Third-party lens manufacturers play a massive role in the photography market space, and it’s nice to see Nikon welcoming them to the Z mount with open hearts; Canon, on the other hand … what are you doing?
During the heyday of DSLRs, third-party lens manufacturers offered many photographers the opportunity to buy incredible lenses that rivaled first-party options at a fraction of the cost. If it weren’t for the likes of Tamron, Sigma, Samyang/Rokinon and others, I, and many others, would have been priced out of high-quality fast glass. No matter what platform you shot on, you had plenty of lens options thanks to third-party lens makers.
Fast forward to the mirrorless age. Right now, third-party lens support is all but non-existent unless you shoot with Sony cameras. However, Sony knew that to steal the creators from Canon and Nikon, they needed to entice photographers from all walks of life to their system. The best way to do this was to open the E-mount to third-party lens makers. In doing so, creators have been able to get their hands on affordable glass while also having the option of buying premium Sony lenses.
This strategy worked, and Tamron, Sigma and others have profited greatly.
Times are changing for third-party lens makers
Now, this story has changed recently. In a move that delighted fans, Fujifilm decided that they no longer wanted a closed system. The X mount has now been opened up to third-party lens makers.
So, Kudos to Fujifilm for allowing this. Fujifilm users can now get their mitts on fantastic Tamron and Sigma glass. We’re sure more will follow from other manufacturers. But what about Canon and Nikon? What are they doing when it comes to third-party lens support?
Good news for Nikon fans
You have been able to buy some reverse-engineered third-party lenses for both Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts for a while. Still, official third-party lens support has been missing; until now, at least when it comes to Nikon. In a move that made many of Nikon’s fans leap into the air with joy, Nikon has officially opened the Z mount to Tamron. We’re sure the mount is now open to anyone, including Sigma; they probably just don’t have any lenses ready yet.
This news is huge and should be celebrated. We, along with many others, have been calling for official third-party lens support for both Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts for a long time. So, kudos to Nikon for seeing the need to support third-party lenses. In the long run, Nikon and its users will benefit greatly.
While it will likely take a while for most of Tamron’s stellar mirrorless lenses to make the transition to Z mount, the good news is that they’re coming. There will be some tremendous small primes and phenomenal zooms with fast apertures that won’t break the bank with a Z mount soon. Bravo. The first lens leaping Nikons’ Z mount will be the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD.
Horrendous news for Canon fans
While Nikon fans are rejoicing, Canon fans should be reeling. A report on Photo Rumors claims that Canon is actively shutting down third-party lens manufacturers. That’s not a great look, Canon. As mentioned above, there have been many third-party Canon RF mount lenses on the market for a while. However, said lenses have disappeared from stores; now we know why.
In a conversation between third-party lens manufacturer, Viltrox and a customer, Viltrox flat-out told the customer that Canon had told them to stop selling all RF mount lenses. Because of this cease and desist, Viltrox cannot offer customer support for RF mount lenses. Furthermore, it has also come to light that Samyang has been told to stop selling RF mount lenses. Sheesh.
We’re not sure if Canon is doing this because the third-party lens makers haven’t paid for official licensing or if it’s because Canon wants to keep consumers locked into costly first-party lens options. Either way, this is not great news for Canon fans.
Canon will likely want to revisit this soon. Especially now that their archrivals, Nikon, have welcomed third-party support with open arms. Hopefully, Canon will come to its senses soon. We’re sure current and prospective Canon customers would appreciate the company waking up and seeing what the market wants.
How do you feel about Nikon embracing third-party lenses? Are you a Canon user gobsmacked at the company’s decision to shun third-party lenses? Let us know in the comment section below.