The missing link: Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4 lens and a new Speedlight SB-650

Continuation on my previous post from last week: the missing lens and flash for the September 15th announcement will be a new AF-S 35mm f/1.4 lens and a new Speedlight SB-650 that will replace the current SB-600 model. This is in addition to the D7000 DSLR and the 200mm f/2 refresh. The release of the Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZF.2 lens is probably the reason why Nikon pushed the announcement of their 35mm f/1.4 (previous rumors pointed to a 2011 release).

I will do another recap later with the details of all expected products.

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  • Shingo

    A lot of people will be happy about the 35 1.4

    • I don’t know whether or not Nikon really cares about what Zeiss or some other competitors do. If so, they should have updated more lenses than just the 35mm long ago.

      • iamlucky13

        They probably care a little bit, but the fact is that the people who like Zeiss lenses and have the money will buy those lenses, almost regardless of how good the Nikon equivalent is.

        A good Nikon offering might sway a few people, but the overall number will be small and it’s hard to compete against a boutique product with a mainstream one.

        • PHB

          I really doubt that the Zeiss lens is affecting the timing. More likely the response to the 85 f/1.4 is the determining factor.

          People who want a manual focus lens can already buy a Nikon 35 f/1.4. The Zeiss lens probably isn’t very different. I don’t know about the Distagon lenses, but the earlier ZF Zeiss lenses were made by Cosina using 1980s designs. Ken Rockwell did a side by side test of 50mm lenses and the Zeiss was struggling against the 18-200mm zoom at 50mm.

          Sales of the 24 f/1.4 were much stronger than earlier primes with prices in the region of $2200 and the global economy is still in a pretty bad state. Sales of the 85 f/1.4 on Amazon are stunning.

          The 35 f/1.4 and 80-400 were both planned to launch next year. I expect that the success of the 85 f/1.4 caused Nikon to bring both launches as far forward as production allows. The prime has fewer parts and so its easier to bring it out first.

          We will probably find out when we hear about the shipping date. Though I can’t imagine anyone sending pallets of $1700 lenses by ship. 500 lenses is close to a million dollars and so a two week voyage will cost you $2000 in interest alone.

      • StickingZoom

        Nikon updated several FX primes in the recent past (50mm, 24mm, 85mm) and is updating the 35mm now.

        While the quality of those lenses are hotly discussed, one can’t blame Nikon that they’re sitting on their asses.

    • nikkor_2

      “A lot of people will be happy about the 35 1.4”


    • Karlosak


    • Phillip


      • jack

        Too bad they waited until right after I started a PhD program–now I’m poor as dirt with no free time… *sigh* perhaps a gift to myself when I finish 🙁

        • Greg

          Ask obuma to help you!

        • bb

          or george dubya. he’s the richest of them all.

      • Ken Rockwell’s Cat


  • Anonymous

    I wish a D700 replacement, but a new AF-S 35mm f/1.4 lens is a really good news.
    Any idea about the price ?

    • Bobby

      Probably around $1500-1800 depending on how man ED and aspherical elements they decide to put into it.

    • Phillip

      IMHO it’s going to be priced around $2200 just like the price of 24mm 1.4.

      • WoutK89

        or in between 85/1.4 and 24/1.4, because the longer the focal length gets (till like 135mm is my guess) the less problems with distortion you have to overcome with glass (optical correction).

        wide pincushion and tele barrel distortion?

  • Jabs

    Finally a real 35mm F1.4 AF-S Nikon to put the competition to rest – LOL!
    Bring it on.

  • Banned

    Excellent! I was waiting for both. The flash I hope will bring the SB-600 in line with the SB-900 technology for less money and less weight. And I think 35mm is better than 50mm on full-frame for a “normal” look. Now let’s hope the price of this is closer to 50mm than 24mm…

    • AG

      That was the whole point of SB-600, it came at a lower cost an at less weight… if somebody needed the capabilities of the 900… well, he/she had to cash out for one… Don’t expect free candies from Nikon…

      • Phillip

        The down side of SB-600 for me is (1) can’t zoom much; (2)can’t accept external battery pack; (3)no built-in SU mode.

        • WoutK89

          “The down side of SB-600 for me is (1) can’t zoom much; (2)can’t accept external battery pack; (3)no built-in SU mode.”

          1: will be a little more extended, probably FX and DX mode.
          2: will probably not happen still
          3: will probably also not happen

    • Merv

      Skipping technology for a moment, things like an attachable gel holder and diffuser, easier to navigate menus and greater ability to rotate the head would probably be enough to make more than enough people happy

      • tsnake

        For me, it’s having the port for radio transmitter.
        With the current SB600 one needs to use that flimsy hotshoe adapter.
        That’s just one more component to go wrong in the assembly.
        I do have an SB800 and an SB900 which both have the port.
        If the SB650 doesnt include it than it’s just as useless to me.

  • Oh my gawd!!! Finally a 35mm f/1.4. This was announced faster than I ever thought. Damn. Just bougth the new 85mm. How can I explain my wife that I also need the 35mm?
    I think the price tag will be similar to the new 85mm.

  • nobody

    So it’s still no modernized 80-400? What a mess 🙁

    • Chris P


      • Abhinav

        100K 😛

    • SimonC

      In case you haven’t noticed, the modernized 80-400 now comes in two parts: 70-200VRII and 200-400 VRII. 🙂

      But seriously, I feel for you guys who are waiting for the real 80-400 replacement. Given the recently lens released plus what’s coming up on the horizon, it appears that Nikon is seriously overhauling its entire lens line-up. The 80-400 replacement is just a matter of time – probably 2011.

      • Yes, I think 2101 will be a good year for 80-400, 300/4 etc updates.

        • nobody

          Good one!

          • iamlucky13

            The best part is, he probably wasn’t even trying…

    • hah

      hey at least you don’t have to push and pull it to zoom 🙂

    • TT

      No doubt. I’m beyond pissed off that Nikon has not released an upgraded 80-400mm by now. 100-500mm, whatever. It’s amazing to me they do not have a hand hold friendly x-400mm fast focusing lens. There’s a huge market for that niche. Hell, Canon has filled that void for over 8 years.

      • “Hell, Canon has filled that void for over 8 years.”

        Hey genius, the Nikon 80-400mm came out in 2002. By my calculations, Nikon has filled that void for 8 years as well.

        As for the 35mm f/1.4. Nikon hasn’t updated that lens since the 70’s. so until you wait 30+ years for a lens update, stop your beeching!

        • TT


          Did you miss the part about “fast focusing” in my comment…genius? That’s one of my primary points. The 80-400 is not an AF-S and the Canon 100-400mm is a very fast focusing lens. Hence, specific niche. Read everything before you comment.

          • Segura

            Doesn’t change the fact that the 35mm has been waiting for an update for decades. At least you have AF! And no guarantee that AFS will be Fast Focus either. The AFS 50mm seems slower than the lens it replaced.

            And as far as fast focus, get a D3(s/x), you will see an improvement on focus speed

            • Ken Rockwell’s Cat

              Right! Spend some money you tightwad.

  • Yahoo!

  • Great timing, I was thinking of getting AF-S 35mm.

    I have a SB-600, but I use that just in “on/off auto” mode, so SB-650 most likely does not add any real value for me. Some people copmplain that UI usability is bad, maybe they update that.

    • d40-owner

      I use my SB-600 all the time, and the UI for what I do is great. (power/zoom adjustment=.
      However…… I never use CLS, and the CLS menu is HORRIBLE in the SB-600.

      • Phillip

        CLS is controlled thru a commander’s menu, that is either SU-800, nor SB-900/SB-800. What do you mean SB-600 has HORRIBLE CLS menu? You just simply put SB-600 in CLS remote mode by holding down two buttons simultaneously. How hard is that?

        • PHB

          I have a degree in Nuclear Physics and I am a fellow of the British Computer Society.

          The Nikon SB-600 has the worst, most random interface I have ever come across. It is modal which was recognized as a usability disaster back in the 70s.

          You don’t press the two buttons to put it in CLS mode. You press the two buttons and it might go into CLS mode if it feels like it.

          Its a really bad way to design an interface for a device that has to connect to another device that has its own issues. At root the problem is that you don’t really know which end the problem is at.

          Sure I can make it work. But Nikon should really have done a better job. Its the usability equivalent of a professional lens with a nasty plastic body.

  • Akira

    I was actually thinking about getting a 35 this weekend. Any idea on price? Are we looking at another budget lens like the 35 or 50 1.8, or something priced closer to the 50 1.4?

    • Popus

      For Full Frame the 50 1.4 is a budget lens

      • WoutK89

        It’s optically easy, so it’s not really budget, it’s just easy to make.

        The 35, if 1.4, will be more of a challenge, also because nowadays the lenses are supposed to perform even (almost completely) wide open better and all the way to the corners (Thanks pixel peepers 😛 )

  • chewz

    the 35mm will cost 1699 $ – 1499 €

    • Ken Rockwell’s Cat

      The new 35mm will cost 23,276, 987 Turkish Lira.

  • Dan

    Looking forward to seeing what the 35/1.4 is like. Really hope it CSM compete with Canon/Zeiss’ offerings.
    Also, when do you expect the D700 replacement? Your price watch says this year but somehow I’m thinking it’s more likely to be this time next year, with the D4 possibly being released halfway through next year (although that’ll be pretty crap for those who bought a D3s so I dunno).

    • WoutK89

      Nikon CAN differentiate a D800 and D4 plenty enough to release them in the same time, I dont think it will be a D3-D700 type of thing again

      • Dan

        They can, yes, but Nikon have shown to be more economical in their cameras and rather than using new sensors for each camera, they simply reuse them, staggering the release from higher to lower end models, as it seems Canon have now started to do (with their 7D, 550D and 60D at least).

        • WoutK89

          But just because they DID, they are not DOING it in the D3100 and D7000, both have new sensors, and probably the limit of not fabricating your own sensors makes you stick to a certain design.

  • something closer to AF-S 85/1.4G

  • Stepper

    Now all we need is a new/fast super-wide prime and we’ll have a rival to the Holt Trinity.

    Super-Wide, 24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4

    let’s see if that name will stick – I called it first! lol

    if we throw in the 50mm f1.4 we can call it the Jacksons – Maybe not. lol

    • STJ

      I would guess that a 135mm f2 would come before anything wider than 24mm but that’s obviously a guess…. (and a hope…:-)

      • WoutK89

        Missing is indeed the gap 105 (covered by 105/2.8VRII micro) and 200mm (200/2.0VRII soon), so a 135/2.0 and 180/2.8 dont seem so strange as high on the list for update.

        • Ziltoid

          The 105 f2 is one of Nikon’s best lenses ever made (certainly my favorite) and it’s not yet officially discontinued.
          The same goes for the 135 f2. Both are optical gems and while one could argue they could get an AF-s update, they are not a “gap” by any definition.

  • Rahul

    Admin, any idea about the price of SB-650? I am planning to buy SB-600 but will wait if the difference in price between the two is not much.

    • JohnR

      I am interested as well in the price. I bought a sb 600 two days ago but haven’t used it because I don’t camera battery. So I would be will to take it back if I knew it would be worth it to get the 650.

    • bb

      I sold my SB-600. ..eats power faster than my SB-900. I hope the 650 let’s you plug-in a pocketwizard.

  • hah

    nikon has been on a roll this year. 3 constant f/4 pro zooms and 3 f/1.4 primes. and maybe even a new 200 f/2! . keep it up guys.

    • STJ

      Agreed – Nikon has really been on top of things this year – keep em comin! There are still obvious holes like replacement for:
      -200mm micro (with fancy VR like the Canon 100mm)
      -135mm f2
      -80-400 (or something like that)
      -70-250mm f4.0 (or something like that)
      etc etc….

      • WoutK89

        “-70-250mm f4.0 (or something like that)”
        finally sensible wishing for not just a budget and lighter 70-200/2.8VRII 😀

  • P


    • solidether

      VR on a 35mm lens? LOL 🙂

      • WoutK89

        you should say “on a 35/1.4 lens” 😉 if it was 35/2.8 Nikon would probably swing in the VR to “compensate” for loss of low light

      • P

        Would be great. 12800 and 1.4 and VR what a team!

  • Ekimc

    I’m excited about the 35/1.4 !!
    Hopefully it’d be a sharp lens wide open so it’ll worth the extra grand for the 1 extra stop from 35/2 …….

  • Eric

    Its official, Nikon has the full line of pro primes again. Canon cant win this one anymore, 24 , 35, 50, and 85 all new , 1.4 and AFS. Question is buy the 24 or the 35 now.

    • Phillip

      that really depends on what you shoot. to me, I prefer 35mm for photojournalism.

  • docdiamond

    No suprise – I posted this already a couple of weeks ago here that a European Nikon official told me the release of the 1.4 35mm in due course – no link to the Zeiss release therefore. He talked about an introduction more or less parallel to the 1.4 85mm G close to Photokina. Pricing should be significantly below the 1.4 24mm, around 1600-1700 US $. I doubt VR.

    Nevertheless now a very nice lens lineup of primes

    • Phillip

      that means no ED glass used?

      • WoutK89

        Why do you need ED, if it performs optically already superior probably? ED will only complicated the design and make the price higher.

        @ docdiamond – do you have a link? 😛

        • docdiamond

          Sorry, I have no link. It was a verbal comment of a Nikon rep after a request for new primes during a small in-shop demo.

          • WoutK89

            “I posted this already a couple of weeks ago here that a European Nikon official told me the release of the 1.4 35mm in due course”
            I am curious about YOUR post couple of weeks ago 😛

  • Yay! 35mm 1.4! Been waiting to sell my 35 f2 for a long time

    • Haha! I just picked one up. If the 1.4 is significantly bigger and doesn’t focus as close I think I’ll keep the f2. It’s really quite good, even wide open.

      • Ken Rockwell’s Cat

        It’s old pants and you know it.

  • jaj 35!
    hope rushed will not mean it is mediocre as 50G.

    • WoutK89

      Rushed = no stock for selling yet, release somewhere late october.
      A lens is being designed years before release

  • Gareth


  • Eric

    I will order one through NPS the second they become available. In my Leica newspaper days, I shot about 60 percent of my photos with a 35mm 1.4 Summilux ASPH on an M6. And the 35 1.4 I had on my Leica SLRs was an amazing piece of glass too.

    This lens I will have, ASAP.

    I remember a discussion with Chuck Westfall of Canon back in the 80s about such a lens. He said, “Only photojournalists want this lens.” Of course we were at the University of Missouri School of Journalism at the time (POY) and my reaction was, “So? That’s a reason NOT to do it?”

  • Gareth

    for those of you waiting for a 200 micro update. the 105 with VR is really nice with a tc-20eIII. it fits on my d700 much nice with the tele on than off. really snug in my hand. doesn’t seem to affect the IQ at all (unlike on the 70-200 vr2) and who really needs to shoot at that extra stop with a micro anyway. if the subject is in a tight space I can take the tele off and just use the 105, and if i am really desperite I can shoot it at 2.8 with the tele off.

    my tc-20eiii stays on my 105 micro all the time and just comes off for the occasions i need it on the 70-200 (like the soccer match i’m shooting on Sunday)

  • Abhinav

    the current 35mm 1.8 is dx lens will 35mm 1.4 be FX ?

    • Manne

      Yes, the 35/1,4 is supposed to be FX.

  • ArthurCH

    24, 35 and 85, this is a great year!
    If the 35 is as sharp as the 24 1.4 and has the same beautiful creamy bokeh, wow!
    About the flash, I hope it improves the menu of the 600.

  • MB

    Why did you strike-through all references to the D90 successor / D7000?

    • WoutK89

      I guess its just a bug in the format, not intended to be there, happens more often on NR

  • Kingyo

    Nice! 35mm 1.4 🙂 can’t wait!

  • Jabs

    A little off topic- Sorry!
    Here are two examples of the proper use of Depth of field and selective focus.



    Item 1 shows the focal length approach.
    Item 2 shows the F-STOP approach.

    Both shots admirably show WHY I criticized the crappy Zeiss shots here used as an example of their new 35mm F1.4 manual lens, as the photographer did NOT show any skills whatsoever. However, this DOES not mean that the Zeiss 35mm F1.4 lens is bad or not good, but their example image was poor and unprofessional in my opinion.
    I also know about the controversy when Nikon introduced some crappy built ‘plastic lenses’ made of new material that looked cheap compared to the older AIS metal lenses. I bought some and then they were optically good, but looked bad. Examples were the older 180 F2.8 and thus Nikon made several corrections later.
    I stuck with the manual focus 180 F2.8 and loved it but also loved the newer metal construction autofocus variety with the great tripod collar and non-weird loose manual focus ring.
    Things evolve and manufacturers respond to complaints while we continue using gear to make MONEY and perfect our art or craft.
    I like both manual and autofocus lenses and often criticize the build quality or even the ‘touch and feel’ issues in some modern gear, BUT the bottom line is the IMAGE to me plus the displayed mastery of a particular discipline in a photo.
    Sorry, but not some person obsessed with equipment or minor and trivial details while overlooking the bigger picture. If the lens is built like a tank but performs like a dinosaur, then what have you gained besides bragging rights or something to bash a mugger in the head with (lol)???
    Hence, I am a mature and focused photographer plus a practical artist not lost in esoterica -vs- reality!

  • PHB

    Yesterday I was watching some videos of a professional photographer who makes in the high 6, maybe low 7 figures a year working in his studio.

    He was using a fairly conventional lighting setup, three point for the video plus strobes for taking still shots and was using a Nikon D3x with a wide-ish lens that looked like a 14-24 which seemed rather odd for a portrait session.

    So after managing to pause the video at exactly the right point I managed to read off the lens markings – 17-55 DX.

    Now I seriously doubt that that was his only lens. He was probably using it because he preferred the balance on the camera. But it does go to show that maybe some of the chatter on these boards is a little far from reality.

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