Lens Roadmap Still Incomplete

The 35mm f/1.4 is interesting in a number of ways. The optical design, for instance, is another only-on-Z-mount type design, with the largest elements being far back in the lens and extremely close to the image sensor.

The bigger point, though, is how Nikon themselves positions lenses. In their catalog, they have:

  • S-Line Prime (14 FX lenses)
  • S-Line Zoom (7 FX)
  • S-Line Special Purpose (1 FX)   Total S-Line = 22
  • Other Primes (4 FX, 1 DX)
  • Other Zooms (7 FX, 4 DX)
  • Other Special Purpose (1 FX)  Total Other = 17

The just-announced 35mm f/1.4 fits into Other Primes, along with the physically smaller 26mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2, and DX 24mm f/1.7 options. 

S-Line lenses are clearly pro/prosumer in nature. Given how Nikon's management keeps talking about an enthusiast-to-pro oriented lineup, one might say the S-line lenses are at the pro end of that, while the Other lenses are at the enthusiast end. 

Note the balances.

  • Neither S-line nor Other dominate. 
  • S-line is solely FX at the moment, DX solely Other.
  • S-line has a majority of primes, while Other has a majority of zooms.

What does all of this say about the future, particularly since we no longer have new Road Maps? 

Well, the position left unfilled on the last Road Map is still another S-line 35mm, likely f/1.2 given its location. The 35mm f/1.4 suggests that the Other Primes are not necessarily muffins or pancakes in size, which opens a realm of other possibilities. We still don't have another NOCT, which was something Nikon has said we would eventually get. Finally, now that unique F-mount lenses are being closed out, we're likely to find Nikon without a tilt/shift lens if one doesn't appear in the Z-mount soon. 

Given the balancing that Nikon has done in the initial (six years ;~) of the Z-mount, what comes next could be S-line or Other, and prime, zoom, or special purpose. I believe they'll skip around between those categories to slowly fill out a more complete lineup for both the enthusiast and the pro.

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