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Nikon’s Z lens roadmap only has 4 DX lenses and 3 of those are out already

Nikon Z fc
(Image credit: Future)

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. 

The Z50 is sometimes sold as a twin-lens kit, with the 16-50mm standard zoom and 50-250mm telephoto lens included. That's two-thirds of the current DX lens range right there! (Image credit: Nikon/B&H)
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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.

If you're swapping to the Z fc from a DX format Nikon DSLR, Nikon's FTZ adaptor will let you use your old lenses with the Z fc or Z50, but that's hardly a desirable long-term solution. (Image credit: Nikon)
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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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Rod Lawton
Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.