Back in October, we got a taste of Nikon’s plans for 2020 and 2021. The lens line-up for its Z-mount cameras has been slightly lackluster to date, but things might be about to change — coronavirus permitting.
After a wealth of f/4 zooms and f/1.8 primes — and temporarily ignoring the 58mm f/0.95 — Nikon should soon be ready to start releasing some more serious glass. The roadmap published six months ago promised two notable primes: a 50mm f/1.2 which could soon make an appearance, and a 20mm f/1.8 that was announced last month. In addition, a slew of zooms were mentioned including a 14-24mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 which would round off the Nikon holy trinity. Five other zooms were slated but no aperture details were given away.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that the arrival of some professional-level glass is probably not too far off, but which lenses should be a priority? Nikon’s masterplan has been the reverse of Canon, preferring to roll out mid-range glass with slightly boring apertures to match its good-but-still-needs-work mirrorless cameras. With the prospect of a pro-grade Z camera arriving some time this year (again, not accounting for coronavirus), faster “S-Line” high-end glass may soon be essential.
The 50mm f/1.2 will be eagerly anticipated and for many Nikon users, it might have been better to give this priority over the slightly ludicrous though incredibly impressive NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct which is still unavailable from B&H Photo and might not reach shelves for a good while yet given the inevitable disruption presented by coronavirus. If the D6 is going to be pushed back, there will almost certainly be problems elsewhere in Nikon’s manufacturing processes, and all of these lenses might be subject to delays.
Nikon enthusiasts will be aware that Nikkor glass is manufactured by the Hikari factory in the small city of Yuzawa, Japan. However, the electronic components are most likely manufactured elsewhere and may be subject to the difficulties currently being experienced in China as a result of efforts to contain the coronavirus.
Assuming (and hoping) that this disruption will be temporary, what else should Nikon be releasing alongside or immediately following the 50mm f/1.2? With the f/2.8 trinity completed, 35mm and 85mm primes are probably the most obvious choices, but will Nikon plump for f/1.4 or will they opt for something a little faster? Certainly, Canon’s RF lens line-up has set the bar quite high with the RF 50mm f/1.2 drawing serious praise (and a price to match). Add to that, Canon has two top-end 85mm f/1.2 lenses, the more expensive DS option asking you to fork out an extra $300 for something slightly more bokeh-y.
Following the 35mm and 85mm, we can probably expect to see the rest of a prime range filled out, with perhaps the 24mm and 105mm as the immediate additions. It seems most likely that at least some of these lenses will have to be available to purchase before we finally see a truly “pro” Z-mount full-frame camera, but Nikon will playing “chicken and the egg” to a degree, regardless of their chosen path. Getting the glass out first makes the most sense, but timeframes may now be all over the place thanks to coronavirus.
What are your thoughts? What should Nikon prioritize for its mirrorless full-frame shooters? Leave a comment below.