Nikon files patents for two crazy f/1.2 zooms that will probably never be made

Oct 16, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nikon files patents for two crazy f/1.2 zooms that will probably never be made

Oct 16, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Well, if this isn’t a bit of humble-bragging, I’m not sure what is. Nikon has filed a new patent that describes Nikkor Z 35-50mm f/1.2 and Nikkor Z 50-70mm f/1.2 lenses. Yes, that’s right, zoom lenses. With a constant f/1.2 aperture. But it’s unlikely that Nikon will ever actually make them. If they did, they’d be insanely expensive.

According to Asobinet, the patent was first filed back in January 2019, but it’s only just been issued this week. It feels like they’ve filed the patents just because they can. To show off what the Z mount is hypothetically capable of rather than as a real genuine product that they plan to bring to market. But oh boy, I wish they would!

Overview

  • [International release date] August 6, 2020
    [Issue date] October 14, 2021
  • [Title of Invention] A variable magnification optical system, an optical device, and a method for manufacturing a variable magnification optical system.
  • [International filing date] January 28, 2019
  • [Applicant]
    [Identification number] 000004112
    [Name or name] Nikon Corporation
  • BACKGROUND ART [0002]
    Conventionally, in a variable magnification optical system used in an interchangeable lens camera or the like, miniaturization and improvement in optical performance have been achieved (see, for example, Patent Document 1). However, further miniaturization and improvement of optical performance are required.

The first lens is the Z mount 35-50mm f/1.2, and it comes with an illustration showing the optical makeup and damn is that a lot of glass! And make no mistake, despite its relatively short focal length, this thing would be a monster of a lens. With the dimensions provided, it would be pretty similar in length to the Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S when at the long end.

  • Focal length: 35.00-51.60
  • F value: 1.23
  • Angle of view: 72.14-46.70
  • Image height: 21.70
  • Overall length: 210.04-168.19
  • Back focus: 17.77-25.82

The other is the Z mount 50-70mm f/1.2, which also has an accompanying illustration that shows a lens that’s similarly optic-heavy. Even though this is a longer focal length than the lens above, the overall length at its minimum and maximum extension is shockingly similar, although it looks like it would be a much wider and fatter lens.

  • Focal length: 51.60-70.00
  • F value: 1.23
  • Angle of view: 48.78-34.53
  • Image height: 21.70
  • Overall length: 210.03-169.53
  • Back focus: 18.93-26.72

If these were ever released, that 50-70mm would for sure be a bucket list lens, ideally suited to portraits. And I have to admit, if they were ever to be released, this is definitely one I’d be willing to splash the cash on (and that doesn’t happen to me often these days).

Whether we will actually see them or not is another matter entirely and I think it’s highly unlikely that we will. Nikon currently has 21 Z mount lenses listed on their website and three of those are DX lenses. So, that means 18 Z mount lenses specifically for full-frame cameras. This leaves a lot of holes in the lineup that Nikon needs to fill first before they can even think about flexing with these two.

If Nikon did ever release these two lenses, would you buy one or both of them?

[via Asobinet]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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