Z Mount Euphoria

Ever since Nikon’s announcement of a full frame mirrorless camera, the forums and YouTube have been rife with speculation. But perhaps most annoying of all are predictions by a few diehards that third party manufacturers will be churning out dozens of compatible lenses within months of its release.

Most seasoned professionals however tend to err on the side of caution. They are too concerned with how well Nikon’s own adapted lenses will function with the new incompatible mount and how quickly Nikon themselves can turn out Z mount lenses.

And pretty much all agree that it will take years for them to catch up with Sony’s at present sixty-odd outstanding primes and zooms.

Think about it for a moment – for how many years have photographers been crying about the lack of Sony e mount lenses, and according to most, their lineup is still lacking in several key areas. And the alpha cameras are what, five years old already? Many have held off buying into the Fuji system for the same reason – the lack of lenses they consider essential for their work.

And now that Sony does at last boast a fine collection of fast lenses in the focal lengths I use most, there’s a strong desire to see a whole new set of slower, compact, constant aperture primes and zooms (similar to what Fuji offers with their lovely 23, 35, and 50mm f/2 jewels) – at a price we can afford! Because Sony’s brilliant sensors can see in the dark, not everyone believes that bulky, precious f/1.4 lenses are essential any longer.

But let’s imagine for a moment that stalwart manufacturers like Tamron, Samyang or Tokina are already tooling up to make Z mount lenses as we speak: number one, their track record isn’t unblemished like Sigma’s, so we can’t be absolutely certain that their mechanical and optical quality will match those of say, the Art lenses (if all lenses were as uniformly excellent, reviewers would soon be out of a job!). And in many cases, adapted and third party lenses don’t focus as quickly as native OEM ones. (Besides which, I intensely dislike adaptors on mirrorless).

And even were Tamron to release a plastic fantastic 16-35mm f/2.8 Z mount the very day of the FX mirrorless announcement, there’s a strong possibility you’ll end up trading it in the moment Nikon unveils their own, with superior build, weather sealing and lightning quick, inaudible focusing motors. A never-ending cycle of continually buying and upgrading!

Furthermore, before anyone gets too worked up about a smashing lineup of Zeiss Z mount compact primes, it would be prudent to wait and see whether the Nikon is a capable video camera at all. Because frankly, unless Nikon surpasses the video prowess of Sony, they could release one hundred f/.95 lenses at launch, it wouldn’t entice me.

Lastly, one thing I really appreciate about Sony and Fuji are the excellent ecosystems -meaning that I don’t need to waste hours and days on the Internet researching lenses and ending up with a grab bag of optics by a half dozen different manufacturers, each with their own mechanical quirks and coloration, as I did with Panasonic.

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