12 lenses of Christmas: Nikon unveil something huge in April 2022

Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S
(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Bigging up telephoto reach while reducing size and weight, the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S was officially announced in April. It came as no surprise that it’s a big, pricey lens but that’s not the whole story. It’s actually only a third of the price of the equivalent Nikon 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR F-mount DSLR lens and, thanks partly to featuring a Phase Fresnel optical element, it’s some 2.3kg lighter in weight. And if you feel that 800mm still doesn’t cover the distance, it’s compatible with both of Nikon’s Z-system 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters.

Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S

At just under 2.4kg, the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is a relative featherweight for a pro-grade 800mm lens, making even extended periods of handheld shooting entirely viable, thanks also to highly effective Vibration Reduction. (Image credit: Nikon)

Similarly epic Nikon news from April was the company’s plans to launch 50 or more Z-system lenses by the year 2025. In the shorter term
Nikon’s latest Z lens roadmap for DX-specific lenses turned out to be relatively disappointing. There are only four Z DX lenses on the map and three of those had already been released, namely the 16-50mm, 50-250mm and 18-140mm zooms. The only one still on the horizon is the Z DX 12-28mm.

Meanwhile, Canon launched its first pro-grade, full-frame cinematic zoom lenses. Labelled the Flex Zoom series, they certainly don’t come cheap at $21,999 each. The CN-E20-50mm T2.4 L F / FP and CN-E45-135mm T2.4 L F / FP are claimed to deliver outstanding performance for 4K and 8K HDR shooting. Canon also announced its intention to launch a fast RF 35mm lens later in the year.

See other installments in our 12 lenses of Christmas series

High-def professional cinematic quality is assured by Canon’s brace of ‘CN’ zoom lenses. (Image credit: Canon)

Upgrading its trinity standard zoom, Sony announced the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. The Mark II edition is designed to be more adept at video capture as well as stills, while also enhancing image quality and featuring a more advanced autofocus system.

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II

Better, faster, more, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II is a worthy upgrade to original FE mount trinity standard zoom. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

There was no stopping Laowa, who followed a string of March announcements with yet more for April. These included the launch of a ‘red ring’ version of the Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift lens and a 0.7x ’speedbooster’. The company also announced that its first series of anamorphic lenses was in the pipeline, serving up a video trailer to pique interest.

For the deep of pocket, Leica launched a matte black, special limited edition of its 28mm Summicron-M f/2, costing just under $4,500. Even so, that’s little more than half the price of the Vazen 135mm T2.8 1.8x anamorphic lens for full frame EF and PL mount cameras, announced in the same month and following on from the company’s 50mm and 85mm lenses in its 1.8x anamorphic line-up. Meanwhile, down in the bargain basement, AstrHori launched a 50mm f/1.4 Tilt lens for just $259.

AstrHori 50mm F1.4 tilt lens

The AstrHori 50mm f/1.4 Tilt lens is not only fast but costs a fraction of the price of typical tilt & shift lenses, although it lacks a ‘shift’ facility. (Image credit: Future)

Our April lens testing program featured three new autofocus offerings for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras, all from Samyang (also badged as Rokinon in the USA). First up was the Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE, the company’s first ever zoom lens, which turned out to be a highly capable and cost-effective trinity standard zoom.

Samyang AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE lens

Designed for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Samyang/Rokinon AF 24-70mm F2.8 FE proved that you don’t have to spend big bucks to get a high-performance trinity zoom. (Image credit: Future)

Next up was the bokehlicious Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE, perfect for tight head shots in portraiture and fully compatible with Sony’s eye-detection and tracking autofocus modes. And finally, there was the fast Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE II standard prime, all three Samyang/Rokinon lenses earning rave reviews from us.

Back to basics
• What are the best camera lenses to buy?

Lenses for photography genres
• Best lenses for astrophotography
• Best lenses for bird photography
• Best lenses for landscape

Lenses for your camera
• Best Canon lenses
• Best Fujifilm lenses
• Best Nikon lenses
• Best Olympus lenses
• Best Panasonic lenses
• Best Pentax lenses
• Best Sony lenses

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.