Nikon’s patents for the week (Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 VR)

Some readers have already noticed that patent 20090244724 is for a 85mm f/1.4 lens with VR:


For comparison, the current Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 model:


According to the patent application this lens will have VR:

“A lens group or a portion of a lens group may be shifted in a direction perpendicular to the optical axis as a vibration reduction lens group for correcting an image blur caused by a camera shake. It is particularly preferable that at least a portion of the second lens group or the third lens group is used as a vibration reduction lens group.”

There was also a Nikon patent for a 85mm f/3.5 VR lens in a DX version. Here is the full list of Nikon's patents that were published (to the public) this week. Any comments and interpretations are welcome:

20090244503 Exposure apparatus, device manufacturing method, maintenance method, and exposure method
20090244459 Liquid crystal panel, display, and projector
20090243984 Liquid crystal panel, liquid crystal panel device, display device, and projector
20090243970 Head mount display
20090243967 Head mount display
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  • NikoDoby

    So who wants my money to reserve a pre-order on this lens?

    • Anonymous

      I’ll take it!

      • NikoDoby

        email sent !

    • Zograf

      This is not a new lens!! Nikon simply decided now to patent the design? It is Identical to what it has been sold for 10 or more years. Why should one pre-order it. Just go to Adorama or B&H Photo and buy it …
      Time and again I see people exited of Nikon patenting some optical design. Whatever Nikon patents in US is minimum 3 years old, so, no chance to see something forthcoming related to the publication!!!!!!!

      • Zograf, I do not agree – look at this table (at the bottom of the post):

        There is a pattern between filing for a patent and the official release (of course not 100% accurate, but still good enough for a rumor site).

      • f/2.8

        Zograf, this is a rumor mill. Even if you believed in/agreed with a “rumor” mentioned here, it is still a rumor. This advice tho. is real. Bwah ha ha….

  • PTG

    The second patent comprises some zoom lenses with VR. They give an impression of what the numbers 18, 105, 135 and 5.6 really mean:
    first example: f = 18.4 ~ 55.0 ~ 102.5 FNO = 3.5 ~ 4.7 ~ 5.8
    third example: f = 18.4 ~ 54.0 ~ 102.5 FNO = 3.7 ~ 5.1 ~ 5.9
    fourth example: f = 18.4 ~ 56.3 ~ 131.2 FNO = 3.7 ~ 5.1 ~ 5.8
    fifth example: f = 16.4 ~ 55.0 ~ 102.0 FNO = 3.6 ~ 5.1 ~ 5.8

  • Astrophotographer

    I bet this will be announced with the D3s. The timing is right. and this is a minor update, design wise, to the current one. I don’t think Nikon would seek a patent one a minor change unless they meant to release it.

    • nobody

      1.These are standard zooms, f3.5-5.6, with short end 16 or 18mm, long end 105 or 135mm.

      2.Image hight is 14mm, so image circle is 28mm, which means these a DX lenses.

      3.They have 3 aspherical surfaces, so that is not the current 18-105 DX lens.

      4.Nikon claim very good image quality.

      • Astrophotographer

        I’m referring to the 85mm f1.4.

        The other patent pertains to DX zoom lens designs which they issue regularly.

  • WoutK89

    Head mounted display, where did we hear that one before? 😉

    • Nikon seems to be very persistent in that area and they already released such a product. I guess they see a potential in the future for this type of technology.

      • WoutK89

        Leica M9 in Nikon style (is that the so called SP?), viewfinder is electronic, through a head mounted display?

      • GlobalyGuy

        A wireless “Live View” held to the artists eye as a kind of mobile “view-finder” is a legitimate and potentially profitable evolution from the fixed view-finders of today. Keep in mind that that screen quality continues to vastly improve — Nikon is looking quite ahead, but i think they are on to something. This wouldnt be that great for most professional work — but for some angles, it would be amazing, and better than a swivel LCD. For instance, when holding the camera up over your head in a crowd. Even a removable LCD panel would not be as convenient as something you could wear. That being said, there is the huuuuuge dork factor….

  • Anonymous

    85mm f1.4 VR — sweet!

    • PHB

      More importantly, looks like it is pretty near identical to the cream machine. So we can be pretty confident that the 85mm f/1.4 replacement is not going to be a step backwards in terms of quality as some have feared.

      Basically the only two possibilities are no new lens or one that is at least as good. Since we know that Nikon will be converting every lens to AFS (except maybe odments like the 80-200 and possibly 80-400 if the replacement is much more expensive to make), there has to be an 85mm f/1.4 AFS sooner or later.

      Unfortunately, the patent tells us nothing about timing. Its all a question of when the production slots open up, whether the assembly lines can make the lens and whether marketing think this one is the priority.

      I don’t see the point of a DX lens at this focal length. Its a telephoto design so there should be no real difficult with coverage. So what the 85mm f/1.8 DX is about is a little bit of a mystery to me.

      A wide angle DX prime is a no brainer. Getting coverage on a wide angle needs a lot of glass.

      If the lens is real, and they hit the production target my bet would be that the D3s launches with the 100-500mm zoom and that it is used to showcase the VRIII feature. It would be paparazzi heaven.

      • bla

        [quote]Since we know that Nikon will be converting every lens to AFS [/quote]

        But we don’t. Maybe somebody assumed. See for example the lenses that never came from MF to AF, and yet stayed available (50 f/1.2, 35 f/1.4). So, why would ALL primes go AF-S?

    • Tobi

      Actually the 85 1.4 .. ? I DONT SEE NO VR BITS!

      • WoutK89

        @ PHB: I am not sure that VRIII is real, I saw this ‘flashlight’ lens a long way back already, I think it was around the launch of the D80.

        @ Tobi: Read on below in the comments, its there!

    • Jose

      All prior lenses have required additional lens elements to perform the VR function. Since this 85mm design does not have additional elements compared to the previous one, I would say it has no VR.

      • Joe R

        What’s the real world benefit to VR on a 1.4 lens? Assuming it gets real sharp at 2.0 or 2.8, which would be a nice portrait setup, what’s the benefit to VR?

        I would like to see VR compensate for Z-axis drift for things like shooting macro at 2.0 or 2.8. That would be snazzy. I assume it could be faster to react than AFS for shifting an element group.

        • Jose

          Hmm, if by Z-axis you mean movement on the lens longitudinal axis, that would be the trickiest one. You are essentially moving the sensor out of the image plane where the lens is supposed to focus. Care to develop your idea further?

  • nobody

    Regarding the zoom lens system:

    1. These are standard zooms, f3.5-5.6, with short end 16 or 18mm, long end 105 or 135mm.

    2. Image hight is 14mm, so image circle is 28mm, which means these are DX lenses.

    3. They have 3 aspherical surfaces, so that is not the current 18-105 DX lens.

    4. Nikon claim very good image quality.

    Admin, please delete my previous post, and please give us an edit function! Thanks!

    • WoutK89

      Hehe, +1 😀

  • Alex


  • funny

    that 85 1.4 looks pretty much identical to the current one as far as element count and basic shape goes. the differences of spacing and mountings cannot be read as proof that it is new because patent drawings aren’t necessarily (nor do they have to) be true 1:1 prototype replicas.

    are you sure this isn’t just a patent for the D lens?

    Unless nikon decided to keep the optical formula the same (and I can see why because a lot of people love the bokeh of the D type), one would expect to see different element groupings and counts on a new design.

    • WoutK89

      Let’s look for the VR mentioned in the patent

      • nobody

        [0210]A lens group or a portion of a lens group may be shifted in a direction perpendicular to the optical axis as a vibration reduction lens group for correcting an image blur caused by a camera shake. It is particularly preferable that at least a portion of the second lens group or the third lens group is used as a vibration reduction lens group.

        • WoutK89

          hehe, I was just gonna do the same 😛

        • WoutK89

          [0209]The focusing lens group(s) may be used for auto focus, and suitable for being driven by a motor such as an ultrasonic motor.


          [0213]An antireflection coating having high transmittance over a broad wavelength range may be applied to each lens surface to reduce flare or ghost images, so that high optical performance with a high contrast can be attained.

          Nano coating?

    • It doesn’t make sense to file a patent for a lens that has been around for a while – the patent was filed Feb 25th, 2009.

      • NikoDoby

        Maybe they just realized they never filed a patent 🙂 D’Oh

        • GlobalyGuy

          Nikon needs AF-S for their most important lenses, because Nikon is introducing so many bodies that –cannot accept– non-AF-S lenses.

    • PHB

      A patent has to be applied for before the product is released in most parts of the world. In the US the application can be made up to a year after the product launch. Ergo this is a new lens, not the old one.

  • kristupa saragih

    waow…AF-S 85/1.4 Finally….is there ED glass in there?

  • jon

    The lens I’ve been dreaming about, 85 1.4 VR ! Will definitely buy it, gussing probably will be in the $1200 – $1400 price range. Now if they could just add VR to a new 24-70…

    • WoutK89

      I guess 85/1.4 VR will more be 1600-1800

      And they will not release a 24-70 with VR soon I guess, the other lens is only 2 years old

    • bla

      Wow, maybe drink less coffee if you need VR so desperately on short lenses.

      • Joe R

        @bla, I don’t know if you said that in jest, but it’s true.

        I have, on more than one occasion, wished I didn’t drink as much coffee. You can lose 3-5 stops hand-holding!

  • Crabby

    Admin: Posting mentions an f/3.5 85mm DX lens also being patented. Is this a reference to the f/3.5 85mm DX *macro* lens, the patent for which was discussed here a while ago? Regardless, will this lens be suitable for portraits?

    • yes, same one but I am not sure if it will make sense to release a DX lens with the D3s

  • chris

    85mm 1.4 is already perfert. When we will see a 35mm 1.4 or other fast prime?

    • GlobalyGuy

      No its not. 85 1.4 can use VR. As can the 24-70G. I am pretty sure that Nikon held off on the VR for the 24-70, because it could add it later when VR is slightly smaller and consider it an “upgrade”. Notice that similar DX lenses HAVE VR, so this is one part where FX suffered.

      Let’s not pretend that the 85 is perfect. It needs more optical clarity for the new digital megapixels — “the center” is never enough on FX — out there and VR would make me snap it up.

      As for 35 1.4 — they need a 28/1.4 first… heck, a 28/1.8..something around there.

      35 just isn’t wide enough. And 24 can sometimes be too wide (scrunching people up too much). 28 always feels about right when trying to get it all in and still keeping things in a proportion that the brain feels comfortable with. 24 or shorter tends to make every room look like a warehouse. And 35 doesn’t give you any elbow room. (When using the 24-70, i always go wider than 35, but tend to be a tad longer than 24.)

      I really wish they had made a 28 or even 35 prior to making the 50mm though. 50mm just cuts you off, in-doors, and forces your back up against a wall, way too much.

      GET THAT 85, NIKON — and then hurry up and get a 35, 30, 28, or 24 already. Slackers.

      • mike

        The DX equivalent with VR is the 18-55, a kit lens. None of the pro wide-angle stuff has VR, regardless of whether it is DX or FX. On FX, the amateur 24-120 also has VR, not that it’s a popular lens.

        As for the 28/1.4, they had one before; you can still buy them on ebay. One can only assume that they don’t make them anymore because no one wants to pay >$2k for a 28mm prime (it was $1800 back when it was still being manufactured). Maybe they will start making more wide f1.4 glass to regain parity with Canon’s lens lineup, but I doubt they will be money makers (may even be money losers … ).

  • grumps

    85mm 1.4G AF-S…. well it’s about time, now I could just do with a fast 24mm prime, and fingers-crossed for an improved 50mm. (It’s okay not great!)
    Someone mentioned the M9 Leica, I can definately see a market for Nikon version if they can make lenses just a good in a small form factor, I’d pay for it! Especially since my back went out from carrying too much equipment. 🙁

    • Jim

      didn’t we just get an improved 50mm?

      • Anonymous

        What’s the problem with the 50mm 1.4D ? It has never disappointed me. Why replace what already works? Just so that there’s something new to buy?


        • grumps

          “What’s the problem with the 50mm 1.4D ?”
          Well didn’t they release the AF-S version too…
          Sorry, but there are people who demand something better all the time in there field and not so much in others, sometimes there may just be no improvements to be made.
          It’s no big deal, it’s good but not great! Nikon have definately released some great products and others are just good.

  • jose

    What I want is a Nikon 24~135 2.8 VRll or lll with everything inside like: AF-S, ED glass elements, super integrated coating, nano crystal coat, internal focusing, manual & auto focus mode, rounded 9-blade diaphragm and extra features that I have thought of which will produce never seen sharp images. I have the design, they have to pay.

    • WoutK89

      Why do they have to pay you, where is your filed patent? 😉

    • Jim

      24-135mm f2.8? That is quite a range for a f2.8. Sounds like it should be an f4

      • bla

        And sure this guy was serious…. doh.

    • Anonymous

      Are you for real??????

    • Jose

      Guess this baby would weight 3.5-4 pounds and cost $3-3.5k. Good luck with your wish…

  • Mark Rosen

    Just to clarify a point, these are published patent applications, not issued patents. They may issue or may never issue at all. Even if they do issue, the claims may well be different from what’s printed in the published application.

  • eval nx2.4

    what i really want is AF-S 35mm f/1.4 full frame lens with or without Vr.

    • WoutK89

      If Nikon makes a 16-35 VR lens, then I dont know if they will add VR to the prime version too but would be nice to see a ‘hybrid-IS’ type of thing in a Nikon lens, especially with a shallow depth of field

  • Alain2x

    A nice cut view of a 85/1,4 IF

    Maybe G and AF-S, but who’s talking of a VR ?

    Do you see any VR in it ?

    I don’t

    • WoutK89

      It is there, read the patent!

    • Joe R

      I think G is a given.

  • rhodium

    The only thing I worry about for the 85mm f/1.4 update is that its design will very likely be in the vein of the newer Nikon lenses – that is to say, horrible. I do not doubt that the optical quality will be anything short of excellent, but I just hope they don’t screw up the design like they did with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4…

    • WoutK89

      Whats wrong with that design? :-O I think it is looking like it should, or do you mean gold banded?

      • rhodium

        I was hoping for a more substantial build, not that dinky little thing… but that’s just personal taste =P as long as it works fine, I don’t really mind.

    • Kwartjuh

      as far as i see it, Nikon has finally come up with a distinguishable lens notation like canon’s ‘L’ type: Its Nikon ‘N’ type. In the future, any professional lens will be ‘N’ type.
      The 50 AF-S is not N type, so build quality is mediocre. AF speed laks a bit due to the lens design i think. I think is hard to put a fast-pased AF-S motor in a lens body as small as the 50.

      • WoutK89

        its not the size of the body, but the very thin depth of field why they chose for a ‘slow’ AF-s, and this lens is mostly used with portraiture on FX so no need for super fast AF

        • f/2.8

          I could already hear the whining… Sigh.

      • Anonymous

        wrong. N stands for nano coat. Nikon neither wants nor needs silly L designations. THeir pro line matches or exceeds any L and nikon pros dont need help spotting nikon’s pro line. to spot nikons top glass, look at the price.

        • bla

          You’re almost right. But it’s not the price that gives it away. There are some very affordable top lenses too, some of which in some countries are covered under NPS warranties (i.e. 85 f/1.8, 50 f/1.4) – and so regarded “pro” enough.

          With Nikon, you just know. Or you don’t.

      • Anonymous

        35mm afs is smaller and faster. the 50mm afs does not have mediocre quality. the long focus ring rotation is great for close focus tweaks wide open. nikon no longer makes all metal lenses. like canon and others they use plastic and composite materials. this makes for lighter gear

        • BillyBobJohnson

          Well I for one don’t want a plastic crap lens with limited durability. And as for those whiners who go on and on about weight – get yourself out more and get used to it or get to the gym or both.

          • mike

            Doesn’t matter how fit you are; the lighter the gear the more places you can take it. Look at Galen Rowell. No one could plausible suggest he wasn’t fit, but he always looked for the lightest gear that would get the job done.

  • robz

    Great, I’ve been waiting for this lens. I love the 85mmf/1.4D, but the AF-D lenses feel a bit clunky on my D3 and D3x (which BTW I think is an unbeatable system for the photography I do). Next on my lens wants list are AF-S versions of PC and DC lenses. Pretty please.

  • I just payed $1150 for an AF-D one.. I hope this new lens costs at least 1600 or else I’m going to be pissed…

    • bla

      Why? Does the AF-D not perform well enough to match its pricetag? If the new one comes, would your old one stop working? Will the new one be better, or just guessing away?

      Just be happy with what you have (–> a total classic top Nikkor) and enjoy the hell out of it. Why care for a lens that may or may not come.

      • rhodium

        I think he’ll be pissed because if it cost any less than 1600, he should have saved his money for the (newer) AF-S version.

    • GlobalyGuy

      You should have paid $800 dollars a year ago for it. Why don’t you just enjoy your lens and quit worrying about what other people pay. Nikon charges too much already (relative to any other lens manufacturer in the market), and we don’t need comments like this. Better and less expensive is the way technology is supposed to work. Not better and more expensive. If computers kept getting better but always cost more, then we’d be paying $20,000 bucks for our modern computers. Today you can get an entire laptop for $400 bucks that is better than the $15,000 computers a decade ago. Better AND cheaper is the way to go. Nikon isn’t following this rule at all. Even in better economic times they dont follow this rule, which is pretty annoying.

      • BillyBobJohnson

        The 85/1.4D is a classic lens and has shown to be very durable due to it’s metal construction. I may be in a minority here, but I won’t be buying an updated version at any cost if it’s made from petroleum products.

        • rhodium

          YES! I’ve always loved the feel of those old lenses – holding those solid hunks of metal in your hands just feels so wonderful.

  • Would like see a modern 85 f1.4.
    Mrs Nikon, please..

  • sb900DX

    dose any one now anything about the date of publish for this amazing lens pleas ?

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