It looks like Nikon’s finally answered what they’re going to replace the old Nikon 135mm f/2 DC lens with. Naturally, it’s a Z mount lens, it’s the Nikkor Z S 135mm f/1.8 S Plena (buy here), and wants to be the new portrait standard for Z mount.
Of course, the new lens doesn’t gain the defocus control of its F mount predecessor, but it does get a slightly wider aperture. This should make for some very mushy backgrounds – if that’s your thing.
Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena – “Flawless Bokeh”
The new lens is not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. At two and a half grand, this one’s definitely for the pros. So one would expect a pretty high calibre lens. The “S” moniker also implies that this is part of Nikon’s higher-end range.
Nikon claims to have delivered it or at least, they will when it starts shipping – with a portrait lens that offers “flawless bokeh” with “no onion-ring or cat-eye bokeh” and “no need to worry about colour fringing or vignetting”.
They also say that it offers “exquisite rendering”, with the kind of “striking subject separation” one expects from a portrait lens this long.
Fast, smooth and quiet AF for stills or video
A full-frame lens like a 135mm – pretty much all of them – is going to have a certain look that appeals to portrait photographers. The distance you have to be at your subject given its field of view provides a very flattering look.
The fast and smooth autofocus of this lens along with recent autofocus tracking improvements in Nikon cameras and firmware updates should make for a very pleasant combo to shoot. But it’s not just for photographers.
The AF system in the lens is also extremely quiet, allowing you to use it with full auto-focus when shooting video, too. Of course, you wouldn’t ideally want to use the in-camera microphone with a lens like this anyway, but if you have to use one on-camera, it shouldn’t pick up the AF motor.
Also for the video shooters, it features an internal focusing system, which means the lens doesn’t change length as it racks from minimum focus distance to infinity. Nikon says that this design inherently suppresses focus breathing.
Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena Specs
|Lens Mount||Nikon Z|
|Lens Format Coverage||Full-Frame|
|Angle of View||18°10′|
|Minimum Focus Distance||82cm|
|Optical Design||16 Elements in 14 Groups|
|Diaphragm Blades||11, Rounded|
|Dimensions (ø x L)||98 x 139.5 mm|
Price and Availability
The Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is available to pre-order now for $2,496.95 and is expected to begin shipping in the coming weeks. I expect that we’ll receive a notification in the next week or so about how Nikon underestimated demand and shipping will be delayed.