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New Nikon 58mm f/1.2 lens patent

Nikon filed two different patents (2012-230133 and 2012-230340) in Japan for a 58mm f/1.2 lens:

  • Patent release date: October 22, 2012
  • Patent filing date: April 4, 2011
  • Focal length: 58.0220mm
  • Aperture: 1.210
  • Half angle of view: 20.81°
  • Image height: 21.6mm
  • Lens length: 108.8935mm
  • Back focus: 38.0120mm

The legendary Ai Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 lens, that was introduced back in 1977 and discontinued in 1997, is one of the fastest lens Nikon ever had (at some point they did produce the very rare 50mm f/1.0 lens). The Noct-Nikkor had some very specific characteristics:

"Because this lens has a Aspherical front lens element which assures optimum correction for coma, particularly at maximum aperture, it makes bright point sources of light near the corner or edges of the image appear as dot rather than comet-shape blurs. Meaning to say, this lens is make to perform its best at maximum apertures, which other lenses find it hard to restore their optical performances. Over the years, the continual refinements has made it possible to focus down as close as 0.5m (1.7 ft) distortion free while contrast remains high."

The design of the old 58mm Noct lens is similar to the patented lens:

Read more about the Ai Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 lens (including some sample images) on Nikon's website. Check also this group on flickr.

Nikon is still selling the manual focus Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS lens. The Nikkor-Noct 58mm f/1.2 lens currently sells on eBay for $3-$4k.

Back in 2010 Nikon also filed a patent for a new 50mm f/1.2 lens.

Let's hope that we will soon see a modern AF-S version of the 58mm Noct.

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  • JohnDoe

    Owners of the original will pray it doesn’t come out, or that it’s not as good

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      If Nikon releases a new AF-S 58mm Noct, I expect the price to be close to, if not more than $3k.

      • MyrddinWilt

        I can’t see why.

        The 85 f/1.4 AFS actually outperforms the Noctilux on sagital coma flare issues in tests. And the aperture of the 85 f/1.4 is actually larger than the 58 f/1.2 (50mm rather than 60mm).

        So it would make rather more sense for the 58 f/1.2 to be priced like the 85 f/1.4 AFS than the price of a second hand Noctilux on the collector market.

        Using an aspherical element was a big deal in 1977. Today they have an aspherical in the kit lenses.

        • soap

          The aspherical in the kit lenses are hybrid glued plastics. A lens such as this will likely be using a hand-ground solid glass aspherical. It’s really an apples to oranges comparison.

          • MyrddinWilt

            Hand ground? I am pretty sure they use machines you know…

            I seem to recall that the first hybrid aspherical Nikon introduced was the 35mm f/1.8 DX but I might be wrong on that. They did the all glass ones before.

            More relevant point is that Nikon use asphericals in gold ring lenses costing less than $2K. A 58mm f/1.2 selling for $3K would likely sell no more than a few thousand copies. At $2K it could sell two to three times as many.

            It isn’t going to be a cheap lens. But it won’t be $3K.

            My guess would be $2,200 since that is what the Canon sells for.

            • soap

              All the low-end lenses (18-55 for example) are glued or molded.

              And hand-grinding asphericals is still the norm. It is why hybrids are used on the low end. Unlike spherical lenses a very complicated dedicated machine would need to be made for every element design. If Nikon can’t justify such a machine for their highest-volume lenses there is little reason to suspect they can for their lower-volume ones.

              As for Nikon using asphericals in other lenses, this is correct, but none that I am aware of contain an aspherical this large. Canon uses a molded glass aspherical in their 50/1.2, Nikon might go this route as well, but if they resurrect this classic as a flagship lens I’d expect a hand-ground one.

            • MyrddinWilt

              They are now, certainly. Witness all the yammering about ‘why is Nikon producing yet another kit lens’ that we got over the past couple of years.

              Canon started using the hybrid lenses much earlier but they are a recent thing. Canon also seem to have no qualms about using them on high end lenses which is interesting. Not necessarily good or bad. Their choice of plastic for the lens bodies is certainly defensible on performance grounds (plastic lenses bounce).

              Glass grinding does NOT need a complex dedicated machine these days. There are these things called computers and they can control the grinding process to make asphericals.

              I would expect Nikon has that type of capability because robots are cheaper than people and they can work 24 hours.

              Grinding is still a lot more expensive than a bit of plastic stuck to a lens. It is going to tie up a $10K+ station for hours or days.

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              Fyi, the grinder doesn’t necessarily need any more special computer control just to grind an aspherical surface.

            • soap

              Canon’s expensive lenses use molded asphericals. Despite your use of scary quotes around the word hybrid you do not appear to understand the difference.

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              You can call anything a hybrid as long it’s not solely based on one thing. Like you can say a human is a hybrid of flesh and bones. It’s not a real term. If it’s a molded aspheric you’re talking about don’t call it a Prius or something like that.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            I don’t know what you’re cooking on your spoons but you need to stop reading whatever the junk you’re reading. It’s practically wrong to hand-grinding aspherics in this day and age when there are very precise machines that can achieve a much higher precision and consistency than some human being. Really, get your head checked. And learn a thing or two about optics before you talk about hand grinding or whatever that you do with your oranges.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          Price is based on physical aperture size? Sorry but this is one of the silliest things I’ve heard in a while. How big is the aperture on a 14mm f/2.8? By your logic a 85 1.4 should cost around $18000. Or the 14 2.8 should cost ~$130. Do they look like they should?

          And of course, the 85 1.4 would have fewer aberrations than a faster and a wider lens like the Noctilux. This is no more of a secret than saying 3 is greater than 2. You’re missing the point there.

          • MyrddinWilt

            Price is based on the number of lenses, the size of each lens and the complexity

            Wide angle lenses are retrofocus designes and so the outer element is huge. Even though the 14 f/2.8 has a tiny aperture (5mm), the outer element is over 60mm across and it has a very complicated grind on both sides. Hence expensive.

            The 50, 58 and 85 are all normal lenses, they are not telephoto. Hence the prices should be rather similar for similar apertures and number of lens elements.

            And go read the Nikon lens design stories to understand what the issue with sagital coma flare is. The difference from 58 to 85 is not gong to be significant.

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              The outer elements of wide lenses being huge doesn’t have much to do with them being retrofocus designs. There are plenty of non-retrofocus wide-angle designs with huge or highly curved front surfaces.

              You were closer to the answer when you said “price is based on the number of lenses, size, complexity” than when you said it’s based on telephoto and non-telephoto, etc.

              And you might want to read some credible publications than some badly written/translated manufacturer marketing propaganda with unsubstantiated claims.

    • HotDuckZ

      Why? The Original still original it’s classic.

      • JohnDoe

        I just thought it might reduce the collectibility

        • MyrddinWilt

          I doubt it. The number being used for actual photography rather than sitting in collections is probably rather low these days. The price has been bid up by the collectors.

          There are much better fisheye lenses than the bug eyed monsters that have huge prices.

  • 800mm f/2.8 DX VR

    Anyone willing to hazard an educated guess on the price?

    • Louis-Félix Grondin

      Based on the price of the Canon 50 1.2 and of the 85 1.4 G, assuming it will have a pro construction and it will be a new lens (plus the fact it will be the first AF-S lens faster than 1.4), but also knowing a 50mm design is not that complicated I’d guess between 1700 and 2000 depending if they go with “let’s produce a kick-ass lens” or “let’s produce a lens so good, even wide open, it will get people to switch from canon”.

      • Louis-Félix Grondin

        Well if they go for the later option it might even go for something like 2200, but I’d be really surprised if they went for more than that considering it’s more than a 85 1.2 from canon…

        • Rita Leeds

          I could see it going for about the same price as Nikon’s current AF-S f/1.4 primes. The original Noct is only $3k
          because it’s so rare. It retailed for under $1500 in 1983 US dollars (under $800 today accounting for inflation).

          http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/58.htm

          • Archer

            Well either I read you wrong or you got your inflation calculation wrong. Something that cost $1500 in 1983 would cost around $3000 today …

          • Eric Duminil

            Inflation. You’re doing it wrong.

    • fjfjjj

      Canon EF 50mm 1.4 = $399
      Nikon AF-S 50mm 1.4 = $439
      Canon EF 50mm 1.2 = $1619
      Nikon AF-S 58mm 1.2 ≈ $1781 (?)

  • vFunct

    YES! Finally a good Nikon lens in the medium range. (the 50mm bokeh sucks)

    Images for this are going to look like looking through the eyes of god.

    • MyrddinWilt

      The bokeh is going to be the reason to buy this – if it comes out.

      • Not Surprised

        Wasn’t the previous one designed for Star Trails (sky shots) or something?

        • MyrddinWilt

          I have a feeling that Nikon can make a LOT more money if they design the replacement to serve a roader market.

          A lot of the exotics started out as niche products to support a hyper-specialized need. One of the massive zooms was designed to shoot a game at a single sports venue. I get the feeling that someone would approach their R&D lab with a big bag of money, ask for a one-off and then Nikon would make it and put it in the catalogue to see if anyone else would buy.

          That is not the way Nikon works today. They are much more focused on their market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.desario Joshua DeSario

    price would probably mirror the price of the 85mm F/1.4G. doubt they would make it physically something more than what all the other major primes are made of in terms of labeling and materials.

  • MRGABE

    why not just 50mm? am i missing something? i don’t know why this lens should be more than $1,000..

    • Rita Leeds

      58mm is perfect DX portrait focal length (87mm equivalent). See Thom Hogan (Oct. 5 entry): http://www.bythom.com/dxweek1.htm

      “But consider this: portraiture is partly about perspective. A head and shoulders shot of a bride-to-be is often in the 85-105mm range for a reason: it provides a very flattering perspective. Nikon wants you DX users to use an FX 50mm f/1.4G for this. But let’s see what happens.

      When I shoot an 85mm at 8′ on FX I get a cut-off just above the elbows, a traditional chest/shoulder/head view. With a 50mm on DX at 8′ I am framed slightly below the waist and well below the elbows; in fact, it’s
      an awkward framing. I have to move in nearly two feet to get the same
      framing as FX, but now my perspective is starting to not be flattering
      on the model.”

      • Spy Black

        The design of this lens would be wasted on a DX body. It’s whole purpose in life is to give you a perfectly sharp image across the entire FX image plane.

        • Sahaja

          As Cristoph Breitkopf points out below, “Image height: 21.6mm” means the lens wouldn’t cover FX (36x24mm) – so it has got to be for DX, or smaller. I’m not even sure it would cover DX (23.6×15.7mm)

          • Stefan

            No, this lens design is indeed for FX.
            21.6mm is half the diagonal of a FX frame.

            • Sahaja

              I think you may be may be right – but why use the term “height”, when they mean “half-diagonal”? And why not give the full diagonal (43.2mm)? At least that way there would be no confusion.

            • 800mm f/2.8 DX VR

              I suppose that is just the way lens designers speak. Sure WE might think it makes more sense, but think of the other poor little lens designers! They won’t be able to read it!

            • Not Surprised

              Aren’t these circles anyway?

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              “half diagonal”… a.k.a. radius :D

        • MyrddinWilt

          Umm, the reason I buy lenses is to get good photographs.

          At the wide end FX is king. At the narrow end DX rules, sorry to bust your bubble.

          Every lens made is better across the center of the image. So it is likely that the MTF charts of this lens are going to be great for FX but spectacular for DX.

          But it still loses a half stop to the 85 f/1.4. So the DoF is going to be like the 85 f/1.8 on FX. Not exactly a huge issue but that would be where there would be a difference.

          • Spy Black

            You’re missing the point. This lens (well, at least the original Noct Nikkor) was made to be sharp from (FX) edge to (FX) edge, unlike every other lens out there. You can throw any old FX lens on a DX body and make the best of them, but you’d be wasting your money buying the Noct to put on a DX body.

            • MyrddinWilt

              You might be if Nikon had a DX 58mm with exceptional bokeh…

              Its going to be sharp corner to corner DX, certainly…

            • Spy Black

              Visibly no different than any other FX lens on a DX body. That’s the point.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            That’s not how things work. Sampling at a higher frequency (cramming more pixels to the same area as high res APS-C sensors do) doesn’t necessarily give a better image. You might get more resolution, if the lens has it but you’re also magnifying aberrations and the less light gathered from the smaller area gives a lower SNR. If you’re thinking of an exception then you’re not comparing things properly on equal grounds.

            Even with long lenses, FF sensors produce better quality images. In comparison, small sensors images always look too strained, to put it in plain English.

            • MyrddinWilt

              The limit there is the wavelength of light and the FX and DX and even CX sensors are way above the level where it is significant.

              The sensor pitch is a limit in the 8MP sensor in the iPhone. It is also an issue for some compacts. It will be an issue for CX at 50MP, DX at 120MP and FX at 240MP.

              That said, I think it is rather amazing that Apple can take pictures at all in a device so thin and with a lens that constrained, let alone achieve the quality they do which is more than adequate for many purposes. It certainly blows away the results from Polaroid or instamatic film cameras.

              Diffraction will be an issue as well. But at the end of the day we are talking about a single stop here and a single stop has nowhere near the effect on a sensor as it does on a lens.

              As for gathering light, nope, that is the aperture of the lens that governs that. It is the amount that you throw away that is significant. Take the same lens on a DX and FX body and you will be throwing half the light away. Take a f/2.8 tele and stick a 1.4x converter on it and you will throw half the light away. So they both ‘cost’ a stop. But that is a consequence of narrowing the field of view and throwing light away.

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              I think you missed the part where I said “less light gathered from the smaller area gives a lower SNR”. Also it’s not half the light that you throw away by putting the lens on a APS-C sensor. It’s more than that… around 58%.

            • MyrddinWilt

              For a given aperture (NOT RATIO) the amount of light gathered by the camera is exactly the same regardless of how far forward or back the sensor is placed. Its the lens that does the light gathering, the sensor merely selects some of it to form an image.

              A 58mm f/1.0 on DX should in theory be identical performance wise to a 85mm f/1.4 on an FX of the same sensor technology.

              Half a stop is really not going to make or break SNR unless you are pixel peeping.

            • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

              You must be regurgitating something you’ve read somewhere because what I’m saying is not different to what you’re saying about sensor sizes and yet you have no idea about what I’m talking about.

              And who on Earth is talking about a sensor being placed too far forward or backward? Also you might want to look that up because, on a completely different topic, how close/far the sensor is from the lens affects the light gathered.

              And no… a 58 f/1 on APS-C is not going to be identical in performance to a 85 f/1.4 on FF… not even in theory, if you understand lens design theory.

      • Deep_Lurker

        Thom Hogan’s point is that a reasonably fast & cheap 58-60mm DX portrait prime is missing in action, so various oddball lenses get pressed into service instead: The 58mm f/1.2, the Nikon 60mm micro f/2.8, or the 60mm f/2 macro from Tamron.

        I’d like to see a reasonably fast & cheap DX prime myself in the gap between 50mm and 85mm (although I’d prefer a 70mm rather than a 58-60mm). Unfortunately, Thom undercuts his credibility here with his “move nearly two feet” claim – the distance should be a little under one foot closer to get the same framing: 85mm on FX at 8 ft –> 50mm (75mm equivalent) on DX at a bit over 7 ft.

      • Jonathan Ingram

        My favorite lens for dx is the 50 1.8 for this exact reason! DOF is not as shallow as on full frame, but it gives a nice focal length for portraits (about 75), and the whole package is super-light! A 58/1.2 would be an even better portrait lens for dx with much better bokeh and shallow dof. However, I’m sure most of us would really want to play with it on full frame. Personally, I think 50’s are boring on full-frame. I would much rather see an 85 1.2, but hey I’m not complaining.

    • Arkasai

      I’m guessing the design gets prohibitively complicated below 58mm to achieve the same results. Similar to why you don’t see 600mm f1.4’s or 14mm’s faster than f2.8. The original is legendary because it has no visible chromatic aberration and it’s perfectly sharp edge to edge wide open. It found applications in scientific experiments and was bought up by a lot of serious astrological photographers. To my knowledge nothing has been made since that beats it.

      • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

        Maybe only Leica lenses come close.

        • MyrddinWilt

          Talking of which, have you seen this?

          http://www.camerawest.com/cwblog/tag/noctilux-50mm-f1-0/

          It is a full frame mirrorless Canon that takes Leica mount lenses.

          OK so its a modified 5D, but it could certainly be done with a Nikon body just the same. Kind of limited point since the only lenses there would be any point to using are the $$$$$$ Leica lenses and if you can afford those then you can probably afford a Leica, but shows it can be done.

          • MJr

            Yea, it’s dumb. Now it’s neither a SLR or a Rangefinder. Canon has the 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 anyway, which are superb. Normal person would just get a used M9 or something where the lenses are actually rangefinder coupled and focus like they were meant to. USING Leica is about more than just the lens quality you know.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            I don’t think it’s possible to do the same with an existing Nikon body. They actually stop working when the mirror is removed :)

      • gsum

        “It found applications in scientific experiments and was bought up by a lot of serious astrological photographers. ”

        I too wonder what the future will bring.

        • Sahaja

          Yes we could probably do with a few “astrological photographers” on a rumour site. :-)

          • http://www.facebook.com/jan.f.rasmussen.7 Jan Fischer Rasmussen

            I thought the same when I read that :-)

      • Christoph Breitkopf

        AFAIK it’s the other way round. There were always fast 50mm lenses for range-finders. Nikon had a 1.0, canon a 0.95. For SLRs, these fast lenses have to use a more complex retrofocus design, as do wide-angles in general. In other words, the optical design gets simpler as the focal length increases. Thus Nikons decision to use 58mm instead of 50mm for the Noct. Note that the first fast standard lens for the Nikon F also had this focal length (the f1.4/5.8cm), while the f2 was 50mm from the start. Likewise, the 1.2/55 Nikkor S became the 1.2/50 AI. That it, with more design experience and maybe different materials, the focal lengths were standardized at 50.

      • Sahaja

        Yes I’m not an optical engineer but I’ve also read that, for the F mount, it is much easier to design a good fast 58mm than it is to design one at 50mm. For other SLR lens mounts, which have a shorter flange focal distance, the optimal focal length is somewhat less.

        “50mm” lenses are rarely exactly 50mm anyway.

    • MyrddinWilt

      Nikon could certainly produce ‘a’ 58 mm f/1.2 for $1000 but that isn’t what this lens is about. It is about demonstrating that the Nikon AFS lineup is complete and outperforms all the legendary AI and AF Nikors.

      This isn’t going to be ‘a’ anything, it will be the definitive 58mm lens.

      As for 50mm vs 58, I think that 58 looks better when you consider the overall range of primes.

      * 24mm is 84 degree fov
      28mm is 74
      * 35mm is 63 degree
      * 50mm is 46 degree
      58mm is 40 degree
      * 85mm is 28 degree

      The starred lenses are the f/1.4 lenses. The step from the 24 to the 35 is a 1.33 times the fov, from the 35 to the 50 is 1.3, from the 50 to the 85 is 1.64, from the 58 to the 85 is 1.46.

      60mm is actually a pretty useful FoV for DX and FX alike.

      I don’t see much need to fill in every last gap in the order like in the film days. Cropping digital is much easier.

  • San

    If it cost close to or more than 3k , the Zeiss 55mm f1.4, 82 mm diameter filter size may look more reasonable. Even though it cost more. N heavier.

  • http://twitter.com/livefromphilly regular james

    If it’s less than $2,400 I’ll get it.

    If it’s more than $2,400 I’ll get it…eventually.

    • RamesesThe2nd

      Serious questions – Why do you think that this lens will be so much better than ~ $400 50mm f/1.4 AFS lens?

      • vFunct

        The bokeh on the 50 F1.4 sucks, probably the worst in the entire Nikon lineup. There’s no “dreamy” quality to it.

        It’s one of those things you’d have to actually look at the picture to see. You can’t measure it. And it has nothing to do with the number of aperture blades! It has to do with how the image defocuses as you move away from the focal plane. On some lenses, it’s harsh, on others it’s smooth as silk and dreamy, giving it a great depth.

        These kinds of lenses are true photographers lenses, as opposed to measurbator lenses. It’s not even the sharpness that matters, but the defocusing. I couldn’t care less how sharp it is, but i’m sure the sharpness is a side-effect of terrific design.

        Another great dreamy lens is the 28mm F1.4. I hear good things about the Sigma 50 F1.4 as well.

        The 85 F1.4 is one of those measurebator lenses as well. Nothing particulary exciting about it’s defocus quality.

        • RamesesThe2nd

          I am not a pro photographer and may be that is why I can’t see these subtle bokeh differences. I have been using 50mm f/1.4 for a while and I have been very happy with it. If 50mm f/1.4 would be $2,000, a lot of experts would be completely OK with it. I feel some times, it’s the cost of the lens that entice these experts more than actual lens IQ itself. This is probably more true for us NR readers than anyone else .

          • vFunct

            Yah, you’re tastes are bad if you think the 50 F1.4 is acceptable. That’s why you’re not pro, because pros have that higher sense of taste.

            BTW pros deal with lenses MUCH more expensive than $2000. Cameras might go for $50,000. Heck, an Broncolor light reflector might go for $11,000, and that’s just for a reflector. No pro is going to be impressed by a $2000 lens because of its price. We test and verify everything for quality.

            • RamesesThe2nd

              Wow. You turned out to be a lot bigger troll than I thought.

            • neversink

              I’ve been using the 50 1.4 when I have to. Yes, the Bokeh is not like other lenses in the Nikon line-up. But it isn’t harsh. Just not as creamy as I would like. However, I have gotten acceptable results. PS – I have been selling my photos professionally since 1975 part-time and full-time since 1987. I guess I’m not a pro because I use the 50 f/1.4 from time to time. Oops, excuse me, I have to cut this short as a client is calling.

            • vFunct

              Indeed. My troll power is much greater than your troll power. GTFO.

            • Big Shot Pro Photag!

              I’m a pro and shoot 50 1.4 all night at wedding receptions. I’ll even use a DX camera during the ceremony for the extra reach. The 50 1.4 is more than acceptable for its one goal- to get the shot when other lenses are too slow. And when and if you can plan your shots accordingly, the bokeh is not half bad, it’s just not great… but like any real pro you don’t succumb to the limitations of your gear you tool!

            • http://twitter.com/DigitalHeMan Simon Leech

              Are you for real?!

            • sebas

              oh yes – i believe that is a real troll.

            • Sahaja

              @vFunct:disqus

              Go play with the Leica S2, $11,000 reflectors and whatever else you only own in your head.

        • http://www.facebook.com/johan.l.asplund Johan Asplund

          Yes the Sigma 50 f1.4 is way better when it comes to bokeh. Dreamy and creamy. It even focuses faster. The only drawback is that it is bigger but that is a small price to pay.

        • AnonymousCoward

          >>The 85 F1.4 is one of those measurebator lenses as well. Nothing particulary exciting about it’s defocus quality.

          You must be shrooming.

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfiegoodrich/3851408190/

        • Jonathan Ingram

          Bokeh quality is really important to me as a photographer, but I find that it is extremely rare for any of my clients to even know about bokeh, let alone be able to discern the subtle differences in bokeh. It takes a very trained eye for this. I have come to accept that I simply provide quality images at a caliber beyond what most clients can recognize. However, even though a client may not be able to articulate why they like an image so much, I have to think the quality of bokeh may play a role anyway.

          Oh, and for goodness sake, let’s be civil to each other on this forum, some of these comments are out of control.

      • sebas

        Well if it’s like the Canon 50mm 1.2 it’ll be worth it if the price is similar. It should have a better OOF than the 1.4 which isn’t that amazing, and should be sharp as when @ƒ1.8 or even ƒ1.4 which would be handy. The 1.4 is a pretty soft lense for a 50mm. Shooting at 1.2 on FX 35mm is about the same as ƒ2 on MF (80mm) which i shoot on sometimes. Gives very nice results. Would be curious to see if it has a aperture ring though. I shoot animation a bit and prefer ap rings to maintain better consistancy/lower flicker rate.

  • Orestos

    I don’t know where i read that a Nikon 5x mm 1.2 autofocus lens was impossible due to the lens mount. I hope somebody clarify this.

    • Ghoma

      it’s some bullshit which came out back in the days. they also used to say nikon couldn’t do full frame dslr cause the small mount.

      it’s just absurd, because nikon had been making full frame film slr since forever with the same mount, and those 50mm 1.2 were working too

      • j v

        Actually, there was a reasoning behind it. The F-mount is slightly smaller than FX. Combined with the fact that sensors are less responsive to light that falls on it at a non-perpendicular angle, this leading to vignetting. Sensor technology has evolved since, but at the time the comment may not have been that far off.

    • Sahaja

      I also read somewhere that 55mm + is easier to design for the F-mount than 50mm because of the distance of flange from the focal plane which is longer than on most other SLR mounts.

      • soap

        It is not so much the registration distance as it is the throat diameter. Combined with the fact that all the electrical contacts are now competing for the same narrow space. This is another of the reasons Canon chose to create an entirely new mount.

  • dnguyen

    AF-S Noct please!

  • Christoph Breitkopf

    Image height 21.6mm doesn’t cover FX. It’s DX only.

    • MJr

      If it’s DX it would be 85-90mm equiv, that could make sense …

    • Sahaja

      Exactly – a perfect portrait lens for DX – they should have made this years ago. 50mm is too short for a DX portrait lens. At f/1.2 this will have a very narrow DOF.

      Great match for a new D400 :-)

    • Stefan

      Sorry, this is not correct.
      21.6mm is half the diagonal of an FX frame.
      This lens design gives images up to 21.6mm away from the image center. So it covers the complete FX frame.
      Regardless, it is also nice design for DX cameras.

      • Christoph Breitkopf

        “Image height” = radius of image circle??!
        The value fits – 35mm image circle is 43.3mm.

        I’ve to admit that I didn’t look at the actual patent. If it’s the radius, I stand corrected – thanks for pointing it out. And so I join the croud of “new Noct” hopers…

      • MyrddinWilt

        It would be pretty odd to come out with a $2K lens that was DX only.

        Nikon don’t have any lenses wider than 50mm that don’t cover the FX frame. Even the 35mm DX has full frame coverage. The question being whether it is good coverage or looks crappy in the FX corners.

        The graphs on the Japanese site are definitely for an FX lens, and a rather good one.

        • Sahaja

          Well they haven’t announced the lens, let alone the price, yet – so “$2K” is pure speculation.

  • MJr

    Fack yeah, Nikon back on track ! (pardon the french)

  • Jason

    Wow. I guess all the 50mm owners have no legs. In that case, this is great news for those photographers. ^_^

    • gly

      I highly doubt anyone will see any significant difference in 8mm (12mm DX).

      • Not Surprised

        I don’t think buyers of this lens are looking for 8mm apart from a 50/1.8 — they are looking for roughly around 25mm — the difference between their 85mm/1.4 and a 35mm/1.4).

        • soap

          One doesn’t do the math on the focal length for finding an “in between” lens. One does the math on the FoV

          Horizontal FoV of a 35mm lens on FF =54.5d

          Horizontal FoV of an 85mm lens on FF=23.9d

          The “middle” of those two would be 39.18d = 50.57mm

          Hmm, I wonder why the classic stepping is 35/50/85?

        • Slomo

          Your missing the point it’s the lens design not the focal length that’s important

  • patto01

    I don’t know much about the technical end of things so I’ll take your word this would be a DX lens. What I don’t understand is: why would they make such a specialized lens for DX when they only have the much older, retired equivalent for FX?

  • John M

    I would think you’d want a hard infinity stop on this. Are there any AF-S lenses that can do that?

    • soap

      There are no ED lenses that do this because of the ED glass increased coefficient of thermal expansion.

      • John M

        Yes, but I am not talking about ED. I am talking about AF-S. Not all AF-S lenses use ED glass.

        I’ve heard here and there that the mechanics of the AF-S system don’t allow a hard infinity stop. I have no idea if it’s true, but certainly there are not any current AF-S lenses with one.

        One of the uses for the original NOCT was wide-field astrophotography, where a hard infinity stop is particularly useful.

  • Alex

    I’m in, no VR please.
    :o

  • http://www.facebook.com/1LesPhoto Lester Rosebrock

    Oh yeah! Another Christmas present for me!

    • Calibrator

      Yeah, Christmas 2014…

  • Nikonuser

    This lens makes a lot of sense…I think we may see one produced in the next couple of years. Why? For one, Nikon is getting back on track. They used to have the best 58/1.2 of any brand, so why not update it like they’ve done with other old manual focus lenses over the past few years (200/2, 35/1.4, 800/5.6, etc). Second, Canon has both a premium 50/1.2 and 85/1.2. Rumor has it that due to the F-mount, can’t or can’t easily/affordably make an 85/1.2. So the 58/1.2 would be a good compromise that could rival both of the Canon lenses. Last, nikon does not have a pro/gold ring series normal lens at this time. I think they will bring out a premium, superfast normal lens soon. They’ve filed numerous patents for 50-58mm f/1.2 lenses over the past few years.

  • CyberSammy

    I’m wondering if Nikon will ever release 85mm f/1.2 lens? :-)

  • wileecoyote

    Yes please. I have shoot a lot with a modded non-ai Nikon f1.2 on my d700 and love it. Only complaint is the coma under certain circumstances.

    • neversink

      The 50 mm Nikon F/ 1.2 exhibited coma, but not the 58mm f/1.2 — Big differences in IQ in the two lenses.

  • Summo lux

    I’ve got a nikkor noct and it is the dreamiest lens I have including leica glass
    I wish nikon would make lenses like this still it would really kick them up the ladder it doesn’t matter manual is fine especially since video is becoming so big please nikon make a 28 1.4 a decent 35 1.4 and I’d be in heaven end of story

  • http://www.facebook.com/svchia Chia Siak Vong

    I have owned a Noct-Nikkor 58 and shot a lot of photos with it.

    The reason for the 58mm instead of 50mm is more on distortion control and Nikon find it at 58mm it is more acceptable for distortion free image compared to 50mm.

    Lets not forget the original idea for the Noct-Nikkor is in fact for Astronomy, night photography and scientific purposes to shoot at night with max aperture. Another reason for this type of lens is the so so performance of ISO in film… ISO800 and beyond is not easily obtained and achieved at that time.

    Its also the one of the 1st Aspherical hand ground lens ever produced and each lens took about 3 years to complete.

    The Noct-Nikkor image quality starts to weaken the moment you go beyond F5.6 or smaller… so its a very specific lens to shoot at max aperture. Image is razer sharp from F1.4 – F2.8 and really hard to get flare even if u shine a torch light into the lens.

    Hope this clear a few misconception about the lens.

    • neversink

      I haven’t seen much difference in distortion between the 50 f/1.4 and my old beat-up 58mm f/1.2 noct. Actually, I think the 50 has slightly less distortion (minimal,) but the noct. has better contrast at the edges wide open (with IQ slightly inferior to that of the 50mm when wide open.) The beauty of this nocturnal lens is the incredible contrast against beautiful, undistorted pin-points of light.

    • neversink

      Also, according to my experience, the 58 f/1.2 does not seem to weaken as far as IQ goes. It seems its sharpest overall from edge to edge between f/8 and f/11. I was surprised by this. F/16 there is diffraction.

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        There is no diffraction at f/16… diffraction can start anywhere. Do you know how diffraction is calculated? Then you shouldn’t talk about it.

  • fred

    If noct is short for nocturnal and its main use is at night then what use is AF-S? Wouldn’t it focus hunt like crazy?

    Wouldn’t it just have a hard infinity focus stop if no ED glass is used.

  • MB

    58mm f/1.2 is maximum Nikon can do and the limiting factor is F mount diameter and flange distance. The fastest real 35mm lens Nikon ever made was NIKKOR-N 5cm f/1.1 but it was made for S mount rangefinder cameras.
    The legendary Noct-NIKKOR was made mostly for night shots and focus set at infinity.
    Longer lenses are probably better choice for portrait work such as 85 f/1.8 or f/1.4 if have money to burn for DX and for FX 135 f/2 DC is the king of portrait lenses. There will never be longer than 58mm F mount lens as fast as f/1.2 but that is really not needed for anything.

  • neversink

    I paid $1,000 used for the 58 f/1.2 lens in 1984. It was in perfect condition. Unfortunately, I was too cheap at the time to purchase the rubber hood that was optional. I was photographing a factory at night in Detroit in 1987. Someone said something to me; I turned around quickly and smacked the front side of the lens against a piece of machinery. I was shocked. I dented the side and put a slight scratch on the front of the lens as the filter broke and a piece of glass from the filter nicked the front element. I never got it fixed and had to break the filter off to remove it from the front of the lens. I used it for a while without a filter but it got pretty grimy in some of the environments I was shooting.

    I just took it out today, after seeing this article, and after years of neglect. I carefully cleaned it, and mounted it on the D4. I just returned from photographing in a park during daylight hours; and then snapped night shots of the George Washington Bridge on this windy and frigid night.

    I had forgotten how wonderfully this lens performed. Everything pretty sharp from corner to corner wide open (yes, on FX.) (Not perfectly sharp in the corners, but no complaints as there is literally no coma flares. Bokeh is very smooth and not at all intrusive. The ability of this lens to capture all the different lights perfectly is amazing — including the stars in the sky. This is where this lens really performs. Stopped down, the lens produced some beautiful 18 point stars from the necklace of the bridge against the night sky due to its 9-blade diaphragm. I didn’t see any flare due to the small scratch on the front of the lens on any of the shots, either wide open or stopped down until f/8. (Idon’t know why I didn’t test down to f/16 — perhaps it was too cold, perhaps i assumed the sharpness would soften and degrade.)

    I have seen these lenses go for more than $3,000 used, although I doubt I would get much for this lens due to the dent and the scratch. It’s quite beat up, and I think at one point, years ago I also got some caustic chemicals on the front element, but there seems to be no damage to the lens from that accident. Any offers before I put it back in the display case. Just joking… I was surprised how well it performed despite the ugly nicks and chips.

    I am hoping if Nikon puts out a new aspherical version of the 58 f/1.2 nocturnal that it will perform even better than my old beat up version!!!! Not sure I would buy it, unless I had a need.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      Can Nikon repair the lens?

      • neversink

        Unfortunately, when I bought the lens it was used, and by the time I damaged it, it was out of warranty. My insurance wasn’t so good in those days so they wouldn’t take care of the repair or replacement costs, so I retired the lens. Marty Forsher on W 47th St looked at it and told me it wasn’t worth fixing the housing, and that the nick was minor. But now time has passed and these lenses are worth a lot more…. It’s not the first lens I’ve damaged on a shoot, but it may have been one of my favorites.

        Now after retesting it, I would love to repair it. I m just amazed at the results I took earlier. I will call Nikon to discuss and see what they will charge. I doubt they could repair the small nick as I am sure they wouldn’t replace the front element as those were hand-ground.However, the housing might be repairable, but it looks pretty beat up to me. It would be great if they had housing to replace it with, but I doubt it, since that lens has been out of production for quite awhile. I might even drive this one to Melville, NY myself if I can get a techie to look at while I am present. I already have one lens in repair there – my AF-S Nikkor 17-35 If -ed. The diaphragm is stuck at f/2.8 and won’t stop down.

        Unfortunately, time is of the essence. I am leaving shortly for assignments in Kenya and will be there for quite some time. So it may have to wait.

  • Zaphod

    They really missing a prime lens in that segment. But my hope is a 50 mm pro. 1.8 vriii, weather sealed, metal body lens. A 1.2 will be OK, but there should be vr!

  • neversink

    Having used this lens as discussed in several posts above, this lens was designed to be shot wide open at F/ 1.2. Focusing needs to be very precise. Yes, this lens is sharper at f/8 than at 1.2, but that isn’t the purpose of this lens. I shot some pics at f/11 and f/ 16 at sunrise this morning as well as all the other settings. Not much IQ difference between f/8 and F/11 (surprisingly both are very sharp) but at f/16 there seems to be diffraction. If you are just looking for sharpness then stick with the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8. The results will be better, and the price of the lens much less expensive. In fact, cheap!!!! But you will get coma!!! The aspherical design eliminates the blobs of bright lights, but the sacrifice for accurate rendition of points of light is slightly less sharpness toward the edges when wide open. It’s really not that visible though, unless you blow up the image.

    I am looking forward to an AF version of this. However, I assume that precise focusing will still be an issue given the limited DOF at f/ 1.2. i hope they stick with a nine-blade diaphragm but have my doubts. I see no need for VR on this lens.

    For me, this is a great lens for night photography, particularly if shooting many points of light like the lights on a bridge or stars. I only wish my copy wasn’t so beat up!!!

  • http://twitter.com/JDennisThomas J. Dennis Thomas

    If you have to ask why the 58mm f/1.2 Noct is better than the 50mm f/1.4 then it’s likely you’ll never know.

    Considering that a MF 58mm Noct is $3-4K I highly doubt you’re gonna see an AF-S version coming in at less than $2400. I’ll actually be surprised if it even has AF.

    It’s gonna be funny to see all of the “why doesn’t this super-expensive lens have VR?” posts.

  • Nate

    The 50 f/1.4 has terrible color fringing wide open. It would be nice to see a lens that performs best at its highest aperture.

  • Slomo

    I’ve got the noct it is awesome best lens I’ve got including my leica glass

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