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Nikon at PMA 2009 (recap)

PMA starts in a week. For our not-so-regular readers, here is a recap of the PMA Nikon rumors:

  • D400: the one thing we know for sure is that the D400 will be released by July 2009 - this is when a Nikon D400 book will be available in Germany (the book was confirmed by multiple sites in Europe).
  • New entry level Nikon DLSR - it should be similar to the D90 but without the built-in AF motor and the top LCD screen (Nikon D40 is now officially discontinued and Nikon has to release a successor):
  • New Nikon flash SB-700. The SB-400 will be discontinued, since the new entry level camera will have something similar buitd-in. If this is true, it will leave Nikon with 2 flash models: SB-700 and SB-900 (and of course the close-up and commander models), which makes complete sense.
  • Lenses? That's always the tough one and I have nothing worth reporting. We should know more in the next few days. I expect something to be announced on Monday, March 2nd (personal opinion only).

Nikon Corp. President Michio Kariya was named to PMA Hall of Fame - I hope this will be worth it and he will have something good to show us...

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  • Crabby

    I expect an SB-500 as well. You need something to sell to the people whose cameras come with built-in SB-400 function. Also, the SB-700 will almost be too large to carry around with the D90 and D300 for many people.

    • SB-900 Type R

      SB-700 too big to carry around? I don’t think so, as it’ll replace the SB-800 which in comparison to a SB-900 is like a mandarin Orange to a Grapefruit. Heck I carry my SB-900 around in my walk about kit. They better put the 900’s UI on the 700 though.

      • Chris

        I love how we don’t even know if there is a SB-700 let alone the tech specs on it are we’re already arguing on how big it will be to tote around and carry.

        • SB-900 Type R

          what’s a SB-700?

  • http://www.explosion5000.com/ Andy

    What’s the speculation on the D400? Is it going to be a D300 with video? DX sensor?

    • Nikon Fan

      And here we go again, FX or DX!

      Let the games begin!

      • Hulk

        There’ll always be a DX body.
        It’s called price segmentation. Nikon, Canon & Co need to keep introducing new DX bodies in order to keep the price of FX bodies high.
        If an affordable FX body was released (think D90-based FX body), it would drain the entire DSLR market, and only very few people would buy higher-end FX bodies.
        That is also why the price of the ancient Canon 5D is artificially so high.

        • markdphotoguy

          The way sensors are made is that they have many smaller sensors that are “stitched” together to make one large sensor. This includes DX sensors as well. Once you’ve stitched together these sensors and test it for faults like dead pixels (blooming pixels, banding etc.) you have to discard anything that is sub par. Now the more small sensors used to make a larger sensor increases the cost and risk that the sensor will have a fault. FX sized sensors with 50% more surface area have at least 50% greater chance of rejection after manufacturing. I’m not sure what the current numbers are on the Nikon FX sensors but I know that when the Canon 5D came out a Canon rep informed me that two of every three sensors were rejected for QA. Add to that that the Nikon designed FX sensors on the D3/x/D700 have a UNIQUE micro lens arrangement and its easy to see where the increase cost of the sensors come from. Allot of people figure that camera stores and Nikon roll in the money from FX cameras, far from it, we often make more profit from a DX camera sale (as I’m sure Nikon does as well) than from an FX sale.

          • Martin

            You have a point here.
            One small mistake, though: a full frame sensor is not jsut a mere 50% larger than a DX-sized sensor. It’s more like 100% larger. ;-)

          • confused

            markdphotoguy, where did you get the stitching idea from? Maybe I misunderstood you. I always thought (and still do) that sensors were cut out in one piece from a silicon wafer which itself is circular. No stitching necessary

            Then there are two reasons why larger sensors are much more expensive than smaller sensors:
            1. The area is larger, so the chance to find a fault is proportionally larger. Let’s say the FX is twice as large as the DX sensor, then Sony/Nikon would also need to trash twice as many FX in production compared to DX sensors.

            2. With the silicon wafer being circular and the sensors rectangular, you will always have some waste silicon simply because you cannot cover the circle with rectangles. Now, if you cut out many small sensors from the wafer, the total area of these sensors will be larger than the total area of large sensors cut out from the same wafer. Just imagine arranging many tiny rectangles on a circular ara, you will almost cover the whole area. If you used large rectangles there will be large areas close to the periphery which you cannot cover.

            Both factors will cause the price ratio of DX and FX sensors to be more than the ratio of the sensors’ areas.

        • Stephen Foster

          Not to mention that DX also offers the versatility of more compact lenses such as the 18-200mm. Personally, as a D3 user I am looking forward to a “D5000″ if its specs are similar to the rumour. I really want a Small Body camera to take on Family Day Trips. The D40 was perfect though I would love higher ISO capability, better Colour Gamut and the improved active-D lighting.

          Really hope the D5000 keeps the 1/500 flash sync but given the fact the D40x dropped it, I think it is unlikely.

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

      here are some rumored specs, but I don’t buy the touchscreen part:

      http://nikonrumors.com/2009/02/06/nikon-d400-specs-24mp-touchscreen.aspx

      • http://www.pbase.com/jctangney John Tangney

        I don’t buy the 24 MP part either. I am assuming a 14-16 MP DX, but with Sony’s new backlit sensor design so ISO performance will improve even with more pixels.

      • David Olsen

        Definitely not 24.4 megapixels…the noise levels are far to high shot jpeg ..it take a good deal of work to produce clear , sharp noise free prints from the 24 megapixel nikon sensor ..your average buyer in the D400 segment wants sharp , noise free pictures direct from the camera in jpeg….therefore nothing over 15 megapixels is my guess

        • Anonymous

          when have you ever used a 24mp nikon sensor? You know nothing about such a sensor and are already making statements?

          • David Olsen

            I used one today , yesterday and I hope tomorow .
            Unless you can prove D3X does not use nikon sensor ?
            To produce A

          • David Olsen

            TO PRODUCE A 24 MEGAPIXEL SENSOR FOR DXS FORMAT IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN FOR FX FORMAT …DO I REALLY NEED TO EXPLAIN BASIC PRINCIPLES TO YOU ?

          • Anonymous

            basic principals are just we we believe to be possible. Nikon keeps suprising us every day. Your comment was saying that noise would be to high for a 24mp dx sensor, and as I said you have never used one. So stop making statements you can not back up

          • Anonymous

            plus what makes you think a 24mp dx sensor is harder to make than a Fx sensor. We have 15mp point and shoot cameras. That would have to amount to much higher pixel density than a 24mp dx sensor.

        • Justin

          How do you know that the average buyer of a D300/D400 level camera wants to shoot mainly JPG?

          • David Olsen

            It is actually allowed to have an opinion ?
            or are your opinions final

          • Justin

            Yes, we are all allowed to have an opinion. However, your opinion as you call it, was stated as a fact.

        • Remington

          I agree that the D400 segment want sharp, noise free images… however, I disagree with the jpeg comment. The D300/400 segment, I’m willing to bet, shoot RAW more often than jpeg.

          • http://vyperphotos.com Vyper

            Where is there even a 24mp APS-C sensor to be purchased? Samsung, Sony, Kodak, Fuji do not have an APS-C sized sensor with that resolution.

      • Jim

        @ Admin:

        I dunno if it’s the right place to post, but I just wanted to thank you for the great job you’ve been doing. This website is definitely a must for all Nikon lovers, keep up the great job!

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

          Thanks – I am trying my best, yes sometimes I screw up things – but I am an one man show.

          Thanks for being a reader!

          • THANK YOU!

            yes, thank you indeed for this site – and don’t listen to those morons that are constantly complaining – the fact that you get so many comments on each post prove that people find this site useful. If you ask me, Nikon should support you financially – you are doing so much in promoting their brand.

          • Chris

            I’d also like to say thanks to NR Admin for holding the site up. It’s def a good place to take a peak into what might be coming out from Nikon. I think some of the people that log onto this thing just need to realize that these are rumors and sometimes speculation! There aren’t any Nikon conspiracies (the post I saw on the new fake lens that people had a million guesses on), and not to take the whole thing too seriously. For a fun place to potentially see what’s in the pipeline, I say job well done NR Admin!

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

            thanks guys!

      • MB

        You should buy the touchscreen part, it is almost inevitable!

  • MattM

    Am I the only one who thinks a tilt screen is a terrible idea?

    • http://www.eisner.id.au Joel

      I had an e3 before my D90 and it really is the only thing I miss, made it much better to get angles from near ground level..

      • http://www.eisner.id.au Joel

        If the D400 has it I will upgrade, but I won’t downgrade and lose in body motor for it…

        Olympus now have it across their entire range e3, e30 and e620, if only they had primes and high ISO performance LOL

  • Zoetmb

    Actually, I think a tilt screen is a good idea. I shoot a lot of rock shows and it would be great to be able to hold the camera above my head and tilt the screen down to see what I’m doing.

    Aside from that, to think a camera is getting released because a publisher has announced a book for a certain pub date is completely bogus. I was in the publishing business….I can assure you it means absolutely nothing. A very fair percentage of titles listed in Forthcoming Books (in the U.S.) never get published or the publishing dates get moved. I can easily claim to be publishing a book about the D4 in 2010. Means nothing.

    • Eli

      In this case, though, it’s most likely true. The D300 will be replaced this year, unless Nikon goes crazy.

  • Tom

    I’m very happy with my D90 so I must say I have no interest in new bodies for the next year or two, which is about the time a D90 replacement will appear.

    It’s lenses for the D90 that interest me. What can Nikon do for someone like me ?

    The 12-24 Nikkor is fine for lanscapes etc. The 16-85 + 70-300 is a great travel combo. I have the 18-200VR for going to parties and concerts etc when i don’t want to be changing lenses. The 105VR and 60 micros do portraits and close-up. I have an SB400 with an SC-17 cord for flash work.

    So what would get me in the shops again ? The new 35 extends low light use; yippee ! I’ll be pestering my dealer in early March for that baby. I’d like more micro reach so a 200VR compatible with the 1.7TC-E please ! And a DX version of the 70-200VR (45-135VR) would also see my splash large amounts of cash.

    What about you D40/D60 users ? What would get you buying more gear ?

    • Mike

      As a D40 user I’d definitely appreciate a nice DX portrait lens – think 55 mm or 60 mm f1:1.8 AF-S and macro if it’s doable for say 300-350 $/EUR – and a small wideish2x zoom – 15-30 or 16-35, DX, small and fast – f:2.8 would be great, f:3.5 acceptable but with a similar price-tag as the portrait lens above.

      Mind you, I’m not too experienced in lens design so I’m not really sure if the two above are dreamland teritory or just “we could do it, we just didn’t think of it earlier”.

      What would be doable and definitely possible to achieve for say 500$ body only is a replacement of the D40. Same 6 Mpix, newer processor and even better high ISO performance. Throw in the rumored tilt builT-in flash as in older Panasonic cams, 5/7/9-point autofocus and 4 fps and I’d consider kidnapping my local dealers daughter to get it first ;-)

      • Rosco

        I use the standard old 50mm f1.8 as a short portrait lens. Cheap and sharp

        • Mike

          The old AF 50 f1:1.8 D is great, it was the first lens I had on my D40. I can’t understand the complaints about it… It worked well for me! Besides this one tiny little baby hick-up: no AF. If you shoot in a studio or have a professional model and plenty of time it’s great. Moving objects are well beyond my capabilities though :-(

          • Rosco

            Forgot about the no AF on the D40, oops! I use it on the D200 & 300 so forgot about that!!!

  • Chinese Nerd

    D800?

  • mape2k

    @Tom: Its 14-24 from Nikkor. 12-24 is supplied by Tokina.

    I hope there are gonna be some f/4 zooms like Canon has. I really miss those on my Nikon. Like a remake of the 24-120 or 24-85.

    • Tom

      Hi,

      My 12-24 (yes twelve) is a Nikkor DX f1:4 AF-S G lens – one of the first dedicated DX only lenses that Nikon made. It has a gold ring on the front barrel and has made in Japan on it too. It was horribly expensive compared to the Tokina and it seems the only major advantage is flare and ghosting control. But I love it. :-)) The 2x range is very useful (18-36) and adds new perspective to shots. At f8 12mm it’s sharp across the frame and has a hyperfocal distance of something like 4 feet. Ideal for landscapes, tight spaces, city stuff, altered perspectives….did I mention I love it ?

      • http://dkfoto.smugmug.com/ Derek

        When I first saw the Nikon 12-24/4 DX, I balked at the price and went with the Tokina. Its actually the only non-Nikon lens I have in my bag, and am very happy with it. Tokina has good solid metal build-quality, while the more talked-about Sigma and Tamron lenses feel like cheap plastic garbage.

        Of course it was also my first lens purchase after the 18-200 VR, which was the first lens purchase I convinced myself to spend any real money on. I took it on a vacation as my “only” lens, and found myself wanting the wide-end more. (at home I rarely shoot wide-angle, but on travel I seem to want it all the time)

  • Tob

    Hope to see some more primes. I was really surprised when I saw the 35mm DX lens being released, but this gives me hope that they will finally release a 12mm f/4 DX lens, the one thing I always missed ever since dSLR’s got introduced.

    • nobody

      Really? You miss a 12mm DX lens that existed in the film days? Fascinating… :)

  • http://vr.mmgfx.com hum@no.id

    D400 (or ?) but only DX… not less 16mpx….

    BTW I’m happy owner new D90 (absolutely forgotten my old D200)

  • Dan Wells

    The D400 will certainly be DX – Nikon has a treasured niche with the only “semi-pro” DX body on the market – wildlife photographers and others who need the reach love the combination of high pixel density (the D300 actually has more pixels per square millimeter than the D3x) and good AF. Canon only offers their top AF in 1.3 crop and full-frame cameras in a D3-type body, and lots of Canon shooters are hankering for a D300 equivalent – the 50D lacks the ruggedness and the AF – it’s closer to a D90. No manufacturer other than Nikon and Canon offers the kind of AF the D300 has at all.
    As for the pixel count, it’ll be a modest increase over the D300, but we’re beginning to run into the laws of physics here – the 50D (the present “highest pixel count on APS-C” champ) has problems with diffraction and noise that mean that its advantage over the 40D is less than it should be. Nikon has a bit more space to work with, because their APS-C frame is a bit bigger, but I’d still expect it’ll be between 14 and 16 mp, not more. It’ll probably be a 15ish mp D300 with video – one of the major questions will be how mature the video mode is – experimental like the D90, beyond experimental, but still flawed like the 5d mkII, or something better than that?

    -Dan

  • Anonymous

    £20 says no D400 at PMA because Nikon already lost so many money from two major stores going bankrupt, ritz camera chain stores and circuit city. they spend tens million dollars in designing the D400, engineering design, paying for prototypes, and paying NPS members to test their production prototypes, book the place then decorating the big formal spot to make an formal announcement.

    that equals to money, money, and money just to introduce one new camera.

  • Chris P

    Why is it that cameras always seem to get people excited? The D300 a friend of mine has, who changed from Canon because of it, is doing everthing he wants it to do. What Nikon needs to do is concentrate on their lens line. They have the 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 zooms at the top end for the D3/D3x, but virtually no fixed focal length AF-S lenses for them apart from the 60/105 macros and the long focal length lenses for the PJ’s. For the D3x, first and foremost a wedding/portrait camera, they need a range of fast fixed focal length AF-S lenses between 24-105. Most important of all, having opened up a market for the ‘serious’ amateur with the D700, they need 35-105 and 80-200 F4 lenses to match the D700, with a build & optical quality much closer to the top lenses than that of the 70-300 zoom. Canon have their 24-105 and 70-200 f4 zooms, but both are flawed, the edge performance in the 24-35 range of the former is pretty soft below f8 and the actual focal length of the latter is 75-190. I know this because I owned both of them before I changed to Nikon, via a Fuji S5, before buying my D700. My most used lenses with my D700 are a Nokton 58mm f1.4 and a 15 year old Ais 105 because the ‘prosumer’ zooms are just not good enough with a full frame sensor.

  • JB

    My wish list for PMA:

    1.) A lightweight, compact FX body (eg D40 or D90 form factor) with an autofocus motor (unless Nikon updates the wide angle primes to AF-S at the same time)

    2.) If #1 isn’t going to happen (HA!), how about a lightweight wide angle prime for DX like a 16mm so we don’t have to lug the 12-24 around to get wide. (D90 + 12-24 is still lighter than a D700 + 24 f/2.8).

    3.) A new supertelephoto to replace the 80-400. Something like a 100-400 f/4-5.6 AF-S VR with teleconverter compatibility in the 3lb weight class would be nice.

    Based on past history what should we expect to see? Another bloated prosumer DX body and yet another overhyped plactic fantastic mid range zoom with weirdo filter sizes. Pooh.

  • UF

    You would think by now Nikon would know that people want a 80-200 ƒ4 VR or a 300 ƒ4 with VR, or an update to the ancient 80-400. Or a few prime WAs. But just having read that Chrysler is a “Customer Centric” company in their restructuring document, I guess I’ll believe anything. And I doubt Nikon will cannibalize D300 sales with a 400 this early in the year. I can see them sulking over declining sales until Christmas before much new stuff appears. But you never know.

  • Just Thinking

    Something that hasn’t been discused here:

    the D1 was announced on 15 Jun 1999 if memory serves correct.

    Is Nikon planning a 10th annerversary of some kind?
    Should we expect an announcement timed to coincide with the annerversary?

  • Scott S

    In terms of bodies I’m not really interested in what comes out as I’m happy with my D700. I can’t wait to see what Nikon releases for lens.
    I wonder if we’ll see another prime released maybe the 85mm 1.4 with AF-S, or a 200mm Micro with VR.
    Nikon management seems to know what they’re doing though and whatever is released is going to be in an area that they know will sell. My guess it something new, not a replacement for another lens.
    Possibly something to start an F4 series of zooms? Something like Canon’s 24-105 with VR would sell a lot and they could still keep the 24-120 around as a cheaper walk around alternative.

  • burgerman

    I am also a D700 user and waiting with fingers crossed for a replacement for the 70 200VR as I tried two and both were razor sharp in the centre but soft at both sides and the corners for close stuff even stopped down The vignetting doesent worry me I can fix that but the soft edges and corners are just not good enough. Or an updated 70 400VR…

  • PhotoP

    Do you guys in NR think that once D5000 (if it is for real), the price of D40 with the 18-55 kit lens will go down until the D5000 is available in the market??

  • PhotoP

    The reason i asked the question above is because I am contemplating on buying a D40 and thinking whether it is worth waiting until PMA or go for it now (I use a D300 now and I want the D40 just for its 1/500 flash sync, and it is cute and small!)

    • MB

      You go for it, nothing in new Nikon range will have electronic shutter that allows 1/500 flash sync.

  • wish1510

    It would be stupid to go for it, with PMA being next week. Just hold off till next week. You know you should wait, or else you wouldn’t have even asked us, if you should wait. You are trying to balance your impulse of buying a brand new cam now vs doing the resposible thing of waiting till next week. I’d say wait, and see if D5000 will come out and if so, what specs it will have.

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