Nikon outs monster 800mm lens, new 18-35mm ultra-wide angle
By Simon Crisp
February 3, 2013
Nikon has revealed a pair of new lenses which sit at opposite ends of the focal length spectrum. The NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED zoom offers an ultra-wide angle on FX cameras and is suited to large group shots and architecture; while the NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E is designed to cater to any super-telephoto needs you might have … if you've got the US$17,900 budget to buy one.
NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E
The AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR (to give it its full title) is certainly not the sort of lens you buy on a whim, if you need it you know you need it, if you're not sure, you don't need it. Aimed squarely at professional sports and wildlife photographers it was trialled at the 2012 Olympics ahead of its release. It measures 6.3 x 18.2 inches (that's 160 x 461mm, diameter x length) and weighs a hefty 161.6 oz (4590 g).
Consisting of 20 elements in 13 groups the 800mm is the first Nikon lens to be constructed with two fluorite glass elements, and has two extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements and a Nano Crystal Coat. An electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism is said to enable seamless mechanical control and enhanced stability in auto exposure control during continuous shooting, while Nikon says the Vibration Reduction (VR) gives the equivalent of approximately four stops faster shutter speed correction.
The new lens will also ship with a teleconverter which has been specially designed for it. The AF-S Teleconverter TC800-1.25E ED extends the maximum focal length 1.25x, meaning the lens becomes a 1000mm on full frame FX cameras (although an f7.1 one) … and gives a view of 1500mm on a DX-format camera. Full autofocus performance is maintained when using with a D4, D800, D800e or D600 FX camera.
NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G
The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED gives an ultra-wide angle on full frame cameras and is a 1.9x zoom equivalent. Nikon says the lens has been "optimized for ultra-high-pixel-count D-SLR cameras" (D800 anyone?) and in addition to wide photo duties, is equally useful for shooting HD video in tight interiors.
Measuring 3.3 x 3.7 inches (83 x 95mm) and weighing 13.6 oz. (385 g), the 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 is a lightweight alternative to some, albeit faster, lenses. With a close focus of around 11 inches (30 cm) and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which enables quiet AF operation it's easy to see how the lens could be a versatile option for many photographers.
Constructed with 12 elements in 8 groups the lens has a seven-blade diaphragm that allows for a pleasing and precise image blur. Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) is there to help reduce ghosting while the ED glass should ensure minimal chromatic aberration.
The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED will be available in March for US$750 while the AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR (supplied with the AF-S Teleconverter TC800-1.25E) will be out in April and will set you back $17,900 … yes, you read that correctly.