Nikon’s Z series mirrorless cameras have been a big success, no-one can argue with that. And after launching its full-frame Z6, Z7, smaller, cheaper APS-C models were the obvious next step.
It’s a pattern repeated by Nikon DSLRs, Canon, Sony and Pentax – a double-barrelled camera range with full frame cameras for enthusiasts and pros in one half and cheaper, smaller format APS-C cameras for beginners and photographers who want to travel light.
In each case, the smaller format cameras can use the full frame lenses, but only with a heavy 1.5-1.6x crop factor that means these lenses are not only bigger and heavier than they need to be, but often less useful too.
So camera makers who make APS-C cameras go to some lengths to make sure these cameras have a good range of suitable APS-C lenses designed specifically for them – usually.
But the latest Nikon Z lens roadmap still only has four DX format Nikon Z lenses, and three of those are out already. The Nikon Z50 and the super-stylish Nikon Z fc are both great cameras, but let down by the limited lens availability.
Nikkor Z DX lenses so far
• Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR: This little retracting lens is a great match for the Z50 and Z fc, but there’s no sign of any constant aperture ‘pro’ version.
• Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR: A great ‘amateur’ telephoto zoom, but not especially appealing for serious enthusiasts, we suspect.
• Nikon Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR: A handy extended zoom range ‘standard zoom’, but did we really need another?
And here’s the remaining lens on the Nikon Z lens roadmap:
• Nikkor Z DX 12-28mm (other specs unknown): This fills a major gap in the line-up for a DX- format wideangle zoom, but we don’t yet know for sure when this is coming.
So what are Z50 and Z fc users to do?
We COULD allow the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens sold with the Nikon Z fc as another candidate because of its size and cost, but this is, in fact, a full frame lens.
So what are Nikon Z50 and Z fc users to do? You CAN use full frame Nikon Z lenses on the DX format bodies, but it’s an expensive and clumsy solution. And you CAN use Nikon DX DSLR lenses using the very good Nikon FTZ adaptor, but that feels like a clumsy stopgap solution too.
So while we really like the Nikon Z50 and Z fc, what we really want to say to Nikon is, “where are the DX lenses?”
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