New Noct ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by c.p.m._van_het_kaar, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. In general i am never very impressed by rumours and the like, but this one realy struck a button..
    I know that Nikon files new patents all the time, and most of them never reach market status, but this time i really do hope that it will become substantial..
    I'm talking about the patents for a new Noct-nikkor 58mm 1.2 :
    I used to own a noct nikkor in the past and , stupidly ( i admit), sold it 15 years ago and have been regretting it eversince, so i will be keeping a keen eye on this ..
    Off course if it does materialise , this baby will carry a nice price.. :) , so i will need to start saving up for it.. :)
    BTW i realise that we dp not want rumours and speculations here, but i still would like to hear/read how other ppl on phn think about this one, but if its to speculative then please remove this post again ?
  2. I saw this rumour, and having seen photos from the existing Noct, I must say, it tickled the gear-lust quite a bit. Except that I happen to (more and more) like the rendering of old lenses much better than the many of new ones.
    So I hope this one does come to life, and then I can get the original one for a whole lot less :-D
    But realistically, I think Nikon owes its customers first and foremost a solid update of the 80-400VR (not that I want one, but it's a bigger gap than reviving a classic 58mm).
  3. If this lens ever does come to market, it's to be hoped that the price will reflect the ease and cheapness with which aspherical elements can be manufactured these days. Every current mid-price zoom seems to carry at least two aspheric and extra-low-dispersion components, so an 8 or 9 element non-retrofocus prime with a couple of aspheric glasses should be par for the course and fairly economical to produce. Not sure what the field flattener or whatever that piece of window-glass at the focal plane is doing though.
    Does the 50mm f/1.4 G not adequately correct coma, and doesn't it contain aspheric elements? And if not - why not? Plus I don't think half a stop is worth much with modern super-sensitive digital sensors.
    On closer inspection it looks like a design very much stuck in the past - a kind of double-gauss/sonnar hybrid. Please! Dig a bit deeper into the glass pot guys, we've got nanocoating these days you know.
  4. I like fast primes but I feel no need and have little interest in a 58mm f/1.2 Noct type lens. The 50/1.4, 60/2.8, and 85/1.4 AF-S are near perfect for my uses and a 58/1.2 AF-S would probably be significantly more expensive than even the 85mm. There is only so many lenses that one can fit in a small if important focal window. However, if I didn't have those lenses that I already have, and the Noct 58/1.2 AF-S were offered, I might consider purchasing it.
  5. it's to be hoped that the price will reflect the ease and cheapness with which aspherical elements can be manufactured these days.
    This is extremely unlikely. Even in the 85/1.4, 35/1.4 and 24/1.4 many elements are made by hand in a time consuming process that relies on highly trained empoyees (six year training before they can make them on their own). Cheap lenses contain aspherical elements too and those are made in a more automated process, but the optical quality of those lenses is far behind what is expected in a Noct Nikkor type high grade lens.
  6. I do shoot at night quite a bit. Exactly what adavantage would a lens like this give me?
    Kent in SD
  7. Kent: Absence of coma distortion - so with the lens wide open, point light sources look like point light sources.
  8. Given what they've cranked out so far, Rokinon could well produce a line of f1.2 lenses. Would actually be surprised if they didn't. Still, with sensors capable of ever higher ISO with minimal noise, is there sufficient demand?
  9. I like the look of 58mm and I have the old 58mm f/1.4. I have looked at buying the 1.2 but can not justify the cost. If they came out with a new one that was as sharp at f/1.2 as the original I would think hard about it. Or I would buy a old one that someone sold at a better price
    I like the look of the f/1.2 lenses that I have at f/1.2. Its not about how sharp they are it is about the look.
  10. ..with sensors capable of ever higher ISO with minimal noise, is there sufficient demand?​
    Sure, I think most buy the fast primes for depth of field considerations. Whether there'd be sufficient demand for a AF-S Noct, I dare not say (let's face it, the original is already very expensive), but there is market for f/1.2 lenses. Canon proved that all along.
    Its not about how sharp they are it is about the look.​
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Once upon a time Canon had a 50mm/f1.0 EF lens that was selling for well over $2000. I have never used one but as far as I know optical quality was rather poor. So exactly who wants a mediocre 50mm lens at over $2000 while you can buy a 50mm/f1.8 for $100+?
    Given that Canon's current 50mm/f1.2 EF is around $1500, if Nikon ever makes an equivalent, don't expect any bargain prices. These are highly specialized fast lenses for a very narrow market; even though they charge $2000 for one, Nikon can easily lose money on this particular product.
    Depth of field is so thin at f1.2 that IMO there is no point to even mention sharpness.
  12. "Cheap lenses contain aspherical elements too and those are made in a more automated process, but the optical quality of those lenses is far behind what is expected in a Noct Nikkor type high grade lens."​
    Well obviously nobody's told the people at Samyang that, or at Tamron for that matter. And 6 years training to operate a machine? Are they employing chimpanzees? Pull the other one Ilkka, we live in the age of CNC manufacturing now, not of rubbing down bits of hand cut glass with jeweller's rouge and a chamois leather. You'll be telling us next that each element is licked into shape by a Unicorn's tongue.
  13. Depends on price, ease of use (i.e. focusing) and the look. I've got very sharp lenses that are slower and maximum sharpness at f1.2 is not a problem that I have. but I sometimes use my 50/1.2 because of the look, so a 58/1.2 might come into question.
  14. If you know any machinists or fine craftsmen you know that there is a difference between being able to run a machine and get the most out of the machine. Even with CNC machining the operator makes a big difference. It can be the difference between a Sunday racer and Michael Schumacher.
    Samyang and Tamron and Sigma make fine lenses but not a one of them has made a lens as highly corrected at f/1.2 as the Noct. I am not saying that they could not but I am saying that it would not be cheep. The Noct was optimized to shoot wide open unlike most other lenses.
  15. "Samyang and Tamron and Sigma make fine lenses but not a one of them has made a lens as highly corrected at f/1.2 as the Noct."
    The missing word is "yet." Rokinon(Samyang)has made some very nice MF f1.4 lenses at very attractive prices. Give 'em time.
    SLR Magic's Hyperprime lenses are available in f0.95 for M4/3, E and M mount now.
  16. I am very happy Nikon is spending some time with prime lenses as well as fast primes. I know the new high tech lenses are quite
    sophisticated, but I hope Nikon will also look at the value of smaller lens size.
  17. If this lens ever does come to market, it's to be hoped that the price will reflect the ease and cheapness with which aspherical elements can be manufactured these days. Every current mid-price zoom seems to carry at least two aspheric and extra-low-dispersion components,​
    They "carry" small aspherics and anomalous dispersion elements, inner elements on narrow f4-5.6 optical paths, nothing like the huge aspherics in a NOCT, or the large anomalous dispersion elements in the front groups of a $8.000 tele or a $2,000 70-200mm f2.8. You are drawing false parallels.
    Making that stuff big costs. It's not just the size, it's the accuracy required. If you're trying to make a diffraction limited lens, the accuracy of the surface is inversely proportional to the diameter. the Making it suitable for outer element use also costs. The "mid-price zooms" you mention use "hybrid aspheric" elements, a conventional spherical glass element gets an aspheric plastic element cast onto it. Those plastic coated elements can't be used for outer elements, obviously.
    The closest thing to the sort of tech is the rear element of the Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens, but that is only about 33mm in diameter.
  18. A reissue Noct Nikkor sounds like a project cooked up by those lovable engineers who write for Nikon Japan's "Thousand and One Nights" series of reminiscences about classic Nikkors.
    Nikon engineers and marketing folks don't seem to wear the nostalgia goggles often (apparently a permanent fixture at Cosina, and frequently worn by Pentax and Ricoh), but they do occasionally produce an updated classic camera or lens. Seems to serve mainly as a harmless vanity piece or trophy, and a reminder to the doubtful that, yes, Nikon is still run by human beings who actually do enjoy photography and gear too.
  19. Typical precision of CNC grinding is of the order of 1 micrometer. Nikon makes their elements to a precision of the order of 1 nanometer. Most machinists would shudder at the thought of being required to manufacture anything better than 10 micrometers ... so there, four orders of magnitude (10000x) difference between what typical machinists are capable of, and the people and techniques Nikon uses for manufacturing. After manufacturing the elements have to be inspected to precision 1000x that of the resolution of the optical microscope.
    Materials tend to heat as they are machined. External temperature and humidity can vary. Material properties may be inhomogeneous. The tools used in the machining process wear and get less sharp as they're used and they must be constantly evaluated and repaired. The actual realized shape and optical properties of one element may force adjustment of the parameters of the other elements in a multi-element objective to compensate to get the overall performance of the objective to within specs.
    The Japanese optical industry uses a surprising amount of manual labour. E.g. a professor that I worked with visited Hamamatsu where they had a hall of people making photomultiplier tubes (it's the most sensitive type of photodetector when the light levels are so low that individual photons can be identified) - by hand.
  20. In addition to the coma correction, the Noctilux also corrects the smearing of light sources that often occurs when the source is near the edge of the frame. Or maybe this is another aspect of coma.
    At any rate, that correction is ridiculously difficult to do, and it is even more difficult to perform the massive correction needed to avoid coma without seriously affecting the potential sharpness of the lens. Which is why you get the same expotential leap in price with any optics, including binoculars and rifle scopes.
    Take heart in the knowledge that if you're not photographing bright light sources against dark backgrounds, like street lamps at night, the f/1.4 lenses will perform the same, and will even be sharper than the Noctilux if stopped down even a little. If you just want the wider aperture, the 55mm f/1.2 is still (sort of) in production, at a pretty reasonable cost.
    Canon's f/1.2 lenses are not coma corrected. This is why they cost what they cost. Also, in most situations it doesn't matter. This is why the Noctilux is purchased mostly by collectors.
  21. I have an Ai Noct, and I love that lens. I would say that the important characteristic of that lens is not the extra half-stop of a f/1.2 lens, nor the coma correction. (In fact, it's not quite a half-stop compared to f/1.4, and the coma correction is still pretty lousy wide open at f/1.2) Instead, the charm and beauty of the Noct is in the quite distinctive look given to photos taken with it, especially wide-open. I'll attach a couple examples below, but I encourage anyone curious to take a look at the various groups, with titles like Noct and Noct-Nikkor over at Flickr. If you peruse some of those images, you'll see that the Noct imparts a very distinctive look.
    While coma is not well corrected at f/1.2 (no matter what you might read elsewhere on the internet, including at a certain well-known photo review site run by an individual), the big difference between a 50mm f/1.2 lens and the Noct is the distinctive look (a kind of veiling) of spherical aberration at f/1.2 on the spherical-element lenses (which can itself have a nice artistic effect) is not present on the Noct, but neither is the weird bokeh characteristic of many lenses with prominent aspherical elements.
    While it is true that at f/1.2 the depth-of-field is razor thin, properly focused photos taken with the Noct can appear quite sharp because the rest of the image melts gently away into blur. If the focus is off, however, the foreground will still appear fuzzy no matter how blurry the background gets. So I would say that the Noct has enough sharpness so that at the peak sharpness the foreground looks sharp to the human eye. I prefer the Ai version of the Noct because the longer focus throw makes it easier to attain the best possible focus, and having only seven aperture blades (as opposed to nine on the Ai-S version with a shorter focus throw) isn't noticeable when the lens is wide-open. It is very slow to focus, and requires not only a patient photographer, but a patient subject. (It is also not the lens to use while travelling with an impatient significant other).
    So the Noct is not about the technical specifications per se, but about a total system that works together in subtle ways to produce a desirable result. My experience with older lenses is that often they are best at doing one thing, and their performance and usability at other things degrades rapidly. Newer versions are often better at doing more than one thing (i.e. macro lenses that also are sharp at infinity, fast lenses that are also good stopped down, and don't flare), but often are necessarily a little less good at that one strength of the older version. So I would be very excited if a new, AF-S version were to come out, but I would be cautious, because I'd wonder if the AF system would be up to the task of focusing an f/1.2 lens, if the MF would be as precise, and if the new lens would be more than just an f/1.2 lens without veiling aberration wide-open, but would also have the special look of the Noct.
  22. Looks like the focus is way off in both images.
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Looks like the focus is way off in both images.​
    That can happen easily at f1.2.
  24. Even at night, I'm still happy enough with my just plain old Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 and it has never been anywhere close to $3000 or so in price. :)
    I've had it since it was new back in the old days and it still serves me well. I may occasionally drop into a coma, but most of the time, OK.
  25. That can happen easily at f1.2.​
    My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that at f1.2 the calibration of a manual-focus film SLR's focus screen may be off far enough to create noticeable blur in the resulting images, even if depth of field hides the problem at smaller stops. Any idea if this is a problem for autofocus cameras including DSLRs? I would think that it would be.
  26. Samuel ,
    Thank you for youre response, i hoped for some response like this, explaining things in a lot better English than i can .
    This shows you seem to understand my exitement for a possible new Noct., and where i'm coming from... :- )
    It is for similar reasons i adore my 50mm 1.2 lens, although it is very different from the Noct.
    Sharpness in a lens is not everything ( although it is nice if it is available) , but the way a lens renders ( draws ? ) the image is more important to me, and no other lens does that like a Noct does, but regretably "good" a used Noct is hard to find and even harder to afford, so i hope that this new Noct will hit the market ( although still at a very high price though..) .
  27. Samuel's photos demonstrate something very important that I hadn't thought of: if you crop those images to squares, they would look exactly like they were taken with a wide-open Yashica-Mat.
    Whether or not you like that depends on how much you like the Yashica-Mat. Then again, for the price of a Noct, you can buy a LOT of film, so ... :p

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