Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 15,704
Re: Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens

EKB wrote:

Out of ignorant curiosity, what advantages (if any) are there to having a focus motor built into a lens rather than relying on the focus motor in the camera body?

Other than the obvious "will autofocus on entry-level bodies that don't have a focus motor" of course.

It seems obvious that putting a focusing motor in the lens will add to its cost and complexity. (Look at the price difference between Nikon's "D" vs "G" lenses.) Is the actual cost low enough for Nikon and other lens makers to routinely put a motor into all their new designs, just for the sake of "will work on a D5200 and below" - or is there some additional advantage that I'm overlooking?

Well, I'm kind of down on it. Maybe because my camera has a focus motor...

But it seems like the best AF-S lenses can focus faster than the best AF lenses; if you want to, you can put a pretty hefty motor in the lens. So that seems to be an advantage.

What I see as a disadvantage is that now you have all these additional failure points in the lens, especially lenses built to low price points. Nikon makes low-cost lenses for low-cost cameras and puts low-cost motors in them.

Given that Nikon lenses seem to cough and die on minimal provocation, I'm happier with lenses that have less stuff in them.

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Leonard Migliore

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