Taken with the new fast Nikon 85mm. Photo: Nikon
"Sample image time, boys—break out the pink wigs!!"
(Camera companies hate it when I make fun like this...I'm just never...reverent enough.)
Nikon has rolled out three new zooms and a new entry-level combination camera/camcorder, and—our topic here—it has replaced a justly famous and always-coveted lens, the legendary* 85mmƒ/1.4, with an update. Not just an update—it's a completely new-from-the-drawing-board redesign, and it's a super premium lens—ten elements. (You can make a good short tele with five elements; the granddaddy of the fast category, the legendary** Zeiss 85mm ƒ/1.4 Planar, had six.)
This is a focal length at which Nikon has traditionally excelled.
The marketing brief was probably to update the ancillary functions—make it a "G" lens with no aperture ring, add full-time manual focus, silent focusing, a hard outer coating to prevent damage to the outermost element, and bring it into line with the styling of the rest of the new lenses in the line. The old version was plenty good optically. But Nikon didn't stop there. It went all out. An inspiringly aspirational lens.
Quit drooling on your keyboard!
*"Legend" and "legendary" are Nikonspeak for "very good" when talking lenses, ever since Moose Peterson's Nikon System Handbook.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by JK: "Interesting how Nikon are finally using the word 'bokeh' in their English-language releases. Years ago they usually called it 'defocus,' which of course is the correct technical term but always sounded a bit strange in this kind of context. Then they started saying 'background blur,' which is good straightforward English but begged the question, what about foreground blur? And now apparently they feel the world is ready for the Japanese term. Stay tuned to see if Canon follow suit...."
Featured Comment by Matt Needham: "False eyelashes? I can see the edge of contact lenses in the subject's eye with all of my lenses, even the cheap ones from uncool brands. For all the ever-growing gear hype I still believe Ansel Adams nailed it when he said, '...Practically all lenses made within the last decade or two are excellent—often more precise than even the most exacting practical photographer requires.'"