Historical Data

Started Jan 26, 2008 | Discussions
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Historical Data

Was just working on updating some historical data for a project I'm working on.

In the DSLR era, Nikon has averaged 5 new lenses a year, with 3 being the fewest in a year, 7 being the most (and that was last year). That actually corresponds well with what one of Nikon's lens engineers once told me, which was that they have tended to start about six lens projects a year and it takes three years from start to finish on most lenses. Thus, at any given time the group may be working on almost 20 lenses, but only a half dozen get announced in any given year on average.

So, those of you anticipating--as am I--three lenses introduced in the near future, we would then expect another three or so at a subsequent announcement later in the year (wink, wink). Given that there's an awful lot of new lenses and lens updates being demanded by the Nikon faithful, I suspect there are going to be some disappointments. The "FX must do" list currently contains at least the following:

28mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 AF-S
50mm f/1.4 or faster AF-S
85mm f/1.4 or faster AF-S
200mm or other long macro AF-S VR
80-400mm VR AF-S addition
300mm f/4 AF-S VR addition
24-120mm f/4 AF-S VR
70-200mm f/4 AF-S VR

And the "DX must do" list contains at least the following:

20mm or 24mm prime equivalent (i.e. 14mm or 16mm f/2.8)
50mm fast prime equivalent (i.e. 30mm f/1.4)
24-120mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ; )
70-200mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 55-150mm f/2.8)

That's two year's worth of lenses right there, and we haven't even gotten to the "please update" list (28mm PC or 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor anyone?).

Just food for thought...

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report

author, Complete Guides: D40/D40x, D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series
http://www.bythom.com

PaulV Senior Member • Posts: 1,136
Re: Historical Data

Good food for thought. I am really hoping the 80-400 update happens and that it happens sooner, rather than later.

It may not work for many, but for my purposes, it fills a real need.

I wish there were some modern equivalent of my 75-150E. I own a few of those and they still give me great shots, but I would like a modern one. I can live with a constant 3.5 aperture.

Makinations
Makinations Veteran Member • Posts: 5,688
Re: Historical Data

Thom Hogan wrote:

24-120mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ; )

I've gravitated towards buying an Olympus E-3 or Sony A700 just to get a 24-120 equivalent zoom.

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nps Regular Member • Posts: 114
Re: Historical Data

Lately, its either been cheap, slow, consumer grade kit-type lenses (mostly DX) or ultra-expensive fast pro lenses (mostly FX). Surely there must be a substantial market for mid-level lenses such as the 300mm f/4 AF-S and the 70-200 f/4 AF-S. As for DX vs FX, I for one will not buy another DX lens. I know it will be years before I can buy an FX body, but I will, and the FX lenses will work fine on my D200 until then. Nikon, wake up.

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npsjr/Birmingham, MI (see profile for gear)

mlmusto Senior Member • Posts: 2,109
Re: Historical Data

thanks, thom. that really puts things in perspective for me (d300). i would be most happy with the WA DX primes first, as that is where we suffer the most right now, though i figure the FX primes will get first nod with DX coming later in the year. nikon can really solidify their base if they deliver these lenses in a 12 month time frame.

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 4,536
Re: Historical Data

nps wrote:

Surely there must be a substantial market for mid-level lenses such as the
300mm f/4 AF-S and the 70-200 f/4 AF-S.

There's always a substantial market for any lens as long as you don't talk price. If a 70-200mm f/4 AF-S came in at $700 with VR, I'm quite sure it would sell well. But when Canon made its 70-200mm f/4L, it hit the street at over $1000. To put it politely, sales have been lackluster for that model.

There already is a 300mm f/4 AF-S, and it sells moderately well. But over its lifetime, the older non AF-S 300mm f/4 sold about twice as fast. If Nikon could add VR for an additional $100, I imagine it would be a winner. Would some of those sales come at the expense of the 300mm f/2.8 VR? My guess is yes.

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I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.

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murdoprint Contributing Member • Posts: 824
Does the 5 lens average include updates?

Many people have speculated (including me) that Nikon will re-baptize the 70-200 f/2.8VR into the FX era with a nano coating. While pretty minor, I wonder if they would consider that a "new" lens introduction. If so, it could be many years before we see some of this other glass-- especially if Nikon re-issues the various 18-xxx DX zooms as 16-xxx DX zooms.

And with introductions, Nikon also pulls a few lenses from production. What do you think of the various rumors that the 17-35mm is soon to be toast? It seems like a crazy place to cut inventory.

Also, what do you think of the possibility of an FX 28-300 f/3.5-5.6VR to compete with Canon's? I originally predicted this lens as a joke about superzooms, but after reading about the Canon, I suspect this might be offered to compete in the travel and press markets.

Wanderer88 Regular Member • Posts: 297
Re: Historical Data

Very interesting, thanks. The bit about the time a lens takes to reach maturity is especially interesting. Puts things back into perspective. One tends to assume that Nikon discontinued lenses like the 28/1.4 "just like that", but in actual fact they may have been working on a new version a year before the old one was discontinued. One would hope they just discontinued it early to build up some demand, and the same, naturally, might go for many other recently "terminated" classics. I certainly hope Nikon look at your to-do lists

But do you really think we'll be seeing many more professional DX lenses, especially primes? I mean, Nikon have many a bigger fish to fry at the moment than the relative niche of the DX prime. My humble and entirely unsubstantiated feeling is that when Nikon gets round to primes, they'll be FX, and DX users will have to search among these for equivalent focal lengths and make do.

Regards,
Richard

jb_va2001 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,741
Pretty comprehensive list. 58mm Noct? /nt

Thom Hogan wrote:

Was just working on updating some historical data for a project I'm
working on.

In the DSLR era, Nikon has averaged 5 new lenses a year, with 3
being the fewest in a year, 7 being the most (and that was last
year). That actually corresponds well with what one of Nikon's lens
engineers once told me, which was that they have tended to start
about six lens projects a year and it takes three years from start to
finish on most lenses. Thus, at any given time the group may be
working on almost 20 lenses, but only a half dozen get announced in
any given year on average.

So, those of you anticipating--as am I--three lenses introduced in
the near future, we would then expect another three or so at a
subsequent announcement later in the year (wink, wink). Given that
there's an awful lot of new lenses and lens updates being demanded by
the Nikon faithful, I suspect there are going to be some
disappointments. The "FX must do" list currently contains at least
the following:

28mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 AF-S
50mm f/1.4 or faster AF-S
85mm f/1.4 or faster AF-S
200mm or other long macro AF-S VR
80-400mm VR AF-S addition
300mm f/4 AF-S VR addition
24-120mm f/4 AF-S VR
70-200mm f/4 AF-S VR

And the "DX must do" list contains at least the following:

20mm or 24mm prime equivalent (i.e. 14mm or 16mm f/2.8)
50mm fast prime equivalent (i.e. 30mm f/1.4)
24-120mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ; )
70-200mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 55-150mm f/2.8)

That's two year's worth of lenses right there, and we haven't even
gotten to the "please update" list (28mm PC or 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor
anyone?).

Just food for thought...

David314 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,790
relationship with Sigma

jb_va2001 wrote:

Thom Hogan wrote:

And the "DX must do" list contains at least the following:

20mm or 24mm prime equivalent (i.e. 14mm or 16mm f/2.8)
50mm fast prime equivalent (i.e. 30mm f/1.4)
24-120mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ; )
70-200mm zoom equivalent (i.e. 55-150mm f/2.8)

i wonder what Nikon's relationship with Sigma is

two of those lenses exist in Sigma HSM (althought i think the 50-150 hould be VR)

if there is some cooperation then i don't see Nikon releasing these in the future

i thought i saw a rumored 50mm f1.2 af-s prime last spring? about the same time we saw a pic of the 18-55mm VR - which came true

since these tend to come true - that prime would not surprise me as a match for the FX cameras - but will probabaly be announced with the D3X

and there is the 16-85mm AF-S vr we have seen pictures of so that is another of the 6 lenses

OP Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Yes

Of the 33 lenses introduced in the DSLR era, 16 are clear updates, two others might be considered to be updates of AI lenses but I'd consider them new designs.

murdoprint wrote:

And with introductions, Nikon also pulls a few lenses from
production. What do you think of the various rumors that the 17-35mm
is soon to be toast? It seems like a crazy place to cut inventory.

At the high quality end, Nikon is constrained by both glass and facilities. The 17-35mm was the first "digital" considered zoom Nikon produced, but they've learned much more about optimizing for digital since then. Personally, I'm not sure that 17-35mm is a truly "useful" focal range. It isn't wide enough for cramped indoor use, it doesn't give enough range to be a "leave on all the time" lens. The 14-24mm and 24-70mm combo seems well chosen to me, with the latter being the "leave on all the time" lens and the former being the "when you really need wide" lens.

Also, what do you think of the possibility of an FX 28-300
f/3.5-5.6VR to compete with Canon's?

Funny thing is, Nikon's 28-200mm didn't stay in production long, despite being a decent lens and a reasonable seller. But the only body a 28-200 or 28-300mm would make sense on at the moment is the D3, and I just don't see any demand for that kind of lens with D3 users. Perhaps if a D300-sized FX body existed we'd see a return of a 28-xx super zoom.

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report

author, Complete Guides: D40/D40x, D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series
http://www.bythom.com

OP Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Historical Data

Wanderer88 wrote:

But do you really think we'll be seeing many more professional DX
lenses, especially primes?

Are you paying attention? Is the D300 not one of Nikon's biggest sellers in unit volume? Do you really think that Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, et.al., will simple eat sensor costs to make their affordable lineups FX? Canon's profit margin on the 5D has been eroded so badly it's given everyone pause, especially since the DX/APS sensor size has plenty more life in it.

If Nikon wants to stay on top of the low end to prosumer cameras, it will need more DX lenses. At the high end, that means a couple of primes (only a couple are needed, because by the time you get to 50mm or so the FX primes do just fine, as long as you have enough of them to fill the 85, 105, 135, and 200 equivalent positions (that would be 50, 85, 105, and 135, which do already exist).

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report

author, Complete Guides: D40/D40x, D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series
http://www.bythom.com

OP Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: relationship with Sigma

David314 wrote:

i wonder what Nikon's relationship with Sigma is

None. Sigma has to reverse engineer the mount signals and each new camera's firmware.

if there is some cooperation then i don't see Nikon releasing these
in the future

There's no cooperation. Nikon may tolerate a lens like the 30mm f/1.4 HSM if they think that the market isn't big enough for Nikon to get in. But given that a "fast normal prime" is probably the number one selling lens outside of zooms, I don't think Nikon will tolerate it for long.

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report

author, Complete Guides: D40/D40x, D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series
http://www.bythom.com

canterel Contributing Member • Posts: 629
Re: relationship with Sigma

but they've already tolerated it for years! to my mind this has been a huge error on nikon's part. as a d300 user at this point i have no hope that they'll release a wide angle dx prime. i'm just hoping sigma will make one.

Thom Hogan wrote:

David314 wrote:

i wonder what Nikon's relationship with Sigma is

None. Sigma has to reverse engineer the mount signals and each new
camera's firmware.

if there is some cooperation then i don't see Nikon releasing these
in the future

There's no cooperation. Nikon may tolerate a lens like the 30mm f/1.4
HSM if they think that the market isn't big enough for Nikon to get
in. But given that a "fast normal prime" is probably the number one
selling lens outside of zooms, I don't think Nikon will tolerate it
for long.

Knute Regular Member • Posts: 484
Re: Does the 5 lens average include updates?

murdoprint wrote:

Also, what do you think of the possibility of an FX 28-300
f/3.5-5.6VR to compete with Canon's? I originally predicted this lens
as a joke about superzooms, but after reading about the Canon, I
suspect this might be offered to compete in the travel and press
markets.

Since Canon's 28-300 is a $2,200 L beast, I don't see Nikon coming up with something to directly compete. If they make make a 28-300 f/5.6 lens I think it will probably be a competitor for the Tamron 28-300 VC in the $600-700 range, not a pro grade superzoom like the Canon.

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MagicNikon Veteran Member • Posts: 5,445
Re: Historical Data

I really hope they get on the ball soon...

Nikons DX lineup is an embarassment compared to some fo the new stuff that Oly is coming out with. Even Pentax with their fast pancakes... Oly even has three tiers it looks like....consumer, prosumer and the pro quality.

A 50-150 with VR and a fast prime....PLEASE!
--
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murdoprint Contributing Member • Posts: 824
Re: Historical Data

MagicNikon wrote:

I really hope they get on the ball soon...

Nikons DX lineup is an embarassment compared to some fo the new stuff
that Oly is coming out with.

Sure, but, at this point, Olympus is committed to the four thirds system. If you want to convince pros to buy impressive, but expensive, 2x-crop lenses like the 35-100 f/2, you can't turn around and sink them by going to an FX sensor. Imagine Olympus builds up a loyal pro user base with the E-3 and their f/2 zooms, only to announce the E-4 will be full-frame-- instantly turning that expensive pro glass into an evolutionary dead end. What would happen to their business?

In contrast, Nikon only made three pro DX lenses and never stopped production of its full size lenses. There was never an implicit guarantee Nikon would continue with DX only. My guess is pro DX development is finished, except for minor updates.

Who knows, maybe Olympus is right. If there is a breakthrough in small-sensor ISO performance, people might flock to the four-thirds format. But if Olympus is eventually forced to go full-size, they will have some seriously unhappy customers.

MagicNikon Veteran Member • Posts: 5,445
Re: Historical Data

Good points....the E-3 may have come about 18 months too late.
--
If you like what I can do with cards, wait til you see what I do with the limes.

Waldo_O Senior Member • Posts: 1,538
Re: Historical Data

murdoprint wrote:

MagicNikon wrote:

I really hope they get on the ball soon...

Nikons DX lineup is an embarassment compared to some fo the new stuff
that Oly is coming out with.

Sure, but, at this point, Olympus is committed to the four thirds
system. If you want to convince pros to buy impressive, but
expensive, 2x-crop lenses like the 35-100 f/2, you can't turn around
and sink them by going to an FX sensor. Imagine Olympus builds up a
loyal pro user base with the E-3 and their f/2 zooms, only to
announce the E-4 will be full-frame-- instantly turning that
expensive pro glass into an evolutionary dead end. What would happen
to their business?

In contrast, Nikon only made three pro DX lenses and never stopped
production of its full size lenses. There was never an implicit
guarantee Nikon would continue with DX only. My guess is pro DX
development is finished, except for minor updates.

Who knows, maybe Olympus is right. If there is a breakthrough in
small-sensor ISO performance, people might flock to the four-thirds
format. But if Olympus is eventually forced to go full-size, they
will have some seriously unhappy customers.

My understanding is that people already are flocking to both Olympus 4/3 and Nikon DX because of reasonably priced bodies and very decent kit lenses, but feel free to correct me if you have more scientific data. After successful releases of D70 thru D300, why would Nikon want to derail an approach that is currently working? And is it really so hard to imagine DX and FX coexisting for the forseeable future?

I don't have years of experience in shooting with FF film SLR's and don't own a bunch of expensive older Nikon glass, so my opinions would lean more in the camp of the newer generation of DSLR buyers. Which leads me to wonder about the average shooters/pros who were able to 'make do' with the DX format for this many years. Does the release of the D3 really signify an immediate need for change with that many people?

I'm guessing Thom is indicating through his DX lens lists that he doesn't think DX is dead yet, and I agree. I went from an Olympus 5050 to a Nikon D50 and being able to shoot decent quality ISO 800 or 1600 was one of the reasons for my upgrade. But NR or not, isn't the 12MP D300 able to take decent pics at ISO 3200? And for more demanding quality, turn the ISO down and use a tripod and/or faster glass as was being successfully accomplished by many in the pre-D3 days.

If Nikon abandons future releases of quality DX glass as many here seem to think they will, I will not understand their reasoning behind it. And as Thom pointed out, there really isn't that many glaring holes to fill, the 3 or 4 that he mentioned would be an excellent start and would sell well imo.

I see Nikon as no different from any other company that plans for success in both current and future markets. And whether the FX market segment will ever actually take a substantial chunk of the DX pie is purely speculation at this point imo.

Regards,
Keith

David314 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,790
D3000 price and volume

Thom Hogan wrote:

Are you paying attention? Is the D300 not one of Nikon's biggest
sellers in unit volume?

after the level off from the first rush i imagine the D80 and D40(x) will continue to be volume DSLR leaders

heck coolpix P&S are the real volume leaders

so what is the lesson there? price

Do you really think that Canon, Nikon,

Pentax, Sony, et.al., will simple eat sensor costs to make their
affordable lineups FX? Canon's profit margin on the 5D has been
eroded so badly it's given everyone pause, especially since the
DX/APS sensor size has plenty more life in it.

the price erosion on the 5D is because it is getting to be an older camera as much as anything - 2 1/2 years old

came out at 3200 and is now 2100

i would have to question that it isn't making any money - given that we have seen APS-C prices less $100 -

figuring 2.25 the area for full frame so $225 for a full frame sensor - so double it to $500 and it adds $400 maybe $500 to the price of a camera?

using Nikon's #'s http://nikondigital.org/articles/canon_fullframe_whitepaper.pdf

$5000 for a wafer 20 sensors per 8" wafer i get $250 per sensor - now say you only have 50% yeild

i get $500 per FX sensor again

take a D40 and make a D40FX for $1000? D80FX $1500 a D300FX for $2500?

i think they would sell a lot because you are getting units into the price that sell in voluvmes

now you could go to 12" wafers and you can afford to design custom steppers - and i wouldn't be wasting that extra space on the wafers - i would be putting smaller similar process sensors on it

would love to see a DX sensor with the same sensor technology with 6 meg sensors

yes, FX will always have a premium on it but it shouldn't be thousands of dollars

If Nikon wants to stay on top of the low end to prosumer cameras, it
will need more DX lenses.

i agree - but it seems odd that after all these years they haven't done that

At the high end, that means a couple of
primes (only a couple are needed, because by the time you get to 50mm
or so the FX primes do just fine,

again, very odd that i wasn't done - several years ago - there is not one single DX prime

what has Nikon been thinking? a conspricay theorist might think full frame sensors

David

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