Just imagine the portraits one could take with a Nikon 170mm f1.4 lens, let alone the nightmare they’d have with focusing. Every time you’re told that a long telephoto lens would be too big and that no one would buy it, consider it to be complete poppycock. Indeed, a lens like this is possible, and even though it’s pretty big and very silver in appearance, it is very well possible.
According to an eBay listing, the Nikon 170mm f1.4 lens (being sold by Kiril-san in Sweden) shown is not only very rare but also very much in great condition. It starts at f1.4 and closes down to f8. There is no vignetting and there is a corrected CA range. We’re not sure of the focusing range or specifically the mount–though it would be really cool if it were for Nikon F mount. If it were a large format lens (Nikkor glass has appeared in both medium and large format offerings) then this would be truly a wonder. I’ve got my doubts though–creating an f1.4 lens with that thin of a depth of field is very difficult when it comes to balancing the camera with the lens.
So what’s so special about this lens? Well, Amateur Photographer’s forums cite that this is pretty much a creme de la creme lens Nikon offered years ago. I’m sure it would offer all those glorious vintage effects folks rage about these days–but note that it doesn’t come with built in teal and orange lights that everyone demands to create a certain effect on set.
In all seriousness though, just imagine a modern lens like this. Nikon created a 105mm f1.4. It’s a beast and one of their absolute best lenses. Imagine something bigger? A long time ago, Canon had a 200mm f1.8 lens, and so with modern technology, I think it is possible.