Third-Party Nikon System and Lenses

When doing reviews of lenses from third-party manufacturers, I gained some experience and information about the compatibility, features and nuances of the operation of third-party lenses on Nikon SLR cameras.

Third Party Lenses

Third Party Lenses

I am absolutely normal about third-party lenses. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina companies make a lot of different lenses, both good and not so good. There is a customer for each lens. But, whatever one may say, relatives, i.e. Nikon Nikkor original lenses have much better compatibility with Nikon cameras.

Third-party software restrictions

One of the main limitations and serious drawbacks of third party lenses is limitation in software compensation for lens imperfections... I will explain in more detail. When a Nikon Nikkor lens is mounted on a Nikon camera, the camera knows perfectly well that it has a 'native' (original) lens. The memory of modern cameras stores data on most of the native lenses, which are used for more correct and correct operation with one or another lens. Even if there is no such information in the camera's memory, but a native lens is still installed on it, it will try to compensate for the disadvantages of the lens using standard algorithms. This is most easily noticed when using the Auto Lens Correction, Auto Vignetting Correction or Lens Distortion Correction functions.

Automatic distortion correction

Automatic distortion correction

For example, if on a camera Nikon D3200 install a native lens Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1: 1.8G SWM Aspherical, then in the camera menu the item 'Auto. distortion control ', which will be responsible for distortion control. The camera will take into account the data on the level of distortion of this lens and programmatically correct its shortcomings. The same fixes can be made by native software like Nikon Capture NX-D when shooting in RAW format. If on Nikon D3200 If you install a non-native lens, for example Sigma 18-200 / 3.5-6.3, then this menu item will be unavailable and distortion control will not be carried out. This is a serious flaw for amateur photographers who shoot in JPEG format.

Auto-adjust distortion and vignetting with Adobe Lightroom

Auto-adjust distortion and vignetting with Adobe Lightroom

Of course, this limitation can be circumvented by shooting in RAW format, and then control lens distortion using special software. For example, Adobe Lightroom supports distortion correction and vignetting profiles for most third-party lenses. But not every amateur will be able to master quite complex software, and he will also need to spend time on the final rendering of the finished result with corrected distortions.


I have not yet seen a third-party lens that has learned to copy Nikon's' M / A '('Auto Focus with Manual Tune / Manual Focus Priority') (UPDATE: already seen one) and Nikon 'A / M' ('Auto Focus with Manual Tune / Auto Focus Priority'). The essence of the modes is simple - when you start rotating the focusing ring, the lens disables automatic focusing and forcibly switches to manual focusing mode, while the mode works at any focusing setting. It is very comfortable. While many third-party lenses claim full manual focus control, it doesn't work like the native 'A / M' and 'M / A' modes.

Also, some Nikon cameras do not work correctly with third-party lenses during auto focus when Live View is on.

In fact, with autofocus, everything is very ambiguous - the protocols of communication between the camera and the lens are closed, which creates a lot of headaches for third-party manufacturers. It is not a fact that with the release of a new camera, old lenses from third-party manufacturers will be compatible with it.

The manufacturers of Sigma and Tamron began to produce their new lenses with the support of special docking stations, which allow using the computer to more accurately and correctly configure and program the autofocus, adjust it to the directly used camera. Most likely they were tired of user complaints about the inaccurate work of auto focus and the companies decided to release an autonomous mini-service center for setting lenses at home :).


Lenses from third-party manufacturers have a lot of things wrong: for example, the zoom ring can rotate in the opposite direction, which causes unnecessary inconvenience, especially if there is a park of unified native optics with which you get used to working at the level of muscle memory. The same goes for the focus ring.

The stabilizer may not turn off or prevent metering from turning off, which may cause the camera battery to drain faster. And when shooting with a tripod, such a stabilizer can do much harm. Sigma lenses often suffer from this behavior. The stabilizer of some lenses does not work well with the built-in flash (most likely due to loss of power).

Sometimes third-party lenses do not work correctly on the original tele-converters, which is why you have to look for some compromise solutions.

Also, buying an expensive professional lens from a third party does not add 'karma' to join Nikon NPS Professional Service. To join the Nikon NPS, you need to have several cameras and several native Nikon Nikkor lenses (the number and models depend on the region).


Bought a Nikon camera - buy a Nikkor lens too.

Seriously though, third-party lenses are quite compatible with Nikon cameras, but there are some peculiarities that should be struggled or put up with.

Welcome to the comments. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 182 on the topic: Nikon system and third-party lenses

  • Veronica

    I have only one question. Is this lens (Yongnuo YN 50mm F1.8 for Nikon) suitable for the Nikon D500?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, it does. But, IMHO, for such a good camera, you can have a better lens.

      • Denis

        For example, Yongnuo 85mm f1.8 will be better :)

    • Peter Sh.


      Veronica, let’s fall in love, why do you need the D500? Or is it a gift?))

      “The photographer buys first of all a lens, and already for delivery - a camera ...”

      • Valery A.

        I bought a fifty-fifty 1,8D, how to buy FF on delivery?

        • Evgeny_d5000

          look at the Nikon f55 / f65 / f75

          • Valery A.

            Nope, digital treba.

    • anonym

      Maybe Nikon D5000?

  • Oleg

    I got a 18-250 sigma, installed it on my D5300, but there is no autofocus either through the JVI or through the screen, and opt. stub also does not work. Then I found the info that my camera model has problems with sigma, AF does not work through the screen, but through the JVI it should work, and this is solved by updating the sigma firmware. I came to the service, and they have surprisingly, the experimental carcass is also D5300, we put the lens on it and the AF through the OVI works fine, but it does not work through the screen. I already thought that the problem was in my carcass, but I remembered in time that it was not long before that I was updating the software in the camera, which is why the lens behaved differently. Updating the software in the lens solved these problems.

  • Lara

    Tamron 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens suitable for Nikon 750D?

  • G0LDEN_key

    > not every hobbyist will be able to master rather complex software

    the level of not every lover is extremely upsetting! :)

  • Paul

    Hello Arkady! I have a Nikon d5200. I want to change my kit lens to yongnuo 35mm 1: 2. What do you think they will make friends? Or will there be problems? Experience in shooting I have amateur !!!!

    • BB

      Compatibility problems should not arise, but the Yongnuo 35/2 lens is leisurely.
      PS I advise you not to change, but to supplement.

  • Natalia

    Friends, tell me, can the built-in flash mow because of the third-party lens (Sigma) installed on the camera (Nikon)?

    • Vladimir

      Built-in, of course, the camera may simply not receive data from the lens or interpret it incorrectly. Or, in general, refuse to interpret them at the program level.

  • KKonstantin

    Hello! I had such a situation. I have been doing photography since 2016. Mostly landscape photography. I decided to buy in addition to my native two lenses 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm I decided to buy a wide-angle lens. I looked closely at two options from Tokin's company 111-16 mm f2,8 DX II and 11-20 f2,8 DX. I have a Nikon D3200 camera. Will my carcass be friends with these lenses?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Good afternoon. Yes, it will. But 11-16 must be the second DX II model.

      • Konstvntin

        Arkady, what is your experience of using Tokina lenses? I've heard they have trouble focusing and drop in sharpness. Is this their disease or isolated cases?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Great experience. It all depends on a specific instance on a specific camera. Modern Tokins are not bad and even good in their overwhelming number.

          • Konstvntin

            Thanks. You made my choice, we can say final.

            • Konstvntin

              And another question. If you choose between Tokina 11-16 f2.8 dx II and Sigma 17-50 f 2.8, which one will show itself better in terms of picture and build quality, focusing. On the carcass d3200. Just Tokina costs 46000, and Sigma 33000. The lens is bought for a long time.

              • Arkady Shapoval

                Completely different lenses. Tokina is more reliable to the touch, but super-wide. Sigma is an all-rounder. The choice between the two is not obvious to me. Different tasks.

            • Konstvntin

              And another question. In addition to the Tokina 11-16 mm f2.8 PRO DX II, I found another version of the Tokina 11-16 mm f 2.8 CF. The specifications and descriptions of both lenses indicate the presence of a built-in motor. Is this so, or is the motor only for the first of these models?

              Links from the LigaPhoto store

              • Michael


  • Alfredo Aguilar Balderas

    Hola Arkady;estoy por comprar un lente SIGMA DC 18-50mm F2.8 EX D servira esta pieza para hacer mi trabajo.

  • Vladimir

    The question is - is it necessary to align the Sigma 14 \ 1,8 lens bought for Nikon on the docking station?

  • Mirza

    Good afternoon, Arkady!
    such a question - can the autofocus quality of the Tamron 17-50 (with Nikon 7100) deteriorate over time? Worked for 5 years (bought used, since last year the quality has gotten worse and worse.

    • Arkady Shapoval


  • Gennady

    For Nikon Z7 I'm choosing a budget telephoto lens. Presumably the choice was Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 (A025). What do you advise? Do you have any feedback on using this pair?

    • B. R. P.

      Good budget.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Then it’s easier to take it directly to the Nikon Z mount - Nikon Nikkor Z 70-180mm 1: 2.8

      • Gennady

        I have a standard 24-120 Z. I compare the Tamron 70-200 with the Nikkor 70-200 Z. Their price difference is almost double. Will Tamron work correctly via FTZ. I have no experience using a lens with a Z mount converter. Can you share your experience?

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