Monday, May 9, 2016

Speculative Reviews: Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 200mm f/4


I'm back from a very busy period (there's another one coming next month), and let's start with something light: Another article for the Speculative 'Reviews' series. Once again, to state the obvious: This lens does not exist as I'm writing this (May 2016), 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.

A small, light, AF-S VR'ed 200mm lens could be an awesome companion for trips to the nearby park


The Nikon Nikkor 200mm f/4 AIS was (and still is) a fine piece of glass. Small, light, optically excellent, it was a great choice for those traveling light. Now, what would happen if there existed an AF-S VR such lens? Here's also another question - that I will attempt to answer at the end of this article: Would it be more interesting as an FX or a DX lens?


For photographers that want the small size and weight a prime can give, the 200mm f/4 would be a pretty sweet option. Obviously, landscape shooters would be very interested, and I think so would be travelers - paired with a normal prime, it might be all you'd ever need for your trips. Portraiture would also be a fantastic application - great isolation (thanks to 200mm), but still with enough DOF to cover a person's face. Small size and VR would also mean it'd be great for candid shots, without the need to carry tripods or a fat f/2.8 zoom


It depends a lot whether it'd be full-frame or DX (keep reading...) but if we assume it'd be an FX lens, I think a price somewhere around $500 could be near the mark. It depends a lot on the technology used though (e.g. coating, VR type, materials, etc). In my opinion, if Nikon ever made such a lens, it ought to be light and expendable (ergo, plastic and not too expensive).


Let's start with the DX/FX thingie first: there's little sense, in my opinion, to offer a 200mm f/4 lens for DX users. Why? Although it'd be even cheaper and smaller/lighter, I can't see the audience for it. Most DX folk have either a superzoom, or perhaps a 18-xx and 55-200 or 55-300 combo. They wouldn't see the point. There's of course the advanced amateurs, and I think some (few) D500 or D7200 users would see a point in having such a lens. But most of the DX users would not.

FX users, on the other hand, really don't have any option other than the 70-300 f/4.5-f/5.6 (not in that price range anyway). For perhaps about the same money, they could get a lens that, although not a zoom, would be faster, smaller, lighter, and optically superior. I know quite a few photographer who would cherish such an opportunity.

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