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Nikon SD digital rangefinder

This is an anonymous rumor I got from Japan - there is no way to verify the credibility of the source, but Nikon has done some limited edition series in the past (non-digital):

Nikon SD:

  • FF (35mm) digital rangefinder
  • Sensor/processing out of the D3
  • Full titanium interior/exterior body
  • Very compact/light - built for low light/discreet/art work
  • Retro styling, think SP meets 28ti meets.. Giugiaro
  • Very limited edition, 10,000 in total, 6.000 for domestic market ONLY. Strictly collector's item (huge market here)
  • Only available as a kit with 31/1.8, 50/1.5 and 90/1.8
  • Possibly/likely separately a f/1.0/50mm at even more limited numbers and insane price level
  • Prices? mad... this is not a photographic tool, this is luxury. Expected to be close to US $13,000 for the 'normal' set but rumored to be a Leica killer in optical performance and handling
  • Same 1/1 viewfinder principle as the SP rangefinder
  • Center weighed or spot metering, manual and Av only
  • NEF RAW and Tiff. Jpg unsure....
  • Same High ISO performance as D3

Allegedly scheduled to be released to coincide with some important Nikon anniversary, though  have no clue what it could be...

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  • Dude

    Would be cool. Too bad I would be afraid to take it out of it’s packaging and abuse it like the rest of my gear. I’ve already broken my share of FE’s.

  • R.

    Awesome! Definitly way out of reach for any normal photographer, but still…

  • Lars

    It would be a good way for Nikon to test out the concept, and get some bragging rights as well. Not entirely unlikely – though anyone could have dreamed up those specs.

  • Big Ed

    Not credible. Who “collects” a digital camera? Be serious.

  • Crabby

    Even if this information is 100% correct, it suggests to me that Nikon does not get the strong interest out there (I assert) for such a camera among working photographers and advanced amateurs. It also rubs the nose of P6000 buyers in the mud if there is nothing between these two cameras.

  • Zoetmb

    A $13,000 camera system has absolutely nothing to do with P6000 buyers. Nothing.

    Nikon has done special editions before, but not at this price (although still expensive.)

    The last one was the SP2005 Black “Nikon Eye Candy” w/50mm 1.4 lens which was released in January of 2005 and a limited edition of 2500 sold for $6000 each. Since they were hand-made, it took Nikon a very long time to deliver them all. In fact, they still might not all be delivered.

    With Nikon’s more recent emphasis on it’s financial performance, I wonder if they would really do this again. Even at these high prices, they don’t make money at this.

    • Ernst

      $13,000 times 10,000 units is $130 million in gross revenue. I can imagine how Nikon could definitely make money at this.

  • web

    this is nonsense.
    if nikon poured r&d money into manufacturing this unit, they would sell as many as possible.

  • Ed

    I would question the sanity of releasing such a item at a time when camera makers are struggling to make sales. spending the development money on something to bring in profits makes more sense.

  • umbora skirp

    Considering the sensor is from D3, and rest of the parts probably from other Nikon cameras, I don’t see why it is impossible/too expensive to create a limited edition rangefinder based on SP body and lenses. They would most certainly make a good chunk of profit from all the spare D3/D700 sensors they might have in inventory. This assertion is based if the rumour is 100% correct btw.

    • Anonymous

      Nikon will have the same problem as Leica in this aspect; due to the nature of the rangefinder lens, and its proximity to the sensor, the light hits the edges of the sensor at quite an extreme angle. To solve this, it is necessary to create off-set micro-lenses – and while this may not seem to hard at first, Kodak has had huge trouble trying to get beyond the M8’s 1.3x crop sensor.

      Concerning the rumour, there is an issue that if this is released, it is unlikely Nikon will release a readily available rangefinder if it finds that there is a market – that would be very damaging to the market buying the first, special edition camera, as it would require a large price difference, with a very affordable base rangefinder, yet maintaining good quality.

      • Lars

        Actually, not really. It depends on the optical formula of the lens. Leica has taken advantage of the fact that a rangefinder has no mirror, to be able to use more symmetrical wideangle optical formulas. That’s what the need for microlenses comes from, compatibility with old lenses. Any manufacturer making a digital system from scratch would be hard-pressed to make that mistake today.

  • Hong

    Bullshit, Nikon optics cannot beat Leica

    • Anonymous

      True, and so this is where I have a problem with this camera; if Nikon made a cheap rangefinder, however, this could undercut Leica’s sales, as the M8 is both expensive and has poorer image quality than comparable Nikon SLRs.

    • http://www.allengeorge.com Allen George

      I don’t know your justification for this statement.

      Some lenses from Nikon, Canon and Olympus (to my knowledge) are compared very favorably to Leica offerings. Leica doesn’t have a lock on lens design. . .

      • Anonymous

        compared favorably but not surpassed Leica optics in performance, comparing MTF charts is one thing but the pleasing results from leica lenses is another story..

        • Anonymous

          I absolutely love this response. Classic Leica apologist. “The MTF may not be as good” (in other words, the resolution and contrast may not be as good) “but the results are more pleasing” (i.e., I _like_ the particular blurry, low-contrast results my Leica lenses provide, at 5-10 times the price). To each his or her own, but I think it is very funny.

      • Anonymous

        Zeiss are the leaders in terms of raw image quality (you can see this in their offerings for SLRs today), but Leica lenses are stunning in their aesthetic quality.

        • Tim Catchall

          I would have to disagree. Leica are still the clear leaders in high-end 35mm lens design, and by a large margin, I would say. Their M range is unsurpassed. Try it and you will see why.

  • http://www.pbase.com/laburu/photojournalism nosferatukiller

    It wold be great! But will nikon mount production lines for a camera and 3 lenses? Somehow I doubt it, and otherwise I don’t even whant to know the price of it, probably it will still be cheaper the “quite” expensive Leica.

  • http://www.allengeorge.com Allen George

    Huh – a 31mm lens?

    My instinct is to dismiss this as bogus, because I can’t imagine Nikon sinking money into designing three new lenses, miniaturizing electronics and designing a new body for such a small (and boutique) market, especially when their compacts and entry-level DSLRs are facing stiff competition. That said, if they have, I understand the rumored price – a more ‘reasonable’ $6000 would run one risk: people in that demographic are probably worried and sitting on their cash. If you’re willing to spend $13,000 on a camera, you’re probably not too concerned about the state of the global economy.

    • Lars

      31mm makes sense if you look at it in a different perspective: Nikon has no normal prime for DX format, a 31/1.8 design would fill that gap (but likely in a cheap plastic barrel design).

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  • Nikon Kiu

    Quote: Allegedly scheduled to be released to coincide with some important Nikon anniversary, though have no clue what it could be…

    This is the 60th Anniversary of Nikon making cameras.

  • Anonymous

    if it comes in M mount and under $3000, then u can call it a Leica (M8) killer

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