Are these Nikon's next lenses for the Z system?

Nikon Z system
Nikon Z system (Image credit: Nikon)

However exciting a new mirrorless camera system seems, it's only going to succeed if people know it will eventually be supported by a broad range of lenses at the right price. To that end, manufacturers have been keen to share their plans for future optics, well before their official announcement, by way of lens roadmaps.

Canon, Fujifilm and Panasonic have all released these in the past, as did Nikon at the inception of its Z system. This was updated earlier this year, detailing the company's plans for 2020 – and now a further roadmap, revealing many further lens releases throughout 2020 and 2021, has leaked out.

Or has it? Nikon Rumors, which originally punished the map, claims it was sent to them by an anonymous source – and presumably if the source is anonymous to Nikon Rumors, its legitimacy is even more questionable than when rumor sites claim to receive details from 'trusted' or 'known' sources.

The roadmap that Nikon Rumors claims to have been sent

The roadmap that Nikon Rumors claims to have been sent (Image credit: Nikon Rumors)

So what does it tell us that we didn't already know? Well, Nikon had already made it clear it would release 20mm f/1.8 S, 50mm f/1.2 S and 14-24mm f/2.8 S lenses in 2020, but the new roadmap claims that these will be joined by Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S, Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S, Nikkor Z 28-70mm f/2.8-3.5 S and Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 S optics.

Six more are said to follow in 2021, namely the Nikkor Z 105mm f/1.8 S, Nikkor Z 28mm f/1.8 S, Nikkor Z 65mm f/1.8 S, Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.2 S, Nikkor Z 28-280mm f/2.8-5.6 S and Nikkor Z 100-300mm f/4 S.

Is it real?

The lenses that are promised here make some sense. There's a good mix of primes and zooms, and no outrageous focal length/aperture combinations. This would, in many ways, be a logical way to broaden the line over the next few years. Even so, our money is on it being fake. 

First, while the font used for the lens names appears to be the same as that used before, the font for the years is not. The lack of a title or any other information also raises suspicions.

Second, the fact that this lens roadmap goes so far into the future – almost two and a half years – with so many lenses and specific lens names already confirmed, also doesn't smell right to us.

On top of that, in its previous lens roadmap, Nikon originally announced many of its future lenses without 'NIKKOR Z' and 'S' designations – yet here, every upcoming lens has both. That's particularly suspect, as Nikon claimed at the outset of the system that lenses other than the S line will be announced at a later date. If Nikon mentioned this over a year ago, why are none included in these plans that continue throughout the next two years?

Finally, from their names, focal lengths and apertures, all of these lenses appear to have been developed for full-frame bodies, with no way way of differentiating them from those developed for cropped-sensor ones. Nikon doesn't have any cropped-sensor mirrorless bodies right now – but the likelihood of that remaining the case for the next two and a half years or so seems marginal, particularly in light of a patent that indicated the use of an APS-C sensor in future Z-series bodies.

So, are these Nikon's next lenses? It's certainly possible – but we think not.