Nikon lens compatibilty myth or marketing?

Nikon lens compatibility myth or marketing: good, bad or indifferent?

When I first saw the AF-P announcement I thought there might be some lenses I am interested in. The 10-20mm appears to be small, light and a potentially useful addition to my kit. If your a DX shooter you will know the wide angle end of things has been a bit neglected by Nikon. Sure there are third party alternatives but they are heavy and pricey.

Likewise with the 70-300mm lens. A while ago I had the original FX version and wasn’t overly impressed with it. The AF-P series on the other hand seem to have been reasonably well received.

So for the first time in a while I could see myself actually purchasing a couple of Nikon lenses. Bizarrely the secondhand prices of these two are holding up quite well. If you shop around there is only a £40 or so difference on the 70-300mm between new and used (as of the date of this post). So there is opportunity for me to spend money buying Nikon lenses.

Ok wheres the but?

Yep you knew it was coming. Nikon decided in their ultimate wisdom to hobble the compatibility of the AF-P’s.

The short version of this is: if you have an ‘older’ body, the compatibility swops between non existent and partial. Some newer bodies require a firmware update.

With the three bodies I currently have I could only use the AF-P series on one of them. What were Nikon thinking? Are they trying to pivot to some yet unreleased body series?

Nikon lens compatibility is becoming a myth. Sure they will fit, but certain features on certain bodies cannot be used. Is this the new definition of compatible?

Perhaps some could live with the removal of the in body screw drive. Provided you don’t own any lenses that need it. This was in effect though a similar compatibility issue. It forced you to start picking a certain sub range of Nikon lenses. Before long they will have more genres of lenses than Netflix has of movies 😀

If you have screw drive lenses it pushed you to a higher price (and admittedly spec’d) body in the range. Now is this compatibility or marketing?

With the Nikon 1 series we got the FT-1 adapter. Great, we could use our F mount lenses on the smaller CX cameras. Yes sort of. If you only wanted to use a single, center af point. Again we got compatible but hobbled.

Should we call time on the legacy mount?

With the (hopefully) imminent release of a mirrorless Nikon is it time to put the legacy mount out to glass grass? Nikon have a rare chance to move to a new more future proof mount.  They could say from day X all new cameras will have this. Nikon will probably release another half assed adapter which could introduce more issues. If  they take this course of action let’s hope it will have a competitive price.The FT-1 is currently in the region of £200. I won’t go into the px value for it. Suffice to say I’ve still got it.

Slowly but surely the legacy aspect of the F mount is being eroded. Before long compatible will be ‘fits’ in respect of Nikon lenses on older bodies.

One problem I have with this is whether it is reasonable to expect Nikon to continue with this legacy thing at all. Apple changed to a lightning port. Then they got rid of the headphone jack. Some people were [are] upset about this. Either way Apple made the change and we are now living with it. Is time we got rid of the charging port altogether and went totally wireless? Maybe. Is it the inevitable march of progress? Possibly. Do we have to like it? Nope.

Nikon have a chance to kill two birds with one stone here. They can produce an adapter that maintains all functions on the newer bodies. At the same time they could have a opportunity to transition to a new mount as well.

It’s probably too late anyway.

We can speculate till the cows come home about what Nikon should and could do.

If Nikon are going to release a mirrorless camera this year, they have already made a decision. It’s too late to influence that.

Much like Apple and the changes they make to their products we are going to have to live with whatever Nikon do.

Or move.


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