Nikon also unveiled with the D700 and SB-700 Speedlight, two pro lenses. This one is a new lens while the other is an update on one of the ‘stars’ of the system. Here is the official announcement:

AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G: Primetime Reporter

Image © Nikon Corporation

RRP: £1699.99 / €2013

Sales start date: 19th November 2010

Nikon UK, 15 September 2010 – Nikon today announces a completely new, fast-aperture NIKKOR lens – the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G. This is the third f/1.4 prime NIKKOR lens to be developed in the past six months further extending creative opportunities for professional photographers.

Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager Lenses, Accessories & Software, Nikon Europe says: “The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G sets a new benchmark for reportage and news photographers. It combines amazing contrast and resolution with brilliant low-light performance. Seen alongside the 24mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses announced recently, this new lens underlines Nikon’s ongoing drive to deliver the ultimate range of optics for photographers.”

Award winning photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen of photo agency NOOR was amongst the first to view the new AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G. He said: “The 35mm is the standard ‘street’ lens for many of us at NOOR and we are really excited about this new version, it’s amazing. This fast prime lens will make it possible to shoot at almost every light condition at the highest-quality possible.” He added: “It’s going to take our documentary projects to a new level for sure.” Light Command
The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G has been developed to deliver stunning images in all situations. An entirely new optical design with ten elements in seven groups (including one aspherical glass element) and a rounded, nine-blade diaphragm enables the photographer to make full use of the shallow depth of field that f/1.4 aperture lenses offer. Crystal sharp detail with super smooth bokeh separation sets your subject in the spotlight and offers a different look from images taken with the professional f/2.8 zoom lenses.

Night Photography
The optical construction incorporates Nano Crystal Coat and minimises reflections and sagittal blur, which means this lens renders point light sources and shadows with natural clarity, ideal for night scenes and astrophotography. The fast aperture also provides a bright viewfinder and is great for exploring the creative potential that the shallow depth of field can bring to the work of fine-art photographers and photojournalists.

The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G is built to work as hard as you do and is a robust and reliable performer wherever your photography might take you. The dedicated Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures discreet but accurate autofocus. It operates with smooth gearing and has a broad focus ring for fine manual focus accuracy down to the minimum focusing distance of 30cm. The tough magnesium construction features subtle grooves to assist a left-hand grip as well as rubber mount and switch sealing to deter dust and moisture. Weighing in at a solid 600g, it is designed to balance well with FX format DSLRs such as the D700 and D3 series.

The lens is supplied with a HB-59 hood, and a soft pouch.

End (15/09/10).

First Thoughts: This may come as a shock too most people, but will jog the memory of many others Im sure. When I first became seriously interested in photography using the 135mm film format, it was just at the end of an ‘era’. Back then, the 35mm focal length, along with that of 28mm were the widest of ‘wide-angle’ optics that most people bought.

There were others, but costs were such, along with some pretty rigid traditional thinking, that you purchased first a 50mm lens with your camera, before adding (for most people at least) either an 85mm for portraits, or a 35mm for wide-angle photography. In truth, back then the quality of wider lenses we have today was either not so good and or prohibitive in cost as to put it out of reach for most of us.

But in those days the 35mm focal length was in its ‘heyday’, and Nikon had an impressive and highly respected manual focus line up. There was a 35mm f/3.5 Nikkor, a 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor, the highly regarded (to the point of being legendary) 35mm f/2 Nikkor, plus the exotic and way out of most peoples price range 35mm f/1.4 Nikkor.

So to me at least it is a case of ‘back to the future’ with the AF-S 35mm f/1.4G Nikkor. Since 1985 when Nikon introduced the F501 camera, and a then new range of AF lenses, we have only seen one 35mm f/2 AF option. A testiment to how ‘unfashionable’ this focal length had become.

While the new lens is a suprise too many, it is fair to say that for many photojournalistic situations, where you have a little more time than to just grab a shot on a motor driven sequence, or for  those shooting some interiours or landscapes, not overlooking some interesting uses in video use, this is a sign that Nikon do not just want to play to the mass market appeal of zoom lenses. But instead, they continue their tradition of professional tools made for those working in specific types of photography. As such it is a welcome addition and will no doubt for a short while put this focal length back on the map.

An Aspheric element and a robust construction, plus that fast aperture which is important on a wide angle to limit depth-of-field, combined with its AF-S motor, have that ‘full of Eastern promise’ potential. I am looking forward to trying one.

End. (17/09/10).