When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,493
When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
25

The FTZ II came out, but much to my disappointment, it still can't autofocus a Nikon AF or AF-D "screwdriver" lens.

Sony's LA-EA5 adapter has a motor for focusing their screwdriver A mount lenses on E bodies, in addition to a motor for the aperture. They did that, but still beat Nikon on weight, size, and price.

If I stick that on a Techart Sony E to Nikon Z adapter, I can autofocus screwdriver Sony (and Minolta) A mount lenses on my Z.

Techart and Megadapt have adapters with autofocus motors for Leica M lenses, so I can autofocus those on the Z, too.

The only lenses I own that I can't autofocus are my AF and AF-D Nikkors.

Come on, Nikon, give us an FTZ equivalent of a Sony LA-EA5. Pretty please.

(OK, rant over)

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ANSWER:
Vince P
Vince P Senior Member • Posts: 2,333
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
2

Isn't the issue that the Sony has a lot more room to play with as it has such a small lens mount and is actually stepping up to the Minolta mount.

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DanishMacro Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
2

With the reveal of the FTZ II, we have further indication that this is Nikons strategy - probably to push users to buy new lenses.

There could be a technical reason, that would either make it impossible, or very expensive to make an adapter that is screwdrive compatible.

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OP Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,493
It's not an issue of space
10

Vince P wrote:

Isn't the issue that the Sony has a lot more room to play with as it has such a small lens mount and is actually stepping up to the Minolta mount.

No, that's not really the issue. The optical path is rectangular, the space above and below the rectangle on the giant Z mount is huge. There aren't any f/0.95 lenses to avoid occluding. I don't recall there even being any f1.2 AF Nikkors.

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----
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OP Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,493
There are no technical reasons
8

DanishMacro wrote:

With the reveal of the FTZ II, we have further indication that this is Nikons strategy - probably to push users to buy new lenses.

That's my bet.

There could be a technical reason, that would either make it impossible, or very expensive to make an adapter that is screwdrive compatible.

There aren't really any reasons. Sony did it with minimal diameter increase, managed to avoid lumps like the one Nikon has for their aperture motor, came in considerably lighter, and beat Nikon on cost.

If Sony is beating you on cost, you are doing something wrong.

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----
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CliveTJ Regular Member • Posts: 419
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
13

If it’s a great commercial proposition a 3rd party will do it.

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kamerakiri Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
11

"When will we be able to auto focus screwdriver lenses?"

Perhaps never. Nikon does not intend to make any such adapter right now.

syberman7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
37

The screwdriver AF system is from the Cambrian epoch, or maybe older. Its noisy, sloppy, imprecise, slow, from another era. Best to use such a system on a camera and lens of the same era so that all the expectations align.

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Z6User
Z6User Contributing Member • Posts: 694
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
7

syberman7 wrote:

The screwdriver AF system is from the Cambrian epoch, or maybe older. Its noisy, sloppy, imprecise, slow, from another era. Best to use such a system on a camera of the same era so that all the expectations align.

No. There are plenty of situations where AF is helpful, and speed is not necessary. For portraits or interior photography for example, you don’t need acquisition speed, but AF is so much easier than manual focus, especially in dim lighting.

Incidentally the Sony adapter is about the same price as the FTZ, in the UK anyway.

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Droster Senior Member • Posts: 1,705
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
6

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

The FTZ II came out, but much to my disappointment, it still can't autofocus a Nikon AF or AF-D "screwdriver" lens.

Sony's LA-EA5 adapter has a motor for focusing their screwdriver A mount lenses on E bodies, in addition to a motor for the aperture. They did that, but still beat Nikon on weight, size, and price.

If I stick that on a Techart Sony E to Nikon Z adapter, I can autofocus screwdriver Sony (and Minolta) A mount lenses on my Z.

Techart and Megadapt have adapters with autofocus motors for Leica M lenses, so I can autofocus those on the Z, too.

The only lenses I own that I can't autofocus are my AF and AF-D Nikkors.

Come on, Nikon, give us an FTZ equivalent of a Sony LA-EA5. Pretty please.

(OK, rant over)

The a7 was released in 2013 and the LA-EA5 is 2020. That's a seven year gap

So to answer your question.. four years later?

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DanishMacro Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: There are no technical reasons
3

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

There aren't really any reasons. Sony did it with minimal diameter increase, managed to avoid lumps like the one Nikon has for their aperture motor, came in considerably lighter, and beat Nikon on cost.

If Sony is beating you on cost, you are doing something wrong.

It always seemed to me, that the pricepoint of the FTZ was aimed to:

1) Increase the percieved value of the different kits that include it.

2) Push people to buy new lenses instead: The price of an FTZ is half of what a new Nikon Z 50mm 1.8 S in my location.

The profit margin on that thing bought separately is probably pretty insane.

Sony's strategy seems different: Their mount is open to third parties, Nikon's is not. It makes sense that Sony would go further in compatability support.

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syberman7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
6

Z6User wrote:

syberman7 wrote:

The screwdriver AF system is from the Cambrian epoch, or maybe older. Its noisy, sloppy, imprecise, slow, from another era. Best to use such a system on a camera of the same era so that all the expectations align.

No. There are plenty of situations where AF is helpful, and speed is not necessary.

But the screwdriver AF will not get you precise focus. Its not just about speed. I even saw a video in the last few days where someone complained about the D6 with AFS lens not getting precise focus on the eye. D lenses are even less predictable. The focus protocol for D lenses is to drive the focus motor rapidly to approximate focus. And don't take my word for it. Search and read Bobn2 on F mount AF protocols.

For portraits or interior photography for example, you don’t need acquisition speed, but AF is so much easier than manual focus, especially in dim lighting.

Incidentally the Sony adapter is about the same price as the FTZ, in the UK anyway.

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MCLV Regular Member • Posts: 481
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
8

DanishMacro wrote:

With the reveal of the FTZ II, we have further indication that this is Nikons strategy - probably to push users to buy new lenses.

There could be a technical reason, that would either make it impossible, or very expensive to make an adapter that is screwdrive compatible.

I think that it's a business decision. Either they simply don't want to release it in order to push people into newer lenses. Or they found out that it wouldn't work well with their current AF algorithms and they don't want to release a product with limited functionality. Or they found out that they would be able to get it working but it would result in an overhaul of AF algorithms and the total effort is not worth it.

I guess that screwdriver AF is not as precise and might not like frequent incremental updates of position. If current Z AF system depends on this approach, Nikon would need to develop and maintain a separate AF system for screwdriver lenses. And they might not wanted to introduce such an old legacy burden into their new system

cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 6,443
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
4

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

The FTZ II came out, but much to my disappointment, it still can't autofocus a Nikon AF or AF-D "screwdriver" lens.

Sony's LA-EA5 adapter has a motor for focusing their screwdriver A mount lenses on E bodies, in addition to a motor for the aperture. They did that, but still beat Nikon on weight, size, and price.

You need to realise there are a huge number of caveat's with this item . It will only AF certain screw lenses and not at max frame rate  perhaps 10fps and is dependant on each lens as to the differences and only works on a few of the later bodies. the FTZ works with all lenses that have a focussing motor and all bodies, on the Z9 these work at 120fps

If I stick that on a Techart Sony E to Nikon Z adapter, I can autofocus screwdriver Sony (and Minolta) A mount lenses on my Z.

Have you actually tried that. Do you have any A mount Sony lenses.

Techart and Megadapt have adapters with autofocus motors for Leica M lenses, so I can autofocus those on the Z, too.

The only lenses I own that I can't autofocus are my AF and AF-D Nikkors.

Come on, Nikon, give us an FTZ equivalent of a Sony LA-EA5. Pretty please.

(OK, rant over)

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inasir1971
inasir1971 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,999
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?

I doubt Nikon is going to do this. They want to sell new lenses - where is the financial incentive?

I think the only way this is ever going to happen is if a third party such as Techart create one. They are about to release a Contax G to Nikon Z AF adapter which implements a screwdrive AF system.

Maybe if there is enough interest they will create one for Nikon screwdrive AF lenses - who knows, start a campaign. I am sure there is more interest in bringing AF to old NIkon lenses than Contax G lenses.

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MCLV Regular Member • Posts: 481
Lose-lose situation for Nikon?
15

What if Nikon has two choices?

  1. Receive customer complaints for not providing such adapter
  2. Invest effort and money in such adapter and still receive customer complaints due to its performance

I think that as long as the adapter would have "Nikon" written on it, people's expectation would be that it works well.

In my opinion, the chances that Nikon will release it are getting smaller with each passing month and each announced Z lens. Maybe it can happen once Nikon engineers get bored and it could be introduced at some F mount anniversary.

Stan Disbrow Veteran Member • Posts: 5,763
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
6

Hi,

The incentive? They will not sell me a Z body without one. I have too many AF prime lenses to replace. No way I am doing that. And I'm not going to manually focus an AF lens. Their focusing rate is way too fast for that. That's what the manual focus primes are for.

I'd even accept it if it requires central focusing point only. That's how I've used my AF lenses all along anyway. The F4 only had the one point. And the F5 and D1 series only had five.

And, I am not alone when it comes to not buying a Z body for this reason. Nikon sold me on always having backwards compatibility with regards to lens systems. That had me buying into the F4 when it was new. And I require that they stick to that. Or else no more money from me.

Not that this has seemed to occur to Nikon Imaging. And since I spend far more on the industrial side of Nikon than the imaging side, not much of a difference to their corporate bottom line.

There is one Z they might one day come out with that I'd buy regardless of AF lens support. That's a Z based S. But I'm not holding my breath. And , if they should retro revisit the S, and they don't have an S mount adapter, someone else will surely make one. Or I'll do it myself.

Stan

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z2122
z2122 Senior Member • Posts: 1,802
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
6

I think this will not happen -  Nikon have to look forward and they are not willing to compromise their Z lenses sales by enabling screwdriver lenses to the Z system.

There are DSLRs like the D750 that you can get cheap...

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primeshooter
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 6,642
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
16

syberman7 wrote:

Z6User wrote:

syberman7 wrote:

The screwdriver AF system is from the Cambrian epoch, or maybe older. Its noisy, sloppy, imprecise, slow, from another era. Best to use such a system on a camera of the same era so that all the expectations align.

No. There are plenty of situations where AF is helpful, and speed is not necessary.

But the screwdriver AF will not get you precise focus. Its not just about speed. I even saw a video in the last few days where someone complained about the D6 with AFS lens not getting precise focus on the eye. D lenses are even less predictable. The focus protocol for D lenses is to drive the focus motor rapidly to approximate focus. And don't take my word for it. Search and read Bobn2 on F mount AF protocols.

For portraits or interior photography for example, you don’t need acquisition speed, but AF is so much easier than manual focus, especially in dim lighting.

Incidentally the Sony adapter is about the same price as the FTZ, in the UK anyway.

All those weddings I've shot with the 85mm 1.4D nailing focus on the eye every time eh. So imprecise...Keep talking...I've used the 85mm 1.4G and found it no more accurate than the D and the focus transitions not as nice / nor it's bokeh.

primeshooter
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 6,642
Re: When will we be able to autofocus screwdriver lenses?
6

inasir1971 wrote:

I doubt Nikon is going to do this. They want to sell new lenses - where is the financial incentive?

Lock current f mount DSLR shooters into the Z mount system - sell them a body, don't give them a reason to go anywhere else, etc.

I think the only way this is ever going to happen is if a third party such as Techart create one. They are about to release a Contax G to Nikon Z AF adapter which implements a screwdrive AF system.

Maybe if there is enough interest they will create one for Nikon screwdrive AF lenses - who knows, start a campaign. I am sure there is more interest in bringing AF to old NIkon lenses than Contax G lenses.

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