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Nikon lens gives wide-angle a new perspective

The company offers a new 19mm tilt-shift lens plus an updated version of its 70-200mm f2.8.


The new Nikon 19mm tilt-shift lens has separate controls for tilting and shifting.


Nikon added a new specialized pro lens to its family along with a welcome update to the staple 70-200mm f2.8 pro model.

The first is a special-purpose PC Nikkor 19mm f4E ED. PC stands for "perspective correction," Nikon's terminology for its tilt-shift lenses. Tilt-shift lenses can either be used when wide-angle is necessary but distortion is undesirable -- such as in real estate and architectural photography -- or for creating photos with a slice of focus, similar to the miniature effect in consumer cameras and some Lensbaby lenses (such as the Edge 50). With an angle of view of 97 degrees, the 19mm lens seems like an especially good fit for real estate applications.

It updates Nikon's current PC-lens design by separating the controls for tilting and shifting and incorporating an electromagnetic diaphragm that aids in faster autoexposure adjustments. Normally it's used to drive improved continuous-shooting performance, but in this case it's really for improved results when shooting video.

The lens offers 12mm of shift in all directions, 7.5° of tilt and 90° of rotation in either direction. It can focus as close as 10.8 in/25 cm from the focal plane.

Nikon's updates for the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR follow the types of enhancements it made for the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8E ED VR, including an electromagnetic diaphragm and updated coatings. The company shaves a little bit off the size and weight by incorporating a fluorite element (the "FL" in the name), and swapped the location of the zoom and focus rings (yay), added a programmable AF-lock button, updated the coatings and improved the image stabilization by about half a stop.

The PC Nikkor 19mm f4E ED will run $3,400: I don't have UK or Australian price or availability, but that directly converts to about £2,765 and AU$4,4335. As for the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR, that will cost $2,800 (directly converted, approximately £2,275 and AU$3,650). The current 70-200mm f2.8 costs about $2,100 and Nikon lists it as "Temporarily out of inventory," so I don't expect any significant price drops; however, look for refurbished versions as people upgrade to the new model. Both lenses are expected to ship in November.