Nikon’s 58mm Nikkor Z Lens Marketing Gimmick

Today is the day! Nikon has officially unveiled their new mirrorless Z series camera bodies, released a road-map of expected Z lens development, and even officially listed the 500mm f/5.6 Phase Fresnel lens for pre-order.

A big and interesting day in Nikons history obviously…

But something stood out to me as odd in a number of senses… and that’s the “fastest lens in Nikon’s history”, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95.

The Nikkor 58mm f/0.95

First off, this new Z mount NIKKOR lens is actually in the development phase. It sounds like Nikon is not ready to even manufacture the first run of lenses let alone have it ready to ship with Z bodies (obviously). Think about how odd that is for a second… this is supposed to be a flagship lens, a symbol of Nikon’s new Z mirrorless cameras, and yet they didn’t get it ready in time to ship with those camera bodies?

We know the why of that… it’s a big fancy lens with a crap ton of glass. That takes time to both design and manufacture. But why didn’t Nikon start the development of the lens earlier?

Second, the 58mm f/0.95 lens is manual focus only. Again, that makes sense and is yet somewhat weird… Manual focus is generally more precise at such ridiculously fast apertures and obviously the lens will be used by people at those apertures. But that’s the thing… why wasn’t this seen as an opportunity for Nikon to show just how amazing their new Nikon Z bodies auto-focus is? 

I’m guessing because adding in an auto-focus motor would’ve made the lens about three quarters of a pound heavier, the barrel thicker, and overall longer.

But again, it seems strange that Nikon did not see this as an opportunity to show up Sony with it’s Z camera bodies…

Third, what’s the ultimate goal with this lens? It’s not available for purchase, it’s not shipping with bodies, there’s no release date, there’s no firm information. So it seems that all this lens is… is a marketing ploy. A way to get free advertising out of endless articles that basically only say the same things… “it big wow” “very fast wow” “bokeh should be wow“.

And that, is annoying and strange.

A company that said it was going to take the time, put the effort in, to get its mirrorless camera system right did not actually seem to put the effort in with a flagship lens. It is apparently not a finished product but rather a marketing tool.

That is not a criticism of Nikon’s engineers, but it is a criticism of how out of control marketing has become in the modern world. It needs to end.

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