There is a patent for a new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.2G lens

After yesterday's rumor, a reader posted a link to a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.2GΒ patent on a Japanese site (English translation):

  • Focal length f = 51.63mm
  • Brightness F = 1.25
  • Overall length: 94.94mm optics

The patent was filed on July 2nd, 2008 and was published on January 21st, 2010. I could not find any reference to this lens in the US Patent Office - it seems that this patent was filed only in Japan (just a reminder that patents do not guarantee a future production version).

I am curious to know if the tips I received are based on this patent or they are coming from different channels.

UPDATE: for comparison, here is the lens diagram of the current Nikon 50mm f/1.2 Ai-S model (source: Nikon):

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  • id


  • Just FYi – when I wrote the first post yesterday about the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.2G lens, I was not aware of this patent. Yesterday’s post was based on some tips that I received in the past few days. I do not post every tip/rumor that I get, but for this one I had reasons to believe that it is plausible. I think today’s patent confirms that this lens is a real possibility. I still have very hard time believing that we will get this lens for PMA. I am still 99% sure the two lenses for PMA are the 24mm f1.4 and 16-35mm f/4 VR.

    • Is that an aspheric in there?

      • Roger Moore

        No. There are no aspherics in any of the example implementations in the patent filing. I assume that there would be if Nikon were planning on releasing a lens that included one.

        • Nikonfan

          FYI: its not necessary to show aspherical elements in these petents

    • My gut is telling me that if Nikon goes with an F/1.2 release it will be with a camera; I can’t see them releasing such a monumental lens without a new camera to stick it on (with low light capabilities) when they had a D3s less than 3 months ago.

  • Metavanguard

    It is a DX lens not an FX lens. All the physical size problems with the electronics not fitting into a F mount at f/1.2 exist only on FX not DX. Nikon can easily make a 50mm f/1.2 AFS VR DX lens. The image circle on a DX is much smaller and therefore doesn’t need as large a rear element. The 50mm f/1.2 AFS VR DX would be the perfect portrait lens for the D300s.

    • WoutK89

      Where do you read VR? All I see here is AF-S 50/1.2G

    • Paul

      I certainly hope it is not a DX lens.
      A 35mm f/1.2 or f/1.4 would be nice as well.

      • optimaforever

        the 35 AFS 1.4 fx is arriving too, according to the patent Nikon filed in 2009
        and it’s got VR!

        • Del-Uks

          VR on a 35mm… what for?

          • WoutK89

            For stabilization πŸ˜›

          • Del-Uks

            You mean Nikon is really considering Parkinson’s people as a potential market?
            C’mon, VR on a 35mm (even AFS) is useless and would make the lens unnecessary heavier than it should.

          • WoutK89

            Doesn’t marketing work different? πŸ˜‰ What seems logical may not seem so logical to them.

    • Jay

      what a waste if its a dx lens yuck.

    • huh

      that’s incorrect. an 1.2 AFS full frame can be done if nikon slightly reduces the thickness of the contact module for the electrical terminals. people who chip 1.2ais lenses have managed to add all cpu contacts needed for AFS and full aperture and metering simply using garate tools and using existing terminals. It is easier for nikon to make a 1.2AFS given they can engineer to spec the proper terminal node. This whole nikon can’t have 1.2 AFS is only true if they keep the curent thickness of the contact nodes. This node is overly thick in most lenses and for a lens of this kind it would be made thinner.

      • Roger Moore

        Nikon can- and it looks as though they have- help matters by cheating a tiny bit on the aperture. My understanding is that previous “f/1.2” lenses have been about f/1.20, which makes them a half stop faster than a f/1.4 lens. This one is f/1.25, which might be labeled as f/1.2 but is only 1/3 stop faster than a f/1.4 lens. That 1/6 stop difference is probably enough to let Nikon fit in a contact without having to shave it.

        • huh

          that’s possible. It’s not really cheating as much as a common practice in the lens industry to do convenient rounding. even f1.4 lenses may be 1.47 after they truncate the actual number for maketing. However, as far as engineering goes, Nikon has done harder things than design a slimmer contact module. Thus the main thing keeping such a lens from release would be market demand and not engineering problems.

          another trick which nikon has used for lenses like the NOCT is to make the rear most element not circular. It is more of an oval which allowed them to fit the old aperture arm. They may do something similar in in addition to a “shaved” contact module. Either way, looking at the current 1.4 AFS model, there is room for more glass even before reaching the current thick contact module.

          It is common practice to underestimate nikon. As a history lesson, people also “proved” nikon could not do an AF-S f/2 for the same reasons (at 200mm it was speculated that they simply couldn’t fit it all for even f/2 aperture) and if it was made, it would be DX, yet it was not really a problem for nikon in the end.

          do not underestimate these guys.

        • Dan


          Learn your stops.

          • WalterB

            In third stop increments, f/1.00,f/1.12, f/1.26, f/1.41. An f/1.25 is indeed 1/3rd stop faster than a true f/1.4.

            Learn your stops.

          • Jay

            red light = stop lol

    • Roger Moore

      It is not a DX lens. The patent lists an omega (half FOV) for every given configuration, and it’s always at least 23 degrees. That corresponds to a full FOV of at least 46 degrees, which is standard for a 50mm lens on FX. So all of the configurations listed in the patent would classify as FX lenses.

      FWIW, there are actually 7 example lenses given in the text of the patent with a range of f numbers. There are actually 4 versions of a f/1.4 lens, two versions of f/1.25 lenses, and one that’s a long backfocus f/2.1 design.

    • steve

      I think this “Can’t make a 1.2 lens for FX” stuff is crap. Unless you are a Nikon engineer trying to make one – you don’t know.

      If everyone acquiesced when someone else said: “Oh, it can’t be done.” There would be no innovation in this world. We would all be running around wearing animals skins and grunting.

      • Canon Fangirly

        That can’t be done.

        • Hans

          Grr gr grrrr

    • Adam

      Zzzzzz, enough with the DX primes already shall we.

      • WoutK89

        What DX prime? πŸ˜‰

    • it may not be full FX, but I can see other formats that the D3s (and maybe the D700v) shoots with using this lens. But to do that correctly the new cameras should be bumped a bit in resolution (18MP?) to allow a 10-12MP picture with this lens or it will be a no-go except with DX cameras.

      And considering the cost of this new lens (it won’t be cheap) it’s target customers will be FX shooters rather than DX users.

    • LOL

      yeah. whatever…keep dreaming

  • Mar

    One lens i dont care much….what about a AFS35 1.4?Seem more interesting.

    • Roger

      If Nikon really is working on a 50/1.2 AF, it would be a sign, along with the f/4 zooms and the 24/1.4 that they are on the right track and 35/1.4 is in the works.

  • bjokerud

    I’d buy a 50mm f/1.2. Give it to me!

  • Bruce

    The Japan Patent Office has no record of the patent publication number quoted in the blog posting – at least not using the public search tool – I just tried and it found no matching listing…

  • Bruce

    OK found the patent reference using a different search method:

    This could be a new NOCT…!!!

    • Zograf

      Aa, you hit the tune, yes indeed it could be the new NOCT but very likely without the aspherics? I’ve just looked at the ‘Mir’ web site – it shares the same flat front element and not so curved second negative group.

      • Roger Moore

        This design looks like one that’s intended to avoid the use of aspherics. Most ultra fast Gauss lens designs use 7 elements in 5 or 6 groups. The Noct, and many other designs that include aspherical elements, use the same basic approach but tweak it by making one of the elements aspherical.

        Nikon seems to be taking a different approach with their new fast 50s. The 50/1.4 G went to an 8/7 design, which replaced one thick, high curvature element with two thinner, lower curvature elements. The two thin elements add as much power to the lens as one thick one but they add fewer aberrations, which lets them avoid using an expensive aspheric. This design may be for a real lens, or it may just be part of a design study to see how well they can push the concept to a faster lens than the 50/1.4 G.

  • Bruce

    If last link doesn’t work try this one:

  • Bruce
    • What did you search for on this screen? I cannot locate that patent.

  • The statement: “I will have read the fine mackerel” says it all…. this one smells fishy!! Just kidding, I’ll take a new noct.

  • Mar

    UFFF ! There area lot of other lenses overdue to update than this one…..
    Whatever a AFS 35 1.4 could be more interesting.

  • Nikonuser

    FINALLY!!!!!!!The one lens I want most!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Nikon is listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bruce

    My Japanese isn’t good enough to verify… in retrospect this does NOT appear to be a NOCT although the English translation speaks of coma flare… by comparison here is a link to the NOCT Nikkor page (with lens group diagram) at Nikon Imaging…

    • Yeah the Noct Diagram looks closer to this new patent than the 50mm f/1.2.

  • Nikonuser

    Freak, this better be FX and not DX!

    • WoutK89

      Anyone able to find the field of view? πŸ˜‰ And so the diameter of the sensor

    • Roger Moore

      Good luck for you, then. The patent includes FOV information, and it is definitely a FX lens. Actually, it would be more correct to say that “they are FX lenses”, since the patent includes multiple implementations of the same basic idea, and all of them would work on FX.

  • nir.e

    buy why VR on a wide angle lens?
    makes no sense

    • nir.e

      16-35 of course

    • John

      You mean, besides handholdability in low light?

      • WoutK89

        steady viewfinder image, if possible on this wide angles πŸ˜‰

  • PhotonFisher

    If you compare the lens designs, you might come to the following conclusions:
    1.) the new design is for sure much better with regard to chromatic aberrations
    2.) lens vignetting can be reduced

    I can’t see, how a VR should be implemented. All lens are quite close already to lateral moves might compromise the design.

  • low

    money already put aside for this baby…;) its comin.

  • zeeGerman

    Isn’t the old 50mm f/1.2 half a stop faster than the f/1.4? This patent says that the AF-S is a f/1.25 lens, which is only a third of a stop faster than f/1.4.

    • Zograf

      Patents usually specify the real/actual f-stops. The same is valid for the 50/1.4 – it’s f-stop is definitively not exactly f/1.4, but you have a point, at f/1.2, small deviations make big a difference.
      For sure, it will be marketed as a f/1.2 πŸ™‚

      • zeeGerman

        That’s the point:
        sqrt(2)^(2/3) = 1,25992
        sqrt(2)^(1/2)= 1,18921
        Does someone have the old 50mm f/1.2 and can confirm whether or not it is half a stop faster?

  • Zograf

    Could somebody comment what “Overall length: 94.94mm optics” means. Is it from the front surface to the rear surface or all the way to the camera registration? Because if it is only the glass part this lens is going to be huge..

    • Astrophotographer

      In design specs the length is usually from front element to image plane. So if Nikon’s f-mount is 46mm from flange to image plane this lens would be about 50mm long.

    • Dr SCSI

      @Zograf, @admin, I agree this lens is going to be huge, but I think this is going to be another Nikon NOCT classic. The english translation of the patent from google, “First to optimize the focal length of lens group compensates for chromatic aberrations and distortion” might mean, “the first element of the lens group compensates for chromatic abberations and distortion.” Also, the pictures of the front lens element looks to be aspherical to me. An aspherical front element is what corrects for coma flare, legendary of the NOCT lenses.
      “sagittal coma flare is difficult to be corrected by the simple Gaussian type lens”
      The patent mentions a “Daburugausu” > Japanese for “Double Gauss” lens to correct for “Sajitarukoma”. This may be a new technique for coma corrections. I am not 100% sure what Sajitarukoma is, but if we break the word in two Sajitaru Koma we get “sagittal coma”. In Latin, the sagittal plane is the verticle line dividing the left and right halfs of the human body from top to bottom. Also, Sagitta, is Latin for Arrow, a symbol used as part of the astronomical Zodiac sign for Sagittarious. The constellation sign/symbol for the Sagittarious is the archer symbolized by a bow and arrow, one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The Milky-Way’s galatic center passes through the Sagittarious constellation.

      The NOCT lenses were designed for astrophotography. NASA has long used Nikon NOCT lenses for photographing the Milky Way. I think we will see a 50mm AF-S G f/1.25 πŸ™‚ NOCT lens introduced VERY soon or at Photokina later this year.

      Last thoughts…Do you remember that photograph of Bob Krist hanging out of a helicopter over Miami, shooting twilight aerials with new Nikon gear he isn’t allowed to discuss? If not, refresh your memory here…

      What do you think that lens is in the picture? At 94.94mm for the overall length of the optics, then a housing and focusing motor, does that look about the right size of a new 50mm NOCT at f/1.2? Hand held shooting in near darkness out of a moving helicopter, would having VR be too much to ask? πŸ™‚ Now that would be one HELL of a lens!!

      • LOL

        “Also, the pictures of the front lens element looks to be aspherical to me.”

        LOL can you tell me how an aspherical lens SUPPOSE to look like ?? LOL nice bS

  • Pete

    I think it would be more interesting with a 50 or 35 mm with VRII.

  • ryan Loewy

    haha, predicited this ish, i knew it was only a matter of time before they made an af 1.2 50mm nikkor

  • Mer

    And lest we remember the 1.2 rumor of 2007?

    • WoutK89

      That is hardly a rumor, that is more humor πŸ˜‰

  • Andrew

    Now Nikon can make aspherical elements at will, I suspect that could help with the rear element size issue at a better cost point.

    • Zograf

      Do you mean the precision-glass-molded (PGM) technology? Yes, it can correct field curvature and spherical aberrations, but comma is a higher order aberration and probably PGM is not precise enough to correct it – thus, the old classical grinding and polishing is needed for that. But I will not be surprised if nowadays they can get enough precision with PGM. Few years ago I read somewhere on Canon’s web site PGM can achieve 0.02 microns precision.
      Is it enough for high order aberrations like coma? – Someone with more knowledge about that.?

  • tim

    Ok, im not sure, but what about if you just make it a screw drive? Please correct me if im wrong, but is a screw drive not a simpler design to get AF in a lens (no need for a motor)?

    • AF-S allows the rear elements to sprawl a little more. The screw driven gears in the barrel take up space. This is why many of the old designs seem to stretch forward so much and the newer AF-S ones seem squatter with more bulk at the back. They can run wires narrowly around larger elements when they don’t have to worry about a screw drive shaft.

  • optimaforever

    I don’t understand why my posts don’t appear when I embed html links…
    According to egami’s blog (which is focused on japanese firm’s lenses, optic laws, and everything about advanced optics engineering in general), Nikon has filed patents for:
    AFS 35mm f/1.4 VR FX (2009-276536)
    AFS 50mm f/1.2 FX (2010-14895)
    AFS 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 VR DX (2009-300993)
    AFS 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 VRII FX (2009-282214)
    14 f/2.8 pancake (2009-258157) probably for micro 4/3 format
    32 f/1.2 (2009-251399) idem micro 4/3
    18 f/1.4 (2008-52772) idem micro 4/3
    AFS 85 f/1.4 VR FX (2009-251399, 2009-244697, 2009-244699)
    Medium format Rayfact macro 120 f4.8 (2009-251543) suddenly medium format?

    • Tim

      “AFS 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 VRII FX (2009-282214)”

      Been waiting and waiting and waiting for this one.

    • cheesehead

      “Medium format Rayfact macro 120 f4.8 (2009-251543) suddenly medium format?”

      well Rayfact is the ‘industrial side’ of nikon (isnt it?) so I doubt it points to a nikon MF camera

    • I have covered most of those patents (actually I think all of them) in the past. Check the Nikon patents section:

  • Astrophotographer

    Japan’s patent office does have an english language search. But it seems way behind. the most recent date i’ve found is 10/2009

  • Cool !
    You put a x2 behind you get a 100mm f/2 !
    An other x2 behind you get a 200mm f/4 !
    An other x2 and you get a 400mm f/8 !!!!!
    I knew there was a use for that lens !

    • WoutK89

      Given the 50/1.4G is not supported by the new TC-20E III, I am afraid it isn’t even going to become 100/2.0 in the first place πŸ™‚

      • tim

        Unless you break some glass πŸ™‚

      • But it is supported by the new Tokina doubler. : D

        …but the question is whether the center resolution is there to support a doubling…I doubt it.

  • Andi

    I don’t see why 50/1,2 should be less possible than 85/1,4

  • Bert

    If Nikon were to announce a 35mm 1.4 lens next week, I think I would literally cry tears of joy. $2000…no problem. God knows I have wasted a whole lot more on a whole lot less.

    • I’ll call your wife and let her now about that….

      • Bert

        First wife or second wife?

  • Nina

    i hate VR

  • John

    Hmmm . . . for some reason most of KEH’s 50 and 55mm fast lenses seem to be marked down at the moment – would they know if something like a 50/1.2 was coming along?

    • Erik

      They might.
      Too bad for me I just bought one right before this rumor hit as I thought it would be a safe place to put my money. So that I could test it and sell it again at the same price…

  • erich
    2010/2/8 00:00
    “ζ˜Žγ‚‹γ„ε˜η„¦η‚Ήγƒ¬γƒ³γ‚Ίγ¨ι«˜ζ€§θƒ½γͺε°εž‹γ‚ΊγƒΌγƒ γƒ¬γƒ³γ‚Ίγ‚’ζŠ•ε…₯”

    the market manager from nikon says : ” we have several large aperture prime lens and light compact zoom lens this year ”

    maybe more f1.4 and f4 in this year ~ πŸ™‚

  • Steve

    cool , i can buy teh AI-s for cheap πŸ™‚

  • nebus

    well hell hopefully they actually make this and not a ‘G’ or DX Lens (some of us pros would still like to throw it onto an F body). Seriously between this (50mm 1.2) and a 35mm 1.2 (yup i know they’ve only seen patents for 1.4) it’s a serious reason for a lot of pros are sticking with the Canon (well, that and sharper shots).
    Nikon has to step it up or they’ll be remembered forever as the prosumer camera manufacturer .. and that would be a shame.

    • Corvi

      This. I switched to Canon simply because there are (or where back in the days) no good primes on Nikon.

  • Anonymous

    sweet, this willl finally drop the prices of that sweet manual lens I always wanted to mount on F4s.

  • I just came across this while searching for a lens hood…I’m sure this is a typo coz the picture is the same as the f/1.4 but I figured it’s worth posting for the heck of it, haha…

    price is a little weird…as the 1.4 is priced way too high:

  • How much would something like a 50mm 1.2 cost?

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