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Nikon debuts pair of more compact lenses at CES 2015

A collapsible consumer zoom and smaller, lighter 300mm f4 join the line.

Nikon has shaved about 1.5 pounds (680 grams) off the weight of its pro telephoto lens. Sport VR is for panning. Lori Grunin/CNET
The 300mm f4E from above. Lori Grunin/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Smaller and a lot lighter than than its standard 300mm f4 lens, the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4D IF-ED, Nikon's update to the lens uses its Phase Fresnel technology for the first time in a full-size lens to compact it.

The technique is similar to that used by Canon for its Diffractive Optic-element (DO) lenses. The full-frame AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4E PF ED VR runs 5.8 inches (147.5mm) long compared with 8.8 inches (222.5mm) and weighs a mere 26.6 oz (755g), significantly less than the 50.8 oz (1,440g) of its predecessor.

Nikon's pricing the lens at $2,000 (£1,640) -- roughly AU$2,500, though I'll update with a real price when I get it -- a lot more than the $1,500 (£1,030, AU$2,129) for the current lens, which is even cheaper at retail. If you want to shoot without a tripod, however, it's probably worth the price premium, since the newer lens incorporates the company's latest image-stabilization; the original lens had none.

In addition to the ability to focus just a hair closer, 4.6 feet vs. 4.8 feet (1.4m vs. 1.5m), the new lens keeps the 77mm filter size.

Nikon's collapsible 55-200mm lens Nikon

A little more within reach of the rest of us, Nikon also announced a collapsible version of its 55-200mm f4-5.6 consumer lens, a staple complement to the 18-5mm kit lenses. The AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f4-5.6G ED VR II will cost $350 (£280) -- directly converted that's AU$432, though I'll update with an actual price when I can find it -- $100 more than the most current model.

Both lenses are slated to ship in February.

Updated January 8, 2015 to reflect an error in the collapsible-lens specification -- it's f4, not f4.5 at its widest aperture -- as well as to add official UK pricing.