Nikon has ended last month’s lens rebates and come up with eight new lenses that are now on rebate. As I always do when Nikon offers lens-only rebates, I’m going to comment on the new entries to let you know what looks like a good value and what you should probably just ignore. But first, a warning.
It seems that Nikon has changed strategy a bit. We’re now seeing shorter-lived lens rebates that rotate. Nikon’s marketing and sales department obviously want you to think of these rebates as highly ephemeral: miss the sale and you miss the rebate. Previously, we’ve seen the same lenses appear in multiple rebate programs over time. This seems to be new: there is only one repeat on the new list of lenses. Moreover, the rebates are smaller.
Of course, come January—actually, more likely February—we’ll see another lens rebate program and perhaps some lenses will repeat. But I think it safer to assume at the moment that these rebates are indeed temporary.
- 16-35mm f/4G US$100 rebate — This is another good but not great lens. The real issue with it is that it has a lot of linear distortion to it, so what you see in the viewfinder is not necessarily what you’ll get in a corrected image. However, it does take filters, and it is optically very good throughout its range.
- 20mm f/1.8G US$50 rebate — Not much of a rebate, but this is a great lens for the price (see my review). Indeed, it may at the top of the choices you can make for shooting 20mm on a Nikon DSLR. Recommended
- 24-70mm f/2.8G US$100 rebate — The old beast is still available. It’s a good but not great lens. Thing is, do you want to pay US$800 more for a better lens with VR? Nikon’s hoping you don’t so that they can rid themselves of some inventory.
- 35mm f/1.4G US$200 rebate — Okay, this is a very good lens, but awfully expensive for a simple prime, even a fast one (and even with the rebate). I know multiple people—including myself—who eventually got rid of their 35mm f/1.4G simply because there were smaller, less expensive choices that were almost as good (e.g. 35mm f/1.8G). I’m also not a big fan of the “slightly wide angle” view of this focal length. But if you need a fast 35mm, you can do far worse than this lens.
- 40mm f/2.8G DX US$30 rebate — Yes, this is a Micro-Nikkor and sharp. But the working distance for 1:1 is infinitesimal. Thus, you generally don’t use this as a macro lens. So do you really want a 40mm f/2.8 (60mm effective on DX bodies)? Probably not, especially if you already have the 35mm f/1.8 DX.
- 50mm f/1.4G US$50 rebate — I think everyone knows what I think about Nikon’s 50mm lenses: the newer AF-S versions aren’t exactly up to Nikon’s own recent prime standards. You might as well buy the cheapest f/1.8D you can find (assuming you have a body with a screw focus drive, which leaves out you D3xxx and D5xxx users. Not a fan of this lens.
- 85mm f/1.8G US$50 rebate — This is my personal choice of 85mm lenses from Nikon these days. First, it’s inexpensive. Second, it is so close to the f/1.4G version from f/2 onwards that you really have to have a dire need for two-thirds more of a stop at the fast end (see my review). Recommended
- Two-lens DX kit, 35mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/3.5 US$320 rebate — The one carry over rebate. Simply put, if you’re new to Nikon DX and have just picked up new DX body, this is an excellent price with two excellent lenses that give you capabilities you didn’t get with your kit lens. The 35mm f/1.8 is sharp, small, and exactly what you want in a fast, “normal” lens. The 85mm f/3.5 is also sharp, especially when used for close-up work. Nikon amusingly calls the 35mm f/1.8 a “portrait” lens in this kit. Still, these are two great lenses at a great price (39% discount). Highly Recommended
As usual, I’d ask that you help this site by purchasing any of these lenses from this site’s exclusive advertiser, B&H. If you do, you’ll typically also get some free goodies with each lens, plus a 4% future purchase discount: