Incremental Lens Improvments

nek4lifenek4life Posts: 123Member
I know nothing about lens fabrication so this may be a stupid question, but do manufacturers ever make incremental lens improvements during the typical lifecycle of a lens before a new version is released? Upgrade the coatings? Fine tune the optics? Just curious about that, especially with some of Nikons lenses that have been on the market for 5+ years.


  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,251Member

    Sometimes they find better ways to manufacture it, but don't significantly alter the lens design so they decide it's not really a new product. Or sometimes they find efficiencies or ways to cut corners without sacrificing quality.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,185Member
    edited March 2016
    I think Nikon does not make any incremental changes. Their runs of production seem to me to be large enough that batches are made to last a fairly long time. If a new batch is to be made to refresh stock then if there are any changes it will probably be to the production methodology to fix issues in the previous batch.. however changes to design or coating or any base IQ design improvement will not be made. I think that is usually the case with most of the Lense manufacturers..

    However, the exception seems to be Tamron as they have many sub-versions of many of their lenses... .. sigma also seems to have had small changes to some of their lenses...

    However, there are a few Nikon lenses that have had small version improvements. but these are the exceptions and would seem to be due to "issues"..

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,500Moderator
    'Issues' would seem to be the best reason for stealth changes because - let's face it - there are no game-changing discoveries made that can just be applied to an existing design, and if there was, it would make sense to make a fuss about it and launch a 'new' product. Maybe also, two or three new small tweaks would also make a big enough difference to launch a new product and raise the price. Why give it all away?
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I would think that any intra-model improvements might be to parts like autofocus or VR 'motors' either due to 'issues', or parts / supply chain availability.
    It is inconceivable that a change would be made to the optical formula because jpeg processing, in-camera corrections and raw profiles would have to change, and be able to differentiate between the 'versions'.
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    The "current" version of the Ai-S 50mm f/1.2 has been made since 1981, unchanged, and can be bought new from Nikon today.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    Ironheart said:

    The "current" version of the Ai-S 50mm f/1.2 has been made since 1981, unchanged, and can be bought new from Nikon today.

    I bought that lens new two years ago brand new. It is my favorite lens.
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