Nikon claims its new 85mm f/1.2 S has “extraordinary potential”

photo of woman shooting with Nikon camera

Nikon is in the finishing stages of developing and releasing a new and supposedly extraordinary Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens for portrait photography.

According to the company, this is a pro-grade ultra-fast prime lens that takes the Z-mount lens format to its “extraordinary potential”.

We’ll have to concretely see how true this is when the lens actually comes out for consumer and reviewer testing. For the time being, Nikon has released a detailed breakdown of its specs, form factor, and shooting abilities with a selection of sample photos.

The Nikkor 85mm is the first lens in Nikon’s lineup with this focal range to feature an f/1.2 aperture and it was announced as being under development in January of this year.

Nikon has designed its new Nikkor 85mm lens as a professional studio shooting optic with a hefty build.

image of Nikon 85mm f/1.2 lens

Its focal range and aperture make it ideal for studio headshots, event shooting, fashion photography and any other related assignment that photographers put it to.

According to Nikon’s own claims for the optic, it will capture photos that are “nothing short of captivating” and can deliver ultra-high resolution photos with “intense” sharpness and superb background bokeh.

According to Nikon, the bokeh quality of the lens was something the company emphasized during development, aiming for an optic that turns points of light into soft, gently rounded circles.

Inside the Nikkor 85mm f/1.2 S lens are 15 elements spread across 10 groups. Among these elements are two aspherical optic components and one low-dispersion element.

Nikon claims that this latter element also reduces spherical aberration and distortion very effectively along with other types of aberration.

diagram of Nikon lens internal optics

The new lens also features Nikon’s own proprietary Nano Crystal Coat technology, which is designed to reduce ghosting and flare considerably.

The 11-bladed diaphragm of the lens allows apertures that range from f/1.2 to f/16, which is quite impressive.

The new Z-mount 85mm lens offers a focusing distance of 2.8 feet and can be fitted with 82mm filters.

On the other hand, it’s also quite heavy and large, with a weight of 2 lbs, or just over 900 grams, and a 5.6-inch length that’s fattened out by a 4.1-inch maximum diameter.

The lens is only partially weather-sealed but Nikon does specifically claim that it’s resistant to drips and dust.

In Nikon’s own more detailed words, with this Nikkor 85mm f/1.2 S model, “The outstanding optical performance goes beyond the impressive sharpness to create a truly unique optic, with special emphasis given to the distinct character of the bokeh and out-of-focus area.”

Nikon further explains:

“The background blur is soft and natural, while the transition from the plane of focus is subtle and gradual. Wide open, the depth is utterly astounding, and even when stopping down it’s downright dreamy and opulent with smooth and circular bokeh that drives attention to the subject to create a glamourous appearance that’s desirable for fashion, boudoir, and brides.”

A negative aspect of this new lens is that it lacks any sort of internal image stabilization technology, but it can easily depend on the internal image stabilization of the camera it’s hooked to.

Inside the lens, a two-step AF system is on hand to precisely coordinate the positions of its focusing lens groups at the same time.

Nikon also states that the AF motor operates extremely quietly, rapidly and accurately. Videographers can also look forward to the lens’s minimal focus breathing, according to Nikon.

The Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.2 lens will start shipping as of March of this year. It’s available now for preorder at a price tag of $2,799.

Here are some Nikon-released sample photos taken with the 85mm f/1.2 S:

photo shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.2 S lens

photo shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.2 S lens photo shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.2 S lens photo shot with Nikon 85mm f/1.2 S lens

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