This morning Nikon announced the AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm F3.5-4.5G, a light weight (385g) wide angle lens, designed for use with full frame (FX) cameras.* The lens is a replacement for the older AF Nikkor 18-35mm F3.5-4.5D IF, that was released just over ten years ago. The new model features an SWM focusing motor, a redesigned optical formula with aspherical and ED elements, along with a modern design. The lens is priced decently, costing nearly half as much as the AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4 VR, coming in a $779 Cdn or $749.95 USD.** For full specs visit Nikon's site for the AF-S 18-35mm F3.5-4.5G.
The MTF charts (which measures the potential optical quality of a lens) show an improvement over the previous version, but in any case there is no way to know how the lens will perform until it become available to the public. Some might question why this lens lacks VR, but my suspicion is that the vast majority of users that will be attracted to this lens will use it in either good light, or on a tripod for landscapes. Considering the high ISO performance of modern FX cameras, it should perform well, even when hand held in low light conditions.
This release fills the wide angle spot in the value level FX lineup, which now includes the AF-S 18-35mm 3.5-4.5G, AF-S 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G VR, and AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR. This lineup is primarily targeted at budget minded FX user, including those who have recently bought cameras like the D600.
* Also compatible with DX cameras, (28-50mm equivalent). With the FT-1 adapter, it should also work with Nikon 1 cameras
** MSRP, Dealers may sell for less in some regions