Weekly Nikon related news/links #97 (incl. new DxOMark F-mount Zeiss lens test data)


  • No more free lunch - Nikon Switzerland will discontinue its free sensor cleaning service on June 1st, 2011.
  • It seems that Nikon Netherlands is extending the warranty to 2 years for some products. Not sure about the details, but a [NR] reader received a letter from Nikon with a 2 years warranty certificate for items purchased few months ago.
  • Nikon Italy offers a free SB-900 if you buy D300s or D700 (till May  31st).
  • Nikon Romania slashes the price of the D700 by 11% with a clever ad (oo7):

  • Nikon Q&A of financial results for Q3: "Although we expect strong sales to continue in the 4Q, in consideration of risk elements including the strong Japanese Yen, a fall in consumer spending, concern for escalated market competition and so on, we have maintained our forecasts announced in last November for this fiscal year."
  • DxOMark published new test data for 4 Zeiss lenses (Nikon mount):

Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZF2 vs. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G:

Zeiss 50mm f/2 ZF2 vs. Nikon 50mm f/1.8D:

Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 vs. Nikon 85mm f/1.4D (data from the new 85mm f/1.4G Nikkor lens were not available):

Zeiss Makro-Planar T 100mm f/2 ZF2 vs. Nikon Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED:

    • Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 hands-on review (video):

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  • texasjoe

    Just got a new sb900. To bad I had to pay for it. Would have been better to bundle it with something. Oh well.

  • First?

    The Zeiss results are not really a surprise to me. I do feel the Nikons perform better when I have compared in the past. And they’re autofocus! 🙂

    • Dang, I even refreshed to make sure. TJ must have beat me by a millisecond.

    • The next time someone tells me Zeiss lenses are legendary, I’ll remember they are legends in their on mind.

      • Actually I’m one of those that are disdainful of empty words like „character” and stuff like that for Leica’s lenses or antique ones that are praised for some ethereal qualities that could be obtained by not cleaning a lens ever. Better yet, get a 50/1.8 and smear it in dirt, you might obtain that fabled and whimsical non-existant „quality”.
        But when it comes to that Zeiss (or should we say Cosina?) 50/1.4 I can swear that if you didn’t use it at least for a year, you’re missing big time. Sharpness? Sure, you can search for it ’till the musulmans convert to judaism. Twice. But it’s not about the sharpness; it simply looks different, pleasing, and even if you’ll take a pic of your feet it will still look different than what you’d get with your run-of-the mill modern lens.

      • PHB

        Many of the legendary lens makers built their reputation on rangefinders.

        Nikon was equally legendary on rangefinders, but they were the first to become legndary on SLR. There is a reason they concentrated on big exotic teles, it was the area where the SLR mirror was not a hindrance.

        Going to be interesting to see what happens in the EVIL era.

        • If we’re in bashing lenses mode, check the new results for Nikon 28-300VR on SLRgear.
          The stabilised version of Tamron 28-300 looks like an L lens if you compare it to Nikon’s, and at half price. And VR/sharpness on the tele end looks like a joke…

    • Jan

      Poor alpha users. The sony lenses were crap but at least they thought they had some CZ stuff.
      As expected, the world has moved on and CZ are yesteryear’s stuff.

      • Eric Pepin

        because DXO means everything……. ya ok. Zeiss lenses are awesome, I prefer my 85 to be an auto focus but im sure given the zeiss i could make the same damn pictures. Given the build quality of the new nikon primes (plastic) zeiss becomes an even bigger option in my mind. (day i pay 2 grand for a piece of plastic)

  • Kevin

    Mistake: lens hood, not lens cap!

  • Zeiss doesn’t seem to have much over nikon then? May be better bokeh?

  • Admin –

    I haven’t seen this on here yet, so forgive me if it’s already been mentioned—but Amazon is listing the D700 (sold by Adorama) at $2,230. Seems like it’s more than just Romania?


    • I think this has been the D700 price for a while in the US.

      • I could swear I had seen it for 2,350 in the last week or two. I guess not. I’ve spent much more time here lately waiting on news for the D800/D4/D4x/D400 rumors and news.

        I am really eager to get a full frame body with full HD video. The D700 is an incredible machine, to be sure, but with the coming of its 3rd birthday, that baby is begging for a successor. The D3s is a great camera but the D7000, unfortunately, really does smoke it in terms of 24p sharpness. Now I just need some of that darker-than-the-eye-can-see goodness in 1080 and I’m set!

        Wanna hook us up with some 10% or better rumors, if only to keep our adrenaline up? It’s like Christmas for a kid—so close, yet so far away….

        • no it is a price drop. It was on Amazon for $2349.

          • maybe I am getting confused with the ongoing rebates, I will add it to the post

          • Glad to know I’m not going crazy. Actually, I think the jury’s still out.

        • Lance

          You must not have used a D3S much, and who cares about video on a high end still camera. I think it’s wishful thinking of D7000 users. The D3S at 12,800 is spectacular at night, even when lit by only street lights. I used it at a night parade and street party just last night. The D3S makes it possible to get crispy frozen night images, without flash. There’s really no way to improve it other than making a smaller version, but that would probably loose the five day battery capacity. It’s amazing, but not very stealthy.

          • I actually used the D3s quite extensively, both for film and still work. While it was better than the D700 in low-light performance, I didn’t think the lower high-ISO range (1,600-6,400) was markedly better. In fact, (and this may very well have been a result of my having a bad copy) I noticed in tests that the D3s was about 1/2-2/3 stops lower sensitivity for the same ISO/shutter speed/aperture when compared to the D700. After adjusting for that, then yes, the D3s was slightly better, but not incredibly so. Again, I only had reference to one body, so I can’t really argue about it past what my personal experience was. I hope my copy was flawed in some way, because I wasn’t blown away, as I was expecting.

            I do expect that Nikon will continue to improve on the high-ISO noise response, and I welcome it. I shoot in environments that are dark and quite underlit; at the same time my work requires commercial grade print quality at larger sizes. I prefer the natural light where possible, even in poorly lit environments. I could use clean 25,000 ISO images, and even 50k or 100k ISO if ever available. I will not be surprised if we achieve this within the next 3-5 years. Maybe sooner.

            As for the issue of video in a still camera—you may hate it, you may despise it, you may find it irrelevant. That doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. The quality one can achieve with VSLR output far surpasses any preceding gear’s output, even at a much higher price. The ease, speed, and price with which one can capture high-def, high quality, and cinematic caliber motion these days is unprecedented. I realize some may not appreciate this functionality, but I know I have benefited personally and professionally by the inclusion and improvement in this area, and I look forward to further development.

            To be honest, I was afraid of the idea of video capable still camera 5 years ago when I first heard rumblings of it. The notion of a “photographer” hulking around a video camera shooting some insane number of frames per second, capturing print-quality still images in RAW format so they could simply pull out the best “moments” and print them, well, that disgusted me. It still does. That may well happen yet, but I’m convinced now that the future is much MUCH brighter than I imagined for those that are willing to embrace this new technology of video capable DSLRs.

            If you’re strictly a stills guy, then hey, I have the utmost respect for you. Still images will NEVER go away, and their importance is vital for telling stories. But film, for the first time in history, has been opened up to the passionate, budget sensitive majority. This is a revolution, even if we don’t fully see it yet.

            • Eric Pepin

              It really isint, video has been around in point and shoots , phones, and camcorders for longer then DSLR’s have been popular. video from a DSLR straight is horrible, shaky and nasty. A good tripod sure is great but for handholding you need a big budget of gear from followfocus to hood etc etc etc etc. Nothing wrong with having video in the thing but there are better ways to go.

      • Interesting that they’re asking $30 more on Amazon, plus $30 in shipping. Makes you wonder whether they’re selling at break-even for the attention, or whether they’re just the first in the US to drop the price. The other sellers on Amazon (Amazon included) seem to still have it listed at $2,350, as does B&H.

        Adorama on Amazon listed 12 remaining moments ago, and now seems sold out. On Adorama’s site, I was able to add 66 to my cart, but at 67 it notified me that they are out of stock. Seems like they have 66 in stock as of a few moments ago.

        Is this a large stock or fairly normal/small for a reseller that size?

        • Rob

          I thought the $2200 one was gray market on Adorama, but now I see they have “Nikon USA Warranty” listed in the details. That would be odd considering a) they have the USA model listed separately for $2350 and b) they can’t legally show a new USA model for that low of a price on their website because of the MAP.

          Used ones go for $1800-$2000 based on what I’ve seen, so $2200 new should drive the price down quite a bit, simply because of the new factor and any applicable warranties that come with a new one or other warranties that can be purchased with a new body. I can’t imagine it dropping much more than this (if this isn’t a fluke) simply because they will sell out all their stock. The only way to maintain a price lower than this (say $2000) would be if they announced the replacement and it is notably better in EVERY single way.

          • Either way, a $2,200 D700 means one of two things: If I need to pick up another body before the D800 (or next big thing) is released, then I get a sweet deal, used or new.

            That, or the next big thing is released. 🙂

  • …a clever ad?? Seriously? :)))

  • Small typo:

    “Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 vs. Nikon 50mm f/1.4D (data from the new 85mm f/1.4G Nikkor lens were not available):”

    should read: vs. Nikon 85mm f/1.4D

  • Chatan

    Nikon Switzerland will discontinue its free SENSOR cleaning service on June 1st, 2011.

  • Ole

    In Denmark, the price dropped a few months ago from 16.000 Danish kroners to 14.000. That would be a price drop of 12.5 %.

    • Ole

      For the D700, that is

  • If someone wants to be so stupid to spend $5500 for a crappy lens hood, wake me up and send these money to me. I’ll take them thankfully.

    • That will be clever decision.

  • awavey

    I do hope Nikon Romania got permission from the James Bond film production company for that ad as the whole gun-barrel 007 thing is their copyright and they pursue with a vigour, that even Bond would be surprised at, that stuff through the courts.

    Peugeot made a car a few years back that they started off promoting as the 1-double-0-7, which even though is only a passing semblance to Bond (but perhaps not helped as the Peugeot ad marketers went overboard on the whole “a car for your eyes only”, “licensed to drive” etc), Peugeot had to change all their ads to the 1 thousand and 7 and stop implying any association with the Bond films

    • broxibear

      I thought the same thing when I saw it awavey…I don’t see any copyright/usage info on the advert which makes me think Nikon Romania will be taking that advert down soon ?

  • broxibear

    Not sure the price dropping in one coutry means that Nikon are dropping their prices. Here in the UK the D3s price goes up and down all the time, in Dec 2010 it was £3200 and now it’s up to £3425, the D700 price of £1650 has changed very little over the past year.
    If anyone wants a fantastic deal on a new D3 this place is getting rid of stock but I doubt they’ve got many… http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/nikon-d3-digital-slr-camera-12-1-mp-00852978-pdt.html?srcid=369&xtor=AL-1

  • it’s all about my FX

    Thank you Admin for this.

    I hope this will silence the Carl Zeiss fanboys once and for all.

    There’s no magic dust and unicorn milk in Zeiss lenses!

    hail Nikon!

  • FM-2 fan

    well the comparison with the 85 1.4 AF-S would be of interest – is it available?

  • dino

    Quite surprising results to me, especially when comparing the Zeiss 50 F/2 with the humble 50 F/1.8 or the 100 F/2 with the 105 F/2.8, also the 50 F/1.4 looks a bit too weird… I mean, even assumed Nikon’s are effectively better, if one should base his judgement on these rankings only, he should think ZF lenses are kind of junk ?!
    I really wonder which kind of procedures they used.

  • photonut

    I always knew the 50 f1.8D kicks ass…

  • Herecy

    Well, that is DxO-score. Like, numbers. Zeiss lenses draw the scene with unique color palette & striking contrast which is a godlike combination with Nikon sensor which produce clean blacks. Nikon lenses are boring and flat in this regard. You are gonna fool yourselves by trusting only DxO-numbers. Go out and try those ZF-lenses in REAL WORLD.

  • Joske

    Everybody who has actually USED Zeiss lenses knows that they come out short in ANY lab test, but make better pictures than their theoretically ‘better’ competitor’s siblings. That 100mm macro plannar might look like crap compared to the 105VR on paper but I’ll gladly pay the 1600€ for it without thinking a single second about it’s bad test scores. And that’s not an opinion based on magic lensdust. Only real exception I know of is the new Nikon 85 1.4 which kicks zeiss’s ass bigtime.

  • Joe

    Does the rebate/special deal offered by Nikon simply imply that we won’t see the D700 replacement before May 31st then?

    Has there been any replacement announcement on an rebate item before?

    Now the rumor seems to tend forward that the new DSLR released in March will be the D5100 replacement and D4 in August. I wonder how D700 replacement will fit into the release schedule here. I certainly hope it won’t be at the end of the year.

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