Nikon FTZ & Macro Lens Gap

Nikon FTZ & Macro Lens Gap

Nikon FTZ & Macro Lens Gap

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Where is the S Macro

/ Categories: My Reviews

2021 Update: Nikon released two Macro lenses for the Z mount. The Nikon 105mm MC VR S Macro and the Nikon 50mm MC S macro lens - neither of which will accept the Nikon Z Teleconverters, sad to say.

If you are a long-time Nikon shooter and have recently or are thinking about moving to a Nikon Z mirrorless camera you may experience both the upside to mirrorless and the downside. I will use this opportunity to advise Nikon shooters about what I learned and experienced since my conversion to the Nikon Mirrorless Z camera system, this involves the Nikon FTZ adapter with older Nikon lenses and some 3rd party lenses.

This is not a jab at Nikon or the Nikon Z system, Nikon is a great company and has produced a fabulous mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z6 & Z7. Nikon offers the FTZ and an option for the Z mirrorless cameras for backward compatibility of the f mount lenses, the short story is don't believe that all f lenses will be compatible. In fact, some 3rd party lenses simply will not work at all.  This short article is an advisory to those switching over from DSLR world and has a lot of older Nikon or 3rd Party lenses. The topic here is incompatibility, frustration, and the lack of a Nikon S Macro Lens.

Prior to moving to the Nikon Z system, I was using my DSLR cameras with my Sigma 180mm HSM Macro, Tamron 90mm ED EX Macro (newest version), Nikon 60mm Macro, Nikon 105mm VR Macro, and many other Nikon f lenses such as the Nikon 200mm Macro, all of which worked flawlessly.  Using the Nikon Z cameras with adapted f lenses all seem the Nikon Macro lenses still work like champs but the 200mm f/4 is limited to manual focus only using the FTZ adapter. 

Of my third-party lenses - Not working is my Tamron 90 and Sigma 180mm Macros.


  • The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di 1:1 VS USD macro will not focus, or register when mounted on a Z camera using the FTZ adapter - making that lens useless for the Z mirrorless system. Occasionally the lens will partially come to life but soon dies.
  • The Sigma APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens will at least register f/ stops and allow manual focus (without in-focus confirmation)

Sigma list the 180mm Macro as compatible with some issues with stabilization in certain situations. However, if the lens was produced prior to the Nikon Z release chances are the lens will not fully function + the lens does not support the Sigma USB Dock so you can not update the lens firmware yourself.

Tamron offers the Tap-in console adapter to update the Tamron 90mm lens firmware, however, no firmware exists which addresses the Z incompatibility.

With a lot of the 3rd party macro lens incompatible with the Nikon Z, you may wish to check with 3rd party lens manufacture and be advised that buying on the used market the lens firmware may not be up to date even if is on the compatible list.

According to Nikon's S lens road map we Nikon Z users may not see a native Macro S lens for a few years and be regulated to Nikon's legacy f/mount Macro using the FTZ adapter. I like other Macro enthusiast hope that Nikon pushes a Native S lens to us soon.

Additionally, if you have older Nikon lenses beyond 10 years be prepared for lots of incompatibilities.

  • AF-D lens will not autofocus
  • AF (up to 1993) no autofocus or focus aids
  • AI & AIs lenses no automatic aperture control

FTZ Hack for some Tamron lenses and may work with other 3rd party lenses - if you have a 3rd party lens not working on the FTZ adapter you can try this hack. Go into the Camera Menu and select the wrench then scroll to find the Non-CPU Lens menu and set up the lens as a non CPU lens.  Once you have the lens set up as a Non-CPU turn off the camera, set the lens to MF, and Set lens stabilization to off (if the lens has stabilization).  Turn the camera back on your lens may still show no response if so go to the menu and select the Non CPU lens # and hit ok.  Your lens should/may spring back to life, and if so you can turn on AF and switch the lens stabilization on.  This hack may at least allow you to operate the lens to some degree.

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