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AF-S Primes?

March 5th, 2008 Posted in Equipment

After the lens announcements at PMA, there has been some constant chatter among the Nikonians out there - mostly negative - that Nikon is ignoring requests from their customers about adding AF-S to their existing prime lineup. I’m on the fence - for a couple reasons.

One of the big arguments is that some of the newer cameras, the D40/D40x and D60 do not have a screw drive in it to focus non AF-S lenses. Anyone buying those cameras, if they want autofocus, has to buy a newer AF-S lens. Sure it would be nice if the primes would autofocus, but are the D40 and D60 owners really in the market for prime lenses?

I see D40 and D60 owners as, mostly, soccer moms and people looking for a high-end point and shoot camera. What I don’t see are these people changing lenses much. If you did buy a D40, you can’t really complain that they aren’t making AF-S primes. You knew what you were buying.

Now the other argument, and one I can sort-of undestand, is that some of the higher-end users would like to see AF-S added to help with focusing speed. Sure…but not at the expense of ruining a lens that is already very good (50/1.4) or perfect (85/1.4).

Take the legendary 85mm 1.4. AKA “The Cream Machine.” I don’t think Nikon wants to invest millions of dollars to add AF-S to a couple lenses and ruin the formula that has given them one of the most sought after lenses.

Would I like to see a 50mm 1.4 AF-S? Sure…but I can understand why Nikon wouldn’t make it. If I want a prime with a focus motor in the lens I’ll have to start with the Sigma 30mm 1.4 and hope they make a few more. Until then, I may actually invest in a manual focus prime. Some of the shots I’ve seen over at the Nikon Cafe are stunning.

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