Can a $1400 zoom compete with a $8000 prime telephoto lens?
That’s the $64k question, isn’t it? When I saw that the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR was announced at under $1400 (check price here), I figured that either: a) I read that wrong, or b) it must be a compromise. Seeing as how I own the 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor, I figured I’d do the obligatory comparison, so here’s my backyard shootout:
I received an email today from site sponsor B&H Photo indicating that Nikon has dropped prices on a large list of Nikkor lenses. It’s unclear as to whether these are temporary cuts, or are more long-term adjustments that reflect the relative weakness of the Yen against the US dollar.
Nikon has announced updates to its 500mm and 600mm f/4 VR Nikkor lenses. The new lenses replace the original VR versions, which were announced in 2007. These new big Nikkors use fluorite glass elements to significantly reduce their weight. The 500mm f/4 E FL Nikkor weighs in at 6.8 lbs, and the 600mm f/4 E FL Nikkor is 8.4 lbs. That makes them currently the lightest 500/4 and 600/4 lenses on the market for 35mm format cameras.
Nikon has also updated the VR system in these lenses to add 4-stops of effective shutter speed, and introduced a “sport” VR mode, which should theoretically improve AF tracking of moving subjects. The lenses also gain electronic aperture control, which is intended to improve exposure accuracy during high-speed shooting, such as with the D4s DSLR.
I’ve put together a simple table comparing each of these new lenses to its predecessor. Major differences are highlighted in green.
One really fun application of the Nikon 1 system is for macro photography. The 2.7x crop CX format sensor offers some significant advantages to the close-up photographer, including:
Greater apparent depth of field
Longer working distances
Extra magnification when using true macro lenses
All of these points are important with close-up photography. Macro photographers can use all the depth of field they can get, and having a longer working distance means you don’t have to shove your lens right up against your subject. I got an email from a colleague the other day asking if I had any recommendations for a Nikon 1 macro kit, so I thought I’d test out the one macro lens I have: the 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR micro-Nikkor. Continue reading Nikon 1 for Macro Photography→
Nikon today has announced the release of two new wide angle lenses.
24mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor
16-35 f/4.0 AFS G VR Nikkor
These lenses are both designed for FX (full-frame) bodies, meaning that they will also work on DX (APS-C) bodies. The 16-35mm adds an image-stabilized option to the wideangle zoom lineup, and it lists for significantly less than the 17-35mm AFS ($1259 vs. $1760 in the USA).
The 24mm f/1.4 AFS Nikkor is a long-awaited replacement to the 28mm f/1.4 AF-D lens that sells used for ridiculous prices (over $3000). The 24mm f/1.4 AFS lens will allow photographers to have very creative depth of field options and incredible low-light performance, especially on a body like the D3 or D700. The new 24mm f/1.4 lens has a suggested price of $2199 in the USA.
The good news here: if you need a super-wide zoom that can accept 77mm front filters and don’t need the fastest aperture (ie, if you are a landscape photographer), then the 16-35mm VR is for you. In addition, the new 24mm f/1.4 lens is priced considerably lower than the 28mm model it replaces sells for on the used market, so expect the price of used 28mm f/1.4 lenses to drop precipitously.