PMA@CES 2014: Nikon Announces D3300, 18-55mm VR II, 35mm f/1.8 FX, and D4S Development

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Nikon have unveiled their PMA@CES lineup, and it is not the most exciting one. The first is the Nikon D3300, which replaces the D3300 by removing the AA filter from the 24 megapixel sensor, increasing the frame rate to 5 FPS from 4 (which is pretty amazing considering my F100 from over a decade back did just that). The fixed LCD remains a 3″ VGA affair, and the autofocus module is still the same 11 point system from the D3200. Oh, and there is that new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens that can collapse into a smaller form factor, which hopefully can properly bring out the better side on that 24 megapixel sensor. I wonder if this is Nikon’s strategy of dealing with APS-sized sensor mirrorless cameras. The entire combination is not terribly big, is on par in weight with many mirrorless kits, features the snappy autofocus that DSLRs have, and in markets like the USA have the Nikon brand name to carry them over. Camera with lens kit and lens itself will be available in February for US$650 and US$250 respectively.

Next up is the FX AF-S 35mm f/1.8G.

 

 

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The 35mm f/2D lens was frankly, not very good on DSLRs, and I am amazed it took Nikon this long to come up with a replacement. I am also not sure if this is what people really wanted, as you can see from the picture above, it, like many contemporary SLR lenses, is much bigger and fatter than its predecessor. It is also quite a bit more expensive, at US$600. I am not a big fan of the 35mm equivalent field of view, but I am sure someone like David will have an opinion on it. The lens will be available in February.

CK: This lens looks awfully big compared to the older AF 35mm f/2D and the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX. The latter can apparently almost cover full-frame if you don’t shoot wide open, so I don’t understand why Nikon has to make it this big. At US$600, I think it’s priced too high for this focal length and maximum aperture. I’d rather Nikon release AF-S 35mm f/2D if the extra 1/3 stop (and AF-S motor) is what the price went to.

Finally, in one of those really annoying marketing teases, is the announcement of the development of the D4S. Yup. No other details right now. The last time I remember Nikon doing it for a camera, it was for the D70, in a bid to counter the tide of DSLR adopters that were buying the then affordable Canon EOS 300D. I am guessing this is in to pre-empt any switchers in a FIFA World Cup year? Nikon say they will release details later at an unspecified date, but will display the camera at CES, so we should see some details of it in just a couple of days.

David: Short take: Cheaper 35mm 1.8 full frame lens than the f1.4 version? Very welcome indeed, for the range of full frame cameras Nikon seems to be pushing out. I too had the 35mm f2 AFD lens for the longest time – it serves its purpose but it is certainly not the most competent 35mm lens around, optical wise. The D3300 is very notable too – I’m a fan of cameras without AA filters because those filters do rob cameras of acuity and distorts what the lenses are really resolving. As for the D4S, what’s there to comment? There’s absolutely no information other than Nikon’s attempt at saying “Don’t buy Canon – we have something on offer, but we’re not quite ready yet…”

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