Primed for portraiture: Nikon breaks new ground, announces the world’s first 105mm f/1.4 lens
posted Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 12:01 AM EDT
Nikon has announced not only the fastest 105mm lens in their lineup, but the fastest in the world. Their previous 105mm lenses have been the macro-oriented 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR Micro Nikkor and the specialized portrait 105mm f/2D AF DC Nikkor lens, the latter of which featured Nikon's interesting -- although now phased out -- defocus control. With a 35mm equivalent focal length of 105mm and maximum aperture of f/1.4, it's a safe bet that the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED lens will feature even smoother backgrounds than the 105mm DC optic.
The Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED is very clearly targeted at portrait photographers, including both studio and location photographers. The lens is designed to provide excellent resolving power while still maintaining "sensational, sultry bokeh." Interestingly, Nikon has also made it a point to note that the lens is capable of photographing point light sources without producing sagittal coma flare. (This defect is a common issue for lenses as they become faster; you can read more about this kind of flare here.)
Optics and availability
The AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED lens doesn't include vibration reduction, but employs Nikon's relatively new electromagnetic aperture control technology and features seals and gaskets to provide dust and moisture resistance. Optically, the lens has 14 elements in nine groups. Three elements are ED glass and the front and rear elements have fluorine coatings. The lens also includes Nano Crystal Coating. Weighing just over two pounds (985 grams), the 3.7 inch by 4.2 inch lens has an 82mm filter thread and a minimum focusing distance of 3.3 feet (one meter). Astute observers will notice a gold ring around the barrel, indicating that the new glass is part of Nikon's Gold Ring Series, their designation for only their most premium lenses.
The AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED lens will be available in late August for a suggested retail price just under US$2,200. Look forward to more coverage of this lens as soon as we can get our hands on one!
A major milestone for Nikkor lenses
Nikon has also taken this opportunity to announce a significant milestone for the Japanese manufacturer. In mid-July, the total worldwide production of Nikkor lenses reached the impressive 100 million lens landmark. Of the accomplishment, Nikon's Director of Marketing and Planning Kosuke Kawaura said, "Surpassing the 100 million lenses produced milestone is a great honor and a testament to the photographers who both love and rely on Nikkor glass to get the job done." Further, of the 105mm lens he said, "The [lens] represents the embodiment of the Nikkor line of high-quality lenses, giving photographers a robust, well-balanced lens that provides intense sharpness, astounding image quality and background bokeh that is sure to be a favorite among portrait photographers."