Nikon’s new Z mount explained by a Nikon engineer

Aug 30, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nikon’s new Z mount explained by a Nikon engineer

Aug 30, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There’s been quite a lot of discussion regarding Nikon’s new Z mount ever since the patent was first spotted. Nikon, too, has made quite the fuss over it in the recent Nikon Z6 & Z7 mirrorless camera announcements. Now, it seems that we have Atsushi Suzuki, an actual Nikon optical engineer, to explain it to us.

So, why did Nikon introduce a new mount for their mirrorless cameras? Well, in the video, Atsushi goes into quite some technical detail. But to really know what’s going on, it helps to understand this stuff.

YouTube video

Well, for a start it allows them to break out of the 59 year old F-Mount. This means that they no longer really need to worry about backwards compatibility. So they can start to develop lenses that take more advantage of newer technology.

Nikon is well known for great lensess – our company vision is to “unlock the future with the power of light”

We believe this new mount will help us acheive that vision. The itnroduction of the Z-Mount is very special because it combines so much experience and knowledge from many engineers and designers over the last 100 years.

The new Z-Mount was developed for the new Nikon mirrorless cameras and lenses, and it possesses huge potential in optical design.

– Atsushi Suzuki, Nikon Optical Engineer

Nikon have gone from having one of the longest flange distances of any camera manufacturer, at 46.5mm with the F Mount to the shortest. The Z-Mount is only 16mm away from the sensor. This helps to minimise distortion from the rear element projecting the image onto the sensor. It also allows Nikon to produce the thinnest mirrorless cameras possible.

Side note: It also has the added benefit of allowing you to adapt many different types of lenses to fit & focus on the new Z model mirrorless cameras without corrective diopters that can degrade the image – anybody who’s ever tried to use an M42 lens on Nikon knows what I’m talking about.

The larger diameter of the Z Mount also allows Nikon to produce lenses with much wider apertures. Atsushi demonstrates how a larger lens mount helps with this, and explains that Nikon could have gone even larger, but it would have resulted in a larger camera. The Z Mount’s 55mm diameter was the best balance of size and quality.

Atsushi talks about a few more technical details of the lens, why certain decisions were made, and other benefits that the new mount offers over the F Mount.

Overall, it’s a very interesting video if you like getting more into the technical side of how these things work.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Nikon’s new Z mount explained by a Nikon engineer”

  1. Jeffrey Wright Avatar
    Jeffrey Wright

    I was just at a launch event for the new Z series and then they showed this. It’s all pretty logical but makes the lenses that are being released for the new system quite a head scratcher. One of the claimed advantages of the new mount is that the light can be focused with more precision and less distortion and in the limited samples I’ve seen that seems to be true. However, the other big advantage, and the one Nikon’s marketing team seems to want to push the most is the ability to make faster lenses and yet none of the lenses being released with the new bodies or even coming up on the roadmap show them taking advantage of that, sans the 58mm f.95. If the new mount is supposed to be so much easier to allow for faster lenses why are they releasing things like the 24-70 f4?

  2. Perry Avatar
    Perry

    bah.. nikon.. broke in 2020

  3. Michael Piziak Avatar
    Michael Piziak

    The Nikon Z camera bodies look like they are too small for the huge Z mount lens. It looks like a camera that Mickey Mouse would carry around in a cartoon.