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The new Nikon 800 mm f/5,6 some considerations and guessing


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#1 Millirehm

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 23:37

Nikon just announced (again) the AF-S NIKKOR 800 mm 1:5,6E FL ED VR (shouldn’t it be named AF-S NIKKOR 800 mm 1:5,6E D FL IF-ED VR Nano to make it even more impressive?)

Some thoughts from my side:

1. A solitaire lens, or the beginning of a new series?
I think that will be the start of a new series, replacing the other superteles by weight reduced super priced FL versions. (Maybe with dedicated Teleconverters for each lens – not too practical if you use two at the same time.
Maybe in the renommée match against Canon Nikon will remember its 300 f/2 and bring a newer lighter successor in FL design.

2. some analogies
a)Nikon told us DX is sufficient, until they finally changed mind and marketing and went the FX route.

b)Nikon first promised ultra sonic motors for AF-S lenses, after Canon came out with those and then said, no we have a better solution, which was found in the “coreless”electronic motor technology used in the AF-I Superteles. Several generations of AF-S lenses with “silent wave motors” we know better

c) Nikon promoted their ED Glass invention with having the same potential to suppress chromatic aberration but better thermal and mechanical abilities than fluorite lenses.
Now FL lenses are coming, where hopefully these issues have been kept under control somehow and we are told that Fluorite lenses have lower dispersion than ED and even Super-ED glass (the one used just once – will it remain the only application – lots of developing efforts for just one lens if it does not also find its place in other branches of the Nikon business – outside photography)

4 My main thought is what does E mean for compatibility?
Well F-mount has remained unchanged but now it appears as if Nikon is doing in three steps, what canon has done with one (gaining a fresh new bigger-diameter bajonet mount). The never announced /kept secret full switch to electronic communication between body and lens with the G-series was a massive switch – but kept mechanical diaphragm control.

The E now brings that to full electronic operation. Whereas the 800 is not the first (we have seen the PC-E series) the PC-Es have kept the manual diaphragm button of their predecessor, wheras the 800 appears to fully rely on that. It is just a matter of time, until any new Nikon F lens is an E-type.

If I did not overlook something the consequences would be:
Older digital bodies such as the D200 are not usable any more
NONE of the film bodies can be used with new lenses
G lenses could not be used on older Nikon cameras, but with adapters on the products on other manufacturers. With E that won’t be possible in the future similar to the usage for movie cameras
Newer low level cameras on the long run won’t support older lenses any more, may it be MF, AF-D or even G type
BTW: It is not guaranteed that “semi pro” or even “full-pro” bodies will continue to support screwdriver AF

Now that’s what I call backwards compatibility

Disclaimer: Immanent to considering and guessing is that I might be wrong

Edited by Millirehm, 01 February 2013 - 23:40 .

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Wolfgang

#2 nfoto

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 23:46

If Nikon engineeers were the only people making decisions, we would have had all "E" type lenses a long time
ago.

This is a time where the legacy of some 80 million Nikkors weighs in as a potential advantage for Nikon users.
Bjørn

#3 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:25

Yes, legacy that would be sufficient for the rest of my photographic life :sungum: :devil:
Wolfgang

#4 afoton

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:32

Some of the lenses that is on the marked now, has been unchanged since 1994. So my guess is that it will take some years until all lenses is replaced with E-lenses.
As long as I dont need to buy all lenses new when I buy a new camera, the backwards compatibility is way better then what happen when Canon switch from FD to EF mount. A migration over 30 years suits me well, even if some compatibility will be lost in the long run.

Newer low level cameras on the long run won’t support older lenses any more, may it be MF, AF-D or even G type


When it comes to aperture control, the G type is the one that will miss support first.
When a new camera is made without mecanical aperture control, you can allways control the aperture with the aperture ring. Only those G type lenses will be useless then.

#5 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:49

I don't see much of a problem with lack of support in the newest lenses in now obsolete digital camera bodies. I doubt that many D200 shooters are running out to buy the latest glass. As for Nikon's gradual changes in the F mount lens control systems, that is nothing like Canon changing the mount and making mountains of lenses unusable. At least for now all but the lower level bodies retain the screw driven AF.
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#6 ilkka_nissila

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:57

Since AF Nikkors have poor MF rings for the most part they will be rendered virtually unusable if the body AF motor is dropped. This is unthinkable. Note that Nikon improved metering support in Ai(-S) lenses after first dropping it in mid level bodies. They even added matrix metering support.

The 800 is E because of the long distance from mount to diaphragm, according to what Nikon told Shun Cheung, not necessarily the start of a trend. The PC-E Nikkors are E for obvious reasons.

I believe Nikon will add fluorite across the board in new gen superteles to match increasing pixel density in cameras and in its effort to keep up with Canon. The prices of new superteles will skyrocket and a delightful variety of old AFS VR superteles will appear on sale second hand. Drool..
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#7 EL_guest

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:02

Since AF Nikkors have poor MF rings for the most part they will be rendered virtually unusable if the body AF motor is dropped. ...


Sure the first AF lenses where all very flimsy with regards to the very slim MF ring. the later AFS Pro lenses have, almost all of them, very nice MF rings 70-200 AFS 2.8 II, 85 AFS 1.4, 24 AFS 1.4, 35 AFS 1.4 28-70mm AFS 2.8 300 AFS 2.8... :) Lucky

#8 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:19

... 400/2,8 500/4 600/4 :D
The very first AF lenses (some 12) even had very very sim and flimsy MF rings.
AF85/1,4D and 135mm DC are also good to focus

Edited by Millirehm, 02 February 2013 - 20:21 .

Wolfgang

#9 ilkka_nissila

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:20

Sure the first AF lenses where all very flimsy with regards to the very slim MF ring. the later AFS Pro lenses have, almost all of them, very nice MF rings 70-200 AFS 2.8 II, 85 AFS 1.4, 24 AFS 1.4, 35 AFS 1.4 28-70mm AFS 2.8 300 AFS 2.8... :) Lucky


I disagree. Many on your list are geared far too quick for precise focusing, especially at longer distances and when using TCs. Try to e.g. achieve the same focus twice on the 200/2 + 2X, using live view at a distance of e.g. 50 m or longer. It's extremely difficult and time consuming and there will be shot-to-shot variability. Also, the movement in many of the rings is not smooth (including lenses in your list, e.g. my 70-200/2.8II). There can be slack in the mechanism, also (my 24/1.4 has it to annoying degree, which means manual focusing usually takes about 15 s to reach satisfaction; the 35/1.4 has an improved mechanism which is nice). I find it much faster and less frustrating to achieve reproducible manual focus on a ZF(.2) lens (especially the f/2 maximum aperture ones) than any autofocus Nikkor I have used. In fact the (manual focus) PC-E Nikkors suffer to some degree from the same fault at long distances the focus is extremely finicky and difficult to perform to perfection in a hurry.

Edited by ilkka_nissila, 02 February 2013 - 20:20 .

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#10 EL_guest

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:36

Well then we just disagree :) All of mine are perfect for what I need it in a hurry.

#11 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:37

Since AF Nikkors have poor MF rings for the most part they will be rendered virtually unusable if the body AF motor is dropped. This is unthinkable. Note that Nikon improved metering support in Ai(-S) lenses after first dropping it in mid level bodies. They even added matrix metering support.


I am a bit careful with the word unthinkable after the G-shock, excluding my equipment from never development. Well I am digital now aquired some Gs and my film fleet sees no use right now - so the F4 was never used with G although it is able to handle them somehow. You said it they added metering support after first bringing it down (remember FA provided AMP metering with all AI lenses). I dont think end of screwdriver AF support will affect the D5 or D6 but maybe later and all these D830s D730s and so on, I would not guarantee - although I hope you are right.

The 800 is E because of the long distance from mount to diaphragm, according to what Nikon told Shun Cheung, not necessarily the start of a trend. The PC-E Nikkors are E for obvious reasons.


That would be another explanation, and I hope you are right. On the other hand Nikon representatives told me G is for saving weight and costs - where aperture ring or not is both not an issue when it comes to superteles. nevertheless all new superteles went G.

I believe Nikon will add fluorite across the board in new gen superteles to match increasing pixel density in cameras and in its effort to keep up with Canon. The prices of new superteles will skyrocket and a delightful variety of old AFS VR superteles will appear on sale second hand. Drool..

Agreed both regarding fluorite fleet and skyrocketing prices. Maybe more second hand sales (not too sure, D4 brought little D3S sales imho). I am well equipped but maybe that'd be a chance to get my hand on a 400/2,8 the only category besides 800/5,6 I have never had an opportunity to use any of the existing versions.
Wolfgang

#12 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:40

Just to add when it comes to focusing also the purely manual IF-ED superteles are not so easy to focus. Especially the 400/5,6 forced me to use a "saw" method. Not easy to reach accuracy quick.
Wolfgang

#13 nfoto

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:49

The 400/5.6 is a tricky lens in other aspects as well. Too lightweight and very prone to vibrations.
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#14 ilkka_nissila

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 20:59

What I was referring to mainly is that the D100 didn't support any metering with Ai(-S) lenses, and F801/F90/F5/D1 didn't support matrix metering with these lenses, but the later F6/D2/D200 added the matrix metering support and the D200 and subsequent mid level bodies were given Ai(-S) metering support. Clearly Nikon was testing the waters with the D100 as to the acceptance of dropping Ai metering support - and got a rejection from at least some users. So Nikon isn't completely averse to listening to user feedback when it comes to support of older lenses on new cameras.

On the matter of the G lenses; initially I was strongly against it. From an engineering point of view I can easily imagine the aperture ring requiring a more complicated mechanical design in the lens than necessary; electronically implemented aperture mechanism would allow the aperture ring to be present with an easier implementation. I think most people were already using the body to control aperture (not as reproducible as manual control from the ring on the lens, but allows the input of the effective aperture and constancy of exposure in CPU Micro Nikkors across the magnification range which I find invaluable). I usually work in manual mode and having to constantly adjust aperture ring in a manual focus micro nikkor without CPU (when doing shots at different magnifications) is annoying and makes it difficult to maintain the same exposure on all shots (not sure how this works with ZF.2). Same thing with variable aperture zooms - the body apertute control tames them at apertures smaller than or equal to the maximum aperture at the tele end. Of course, E is still better, assuming it gives better reproducibility but then it causes a more serious breach in compatibility than going to G.

The decision to go all G on new autofocus lenses hinders the use of old (film) bodies with new lenses, which is more rare for people to want to do, than using new bodies with old lenses, which is better supported as of now in the mid to high end cameras than it was before the D200. It is quite common that an old lens has no current equivalent, but new bodies arguably are all around better than old bodies, except for (optical) manual focus.

Edited by ilkka_nissila, 02 February 2013 - 21:19 .


#15 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 21:16

Agreed to your points Ilka Nissila
IN general (also in reply to what Ron mentioned above) I just don't want to have my equipment too fragmented in terms of compatibility. Although they have come to rest actually I do not consider my film bodies obsolete. Nor do I with the D200 (well I have never cameras, but it feels still good to have it as emergency replacement) - o.K it probably will be obsolete when AF-E-lenses have reached a majority share of Nikons portfolio
I understand marketing considerations behind but given the efforts in resources and energy producing a highly specialized and aggregated piece of gear I have a bad feeling treating it like a throwaway product.
It's better not needing to consider too much (for instance the SB800 supporting TTL Flash whereas the SB9XX does not any more)
Wolfgang

#16 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 21:22

The 400/5.6 is a tricky lens in other aspects as well. Too lightweight and very prone to vibrations.

Yes it is, the 400/3,5 is much better in this respect. On the other hand I keep this lightweight lens for situation where the other ones are too heavy - pedestrians photography, in this case handheld, a compromise but in some cases my choice
Wolfgang

#17 Millirehm

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 21:36

Some of the lenses that is on the marked now, has been unchanged since 1994. So my guess is that it will take some years until all lenses is replaced with E-lenses.
As long as I dont need to buy all lenses new when I buy a new camera, the backwards compatibility is way better then what happen when Canon switch from FD to EF mount. A migration over 30 years suits me well, even if some compatibility will be lost in the long run.

When it comes to aperture control, the G type is the one that will miss support first.

Yes it will be a long process, it took some time with the G as well, and your last words support my old prejudices against G - I have arranged with them now, and I am not G-free any more as I originally planned furiously.

General remark: I did not want to express that the Canon path was the better one, they had their hard way with limited lens availability, technical problems with USB (without having a backup by a dual system including screwdriver-AF-lenses) and there were indeed decades of benefit from increased compatibility of Nikon. Last but not least I still can use my non-CPU lenses (still the majority)
Wolfgang

#18 bjornthun

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 22:12

Yes it is, the 400/3,5 is much better in this respect. On the other hand I keep this lightweight lens for situation where the other ones are too heavy - pedestrians photography, in this case handheld, a compromise but in some cases my choice

What is the image quality of the 400/3.5 like on digital? (a bit OT, I know, but I ask anyway :-) )
Bjørn T

#19 nfoto

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 22:39

The 400/3.5 is a beautifully made lens, and image quality can be good if you aren't troubled with CA or can get rid of it in the processing workflow. I use it mainly for IR these days, though.
Bjørn

#20 EL_guest

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 22:50

What I was referring to mainly is that the D100 didn't support any metering with Ai(-S) lenses, and F801/F90/F5/D1 didn't support matrix metering with these lenses, but the later F6/D2/D200 added the matrix metering support and the D200 and subsequent mid level bodies were given Ai(-S) metering support. Clearly Nikon was testing the waters with the D100 as to the acceptance of dropping Ai metering support - and got a rejection from at least some users. So Nikon isn't completely averse to listening to user feedback when it comes to support of older lenses on new cameras.

On the matter of the G lenses; initially I was strongly against it. From an engineering point of view I can easily imagine the aperture ring requiring a more complicated mechanical design in the lens than necessary; electronically implemented aperture mechanism would allow the aperture ring to be present with an easier implementation. I think most people were already using the body to control aperture (not as reproducible as manual control from the ring on the lens, but allows the input of the effective aperture and constancy of exposure in CPU Micro Nikkors across the magnification range which I find invaluable). I usually work in manual mode and having to constantly adjust aperture ring in a manual focus micro nikkor without CPU (when doing shots at different magnifications) is annoying and makes it difficult to maintain the same exposure on all shots (not sure how this works with ZF.2). Same thing with variable aperture zooms - the body apertute control tames them at apertures smaller than or equal to the maximum aperture at the tele end. Of course, E is still better, assuming it gives better reproducibility but then it causes a more serious breach in compatibility than going to G.

The decision to go all G on new autofocus lenses hinders the use of old (film) bodies with new lenses, which is more rare for people to want to do, than using new bodies with old lenses, which is better supported as of now in the mid to high end cameras than it was before the D200. It is quite common that an old lens has no current equivalent, but new bodies arguably are all around better than old bodies, except for (optical) manual focus.

I agree on all points, very similar to my experience!

That is also why I am so happy that Bjørn decided to make CPU's available for us!

It was a nightmare to get donor lenses that fitted the nice old Ai and Ais lenses...




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