Is Nikon's 58mm f/0.95 Lens Worth Its $8,000 Price Tag?

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is a fantastic lens with a stratospheric price tag to match. What is it like to shoot with, and is the image quality worth the price? This great video answers those questions.

Coming to you from Ted Forbes with The Art of Photography, this interesting video takes a look at the Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens. There is no doubt that the lens is absurd in many respects. First, there is that maximum aperture of f/0.95. For those keeping score at home, f/0.95 is approximately 1.12 stops faster than the much more standard f/1.4 aperture and two-thirds of a stop faster than f/1.2. It is not the only lens on the market with that aperture, but it is vastly different from the majority of the others. Whereas most such lenses make understandable sacrifices to get to that extreme aperture, the Nikkor aims for maximum image quality, which of course brings us to the other absurd aspect: its price. At $8,000, it is not a lens for most, but for those who are looking for a lens with unique capabilities and fantastic image quality to match, it looks like one great piece of glass. Check out the video above for Forbes' full thoughts. 

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32 Comments

Tony Clark's picture

The best reviews on gear online. Ted is knowledgable without being pretentious and the images are outstanding.

Rob Davis's picture

More Ted please.

He's a darn good photographer.

He is a terrible photographer. He was at a Nikon event and his images were horrible. Jared Polin was at the same event and the the difference was night and day. It was hard to imagine the two were at the same event.

William Faucher's picture

Honestly cannot tell if this is sarcasm.

Tony Clark's picture

There were a lot of nice images posted on the review. Funny, I didn't see many keepers on the Fro's 1Dx3 review.

Fritz Asuro's picture

I have high end commercial and advertising photographer friends who is basically saying it's actually priced fair. What all of them are saying is Nikon has to provide a camera body that will be a good match with this lens.

Yes, for the right people this is an amazing lens and I think a lot of the people hating on it, would be blown away if they actually used one, but they can't afford it so they just hate. Nikon is charging a fair price, because it's an extremely difficult lens to make and there is a lot of rare glass thats very difficult to produce in any meaningful numbers. Also only the most skilled Nikon technicians who usually make the super-tele lenses have the skills to craft a lens like this and it's almost all hands on build wise. The results are very impressive and my hats off to Nikon, it's amazing to see what they have accomplished. I have a 400mm f2.8 VR FL and I'd argue thats a better lens for portraits in most ways other than working distance, but the AF is not only an option on the 400mm, but it's blazing fast and accurate. Of course my 400mm is also extremely expensive and not for everyone and I use it as a photojournalist, but it does make one of the best portrait lenses on earth. I don't do much portrait photography, but when I do, I always bring the 400mm and I usually end up liking the images it produces the best. Unless I'm trying to include the environment in the portrait, in those cases I use either the 35mm or 58mm f1.4G's and those are great too. The reason though we spend this kind of money is for the results these lenses produce, helping us please our clients and even helping us separate our images from the crowd.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Stay on task gentlemen. Is this lens worth $8000? In two words.....HELL NO!!!

Alex Yakimov's picture

What glass is then in your honest opinion, Timothy?

Stuart Carver's picture

Im not sure how thats a relevant question? Shouldnt you be asking what price is sensible, rather than what lenses are worth £8000?

Alex Yakimov's picture

Thanks, Stuart. I believe it is a relevant question, because it seeks to establish a valuation scale. I am simply curious about the price above which manufacturing difficulty, technical complexity, rarity, perceived uniqueness, output quality looses in perceived value for Nikon. Because I do not remember seeing such discussions regarding original Summiluxes, Nikon is trying to compete with, obviously.

Timothy Gasper's picture

What the hell does it matter to you? This isn't a test or a must-answer situation. And if it were...it's no ones' business but mine. If you think it's worth it then good for you. I won't argue with what you deem worthy or not of this sum of money.
As for your rebuttal to Stuart.....relevant to what? My answer, or anyone's answer, isn't going to cause a change in the price. What the hell are you after here...an arguement? Well argue with yourself. I don't submit myself to such childish discussions when the issue is based on personal preference, beliefs, feelings or what-have-you. They are my opinions and views alone.

Alex Yakimov's picture

For me it's priced reasonable for a perfect f/0.95. I am curious to see how much Noctilux-SL would cost.

Reginald Walton's picture

I just don't see a good use for this lens, especially with such a shallow depth of field, you're pretty much going to miss almost every shot. And what can you do with this lens that you can't do with a 1.2 or 1.4 lens? Can you really tell the difference in shots with the other lenses?

Alex Yakimov's picture

Beside build quality and virtual absence of chromatic aberrations, it gives s a relatively shallower depth of field at a greater distances than for 1.2 or 1.4s, which is not achievable on MF.

Tbh I don't even think one should bother considering wether this lens pricetag makes sense or not, it's a 2kg manual focus f/0.95, it's not a lens designed to make sense, it's just Nikon flexing its muscles and that's fine.
Want a 50mm with fantastic price to performance ratio? Get the f/1.8s, and if you really need more light just wait for the f/1.2 which will incredible for sure considering how S lens are so far.

Lee Morris's picture

Besides retired doctors who love dropping money on expensive gear, who would buy this? I don't understand what it's for.

Alex Yakimov's picture

I presume same demographic as for original Noctilux. And some who can afford GFX100 with the need to achieve certain look not possible on MF due to a bit higher relative f number, Lee. Back to you.

A Leica can be carried with relative ease. This lens is giant-sized.

Alex Yakimov's picture

Have you tried Summilux-SL f/1.4?

I have tried Summilux M lenses. They are easy to carry. I would never buy a giant-sized Leica SL lens. The current Noctilux weighs 1.5 lbs. This new Nikon Noct weighs 4.4 lbs. See the almost 3X weight difference?

Alex Yakimov's picture

Yeah, indeed. Basically you think that less is more and I think that more is more 😅
M-glass was designed with some strict limitations due to different body style. L-glass has no such constrains.

So you're going to buy it? Can I interest you in a 10 lb. lens, or perhaps a 20 lb. lens? More is more.

Alex Yakimov's picture

You forgot to mention Hubble, mate.

Rob Davis's picture

Leica's done pretty well with that market.

Lee, that is what I thought about f/0.95 lenses in general until I rented a Z6 and a Mitakon 50 mm (the Noct Nikkor is a little rich for my blood) and this is a shot I took at a black metal show with the Mitakon wide open. I like the look and could see myself at some point renting the Noct Nikkor, but owning it, not in the near future.

SRIDIP NAG's picture

Your comment is probably not too far from the truth... however, ask yourself who buys those Leica?

For all those commenting on the high price,
it's way cheaper than this lens: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1287721-REG/arri_k2_47962_0_maste...

Eric Hiss's picture

The Zenit 50mm f/0.95 Zenitar can be adapted from Sony E to Nikon Z and it's under $1000 on sale. It's a great lens, and I've compared it to the Leica noctilux using the Techart M adapter. Full disclosure, I'm the Zenit importer for the US (and also Rolleiflex). I'd love to see someone do a comparison between the Nikon and Zenit 095s. I'm willing to lend any experienced reviewer the Zenitar for it.

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