Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nikon Announcements from PMA

Nikon has just announced their new lens and camera arrivals for PMA 2008, including a D60 consumer SLR (D40x replacement), the rumored 16-85mm VR, an update to the 60mm/2.8 Micro, and one lens that I don't think anybody saw coming. More details after the jump.
The 16-85mm VR was hotly rumored over the last month or so after a few images leaked out on a Taiwanese bulletin board. Many doubted, some believed, and much debate ensued. Meanwhile, I tried to decide if this is a lens I'd be interested in. I decided to buy one if they came out at $400 or less. Actual price: £429.99/ €642.00, which works out to about $950 in US dollars. No thanks, Nikon. I like wide angle, but not enough to pay $900 for 2mm. For that kind of scratch, I could pick up a used 14mm f/2.8.

The new D60 appears to be a VERY minor update to the D40x, which was itself a modest update to the D40. If it has an electronic shutter, it might be useful for high speed sync flash, but otherwise, this camera doesn't show up very bright on my radar.

Next up is an update to the venerable 60mm 2.8 micro. The new lens gains AF-S (ultrasonic "Silent Wave" motor built into the lens) and a few new ED glass elements, as well as Nikon's "Nano coating". Nice, but nothing earth-shaking here.

Which brings us into the realm of the truly awesome, the PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED

This is truly incredible in an age of high ISO, slow variable aperture zooms and pop-up flashes. A wide angle, manual focus tilt-shift lens, from Nikon no less? It features up to ±11.5 mm shift and ±8.5° tilt, as well as a close focus distance of 0.7 feet/0.21 meters, for ultra close-up shots and unbelievable perspective control.
It has all Nikon's newest glass chemistry tricks, ED and Nano coat and all, as well as two aspherical elements to eliminate aberrations and other weirdness. It has electronic aperture control on the D3 and D300, and manual control on all other cameras. Also promised by Nikon are a 45mm and 85mm version soon.

It's priced somewhere north of US $2100. Doesn't matter. Those who need it will buy it, and those who don't understand will scratch their heads.

Between the D3 and now this astonishing new lens, Nikon seems to be making a very firm commitment to both full-frame cameras and serving top-end professional needs. Imagine high end commercial architectural photography with a D3 and the 24 PC.

It's a good time to be a photographer.

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