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After 2015’s veritable onslaught of high-quality lens releases, Nikon had a slower–paced 2016. However, even with fewer releases, Nikon did not disappoint with its marquee announcement of the 105mm f/1.4 lens, a new ultra-wide tilt-shift, an updated 70-200mm f/2.8, and a refresh of the common DX kit zoom pair.
Easily one of the most exciting lens announcements of the year, Nikon introduced a truly fast short telephoto prime, the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. The combination of the portrait-appropriate focal length and bright f/1.4 maximum aperture make this lens especially suitable for producing shallow depth of field, selective focus imagery; the aperture also complements working in low and difficult lighting conditions. Low dispersion glass is featured in the lens, too, to control aberrations and color fringing, and a Nano Crystal Coat has been applied to suppress flare and ghosting.
Like many of Nikon’s lens releases over the past few years, the 105mm f/1.4 uses an electromagnetic aperture mechanism for exposure consistency at faster continuous shooting speeds. A Silent Wave Motor also contributes to fast performance and delivers quiet and precise autofocus along with full-time manual focus control. Additionally, suiting this lens’s use outdoors, the weather-resistant design and fluorine-coated front element protect the lens from dust, moisture, smudging, and smearing.
A long-awaited addition to Nikon’s series of tilt-shift optics, the PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED is the widest of these specialized lenses, which are well suited to architectural and interior photography applications. Besides being the widest, this new lens also distinguishes itself among Nikon’s other perspective-control lenses by allowing for independent adjustment of both tilt and shift, along with the ability to apply shift movements without having to lock or unlock the lens, and PC rotation lets you rotate movements by up to 90°.
Besides the enhanced control over tilt and shift, this new lens also features the most sophisticated optical design of any of the PC lenses, and includes three extra-low dispersion elements and a pair of aspherical elements to reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations. Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings are featured, too, along with a Fluorine Coating on the front and rear elements for protection against fingerprints, smudges, and dust.
Another highly anticipated update to a classic lens, Nikon’s popular fast telephoto zoom has been updated with the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. Similar to last year’s update to the 24-70mm f/2.8, this year’s 70-200mm f/2.8 has been refined with a new optical design, added coatings, improved VR, and updated handling to benefit an immensely versatile range of photographic applications. In addition to the now-expected slew of low-dispersion elements in this optical design, this new version has been fitted with fluorite and high refractive index elements more common to exotic, super telephoto designs. These more specialized elements further help to eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing for improved image clarity.
Balancing the updated optics is an improved Vibration Reduction system that compensates for up to four stops of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. A robust Silent Wave Motor AF system is also featured, for quick and quiet focusing performance, and four focus buttons are placed on the lens barrel for easily activating AF Lock while shooting. Unique from the previous 70-200mm f/2.8, this new version has also reversed the placement of the focus and zoom rings, with the focusing ring now closer to the bayonet mount, for more intuitive and stable handling.
On the other end of the Nikon lens spectrum, the company also released a thorough update of its popular 18-55mm and 70-300mm kit lenses. Now available in VR and non-VR flavors, these lenses feature Nikon’s new Pulse Stepping Motor AF system, which delivers noticeably faster, smoother, and quieter focusing performance to benefit stills capture and video recording. Both of these lenses received a bit of a physical design tweak, which has removed the switches from the lens barrel for a more streamlined appearance, allowing focusing mode and VR adjustments to be made through select cameras’ menus.