Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup

Started Feb 15, 2009 | Discussions
NoyPhoto
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Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
Feb 15, 2009
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In a thread at the D300-D100 forum, Thom Hogan wrote:

Ironically, the 5D (and now the 5DII) are challenges for Nikon not
because of the body and specs, but because of the lenses. As I'll
note in an upcoming article, in that sweet spot serious user realm,
Nikon just doesn't have the optics to compete. A 5DII with a 24-105mm
f/4, 70-200mm f/4, and 400mm f/5.6 does quite well, and doesn't take
a small bank to fund.

I completely agree with this observation.

I think even more people will flock to Nikon's FX DSLRs once the company makes available high-quality f/4 FX zoom lenses like the Canons Thom mentioned -- plus perhaps an improved version of the 24-120mm VR zoom.

The current f/2.8 Nikkor zooms are just too big and too heavy for a number of us, aside from being costly. I believe there is a need for smaller and lighter f/4 alternatives, perferably with VR.

How big is the demand? Most likely big enough to be worthwhile to Nikon.

Cheers,
Noy

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joseph papa
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

Not for me. I have no desire what so ever to have lenses slower than f 2.8 for my wedding work.

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Bill Fagan
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

Perhaps costly, but I cannot believe the difference in size and weight really matter to many. The 2.8's simply are not that big and heavy. Compared to f:4 optics there is not that much practical difference. Lets say the f2.8 and f4 lenses all cost the same. Which would 95% of serious photographers choose? I would respectfully submit that the real issue is price.

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P Hartung
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

Thom's entitled to his opinion about any so-called 'hole' in the lens offerings, but many don't think f/4 zooms are worth investing in long term. The Canon 28-105 would not satisfy for very long, in my opinion, shooters who push the creative and qualitative envelop. All of my f/2.8 zooms are really sharp stopped down to f/4 and also serve to aid the autofocus abilities of any bodies (being able to gather more light), more so than what an f/4 lens could do.

I understand the budget issues, however, and the need for VR in lesser lenses. It seems like we're seeing VR more and more, which is a good thing.

One thing that needs to be remembered in this discussion is that Nikon is an optics company first and foremost. There are reasons that Nikon doesn't prefer to make duplicate zoom lenses one f-stop apart (like Canon's 70-200 IS and non-IS lenses), and it may not have much to do with dollars and cents as much as it does with pride (?).

The size/weight issue is something that has never bothered me, but I don't go on long hikes either.

A Nikon user could buy Tamron or Sigma's offerings to cover the focal lengths Thom mentions at prices low enough and with very respectable quality so that his point is negated. Still, Nikon doesn't help their own cause by sending their customers elsewhere to fill this need, so I can cede that point.

It seems that Nikon is regularly checking out Thom's opinions these days and so it's good for us that he's keeping their feet to the fire...

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jean bernier
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

NoyPhoto wrote:
--

In a thread at the D300-D100 forum, Thom Hogan wrote:

Ironically, the 5D (and now the 5DII) are challenges for Nikon not
because of the body and specs, but because of the lenses. As I'll
note in an upcoming article, in that sweet spot serious user realm,
Nikon just doesn't have the optics to compete. A 5DII with a 24-105mm
f/4, 70-200mm f/4, and 400mm f/5.6 does quite well, and doesn't take
a small bank to fund.

The current f/2.8 Nikkor zooms are just too big and too heavy for a
number of us, aside from being costly. I believe there is a need for
smaller and lighter f/4 alternatives, perferably with VR.

Absolutely. While I have seen some members ridicule this proposition on this forum, I still wait for smaller, lighter, cheaper versions of these mammoth lenses.

Top quality long lenses with a maximum aperture of f:4 are cruelly missing. They'd definitely be lighter and smaller. It would be great to have the choice. I have tried a Sigma but did not keep it for more than one assignment, the quality was not acceptable at full aperture: long lenses must be excellent at full aperture because that will be in many cases the only choice due to bad light.

Some will never understand it seems, that a photojournalist carrying two bodies plus the 3 pro zooms 14mm to 200 mm, plus two speedlights all day, is already loaded to capacity. My bag already weights 21 pounds. How can you add a 8-10 pounds large tele or 200-400 mm plus the obligatory monopod, in an extra bag? Many events that I have to cover require that I move quickly, with the bag permanently hanging my shoulder. No surprise I know collegues that have developed medical conditions. Laptop anybody? As fine as they may be, the large teles are great for photographers that set up business next to the football field, or bird shooters carrying essentially one short and one big lens, or mostly venues where the photographer is essentially not moving around. I see them as highly specialized tools. I have tried most of the big guns: they're great at what they do but I just could not see me hauling these around except with the help of the proverbial sherpa.

How big is the demand? Most likely big enough to be worthwhile to Nikon.

Cheers,
Noy

http://www.pbase.com/noyphoto

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Jean Bernier

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bikinchris
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

Thom and you guys are welcome to your opinion. But I think that if the 70-200 F4 was so well prized, then the older 70-210 f4 would have sold better when Nikon made it.

I would like to see a 400 f5.6 for daytime use.
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Chris, Broussard, LA

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Dean D Fetterolf
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

With ISO 1600 being the new 400 for the D3 and D700 a high quality, smaller, lighter, more economical F4 lens w/ VR would be a welcome additiion for many daylight shooters. But put your self in one of those dark caves called HS basketball or football and I bet you would be begging for the F2.8
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CHollowell
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to bikinchris, Feb 16, 2009

Some numbers:

Canon 5d mkII w/ the lenses Thom cites:

weight 3.5 Kg
cost ~ $6000

Nikon D700 w/ closest equivalent lenses

weight ~ 8 Kg (4.8 Kg with a 300 f/4 replacing the 400mm length)
cost ~ $14,800 ($7667 with the 300 f/4)

For anyone, on any sort of weight or cost budget, the choice is clear.

It's not about whether or not Nikon has a better lens, or whether or not you want f/4 or f/2.8 zooms, it's about the whole spectrum of choices, and attracting the broadest possible base of customers. Canon isn't taking away the f/2.8 option from people, they are ADDING the option for cheaper and lighter lenses.

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tommiejeep
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to Dean D Fetterolf, Feb 16, 2009

...so you can't have both? I have plenty of fast glass and am very happy with 1.4-2.8 but would love to have some quality,smaller,lighter weight f4 glass. I still think Nikon should have spent the R&D on something with more usefulness than the 24-70(yes, I own one and it is great, but would have preferred a better range as my mid-range workhorse.
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Joe Braun
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so many myopic repsponses to the OP?
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

I agree with the OP -- I'd love to see a line of high-end smaller/lighter F/4 zooms offered by Nikon. I know that many sports/events/studio photographers won't care about this -- when I'm shooting an event or indoor sports, f/2.8 is very important and weight doesn't matter much.

But for those of us who do landscape/hiking/backpacking photography, f/2.8 doesn't really matter much as we're usually shooting around f/8 on a tripod. And when I'm on a 4-day backpacking trip carrying around 40+ pounds of gear on my back, lens weight really DOES matter. No way would I carry 3 2.8 lenses with me if I had a lighter alternative.

Different lens lines for different purposes and users. Don't poo-poo the idea too much, folks!

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Bernard Languillier
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My view
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

Here are the lenses I would like Nikon to produce, in order of priority:

  • 80-200 f4.0 VR optimzed for f8-f11

  • 35 f1.4 VR for general available light shooting

  • 400 mm f4.0 VR

  • 26 - 80 f2.8-4.0 VR as a higher quality replacement for the 24-120 VR

Cheers,
Bernard

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bikinchris
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Re: so many myopic repsponses to the OP?
In reply to Joe Braun, Feb 16, 2009

Don't misiunderstand me. I am not against Nikon selling these lenses. It's no skin off my back. But the constant harping is getting old.

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Canadianguy
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Re: Its the primes not the F4 zooms
In reply to bikinchris, Feb 16, 2009

I have to disagree with Thom with this one.

What is missing from Nikon are fast primes. People who switched are always talking about the fast primes they can get from Canon and not from Nikon. I don't hear much about F4 zooms.

We want the 24mm F1.4, 35mm F1.4, 85mm F1.2.

If you are willing to spend $3K for a DSLR body (5D / 5D MKii) - you most likely don't want to settle for an F4 zoom.

For the mass market - I question how much of a market there is for F4 zooms, just look at the third party manufacturers (Sigma, Tamron, etc) how many F4 zooms do you see?

The third party lens manufacturers are always looking for mass market holes in Nikon & Canon's lens lineups. They should know if there is enough of a market to make a profit.

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Allinthemind
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Re: Its the primes not the F4 zooms
In reply to Canadianguy, Feb 16, 2009
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I agree with the OP. a 12 hour assignment in daylight, with a D3 2 SB800s and I want a

35-150 F4 VR that is of a very good quality (doesn't have to be as crisp as the 2.8s), enough so that I couldn't tell the difference on a 10x8 print. This would be an ideal wedding camera as well as walkabout. Any slight differences in pixel-peeping are irrelevant to me, tools for the job. These F4 lenses wouldn't replace the 2.8s, they'd be additional.

I think if they made a lens like described, they'd sell in shedloads!

Si

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J. Bne
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to Bill Fagan, Feb 16, 2009

Well one thing to remebver is the fact that the 2.8 price tag doesn't just buy you that 2.8 light gathering ability but also :

  • build quality

  • constant f-stop

  • Fast & silent focusing (AFS)

  • optimized (near) wide open performance

  • ability to use TC's

If constant f4 zooms can match these qualities combined with a good price I think a lot of people surely would be interested ....

Question remains whether Nikon has enough R&D sources to develop such a line and also if it's the right decision marketing-wise ?

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Rumpis
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Re: My view
In reply to Bernard Languillier, Feb 16, 2009

Doubt VR is useful in 35 mm.

Bernard Languillier wrote:

Here are the lenses I would like Nikon to produce, in order of priority:

  • 80-200 f4.0 VR optimzed for f8-f11

  • 35 f1.4 VR for general available light shooting

  • 400 mm f4.0 VR

  • 26 - 80 f2.8-4.0 VR as a higher quality replacement for the 24-120 VR

Cheers,
Bernard

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Rumpis
http://foto.pudele.com/ - Low intensity blog about
photography, Nikon and some other stuff interesting to
me. Just for fun. In Latvian.

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Bernard Languillier
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Re: My view
In reply to Rumpis, Feb 16, 2009

Rumpis wrote:

Doubt VR is useful in 35 mm.

I don't. You might want to ask the people shooting with an A900 and 35 f1.4 how they feel about body IS...

You should keep in mind that the old shutter speed = 1/focal lenght should be changed into shutter speed = 1/2*focal lenght on 20MP+ bodies...

Cheers,
Bernard

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yakitori
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BIG Hole?
In reply to NoyPhoto, Feb 16, 2009

The big hole is Thoms lack of knowledge and his lack of ability to write about optics.

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jahern
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Re: Thom Hogan cites BIG HOLE in Nikon's FX lens lineup
In reply to bikinchris, Feb 16, 2009

The higher ISO performance of the D700 and D3 mean f/4 lenses are more useable now compared to even a couple of years ago.

If you look at Art Wolfe's Travel to the Edge series he changed his 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens for the f/4 version.

John

bikinchris wrote:

Thom and you guys are welcome to your opinion. But I think that if
the 70-200 F4 was so well prized, then the older 70-210 f4 would have
sold better when Nikon made it.

I would like to see a 400 f5.6 for daytime use.
--
Chris, Broussard, LA

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mihkelriis
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Re: My view
In reply to Bernard Languillier, Feb 16, 2009

I think that a f/4 lineup would be really good for the amateur market. It will benefit from the smaller size, but most importantly the price.
Would love to see these lenses:
16-24 f/4
24-70(or 24-80) f/4
70-200(or 80-200) f/4 VR

300 f/4 VR
80-400(or 100-400) f/4.5-5.6 VR AF-S

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