Nikon Announces a 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro Lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Back in 2006, Ian started this thread: Wanted 40mm Nikon DX macro lens. Today, that is reality.
    You can find photo.net's preview here, including Nikon USA's official press release: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/lenses/40mm-f2.8-af-s-dx-micro/preview/
    This is Nikon's fourth DX lens that has a fixed focal length, following:
    1. 10.5mm/f2.8 DX fisheye, obviously a specialized lens and the only DX lens that is not AF-S
    2. 35mm/1.8 DX AF-S, a very popular standard lens that is fast and affordable.
    3. 85mm/f3.5 DX AF-S VR Micro, another dedicated macro lens for the DX format
    Essentially, the 40mm/f2.8 DX AF-S Micro re-creates, for DX, the same angle of view as the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Micro for FX. Based on the specifications and Nikon's press release, it seems clear that the primary design objective for the new lens is affordability. At $279.95, the price is definitely not high, and it can give you 1:1 macro by itself. However, unlike its bigger brother the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Micro, the new lens has no nano coating, no ED elements and no aspheric elements. Therefore, it'll be important to verify its optical performance.
    The new lens weights 9.9 oz (280 grams). With a weight so light, it is clear that the barrel is mainly plastic. I find the plastic barrels on similar small lenses such as the 35mm/f1.8 DX AF-S and 50mm/f1.4 AF-S sufficient. Nikon confirms that the lens mount is metal.
    Here is the link to Nikon USA's official information: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Produ.../2200/AF-S-DX-Micro-NIKKOR-40mm-f%2F2.8G.html
    Please keep in mind that I have not seen that lens in person yet. It is scheduled to go on sale in late August with a suggested price of US$279.95.
     
  2. not terribly excited about this, but maybe video shooters are. i'd personally rather have the CV ultron 40/2.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  4. The 60mm strength for flowers, coins, and stamps will be fine: but if you hunt butterflies and bugs, the latest lens will be less-than-desired for the lack of a better term.
     
  5. I love when Nikon release new DSLR products. It`s nice to have them available... :)
     
  6. A surprise announcement to say the least.... Whether this fills the biggest gap for DX owners, well..... I wonder. The price seems quite allright, though.
     
  7. Interesting choice of a lens to release, but I can think of a half-dozen other lenses that should have preceeded this. Perhaps it won't be long before we see a...
     
  8. DX is alive and well. Now can we get some more FX primes that are not speed demons?
     
  9. Perfect for the lower-end DX market. I don't think I'm a candidate. I don't mind shooting manual focus and exposure with my old 55mm f3.5 that cost next to nothing, but for the guy who just bought a D5100 who is looking for a macro to shoot flowers and stuff that doesn't move, this is a great solution at a good price.
     
  10. This lens seems perfectly placed in a market dominated by D3100 and D5100 sales. There are many new shooters that are interested in Macro/Micro photography that just cannot justify the $500 85mm DX macro lens that is already offered. If this is priced as Shun has predicted than I think this will be a great entry level macro lens and a great seller for Nikon.

    RS
     
  11. More Nikkors is always good! Does Nikon publish sales figures on individual products? I know that they have long prided themselves with their Micro lenses (I learned with a Nikkormat with a 55/3.5 Micro) but it still suprises me that of the 4 DX primes out today, 3 are basically 'niche' lenses - 2 macro's and a fisheye.... I know the macros can make great everyday lenses too but I'd love to hear the internal discussion - 40mm Micro vs 24mm DX prime...
     
  12. Yawn. Too short to do much with as macro.
    Kent in SD
     
  13. Out of all the "what lens should Nikon come out with next" threads I don't recall a lens like this ever coming up.
     
  14. it still suprises me that of the 4 DX primes out today, 3 are basically 'niche' lenses​
    I don't know sales figures, but I suspect that all primes for DX will always be niche lenses, as most of the folks who are buying D3100s and D5100s (I'd be surprised if those two models won't be half of Nikon's DSLR sales in the next year or so) probably are totally happy with the kit lens and maybe a tele zoom.
    That said, a really small light 24mm f2.8 DX prime from then would be real nice.
     
  15. It has a distance scale, a very welcome feature. I used a 55mm Micro-Nikkor for years as a standard lens, and this will fill that role on my D7000.
     
  16. David, check the marks in the distance scale... no intermediate points between 0.4 meters and infinity!
     
  17. This might make a nice DX copy lens, if the field is flat enough. And it's a good length for shooting things like plated food, where you want to get close enough to have some slightly pronounced perspective. I won't be running out to get one right away, but I can think of a lots of situations in which my currently shortest macro (60mm) sometimes does feel too long on DX. Of course, going FX with the lens I have would solve that problem, too, but that would cost a lot more than this new lens!
     
  18. Peter - Interesting to think about primes being niche to the largely amateur market... probably has alot of truth though.
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If this is priced as Shun has predicted​
    The US$279.95 suggested price is not a prediction; it is official information from Nikon USA and that is both on their web site and in their press release: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Produ.../2200/AF-S-DX-Micro-NIKKOR-40mm-f%2F2.8G.html
    Most likely, the "street price" you can order from Adorama, Amazon.com, and B&H will go down another 10% or so a few months after the lens' debut.
    A couple of weeks ago, Josh Root and I had a conference call with Nikon USA, and they provided advanced information on this new lens so that we could write a preview. They quoted the price then. Moreover, Nikon confirmed that this is a flat-field lens suitable for copy work, similar to the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S Micro lens.
    However, Nikon does not provide individual sales figures. I asked them about the percentage of DSLRs sold being DX, and they declined to answer. Nikon does release the number of DSLRs and lenses they sell annually. The latest number/estimates are 4.25M DSLRs and 6.35M lenses a year: http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/ir_library/result/pdf/2011/11_2qf_d_e.pdf
    In other words, Nikon sells about 1.5 lenses for each DSLR. The likes of Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina plus Zeiss take a (big?) cut on the lenses.
    To me, there is no dobut that well over 90% of DSLRs sold are DX, mainly those D3100 and D5100 they sell in huge numbers at Costco, Best Buy, etc. (and other outlets around the world). I checked with Thom Hogan, and his estimate is that DX is 95% of the market. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for Nikon to make more affordable DX lenses in general. Whether the market really needs two dedicated DX macro lenses is beyond my knowledge.
     
  20. This is a micro lens so one would expect it to give a flat filed of view without perspective distortion when shooting close to the subject of interest. Does that mean that this lens may be better suited than the 35/1.8 for a head-shoulder shot?
     
  21. Macro for the masses! The focal length is perfect for 1:1 tabletop macro photography, and at this price point everyone can own one. Hopefully, the decision to eliminate nano coatings and ED elements will not corrupt optical performance. This might become the new standard for Ebay product photography.
     
  22. I think this is a good idea. And for a really important reason --- Canon has a sub-$300 macro lens, and Nikon previously has not.
    Many of my friends who come to me for advice about buying their first DSLR or ask me for advice about buying their second lens express an interest in macro photography. I've always been a Nikon shooter, but I have had to acknowledge that the Canon system offered a far less expensive route to macro photography that did not necessitate buying a used, manual focus lens. For this reason, I've had to recommend buying a Canon system to some people.
    I realize that buying used lenses and using manual focus for macro photography isn't a big deal. But for someone new to photography it is a big deal and a probable non-starter.
    Now, I can recommend a Nikon system to almost any new photographer without reservation, especially as Canon does not have a ~$200 moderately wide-angle prime. Nikon's new 50mm f/1.8 AF-S lens, which can focus on the least expensive Nikon bodies, is another really important step in this direction, and I think should be seen as regaining competitive parity with Canon.
    When I first bought a DSLR, a Nikon D70 in 2004 just after its release, one of the next things I did was to buy a used Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 AF lens, to use for copy work. This lens is great on my D700 today for copy work, but the field of view was always a bit too narrow on my D70 to be comfortable. A 40mm f/2.8 macro lens would have terrific. I won't be buying this lens now though. A wide-angle macro would still be helpful to me, and someday I'll purchase a PC-E Micro-Nikkor 45mm f/2.8.
     
  23. I'm sure that there are many Nikon shooters thrilled with this lens and for them I am very happy. I just don't happen to be one of them. When I want a micro lens shorter than 105mm, I still go to my ancient 55mm f/3.5 Nikkor.
    Meanwhile, along with a lot of other Nikon DX users, I'm still sitting around waiting for a wide angle prime. A nice 18mm and/or 24mm f/2.8 would put a big smile on our faces but Nikon really doesn't seem interested. I wouldn't even dare dream of an 18mm PC.
     
  24. Surprising announcement. Wonder how well this will sell, the price sure is right, but I can't get away from the feeling that this a poor man's version of the 60/2.8G.
    I would have hoped that Nikon would have focused their efforts on the area between 60 and 200 mm, full frame coverage.
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Samuel has a good point. Previously I wasn't aware that Canon had a sub-$300 macro lens.
    It seems to be clear that the 40mm DX macro is an "economy model" for the consumer DX DSLRs. It should be interesting to test it against the 60mm/f2.8 AF-S macro. I would assume that Nikon puts aspheric and ED elements into the 60mm AF-S macro for a reason. I suppose I shouldn't mention the Zeiss ZF 50mm/f2 macro, which is well over $1200; that is a totally different price category.
    Finally, this time Nikon managed to keep the new lens under wraps very well. In the last week or so, I kept searching for Nikon 40mm DX macro, and various search engines mainly returned the 2006 photo.net thread that I mentioned above. None of the usual rumor sites had any idea about this new lens; instead, some of them merely fabricated yet another list of future lenses (which makes little sense to me) to generate discussion.
     
  26. I would have liked to see a 40mm "equivalent" for DX format...
     
  27. I'm guessing that for years the 55 and then the 60 micros were best-selling lenses for Nikon, and I suspect that over the last few years a DX equivalent to that was one of the most often heard requests... which means a wide prime can't be too far behind...
    And if that wide prime were a TS lens (say 16 - 18mm) at a reasonable price... I would beg borrow and steal whatever I needed to buy one... THAT would be a lens I could NOT resist...
     
  28. mmm Interesting to see how this new young nikkor hold itself against the Tokina 35mm Macro 1:1....
    It needs to be very good to beat the Tokina , i think...
     
  29. I would have preferred a longer focal length micro lens offering which would have allowed a greater working distance between subject and camera for macro work.
     
  30. Robert, that already exists. It's the 60mm micro, AFS and AFD versions are both still available.
     
  31. This lens makes a lot of sense to me. The 55/60 macro FOV and distortion-less view is great for near close-up details (true macro is more involved and lighting, working distance etc. would be easier with the 90/100/150/200). The Tokina was the only thing available and it is a screw drive lens, not suitable for lower end bodies if AF is desired. Friends new to SLRs often gravitate towards macro in my experience. I would generally suggest one of the third party alternatives at the 90/100 FL for affordability vs. performance but even that 400+$ might be too much to invest to experiment. This is a solid option as an intro macro lens, and can let someone test the waters. Are you really ready to commit to a decent tripod? ball head? etc. I don't see any downside here for Nikon. What I see is the trickle out announcement prior to the bigger one. Let's see what the big picture for DX looks like after that. The 85 3.5 was far more of a curve-ball than this one since I see nothing to suggest it over 3rd party options & optically it didn't seem to compare well to the micro line. I am interested to see how the performance measures up to the 60 since I was looking to replace my old AI'd 55 3.5. Stay calm, take a good picture and let's just see what we are talking about in August!
    A CRC flat field lens is a totally different beast for near close-up pictures than something like the 35 1.8.
     
  32. I am not interested and I do believe it was not necessary for Nikon to come out with this kind of lens. We do need other DX lenses to be created but again this is not to time to discuss it.
     
  33. maurice.... so let's make a new thread to discuss it!
    Here you go.
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Z1wi
     
  34. I don't think the "Nikon should be making ______ instead of this" type of argument has anything to do with... anything.
    Nikon will make whatever they think they can make money selling. They won't not make any other particular product
    because they're making this one. I'll say what I said when I read the same type of comment on the announcement of
    the 35/1.8 DX lens (which sells so well they can't seem to keep it in stock): it not like there's some guy in the back
    room named Joey Nikkor who designs all the lenses, and only has the time to do two a year.
     
  35. Yes Andy, they can do whatever they want but that does not means it something that we really need. If I am to shoot macro, why should I use a 40mm when the 105mm f/2.8 is much better than this lens ? You can shoot from a longer distance ( especially if you are shooting insects ). If you want something that short, why don't use the 35 f/1.8 instead which is cheaper and best suit for general photography and more than twice as sensitive to low light ?
    If you are a real macro shooter, then you should go with Nikon 105, Tokina 100, Sigma 150 f/2.8 or Nikon 200 f/4. I do have the Nikon 105 and the Sigma 150 and honestly, If I did not need the 60, much less I would need the 40 and let me add that I also have the 35 f/1.8 if I want to get too close which I can get with either my 105 or 150 Sigma. My personal opinion, if you need this lens for macro and you have not budget, then go get it but for $80 dollars less, you can get the 35 f/1.8 so I do not know why Nikon came out with this when you already have something cheaper and better and or something more expensive ( like Nikon 105, Tokina 100, etc ) and much better for the purpose ( macro ). If it was created thinking about macro starters, I also don't see the need, but again, they can do whatever they want but not necessarily is something that we really need especially for DX users. Again, this is my personal opinion and I could be wrong to others.
     
  36. ... I just forgot, 40 mm lens between the 35 f/1.8 and the 50 f/1.8 ? Don't see the need to be honest. Any of those lenses are much better and cheaper than this new lens and can do exactly and probably better than the 40mm. Hey Nikon, give us something better !! 16-50 f/2.8, 50-150 f/2.8, 16 f/1.8 ?
     
  37. Robert, that already exists. It's the 60mm micro, AFS and AFD versions are both still available.​
    Peter,
    I was referring to a DX lens. Something around 70mm would be about right.
     
  38. Maurice: choosing a focal length comes after you choose your composition. Working distance isn't just about scaring the insect away or having room for lighting equipment. It's about perspective. And some perspectives, combined with a field of view that includes the amount of the background desired for the composition, results in the need for a specific focal length. And for some results, a short macro (a lot shorter than the popular 60, 90, 105, etc) is essential on DX.

    And for copy-style shooting (say, of a large painting), this allows DX users to work at much more comfortable distance.
     
  39. I was referring to a DX lens. Something around 70mm would be about right.​
    For most people, maybe the 85 would cover that?
     
  40. Maurice, evidently Nikon believes there is a demand for this product. I'd hazard a guess that they know what they're
    doing and don't release a product without doing research to determine demand and appropriate price point and
    marketing. If you yourself won't buy it... well, there are many product made that you or I won't buy. For example, I
    wouldn't buy Justin Bieber albums. That doesn't mean that Justin Bieber albums should not be made. Same with
    Danielle Steele novels, Wellington boots, Hello Kitty pajamas, Canon DSLRs and German pornography.
     
  41. This lens would give DX users a field of view very similar to the venerable 55 micro lenses that have been popular for decades and exactly the same as the more recent 60mm/2.8 give for the FX format. I happen to really like the field of view of my 55/3.5 on FX, and since I have little interest in taking pictures of bugs, a longer working distance is not necessary. If I had the money, I'd definitely be interested in this lens. Combined with the fact that there is already the 85/3.5 lens, I don't have a problem seeing why Nikon would introduce such a lens as this.
    As for why someone would buy this lens over the 35/1.8, well the max magnification of 1.0x for the 40mm vs the 0.16x for the 35mm stands out as a pretty good reason to me. Not to mention that this 40mm lens is a flat-field micro lens, and the 35/1.8 is not.
     
  42. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Out of curiosity, I checked about Canon EF-S lenses, which is roughly the equivalent of Nikon DX lenses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EF-S_lens_mount
    There are no fewer than 10 different EF-S zooms that start from either 17mm or 18mm; just the 18-55mm EF-S has 6 versions. And there is exactly one EF-S lens that has a fixed focal length: a 60mm macro.
     
  43. I am trying to understand people who are saying that lenses like these are no good or not of any use
    I can always find a creative use for any focal length , and being it a makro-, tele- wide- lens, whatever, there are always subjects and/or creative possibilities for any lens, as long as it is capable of delivering a usefull / acceptable IQ ...
     
  44. Agree. And in other formats (well, it`s true that they have different aspect ratios) the standard wides, or standard "standards", or teles are not exactly the equivalents to 35mm format lenses. And we live with them, successfully.
     
  45. Oh no! not another macro lens! Do we really need more photos of flowers and insects on the web?
     
  46. "Oh no! not another macro lens! Do we really need more photos of flowers and insects on the web?"​
    Look here for sample images created by this lens: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikonfrance/5929270371/in/set-72157627176026648/
    Pay particular attention to the use of this lens in head-shoulder shots. Because a macro lens provides a flat field, it is possible to shoot close to your subject without creating perspective distortion, which is a problem with the be-loved 35/1.8.
     
  47. How much is it for?
     
  48. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    How much is it for?​
    Please read my opening post again.
     
  49. CC Chang: Isn`t perspective distortion the result of the lens-to-subject distance? Depending on that distance, the size (proportions) of the subject are modified in the projection over the sensor/film.
    I don`t get how a flat field lens could avoid this issue, at least in a noticeable way; I understand they help to avoid optical distortion (straight lines), but not how can be perspective distortion corrected (well, in your comparison a 40mm lens needs a slightly longer lens-to-subject distance than with a 35mm lens in order to get the same magnification, hence will show a lower degree of perspective distortion). Please, excuse me if I`m missing something...
     
  50. Isn`t perspective distortion the result of the lens to subject distance?​
    I meant to compare this lens to the AFS 35/1.8 in shooting head-should shots. In order to fill the frame with such subject, one needs to get quite close to the subject with both of these lenses. A regular 35mm lens is not corrected for perspective distortion so when you move in close, a slight tilt of the lens may create distortion that is not desirable. However, such distortion is better controlled with a macro lens. Just take a look at the sample pictures, you will see what I mean.
     
  51. CC Chang:
    Macro lens is a bad tool to photograph people in a flattering way - ask my mother in law!
     
  52. Macro lens is a bad tool to photograph people in a flattering way - ask my mother in law!​
    It is true in some way. For the new parents out there who like to photograph their new babies' little toes, eye lashes, etc, a macro lens is perfect for that. The short working distance is also helpful for using it indoors in tight space (as opposed to a much longer 85mm lens). It is always better to have a sharp image to begin with, and blemishes can be then removed in post. With just $280, you know have a small and light f2.8 lens lens that can produce nice head-should shots with a smooth and nicely blur background. Of course, the gold standard for head-shoulder shots is done with the 85/1.4, but the new AFS version is a beast that costs $2,000.
    The main point of my post is that this lens may be highly versatile at a very affordable price, and we should not think of it just in terms of applications that typically require a macro lens, flowers, bugs, etc.
     
  53. Another Nikon lens with a lot of barrell distortion?
     
  54. Of course there is a market for this lens ... it is the "macro normal" lens which used to be the most common lens in a professional's and advanced amateur's bag (in the old days). You can use it for close-ups, you can shoot architecture with it (these types of lenses typically have very low distortion; we will see how this particular one does), and general people photos as well.
    As to the desire for longer focal lengths to shoot close-ups ... well, it depends what you want to do. Remember that a typical general purpose lens stops at around 1:8 and is often poor at that magnification. A normal focal length Micro-Nikkor is typically excellent from 1:10 down to 1:2 and no one forces you to go to larger magnifications with it. At 1:1 a typical normal focal length Micro-Nikkor has to be used without the hood and there isn't much space for light, but the image quality is very high. There's plenty of ground between 1:2 and 1:8 and for travel the smaller size and weight of the "macro normal" is an obvious asset.
    By the way many macro specialists actually use very short focal length lenses. The short focal length can be a problem for the casual macro shooter though. Longer focal lengths do allow backgrounds to be simplified easily. But that's not always what you want. Sometimes it is good to show the environment of the subject, and you can do that by employing a lens that has a wider angle of view.
    Anyway, I expect that this lens will find its place in many traveler's bags. The wide angle prime DX Nikkor is still missing though, and it is still needed. (Well, I don't strictly speaking need it since I don't travel with my DX camera, but if such a lens existed, I would use the D7000 for travel.)
     
  55. Again--extremely disappointed that Nikon continues to forego a 70mm DX lens (equivalent to the 105mm lens of yore)!!!
     
  56. I agree with the comment about developing a 70mm DX prime.
    -Owen
     
  57. Justin Bieber albums should not be made. Same with Danielle Steele novels, Wellington boots, Hello Kitty pajamas, Canon DSLRs and German pornography.​
    a little clever editing and this sentence now reads perfectly. :)
     
  58. For non-macro DX shooters, is there any point in owning this lens if you already have the 35 mm 1.8?
     
  59. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For non-macro DX shooters, is there any point in owning this lens if you already have the 35 mm 1.8?​
    Sure, NAS is a very good reason. :)
     
  60. Everybody buy one now. It'll stimulate the economy!
     
  61. In January 2011, before I bought my 60 AF-S for copy work, I would have bought this lens. The 60 is a great lens but too long a lot of the time for gallery repro shoots.
     
  62. It's so funny that in 2008 there were so many forums that had DX going away in three years. This release proves DX is going no where anytime sooner or later.
    Now I just bought a Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 because I really needed it, and if Nikon releases a new one in the next couple of months I will not be a happy camper. But as long as any newer one doesn't have VR (which I seriously doubt) I'll stick with what I have.
     
  63. The lens diagram happens to be suspiciously similar to the Tokina and Pentax 35mm macros
     
  64. Okay, so I was excited to get my Tamron 90mm macro lens and have been happy with the results. I was the shorter 50mm that was recently released because I'd like to do more portraiture work and street photography. Then today I learned of the new 40mm and now I'm wondering which I should get next.
    Is the best way to tell which one you'd like best just to get one and try it out?
    Thanks!
    00ZECN-392081584.jpg
     
  65. If you already have a macro lens you like and others that are close enough to 40mm I don't see why you buy this
    40mm macro.
     
  66. @AndyL I like to shoot casual stuff -- parties, people, animals, street scenes, abstract stuff. My kit 18-105 is good but big and heavy and I'd like something fixed and light for walking around with shooting stuff. The 90 is good for closeups but I have to get too far away from people I want to shoot. I'd like to be able to shoot people at a table at a party, or in a room or walking on the street. I could do this it seems with the 90mm if I was a block away.
    00ZEDE-392089584.jpg
     
  67. Then I'd go for the 35mm DX lens. It's a great performer for shooting indoors in lower light, 1.8 is better than 2.8 and
    it's less expensive. I have one and use it all the time for that sort of shooting.
     

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