Nikon’s fluorine coating explained

Nikon released a short video explaining their fluorine coating currently present in the 800mm f/5.6 and the just released 400mm f/2.8 lenses:

Here is the fluorine coating description from Nikon's website:

"Nikon's fluorine coat effectively repels dust, water droplets, grease or dirt, ensuring easy removal even when they adhere to the lens surface. Thanks to Nikon's original technology, it delivers higher durability and is more peel-resistant. Compared to other manufacturers' coating of a similar kind, fluorine coat endures a higher frequency of lens surface wiping and provides longer-duration staying power. Its anti-reflective effect also contributes to the capture of clear images."

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  • Morris

    interesting for my yellow teeth

  • Gareth O’Neill

    Ahahaha, when you use a non fluorine coat lens your camera defaults to under expose by a stop and a half. Can they really get away with this BS?

    • djm

      where is this claim made?

      • Gareth O’Neill

        Can you not see that all of the non-fluorine shots are under exposed? Of course they don’t make that claim. I was being sarcastic.

        • reddit kid

          I think you’re just stupid.
          It’s called postproduction in the video used to help the viewer understand the different halves being demonstrated.
          God I hate people like you. Need to be shot at birth to keep the worlds IQ above 100, the the use of sarcasm to be left to the right people.

          • Gareth O’Neill

            Just as well I judge myself based on what you think of me.

          • Guest

            There’s much more efficient ways to indicate which is which without underexposing one side.

          • CT

            Since 100 is a floating average of IQ and changes with the population, killing dumber people wouldnt change increase it. So it seems that you are the stupid one…

          • Wow

            Then the world would be left only with folks like you – anal and no sense of humor.

        • Roy

          Actually, if had bothered to watch the video, they show all of the examples under the same lighting and then shade one side for emphasis.

          • Gareth O’Neill

            You got me there

  • Allan Smith

    A good innovation.

    • Eric Calabros

      a $3000 good innovation

      • HotDuckZ

        AF-S NIKKOR 400mm F/2.8E FL ED VR Primary Features
        A super-telephoto fixed focal length (prime) lens with a focal length of 400mm*1 and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras
        Superior optical performance from a new optical design with which fluorite lens elements (2), ED lens elements (2), and Nano Crystal Coat have been adopted
        A lighter weight from the adoption of fluorite lens elements and components made of a magnesium alloy
        Adoption of a tripod collar ring utilizing bearings
        Equipped with an electro-magnetic aperture mechanism for more stable auto-exposure with high-speed continuous shooting
        Equipped with a vibration reduction (VR) function for camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.0-stop*2increase in shutter speed
        Adoption of SPORT VR mode
        Adoption of meniscus protective glass with a fluorine coat, produced using a process exclusive to Nikon for greater durability and superior resistance to water and oils, for the extreme front lens element

      • John Tangney

        The $3000 is obviously for the other improvements to the 400 F/2.8. Note that the new TC-14E III (list $596, but selling at $496) also has the fluorine coating!

        • Global

          $3000 is too much of a price increase. You guys aren’t realizing that we aren’t talking about “concepts” here, we’re talking about the price of goods necessary for businesses to operate.

          If the previous lens is $9000 and this current lens is $3,000 MORE — then it goes 33% MORE than its predecessor. Can you tell me any other industry in the world, where your customers do NOT make more than average salaries, but you regularly charge them 25-33% more for each subsequent generation of goods? Its not just this lens — its every major pro lens. 25-33% more is not sustainable. You can do it for one generation at extreme alienation levels. You cannot keep doing it.

          Nikon is failing its customers and we will be moving to other brands soon. Sigma and Sony and Fuji know the time is right to push their goods when companies like Nikon start pricing and behaving like this.

          Photography businesses are making less money than previously — not 25-33% more money than before.

          • John Tangney

            I am not arguing about whether the $3000 increase is justified or not (it seems excessive to me as well), but comments here are attributing that increase to the fluorine coating. Since that coating is also on the new TC-14E III, which even at Nikon’s listed price of $596, it shows that the fluorine coating is not a major element in that price increase!

          • Allan Smith

            So I guess photographers will be charging $20 for a shoot from now on. Top end gear always commands a top end price.

          • Dutch Oven

            The new lens is lighter, focuses closer, has better optics and more reliable aperture control. If you make your living using a 400mm lens every day you’ll be able to appreciate the improvements. With that said, lenses in this kind of price bracket tend to be sold mainly to rental companies anyway.

            I did look at the fast 400mm prime offerings from the three companies you mentioned and well, there weren’t any. If you want a fast 400mm prime you have two choices; Nikon or Canon. The Canon was virtually identical in price when it first came out.

          • iamlucky13

            Nikon obviously thinks that people who are willing to buy such a specialty lens as a 400mm F/2.8 are willing to pay the extra. They don’t set their prices based on what people earn. They set them based on what people will pay.

            As is, I doubt most professionals will ever lay down even $9000 for this lens. It was already a lens you need to have a compelling case to buy. Nikon thinks the folks who will buy this at all, especially over the older version, have a compelling enough case to pay that extra $3000.

      • poor sbapshooter

        i don’t complain about price. because i’m not buying.

  • syd

    Nikon flourine coat: $1000 premium (lens dependant). Decent UV filter: $40 on ebay. Not saying it’s not a good innovation, just might not make financial sense yo.

    • Allan Smith

      A decent UV filter to go on the front? Let me know how you go with that.

    • Veldask Krofkomanov

      If you find me a UV filter that fits onto the front of the 400mm f/2.8 or the 800mm f/5.6, I’ll buy you a filter of your own choosing. Good luck.

      • riskinhos

        52mm filter thread.

        • Xam

          If you mean the 800mm that’s a drop in filter, it doesn’t go on the front. I’m guessing you’re just trolling but just in case…

      • Ben

        Nikon super telephotos all have protective glass in front of the first function element- it is that white straight line in the block diagram, so a protection filter would be redundant.

  • Allan Smith

    Hmmmmm……the other uses for this are endless. Car glass etc etc. As for the flu coat costing $3K, really? Electronic diaphragm, Fluorite elements, faster AF and a heap lighter to boot. As someone that shoots with super teles, this lens is a godsend. Lots of people that comment here are always negative, for what reason who knows. The Nikon 400 has always been a fantastic lens, this one will be also.

    • delayedflight

      Most of the people who complaint can’t afford the lens anyways. Even if Nikon could make a 400 f/2.8 for $1000 and it was the sharpest lens in the world the people here on NR will STILL find something to complain about.

      • Veldask Krofkomanov

        You must be new to the internet.

        • Darness

          Doenst make it right…W*nk@rs here…

      • Global

        What a crap reply — in the REST of the technology world…… not Nikon’s la-la-land…… ALL technology gets better, lighter, faster, sharper, smaller — without increasing costs. In fact, costs fall. Regularly!

        In Nikon’s la-la-land of customer la-la-loss, they raise prices by 25-33% each generation of pro-lens.

        Would love to know which photographic industry is making 33% more money these days than when the previous 400/2.8 was released. It aint sports photography!

        • Allan Smith

          And the 400’s primary use is sports photography. 🙂

        • Steven Szabo

          Actually, photography as a whole increases in cost, nature of the beast. All manufacturers new lens offerings are more expensive than the previous offerings. It’s partially a product of the current economic state in North America, and somewhat just a function of the reality of having to pay more for EVERYTHING.

          It actually does those of us that own the current generation of long primes (like me with the 500mm F/4 VRII) a favor since it lessens the price hit to us if we choose to sell and upgrade.

        • KnightPhoto

          You are confusing electronics price declines with optics. Furthermore you are completely ignoring what Canon has done in re-pricing their new generation optics of which there are > 10 real-world examples easy enough for you to look up.

          So your argument then descends into some kind of rant against the entire optical industry, all against a backdrop of a collapsing consumer segment for their cameras, and you expect LOWER not higher prices… Hmmm

    • Alpa
      • Allan Smith

        Yes, I know.

    • saywhatuwill
    • MB

      Use on camera sensors would probably be the most obvious choice …
      This new 400 seems to be the best from Nikon so far … quite an achievement if you bare in mind that all Nikon 400 are among the best lenses ever made by anyone …

  • Eno

    This coating must be applied on all lenses, to eliminate the need of a protective filter which ads a lot of reflections, flare, ghosting etc.

    • fjfjjj

      Long as I’m working around sand and gravel, I’ll stick with a filter.

      • Giero

        Sadly for the 14-24 which is widely used at the beach, coast for landscape shots there is nearly no possible solution (exc. photodiox filter)…

        nikon should develop a special filter mount/adapter for this lesn or redesign/update the lens with a ordinary filter thread….woulkd be awesome…..16-35 f4 is not wide and optical good enough for D800e….

      • Alfredo Briccola

        That’s true. Besides, I found this picture on a website, offering photo-shoot-outs at the Philippines. That addresses the sand-problem somehow, or so 😉

        • Guest

          try again to upload the pic.

        • John

          Two Clovers is cute! There is a pic of her pouring water out of the lens hood.

        • John

          Two Clovers is cute! There is a pic of her pouring water out of the lens hood.

  • fred

    Nikon should put this Fluorine coating on their UV, Polarizing and NC filters and many would buy them. Better than the Hoya HDII series.

  • fred

    It needs a name, ‘gorilla glass’ is taken, and being Japanese, ‘godzilla glass’ would be apt.

    • Llet’s make it Anguilla Glass ( italian/spanish for “eel”)

    • Llet’s make it Anguilla Glass ( italian/spanish for “eel”)

  • Ineluki

    Thank you Nikon. Now I know that my 70-200mm/f2.8 VRII is a bad lens. Thank you Nikon. Now I know that my 24-70/f2.8 is a bad lens.
    Thank you Nikon. Now I know that my 16-35mm/f4 is a bad lens.
    I will sell them all because of fluorine coating.
    From now on I want finally clear images 😉

    • Degsy

      Toys out of your pram?

      • Ineluki

        From now on 😉

    • neversink

      Nikon isn’t saying that your current lenses are crap. You are saying that. They are trying to innovate and it looks like they are doing a good job. New technology replace old, but you don’t have to get rid of the old. They still take great pics.

  • FredBear

    Why not just say it’s Teflon coated and leave it at that?
    (Other than Teflon being a DuPont trade name)
    These coatings would be better served for wide angles used for photography in sewerage works (or when one is close to politicians).

  • riskinhos

    completely worthless. I use filters to protect the lens. nikon should just make cheaper lens without fluorine and that crap.

    • Allah

      Good luck finding a filter to fit the front of a 400mm lens.

      Got to love the folks who haven’t ever owned a decent tele lens saying all you need is a filter on the front.

      • nwcs

        I guess, in theory, Nikon could have done what they did with the 200-400 and make the last element effectively a protective filter that could be removed and replaced. Not an inexpensive operation but doable.

        • Fred Phelps

          That is exactly what they have done with this lens. All their newer fast primes above the 300mm I think (or it might be the 200mm) have this feature.

          • jec6613

            All of the long primes except the 300 f/4 (which uses a 77 mm filter thread) – once the minimum clear aperture in the front exceeds a 77 mm filter, they use it, so the 200 f/2, 300 f/2.8, 400 f/2.8, and so on down the line have the protective meniscus.

            They’re also not perfectly flat, they’re very slightly curved since the digital era to prevent some (also very slight) reduction of contrast caused by the sensor reflectivity. Although for the price tags, that’s what one expects for the level of attention to detail.

          • nwcs

            I didn’t realize that. I have had the 200-400 but not the 400 so wasn’t aware it was a regular feature of the larger telephotos. Thanks for the education!

    • neversink

      You don’t know what you are talking about. All Nikon super tells have a protective front element. If you break it, it would not be as expensive to repair as if it was one of the lenses inside the lens. The flourine is great, if it doesn’t wear off.

      • riskinhos

        cheap and easy as replacing a filter? for a $3000 pricetag? no tkx.

        • neversink

          If that’s the price tag, then you better get insurance. i have it.

        • Fred Phelps

          What do you mean for a $3k price tag? The previous generation 400mm had this feature as well.

          The front element is a flat piece of glass and Nikon will typically repair it for $100-150 if you are an NPS member (BTDT!). A good filter large enough to cover the front element of a lens like this will cost double that easily. Not that it matters are the lens doesn’t have filter threads on the front!

          Front filters for protection is a trick camera stores use to con money out of amateurs, unless you are working in seriously nasty environments they aren’t really needed. In 30+ years as a photographer I’ve never once broken the front element on any of my lenses and even if I did I have good insurance.

          I get the feeling you really aren’t the kind of person this lens is aimed at.

  • Fred Phelps

    Judging by the people complaining about the price, I suspect a lot of you aren’t old enough to remember the first 400mm AF lens, the 400mm AF-I. That was about $10k in the mid 90s when it was released and they sold well despite being very expensive. $10k in 1994 when the lens was released would be almost $16k today for reference.

    That lens was optically excellent as all the 400mm lenses are but Jesus H. Christ on a pushbike was it heavy! It weighs about 13-14 pounds (I can’t quite remember).

  • Frank N. Blunt

    They ought to coat their camera sensors with this stuff!

    • jtan163

      There is no dust/oil on Nikon camera sensors.
      There not on the D7000 (official). nor the D600 (official).
      It was just fairies taking a dump on your sensor.

  • doge

    I bet this video took longer to make than it took to ‘grow’ those lenses.

    • DuncanM

      How many threads are you going to spam with this drivel? Unless you have a credible source or citation no one is interested in what you think you know.

  • zoetmb

    A commercial is running on TV for this coating from Rust-Oleum. But when you read the literature, they don’t say you can use this on glass, you can only use it on some plastics and they tell you not to use it on electronics. But it still looks quite interesting and I wonder if there won’t be a version in the future that you could use on glass lenses.

  • yoyo

    I just cover the front element with cling-film. When it gets dirty I just replace it. Don’t want my $9000 optic getting grubby do we.

    • John

      Put on a bunch of them so you just have to peel them off one by one as they get dirty.

    • jtan163

      Just leave it in the cupboard – use the 70-300 VR with a TC.
      Then your 400 can stay nice and shiny.

  • Paul

    seems cool. Is this a need with sports shooters? moto-cross for example. do they have a hard time ‘in field’ cleanly wiping the front element with existing lenses?

    • peterw

      Good question. The 500mm is the cleanest lens I own. The long hood is very effective in holding salt, sand, dust, water, branches, leaves, insects and mud from the front element. From time to time I have to wipe some mud from the side of the lens, the black parts.

      This would be an important improvement to a kid-lens… I mean the lens you put into the viral noses of (your) kids. Within the critical danger zone of ‘schmutzige finger’, clay, the markers mentioned, paint, whipped cream, pre-sucked candy, fresh stuff out of the viral noses etc, etc…

      When I take pictures of (my own) children with the 500 mm lens, I never, never, never worry about dirt on the lens. The closest working distance being 4 m.

      I would like Nikon to bring out FL-coating for wide-angle lenses (starting with the 17-35 F2,8 please) and clothes.

      • Paul

        good point – specifically the 4m working distance puts you pretty far from the action. Just fundamentally, the wide angle lenses require you to be right in the mix.

  • saywhatuwill

    This is like the Tokina Rain Dispersion filter that I’ve been waiting to come out for what feels like forever.

  • saywhatuwill

    This is like the Tokina Dispersion Filter that I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever to come out.

    • saywhatuwill

      I tried deleting this message but I guess it decided to take my name out and make me a guest.

  • Manvin

    Looks good but I think I will go for 77mm fluorine coating filter 🙂

  • jk

    some of my Canon zooms have this type of coating and my old Pentax zooms had it too , and it really works as advertised.

  • Marko Drazic

    Now where did i see this before ? o_0 ohhh yesss Nissan’s new paint !

  • D700guy

    What a bunch of bullshit

  • lorenzo

    Sounds terrific!
    Is it still legal to breathe on a fluorine coated glass to clean it?

  • shawn

    It looks like a cool idea except you still need to clean the lens. So it will save you time in cleaning but not remove the need to clean altogether.

  • Camaman

    How durable is this coat? Only permanent if you clean your lens 1 times a year?
    We should try and replicate this effect with those “nano” car and glass polishes.
    The effect looks to be the same.
    If it doesn’t blur the picture it could be cool.

    • Ken Elliott

      I’ve tried some interesting coatings on lenses before. Generally, I found I got horrible flair it it coated the anti-reflective coating. Let us know if you find anything.

  • Photobug

    Love the new coating. Sure makes cleaning the front element easy. This coating would stop me from buying a filter.

    BUT…and it’s big, $3K more than the current lens. Looked at the DxO data and people are going to buy the old lens and when they are gone the used prices on eBay are going to climb.

    Bet most Pro’s won’t buy this lens unless they use it a lot.

  • KnightPhoto

    Canon seriously jacked up prices when the came out with their “II” lighter/better super-teles. It’s a given Nikon was going to do likewise and at least in the case of the 400mm is basically the same price Canon was asking upon release.

    Not a surprise at all guys and if you seriously use these lenses, the improved handling, sharpness, and performance with teleconverters (not that the existing 400mm was bad) are all good things. Nikon needed to do this to remain competitive. Bring on the FL 500mm and 600mm.

  • decisivemoment

    This should be on every single lens. The amount of trouble I’ve had cleaning the front of my 70-200/2.8 when shooting in inclement conditions in the city — let’s just say I finally bought a nano-coated B+W filter as I was getting alarmed by the idea of having to use the lens pen again.

  • Pete

    This is the most non-sensible nonsense ever. Fluorine is the most reactive non metal element and it’s a gas! Any glassware in its vicinity, if this were fluorine, would be eaten away, even supposing you could persuade the gas to stay put and not diffuse away.
    Why is scientific accuracy sacrificed for laziness?

    • Max

      What they mean is Fluorite (or Fluoride).

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