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Nikon’s first new f/1.2 lens design since 1978

By Matthew Saville on October 25th 2012

This may have gone un-noticed by most, but die-hard Nikon users probably realized what a historical day this is for Nikon.  We have the first Nikkor f/1.2 lens since, wait for it….. nineteen seventy eight.  In fact, it’s their first f/1.2 lens to have autofocus, EVER. (Historical fact check:  click HERE for my favorite Nikon web page ever, the Nikon lens compendiumm)   As exciting as this is, I was still kinda hoping that Nikon would do an FX 50mm f/1.2 first.  F/1.2 just won’t be the same on this new mirrorless crop sensor system.  What am I talking about?  Let me explain:  Nikon’s mirrorless sensor system is a 2.7x crop, therefore this 32mm f/1.2 gives the same viewing angle as an 85mm prime would on a full-frame camera.  However, the depth of field won’t be the same because of the difference in sensor size;  the 2.7x crop will make it behave like an 85mm f/3.2 would on a full-frame sensor.  Kind of a bummer?

Still, that’s pretty respectable for a compact camera system, especially considering that wide-open bokeh is always very pretty.  I’m sure the lens will perform beautifully, and f/1.2 is still f/1.2 when it comes to shooting in low light.  If the new mirroless sensors like in the Nikon V2 can deliver a decent ISO 3200 or so, having an “equivalent” 85mm f/1.2 lens would be pretty useful in casual and/or incognito situations, where lugging around a 5D mk3 and an 85 f/1.2 might be a tad overkill.

What do you think?  Nikon isn’t the only one designing exotic primes for crop-sensor mirrorless systems;  Panasonic and Sony have been churning out mirrorless primes left and right, Olympus has a Zukio 75mm f/1.8 lens for $900, and Zeiss has a 24mm f/1.8 mirrorless prime that costs over $1,000!  Here at SLR Lounge, we’re pretty excited to see where this goes.

Take care,
=Matthew Saville=

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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ed Rhodes


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  2. George Hunt

    The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is a great lens but the Canons 50mm f/1.2 really is fantastic. I’d love Nikon to produce a 50mm with the build quality of their wonderful primes such as the 24mm1.4, 35mm1.4 and of course the 85!

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  3. Ryan Cooper

    Just so ya know, sensor size has absolutely no impact on depth of field. Depth of field is determined by distance from subject, focal length, and aperture. The reason people commonly associate sensors with DoF is because the size of the sensor has an impact on the distance a photographer must stand at to get a desired framing.

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    • Matthew Saville

      I love how you say “sensor size has absolutely no impact on depth of field” …and then explain exactly how sensor size “affects” depth of field…  ;-)

      Thanks for the clarification, though.


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  4. Nikon’s Newest Mirrorless Lenses for the 1 Series | Fstoppers

    […] more, as SLR Lounge points out, is that the 32mm is Nikon’s first f/1.2 lens since 1978! I agree with SLR Lounge that […]

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  5. Anonymous

    When does carrying around a 5dM3 and 85 f/1.2 overkill? Is it overkill to carry around a Winchester Rifle instead of a colt .45 while hunting in the woods? Well if you want the shot, you take the big guns. :)

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  6. Travis

    Just trying to catch up with Canon

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  7. Rasmus Hald Hm

    Its not Sigma, but Olympus who have the Zuiko 75/1.8.

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