Two Lens Development Announcements

In the middle of December I presented three possibilities that might happen at Nikon’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show. I can now reveal that I presented those in the inverse order for which they were originally planned by Nikon.

I’m told by someone who should know that a number of parts supply and final checkoff to manufacturing problems have been impacting Nikon’s plans for CES for awhile now. What started out as an intention to drop a new camera this week has progressively gotten downgraded to the point where instead we didn’t even really get the two lenses that were the backstop position. Instead, we received development announcements for two lenses, essentially the next two lenses that Nikon will end up releasing (I expect the real launch will now be CP+, or just prior to that Japanese show). One of those lenses didn’t change, the other I’m not so sure was the original second intended lens.

First up is the 85mm f/1.2 S. While no specific details were released, an 85mm lens has been in the Road Map for awhile now, and this is one of three f/1.2 S-line lenses I know Nikon has planned (the 50mm is already out, the 35mm is next). We do know that this lens features an 82mm front filter ring, an L-Fn button, an extra control ring, but no OLED display. The lens is displayed in the Nikon booth today, so it’s possible someone might get their hands on it and be able to reveal more.

bythom nikon 26mm

The other lens is the 26mm f/2.8 pancake. No, Nikon didn’t use that term, they used “slim.” It’s definitely slim. Slimmer than their muffin lenses (28mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2). Some sites originally claimed this was a DX lens, but it isn’t, it fully supports FX. I’m not sure exactly what camera Nikon intends this for, though. Besides being an odd choice of focal length, it’s unclear why you’d be so aggressive with lens depth when the FX cameras all have substantive hand grips that stick out further. 

Nikon wrote “ideal lens for advanced photographers who take their cameras everywhere so as not to miss a moment.” I’ve written for some time that I believe that there was a new camera of sort associated with this lens, but what that is no one knows. Given the focal length, could there be a Z3 vlogging camera based off the Z5 coming? I don’t know. 

Because this was a development announcement, we don’t have prices, ship dates, optical designs, and other details. I don’t think this was a typical development announcement where Nikon believed they needed to announce a key high-end product because of competitive pressure. I believe this was a “what can we use to justify that expensive booth?” As it turns out, I was wrong about one thing in my article from a couple of weeks ago: Nikon did add an industrial process component to their booth, a demonstration of robot micro fabrication of surface structures, plus a demonstration of high resolution robot vision. Also in the booth is the Unreal Ride, which uses Z9 video footage for a virtual production experience. 

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