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New type of build-in flash in the next entry level Nikon DSLR?

Email from an anonymous reader:

I can confirm that Nikon has in the works something a little different for their next entry level point and shoot DSLR.

You're going to see a much improved built in pop up flash. Look for something a little wider and flatter than what's currently built in.

SB-400 sales are paltry at best. This new pop up flash makes sense- it won't kill off the market for the SB-600 / SB-900's (soon to replaced by the 700 and an improved version of the 900 that doesn't overheat so badly). It won't be a stretch to say that the new built in flash is going to be equivalent to the SB-400. Don't be surprised if it has a separate battery unit that it draws some (but not all) of its power from.

Most notably, the flash will be able to point more upward for a better bounce.

The reason I found this plausible is that Nikon does not have a lot of tricks left in their hat for their next DSLR model (video, LV, few more MP, what else?), so they have to innovate and come up with something really new. I am just a bit sceptic about the external "battery unit". It make sense also to introduce such a feature in the entry-level DSLR and see how it will be accepted - or maybe should be the other way around: new feature usually get introduced in the top of the line DSLR and then they propagate down the product line? Video, for example, got introduced in the mid-level DSLR (D90). What say you?

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  • Dennis

    - 1080p video is missing
    - global shutter (will get rid of jell-o-vision)
    - full manual controls for video (I don’t know how the D90 implements video)
    - full flash control in the body (and by remote on the pc/mac)
    - wireless flash using radio instead of light (think builtin PocketWizard)
    - WLAN included (if Coolpix can do it, why not DSLR?)
    - unified API on PC (currently you get several SDKs, not one Nikon SDK)
    - builtin HDR

    … so there is mucht to improve … and don’t get me started on lens …

    • Pablov

      Good post.

      (btw, if I’m not wrong, D90′s movie is full Auto)

    • alex

      there is no camera on the market with global shutter. it’s hard to do and very costly. that’s why all cmoses roll today.

      don’t expect that on entry leve dslr. try the $30k camcorder price range first.

      radio flash can’t be done by nikon or canon. can’t be approved worldwide for radio communications.

  • Alex

    quote: “The reason I found this plausible is that Nikon does not have a lot of tricks left in their hat for their next DSLR model”

    Don’t overestimate Nikon too much… Look at the D60, which replaced the D40x. They added an accelerometer to make the screen rotate. What else? Nothing that comes to mind right away… not even a bigger LCD!

    • johnny

      Let’s get cynical, baby!

    • MB

      D60 introduced sensor cleaning, LCD auto-off sensor, and … you are right, that’s about it.
      As for what we could really expect from new Nikon Dx000 DSLR look no further then D90 (sensor, processor, video …) and new Coolpix P90 (or Sony α300) LCD screen, shake it well and you will get an idea.
      As for target market, it would not be that entry level at all if you consider a price …
      New all inclusive built-in flash … slim chance …

  • Willis

    I think its perfectly plausible. If you were going to do anything with the pop-up flash, the low end would be the place to do it… Pros don’t generally use the pop-up flash (heck the D3 \ D3X don’t even have a pop-up). I would particularly like one that could pivot upward for bounce.

    As far as a separate battery for the flash … there I’m skeptical. Unless its AA’s, a separate battery is likely to annoy me.

    That said, Fully Anonymous email = Fake. Even if its true, how will we know its him next time he has a tip?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      Not true – sometimes I get good stuff from anon, but I agree it is more dificult to verify the credibility.

  • Sean Wise

    As a person who hates to use flash, particularly from the on camera flash, I say making the flash tilt so you can bounce it is one of the most obvious omissions from entry level dSLR’s. That one little thing, which will draw more power because it will now have to throw further, will do a lot to distiguish dSLR’s from point and shoot cameras which have gotten remarkably good at taking pictures in decent light. I’m amazed its taken so long for someone to implement this.

  • Pablov

    it can be perfectly possible (I doubt also about the external power)

    But, with the Video mode Nikon should have well enough hard work (to implement it well, of course) It would requiere a faster processor, ad also they could improve the contrast detect AF and AF system overall while filming..
    There are Lot of things to improve in Movie mode, starting with the option for Full Manual Controls (that is not anything hard to give, but still missing)

    • Pablov

      I wil also like to see a 3.5″ VGA quality LCD screen (in pro & prosumer level cameras, and why not in entry-level too)

  • JMC

    - Tilting / rotating LCD (like Sony 350)
    - Integrated “VR”
    - Improved LiveView autofocus
    ….

    I think Nikon can adapt a lot of good ideas from other manufacturers first before introducing new features.

    • Willis

      Definitely would like to see a tilting LCD… probably the only way Nikon could improve upon what they have done already.

      Integrated VR would be great to, but Nikon will never do it until they stop making money off of people upgrading their non VR lenses to VR (24-70 anyone?). Personally I prefer having it on lens (cost aside) because I like having a dedicated switch to turn it off when I’m using a tripod.

      Improved LiveView auto-focus. Personally, I don’t use LiveView very often on my D90. I do occationally like to shoot at ground level (or some other inconvenient height), in which case I use live view… its just not convenient unless I also have a reticulating LCD. Give me that first, and then I might be interested in better AF (It works well enough for me, but I mostly shoot still subjects when using Liveview).

  • http://nikonkrab.multiply.com/ HDZ

    I think SB-900 not overheat, who said it’s overheat?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      This was a rumor which I think was addressed with a new firmware

      • Pablov

        I guess I also read some firmware update about that

        better check Nikon’s website

        • http://nakedlens.org NakedLens

          v5.02 is the latest, it was released in November. I still get the occasional overheat, but only if I’m blasting away full power, and even then all I have to do is swap batteries and wait a couple of minutes.

          By the way, I use Duracell & Eneloop rechargables, I’m not sure how fast the overheating will occur with alkalines.

  • Anonymous

    a 5″ touchscreen lcd would be nice.

  • Anonymous

    SB-900 firmware didn’t say anything about overheating. use right batteries and it works just fine.

    i think nikon are going to build a robot with a camera head, you can order it to start walking to anywhere on this planet and take pictures for you while you’re sitting in front of TV eating top ramen.

  • Nikkoryan

    An integrated infrared TV remote….please!

  • http://www.sarahandrichard.co.uk Richard Gillin

    I think a new type of flash would be best in a D60 replacement. Do it in the D40 replacement and it adds cost where margins are thinnest and competition keenest. Do it in the D60 and people are looking at that because they DO want something slightly more adaptable…

    On the topic of flash, an SB-700 which has the features of the SB-800 would be nice. The SB-900 is a really good flash but it’s too darn big!

    • http://nakedlens.org NakedLens

      Rumors are than an SB-700 should be expected this year as a replacement for the -600. I doubt they’ll put a commander mode in though, since they’re investing so much in marketing the capabilities of the 900.

  • Bonetti

    I think the new flash will be like a light for video mode

    • http://nakedlens.org NakedLens

      They could run an LED spot light for that, wouldn’t cost too much or draw too much power. The downside is that I’m not sure how effective it could be for still work, I think you’d still need a standard flash for that.

  • Mike

    A built-in bounce flash is a great idea, however not a new one. Panasonic did this years ago with the LC1 (a great cam to operate BTW) and on their first DSLR – the L1.

    I used to have the LC1 and the flash was great. It had two positions – dead-ahead and 45 degrees up. It wasn’t super powerful but for occasional shots in not to high rooms it was awesome and you needn’t to carry an extra flash.

    Now if Nikon can do the same but add a 90 degree tilt position I’ll be the first one to get this baby. It might not be the real thing for pros but for ambitious amateurs like I am a dream come true.

  • http://canonrumors.com Canon Rumors

    Panasonic already “innovated” a useful popup flash on the L1.

    It can bounce, aim forward or fling a penny a good 2-3 feet when you pop it up.

  • web

    love my sb400!

  • http://www.pietromoliterni.com niomo

    i need plus dynamic range and 16 bit processor

  • LR6

    I must be one of the few that has a SB-400 and loves it. Price vs. functionality was the right mix for me.

    However I do believe that this is a great idea. I have known several others who have bought a DSLR recently and it has been difficult to get them to understand what you can do with a better flash. They would rather put the cash into lenses.

    And if this rumor is true and it is close to the SB-400 it will be good enough for a lot of people a lot of the time.

  • drp

    if Nikon really wants to sell flashes they should leverage their advanced wireless system throughout their lineup

    EVERY nikon camera should be able to be a commander of at least one group – how about built in IR commander mode?

    the SB400 should be able to be a commander

    they should offer a SB400 that can be a slave

    offer a Nikon umbrella kit

    i could sell all day a SB400 slave with umbrella kit with an entry level SLR

    if there is anything that would help people get better pictures it would be an off camera flash with an umbrella on a light stand

    Nikon should build a powerful (GN250) AA operated slave flash – no pivot or zoom, aluminum body, ring mount attachment $250

    make up for the low cost with accessories

    • MB

      Nikon do make SB400 that can do slave mode, it is called Wireless Remote Speedlight SB-R200. It costs more than regular SB400 and could not be used as a regular flash, but it is SB400 in disguise.
      Nikon does not make all of built in flashes being able to work in commander mode because they are so cheap and are looking a way on how to bring costs down on every cent. I think they should look at what Sony is doing (all Sony α-s with built in flash can do commander mode), Nikon should not expect that someone using D40 or D60 will spend 250$ on SU-800 or 70$ on a cable just to be able to control remote flashes.
      The other Nikon stupidity is that they have stopped making ring macro flashes and are now offering inconvenient 700$ Commander Kit R1C1 instead. This has just given third party vendors chance to fill that niche.

  • Anonymous

    A zoom flash head in the pop-up flash would make more sense. I remember Canon had it in EOS5/A2E a decade ago or so. Probably they still hold the patents though.

  • Rataskanken

    As always, the best built-in flash is no flash at all. Who the heck uses this “feature” on a digital SLR anyway? No, dispose of it to give room for a full size pentaprism. I long so much back to my old FM2, where you had to take a deep breath and then really peek around to get a sharp overlook of the finder image, which is way better than in my D800E. Did the FM2 have a “pop-up” flash? No. Were anyone asking for it? No way.

    • elderlyfox

      I do all the time for daylight strong shadow fill-in on people shots;

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