Nikon files patents for two fast f/1.2 zoom lens featured image

Nikon has submitted patents for two zoom lenses with fast maximum apertures of f/1.2.

Zoom ranges

According to the patents, originally spotted by Asibonet, the lenses have 35-50mm and 50-70mm focal lengths. Additionally, the lenses maintain an f/1.2 aperture across both ranges. This is a very wide aperture for a zoom lens. An aperture like it would operate well in low-light shooting environments. In addition, an f/1.2 aperture would give both lenses a very shallow depth of field — even at the wider focal lengths.

Prime lenses with wide maximum apertures are quite common. However, the complexity of zoom lens design makes fast apertures more challenging to achieve.

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Large body

Maintaining a wide aperture across a zoom range requires a large lens; Nikon’s patented f/1.2 lenses are no exception. The documents show the lengths of the zooms as between 6.6 and 8.3 inches. The diagrams submitted with the patents show multiple large glass elements within the lenses, which means they are likely to be heavy and large.

The patents do not state which sensor the lenses will use. However, due to the overall size of the lenses, they are likely designed for APS-C or even full-frame cameras.

No release sate

Sadly, registering a patent does not mean a product will ever release commercially or even get manufactured at all. It is a way for a company to protect its innovative design and engineering concepts so that competitors cannot copy or exploit them.

However, if Nikon ever does deliver on these patents, Nikon will have two very popular products. Currently, the company’s Z mount range of lenses only has one product with an f/1.2 lens: a 50mm prime. A zoom with the same maximum aperture would deliver the low light performance and shallow depth of field that so many videographers seek. While these lenses would be expensive, they would offer a unique zoom range and fast aperture.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.