Don’t use our new lens technology if you have a pacemaker says Nikon

Mar 8, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Don’t use our new lens technology if you have a pacemaker says Nikon

Mar 8, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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Nikon has warned that people should avoid using their new auto-focus system in their latest mirrorless lenses if they have a pacemaker fitted.

The lenses affected by this include the new $14,000 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens for mirrorless cameras, and it’s all down to the way the new autofocus system works.

“Do not use this product if you have a pacemaker or other medical device. The magnet or magnets in this product could cause medical devices to malfunction,” the reference manual states.

The new autofocus drive system in the lens is catchily named the Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor (SSVCM). This new technology uses magnets instead of the older gear system, and this is exactly the reason why people fitted with a pacemaker mustn’t use them.

The advantages of the new magnetic SSVCM system include faster and more accurate focusing, and greater smoothness and quietness. The payoff, however, is that the lenses include very powerful magnets which could interfere with the operation of pacemakers and other medical devices which could be potentially fatal.

The American Heart Association recommends that magnets are kept a minimum of 6 inches away from the chest area, something that isn’t so easy to do with a camera around your neck. Nikon clearly isn’t taking any chances here, although anyone fitted with such a device is usually made aware of the more common risks involved, I think Nikon is correct to highlight this as you wouldn’t normally consider a camera lens to be among them.

 

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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4 responses to “Don’t use our new lens technology if you have a pacemaker says Nikon”

  1. CanonMinolta Avatar
    CanonMinolta

    Pretty stupid of Nikon
    They could have released the same lens that is safe for everyone

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yeah, and they should sell it for $20, too because not everybody can afford $14,000!

  2. JP dJ Avatar
    JP dJ

    So what. It has strong permanent magnets in its powerul electric motors. That may be the case in other lenses too. With a pacemaker, an MRI scan is more dangerous.
    Pacemakers exist that can resist an MRI’s magnetic field but you may be monitored by cardiology staff when you are subjected to that.
    I’d say you can safely use these lenses with such a pacemaker – like Ytoober Nigel Danson, Ph. D. did with the Nikon Z/S 100-400.

    1. Clancy Wiggum Avatar
      Clancy Wiggum

      The problem isn’t damage to the pacemaker (or implantable defibrillator), it’s unintended configuration changes. Modern cardiac implantable devices will easily survive static or moving magnetic fields but for certain emergencies are equipped with magnetically tripped switches that temporarily reconfigure them to do things like switch off or operate in a potentially unsafe fallback mode. In a planned environment like a supervised MRI this is a non issue. In an unsupervised environment like being out in the wilderness photographing birds this is potentially catastrophic. Probability of harm is low but non zero and no camera company wants to have a news article about their equipment killing someone by disabling their defibrillator. I would personally think that you should *not* use these lenses with a pacemaker or defibrillator unless you have very detailed knowledge of the specifications of the magnetic fields and how far they extend from the lens, and are extremely vigilant to ensure they don’t interact with the device.