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Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct

Get Nikon Z at B&H Photo.

I’m going to repeat something I’ve said before about other products: sometimes a lens is so good that the camera body is an accessory to be had just to use that lens. Will that pan out with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S? Will the Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S be a master lens ranking up there with Zeiss Otus? Quite possibly given Nikon’s ground-up lens design. It might even be better, believe it or not.

The new Noct inherited the design concept of the original lens, and was developed as a large-diameter Z mount version — but with a maximum aperture of f/0.95. Although there are some f/0.95 lenses on the market, the new Noct delivers point images and a level of resolution that nobody has ever experienced. Despite its extremely large diameter, it can achieve both superior point-image reproduction capability and high resolving power at maximum aperture, thanks to rigorous suppression of lens aberrations.

The original NOCT-Nikkor utilized a hand-ground aspherical lens element—quality varied (over time, I owned 4 different copies and all varied). Production rate was slow and dependent on a few skilled craftsmen.

The description is tortured, but suggests promise.

Groundbreaking optical performance with f/0.95 maximum aperture The Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 released in 1977 was at that time highly evaluated as a lens that finely reproduced point light sources as point images. While further evolving the design concept of that original Noct Nikkor, Nikon created a new Noct featuring f/0.95 maximum aperture that delivers new-dimensional rendering performance, thanks to a new mount system providing a much larger amount of light and improved flexibility in lens design.

Besides the inherited superior point-image reproduction of point light sources, the new Noct achieves outstanding resolving power from the maximum aperture by intensively compensating the various aberrations that are usually noticeable with fast lenses. Also, utilizing an optical design in pursuit of possibilities for bokeh effects, an optimum continuity of bokeh that gently transforms from the sharply focused plane is realized. As the highest-grade, symbolic lens in the NIKKOR Z series that concentrates Nikon’s renowned technologies, this lens provides an exquisite balance of resolution and bokeh, creating attractive, unprecedented spatial expression while delivering an impressive sense of depth.

Ground aspherical lenses

Improved aberration correction with the optimum high-refractive-index glass. In order to attain the very finest optical performance among the NIKKOR lens lineup, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct newly adopts a highly accurate, large-diameter ground aspherical lens element. While achieving higher surface accuracy, glass material with a high refractive index that was previously considered difficult to employ for molded- glass aspherical lenses is utilized to effectively compensate various lens aberrations with improved corrective capability. Also, the spherical lens elements incorporated in this lens are made using glass of outstandingly high quality and surface accuracy.

 

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S looks to offer high and consistent quality over the original NOCT-Nikkor along with another 0.55 stops of lens speed along and hugely improved flare resistance and color rendering. Huge and looking to be quite heavy, it appears to have a robust tripod foot.

Apparently it will be a manual focus lens, a sort of a throwback for Nikon—I’d guess that the optical design is better by not including AF. If manual focus, it might still allow for highly precise AF using the sensor focusing pixels, something not possible with DSLRs (the existing “green dot” AF assist in Nikon DSLRs is wildly inaccurate).

Pricing is unclear, but I’d expect the Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S to cost at least $4000. With the large aspheric surface, the cost might well go up to $6000.

Continues below.

Initial Nikon Z lens line

The overwhelming optical performance achieved with the new Nikon Z mount The newly adopted Nikon Z mount system features completely new specifications such as a large inner diameter of 55 mm and a short flange focal distance of 16 mm that permit sufficient light to be received even in the peripheral areas of an image sensor. These specifications realize much higher flexibility in lens design that enables the pursuit of new- dimensional optical performance. As a result, the development of incomparable, extremely high-performance lenses that were conventionally difficult to produce is made possible.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct

...

The ground aspherical lens that is employed in the highest-class model, Noct, is one of the results of these explorations. Guaranteed grinding precision that was formerly an issue in the mass production of large-diameter aspherical lenses was attained through advancement of processing techniques, realizing consistent surface accuracy. Also, in addition to Nano Crystal Coat with its proven high tolerance for incident light from a diagonal direction as well as a vertical direction, a newly developed anti-reflective coating, ARNEO Coat, that is more effective for incident light from a vertical direction specifically, is adopted. Utilizing both of these coating systems, ghost and flare are radically reduced for incident light from any direction.

S-Line lenses deliver the richest image experience with elaborate optical performance For the S-Line series of the NIKKOR Z lenses, a much higher level of standards of design principles, and quality control that is even stricter than Nikon’s long-inherited standards are newly established. The title of the S-Line is reserved only for lenses that have cleared these more rigorous standards for evaluating various factors, including MTF performance. While utilizing the advantage of outstanding flexibility in lens design of the new Nikon Z mount, the S-Line lenses achieve outstanding imaging performance by integrating the tradition of Nikon’s optical design technologies with the latest optical design technologies. The S-Line lenses including f/1.8 prime lenses and a fixed f/4 zoom lens will totally change the perception from that of the conventional lenses associated with their specifications. Every S-Line model features the refined, glistening silver-colored line and the NIKKOR emblem with a decorative “S” on the lens barrel. The “S” represents the first letter of various words such as “Superior”, “Special” and “Sophisticated.” It also stands for silver-colored line. All of the S-Line lenses employ Nano Crystal Coat, and will also incorporate such new technologies as ARNEO Coat and a multi-focusing system. The elaborately crafted exterior design and optical performance attained at an extremely high level make the S-Line lenses as pleasurable to own as they are to use.

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