Nikon said it plans to ship its fastest-ever lens, the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, on October 31 at a suggested retail price of $8,000.
The previous Noct lens, the Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, was originally released in 1977 as a tool for nighttime photography that was meant be used wide open. Like its predecessor, Nikon said, the new Noct lens is able to reproduce point light sources as point images, without sagittal coma flare — the spreading-out of a point image on a longitudinal plane — across the breadth of the picture. The original Noct lens corrected for sagittal coma flare by employing an aspherical element and glass with a high refractive index.
The new Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct takes advantage of the unusually large (55mm) diameter of the Nikon Z mount to gather as much light as possible. Like its predecessor, it is built with a ground aspherical lens element with a high refractive index — just one of 17 elements in 10 groups — to help reduce sagittal coma flare. For anti-reflectivity, the glass has been treated with Nikon’s Arneo Coat and Nano Crystal Coat coatings.
To improve usability, a customizable function button on the lens barrel lets users preview depth of field, lock focus, and magnify to conform focus, among other functions. The lens also includes an information panel displaying aperture, focus distance and depth of field that can be used to determine the minimum and maximum distances the lens can focus at for any given f stop. A control ring can be used for aperture control or exposure compensation. And, yes, this lens is manual focus only. It will ship with a custom padded cast and felt-lined lens hood.
“This is why the Z mount was created,” said Nikon EVP Jay Vannatter in a prepared statement. “The Noct is a testament to Nikon’s commitment to optical innovation driven by more than a century of expertise.”
Nikon is obviously hoping the low-light capabilities of the new lens will prompt shooters to take a closer look at its Z 6 and Z 7 mirrorless cameras. The Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is now the flagship in Nikon’s S-Line lens series, which includes four already announced f/1.8 primes with another slated to be announced in the near future, according to a new Nikon roadmap for Z-mount lenses looking forward to 2021.
The Noct lens will be followed in November, Nikon said, by the MB-N10, a battery accessory for the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 that holds two EN-EL15b batteries (not included). Nikon said that will increase the number of shots and movie recording time by about 1.8x. The MB-N10 will have an SRP of $200.