The Totally Tamron Website Is Back! Visit Today For All Things Tamron

Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Lens Review

John Riley reviews the ultra-bright, Nikkor 58mm f/0.95 Noct lens from Nikon for full-frame Z-mount mirrorless cameras.


|  Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct in Interchangeable Lenses
 Add Comment

Nikkor Z 58mm F0,95S Front Oblique View

There has always been something magical about that f/0.95 aperture, ever since Canon introduced their “Canon Dream” 50mm f/0.95 lens in 1959. Ferociously expensive and without the benefits of modern coatings such a lens would never have been mainstream, but the quest has continued and there have been many recent f/0.95 offerings. Now Nikon have decisively entered the field with a 58mm f/0.95 manual focus, full frame of course, lens for their new Z series. The wide 55mm throat of the new Nikon Z mount makes such specifications a realistic proposition, but the price tag remains ferociously expensive, especially for a standard lens of which there are many almost as fast at much lower price points. However, with four Editor's Choice awards under their belt already, have Nikon weaved the magic again and produced something amazing? Or is this the point at which the superlatives really do run out? Armed with the new lens and the Nikon Z7 45.4MP body, let's find out.


Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Handling and Features

Nikkor Z 58mm F0,95S On Nikon Z7

The kit arrived in two boxes, the smaller one bringing the camera body and a huge box bringing the lens. The reason soon becomes apparent as the lens is supplied in a very robust peli-style case that probably accounts for a couple of hundred pounds of the price on its own. As an aside, the instruction book for the lens provides step by step instructions on how to remove the lens from the case and how to put it back again, apparently by reversing the order of the process. Having mastered this, we have an absolutely gorgeous looking and very heavy (2000g) lens that looks as though it will take some handling. In fact, after a few moments use on the Nikon Z7 it fits like a glove and is as slick as we could wish for.

Starting at the front of the lens, we are provided with a round lenshood that screws into the 82mm filter thread. It is a pity that this is not a bayonet fit, as we have become spoilt with hoods that simply clip into bayonet fits and don't need to be lined up to screw them in. A small point perhaps, but at the price detail is everything, although I can see how aesthetically the hood marries up very nicely with the lines of the lens.

The manual focusing ring is huge, well gripped and operates on a helical thread, extending the inner barrel within the hood, but the overall length of the lens remaining the same. It is very smooth. Focusing is down to 0.5m or 1.64 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.19x. This works well with the slightly long standard lens length of 58mm, allowing close shots for portraits whilst retaining good modelling perspective. There are clear engraved markings in both feet and metres. Immediately behind this is the OLED display. When switching on, this displays NIKKOR and then changes to the selected value. The choice is controlled by a button close by on the lens marked DISP and we can select aperture value, distance scale or depth of field indicator. Display can also be in feet or metres as desired. Slightly further round the barrel is the L-Fn button, and this can be programmed via the camera for any one of 17 different functions.

The final control ring, closest to the camera, can be set to adjust aperture or exposure compensation. The former could be very useful for videographers as the electromagnetic diaphragm, coupled with this control, makes for totally silent aperture control. The diaphragm has 11 blades, a positive feature for beautiful bokeh.
Nikkor Z 58mm F0,95S On Nikon Z7 Top View

Optical construction is 17 elements in 10 groups, with 4 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) and 3 Aspherical. Nikon's new ARNEO coating plus Nano crystal coatings complete the picture. The front element is also treated with a Fluorine coat to repel moisture, dirt and grease.

Of course, accuracy of focusing is absolutely critical, especially when using that f/0.95 maximum aperture, where depth of field is almost non-existent. When using the viewfinder the throw of the focusing ring is long enough so that minute adjustments can be made and the acuity of the screen is such that focusing is actually quite easy. When using the various focusing magnification options, precision of a very high order can be achieved.

This is a very satisfying lens to use, there is no doubt about that, and once we are used to the weight and the handling it poses few problems. At night, it comes into its own even further and it soon becomes apparent that the Noct designation leads us towards areas of shooting at which, in terms of handling, it excels.
Nikkor Z 58mm F0,95S Rear Oblique View
 


Support this site by shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK
*It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Other articles you might find interesting...

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR Review
Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 Review
Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 Review
Tamron 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Review
Fujifilm To Add 30mm f/3.5 & 80mm f/1.7 Lenses To The GF Len...
Fujifilm USA Introduces The Fujinon GF 45-100mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Lens
HD Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4 ED SDM WR Announced Along With S...
Top 17 Best Tamron Lenses 2020

Comments


LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
5 Dec 2019 7:04PM
I have bought my lottery tickets!

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
6 Dec 2019 12:50PM
An amazing technical achievement by Nikon. When I was on my first Fleet Street newspaper a Canon f/0.95 was on loan to us. It wasn't so much that it was not so great wide open but that the depth of field rendered it all but useless at f/0.95.

There's a fetish about shallow depth of field for some reason nowadays but actually, even for portraits you do want some of it unless you plan to put the subject in one of the head restraints used of necessity by Victorian portraitists. And it is nice to have both eyes reasonably in focus..

In the guitar world, they call the ultra-expensive £5000+ instruments "dentists's guitars" because they are bought by well off not so serious players - meantime the Hendrix's of the music world are buying bog-ordinary instruments straight off the wall of a music shop. This lens strikes me as a dentist's lens.

Don't buy one, hire one for a week until your curiosity is sated and then go back to using your nice f/1.4 standard that you can pick up without a crane and don't need a security guard to keep away thieving hands Wink
9 Dec 2019 12:18PM
Looks like 500mm mirror lens to me.
thewilliam2 2 1.3k
20 Dec 2019 3:44PM
Those performance figures look impressive but may I suggest that they give us something to compare it with.

Back in the 1960s, one American comic included values for the best (Zeiss Planar) and worst (Meyer Domiplan) lenses that they'd ever tested so we knew where it stood.
LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
20 Dec 2019 7:55PM

Quote:Those performance figures look impressive but may I suggest that they give us something to compare it with.


All you have to do is look at results for other lens tested in the same way and published on the Ephotozine web site.
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
25 Dec 2019 7:31PM
Not sure why you’d shoot all the night photos at ISO 1600 - particularly when using unecessarily high shutter speeds. Viewed in high res there’s a lot of noise which seems to defeat the object of such a lens for that type of photography. I’m also not seeing an astonishing amount of detail in the hall shots. I was expecting to be able to read small text on the wall plate and parked van. The larger type was readable, but I was really anticipating being able to discern the smaller writing when magnified. Am I expecting too much from such a combination? £10k would leave me wanting more...
LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 9:23AM

Quote:Not sure why you’d shoot all the night photos at ISO 1600 - particularly when using unecessarily high shutter speeds. Viewed in high res there’s a lot of noise which seems to defeat the object of such a lens for that type of photography.

I agree

Quote: I’m also not seeing an astonishing amount of detail in the hall shots. I was expecting to be able to read small text on the wall plate and parked van. The larger type was readable, but I was really anticipating being able to discern the smaller writing when magnified. Am I expecting too much from such a combination? £10k would leave me wanting more...

Maybe you are expecting too much - by overlooking that no matter how sharp a lens, who cannot put detail in the areas outside the limits of depth of field.
You can put extra detail with a very high resolving lens, making increased resolution when zooming in a probability, in areas near the centre of the depth of field
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 12:59PM
I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.

Not sue about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio). But I wasn’t seeing pixels- just fuzziness. I suppose it would need perfect technique to properly judge the resolving power of the combo from these samples.
LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 2:30PM

Quote:I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.
Not sue about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio)..



When you zoom in on a monitor you change the effective circle of confusion and reduce effective depth of field.
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
26 Dec 2019 10:25PM

Quote:
Quote:I think all the areas I was talking about are at or near infinity - certainly the plate on the side of the hall should be in the target subject area.
Not sure about the level of magnification as I zoomed in - I was viewing on an iPad Pro which is about 4 megapixels. I suppose it is possible I was zooming greater than 100% (there’s no indicator of the zoom ratio)..



When you zoom in on a monitor you change the effective circle of confusion and reduce effective depth of field.



But as I said Len, the plate I was talking about was fixed to the front wall of the hall that was the main subject of the photo, so one would assume at or very near the focus hotspot. That being at or near infinity. It wasn’t wide open either so we’re not talking super shallow DoF. Nothing else looked notably sharper in any case.
LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
27 Dec 2019 8:39AM

Quote:But as I said Len, the plate I was talking about was fixed to the front wall of the hall that was the main subject of the photo, so one would assume at or very near the focus hotspot. That being at or near infinity. It wasn’t wide open either so we’re not talking super shallow DoF. Nothing else looked notably sharper in any case.


Perhaps you now have to decide whether or not you think the lw/ph figures published are fake Sad (I am satisfied they are not), the photographer did not take adequate care making the outdoor test image you refer to, or whether you should reconsider the logic you are using.

1/ zooming in on a monitor dramatically reduces depth of field - often to "super shallow". Even with the smallest iPad pro zooming in to 100% reduces dof to no more than 6% of dof in the theoretical 10x8 inch print used as the basis for dof.
2/ infinity is significantly further away than in the test shot you refer to
3/ your viewing device while very good for its size is not "top drawer" for displaying very fine detail.
4/ Imatest (or MTF) measure a 1000:1 contrast target.

The Imatest scores seem easily the best so far from a 45 MP sensor.


ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
1 Jan 2020 4:02PM
5/ whether or not to rely on information provided by someone who thinks 4K resolution is the same as 4 megapixels.
lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
1 Jan 2020 6:05PM
If you look at the lens chart, could anyone find fault with such performance? At this level of performance any photograph made would need to be made on a very sturdy tripod and carefully controlled conditions to extract the maximum resolution - hand held even at high shutter speeds wouldn't cut it since the tiniest blur from movement would compromise resolution.

Lenses like this are mainly made to provoke these "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" discussions. No normal photographer has any practical use for them and no normal display media can do them justice. In practise, who needs or wants this level of sharpness?

The surest sign of the failure of a picture is if someone remarks how sharp it is Wink
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2020 4:16PM

Quote:If you look at the lens chart, could anyone find fault with such performance? At this level of performance any photograph made would need to be made on a very sturdy tripod and carefully controlled conditions to extract the maximum resolution - hand held even at high shutter speeds wouldn't cut it since the tiniest blur from movement would compromise resolution.

Lenses like this are mainly made to provoke these "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" discussions. No normal photographer has any practical use for them and no normal display media can do them justice. In practise, who needs or wants this level of sharpness?

The surest sign of the failure of a picture is if someone remarks how sharp it is Wink



You have a point (about steadiness). Bizarrely the shot I’m talking about was f16 at 1/50. So I think perhaps a little diffraction and a fair bit of motion blur/ camera shake (although there is IBIS). Which begs the question - why those settings? What was John setting out to demonstrate? Wouldn’t f4/ 1/400 be likely to get a lot more out of the combination?
lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
2 Jan 2020 5:00PM
I'm often bemused by photographers who buy ultra-fast lenses and then generally use them at the normal f/4/ 5.6 ish. There is still a notion that faster lenses, being more expensive, are sharper. In point of fact, most lenses set to f/4 or 5.6 are as sharp as one another, whether they are have a maximum aperture of f/1.4 or f/3.5. Apart from very large prints, modern display media is very undemanding and incapable of showing great detail unless you go all train-spotter and pixel peep. In which case you cannot see the picture, making the whole exercise pointless.

Why anyone would use a lens like this at 1/50th @ f/16 I don't know. Having such an extreme lens as this, I'd expect to be using it at 1/1600 @ f/2 and dispensing with any stabilization which at such a speed is likely to be more hindrance than help. Here we have one of the fastest and sharpest lenses in the world being used in a way that rubs the edge off the acuity both with camera movement and diffraction.

But lenses like this aren't bought by people to use, they are bought for effect by folk who want to work a camera rather than make pictures. Same as £10,000 electric guitars and 220mph super cars, they are made for folks who think ownership equals ability. And bless them, because they are the people who make it possible for the rest of us to buy the tools to earn our living without going bankrupt!





LenShepherd 11 4.1k United Kingdom
3 Jan 2020 8:54AM

Quote:
Why anyone would use a lens like this at 1/50th @ f/16 I don't know. Having such an extreme lens as this, I'd expect to be using it at 1/1600 @ f/2 and dispensing with any stabilization which at such a speed is likely to be more hindrance than help. Here we have one of the fastest and sharpest lenses in the world being used in a way that rubs the edge off the acuity both with camera movement and diffraction.


You make a very valid point as regards the outdoor images.

It is probable ephotozine had the lens for testing for only a few hours.
Even so I would have appreciated an image taken at f2 that illustrates both the shallow depth of field and background bokeh.
After all few if any site viewers are likely to get a chance to use this lens.
lemmy 12 2.8k United Kingdom
3 Jan 2020 9:37AM

Quote:Even so I would have appreciated an image taken at f2 that illustrates both the shallow depth of field and background bokeh.
I hasten to add that I meant no criticism of John and I have no idea of the circumstances under which this review was done.

When I make my review videos, I use the lens under review at its extreme. In my review of the Panasonic 10-25 f/1.7, all the example pix are taken at maximum aperture or f/2.You don't pay £1750 for a standard zoom in order to use it at f/4. If you are happy with f/4 or f/5.6, Panasonic's 12-32mm is just as sharp and a small fraction of the price.

This is a f/0.95 lens with such shallow depth of field as to be useless for most purposes and more of a lens maker's circus trick than a practical lens. It is, however, wonderful that it exists.

I can't help thinking that if you are one of the 'shallow depth of field' fetishists who seem to be numerous these days, you could buy a 5x4 inch camera and get some serious shallow depth by sticking a Nikon 240mm on as a portrait lens. Or even buy a medium format digital for the same or less money. But I suppose that doesn't have the big d**k factor that a £10,000 lens like this does.

If only they made this for Leica, then you could spend some really serious money - £16700 - that'd show everyone what a good photographer you are Grin

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.