Nikon Changes Lens Mount Rocks The DSLR And Mirrorless Ecosystem Boat

Imagine that the third party wheels you bought for your car can no longer carry it. Or the $500 third party graphical card you got for your computer suddenly stops working with Intel processors.

Nikon Changes Lens Mount Rocks The DSLR And Mirrorless Ecosystem Boat

This is a rough analog for what Nikon has recently done when changing their mount on the Nikon DF and D5300 cameras. And Thom Hogan is calling Nikon out as that kid on the playground who does not want to share his toys.

First, The Back Story

Sigma recently release two service advisories (here and here) for the D5300, and the Df, explaining that Live View Auto Focus functions will not work well on those cameras with Sigma lenses. The reason being changed that Nikon made to their mount and auto-focus communications mechanism.

If you own a newer lens with a Sigma USB Dock, you can download and install a fixing firmware alone, some lenses can be sent to Sigma for repair and some older Sigma lenses will never work with the Nikon Df or D5300.

Thom’s Vision on The Ecosystem and Playing Nice

Thom has a strong view on how a camera ecosystem should look like and Nikon is breaking it all over the place.

“This is why I talk about DSLRs (and mirrorless cameras) as being ecosystems. You’re only as good as your ecosystem. If parts of the ecosystem are weak or start to die, everything is compromised. Nikon’s unwillingness to license Sigma could cause Nikon a loss of future camera sales. A good ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts. A bad one is worse than the sum of its parts. Nikon’s is bad at present. m4/3′s is good at present. Those things can and do change with time, so it’s high time Nikon addressed this….

…This means that Nikon cameras are a “closed” system. If someone else gets something to work with the Nikon gear, great, but there’s no guarantee it will continue to work if Nikon changes something, exactly the situation that Sigma has found itself in.”#

This view gets even stronger as you see how extendable Canon is with the recent Magic Lanterns hacks. strengthening and enriching Canon’s community.

[The Nikon Sigma Kerfuffle via Garrett4prez]

Illustration based on photo CCed by Jim.

  • Burt Johnson

    Doesn’t this mean that old Nikon lenses will not work with these cameras too? If so, i would be royally pissed off had I spent a ton of money on glass to find it obsolete. (For the record, I use Canon cameras and have spent more than $10K on glass)

    • Fred Smith

      Nikon must think professional photographers will pay up for their name believing that their customers will demand they purchase Nikon products, or that there is no money competing with high end DSLRs either because competition is killing margins or because the DSLR is becoming obsolete (so they will earn more from fewer sales with higher margins). I’d be jumping all over this if I were SONY or Ricoh/Pentax since I believe the DSLR still has life to it.

    • Marc W.

      No, I don’t think they changed their entire mount, just something that is stopping 3rd parties from knowing this change. I guess it’s not the actual mount, but rather the CPU communication with the lenses as part of the mount.

  • Weegee

    Who do they think they are? Adobe?

    • Fred Smith

      Adobe, indeed. This leaves an opening for a company to take advantage of this blunder. SONY or Ricoh/Pentax with a full frame? Perhaps. Meanwhile, the prices of pre-2014 Nikon lenses should be dropping rapidly.

      • Mike_

        Sony might turn out to be worse: There Notebooks are not very compatible with non-windows OSes, there audio CDs contained root-kits, there console (PS3) removed features with an update (OtherOS)…
        I’m done buying Sony, but you are right, it’s a good opportunity for not-Nikon and not-Sony..

        • saving photo

          WHERE notebooks are not very compatible? WHERE audio CDs contained root-kits? And WHERE console removed features with an update?

          • Alex

            I’m not sure about CDs and consoles, but there are a lot of users who are stuck with the old video card drivers on their sony laptops since sony does “something” leading to an incompatibility with the stock amd/nvidia/intel(?) drivers.

          • Mike_

            Notebooks: In addition to Alex post, installing Linux on a Vaio is an order of magnitude more painful than on any other notebook.

            Root-Kits: Just read up the story on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootkit_scandal

            Consoles: The PS3 initially supported installing of Linux, this feature was later removed, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OtherOS .

            Bottom line: don’t trust Sony.

          • Richard simpkin

            google it yourself its all documented

        • Richard simpkin

          not to mention Sony’s years and years of insisting on proprietary memory formats

    • ggg

      I hope it ‘ll be the same story as adobe. Their photoshop cc was cracked the same day as it was launched.

  • The_Michael

    Nikon has done something similar before, they encrypted PART of the RAW file. Several big name shooters jumped ship to Canon not to mention lots of not so well known ones. ACR and the open source RAW convertors couldn’t read that part and wouldn’t open them. Only the crappy free Nikon software or expensive “pro” version would work.Took Nikon two months to issue a firmware update. Let’s see how much they have to bleed before undoing it.

    • Screamin

      Canon changed their lens mount from FD to EOS back when they moved to AF cameras thus rendering as useless all of their older manual focus lenses. Lots of people jumped ship to Nikon when that happened. As for Sony, their hot shoes are proprietary & you need a special shoe to mount on their camera. Stuff like this is pretty common in the business word as manufacturers try to lock buyers into their proprietary systems. Trust me, 3rd party makers will find work arounds or do a bit of reverse engineering…

  • Hernan Zenteno

    Fuji do the same with M mount lenses. Include with the Fuji adapter you can’t see the OVF frame using this manual lenses on the X Pro-1 because is so tenuous that at daylight is impossible to see.

  • FabriceB

    Meanwhile Tamron lens works fine.

    • Richard simpkin

      All my sigma products work fine without problems… said no one, ever

      • Teun

        All my sigma products work fine without problems. Really. Especially my m43 Sigma Glass is awesome.

        • Richard simpkin

          Sadly this has been far from my own experience and those of my peers around me.

  • breezanemom

    So what changes were made? What Nikon cameras were the changes made on?

  • vlad

    guys, spellcheck please.

    • vlad again

      this was to the article author

  • rocketride

    Sure glad I went with Canon instead of Nikon.

  • http://wilcfry.com/ Wil Fry

    I’m missing a key piece of the story, I think… What could Nikon possibly do that would affect my current camera/lens combinations?

    Also, I think something’s not accurate above. They haven’t changed their *mount* — that’s a physical thing. I believe all that’s changed is firmware inside the camera. If they’d actually changed the physical mount, then none of the Nikon lenses would work either.

  • Paul Menard

    on the sony hotshoe thing, 2 points. they have gone back to the classic style.
    other point is the old classic, everything fits, but everything isnt compatible, and worse some old flashes can fry your dslr with high voltage….

    and as a physical mount, the sony/minolta one is actually better.

  • Robert Williams

    Sigma simply sucks at things like this.
    I have a Sigma 50 f1.4 that doesn’t autofocus on my D7100 in Live View. Of course, the 50 1.4 has always been infamous for weird autofocus issues.
    They made their USB dock because they basically need it.

  • Leo @ Image Melbourne

    Canon aren’t much better. When have they actually HELPED 3rd party manufacturers?

    The Pocket Wizard TT5 / 580EX issues are a classic example where Canon was in the best position to fix things yet chose not to.

    Manufacturers are far more interested in a customer who’s spent $20,000 on Nikon cameras & lenses than one who has spent $1,000 on a Nikon camera and given the other $19,000 to Sigma.

  • Dorkus_Amorkus

    This is called monopoly, and it’s a dick maneuver and a bad business decision. But it’s indicative of the short sightedness of our capitalist system right now… Screw everyone else over for short term profit, and build abad reputation that screws you over in the end.

  • Patch

    Looks like Nikon wants to be the Apple of the camera world… Maybe they’ll add a mapping app next?