No, the 58 Noct isn’t crazy

Since it was announced, the Nikon 58mm Noct lens has drawn its share of criticism. Earlier this year, Alex Coleman at Fstoppers said “Besides trying to grab headlines, I can’t figure out who this lens is aimed at.”

Well, I can tell you who (or what) it is aimed at.

Grabbing headlines.

Plenty of companies do stuff like this. Show cars, hot models of some cars that come in at prices even more ridiculous than the $8000 the Noct cost. This lens exists to prove that it can be done, and to get people talking about it. And they are talking, a lot.

Arguably the promotional value is not needed now, since the other new lenses are already getting plenty of press, but it is a headline grabbing lens, and it’s doing that job well. If I was in charge of such things, I would have announced it early, but not bothered to put it into production until near the end of the current roadmap. I am guessing that the the lens was mostly developed early on in Z-series development, so there wasn’t as much to finish on it, so it was easy enough to release relatively early.

The images I have seen from it look amazing, so it appears they did a great job on it, although I do think they should have made it autofocus.

In short, I doubt they are going to sell a ton of these, but I doubt they ever planned to. It is a lens most people don’t need, but so was the 6mm f/2.8 Fisheye, and we are still talking about that. This is a proof of concept that you can buy (Amazon or Adorama, affiliate links,) not a mass market lens. It is a lens to get people talking, and it has already been quite successful at that.

New Nikon DSLR and Lens

Nikon announced the development of the D6 (which we expected) and a 120-300 f2.8 lens, which I hadn’t seen rumored.

I am not at all surprised that they are releasing a new flagship DSLR. The target market, mainly professional sports photographers, will probably have enough mirrorless holdouts to make it worth it. From my testing of the Z 6, I would not be real fast to use EVF as a sports or other high action shooter, and the D5 autofocus is already generally accepted to be superior to the Z autofocus, and it will probably take some time to get the on-sensor PDAF to be that good. I am not knocking the Z autofocus, I was quite happy with the Z autofocus when I tried a Z 6, but I don’t shoot professional level sports, and for my use the almost complete coverage of the sensor area and video abilities more than makes up for any loss of speed.

I was a little more surprised by the new lens, since there is so much focus on the Z-Series lenses. I personally would not have been shocked to never see any new F-Mount lenses, but this one does seem to fit the sports and wildlife markets that may be more likely to stay with DSLRs for a while longer.