I doubt that there will be much excitement on the Internet over this rumor, but NikonRumor mentions a new Nikon patent for a 135mm f/1.8 VR lens. Some ruminations after the jump...
As a class, 300mm f/4 lenses are the standard for the rational photographer in need of moderate reach. This Nikkor is a superb example of the class, but like the other Nikkor (non-exotic) telephotos it is relatively obsolete today. In short, a lens of this focal length needs to have stabilization.
The recent surge of activity surrounding prime lenses has yet to reach the classic primes with focal lengths above 100mm. Only the exotic “Super” telephoto lenses have been updated in recent years, and at a frequency that hardly seems reasonable. Meanwhile, moderate telephoto primes from all equipment manufacturers grow old and dusty on store shelves as the years pass. The 180mm Nikkor lens is an example of this decades-old trend.
Photozone has tested the new Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G. See the data here.
This lens is just about perfect but focus shift is a more than hoped for. Still at this price it represents a shocking value. Kudos Nikon!
I look forward to torturing it. :^)
A friend of mine asked out of honest curiosity what the difference was between different pieces of high-end equipment. He asked from the point of view of a photography outsider. More precisely, his real question is what does equipement worth $11K do that equipement worth $3.5K doesn't do?
An aspherical fifty lens at the entry-level is a simple but important step for photography. This seemingly trivial modification to the design in this day and age is going to place this lens in a performance domain not normally associated with this kind of product. That is likely to go unnoticed by the target audience for the lens but that makes me excited about this lens which otherwise would be a complete yawner.
There are only three other such lenses in existence today that we can compare this lens against: the Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH, the Canon EOS 50mm f/1.2L and the Sigma EX 50mm f/1.4. While the Summilux is probably the best lens in the world, the other two offer underwhelming value in my opinion (now I'm sure I'll get some flaming comments). This new lens is slower than either of these, true, but is likely going to perform much better.
Where Nikon held back on performance is with the coatings – this lens looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and avoids premium coatings that would permit it to compete with the all-spherical f/1.4G. That is something I am going to take a deeper look at when a copy of this lens makes it to my house. At the likely price point (say, half of the f/1.4G) I may just have to buy one as a toy.
The Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G AF-S saga is just starting now, with the first shipping units.
You can see samples appearing here over time. There's at least one family photo with the 24mm, 35mm and 85mm side by side. That is a very desirable trio -- far more desirable in my book than the three zooms.
The D700 strikes a balance of practicality and quality that is rare in any kind of product. Although it’s no longer the latest model on the shelf, it delivers useful images under more adverse conditions than almost all other cameras on the market still today. It remains a large and heavy camera however, and in my opinion that interferes with the journalistic style it is otherwise ideally suited for.
EDITED on 9/15/2010. AGAIN on 9/16/2010. See below.
I have only one thing of real value I need to say about the D7000: it has an AI meter.
Why is this relevant? This feature was not included on a D80/D90 level camera before. This was reserved for the D200/D300 level and above. It has been a discrete but key differentiator: only very serious amateurs care to use AI lenses (such as ZF.1) and will pay top dollar to get cameras with it, so Nikon historically reserved it for premium cameras.
I hypothesize that this camera is the D400, basically. The D7000 is the smaller, lighter-weight, less expensive D400.
All of the other features make sense now in this context : the 100% viewfinder, the metal body, the shutter mode dial, etc...
== EDIT1 ==
I need to add: it has Mirror-up.
This totally is the successor to the D300.
== EDIT2 ==
I note on the Dpreview preview that the menus have both AF fine-tuning, and non-CPU lens data. The latter is rather essential to the use of the AI meter but you never know, it could have been left out.
Despite its general reputation as the best Japanese supplier of wide-angle lenses, Nikon has only sporadically offered high-speed wide-angle lenses throughout its history. For that reason we cannot yet tell whether the new Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G is the first of a charge by Nikon on this market, or an “accidental success” as the 28mm f/1.4D Aspherical was before. Irrespective it is clear that Nikon’s new high-speed wide-angle lens is set to leave its mark in Nikon's history: the Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G delivers consistently excellent results and it is lots of fun to use, and that is a recipe for lasting chemistry.