Nikon Announces 70-200mm/f2.8 E FL AF-S VR and 19mm/f4 PC-E Lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Historically, the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF (or 80-200mm/f2.8 AF) is a lens Nikon updates quite often, usually every 4 to 6 years. The last version of the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II was introduced in July 2009, a bit over 7 years ago. Therefore, in a sense an update is overdue. However, that last version is excellent; when the biggest complaint about it is focus breathing, it shows how good it is.
    With the recent popularity of fluorite elements and electromagnetically controlled aperture diaphragms, it is very much expected that Nikon would update the 70-200mm/f2.8 with those features. The new version continues to use 77mm front filters. The price goes up to $2799.95.
    The 19mm/f4 PC-E lens is the widest tilt-shift Nikkor available. It is not as wide as Canon's 17mm T/S, but for architecture photography, 19mm could be a very useful focal length. Similar to the Canon lens, the new 19mm/f4 has a bulging front element, and the tilt-shift directions can be either parallel or perpendicular, which has been available to Canon T/S lenses, but it is a first for Nikon. Unlike previous PC-E lenses, this new lens has no (electronic) aperture ring. The suggested retail price for this lens is a rather high $3399.95.
    Product announcement images, copyright Nikon Inc.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    New articles on Nikon Japan's web site:
    • 19mm PC-E:
    • 70-200mm/f2.8 E FL:
    And they point out this spec for the new 70-200mm zoom:
    Compared to the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, minimum focus distance throughout the entire zoom range is reduced from 1.4 m to 1.1 m, and maximum reproduction ratio increased from 0.11x to 0.21x​
  3. I need to have a proper comparison of the MTFs, but I'm
    not sure how much of an improvement this 70-200 can
    reasonably be. The mk2 isn't perfect, especially wide
    open, but it's darned good. I look forward to tests.

    I'm boggling that they moved the zoom ring to the front
    of the lens. If I grab the camera out of my bag in a
    hurry, I don't always take the time to (un-)invert the hood
    unless lighting is awkward, so putting the zoom ring where the hood blocks it
    would hurt the ergonomics for me. I'm not sure it needed
    the extra on-lens buttons (I never use the ones on the
    200 f/2), but more control points can only be a good
    thing, I guess. I'm a bit freaked out that Nikon claim that
    new bearings on the collar stop it "wearing out" - that's
    NOT the complaint most people have had with Nikon's

    As for the 19mm, I've been waiting for a response to the
    Canon 17mm for a while. It's not entirely clear to me
    from the description, but I think it looks like Nikon have
    finally caught up with me decade-old Hartblei and made
    the tilt and shift planes independent (unless they ONLY
    do parallel and perpendicular - though this would still be
    an improvement). I just hope the optics justify the silly
    price - worse for me now the £ is so weak. There were
    rumours of $4k, so I guess this is actually good news.
    Again, fingers crossed for the reviews.
  4. Nikon advertises "flat image plane" for the 19mm PC, so it solves my main complaint regarding the 24mm. To be honest I wish they'd redesign the 24mm, but perhaps 19mm is not so far from 24mm that it can be used in the 24mm's place and cropped a bit to get 24mm-like results. When photographing reasonably close-up subjects, or near-to-far landscape, I quite like the results from the 24mm with tilt, it produces near-to-far shots with great beauty. However, if you want to retain trees vertical, and still use tilt for near-to-far sharpness on the ground, then the 24mm PC does not let you do it in the standard configuration (a modification could be made in service, but it's not convenient if you need both orientations). On the 19mm, there is more freedom to configure the movements. My second complaint regarding the 24mm PC is that the shift lock is rather weak and hard to use in the cold part of the winter in particular. Nikon says that there is no need to lock the shift in the 19mm, which sounds like an improvement. So basically on the plus side: 1) flat image plane, should yield better results on large buildings, 2) new rotation mechanism, 3) new shift lock, 4) fluorine coating making it easier to keep the front clean. On the minus side: 1) extraordinarily high price, 2) extreme angle of view meaning there is no filter, at least not conventionally mounted. I enjoy tilt-shift lenses but the price is not going to make it easy.
    As for the 70-200/2.8 FL, pluses from my point of view include 1) reduced weight, 2) reduced focus breathing and improved close-up capability, 3) E diaphragm may mean better reproducibility of exposures, though I can't say I have had any problems with the current version (my older version of the 70-200/2.8 did have aperture jam in the winter a few times, probably due to dirt in the mechanism), 4) sports mode VR has been great in other lenses that I use. I think the positioning of the zoom ring at the front is not a good thing as it means the left arm has to be extended more to access it and holding the lens may be more awkward (with possible neck pain after longer period of use, as I had with the physically longer original VR 70-200/2.8G). What interests me is if they have been able to improve the out of focus rendering at longer distances (for example, for full body shots). If the out of focus rendering is similar to the current version, and with the movement of the zoom ring to the front, then possibly the new lens is not suitable for me.
  5. This doesn't look too bad from the out of focus rendering point of view, but I would need to see more examples:
    Other samples at
  6. It seems the new zoom is actually a few mm shorter than the previous version, 203mm vs. 209mm. Perhaps the moved zoom ring is not an issue, I will have to see how it handles in practice. In general I like to keep my arms close to the chest when shooting.
  7. VR2 owners: could you do me a favour and unload your now hopelessly outdated and inferior zooms on the secondhand market so I can pick one up at a good price..?
  8. Large jpgs:
    I think it's a little surprising they only show architectural samples for the 19mm.
  9. These two new lenses seem to have great technical features. However, the high price points of both lenses will keep me from buying
    either one. I do hope the lens rental companies will buy them and make them available for rent when needed, especially the new tilt shift
    lens. The price of the new 70-200mm f 2.8 when compared to its sister, the f4 version, makes no sense to me.

  10. Initial prices are often elevated because there will be great interest and impatient well-off people who want to pay more to
    get an early copy, perhaps unwittingly. ;)
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When Nikon introduced the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II on 30 July 2009, the suggested price was $2399.95:
    Therefore, the new E FL version is $400 more after 7+ years. I think it is a moderate price increase. Anyhow, the old version is still available and it is an excellent lens. IMO, it is pretty much impossible to be drastically better than something that is already excellent. And there are Sigma and Tamron alternatives that are at half the price.
    However, I didn't pay the full $2400 price for the VR II in 2010. There was a $400 rebate when I also bought the D7000. If one is not in a hurry to get the latest and greatest, it may pay to wait a few months.
    The high price for the 19mm/f4 PC E lens is unexpected, however.
  12. More proof, if it were needed, that chasing back and forth between marques because of some temporary lead is ill-considered.
    I love my Canon TSE-17mm, but I've already got Canons. But I knew that Nikon could not be far behind.
  13. I was expecting Nikon to release an ultrawide PCe eventually because they are so damn useful. I've been wanting one for about the past five years and nearly switched to Canon to get the 17mm t/s. However, at $3,400(!) I just can't justify this lens. I'll never earn enough $$ from it for it to pay off. I would probably pay $2,400 for a used one but I suspect it will be a long time before they go that cheap. For $3,400 I could buy a Chamonix 8x10 and a first class Rodenstock ultrawide and get a ton more movements. I'm back to hoping Sigma comes out with one that 's even better and half the price! As for the 70-200mm, not really interested. I have the VR1 and only use it for weddings any more. It's plenty good enough. It's not a lens I use very much, can't cost-justify the cost.
    Kent in SD
  14. However, at $3,400(!) I just can't justify this lens
    You guys are still lucky with those "low prices":)
    The price for the 70-200 will be €3179,-
    The price for the 19mm T&S will be €3949,-
    So I guess Nikon only wants professional Photographers for customers.
    I do understand that their sales DSLR's and lenses are declining currently, and they want to compensate for that, but this way , with these prices, sale will only decline more rapidly, because they are pushing the advanced amateurs ( so not talking about D3300 market) away , either towards companies like Sigma and Tamron, or to a different brand altogether I think..
    For comparison :
    80-200 AFS sold for $1300 new
    70-200 VR1 sold for $1600 new
    70-200 VR2 sold for $2500 new ( $900 jump )!
    70-200E now $2800
    next 70-200 $2799.95
    Add about 10 - 15% to those for European prices in Euro.. (ex BTW / VAT)
  15. Nikon has sold a staggering number of 70-200/2.8 lenses and I'm sure the new one will continue the tradition and be popular. However, it's always best to avoid being too much in a hurry to buy a new lens at the elevated initial price. The price will fall once the early adopters have run out and bought theirs. It's every time the same issue: people compare the already fallen prices of the old versions with the initial high price of the new version, and it will seem like the world is going to end because of the manufacturer's greed. As initial supply will be low and demand very high in the first months of availability, it is only fiscally prudent for Nikon to start with a higher price to see if there are any takers. Just be patient and wait for reviews and the initial rush to be over. Then after a few years there will likely be some cashback offer which makes the new lens more affordable and a reasonable purchase. (This might not happen for the highly specialized 19mm PC.) The 300 PF for example is already available for several hundred euros less than I paid for it (and I wasn't among the first to buy it.) I am a bit stunned actually by how much better price is now offered on that item. :-/
    I don't think it has anything to do with being professional or not. Professional photography is a low income profession and its practitioners need to be extremely frugal about any expenses. Small improvements just don't cut it, a new tool has to yield a key ingredient to their success and it will be used as long as it works. I think it's much more likely that the early adopters make their money somewhere else than photography.
  16. WEx (because I've not spotted the official UK prices) are listing the 70-200 as £2649 and the 19mm as £3299 (inc VAT). Given the exchange rate, I suppose I should be thankful it's not worse. I'm still not going to be getting myself one as a Christmas present at those prices, though. That would make the 19mm more than I paid for my 200 f/2 (at the time), the most expensive lens I own. The 70-200 would be a solid third place, too.

    Just for clarification, when the 19mm is described as being able to be "freely moved" between parallel and perpendicular for tilt and shift, the optimistic reading would be that "freely moved" translates as "can be set to anywhere between..."; the pessimistic reading would be that "freely moved" means "you don't have to send it back to have the axis changed", you can do it in the field. Are we sure which interpretation is correct? My Hartblei Super-Rotator rotates freely (with detents every 60 degrees IIRC, which is annoying because it won't lock at 90 degrees); my Arsat only handles tilt pependicular to shift (or, I guess, swing perpendicular to rise) because the shift actually slides along the hinge of the tilt. Being able to toggle between the two 90 degree options is most important, but I'll take full flexibility if it's there. Up until now, this - and some slight misgivings about the optical performance - has put me off Nikon's T/S lenses, at least at their price. (The Samyang has always been tempting, but I gather the optics aren't as perfect as you'd hope.)

    19mm seems a slightly odd choice in that if you can't quite cover 90 degrees on the main axis (for which you need 18mm), you can't stick the lens in the corner of a room and capture both adjacent walls, with rise sorting out the perspective. Canon's 17mm choice seems slightly better here. I guess enough messing with shift axes might let you get away with stitching as a solution.
  17. If you need wider, you can use a panoramic head. I do this often with my PC Nikkors in landscape photography as the shift allows off-centering the horizon without creating a huge mismatch between the frames because of keystoning. I mostly do this with the longer 45mm and 85mm ones though, not so much the 24mm. In my mind there is very much a point where wide becomes too wide.
  18. Kent's post above about alternatives to a tilt shift lens. I seem to recall reading somewhere that there are less costly alternatives than a
    pricy Nikon tilt shift lens. One might be a Nikon bellows with the right lens. Another might be attaching a 4x5 camera and lens to a Nikon

    If anybody has links to such alternatives, please post them.

  19. Typical bellows or 4x5 cameras have so much minimum extension that it's not possible to get a wide angle on an FX sensor to focus at normal distances or infinity. They are mostly designed for use with longer focal lengths or macro.
  20. Cheaper than the Nikkor lenses? For tilt and shift, I have a used Hartblei Super-Rotator (65mm f/3.5), which had a Canon mount when I bought it and has had an F mount attached (after some discussion with the factory about how important alignment could possibly be for a tilt-shift lens). Sadly the new mount is shiny and chrome, and gives quite a lot of internal reflection; I should look into that if I can work out how to black out the inside of a lens without dropping anything icky on my sensor. Mine is from before the tie-in with Zeiss, and probably less good optically than the new ones - but it also only cost me £300 (many moons ago). Current ones seem to run in the sub-$2000 range.

    I also have what I now think is an "Arax" 35mm f/2.8 tilt-shift (here at about $600?). It's a bit of a pain to mount without clouting the flash housing, though I don't recall if I've tried on anything newer than a D700. Not optically brilliant, and a pain to use, partly because the tilt is stuck at 90 degrees to the shift (there will be a day when I understand how this configuration is considered not just useful - I get the "shoot along the wall" thing - but useful enough to be the default for several designs).

    Samyang have a 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift which is, by all accounts, fairly decent, if a bit less robust than one might hope for. It's certainly not optically perfect, but $800 is a lot less than some alternatives. I may yet get tempted. All of these options are fully manual.

    Of course, for shift, you can just use a wider lens and crop. Which is okay if you've got a good wide lens and a lot of pixels, especially if the optics of the tilt-shift are poor enough that they don't give you much more detail anyway. For tilt, it depends what you're trying to do: the "miniature effect" is an easy software fix (blur with a radius that changes along an axis) if you don't care how perfect it is; if you want a non-perpendicular subject plane in focus, there's always focus stacking, which can be somewhat automated (HeliconRemote is cheaper than these lenses).

    What I'd really like is for Nikon to put rear movements (at least tilt) on the sensor. But I imagine that being a somewhat esoteric camera model. It's also much easier to achieve if you don't care about the mirror assembly - hence things like the Lensbaby "Tilt Transformer". You'll need a non-Nikon to attach it to, though. It appears that Kipon make some mount converters that include tilt and shift, including one that will convert from Hasselblad V (you neeed medium format for both coverage and flange distance) to the F mount, for about $340. That's cheap if you have access to Hasselblad lenses, and really not cheap if you don't!
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What I'd really like is for Nikon to put rear movements (at least tilt) on the sensor.​
    That would be a huge can of worms to open, especially with a focal-plane shutter. :)
  22. Indeed, Shun (though at least Nikon have done the EFCS for me and there are cameras that can go fully electronic). As soon as I have a Friday that doesn't involve me panicking with work pressure, I'll raise an ideas thread and we can play with the worms. But I need time to think so I can offer up the full horrors of my imagination. (My plan is to have a thread where we can all express some ideas of what we'd like Nikon to implement, and then have a poll for which of them people would actually pay for. Which Nikon can then ignore, but I'm interested to know what people think, anyway!)
  23. I looked up the introductory price of the 17mm TS-E it was about 3050€ in 2009 so the Nikkor is about 650€ more expensive. About half
    of that difference can be explained by inflation. So the price is still a little on the high side. The Canon lens's price has since fallen about 28%. This kind of price behavior is expected over time.
  24. Typical bellows or 4x5 cameras have so much minimum extension that it's not possible to get a wide angle on an FX sensor to focus at normal distances or infinity.​
    Yes. The equivalent of a 24mm on 4x5 is a 75mm. Because the front & rear standards are so close together you can't get much movement either. I routinely now use the 24mm PCE to do three shot stitches for landscapes and taller buildings. A 19mm would be even better for some things though. There are devices that attach to lenses (Hartblei?) that turn lenses into t/s, but the problem is lenses designed for 35mm don't have nearly enough image circle for this, and I think you end up using medium format lenses, which have a MUCH wider image circle of course. BUT, with that we're back to not having lenses that are any wider than 40mm. I talked to a Tamron rep earlier this month and he didn't see Tamron getting into specialized lenses like this. So, my hopes now rest on either Sigma stepping up, or Samyang coming out with something (and with better quality than their current t/s.)
    Kent in SD
  25. I use a combination of the 24 PC-E and the 16-35mm for my Real Estate Photography. I have found that 90% of my
    images fall within 19 to 20mm. I use the 24mm for all of my exterior shots, shifting the lens up or down when needed. I
    have always hoped that Nikon would someday produce a PC-E similar to Canon's 17 Tilt Shift. As others have insinuated,
    the price of the new 19 PC-E is ridiculous. However, it's possible that it could really help my workflow. I have two other
    concerns other than the price. One is the possible distortion. It's rather easy to correct the distortion of the 16-35 with
    Lightroom. However, LR and my 24 PC-E. are not as compatible. The other concern is the possibility of extreme flaring
    when used for my exterior shots. I would love to know that I could offset the cost of the new 19mm by selling my 24 but I
    feel that I may end up needing the 24 for my exteriors to compensate for the lack of a effective lens hood. Thoughts?
  26. I think it's a little surprising they only show architectural samples for the 19mm.​
    Obviously there will be some interest from landscape photographers, but thinking this through I do see why it would have much more appeal for architecture. A big advantage of t/s is the ability to use Scheimpflug technique to get "wall to wall" DoF. However, a 19mm lens (in tiny RX/35mm format) will inherently have a lot of DoF anyway, without tilt. For architecture, the rise & shift movements come into their own to straighten the hard lines you find in man made structures. You also typically have less ability to back up and use a longer lens (such as 24mm PCe) when shooting architecture, unlike most landscapes. So in the end, it makes sense to me most image samples are of architecture.
    Kent in SD
  27. I see a rumour site has done what I should have done
    and posted the MTF graphs from the new and previous
    70-200s. I've got to say, there's more difference than I
    expected (though the very limits of the frame have quite a drop off - DX shooters are sorted, but I'm surprised Nikon didn't find a way to level the curve a bit further). Given that I try to shoot my VR2 at f/4 when
    possible for sharpness, maybe I should have expected
    this. If I'm ever rich, maybe it'll go back on my NAS list -
    but it's still a shame about the switched rings if so.
  28. I saw but did not handle both lenses at the NYC photo expo last Thursday. I saw sample images taken with them and of course they were fantastic. The lens I fell in love with is the new 105mm f1.4.
    I agree with the comments about cost but if you work for a large enough firm money is no object. I know we will be buying the 70-200, we have little need for the 19mm. Personally, I'm still using a old 70-210 AFD which works great on my D750. When I want critical results I have plenty of primes.
    Canon is pulling ahead of Nikon in the professional market, it's nice to see Nikon is pushing back.
  29. The prices , here in EU , are enormous , 30% higher than USA ones..., but I welcome the change of the zoom ring to the front of the lens. If the tripod foot is used as a resting point on the palm of your left hand (as I always did) , the forward position of the ring is much more comfortable now. On the previous models I have to flex back the wrist ( while using the foot as a resting point), that being slightly uncomfortable. Touching the focus ring may be a problem for those who use the lens with tripod collar removed.
  30. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I see a lot of discussion on other forums about Nikon putting the zoom ring in front on the 70-200mm/f2.8 FL. While that is a departure from the previous versions, it is actually consistent with some recent super tele zooms, such as the 80-400 and 200-500 AF-S VR.
    Personally, either way works for me.
  31. I see a lot of discussion on other forums about Nikon putting the zoom ring in front on the 70-200mm/f2.8 FL​
    Some indeed make a big deal out of it. Certainly will take some getting used to; in particular since the two rings are quite close together, and not, like on the 80-400, separated by the section with the switches.
    I would actually prefer to have the zoom ring up front on my 70-200/4 VR - it's the one that I use the most by far and while I can handle the zooming with the ring in its current position, it would be more comfortable if the zoom ring was actually up front.
    BTW, Sigma and Tamron f/2.8 70-200 zooms also have the zoom ring up front. I see the point about the reversed lens hood blocking the zoom ring, but consider that a minor issue only (I never shoot with the lens hood reversed anyway).
    If the tripod foot is used as a resting point on the palm of your left hand​
    Not something I find very comfortable; I usually have the foot moved to rest on top of the lens.
  32. Since I rarely touch the focus ring, I like its old position
    where it doesn't matter if it's under the hood and where
    I'm not going to jog it as I hold the lens. I'll have to see
    about the new 70-200; I worry my palm will judge the
    focus ring unless it's as stiff as the zoom ring. The 200-
    500 has a large zoom ring and is front heavy enough
    (especially at the long end) that my palm can stay away
    from the focus ring, mostly. Maybe I'm being unfair, but
    that doesn't seem like the ergonomics of the 70-200.

    I'll be interested to see what they've done to the tripod
    collar. The one on my vr2 actually clouts the grip now
    I've put an arca plate on it - a little more leeway would be
  33. Maybe I'm being unfair, but that doesn't seem like the ergonomics of the 70-200.​
    Don't think you are - one major difference of both the 200-500 and the 80-400 to the 70-200 is that the latter does not extend when zooming. The forward placement on the former two is an advantage in that case, allowing easier compensation for the change in balance.
  34. If the tripod foot is used as a resting point on the palm of your left hand​
    I recently saw a video where someone did that by the side of a swimming pool, on what appears to be a Canon 1D series camera with a very long and possibly expensive telephoto lens, and somehow lost balance with his left hand. He jumped after the camera in a futile attempt to save it, but by that time of course it was too late. It was actually floating pretty nicely. Why he wasn't using a strap is beyond me, but it just didn't look like resting the tripod foot on your palm was a very steady way of holding the camera.
  35. I understand that it may not be the most steady way to support a lens but a 70-200/2.8 is not that heavy or difficult to
    hand hold and the foot is short enough that your fingers can reach the lens barrel. I typically take the foot off when hand
    holding it. However, I'm just trying to figure out the logic behind the new positions for the rings. If holding the lens with the
    foot resting in your palm, probably you can reach the focus ring without accidentally nudging it, as well as the zoom ring.
    Some have criticised the new positions suggesting that the focus ring would be easy to move by accident. I am not sure if
    this is really the case - in my VR Mk II, the focus ring does not move by accident, it takes a deliberate effort to move it.
    Anyway, if the foot is in the palm, moving the focus ring by accident should be even less likely.
    However, whether this is a good way to hold the lens is up to each photographer to decide. I expect that I would take the
    foot off with the new lens just as I have with the older versions.
  36. Below you can see my setup ..., obviously I can't remove the foot due to the way I use it. Just like Ilkka mentioned , each photographer will decide how to use(or not) this new lens.
    BTW Shun , now that you post the above picture I realized also my 200-500 have a front zoom ring :)..., the funny thing is : I don't remember how I hold this lens...

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