Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AIS MF lens discontinued?

According to B&H:


I also could not find this lens at Adorama or Amazon.

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  • Max

    It was still in production until recently? :O

    • PHB

      I think its unlikely that any were made in the past ten years. Ken Rockwell seems to think that there is still a Chinese production line for manual 50mm lenses.

      So one reading is that they have finally cleared the old stock. But that does not explain why the obsolete lenses have been in the catalog so long.

      I suspect the reason that they used to be in the catalog is that Nikon was saying ‘ok if you must have primes, here are some primes’. That did make sense before they started to release new prime designs. Now there is a real possibility of confusion. And confused customers tend to lead to lost sales.

      Anyone who wants any of the manual lenses would be well advised to act fast before they are all gone.

      • eh??

        most of the manual focus prime lenses available today are grey market (imported), which nikon won’t bother repairing if it breaks on you.

        “grey market! we aren’t going to place a finger on it!”

        • Call El Segundo and they’ll tell you otherwise! Nikon USA will repair anything! They just won’t honor warranties from non-USA stock.

          The grey market situation is fairly unique to Nikon, since Nikon USA is a wholly owned subsidiary that functions as an independent importer. They are owned by Nikon, yet aren’t Nikon. They don’t make money on grey market imports and so they refuse to repair them for free, because they lose money on such a deal. They get a cut from the merchandise they import.

          The sad thing is Nikon Japan doesn’t really care enough to change the situation. It’s probably part of the premium you see for Nikon gear when you compare MSRP on like models between brands. And it’s the cause of much confusion and scamming with grey market merch. If Nikon directly exported, there would be no grey market.

  • eh??

    this lens was discontinued at the same time of 58mm F/1.2 NOCT which is over 10 years ago, nikon still have a lot of them left that nobody buys anymore because they want “OMFG! NEW UPDATED NIKKOR 35MM 1.4 WITH AF-S, NANO, ANTI-WEATHER SEALANTS, AND VR!” version of that certain lens.

    • Rlanthier

      Where can i get THAT lens???? ;)!

    • Adam Maas

      Umm, no.

      The 35/1.4 AI-S is one of the few AI-S lenses which survived the great discontinuation of January 2005 when the AI-S line was pared back to a very small selection. It was available new as of a couple months ago. While Nikon probably hasn’t done a production run in a year or two, they still do produce some AI-S lenses in small quantities including the 50/1.2 and 35/1.4. discontinuation of the 35/1.4 now would indicate a likely AF replacement as it remains one of the few AI-S lenses that still sells due to its speed advantage over the AF 35’s

  • PHB

    It would not be surprising if Nikon was to reduce the number of prime lenses on offer. At the moment they have a complete set of manual primes and a complete set of AF primes. And what they really need is a range of fast AFS primes that complement their zooms.

    The current prime range dates from the days when state of the art zooms fell well short of primes. Improvements in manufacturing and design tools since mean that Nikon’s mid range zooms are better than their 1990s era prime designs..

    • Soap

      “Improvements in manufacturing and design tools since mean that Nikon’s mid range zooms are better than their 1990s era prime designs..”
      Q: Which mid-range zoom has the speed, sharpness, ghost resistance, OR DoF control of the inexpensive (so inexpensive it is a crime not to own it) 50mm 1.8? The more expensive 85mm 1.4?
      A: None of them.

      Lens design is, and always will be, a matter of compromises. Zoom lenses doubly so. It isn’t as if the laws of physics have changed in the last 50 years. Coatings and cost are the only thing which has improved in the last decade, and neither of those is enough to make a zoom as fundamentally simple as a prime.

      • Soap

        EDIT: please excuse my inability to keep singular and plural consistent.

        • My 24-70 owns that little 50mm 1.4 filthy b1tch.
          And my 80-200 f/2.8 even holds it’s ground against the 1.8.

      • dan

        My 14-24/2.8 wants a word with you.

      • Anonymous

        No. A: Lots of them.

        The 50 1.8 is a flaring, ghosting nightmare compared to the 14-24, 24-70 or 17-55DX.

        • Adam Maas

          Compared to the 14-24 or 24-70 maybe. But the 17-55 has more lens flare than a JJ Abrams movie.

  • I have seen this from B&H before only to see it available again the next month. This was the situation when I bought mine from the 2 years ago. This lens is hard to beat though I hope soon a higher quality replacement will be in the offering.

    And Micah is very correct…for cash Nikon will fix almost anything. U.S. import law requires parts to be kept in distribution for said product up to 5 years after it is no longer imported/sold in the states. I am guessing but this might be the case with this optic. Either way if you buy one you will be very happy…

  • I don’t know about the OMFG AF-S crowd but if I stumbled upon one of these for an interesting price I’d snap it up.

  • Alain2x

    Who ever did buy a new AiS 35/1,4 , for the past twenty years ?

    Crocodile’s tears ?

    This announcement is only a pro forma, nothing more.

    Next week, we will learn that Nikon stops producing the AiS 55/2,8 Micro : good grief, as if anyone kept on buying AiS 🙂

    • Ivor Biggun

      I bought mine about 25 years ago, not good for close ups, too much barrel distortion. Sharp in the middle, not so good at the corners. Don’t miss it at all.

      • Izam

        Are you sure you did not happen to stumble upon a bad copy? I recently got this lens and it handles incredibly well in comparison to the 85mm f/1.4.

      • Adam Maas

        The 35/1.4 AF-S is excellent for close-ups, the somewhat noticeable barrel distortion is only an issue when shooting architecture and some landscape work. The soft corners are gone by f2.8. At f4 it outperforms pretty much every Nikkor which can hit 35mm except the 24-70G.

  • As far as I know, these lenses have been out of production for some time, however it might still be possible to get them brand new. There are a few eBay stores that still sell new ones with 60**** serial numbers, which means they are manufactured around the 2000’s. The newest ones I’ve heard of are from 2006. Normally, these are sold for 700 USD and up to about 1000.

    Nikon USA used to say on their website that they are available by special order, however that is (was?) only for US customers, I checked with them a few months back.

    Thus, I contacted my local Nikon Norway where a friendly gentleman told that they didn’t actually have any in stock, but there was a chance that some stores could have some specimens sitting on their shelves (FWIW, that’s also the case for the 50/1.2). However, because of the ridiculous list price, I decided to wait for a cheap, carefully used one on eBay. The new ones are just way too expensive for me.

    I hope this information might be useful! 🙂

  • Zoetmb

    The manual focus lenses (except for the tilt-shifts) have been available in the U.S. only as special order (confirmed, non-refundable orders with a a 4 to 12 week wait time) lenses for some time now, but they’ve been near impossible to get. There used to be 9 that could be special ordered:
    20 2.8, 24 2.8, 28 2.8, 35 1.4, 50 1.2, 50 1.4, 55 2.8 micro, 85 2.8 micro PC, 105 2.8 micro.
    In the full-line Nikon catalog from 2007, they were listed as special order. But they were missing completely from the full-line U.S. Nikon catalog from late 2008.

    But now, I see that most have been removed completely from the B&H site because they’re simply not available (even though all still exist on the Japan Nikon site) even as imports. On B&H, the 20, 50 1.2 and 55 micro are listed, but long backordered. The 85 2.8 micro PC is listed as discontinued. And the rest are no longer listed at all which usually indicates that B&H has given up on trying to get any.

    But the reality is, are any of these lenses necessary aside from possibly the 1.2s? Is the IQ of any of these better than the AFs? Doesn’t the current AF prime line supersede them since on most of the lenses, you can switch off the AF? I actually think this will be more of an issue in the future, assuming that the new FX prime line will be “G” lenses (without an aperture ring.) Once that happens, and assuming that Nikon discontinues the current AF prime line, the only way to get a lens with an aperture ring will be via a used lens. IMHO, since the new AF prime line (assuming one is coming) will probably be expensive, I think Nikon should restore the aperture ring to maintain compatibility with the oldest bodies. (Nikon seems to think that only compatibility of old lenses with newer bodies is important.) I can understand that from a financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense because how many photographers are still using bodies from before the advent of the F4-era bodies? But from a psychological standpoint, I think it makes a big difference and how much can the aperture ring actually cost to include?

  • In the last 3 years I have bought “NEW” the Nikkor 180 2.8, 50 1.2, and 35 1.4. If you are a working shooter you will know how and when to find the glass you need. The LAST thing you should do is listen to Nikon reps, retailers, and catalogs. Their job is to get you to but what they have in stock…period. Yes, AF-S and G series are very good glass and the zooms such as the 14-24 2.8 (which I also shoot) are excellent as well. Nothing however escapes the sharpness of a prime. Those that say a zoom is sharper simply do not have the experience of shooting enough glass to know the difference.

    And yes…don’t say MF…unless you mean it “/

  • Back in the early 70s Leica’s 35mm 1.4 was better than this lens. It’s good, but not that good in the corners.

    Nikon needs to update this lens seriously for photojournalists, and people who like to shoot the same was a photojournalists. As long as DX was the only choice, this was not an important lens. With full frame, this becomes a critical lens in the lineup they need to appeal to pros.

    People will argue that with ISO 6400 we don’t need such lenses. Such people have not shot in the same situations that I do, and many, many photojournalists, documentarians and other pros.

    • eh??

      who hell looks at corners of a photograph instead of looking at the whole photograph?

      oh, right, pixelpeelers and whiners only do that.

      • Adam Maas

        Landscape shooters and architectural shooters as well. Blurry corners are VERY noticeable in some common situations. Most PJ’s could care less.

  • Ben

    It’s still listing on Japanese site. Note that NZ site have only 3 MF lenses and all as newer PC Nikkor.

  • tibor

    My guess is that a new 35MM AF-S 1.4 FF is coming very soon.

  • Robert

    The 60**** serial lenses are ones manufactured for the Japanese market, you can still buy most of the latest AIS lenses there. Highly recommended if you can get hold of these. For example, the 50/1.4 AIS is still preferred by Japanese aficionados as it’s sharper than all the other 50mm versions, including AF-D and AF-S.

    If Nikon is discontinuing their 35/1.4 AIS now also in Japan I suspect they have an improved version coming out, they wouldn’t dare remove it otherwise (just like they did not dare discontinue some AIS lenses although newer AF designs were launched).

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