What Is An F-Mount Lens?

What Is An F-Mount Lens featured photo

Nothing is more frustrating than buying a new lens and realizing that it does not fit your camera. Determining the lens mount is key to ensuring compatibility with the camera. Below, we will look into the F-mount, a popular mount type.

The F-mount is the mount used to connect Nikon SLRs with Nikkor lenses. It features autofocus, advanced metering, aperture control, and image stabilization. The mount is available on a hundred different camera lenses.

This article will cover more features of the Nikon F-mount. We will also teach you how the F-mount is different from other Nikon lens mounts.

What Is An F-Mount Lens?

Nikon F - Mount lens

The F-mount is a specific lens mount used by Nikon, a popular camera manufacturer. The F-mount dates back to 1959, when it was introduced alongside the Nikon F single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The “F” in Nikon F mount and camera comes from the term “re-f-lex.” 

The Nikon F-mount, like most modern camera lenses, uses a bayonet-type mount. It has a 44mm diameter and a 46.5mm flange to focal plane distance, which refers to the space between the lens mount and the sensor.

For more than 50 years, Nikon maintained the same lens mount specification for its film and DSLR cameras. When the autofocus was introduced, Nikon also added metering and aperture control. Today, the F lens mount supports these features, image stabilization, and distance information technology. It is also known for its rugged construction and reliability. Plus, it offers compatibility with future technologies. 

Due to its long history, the Nikon F-mount is available in more than 400 lenses. It comes in different types, including wide-angle lenses, standard lenses, telephoto lenses, macro lenses, and specialty ones. Third-party manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron also produce F-mount lenses, further expanding your choice.

Will The F-Mount Fit On My Camera?

To determine if the F-mount lens is compatible with your camera, you must check if it uses the Nikon F-mount. You can refer to the manufacturer’s website to identify the mount of your device. But to make it easier for you, below is a list of Nikon cameras that can fit F-mount lenses.

  • Nikon DSLR cameras (Nikon D6, Nikon D850, Nikon D780, Nikon D500, Nikon D7500, Nikon D3500, etc.)
  • Nikon mirrorless cameras by using the FTZ adapter (Nikon Z8, Nikon Z7, Nikon Z50, Nikon Z30, etc.)

If you own a camera from a different manufacturer (e.g. Canon, Sony, etc.), F-mount lenses may not be directly compatible. However, you can use adapters to connect F-mount lenses on different camera systems. Note that compatibility and functionality may vary because Nikon did not test these cameras.

F vs. G Mount: What Is The Difference?

When shopping for Nikon F-mount lenses, you may come across the “G” indicator. 

The Nikon G-mount is simply a variant of the F-mount lens. It retains the same physical F mount, meaning it has the same diameter and flange distance.

The only difference between the G lenses and F lenses is the former does not have an aperture ring. So if you want to change the lens opening, you must do it through the camera body. Note that only autofocus bodies with command dials can control G lenses. 

The lack of aperture ring in the G-mount lenses can be a downside. Changing the aperture through the camera body can take too much time and effort. This could lead to missing the shot at crucial moments. 

Fortunately, you can consider buying G adapters to let you adjust the aperture manually. You can easily open and close the lens iris to a preset point. For example, you can set the G lens to f/1.8 to focus and compose the frame. Then, use the f/11 setting to decide the correct metering and capture the image.

Nikon F vs. Z Mount: What Is The Difference?

Besides the G indicator, you have likely heard about the Z lens mount. How is it different from Nikon lenses with the F-mount?

The Nikon Z-mount is specifically designed for mirrorless digital cameras from Nikon. It was introduced in 2018 together with the Nikon Z 7, which was the first camera to use the said mount.

The Z-mount has a throat diameter of 55mm compared to the 44mm size of the F-mount. It also offers a significantly shorter flange distance of 16 mm than the F-mount with a 46.5mm flange distance. These features enable all Z-mount cameras and lenses to let more light inside the sensor. They make extremely large apertures of f/0.95 possible.

In contrast, the Nikon F-mount is suitable for Nikon SLRs and DSLRs. These cameras have a built-in mirror that reflects light onto an optical viewfinder before letting it hit the sensor. 

Can I Use Nikon F-Mount On Mirrorless Cameras?

As previously mentioned, the Nikon F-mount lenses are engineered for SLRs and DSLRs. They do not natively fit mirrorless cameras.

However, a Nikon F to Z mount adapter allows you to use a Nikon F-mount lens on mirrorless systems. The FTZ mount adapter is usually sold separately. But in some cases, it comes bundled with the Nikon Z mirrorless camera. This adapter gives you access to more than 400 F-mount lenses.

Besides Nikon mirrorless cameras, you can also use F-mount lenses on other systems with the right adapter. For instance, an F-to-E lens mount adapter lets you connect Nikon F lenses to Sony E-mount cameras. There is also a Nikon F to Canon EF-M mount for Canon mirrorless users.

However, using lens mount adapters has a few downsides. For one, these accessories limit the built-in features of the lens which you can enjoy. That means autofocus, aperture control, and other settings might not work on the new camera despite having an adapter. Using the Nikon F lens on the F-mount camera still gives you the best compatibility and results.

DX vs. FX: What Do These Letters Mean On My F-Mount Lens?

Nikon F-mount lenses have DX and FX designations. These letters determine the type of sensors the Nikon lenses are compatible with.

The DX marking means the lens is designed for a DX-format Nikon camera. This camera is also known as a crop-sensor or APS-C model because of its small camera sensor. It has a 24mm by 16mm sensor size, around 2/3rd smaller than a full-frame sensor.

On the other hand, an FX lens offers a large image circle that is around 36mm x 24mm in size. It can cater to full-frame Nikon cameras, also known as FX-format cameras. 

It is important to understand the difference between DX and FX lenses because they affect the camera’s field of view. DX lenses have a 1.5x crop factor due to their small image circle. That means a 50mm prime lens becomes a 75mm lens. Meanwhile, FX lenses retain their indicated focal length—a 35mm lens offers the same field of view. But when attached to an APS-C F-mount camera, it automatically crops the image and changes the focal length to 50mm. 

What Are The Popular F-Mount Lenses?

With hundreds of F-mount lenses to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your choice. To help you, we listed the most popular Nikon F-mount lenses for digital SLR cameras below.

  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED – This wide-angle zoom lens is a must-have for architecture and landscape photographers. It offers extra-low dispersion elements and special optical coatings to deliver sharp photos.
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR – This standard zoom lens consistently ranks as the best Nikon lens overall. It has a versatile focal range, a bright maximum aperture, and built-in Vibration Reduction technology.
  • Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR – The Nikkor F-mount lens covers wide-angle, standard, and telephoto focal lengths. It is great for everyday use if you want to use a single lens only.
  • Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR – It offers a short to medium telephoto perspective. This zoom lens is ideal for action, sports, and wildlife photography.
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED – This prime lens has a wide-angle field of view. It can capture architecture, interiors, landscapes, and group photos.
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G – The F-mount nifty-fifty lens offers the most natural perspective without distortion. It is suitable for portraits, street photography, and everyday subjects. 
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G – This telephoto lens has a bright maximum aperture, beautiful background blur, and fast autofocus. All these features make the 85mm lens excellent for portraiture. 
  • Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G VR IF-ED – It offers a 1:1 magnification ratio and a 30cm focusing distance. This macro lens captures details of insects, nature, jewelry, and other small subjects. 

What Are The Best Nikon F-Mount Cameras?

Now, you may be curious about the best Nikon cameras that accept F-mount lenses. After spending hours on research, we are confident in recommending the following DSLR models.

  • Nikon D3500 – It seems like a very basic camera. However, it is an excellent model for beginners due to its simple controls and intuitive user interface.
  • Nikon D780 – This Nikon F-mount camera suits hobbyists or enthusiasts. It combines mirrorless technology with a solid DSLR design. 
  • Nikon D850 – It uses FX-format full-frame sensor with advanced features geared toward professionals and high-end enthusiasts.
  • Nikon D6 – This F-mount camera is the flagship model of Nikon. It packs several features, notably the 105-point AF system, the Expeed 6 processor, and up to 14fps continuous shooting.

Can You Use Teleconverters And Lens Adapters On F-Mount Lenses?

Yes, you can attach teleconverters and lens adapters to Nikon F-mount lenses.

The former is also known as a lens extender. As its name suggests, it can extend or increase the focal length of the lens. It offers a more magnified subject, which is handy for action, sports, and wildlife photography. The teleconverter attaches between the camera body and lens.

Meanwhile, the lens adapter lets you connect an F-mount lens to a camera body with a different mount. For instance, you can use a Nikon F-mount lens on a Canon DSLR.

Is The Nikon F-Mount Discontinued?

After being one of the top camera manufacturers for over 60 years, Nikon started to transition to mirrorless technology. Several websites report that Nikon discontinued several F-mount lenses. Upon further research, we confirm that the manufacturing giant has indeed stopped the production of 35 lenses. Some lenses are still available on the official Nikon website, but they are either archived, out of stock permanently, or do not show a “Buy” button.

While some F-mount lenses are discontinued, that does not mean you should avoid these lenses. You can still find them at some retailers.


The first factor to consider when shopping for camera lenses is their mount. It determines the types of cameras they are compatible with.

The F-mount is a popular lens mount from Nikon. It lets you attach Nikkor lenses to SLRs and DSLRs. It can also fit mirrorless cameras with a different Z-mount as long as you use a Nikon FTZ adapter.

Do you have other questions about the F-mount lens? Feel free to visit our contact page to send your queries!