In the first Featured Comment on the previous post, Gordon Lewis pointed out that Canon doesn't have an APS-C lens system either, and then he threw a bucket of bloody chum in the water knowing full well it would drive shark Mike into a frenzy. (Lewis is an agitator, and he knows this is true because when he read that italicized word just now, he laughed.) He asked, regarding a "complete" DX lens system, "what do you mean by 'complete'?"
Well. I have to rise to the bait, as Gordon no doubt knew I would.
The following mostly ignores already-existing lenses, which, with Nikon DX, as with Sony's ASP-C offerings, is a hodgepodge and, effectively, a mess.
Plus, I think the system could well be minimal, as long as it is carefully and thoughtfully designed. After all, DX lenses are not where the money is, and many people do use the kit zooms.
For me, then, for APS-C: first I'd replicate the classic three-lens set as iterated in the Leica CL kit, namely a 28mm moderate wide, 40mm normal, and 90mm moderate tele. Except that I personally prefer 85mm, so we'll split the difference. Then I'd add an ultrawide. Then I'd add a tele-zoom (tele focal lengths are where zoom makes the most sense, because it's for situations where you often can't easily control your standpoint).
For features, I'd add VR to the 85mm-e and the tele-zoom, and I'd personally also like to see it added to the 40mm-e normal because I like to shoot in low light and I really like image stabilization for help in low light. That might be a minority choice. I'd also include two two-element closeup filters for the tele-zoom or the moderate tele to add macro capability to the mix.
I'd make sure all the lenses all worked exactly the same way and had the same controls (except for the zoom ring on the zoom, of course). I'd give them all the same filter size, no more than 58mm, and I wouldn't make them too fancy—not much more than "ordinary good" standard like the current 35mm ƒ/1.8G DX, so they didn't have to be too expensive.
14mm ƒ/2.8 rectilinear ultrawide (21mm-e)
18mm ƒ/2 standard wide angle (27mm-e)
26mm ƒ/1.8 VR normal (39mm-e) (Of course you already have the 35mm DX lens for an option if you like a longer "normal.")
58mm ƒ/2 VR short tele with closeup filters (87mm-e)
50–100mm ƒ/3.5 VR zoom (75–150mm-e) (based on the old Series E 75–150mm optical design. That lens was a honey.) (Longer zooms already exist for those who prefer them.)
For me the 26mm would have to have pleasing bokeh or the whole enterprise would be a bust.
For me a fine normal lens in the 35mm- to 40mm-equivalent
range is a must-have
That to me would constitute a whole system. For that matter, this would be a great set for the Sony "ex-NEX" A6300-style cameras, too, using the existing Zeiss 24mm as the normal lens.
Status and cool
The problem with this proposal is that it's basically strictly practical. Useful. And usefulness is not the only reason why people buy lenses. Lens sell because they're deluxe, special, extreme: the biggest, the best, the fastest, the baddest, or more expensive than you can afford because my wallet is fat, baby, and therefore I'm better than you. The name on the wine bottle, the bragging rights. Or contrarianism: something different than everyone else uses.
So maybe that would limit sales.
But a "complete" system doesn't have to be huge, as long as the offerings are thoughtful and well-considered, and make sense relative to a) photographers' actual needs, and, especially, b) the other lenses around it. A system that's well thought out as a system. That sensible, thought-through balance is what Fuji's lens line has in spades, and it's probably what is most sorely lacking in Nikon, Canon, and Sony's APS-C offerings.
(Thanks to Gordon)
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