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Nikon lens releases

Nikon released its first autofocus lenses back in 1986 and quickly build up one of the most comprehensive camera lens systems available. AF-Nikkors cover all the main focal length and serve a variety of specialty applications. At the same time, Nikon's lens catalog caters equally to the budget-conscious casual shooter and the professional photographer. The company continues to develop its lens offerings and updates existing optics on a regular basis. Unlike some other camera manufacturers, Nikon does not publish a roadmap of upcoming lens releases, but based on industry news and rumors, we can expect a number of new DSLR lenses for the Nikon mount over the coming months.

Nikkor
The Nikkor system

So what is in the pipeline or rumored in terms of lens releases? Given that the Nikkor lens catalog is rather complete, the focus of Nikon has been on updating and modernizing existing lenses. Focusing motors that are fast and provide smooth and quiet AF for video applications, more effective optical image stabilization, and better lens coatings to reduce flare have thereby been at the forefront of the innovations. Some recent lenses have, however, also seen a fundamental re-design of their optical formulas or are, indeed, entirely new optics. The timeline below acts as a roadmap of recent and upcoming lens launches, and the subsequent table-listing makes it possible to compare the headline specifications of the new optics with existing lenses in the Nikon lineup.

New Lenses for Nikon F

Aug 2018

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

  • Wide-angle Zoom for Full Frame
  • USD autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 22
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 18 elements in 13 groups
  • Filters: none
  • Dimensions: 145 x 98 mm (5.9 x 4.0")
  • Weight: 1,110 g (39.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $1,299
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Aug 2018

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

  • Wide-angle Zoom for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 16 / 22
  • Aperture blades: 7, rounded
  • Construction: 15 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 77
  • Dimensions: 93 x 84 mm (3.8 x 3.4")
  • Weight: 460 g (16.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Jun 2018

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

  • Tele-photo Prime for Full Frame
  • AFS autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/5.6 - 32
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 19 elements in 11 groups
  • Filter size: 95
  • Dimensions: 237 x 106 mm (9.7 x 4.3")
  • Weight: 1,460 g (51.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $3,599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Apr 2018

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm f/2.8 Ultra Macro

  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Manual focus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Construction: 8 elements in 6 groups
  • Filters: none
  • Dimensions: 65 x 82 mm (2.7 x 3.3")
  • Weight: 400 g (14.1 oz)
  • Launch Price: $399
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Apr 2018

Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro

  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Manual focus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 -
  • Aperture blades: 7
  • Construction: 12 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 67
  • Dimensions: 125 x 72 mm (5.1 x 2.9")
  • Weight: 638 g (22.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $449
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4

  • Standard Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/1.4 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 15 elements in 9 groups
  • Filter size: 72
  • Dimensions: 108 x 80 mm (4.4 x 3.3")
  • Weight: 950 g (33.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $949
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

  • Tele-photo Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/1.4 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Filter size: 105
  • Dimensions: 132 x 116 mm (5.4 x 4.7")
  • Weight: 1,645 g (58.0 oz)
  • Launch Price: $1,599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art

  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 22
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 49
  • Dimensions: 106 x 71 mm (4.3 x 2.9")
  • Weight: 515 g (18.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $569
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Tamron 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD

  • Tele-photo Zoom for Full Frame
  • USD autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/4 - 32
  • Aperture blades: 9
  • Construction: 20 elements in 14 groups
  • Filter size: 67
  • Dimensions: 175 x 76 mm (7.1 x 3.1")
  • Weight: 859 g (30.3 oz)
  • Launch Price: $799
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon

Nikon F-mount autofocus lenses

The table below provides a listing of Nikon FX and DX lenses with their main specifications and prices at the time of their launch. The list covers Nikon's current lens catalog, as well as discontinued optics. The listed prices are not adjusted for inflation, so that older lenses might appear relatively cheap in nominal terms and might have been subject to subsequent price increases.

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Headline Specifications of Nikon DSLR Lenses
 Wide-angle Zooms Focus
System
(type)
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Type
(size)
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(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Product
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(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF-S Fisheye 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E EDAFS n n 78 x 83 mm 485 g 20171,249 i
 
Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VRAFP 72 n 77 x 73 mm 230 g 2017309 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3-5-4.5G EDAFS 77 n 83 x 87 mm 460 g 2009899 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 12-24mm/4 G IF-ED AFS 77 n 81 x 89 mm 482 g 20031,199 i
 
Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G EDAFS n Y 98 x 132 mm 970 g 20071,899 i
 
Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4G ED VRAFS 77 Y 83 x 125 mm 685 g 20101,099 i
 
Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-EDAFS 77 Y 83 x 106 mm 745 g 19991,399 i
 
Nikon AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF EDAF 77 n 83 x 83 mm 370 g 2000499 i
 
Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G EDAFS 77 n 83 x 95 mm 385 g 2013749 i
 
Nikon AF 20-35mm f/2.8DAF 77 n 94 x 82 mm 640 g 19931,499 i
 Wide-angle Primes Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
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Sealing
(y/n)
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Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
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Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G EDAF Gel n 63 x 63 mm 300 g 2003799 i
 
Nikon AF 14mm f/2.8D EDAF n n 87 x 87 mm 670 g 20001,449 i
 
Nikon AF Fisheye 16mm f/2.8DAFS Gel n 63 x 57 mm 285 g 1993999 i
 
Nikon AF 18mm f/2.8DAF 77 n 82 x 58 mm 380 g 19941,299 i
 
Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm F4E EDMF n n 89 x 124 mm 885 g 20163,399 i
 
Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G EDAFS 77 n 83 x 81 mm 355 g 2014799 i
 
Nikon AF 20mm f/2.8D EDAF 62 n 69 x 54 mm 260 g 1994499 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G EDAFS 77 Y 83 x 89 mm 620 g 20101,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G EDAFS 72 n 78 x 83 mm 355 g 2015749 i
 
Nikon AF 24mm f/2.8DAF 52 n 65 x 46 mm 270 g 1994349 i
 
Nikon PC-E 24mm f/3.5D EDMF 77 n 83 x 108 mm 730 g 20082,199 i
 
Nikon AF 28mm f/1.4D AsphericAF 72 n 75 x 77 mm 520 g 19941,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E EDAFS 77 Y 83 x 101 mm 645 g 20171,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8GAFS 67 n 73 x 81 mm 330 g 2012699 i
 
Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8DAF 52 n 65 x 45 mm 205 g 1994299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4GAFS 67 Y 83 x 90 mm 600 g 20101,699 i
 
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G EDAFS 58 n 72 x 72 mm 305 g 2014529 i
 
Nikon AF 35mm f/2DAF 52 n 64 x 44 mm 215 g 1995349 i
 Standard Zooms Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Product
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VRAFS 72 n 80 x 86 mm 480 g 20151,069 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 67 n 72 x 85 mm 485 g 2008699 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 17-55mm/2.8 G IF-ED AFS 77 Y 86 x 111 mm 755 g 20031,499 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IIAFS 52 n 73 x 80 mm 205 g 2006199 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRAFS 52 n 73 x 80 mm 265 g 2007199 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR IIAFS 52 n 60 x 66 mm 195 g 2014249 i
 
Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GAFP 55 n 65 x 63 mm 195 g 2016199 i
 
Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRAFP 55 n 65 x 63 mm 205 g 2016249 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-EDAFS 67 n 73 x 76 mm 390 g 2004399 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 67 n 76 x 89 mm 420 g 2008399 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IFAFS 67 n 74 x 87 mm 385 g 2006499 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 67 n 78 x 97 mm 490 g 2013499 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS 72 n 77 x 97 mm 560 g 2005749 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR IIAFS 72 n 77 x 97 mm 565 g 2009649 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 77 n 83 x 120 mm 830 g 2012999 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VRAFS 67 n 79 x 99 mm 550 g 2014699 i
 
Nikon AF 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5DAF 62 n 68 x 74 mm 355 g 1987399 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G EDAFS 77 Y 83 x 133 mm 900 g 20071,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VRAFS 82 Y 88 x 155 mm 1,070 g 20152,399 i
 
Nikon AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IFAFS 72 n 79 x 83 mm 545 g 2000699 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G EDAFS 67 n 73 x 72 mm 412 g 2002349 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VRAFS 72 n 78 x 82 mm 485 g 2012499 i
 
Nikon AF 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6DAF 72 n 79 x 79 mm 560 g 1996499 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS 72 n 77 x 94 mm 575 g 2003549 i
 
Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VRAFS 77 n 84 x 104 mm 710 g 20101,099 i
 
Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-EDAFS 77 Y 89 x 122 mm 935 g 19991,799 i
 
Nikon AF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5DAF 52 n 68 x 71 mm 350 g 1992299 i
 
Nikon AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6DAF 58 n 63 x 57 mm 250 g 1999129 i
 
Nikon AF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IFAF 62 n 73 x 82 mm 455 g 1998349 i
 
Nikon AF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6DAF 72 n 71 x 69 mm 300 g 1998499 i
 
Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 77 n 83 x 115 mm 800 g 2010949 i
 
Nikon AF 35-70mm f/2.8DAF 62 n 71 x 94 mm 670 g 1992499 i
 
Nikon AF 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5DAF 52 n 69 x 73 mm 420 g 1994449 i
 
Nikon AF 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5NAF 62 n 72 x 117 mm 630 g 1988469 i
 Standard Primes Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
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(y/n)
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(dia x len)
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(net)
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(year)
Launch
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(USD)
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Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8GAFS 52 n 70 x 53 mm 210 g 2009199 i
 
Nikon PC-E 45mm f/2.8D EDMF 77 n 84 x 112 mm 780 g 20082,049 i
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4DAF 52 n 63 x 43 mm 260 g 1995299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4GAFS 58 n 74 x 54 mm 290 g 2008449 i
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8AF 52 n 65 x 43 mm 155 g 198699 i
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8DAF 52 n 64 x 38 mm 155 g 2002149 i
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8GAFS 58 n 72 x 53 mm 185 g 2011219 i
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Special EditionAFS 58 n 72 x 53 mm 185 g 2013279 i
 
Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4GAFS 72 n 85 x 70 mm 385 g 20131,599 i
 Tele-photo Zooms Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
Weather
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(y/n)
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Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Product
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G EDAFS 52 n 68 x 79 mm 255 g 2005299 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VRAFS 52 n 73 x 100 mm 335 g 2007349 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR IIAFS 52 n 71 x 83 mm 300 g 2015339 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 58 n 77 x 123 mm 530 g 2010399 i
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm/2.8 IF ED VRAFS 77 Y 87 x 215 mm 1,470 g 20021,699 i
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFS 77 Y 87 x 209 mm 1,540 g 20092,099 i
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VRAFS 77 Y 89 x 203 mm 1,430 g 20162,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VRAFS 67 n 78 x 179 mm 850 g 20121,399 i
 
Nikon AF 70-210mm f/4-5.6DAF 62 n 74 x 109 mm 590 g 1993249 i
 
Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6GAF 62 n 74 x 117 mm 425 g 2000149 i
 
Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6DAF 62 n 74 x 117 mm 520 g 1998299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS 67 n 80 x 144 mm 745 g 2006699 i
 
Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VRAFP 67 Y 81 x 146 mm 680 g 2017699 i
 
Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm F4.5-6.3GAFP 58 n 72 x 125 mm 400 g 2016349 i
 
Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VRAFP 58 n 72 x 125 mm 415 g 2016399 i
 
Nikon AF 75-240mm f/4.5-5.6DAF 52 n 72 x 122 mm 410 g 1999149 i
 
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/2.8D EDAF 77 n 87 x 187 mm 1,300 g 1997899 i
 
Nikon AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D EDAFS 77 n 88 x 207 mm 1,550 g 19991,799 i
 
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6DAF 52 n 72 x 88 mm 330 g 1995199 i
 
Nikon AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VRAF 77 n 91 x 170 mm 1,210 g 20001,699 i
 
Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRAFS 77 n 96 x 203 mm 1,570 g 20132,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VRAFS rear Y 128 x 363 mm 3,500 g 201812,399 i
 
Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR IIAFS rear Y 124 x 366 mm 3,360 g 20106,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4 G IF-ED VRAFS rear Y 124 x 358 mm 3,240 g 20035,499 i
 
Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VRAFS 95 n 108 x 268 mm 2,300 g 20151,399 i
 Tele-photo Primes Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
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Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Product
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
 
Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm F2.8GAFS 52 n 69 x 65 mm 235 g 2011279 i
 
Nikon AF Micro 60mm f/2.8DAF 62 n 72 x 75 mm 440 g 1993449 i
 
Nikon AF-S Micro 60mm f/2.8G EDAFS 62 n 73 x 89 mm 425 g 2008599 i
 
Nikon AF Micro 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6DAF 62 n 75 x 175 mm 990 g 1997999 i
 
Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4DAF 77 n 79 x 74 mm 550 g 19951,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4GAFS 77 Y 87 x 84 mm 595 g 20101,599 i
 
Nikon AF 85mm f/1.8DAF 62 n 72 x 59 mm 380 g 1994479 i
 
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8GAFS 67 n 80 x 73 mm 350 g 2012479 i
 
Nikon PC-E Micro 85mm f/2.8DMF 77 n 83 x 107 mm 650 g 20081,979 i
 
Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G ED VRAFS 52 n 73 x 99 mm 355 g 2009529 i
 
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E EDAFS 82 Y 95 x 106 mm 985 g 20162,199 i
 
Nikon AF 105mm f/2D DCAF 72 n 79 x 111 mm 620 g 1995999 i
 
Nikon AF 135mm f/2D DCAF 72 n 79 x 120 mm 870 g 19951,299 i
 
Nikon AF 105mm f/2.8D MicroAF 52 n 75 x 105 mm 560 g 1990649 i
 
Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VRAFS 62 Y 83 x 116 mm 790 g 2006899 i
 
Nikon AF 180mm f/2.8D ED-IFAF 72 n 78 x 145 mm 750 g 1993999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 200mm f/2G ED-IF VRAFS rear Y 124 x 203 mm 2,900 g 20044,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 200mm f/2G ED VR IIAFS rear Y 124 x 204 mm 2,930 g 20105,699 i
 
Nikon AF Micro 200mm f/4D ED-IFAF 62 n 76 x 193 mm 1,190 g 19931,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8D ED-IFAFS rear Y 124 x 269 mm 3,100 g 19964,699 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8D ED-IF IIAFS rear Y 124 x 268 mm 2,560 g 20014,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VRAFS rear Y 124 x 268 mm 2,850 g 20045,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFS rear Y 124 x 268 mm 2,900 g 20095,499 i
 
Nikon AF 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF 82 n 89 x 219 mm 1,330 g 1987899 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF AFS 77 Y 90 x 223 mm 1,440 g 20001,149 i
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VRAFS 77 Y 89 x 148 mm 755 g 20151,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8D ED-IFAFS rear Y 160 x 352 mm 4,800 g 19987,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8D ED-IF IIAFS rear Y 160 x 352 mm 4,400 g 20017,799 i
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFS rear Y 160 x 368 mm 4,620 g 20079,549 i
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VRAFS rear Y 160 x 358 mm 3,800 g 201411,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4D ED-IF IIAFS rear Y 140 x 394 mm 3,430 g 20037,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VRAFS rear Y 140 x 391 mm 3,880 g 20078,579 i
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VRAFS rear Y 140 x 387 mm 3,090 g 201510,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VRAFS 95 Y 106 x 237 mm 1,460 g 20183,599 i
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4D ED-IFAFS rear Y 114 x 457 mm 5,800 g 19968,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4D ED-IF II AFS rear Y 166 x 431 mm 4,750 g 20018,999 i
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4G ED VRAFS rear Y 166 x 445 mm 5,060 g 200710,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4E FL ED VRAFS rear Y 166 x 432 mm 3,810 g 201512,299 i
 
Nikon AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VRAFS rear Y 160 x 461 mm 4,590 g 201316,299 i
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Nikon Mount FAQ

The Nikon F bayonet mount was first introduced in 1959. Since then, the mount has undergone a number of modifications to improve its functionality and reflect technological developments over time. Some questions related to this evolution and respective answers are listed below.

How did aperture coupling occur with the original F-mount (non-AI) lenses?

The Nikkors that were released between 1959 and 1977 had a little prong on the aperture ring. A pin on the camera had to be inserted into this prong when the lens was mounted in order to enable the transmission of the chosen aperture to the camera. Moreover, after mounting, the aperture ring needed to be turned all the way in both directions for the camera to register the maximum aperture of the lens.

What are AI-lenses?

AI (Auto Indexing) lenses used a different, more convenient system to couple the aperture ring with the light meter of the camera than the ealier non-AI lenses. AI-Nikkors, which are first released in 1977, had a ridge that connects to a feeler on a ring that surrounds the lens mount on the camera. Also, the maximum aperture of the lens is transferred to the camera through a mechanical system, so that no further adjustments to the lens or camera have to be made after attaching the lens to the mount.

How do AI-S lenses differ from AI lenses?

AI-S lenses were introduced from 1981. They further improved the auto-indexing of the lens aperture, such that the movement of the feeler became standardized. As a result, the aperture could now be controlled through the camera, which made it possible to operate the camera not only in Manual Mode or Aperture Priority, but also in Shutter Priority or in Program Mode.

Can manual focus AI and AIS lenses be used with modern digital cameras?

Yes, these legacy lenses can be mounted on all cameras with an F-mount. However, some camera series, such as D3xxx and D5xxx, do not have the aperture feeler any longer, so that the light metering does not work. Also, modern cameras lack the mechanism to determine the maximum aperture of AI/AIS lenses, so one has to enter the maximum aperture in the menu under "non-CPU lens".

How did the autofocus work on the first AF-Nikkors?

Nikon introduced its first autofocus lenses in 1986. These lenses have a screw in the lens mount into which a little screwdriver from the camera, which houses the autofocus motor, connects. Moreover, all AF-lenses have a CPU that communicates the key characteristics of the lens, such as its focal length and minimum aperture, to the camera to enable accurate light metering.

What are AI-P lenses?

AI-P lenses were manual focus Nikkors to which a CPU had been added that transferred the focal length and minimum aperture to the camera. Introduced in 1988, only a few lenses (500mm f/4 P, 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8.0 P ED,45mm f/2.8 P) were released in this line.

What makes AF-I lenses different?

AF-I Nikkors have an internal motor to autofocus the lens, instead of relying on the earlier in-camera drive. First released in 1992, the technology was only applied to Nikon's super-telephoto lenses of the time.

What does the letter "D" in the lens designation stand for?

A D-lens – introduced in 1992 – can transmit the current focus distance to the camera. This information improves the quality of light metering when setting flash exposure.

What is the difference between AF and AF-S lenses?

AF-S lenses have an ultrasonic ("silent-wave") autofocus motor located in the lens. This feature ‐ first seen in 1998 – makes the autofocus action quieter and faster. Also, these lenses make it possible to manually overturn the autofocus action by turning the focus ring without prior switch to Manual Focus mode. All AF-S lenses are also D-lenses.

What does the letter "G" in the lens designation stand for?

G-lenses were introduced in 2000. A G-lens does not have an aperture ring and, thus, does not work on cameras designed for manual-focus. All G-lenses are also D-lenses.

What is particular about "E" lenses?

In 2008, Nikon introduced the first lenses with an "E" in the lens designation, which implies that these lenses feature electronic diaphragm control. The E-lenses only work correctly on cameras introduced since 2007.

What are AF-P lenses?

In 2016, Nikon launched its first DSLR lenses with stepping motors, which it labelled AF-P. The autofocus on these lenses is faster and quieter than with AF-S and particularly well suited for video recording.

Further Reading

If the existing catalog of native Nikkors does not contain what you are looking for, what about using some legacy lenses on your Nikon? Admittedly one loses autofocus and aperture coupling, but there are some truly excellent lenses that were originally designed for Leica-R cameras and that can be easily adapted to a modern digital camera. Or if you are looking for a bargain, what about some legacy third party optics from Soligor, Tamron Adaptall or Vivitar in Nikon F-mount?

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