The Nikon D40 and Its Missing AF Motor

Nikon D40 DSLR with missing AF motor contacts

There used to be a time when “real photographers focus their own damn lenses,” then auto-focus came along. The convenience, accuracy, and speed of AF made these systems overwhelmingly popular and the uproar died down.

Then came digital with nary a resistance from the film sector, but the debate goes on about which takes better photos, with some sectors even trying to revive film’s popularity. But the uproar too will eventually die down.

When Canon discarded the notion of camera-based motors and went to lens-based AF motors 20 years ago with the introduction of the EOS system and the EF mount, there was an uproar too from Canon users who howled that their old glasses were rendered useless.

And now, Nikon, with its petite D40 DSLR made a major change in its hallowed policy of backward compatibility. The D40 threw out the autofocus motor from the camera body and put it instead in the lens. This of course made many lenses, especially from third party lens makers, unusable in the D40. Is there an uproar? None. Not even from lens makers Sigma, Tokina and Tamron.

But John Owens at mulls over this move by Nikon in his April posting to the website. He says, “To those in internet chat rooms who devote their lives to the finer points of Nikoniana, the AF motor issue is Serious Stuff with overtones of Nostradamus.”


Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.