 and D300 have all the usual bells and whistles but are obviously the heaviest, largest and most expensive.

If you can deal with the small viewfinder and don't have any lenses yet, the D40x/D60 is a great camera. But if you already have a collection of non-AFS or manual focus lenses, then it pays to buy one of the more expensive cameras. Frankly, the cost savings to be had by buying a D200/D300 and using it with manual focus lenses can mount of quickly. (At least that's what I keep telling myself to justify my spendthrift ways...)

Of course, as Mike has been pointing out, kit lenses and zooms are now of such generally high quality that perhaps it is no longer as necessary to have a selection of fast primes. Still, they are fun to play with. ;-)

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that all of the SLRs currently being produced by Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and Sony are actually quite good. People are going to get good pictures from any of them and need not fear buying a lemon.

Best,
Adam

In his post on the new lenses, Bjørn Rørslett, says that it appears that the 24 T/S can be converted to put the tilt and shift at 90 degrees to each other.

It strikes me that there might be a couple of reasons for Nikon to have skipped the VR feature on the 60/2.8. I know that when I'm doing casual macro (O.K., "micro") work, it isn't the motion parallel to the film plane (i.e. the usual shake) that gets me in trouble, it's the slight motion perpendicular to the film plane - the tendency to rock, just slightly, back and forth, toward and away from the subject - that causes problems. This is, obviously, something that would go unnoticed with most photographic subjects - sports, landscape, etc. - but shows up darn quick with the extremely shallow depth-of-field macro photography involves. And, as far as I know anyway, VR ain't gonna work with this kind of motion.

The other reason might be that they're assuming that serious (i.e. not me) macrophotographers will be using supplemental lighting most of the time. A 1/1000th sec. burst from a flash will take care of most camera shake problems.

I find your comment about the 16-8% rather telling. You notice the "catch up move" of having a 5x zoom, even noting the slight lead from actually being 5.3x, but totally miss the very big advantage, IMHO, of a wider (24mm-e instead of the typical 28mm-e) short end. The change in the long end (55mm to 85mm actual) is small in terms of actual picture taking advantage, but the change from 18mm to 16mm at the wide end is a noticable improvement.

Dwig,
I don't think I can be said to be "totally missing" something that's obvious from the spec, but in any case, many competitive lenses start out at 24mm-e too, including both the lenses I linked as the "(Joint) Lens of the Year 2007."

Mike J.

Mike,

sorry for posting a bit offtopic, but check this out (in case you already haven't):

http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/en/lens/roadmap.pdf

See the 30* and the 55* fast primes? * means weahtersealed, and even the entry level k200 will be sealed. This is stuff for people like us ;-)) What is holding you back from switching to Pentax?

best always
Andreas

Mike--Nikon seems to be wrong on the "micro" designation according to Merriam Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, where "macro lens" is defined as "a camera lens designed to focus at very short distances with up to life-size magnification of the image."

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