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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Speculative 'Reviews': Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16mm f/2


I will be away on a trip. AmateurNikon will come back with new material in about two weeks. Enjoy and take lots of photos!


Another article for the Speculative 'Reviews' series for today. Once again, to state the obvious: This lens does not exist as I'm writing this (June 2015), and it may never appear, either. I have no sources in Nikon (or elsewhere). This article is a product of my knowledge and experience, so, in other words, it is an educated guess. The purpose of these articles is to make us all think, what would this lens mean for Nikon photographers, how would it affect our shooting, and in which way would it affect the market.


Just like a (speculative) Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 16-50mm f/2.8 DX , a lens like a 16mm f/2 would send the message that Nikon has not abandoned the DX advanced amateur (or semi-pro even) market. In terms of 35mm equiv. focal length, we would be talking about a 24mm f/2 lens. If you want to take the Depth-of-Field difference into consideration, you could also talk about a 24mm f/2.8 lens. And that kind of lens has always been a crucial lens in Nikon's lineup. You see, 24mm (in FX terms) is quite wide, although not still in the crazy-wide category. In other words, it's a focal length that can be extremely useful, without posing composition problems (not to the degree a much wider lens would, that is).

DX users, so far, had to use a zoom to get wide-angle. This one is taken with the Sigma 10-20 - a fine lens, but not small, not light, not optically optimal, not fast in terms of aperture.


A Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16mm f/2 lens would be very useful to a variety of photographers, but I best it would mostly appear to low-light street photographers, hikers and backpackers, and anyone who would want a small, light, ultra-capable lens for critical work. To get 16mm on DX you must use a zoom - either an ultra-wide, like the Nikkor 10-24mm, or then another option would be the Nikkor 16-85mm. Both are awesome lenses, but they come with liabilities related to their scope:  as zooms, they're not very small, their image quality is not optimal, and they are slow in terms of aperture. A 16mm f/2 lens should be small, light, optically brilliant (especially by f/2.8), with an extremely useful f/2 max. aperture.


It's very hard to speculate on prices. The closest (in terms of focal length) DX prime Nikon makes is the 35mm f/1.8 - which sells new for an unbeatable price. But a normal prime is much easier to make than a wide-angle. I think that a price around the $500 mark should be both feasible/viable (for Nikon) and fair (for the consumer). It also depends a lot on construction materials, features (e.g. distance scale), etc. If I were a DX shooter looking for a quality wide-angle lens, $500 is something I'd be willing to pay, provided optical quality was matching what one would expect from a prime lens.


Will there be a Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16mm f/2 lens? I don't know.  As I told you couple of weeks ago, for all I know, maybe Nikon D7300 won't even have a focus motor (ponder on that for a moment!). Sometimes Nikon seems to be a bit difficult to 'read', not the least so because they appear to be making decisions that are counterproductive. Why is there no D400? Why are there no DX wide-angle primes yet? One good thing in all that ( ♫ always look  ♫ on the bright side of life ) is that these questions, if they are answered, they will probably be answered all at once. If Nikon announces the long-anticipated D400, it's very probable they'd also announce a wide-angle DX prime to go with it, and maybe even a fast midrange DX zoom with VR. Seeing is believing!

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