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Nikon Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 PF Lens: Rumoured Coming This Summer??

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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 08:09   #1
Chosun Juan
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Question Nikon Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 PF Lens: Rumoured Coming This Summer??

I think this is the lens everybody is interested in !

Recent changes in the industry with declining overall numbers, a rationalization of existing DSLR lines and R&D, and a transition to Mirrorless with (so far) a FF weighting, among other developments, make the arrival? of this lens interesting.

Specifically, recent rumours seem to confirm the death of the Canon 7D (see the 7D MkIII thread). It seems that Pro DX DSLR product for Canon will be merged with upper end APS-C models to make the rumoured 90D DSLR. This places absolutely zero pressure on Nikon to upgrade their class leading D500.

I am less hopeful now that an upgraded D500S will follow the upcoming Pro FF DSLR flagship D6 to market in the same way that the D500 followed the D5. In fact, Nikon may merge the upper end Pro DX DSLR models in the same fashion that it seems Canon will do, in the form of a higher MP D7600 ???

I have no doubt that Pro DX cameras will re-emerge down the track in Mirrorless guise ...... but that could be years away when the supertelephotos finally migrate to native Mirrorless mounts.

So where does this leave the PF 600 f5.6 ??

We know from commentary that the demand for this lens would be reasonably strong. The 500mm version seems to offer great performance and just about everyone that has one is very happy. Nikon seems to have underestimated the demand for the 500mm version. That, and the 7 month lead time it takes to process the Phase Fresnel element, limited production capacity, along with rumoured glass quality supply problems is what has caused the massive delay and backlog for those who have placed orders for the PF 500 f5.6

Undoubtedly some customers waiting for the 600 have jumped ship to the 500, and I have an inkling that some of those in the 500 queue may very well jump back to the 600 if it were officially announced.

It seems like the optical design layout will be exactly the same. Therefore I would expect a 600mm version to just about point, handle and certainly perform as well as the 500. We know from the patent that the 600mm version will be 33cm long physically (to the image plane), and have a front element diameter of 107mm. As such it should only weigh about ~300g more. A ~1.75kg 600mm f5.6 would be a great unrivalled addition to the market :) With demand running strong for the USD3597 500mm version, I expect Nikon will push the cost of the PF 600mm f5.6 to USD4499 !

This rumour rehashes an anecdotal report from 3 months ago.
https://nikonrumors.com/2019/05/28/n...s-summer.aspx/
Rather than the next few months, I think we could easily add another year to the arrival of the 600 .....

I suppose the question then becomes will Nikon ditch the F mount for the 600 and just go straight to the Z mount ?? Most Z mount (and R mount for that matter) native designs seem to be mere rehashes of existing DSLR designs with virtual extension tubes added in-built to the lens body.

Please post any rumours, field tested prototype sightings, info from a friend of a friend, or just come along to shoot the breeze while we all wait !





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Old Wednesday 5th June 2019, 14:19   #2
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I seriously doubt they would release this summer. With them already unable to keep up with demand for the 500mm it would be stupid to release a 600mm to add to their already failing workforce.

It seems the only source of this being true is -some guy who's friend has it on good "authority" that they will announce it sometime this summer. Sounds like BS to me.
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Old Wednesday 5th June 2019, 16:50   #3
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I seriously doubt they would release this summer. With them already unable to keep up with demand for the 500mm it would be stupid to release a 600mm to add to their already failing workforce.

It seems the only source of this being true is -some guy who's friend has it on good "authority" that they will announce it sometime this summer. Sounds like BS to me.
Yes, I doubt this Summer too (which just started ! :)

The demand is readily there.
It's a business and manufacturing issue.

I think the returns are there to justify the infrastructure /process /personnel costs - it's a matter of how Nikon allocates scarce capital resources in a contracting market overall.

Of course, if they don't build it (desirable product) - no one's coming anyway ....

It pretty much means doubling the investment in PF production capability. The biggest bottleneck seems to be the PF element itself. 7 months lead time is a heck of a constraint to try and accommodate into the process. It also offers very little flexibility around movements in quantity. Hopefully they've learnt some good lessons from the 500mm experience.

I'd be very interested to compare this to a Tammy G2, and also a 600 f4. It really would address an area where Nikon now lags Canon - light weight superteles .....




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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 01:31   #4
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I think Nikon has a much larger weight problem in the long lenses. The only two places they are competitive is the 500mm f/4e as Canon hasn't done their III version yet and the 500 f/5.6e vs Canon 400 f/4 DO II. In 400/2.8 and 600/4 Nikon is overweight by 1 kg. I guess they are also in the ballpark with the 800/5.6, being about the same weight as the Canon.

I would imagine that a Nikon 600/5.6e PF would be a cut above the Tammy 150-600g2 and slightly behind the 600/4. f/4 just has a lot of advantages over f/5.6, especially when used with a 1.4x TC. Number and placement of focus point, focus speed, 2x more light, etc.

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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 08:44   #5
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I think Nikon has a much larger weight problem in the long lenses. The only two places they are competitive is the 500mm f/4e as Canon hasn't done their III version yet and the 500 f/5.6e vs Canon 400 f/4 DO II. In 400/2.8 and 600/4 Nikon is overweight by 1 kg. I guess they are also in the ballpark with the 800/5.6, being about the same weight as the Canon.

I would imagine that a Nikon 600/5.6e PF would be a cut above the Tammy 150-600g2 and slightly behind the 600/4. f/4 just has a lot of advantages over f/5.6, especially when used with a 1.4x TC. Number and placement of focus point, focus speed, 2x more light, etc.

Marc
At the moment - yes, Nikon is mostly (PF's notwithstanding) lagging Canon in the 1-800 Jenny stakes.

With changes in the industry, it will be interesting to see what happens here. Announcement of the Sony 600 f4 GM is imminent.

Rumours swirl that Canon will release the 500 f4, and 300 f2.8 in the Mirrorless 'R' mount. I wonder if it means these lightweight 'MkIII' versions debut here and never get updated for the EF mount?

While Nikon's 500 f4 for now weighs the same as Canon's version, I don't think that counts for very much of anything at all when Canon (and soon Sony) has a 600 f4 that is actually lighter and with more rearward weight bias.

Nikon's 300 f2.8 has been getting whooped for a loooong time weight wise, and there doesn't even seem to be rumours yet of a diet for the 5 & 600 f4's Ditto the 400 f2.8, and the very much needed 300 f2.8. We can only hope that changes with the prospect of the looming home turf Olympics next year

I could have lived with a Nikon 300 f2.8 + 2TC on a higher spec (D7200 and above) crop body, but not with the lens at just about ~3kg to start with !! Just over 2kg - yes - sign me up :)

I think the natural competitor to Canon's DO 400 f4 ISII lens is in fact the PF 600 f5.6 that is the subject of this thread. With a 1.4TC on the Canon you are looking at 560mm f5.6 v's 600 f5.6 ...... AND the Niki could be half a kilo or so lighter to boot - as well as cheaper :) I think they would sell like hotcakes !

The PF 500 f5.6 is said to compare very favorably with Nikon's 500 f4 supertele ...... I hope the 600mm versions are likewise hard to tell apart IQ-wise. That would be a handy step up over the Tammy G2, especially with a bit of a weight reduction thrown in. Shooting the PF 600 on a crop body would rarely need an added TC so it's likely win-win :)



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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 17:28   #6
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Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Please post any rumours, field tested prototype sightings, info from a friend of a friend, or just come along to shoot the breeze while we all wait !
Reminds me of what a friend once told me, ages ago and long before the advent of the internet, with regard to rarities seen in Cornwall:

"Believe only half of what you see, and nothing of what you hear."

Seems like that applies to optics as well nowadays.

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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 17:41   #7
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I do wonder how large the market is for this kind of gear.
The point and shoot crowd have been hived off by the small sensor superzooms, while the good but not great photo takers are happy with their larger sensor bridge cameras such as the Sony RX10IV.
The remainder are a mix of rich people with a photography hobby and a hard core of dedicated photographers. The latter generally are not rich....

So I'm skeptical of the prospects for this new 600mm PF. That said, this is Nikon, a firm that gave us the WX, a tour de force technically which addresses a minuscule market. As some French general once said about the charge of the Light Brigade: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre."

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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 21:33   #8
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My understanding is Canon has done very well with the 400mm f/4 DO series, and that is around $7000. If Nikon can do the 600/5.6PF for $5k - $7k, I think it would sell well (if they can actually produce enough!). The $12k lenses (400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4) are getting out of the non-professional realm (who can depreciate the lens cost, at least in the US).

I doubt the P&S crowd has decreased the market size of these top-end lenses. Maybe some to the bridge shooters, but I'd like to see actual numbers on that. Sure, bridge eats away at the consumer and pro-sumer market, but I doubt much at the top-end. But I don't have any actual facts to back that up.

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Old Saturday 8th June 2019, 14:30   #9
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My understanding is Canon has done very well with the 400mm f/4 DO series, and that is around $7000. If Nikon can do the 600/5.6PF for $5k - $7k, I think it would sell well (if they can actually produce enough!). The $12k lenses (400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4) are getting out of the non-professional realm (who can depreciate the lens cost, at least in the US).

I doubt the P&S crowd has decreased the market size of these top-end lenses. Maybe some to the bridge shooters, but I'd like to see actual numbers on that. Sure, bridge eats away at the consumer and pro-sumer market, but I doubt much at the top-end. But I don't have any actual facts to back that up.

Marc
It is hard to get an accurate picture even for industry insiders with access to much more detailed pay for view raw data and reports. From what is publicly available it seems that the entry/mid level APS-C DSLR's (eg. Nikon D5600 and Canon equivalents) are still the volume leading sellers. Exactly the segment that is predicted to decline the most (though we have yet to see compelling superceding product in practice).

Canon has done much better with the MKII DO 400mm f4 even given it's relatively high cost.

If Nikon came in at ~$3999 - $4499 USD then I think they would do a roaring trade. This would represent fair extra materials and processing cost, and include a premium as well. It would still be ~3 the cost of near competitors - the Tammy G2 and the Niki 200-500. If it was priced higher (up around $5K-$7K) as you suggest, then that would be excessive profiteering that would kill demand.

That $5K-$7K level is where Nikon should be hurrying out the door a much needed lightweight (near 2 kilo) updated FL 300 f2.8 refractive lens.

With Sony about to dominate the press with the announcement of their 200-600 f?? and their papa bear halo 600mm f4 GM models, I sure do hope that Nikon brings this PF 600 f5.6 sooner rather than later ........




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Old Friday 14th June 2019, 05:23   #10
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Hoping your right about it being released this summer. That way I’ll be able to buy one by 2022.
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Old Friday 28th June 2019, 13:37   #11
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Unhappy

Summer (Nthn) is nearly half over, and ............ *crickets*






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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 11:39   #12
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*Crickets* ..... everywhere - on the grapevine, and even on the tellie !

Just one month to go of the Northern summer - so no 600 PF. ...... Christmas maybe ? Or next year ?

With the sensor and EVF for next year's Z8 debuting for Sony - I'm quite looking forward to what Nikon can do with the Z8. Whether the 600 PF comes in a Z or F mount, I think it will make a great pair. ........... eventually ..... !




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Old Saturday 3rd August 2019, 23:48   #13
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It was obviously a load of rubbish.
Every site that mentioned it quoted the same source to be some guy who's "friend" who works for nikon had mentioned it was coming. People lie to make themselves feel special.
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Old Sunday 4th August 2019, 00:54   #14
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It was obviously a load of rubbish.
Every site that mentioned it quoted the same source to be some guy who's "friend" who works for nikon had mentioned it was coming. People lie to make themselves feel special.
Maybe simply that Nikon has chosen first to put more resources into producing additional 500 PFs, to alleviate a production bottleneck.
Iirc, there were comments that only a handful of Nikon technicians had the skill to produce the critical components. Sending that talent back to the lab to mature the 600 PF rather than having them help earn a badly needed immediate profit may not serve Nikon's interest.
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Old Tuesday 6th August 2019, 03:56   #15
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John, Etudiant, - the original 'rumour' may have indeed had some substance to it at the time. Since then a number of factors have come to light which may have materially changed those plans.

1. Nikon has admitted that the demand for the 500 PF took them by surprise. From this we could deduce that their production facility (cell/line/logistics) and personnel/capability, would be undersized compared to the ongoing demand. This is not easily or immediately fixed and is one factor contributing to the backlog of the 500mm - any production of 600mm's would require an investment solution.
2. Issues with glass supply quality out of China. This is again a situation that would take time to fix, and there have even been rumours of production being reabsorbed back into Japanese facilities (Sendai).
3. Process bottlenecks - the production of the actual Phase Fresnel element is difficult (more so with increasing diameter), and I have heard of lead times of 7 months ! (I'm not sure if this is a standard production cycle, or also incorporates elements of the supply quality issues and/or backlog). Again this will take a deliberate investment decision to change.
4. Declining market conditions. Partly caused by being caught behind the curve. A 'halo' product such as the 600 f5.6 PF would go someway to improving that. The reality is though that companies become very cost focused during these times - placing incredible pressure on efficiency improvments. Increased head counts during these times are an absolute non-starter. See this recent comment by the Nikon CEO to see how big the drop is: https://nikonrumors.com/2019/08/04/n...cal-2012.aspx/
5. Market transition from DSLR to Mirrorless. This raises questions over mounts for lenses and bodies, and whether the investment is to pull demand for the future (Mirrorless) or push sales for the past (DSLR) - quite cogent arguments could be made for either case. The fact that the FTZ adapter converts F mount lenses seamlessly for Z mount Mirrorless bodies, and that the design is already done and F mount based, and that to this point there doesn't seem to be any significant lens length decrease benefits with the new mount, possibly points to the 600 still being an F mount. On the other hand though making the 600 Z mount would provide a handy segmentation (which the CaNikon dinosaurs love) while getting much needed native Z product to market. It could go either way. Whether we see a little brother D500S to accompany the upcoming D6 DSLR flagship could be telling.

I really don't know why the demand for the 500/this lens, has taken Nikon by surprise. Surely they can see the weakness of their position in lightweight supertelephotos (400f2.8, 600f4, and planned mirrorless 300f2.8, 500f4) compared to the main Canon and Sony opposition. The two main imaging drivers by consumers at the moment seem to be image quality combined with light weight, and ease of use/connectivity.

It's a vicious circle - lack of innovation and product to meet market demand - leads to market decline - leads to less capacity for investing in innovation and delivering profitable products to market. In these circumstances you have to strategically navigate your way though these waters, while operationally you need to back the emergent winners even if it requires fresh investment. The 600 f5.6 PF is such a product worthy of a champion.






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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 17:52   #16
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It's a vicious circle - lack of innovation and product to meet market demand - leads to market decline - leads to less capacity for investing in innovation and delivering profitable products to market. In these circumstances you have to strategically navigate your way though these waters, while operationally you need to back the emergent winners even if it requires fresh investment. The 600 f5.6 PF is such a product worthy of a champion.

Chosun
Agree entirely, but it strongly suggests Nikon needs a sponsor, a big brother who can absorb the needed investments to become a winner.
Is there anyone who would be acceptable to Japan Inc.?
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Old Sunday 18th August 2019, 18:59   #17
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Agree entirely, but it strongly suggests Nikon needs a sponsor, a big brother who can absorb the needed investments to become a winner.
Is there anyone who would be acceptable to Japan Inc.?
Etudiant, it is interesting that you say that.

I would say that any Chinese connections would be in the untouchables category (even if they made the grade technologically) , because the IP is just not secure, and the geopolitical climate with the major US market definitely makes them untouchables.

Samsung would be a very nice tie up as we have discussed before, but I think Nikon will be going it alone until it has no option. If they did somehow manage some forward thinking along those lines though, they could resurrect the '1' series and use that as a prototype range to roll out all the computational, AI, and connectivity, smartphone goodies. They could also roll out a lot quicker the essential product that would actually gain them some market share.

Really, this is a very important point - if Nikon are able to park those customer's backsides into the Mirrorless Z mount before they make the switch from DSLR to either Sony, Canon, or even Panasonic (and to a lesser extent Fujifilm, and MFT) Mirrorless mounts, then they have pretty much wrapped those customers up for the better part of a decade. There really doesn't seem to be too much corporate awareness of this.

It seems that there is some degree of collaboration, sharing, or licensing, going on behind the scenes with some lenses between Canon and Sony. Too many of their FF lens offerings are very similar in spec. For example:
24-240 f3.5-f6.3
100-400 f4.5-f5.6
16-35 f2.8
400 f2.8
600 f4
at least

It's pretty hard for Nikon to compete with these giants, let alone if they are playing nice together. Nikon now lags a generation behind these two with the long, fast Pro supertelephotos being a ~kilo heavier - a big drawback in this market. It also makes me wonder if they will be able to keep pace delivering lightweight versions in native Mirrorless 'Z' mount. Having said that, the Z lenses they are managing to come up with so far, are fantastic.

The more I dwell on it (and no matter how attractive a straight to Z mount may seem) , I think the rumoured PF 600mm f5.6 will debut in F mount. Nikon would need a guaranteed large quantity market to make the business investment as I outlined before. The numbers I have seen for Z sales so far pale in comparison to the F mounts out there. It also helps immensely that the FTZ adapter works flawlessly.

My bet would be though that the 300mm f2.8 and 500mm f4, F mounts will not get updated to lightweight versions - they will be the first updated lightweight super telephoto cabs off the ranks in Z mount. After that perhaps the 80-400 f4.5-f5.6, and maybe even PF 300mm f4, then the rest down the track. The pressure is on really.



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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 01:08   #18
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Interesting suggestion re possible cooperation between Canon and Sony on lens development. The optical specs sure seem similar.
That said, the periodic teardowns posted by Lens Rentals highlight very different detail engineering for the same optical spec lens from Canon versus from Sony.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/
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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 12:40   #19
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Interesting suggestion re possible cooperation between Canon and Sony on lens development. The optical specs sure seem similar.
That said, the periodic teardowns posted by Lens Rentals highlight very different detail engineering for the same optical spec lens from Canon versus from Sony.

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/
Thanks for the link. I did have a look at a couple, and though there are some detail engineering changes (different focus motor systems for instance) , the general form of the optical patents, and product specs, are largely the same. It is too much of a coincidence for two competitors to independently arrive at a largely identical significant weight reduction via a new optical train formula and mechanical design, at the same point in time.

Oddballs like the 24-240mm f3.5-f6.3 format showing up for both companies only further reinforce the notion. I'm not sure what the level of cooperation is, or how formal it is, but there is definitely some interaction.

I seem to recall there were rumours that Canon was working on a 200-600 f4.5-f5.6 a while ago. The rationale for the increase from the normal Siggy/Tammy 150mm short end was to deliver f5.6 at 600mm, just like Nikon does at 500mm. Sony have released their 200-600 f5-f6.3 which doesn't quite deliver on the speed, but follows the same premise as Canon. It will be interesting if? and when we see Canon version - perhaps in Mirrorless 'R' mount.

Here is some very interesting interviews/ technical brochure on the design and delivery of the III series big whites. Parts of the chassis and shell use magnesium metal matrix alloy if I'm reading it correctly, which is pretty high end. Fascinating to track the more than halving of the actual glass weight on the journey from MkI to MKIII.
https://snapshot.canon-asia.com/sing...ons-developers
https://d25tv1xepz39hi.cloudfront.ne...IS_III_USM.pdf



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Old Tuesday 20th August 2019, 20:26   #20
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It is too much of a coincidence for two competitors to independently arrive at a largely identical significant weight reduction via a new optical train formula and mechanical design, at the same point in time.
From some posts in rumor sites, it looks like companies routinely patent such designs, and sometimes even if they have no plans for making an actual lens out of it. I believe I have seen a full frame design from Olympus, who keep stating that they will not go that route at all! In the example of Sony and Canon having identical base design, they could both be licensing a design from a third party!

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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 21:11   #21
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From some posts in rumor sites, it looks like companies routinely patent such designs, and sometimes even if they have no plans for making an actual lens out of it. I believe I have seen a full frame design from Olympus, who keep stating that they will not go that route at all! In the example of Sony and Canon having identical base design, they could both be licensing a design from a third party!

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Is it possible to patent a third party design?
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Old Thursday 22nd August 2019, 23:46   #22
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The third party applied for the patent, then licensed use to two different other companies - in my hypothetical.

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Old Yesterday, 04:14   #23
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The third party applied for the patent, then licensed use to two different other companies - in my hypothetical.

Niels
That is also a possibility I suppose (though I am not aware of anyone doing such high-end niche work) , and in that case, Nikon (or anyone else for that matter) should also be able to license the design .....




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Old Yesterday, 07:06   #24
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Well, with only a week of 'Summer' left, the appearance of any PF 600mm f5.6 in numbers would come as a big bolt from the blue ! especially given the 'limited' supply of the 500mm version which is only produced at the rate of ~1000 per month.
https://m.dpreview.com/news/04922408...ens-each-month

With the amount of profit that this product must be generating it seems worthwhile to invest in a doubling of capacity to bring the 600 to market avoiding previous supply bottlenecks. I imagine demand for the 600 would be every bit as strong .....



Chosun
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