Nikon’s lenses don’t typically warrant a special name. Up to this point, the one exception is its Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct lens, which is a manual focus lens offering an extremely fast f/0.95 aperture. But now, Nikon has announced there is a new kid on the block, bringing a new moniker to Nikon’s lineup. The NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena promises exceptional bokeh and high-end performance across the board thanks to a unique lens design. This special lens will be more affordable than the Noct lens, though still commands a steep $2,496 price tag.
What is the NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena?
The NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is a telephoto prime lens built for performance. The 135mm focal length and f/1.8 aperture make it an ideal choice for portrait photographers, especially, as well as anyone who wants to isolate subjects in the distance. Nikon explained that the name “Plena” comes from the Latin term plenum, “which denotes the state of a space being completely full.” The company went on to explain that it picked this name to “reflect the lens’ ability to fulfill the user’s creative vision with superior light gathering capability, beautiful, well-rounded bokeh and outstanding sharpness and clarity throughout the frame.”
The fact that this is only the second lens Nikon has given a dedicated name shows just how special they expect it to be. It’s clear they want it to achieve legendary status, and by the information available, we think it will get there and can’t wait to check it out ourselves. On paper, and based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks to be a portrait photographer’s dream lens.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena details
It is clear that Nikon put a lot of work into this lens, with primary goals of enhanced brightness and bokeh. Nikon said that it engineered the 135mm f/1.8 S Plen with “a focus on superior peripheral illumination.” The result is edge-to-edge brightness. In addition, this piece of glass promises superb sharpness and stunning bokeh, which Nikon says will allow for “vibrant images with a mystical pop of three-dimensionality.” That’s a dramatic statement, but the image samples we’ve seen sure look promising.
Build & design
The NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is comprised of 16 elements in 14 groups, with four ED elements, one aspherical element and one SR lens element. It features Nikon’s Meso Amorphous Coat, which is the company’s most effective anti-reflection coating. In addition to that, the lens also gets the original ARNEO Coat to reduce ghosting and flaring.
Nikon designed the 135mm Plena with a “luxurious exterior design,” utilizing metal components for durability. It is full weather sealed as well, which we would expect from a Nikon S lens. The metal body and high-end glass results in some bulk, though. It weighs a 2.2 pounds and measures 3.9 by 5.5 inches. That is half the weight of the Noct lens, however, so all things considered, it isn’t too bad. The lens utilizes an 82mm filter thread and offers two lens Fn buttons which you can program to a variety of functions.
Inside the lens is a multi-focusing system which uses stepping motors (STMs) for fast, accurate and quiet autofocus. And it promises quiet operation and stable exposure for video applications, making it a versatile lens.
Bokeh & image quality
The main selling point of the 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is its stunning bokeh. This piece of glass features an eleven-blade diaphragm and larger rear element which helps create exceptionally round and smooth bokeh. Additionally, the large f/1.8 maximum aperture makes the lens a useful choice in low-light situations. Plus, Nikon promises consistent brightness all the way to the corners of the frame. That means you shouldn’t have to worry about removing vignetting in post.
The 135mm telephoto prime can focus as close as 2.69 feet. Although it isn’t a macro lens, you will be able to get some really nice detail images with this optic. As part of the S line, it will offer superb sharpness across the entire image. The transition from out of focus to in focus areas should be very smooth, resulting in an overall impressive image quality.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena pricing & availability
The NIKKOR 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is priced at $2,496.95. It is available for pre-order now, and will begin shipping on October 30.