As well as the Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 Pancake lens, Nikon has also today announced the release of the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens for the Nikon Z mirrorless system. Billed as “extraordinary”, it’s a lens that Nikon Z shooters have wanted for a long time. As with the 26mm f/2.8, the development announcement for the 85mm f/1.2 S came at the beginning of the year while being shown off at CES.
It’s Nikon’s new premium portrait lens, offering a traditional focal length for the genre while providing the super wide aperture that lets you get a creatively shallow depth of field, as well as allowing you to shoot in darker conditions. Nikon says that it’s a “truly unique optic” with outstanding optical performance that “goes beyond the impressive sharpness”.
As part of Nikon’s “S” series of Nikkor Z lenses, it’s one of their premium lenses. The Nikon equivalent to Canon’s L glass. As such, it offers high resolution and very sharp detail, at least in theory. With a price tag of almost three grand, one would hope so, too. Nikon says that special emphasis has been given to the look and character of the out-of-focus bokeh areas, producing a soft and natural blur with a subtle and gradual transition to the in-focus areas.
It looks like the new Nikon lens takes some cues from the company’s own Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.96 NOCT lens, too, with a similar 11-blade aperture diaphragm, with ED glass to help suppress colour fringing. Very precise positioning of the lens elements also helps to eliminate a lot of the “onion-ring” characteristics sometimes seen with such wide-aperture lenses. It features two STM stepper motors to coordinate the position of two focusing lens groups simultaneously. The pair of high-torque motors, Nikon says, “ensure outstandingly quiet, fast and accurate operation”.
|Lens Mount||Nikon Z|
|Angle of View||28° 30'|
|Minimum Focus Distance||85cm|
|Optical Design||15 Elements in 10
|Diaphragm Blades||11, Rounded|
|Filter Size||82 mm (Front)|
|Dimensions (ø x L)||102.5 x 141.5mm|
I think this lens will likely see high demand from portrait shooters that want a little more than the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 S lens can provide. Of course, you’re adding $2,000 to the cost of the f/1.8 in order to get the f/1.2. Is an extra stop of light really worth an extra $2,000? Well, for a lot of people, it probably won’t. For some people, it most definitely will be worth it. That’s something only you can really figure out based on your own needs and budget.
The Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S is available to pre-order now for $2,796.95 and begins shipping in late March.