Sigma could be about to turn up the heat on Canon’s decision to keep its RF mount closed to third-party lens manufacturers by announcing its first lenses for Nikon’s Z mount.
The reliable Nikon Rumors (opens in new tab) is confidently predicting that Sigma, one of the world’s most popular lens makers, will announce its first lenses for Nikon’s mirrorless camera system in early 2023. The site says it “expects to see the official announcement at the CP+ show in Japan”, which takes place in February 2023.
While we don’t know which Sigma lenses are en route, the announcement would be significant for both owners and prospective buyers of mirrorless cameras from Nikon and Canon.
Back in August, Tamron announced that it was developing the first third-party autofocus lens for Nikon’s Z Mount, showing that the system is now open to lenses beyond those made by Nikon itself. Canon, meanwhile, attracted fierce criticism for continuing to keeps its RF mount closed, with the camera giant even warning the lens maker Viltrox for infringing its patents.
We’ve asked Nikon for comment on the possibility of Sigma making lenses for the Z mount, and will update this story if we get a response. But it looks like Nikon fans won’t have to wait too long to see versions of the lenses Sigma has made for rival systems like the Sony E mount.
These lenses include Sigma’s popular Art line, which are predominantly high-quality primes with fast apertures, and its more affordable Contemporary series, which pair well with smaller and more affordable cameras. Some of its Art lenses, particularly those with f/1.4 apertures, could potentially fill some of the gaps in Nikon’s current lens lineup.
When we asked Canon if it was planning to open up its RF mount to third-party lenses back in October, it told us “we are carefully considering each request in line with our business strategies”. The arrival of Sigma lenses for Z mount would certainly make Canon consider that decision a bit harder.
Analysis: the pressure on Canon builds
Canon and Nikon’s mirrorless camera systems arrived back in 2018, and the number of native lenses available for both was initially very limited. Over the past few years, the camera giants have been in a race to flesh out their RF-mount and Z-mount lens lineups with next-gen glass, but gaps remain.
This is why Nikon has belatedly opened up its Z mount to third-party manufacturers like Tamron and, seemingly, Sigma. But Canon is sticking to its original strategy, which allows it to rake in most of the money that its mirrorless camera owners spend on lenses.
This is in stark contrast to Sony, which opened up its E mount several years ago to lens makers including Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss and Samyang. The result is that Sony cameras like the Sony A7 IV and Sony A7R V continue to have by far the widest choice of lenses among mirrorless cameras, which is a significant factor for anyone looking to buy a new camera.
Nikon has finally changed its lens strategy to bridge the gap in its own lens range, and it seems inevitable that Canon will ultimately do the same. After all, Canon is no stranger to supporting third-party lenses on its cameras, with its EF-mount DSLRs bolstered by glass from the likes of Tamron and Sigma.
The question really is when that will happen. And if Sigma does announce multiple lenses for the Nikon Z mount in February 2023, the pressure to change course could become difficult for Canon to resist.