The trend for telephoto and super telephoto lenses with more conservative apertures continues, as Nikon has designed a trio of tele lenses including a 1000mm f/8 for its Z system.
Patents have been uncovered for a total of three new PF lenses that might be in the pipeline soon: a 400mm f/4.5, 600mm f/5.6 and 1000mm f/8. All of which seem destined to join the best Nikon Z lenses, which the Big N has expanded considerably in the past year.
As always take these patents (uncovered by Digital Camera Info) with a grain of salt, as the majority of them never make it to final products, but it is a great insight into where Nikon might be going with its future lens design.
But what is a PF lens, you might ask. It stands for Phase Fresnel, which is an element Nikon introduced to its lens design to compensate for chromatic aberration and ghosting. Using a Phase Fresnel lens allows for fewer complex elements, which can effectively mean a more compact and lighter lens. For those that want to get really nerdy, Nikon Rumors has a great in-depth post on PF lens elements.
Nikon has used PF elements in previous lenses such as the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens to great effect; in our review we praised how the PF element made what would have been a very large lens much more light and compact.
Compact telephoto prime lenses are a growing trend in lens design, with Canon having a huge hit with critics and consumers alike with its range of super compact, light, and affordable telephoto prime lenses including the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM.
Recent patents have also uncovered how Fujifilm might be looking into competing compact telephoto primes, as well as Canon exploring mirrored lenses as a way to cut down the size and weight of its offerings even more.
Nikon's PF lens designs offer significantly wider apertures than Canon's current compact telephotos, but this is likely to come with significantly higher costs – with historically Nikon reserving its PF lenses exclusively for professional applications with professional prices. So these lenses from Nikon might be more suitable challengers to Canon's giant monster lenses like the Canon RF 600mm f/4 L IS USM, which also has a monstrous price tag.
Whatever comes from these rumors it is great to see Nikon pushing the boundaries of lens design, with lighter and more compact lenses having a benefit for lots of photographers who have to lug around kit all day long.