We should pay a very close attention to this patent (Nikon Micro AF-S 85mm f/3.5 DX VR)

We should pay a very close attention to Nikon patent 20090190220 (already discussed here and here)Β for the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/3.5 DX VR lens πŸ˜‰


Don't ask me why - just do it...

Update: as a reader already noted (quote from the patent application):

β€œAn internal focus type MACRO lens having an image blur correction function has been proposed”

so based on this patent this should be an AF-S DX IF VR Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5 lens.

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  • Hey-nonny-mouse

    You seem to be sure, and you’ve been very (100%?) accurate on the “don’t ask, just trust me” posts. I guess you have at least one reliable source on the inside these days…

    I wonder what the intended purpose of the lens is… max aperture is too small for portrait, focal length is too short for most tele work…. maybe a macro dx? could be a nice street photography lens also…

    Maybe nikon is aiming for a holy trinity of light-weight dx primes… 35mm, 85mm…. should a 12mm prime be next? If I was seriously interested in investing in dx glass I suppose they would be interesting… but i’m set for fx myself.

    • somebody already mentioned it – Macro is the key in this patent

  • Chris_M

    If it’s much cheaper than the f/1.8 AF-D, I would buy this kind of lens. Right away.

  • Dweeb

    That’s an awful lot of elements for a slow 85.

    • Anonymous

      you are right

    • Desinderlase

      That’s why it’s slow

    • iamlucky13

      I count 14 elements…same as the 105 F/2.8 AF-S. All those elements are for correcting distortions and whatnot. Interestingly, however, the 105mm has 12 groups, compared to 5 shown for this 85mm.

      I’m a little disappointed by the F/3.5 spec. DX already loses a little shallow DOF ability over FX, and half a stop less won’t help that, which will cut down slightly on the portrait utility. However, if it’s $300 or less, it will be hard to complain, as it will be be under-selling the “cheap” macros from third party makers, but with the Nikkor name.

      “An internal focus type macro lens having an IMAGE BLUR correction function has been proposed”

      Is “Image blur correction” the generic term they use in patents for VR?

  • 芽依

    another dx lens !

    • heartyfisher

      Yay !!

  • nobody

    15 elements in 5 groups for a slow prime? That doesn’t sound plausible.

    • Mark

      Isn’t it more like 25 elements? I do not think I have ever seen a prime lens (in any brand or format) with so many elements. I can’t think of any special reasons why there should be so many elements in a prime lens.

      • frankchn

        25 surfaces, not elements.

    • mike

      I count 14 elements in 10 groups. Including whatever it is at “S” (iris diaphragm?), that adds up to 25 surfaces.

  • Daf

    If it ain’t 2.8 or below – I ain’t buying it.

    (plus I’m going to stop buying DX now anyway – “just in case” I upgrade soon)

    • Anonymous

      we dont really care about your personal thought ( at least this kind of …im im willing ….etc..) i think the most important think here is the amount of the elements…

      • Daf

        Oh the irony

  • Andy

    I am guessing this is really a very fast lens, f2-ish or below. Or do they HAVE to state the exact speed in the patent?


    • frankchn

      Even the fastest 85mm lens (the Canon EF 85/1.2L II) only has 8 elements. This must be something special.

    • Astrophotographer

      The patent has FNO=3.5

      This is a macro.

  • maybe it’s the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ?? πŸ˜€

    as Dweeb previously said, that a lot of elements for a 85 3.5 lens.

  • Jay

    Just what is so special about an f3.5 prime? The 85mm f1.8 is a great lens, and unless you’re using an entry-class body, AF isn’t an issue.

    Not interested unless there is something VERY special about this lens.

    • Chris Lilley

      Its amazing that everyone is so hung up on aperture, as if ultrafast lenses with lots of glow and other aberrations etc for gimicky low DOF portraits were the only application for a prime lens.

      Macro shots are of course taken at f/8 to f/11 to try and get most of the subject in focus – you folks do realise that, right?

      And yes, its a lot of elements. Even my CV 90/3.5 (which has far less axial CA than the Nikkor 85/1.4) has only 6 elements in 5 groups. And its APO, which this one does not seem to claim to be?

      Of course, some elements here are used for the VR. Which, as Micro 105/2.8 VR owners know, is rarely useful for macro …

      • Jay

        Not hung up on aperture. At the time of my post, hadn’t seen anything to really discuss macro capability. You have to admit, adding a new 85mm that is slower than the existing 2 lenses is less than exciting, without the macro capability. If it is an 85mm Micro Nikkor, then my interest went from none to “possibly add to my bag”. But, so far, I haven’t needed to add more macro capability than I already have.

  • Daf

    Agreed on that being a LOT of glass!

    85mm 1.8 only has 6:

    …Ok you got us curious now….

  • Joe R

    Like most, I’ll agree that f/3.5 is too slow for a prime. However, if it’s cheap (sub $200) and tack sharp at f/4, I’d snatch one up.

    The problem is that 85mm @ f/3.5 is covered by a lot of current DX lenses. That many elements for such a “simple’ product seems fishy.

    Maybe it’s VRIII with 6 stops of stabilization. Maybe it can focus inside of the front element.

    Maybe it’s a super cheap next lens after a 30mm f/1.8 and 50mm f1.8 for DX users. It seems Nikon are trying to get serious P&Sers to get over the an SLR system with a low cost of entry.

    • sooperkuh

      This can’t be a super cheap lens, it’s got 25 f*in elements!

      This must be something very special, and probably very very expensive, even at 3.5.

      • sooperkuh

        Sorry, 25 surfaces. That’s a lot of glass nevertheless!

        • Joe R

          Cheapo 55-200 has 13 elements
          Crappy 70-300 has 13 elements
          crappy 18-105 has 15 elements

          Lots of glass doesn’t mean expensive, however if it’s a good 85mm Macro it’ll probabaly still be $600+

  • alex

    in that patent link where does it say f/3.5? i can’t see where you get the idea of f/3.5

    • Astrophotographer

      FNO = 3.6
      Lens designers are loose with the f-number.

      • Anonymous

        Well, actually they’re more accurate. The “actual” number would be 3.56… Though if you break it down to one digit behind the dot, it should rather be 3.6 than 3.5.

  • bob

    Is this the 3-D VR lens Nikon has hinted about? According to the patent application, Nikon states at least 2 vibrating elements.

    In any event, it reads like some special type of VR, but I haven’t read other patent apps, so this is pure speculation, of course.

    • Craig Grunwell

      Mmmm.. vibrating elements. πŸ™‚

      • WoutK89

        This lens will be marketed at lonely women? πŸ˜›

  • frankchn

    I quote the patent application:

    “An internal focus type macro lens having an image blur correction function has been proposed” – an IF VR Macro lens.

    “However in the case of a conventional lens, the entire lens system is relatively large, and the lens group to be moved for image blur correction is also relatively large.” – Small-ish packaging?

    “In the imaging lens of the present embodiment, the focal length, converted to 35 mm film size, is about 100 to 135 mm.” – 65mm to 90mm (100-135mm 35mm eqv) focal length.

    • frankchn

      Group 4 is apparently the VR group as well.

    • I think you nailed it – “MACRO” is the key and they said it in the patent – this will explain the number of elements

      • PHB

        OK, this is something I have a hack version of in the basement, a CNC controlled macro lens. This is really big.

        The F stop is irrelevant for this type of macro lens. The depth of field is going to be minuscule anyway at 1:1 or better. F stop number is seriously reduced at close focusing distances anyway.

        What I think they have here is a lens that has the ability to sweep through a range of focal distances under computer/camera control. It will probably require either an update to the camera firmware or external computer control.

        So you set the lens up to shoot a fly’s eye or whatever, and you end up with a DOF of some fraction of a mm. And then you tell the camera to shoot a series of RAW files sweeping through the focal distances to give you DOF of a few cm. And then you shoot them into Photoshop and use the extended DOF feature.

        If you are whining about it not being FX you don’t understand the purpose of this lens. Macro work required DX – period.

  • getanalogue

    Hi NR Admin, it’s time to say thanky, always a great job!
    I think this is a very interesting patent. It’s proving that Nikon will not give up DX format, but extending the lens offering. Until now, more DX lenses were launched than ones for FX! What does this tell to us: A D400 to be launched having sensational picture quality? Actually, no DX lenses are outperforming DX camera’s sensors resolution yet. If Nikon is continuing to go this way, we might see a 17 MP D400 and high ISO noise comparable to D3x? And MX coming? The Nikon guys made an immense effort to beat Canon, and they are on the way to spoil the advantage just succeeded to have. They always need a while for new products, but if they are coming out with something, it would be a burner!

  • ken

    looks like there is something interesting hidden in this patent:

    • frankchn

      I think this is just for completeness sake – just in case Nikon decides to go for a mirror-less design sometime in the future.

  • liels

    There are only three things possibly interesting about this lens given the 105mm AFS VR micro is a great micro/sometimes portrait lens.

    1- It’s dirt cheap
    2- The VR works much better than “normal” VR for micro work (current VR is near useless for micro)
    3- It can be used on a non-SLR APS sensor (!!!!)

  • rhlpetrus

    It’s 14 lenses in 5 groups, not 15 or 25 lenses as some have posted. Anyway, there must be some new aspect to this lens, since it’s a lot of elements for a slow prime.

    • frankchn

      14 elements in 10 optical groups (the 5 groups in the patents are functional groups). The 105VR Micro-N has 14 elements in 12 optical groups.

    • nobody

      no matter how often I count, it remains 15 lenses (-:

      • Roger Moore

        Count the labels (e.g. L23) rather than looking at the picture and trying to figure out what’s a lens and what isn’t. There’s a gap between L21 and L22 that looks like an extra element but is actually just air. Those gaps are sometimes called “air lenses”, because designers can think of them as lenses with a nd. of 1.00 and zero dispersion.

  • Anonymous

    Even though there’s VR in the nikkor 105 VR micro, it’s useless for macro work. Perhaps, this new lens provides VR for hand-held/no-tripod macro work ?

  • Looks like a small, inexpensive, high-quality macro for DX. Some of the extra elements are probably because of CRC, although I’m hoping that Nikon has some other tricks up its sleeve for this one. I was hoping to see something like DC in the patent, but I can’t decipher the language. Does anyone have a link to one of the DC lens patents for comparison?

    It would be a welcome addition to the lineup if it’s under $500.

  • pulu

    what i don’t get is why they would make a high mag macro lens for DX cameras… isn’t this a professional application? it just seems a little out of character.

    • WoutK89

      How about bringing pro-app. to the consumers πŸ˜‰

    • Jon Paul

      DX is actually well-suited for macro work, where resolution is crucial. The D300/D300s has the resolution of a D3x’s sensor (with a smaller area, though) at about a fourth the price.

    • Roger Moore

      No, macro photography is not just for pros. It’s a very popular among amateurs. If you look at the production figures from Roland Vink’s site (http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html), you can see that the 60/2.8 and 105/2.8 micro are among Nikon’s biggest selling primes. I’d bet that an inexpensive DX micro would sell like hotcakes.

      • pulu

        i never said it was just for pros, but nikon tends to gear things toward pro users when there is a pro application, and high mag macro is pretty specialized stuff. that doesn’t mean there aren’t amateurs who do it, but it does mean when there *are* amateurs they are using pro equipment.

      • Cesar

        If that’s the case there are plenty of 3rd party lenses to choose from that are excellent (tamron 90mm anyone?).

  • I would rather have a 200mm f/2.8 VRII Nano MACRO please!

    • Joe R

      …that would be en entirely different class of lens.

      • Yes, USABLE one for sure! πŸ˜€

        Who needs yet another macro in between 60mm and 105mm?!? Nobody did in the past, so…

        • mike

          Not usable to me. It’d be way too big, heavy, and expensive. If they can get the minimum focus distance over 30cm this could be quite neat. Also, an 85mm DX micro serves the same purpose as a 135mm macro with 35mm film. In a practical sense, the 85 is a bit better since it would focus closer than the 135 would.

      • WoutK89

        very true, since the old 200 was just f/4, I dont think Nikon will ever go 2.8 on the 200 Macro

    • Anonymous

      Why are you pointing a 200 Macro lens at the sun (re: nano coat)?

      • Haha, to get macro shots of black spots. πŸ˜€

        Seriously, they can skip Nano, just put VR and f/2.8 on 200mm and we would have nature photographers wet dreams come true. πŸ˜€

  • shivas

    i still don’t get the point of this lens, but cool, I guess??!!

  • cyron


    could it be a lens for filming with special filming VR? Then it put together with the new D300s!

    I have no film DSLR, but is VR working fine in Moviemode?

    • Jon Paul

      Yeah, the VR works well in movie mode.

  • Cesar

    Couldn’t they make it f/5.6? f/3.5 seems way too fast for me!

    • WoutK89

      hehe, good one, finally someone that understands me πŸ˜€ rofl

    • Jon Paul

      Is your last name Slowski? πŸ˜‰

  • Roger

    A few things…

    Canon’s 180 macro has a max ap of 3.5, so this would be nothing new for a macro, just shorter when you take the equiv of 127.5mm.

    However, you have to remember Canon’s July announcement, which was that they are building a lens with a new IS system designed for MACRO……Nikon must be working on the same improvements to the VR system.

  • Jim Richardson

    I think this is something else entirely. I wouldn’t be surprised if all these elements and moving elements are intended to allow the camera and lens to work together so that you can do several images (simultaneously or nearly simultaneously) that will then be software “stitched” or “melded” into one image with huge depth of field. You can do that now with multiple images taken at different focus depths, then software slice for just the sharp parts and make very deep depth of field images.

    By the way, it’s not 25 elements, those lines are going to the glass surfaces, not counting elements, so the actual count on elements is 15 (or so, didn’t get out my magnifying glass.)

    • Anonymous

      Wow, put down the spliff.

      • RThomas

        This sort of “infinite focus” trick is actually very interesting; combined with other stitching methods and HDR, it really opens up new ways of seeing. Google it if you think it’s just a hallucination.

        I would be pleased if the VR function was just redesigned to deal with the sort of focus error found in handheld macro work (where the camera moves forward and backward, which is why I current take several frames when doing hand held macro, even though I do pay attention to DOF and focus).

        If it turns out to be capable of working in real time to capture multiple focus points for post-processing, that will be really impressive. You could do this now, of course, but it would involve manual focus control all the way.

  • WoutK89

    Does the patent say anything on Nano coating to one of the elements? Another cost saving next to the aperture and DX? Like said before, when this lens has a new price of under 500 dollar (to me that would be in euro) it will definitely make me consider this lens. I am not in need of a lens that has a bigger aperture, since most of my photos are in bright daylight or with a flash, and for portraits I already have the 50 1.4 AFS

    • Roger Moore

      The patent doesn’t talk about coatings at all, since they aren’t really related to the design features that make it patentable. There’s no obvious way to tell if Nikon is thinking about nano coating.

      • WoutK89

        Thanks for the response!

  • Brett

    It most definitely is a Maco lens. The additional elements suggests a few possible enahncements.

    1) Native Super Macro Support : 2:1 (wishful)
    2) VR with support for Focus correction. ie detecting camera shake and automatically adjusting the focus to keep the shallow depth of field in focus. Would be awsome for handheld maco photograpphy.

    F3.5 is a non-issue for macro. Most macro is shot at F16 or higher. Controlling the focus and depth of field is what is most important.

    • Anonymous

      I like this, but yeah, wishful thinking.

    • Roger Moore

      It doesn’t look as though the lens could support a magnification greater than life size. The lens focuses by moving the 2nd and 3rd group together and toward the aperture stop. The listed distances at 1:1 magnification indicate that the moving groups are already very close together. They’d bump into each other well before you’d get to twice life size.

    • Henke

      “Most macro is shot at F16 or higher. Controlling the focus and depth of field is what is most important.”

      When you say this, do you mean f/16 in effective aperture or as labelled on for example aperture rings?

      I do most of my macro work with extension rings and f-number (as read on the aperture ring) smaller than that to avoid extreme diffraction, although the extensions change the effective aperture.


    I don’t see the need for a DX 85mm micro lens when the 60mm amd 105mm would work just as fine. This lens just seems very silly.

    • Mike

      Yes and no. If it runs for 500$ than this is a pretty dumb way to spend R&D money. If it’s somewhere between 200-300$ I think it’ll pay for the next 2 years worth of pro-glass releases πŸ˜‰

      • shivas


        If it’s cheap, I’ll hop on board. . .been wanting a macro lens for awhile and have been waiting it out. . .still not sure about f/3.5.

        I’d like to be able to control DoF, and losing 2.8 and 3.2 is quite a bit. . .

        But if it comes out at $199, I’d have a tough time NOT to get it. . .the 35 1.8 has been a GEM in my bag. . .

    • wetnikon

      I can see the purpose of it.
      This could be a very interesting lens for underwater photography in poor visibility. The 105 VR is amazing but the focal length is just a little too long for these conditions

    • mike

      The 60mm micro is useless for macros. The working distance is 2″, without the hood installed. When you put the hood on, there’s basically no working distance. I really don’t see the point of that lens. Tamron’s 60/2 macro looks like a much more interesting lens, whenever they finally start selling them.

  • JAY

    god another dx lens… DX Sucks…. just like EF-S lenses suck FF 4eva!!! NIKON MAKE MORE FF LENSES!!!

    • wetnikon

      at least one very intellectual post…

  • Astrophotographer

    My take on this new macro is that it has a new super VR. It refers to a high “vibration proof coefficient”. That is also the likely reason for the relatively show aperture, to keep aberration down in conjunction with VR group’s significant off axis movement.

  • A new Nikon fanboy

    A cheap, lightweight macro lens would suit me fine.

  • geoff

    When I put my Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 AF-D lens on my D200, f/3.5 ends up being the largest aperture for anything closer than infinity. That is, it only hits f/2.8 when focused at infinity. My guess is that this new lens is actually a Micro-Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/2.8 DX VRII. Would make for an interesting lens!

  • Anonymous

    dx lenses only make sense when it comes to wide angle lenses imo and don’t know why Nikon would release such a limiting lens on FF bodies.

  • Thuan Nguyen

    I hope its price will not exceed 400 USD $. It should also support Movie Shooters.

  • Birdman

    It’s the wide end configuration of the new 85-400 3.5-5.6 VR.
    The macro stuff is just some patenting related legal manuevering

    • jo momma

      You believe or you know? Estimated price?

  • funny

    well, if true, sad for nikon. an 85mm plain f/3.5 prime is a joke, so maybe the redeeming factor is the macro. it better be good since there is already two excellent AFS macros as well as some fantastic classics.

  • Anonymous

    is there any way to find out the magnification of this lens? Is it 1:1? Could it be better than 1:1?
    Canon have that 65mm macro that does 5x macro – could this be a similar thing from Nikon? That would be awesome, though probably just wishful thinking.

    • Daf

      Interesting suggestion.

      But as others have hinted to – I’d find it unlikely that they’d make such a specialist lens DX rather than FF. Unless of course it’s price would skyrocket if it had to be FF.

    • Roger Moore

      It’s 1:1. The tables in the patent show inter-lens distances at three focus distances: infinity, 0.5x, and 1.0x. At 1:1 magnification, the two moving groups are almost bumping into the aperture stop, so there’s no room to go any higher.

  • Jim Richardson

    I think there is a very simple point here. You don’t need 15 or 16 elements to make a conventional 85mm f3.5 Macro (Micro). So…. something else is going on. Probably don’t need that many elements to make effective VR either. So… something else is going on. One clue might be that they referred to the focal length as being effectively between 100mm and 135mm. What? They couldn’t multiply 85mm times 1.5 and come up with 127.5mm? Something else is going on. For that matter, why do you need a “patent” to make an 85mm f3.5 macro lens?

    The interesting question (and answer) is going to be: Why would you use 15 or 16 elements to make a very modest macro lens? My guess is because you trying to do something nobody has thought of doing before. Something even your customers don’t know they want yet. What might that be?

    • jo momma

      Effective focal length can change with internal focusing lenses. Wow: a clue! It’s an IF lens. What a surprise! πŸ˜‰

  • MW

    With much elements and Macro (but it is f3.5), I hope the price can be low, but i doubt it, it would probably hitting the 650 mark

  • Wow! A lot of knowledgeable people here – Nikon should look here to fill their engineering positions πŸ™‚

  • It would certainly get me exited with a nice and low price tag for an entry macro lens (sub 400 USD) – otherwise, i’ll stick with used FX macro lenses.

  • Anonymous

    it reminds me of: http://i28.tinypic.com/f2j9lh.gif πŸ˜‰

    • What is that? A leak for a new Nikon lens?

  • heartyfisher

    Lets list some facts and then try to extrpolate.
    * The current nikkor micro for many dx users is the 60mm.. with 50mm working space
    * the new tamron 60mm F2.0 has 100mm working space.
    * The old tamron 90 has only 100mm working space ans changes length while focusing.
    * The 105 vr may be too expensive for some consumer dx users.
    * VR does not work well in macro ranges.

    So a new dx 85mm micro nikkor with say 120mm working space would be most welcome to the dx shooters. If its IF and does not change length then so much the better. If its got VR then thats surely even better. and it will probably be cheaper than the 105 VR. F3.5 in macro ranges is more than enough. You are shooting at at least F5.6 mostly anyway and more likely at F11 and more to get good DOF.

  • Cesar

    Canon has this new technique that acts as VR, not sideways but in the focal plane (am I telling this correct?). That would be marvellous for macro, because the slightest movement towards or from your subject and you loose your sharpness. Maybe this is the same thing but for Nikon! (I’m still not very interested but I guess a lot of people are)

  • Ken Elliott

    This could be a really cool lens for DX macro shooters. Sure, I wish it was FX, but I’ve got the 105mm for that. Let’s not forget this forum’s reaction to the 35mm f/1.8 DX – everyone complained that it made no sense to be DX only. But it turned out to be a big seller, so perhaps Nikon knows it’s market better than we do.

    I’m pretty sure Nikon will continue to build a full line of DX lenses aimed at cost-effective good performance, while building a line of FX lenses that are fast, sharp, and with little regard to cost.

    Let’s face it – the sub-FF market is where most of the sales are. To stay in business, you have to do well in that market. So if this lens helps keep Nikon healthy and makes the DX shooters happy, I’m all for it. Just don’t forget to update the 85mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.2 and the 80-400mm VR, please. I’m willing to be patient, since I already have the current versions of these lenses.

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