Death of the F mount

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kevin_beretta, May 12, 2021.

  1. With Sony discontinuing their Alpha mount, how long till Nikon ditches F mount cameras? We always say we love our bodies but marry our lenses.... I sure have too much glass to jump to another format. Panic buying of F mount bodies when we get the news?
  2. The F mount lenses work faultlessly via the FTZ on the Z bodies, no need to rely on F mount bodies in the long term.

    I would expect Nikon to produce F mount bodies for as long as there is a market for them.

    But very optimistically I would say no more than 10 years and even then probably only in low volumes with the corresponding price tag (think Leica).
  3. With each passing day that Nikon doesn't announce a D850 and/or D500 successor (the only two cameras that I consider to even have a remote possibility) it becomes more likely that the D6 (released in February 2020) and the D780 (released in January 2020) are the last two F-mount cameras we'll see. Equally, the 120-300/2.8 is most likely the last F-mount lens released (January 2020). I am certain that both a D850 and a D500 successor were considered - but the COVID pandemic most likely majorly contributed to those plans being cancelled (as well as the plans for further F-mount lens releases). How long Nikon will continue to produce the current DSLR line-up is anyone's guess - I doubt Nikon has made that decision yet.

    I already have one leg in the mirrorless camp - albeit with Sony and not with Nikon (I could make do with a Z-body but the lenses I want mostly aren't available yet in Z-mount). I just purchased a refurbished D850 - more because I wanted to than to satisfy a real need. Of all my F-mount lenses, I really only care about two that I'd like to continue to use once F-mount bodies are no longer available: 300PF and 500PF (and currently there are no better bodies to use them on (for me) than the D500 and the D850 (the D5/D6 aren't options for me). For the remainder, I rather have native-mount lenses as I am not a fan of adapting lenses.

    Once the Z9 appears, it will hopefully become clear where Nikon stands in relation to Sony and Canon (it is clear now, but I hope that Nikon can improve upon its current standing). A less expensive Z8 will then hopefully be a good replacement for the D500/D850 (for my application of bird photography).

    Whether or not I'll "panic-buy" a D850 or a D500 depends on how Nikon's Z-mount offerings look at the time. And how much life I consider having left in my D500 and D850 bodies.

    Increasingly, I come to the same conclusion - I have too many lenses. And given that prices for new ones are going up and up all the time, I will be more careful in my selection in the future (once I fully switch to the new mount (be it Sony E or Nikon Z).

    Nothing has happened there since 2016 anyway; their last DSLR is from 2010 (the DSLT that followed were a dead-end from the start).
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Don't see how that would ever influence my behaviors, and I'm all in on Nikon F Mount. As long as there is 35mm Film, batteries and media available ( have quite a lot of both on hand) as well as cameras, Can't imagine any problem for a very long time, most likely longer than will matter to me!
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First of all, I currently own more than half a dozen F-mount DSLRs and even a few film SLRs, plus around 40 F-mount lenses. Those can probably easily last until the day I cannot take pictures any more. I am afraid that using the word "death" is way too dramatic, but personally I don't expect Nikon to introduce any more new F-mount DSLRs or lenses. Regardless, when I bought my D850 and 500mm PF in January 2019 (i.e. over 2 years ago), I thought those would be my last F-mount purchases, counting 40+ year since 1977. Therefore, whether Nikon continues to make new ones doesn't matter to me much any more, unless I suddenly lose a lot from my collection due to accident or theft.

    Nikon may continue to manufacture existing models or they have a bunch in stock and will gradually sell them over time until they are depleted. One way or another, if you prefer the F mount, there is such a huge used market that one can continue to buy and sell for years to come, although spare parts for repair may become an issue a few years from now.

    Another issue is memory cards, as like film is difficult to get or the selection is limited. If your Nikon DSLRs use SD or XQD cards, I don't see any issues. CF memory cards may gradually become difficult to find over time. If you would rather not purchased used memory cards, maybe stock up a couple more of those. They can last a long time as well.
  6. For some of us, it really hasn't been the "F-mount" since pre-AI lenses would no longer mount on newer cameras, or the pre-AI lenses had to be modified to fit.
    mag_miksch likes this.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    No problem at all - John White, AI Conversions. Had all my favorite pre AI lenses updated, some machined, others with Nikon Upgrade kits. Fast, professional and reasonably priced. As to the other pre AI, I have still the cameras they were designed for.
    bobbudding and bgelfand like this.
  8. The Nikon F-mount will die along with the last production Nikon DSLR. Legacy lenses will stay around for a lot longer. People with Z cameras will use them for economic reasons and convenience with almost perfect functionality, save the most important one, performance. Most of the lenses in Nikon's impressive menagerie were designed for 12 MP (or less) cameras and film. That performance does not hold up well with a 40+ MP sensor, especially wide open. MILC's have created a market for incredibly fine lenses (at fine prices). The most popular lenses will be replaced first, but eventually nearly all will fall out of use. As they say, "How do you get them back on the farm after they've seen Paris?"

    I'm pretty confident in my predictions, because I've been there and done that over a span of 7 years. The good thing is, you can use your older lenses as long as you wish. You don't have to do everything at once. However there is something compelling about lenses nearly as sharp in the corners as in the center. You won't miss CA or flare either (internal reflections are being designed out of lenses and coatings are better than ever). I'm lovin' Paris ;)
    John Di Leo likes this.
  9. Yeah, I love my 55 mm Micro Nikkor and there isn't much better... yet! Can't wait to see what the S-series Micro will be able to do. Other than that, the older F-mount lenses will be second rate compared to the new stuff... when it gets here. OTOH, not every photo I take requires technical perfection. Some just require being in the right place at the right time. What was it? F/8 and be there!
  10. Sony didn't have that much market share in DSLRs and that was reduced further when they replaced those with DSLTs. They became very successful with the E-mount mirrorless cameras so it's understandable that they would focus their business on the success and not continue what didn't sell all that well. Nikon have the opposite situation that they were very successful with the F mount and haven't been that successful with mirrorless, so it is less likely that they would discontinue F-mount product line entirely. Unless they want to become from a 25% market share company to one with 5% market share. Of course it is possible Nikon may improve their standing in mirrorless but only time can tell. I hope they are successful.

    Personally I like DSLRs and have a reasonably complete system of lenses and probably will use them until I am no longer able to. What new photographers (and more generally, anyone else) use is their choice, of course. While I am happy to exploit new technology, it seems unlikely that switching to mirrorless would be cost-effective or overall beneficial to me. I've already seen too many transitions.
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
    Erik-Christensen and bgelfand like this.
  11. I don't have any issue with modification. Lenses are just lumps of glass and metal (and plastic lately). They're designed to look through, not at. And if keeping using them means filing a chunk off the back - so what?

    Of course, a pride in one's engineering skills means that said filing/milling is done as neatly as possible, but even if it's 'chewed out' and still works; where's the harm?

    Better to keep something in use than just as an ornament.
    That's the main thing that got me to jump ship to Sony. And I now pity you poor Z-mount converts, because I just took delivery of Sigma's 105mm f/2.8 'Art' macro lens. Wow! The image quality has to be seen to be believed.... and I never thought I'd say that about any Sigma lens. Plus the relief from lens-front to subject-plane at 1:1 is greater than I've seen on any macro lens.

    We'll have to wait and see if Nikon can match it.
  12. What kind of price will the F mount lenses head toward when Nikon ditch the F mount? Upward or downward? Anyone want to guess?
  13. Probably upward.
    People are already paying stupid prices for crappy old pre-AI and other film era lenses. It's not like there aren't enough landfill-fodder lenses to go round among those 'cognoscenti' that think any famous-make last-century lens has some magical pixie dust sprinkled on it.
    Ed_Ingold and robert_davies|2 like this.
  14. Thank you! So there is no hope of buying them cheap. So the best thing is to buy them now an resell? I was hoping of buying them cheap.
  15. The Z mount design optical advantages for WA lens design are significant, I doubt I would ever buy a new F mount wide in the future. I have several F mount WA's now to support that system in the unlikely event that I need a wide on a SLR.

    I have not shot much action/sports with my Z, prefer DSLR's for this purpose. As long as SLR's are preferable or viable for sports, there should be a (shrinking?) market for new F mount lenses. But I would not expect Nikon to announce any new F mount lenses.

    It will be interesting to see how capable the Z9 proves to be.

    I am sure that Nikon marketing dept is working hard to develop longer Z lenses that have advantages over the current (and past) F mount lenses. Certainly these lenses could be lighter than the F battleship lenses + FTZ.

    Can native Z mount lenses focus faster/more accurately than adapted F mount tele lenses? If not now, eventually this will be the case.

    I expect that Nikon will stop F lens production probably on a case by case basis when lenses don't sell in profitable volumes.
  16. I guess this is not any different than when Nikon stopped rangefinder lens and camera production, or film cameras.
    Erik-Christensen and NetR like this.
  17. Could just use an adapter for Sony/Leica to Z mount....:D
  18. The resale price of legacy lenses is highly variable. Certain lenses will go for a premium, but most will go unnoticed. The price will decline over a period of a few years as MILC's dominate the camera market and old lenses are plentiful. Prices will rise again somewhat as availability dwindles. Eventually demand will fall too, except for collectors and the "cognizenti" cited above.

    A good example can be found in prices for used Hasselblad equipment. The trends are exaggerated because Hasselblad lenses are very high quality, and relatively few were made compared to SLR/DSLR gear.
  19. Look what's happened to various Leica LTM lenses. Even some of the worst performers are going for insane money. True, Nikon lenses don't have enough flaws and aberrations to produce much of a "glow," so their prices may be let down by their high quality.
  20. My point was not that I don't like to modify historical things (though I don't), but rather that after modification - whether by Nikon or the excellent work of John White (if you must do it, he's the person) - IT'S NO LONGER THE ORIGINAL NIKON-F MOUNT.
    graham_evans|2 likes this.

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