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Nikon: “we considered a variety of so-called mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras”

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This is from the Q & A session for Nikon's medium term management plan that just got published online:

Q: What can you tell us about the new-generation digital cameras?
A: Although we considered a variety of so-called mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras for the digital SLR camera market, we discern the appropriate timing for the launch of our new-generation digital cameras based on the direction of the market demand.

Q: What is the outlook for the digital camera market?
A: The digital SLR camera market is expected to experience continued growth on the back of growth in the category of entry-level models and expansion of markets in emerging countries. Markets in developed countries are expected to continue to grow provided that consumption throughout Europe doesn’t fall as a result of the eventual economic downturn. In addition, with the launch of various models of new-generation digital cameras, there is potential for further market growth. While competition is fierce in the compact digital camera market, we expect to see market growth in emerging countries in line with rising to income levels, and we predict that these markets will continue to grow.

Q: What are your ambitions as the Imaging Company President?
A: At first, it is my ambition as Imaging Company President to create differentiated products that are appropriate for Nikon and to live up to the expectations of Nikon enthusiasts around the world. We are committed to further improving our marketing capabilities by building on best practice examples from the past on a global scale.

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  • pete

    what a joke

  • aetas

    Thats about the best way you can say nothing ever. Of course your going to use a demand outlook. The queastion was about the camera and If it is in the future not market demand.

    • zeissgit

      LOL but the product and market are so tied in .. apparently

    • David Hasselblaff

      Over the past decades Nikon usually meant Japan when they were talking about the market. Looking at the developments going on over there right now I’d say EVIL is being accepted quite well. I doubt Nikon is ignoring that.

      Personally I’m not too fond of the mirrorless cameras so far. They are more designed like entry level DSLRs. And what is it with all the new lens mounts? As if there weren’t enough already … What I would love to see from Nikon – and I’m sure some agree on that – is a top of the line pro body with D3 build qualities in a smaller package. So basically a D3 without the vertical grip. The D700 is great – no doubt about that. Still I think it’s not the top of the line body yet. Maybe the D4 will bring us back to the days of bodies like the F2.

      There is one mirrorless camera that nails it pretty much on my opinion – the Leica M9. And heck, it’s about the same price level as the D3s. I’d pick a pick a rangefinder over those contrast based auto-focus systems any day. Bought my M9 3 months ago and I love it. Why can’t Nikon come up with something similar?

      • Martin Lipsius

        Excellent points. I agree that the mirrorless cameras are more in line with entry level DSLRs–both in terms of size and capabilities. I don’t think reflex cameras at the high end level (or pro-sumer for that matter) are in any danger of immediate extinction. Optical view finders are still an abolute necessity for action photos and general outdoor photography. I too would love to see something from Nikon in the way of a Leica M9

  • Elliot

    “We see growth everywhere, at different levels. We will offer mirrorless when it seems right. I can speak a long time without saying anything.”

    • Seppl

      Ah he did say something:

      1.) As [NR] allready pointed out, they ARE evaluating (= prototyping) EVIL cameras

      2.) Their expected growth markets are entry level DSLR (thing D4000) and compact cameras

      Bottom line: maybe sometime a EVIL camera will be released and more entry level DSLR’s can be expected.

      • Elliot

        Seriously, they’d have to fire people for incompetence if they WEREN’T testing mirrorless cameras. As 43rumors.com pointed out the other day the mirrorless camera marketshare in Japan is approaching 30% right now. Nikon isn’t telling us anything really.

        As for growth in the low-end … tell us something that analysts haven’t been saying for over a year.

        If it’s new to you, great — but it isn’t really *news*

        • cirtap

          IT seems it is the way to go…The major thing that comes to my mind about Mirrorless Cameras…it is what I am dealing now with…A Mirror that doesn’t want to act right. My D300 which I had serviced way back in Dec….for Mirror Problems..is acting up again…and again with the Mirror…SO Less moving parts…I hope means with Nikon…Less Trips to the Service Center….

          I hope this is a good sign…Wouldn’t be wonderful…if the New Nikon DSLR ie D4 or D400 or whatever D’s they come up with…IT IS Mirrorless!!! Perfect.

          • Eric Pepin

            the mirror is rarely a problem with a DSLR and when it is its one of the cheaper things to fix. Mirroless doesent solve much for any semi – pro market user, just for the lower end and as a good travel camera. Given i get a ridiculous discount on Sony cams right now ill be picking up the sony mirroless, eve nthough its but ugly.

          • PHB

            The issue with the mirror is not reliability, it is the design compromises that it forces on the lenses, particularly at the wide end. The back end of the lens must be clear of the mirror sweep.

            Getting rid of the mirror makes it much easier to design certain lenses and get the type of results that Leica get with their wides. The reason Leica stayed with the rangefinder design was that it has IQ advantages.

            The statement says that Nikon considered multiple EVIL formats. Presumably they looked at a range of sensor sizes going from the 1″ size they seem to have picked up to mid-format territory.

            At the moment it is pretty clear that the sweet spot for mirrorless is at a format that is larger than what the compact cameras use but smaller than DX. Such a camera can easily offer 12MP resolution without compromise using small, lightweight lenses. Because there is no mirror it is much easier and cheaper to produce ultra-wide (14mm equivalent) lenses for such a camera at reasonable cost.

            The other potential sweet spot is FX sensor size. Above FX the manufacturing issues for lenses and sensors start to negate the advantage of a larger sensor. If you look at the ISO response of the ‘blads they are about 800 ISO.

            I don’t expect mirrorless FX body for quite some time, but eventually the electronic viewfinder technology will become competitive.

            Mirrorless is not going to kill SLR format, just as SLR did not kill the rangefinder. But it will certainly transform the industry.

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

    I think this is big because it’s the first time Nikon officially acknowledged their mirrorless camera plans – now, there is no going back.

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

      Note that they did not deny the existence of EVIL camera(s), they just said they will release it/them when “time is appropriate”.

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

        The only problem is that they used past tens “we considered”, not clear what the final decision was.

        • zzddrr

          The are going to use a special mirror. Canon used that awhile back. Also, sony is coming out with two models that will not have the flipping mirror but have a fixed mirro that you can see through.

          • http://robinedgar.blogspot.com Robin Edgar

            Presumably you mean a semi-silvered pellicle mirror as in the Canon RT etc.

        • studio460

          Well, thank you for posting that anyway, NR Admin–excellent job as always! Yes, I took it the complete opposite way . . . in that they looked into possibly developing such a product, but decided it wasn’t aligned with Nikon’s core product strategy, and then discarded the idea. I interpreted the statement to mean they would only develop a mirror-less product if market demand backed them into a corner, and they simply HAD to offer such a product to remain competitive.

          • specs

            Same opinion here.

            Look at the current mft’s. Nice small camera’s but very expensive. Only now a complete range of lenses is beginning to be available. And the quality is miles behind the normal camera’s.

            The Sony approach might yeld better camera’s but lower prices is not very likely. Currently I would buy a D40 sooner than a samsung or sony evil camera.

            At least the D40 is affordable and there is a complete range of affordable lenses.

          • Anonymous

            specs – it is cheaper to produce the NEX than the dslrs. NEX has less parts and virtually no mechanical parts. I expect serious price wars in this segment. The lower level of dslrs and Mirrorless fight for pretty much the same spot. Look what happened with advanced point and shoots.

  • Anonymous

    Although I considered a variety of responses to Nikon’s so called answer, it is impossible to discern any logic in their given answer on their new-generation digital camera.

    • PHB

      Since Nikon is a listed public company, any statements that might affect share price have to be carefully considered. If Nikon announced a mirrorless camera and then did not deliver it could lead to lawsuits.

      A while back a the CEO for one of my competitors essentially destroyed his company with one unguarded statement in a press conference. He was asked in a private meeting about the profit outlook, stated that it was flat and then the company had to rush out a press release to say that or he would risk jail. Market sees a press release saying nothing but that the CEO expects flat earnings and they don’t understand what is behind it, assume there is something really bad and the stock tanked.

  • venancio

    what if there really is a mirrorless camera, but thom hogan is right that the D900 will be 14mp at 720p… oh, God…

    • Greenwood_Geoff

      2 MP more rofl …. hardly enough to entice me to even look at it if they make one.

  • Zoetmb

    Although there may be a translation problem, this exec said so much of nothing, I find it insulting.

    “Although we considered a variety of so-called mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras for the digital SLR camera market, we discern the appropriate timing for the launch of our new-generation digital cameras based on the direction of the market demand.”

    I interpret this comment as Nikon not intending to release a mirrorless camera in the foreseeable future. The first phrase indicates to me that they considered AND REJECTED producing a mirrorless camera and the second phrase says to me that instead, at some point they will release an alternative, probably just upgraded P&S cameras, but “only when there is market demand” as if not enough people are buying 4/3 cameras today. I usually defend Nikon (except for lenses always being out of stock), but this statement says that they’re going to be ultra conservative and not do anything new until they feel like it. It’s just one big rationalization for living in the past. It’s very sad, if accurate.

    • i_want_a_D900

      I concur your view. This sounds a bit like the Japanese way of saying no. At the very least, it’s going ot be late.

      • zzddrr

        For me it sounds like he has no idea about 1) what is happening in the marketplace and 2) how they will respond. I think it’s for our Cinderella Nikon to wake up, they lost approx 10-15% market share and it will get worse before gets better if they enjoy the honeymoon with this new prick.

        • zzddrr

          I meant it’s time to wake up

    • http://www.russbarnes.co.uk RussB

      I agree – I read that statement to say that they have rejected the idea of mirrorless too. I must say if you look at that marketplace, is it really what people want? The Sony NEX cameras by all accounts are really not very good, the micro four thirds system also questionable – and none of them are very cheap. I think there is an attempt to innovate here by manufacturers but I don’t think they’ve got it right so far so I’m not so sure Nikon are going to miss out on very much as a result. I think Nikon should concentrate their R&D on getting their existing product line cleaned up and updated and then look at what the future could hold beyond that…

      • Anonymous

        These mirrorless EVILs are in their very early stage of development. They have technical obstacles because some areas are not well advanced. OTOH, wait 1-3 yrs and they’ll be there. It is clear that there is a need for high quality small size interchangable lens products. Mirrorless is just one solution to address that need.

        I agree Nikon first sort out the current shit in their lineup.

      • http://www.bythom.com Thom Hogan

        That’s not how I read the statement.

        Nikon certainly is a little bit leery of mirrorless. While mirrorless has done well in Japan, it has done less well elsewhere, and seems to be losing some sales momentum. But the problem is that you can interpret that incorrectly, and I think the Japanese makers are doing just that. Just because something doesn’t sell well doesn’t mean the category is a bust, it means the product hasn’t been well defined yet. Tablet computers are a good example. Many have tried, but only with the recent iPad do we have an inkling that they might actually sell well.

        To date, the mirrorless target has been mostly lower end, and Internet-savvy young. You see it in the marketing, for sure. The problem is that this may not be where the real demand is, and the camera designs so far are all curious hodge-podges that try to appeal to more than a single target audience. I’d say that most of the mirrorless so far have very little “design clarity.” The question is whether Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung have heard enough from their customers (and especially POTENTIAL customers) to move the designs where they need to be. From the comments I’ve read from the makers so far, I’d say they haven’t.

        But the conflict for Nikon is in “low-end DSLR.” First, Nikon can currently produce a D3000 and sell it profitably for less than the mirrorless guys can do with their cameras. Second, a D3000 still has a higher performance on one key aspect that those moving up from compacts want: focusing. Third, for Nikon a mirrorless camera done right means a third line of lenses, and they can’t even get the first two complete yet.

        Nikon appears to be saying that they think they can enter China with a low-end DSLR that’s traditional and win. That’s what I read their recent statements as saying. Also: they have a mirrorless plan but are not currently not ready to bring such a camera to market. Indeed, if it would conflict in price/features to a D3000 replacement, that might be wise.

        • Richard

          If your reading of Nikon is correct, and I believe it is, Nikon is poorly positioned to respond to the competition, be that Canon or others in the next few years.

          It seems that others, Canon in particular, are better able to control the technology development which is necessary to advance their products in comparison to Nikon. And then there is the matter of production capability. So far, Nikon have demonstrated a continuing inability to get product on the shelves of retailers….that can not be good.

          I think the next round of camera bodies may tell the tale of “whiter goest Nikon”. Should Nikon fail to bring out products perceived to be comparable to others’, especially in the prosumer segment, the recent gains Nikon have gained may just prove to be transitory.

          I see Canon on the upswing and Nikon going the other direction at the moment.

          • Anonymous

            I am tending to agree with you.
            For the first time I am starting to think about possibly becoming a Canon user.
            It would mean parting with $10,000 worth of lenses and starting over, but I am
            getting really tired of having my butt kicked my competeors who shoot with Canon bodies. I need a high mp camera with high ISO capabilities. A 1Ds would solve my dilema today.

          • heythere

            Maybe you are getting your butt kicked because your pictures suck…not your camera

        • Jose

          Dear Thom:

          Agree with you but you need to add live view to d3000 and offer it with very low price.

  • Mistral75

    Do you remember when they were saying they would not manufacture FX DSLRs?

  • Highlight

    Yes there is a market demand for the EVIL, so launch this camera at the end of July, and the D900 at Photokina in September, Huh? Everybody in xtc!

  • CK

    Rush something out the door some people will buy and complain about the slow focusing and bugs.. or do your R&D and come out with something more polished and get it right the first time.

  • JM

    I would be curious what native Japanese speakers think of that answer in Japanese (where presumably that quote is translated from). Whether it seems intentionally vague and a non-answer to them as well.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedtoast/ Fried Toast

      That was my thought. I just got home from a 14-hr workday at a Japanese workplace, so clicking on a link to read Japanese is the *last* thing on my list of things to do this evening. Someone else can do that ;)

  • nobody

    “Although we considered a variety of so-called mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras for the digital SLR camera market, we discern the appropriate timing for the launch of our new-generation digital cameras based on the direction of the market demand.”

    Or, to put it short and clear, we don’t have it ready yet.

  • http://johnlsl.com/Photo John Lam

    Do anyone think there is a chance that Nikon is going to build a FF evil camera?

    • Highlight

      Nope, just look at the lens patents (for the 17mm format sensor)…

  • thefunk

    But clearly by saying nothing in that manner is a strong tip off of an imminent major release ?

    The D666 is coming !

    • Discontinued

      Yeah, a real EVIL with 6.66 MP, 6.66 EV of DR and shooting bw only. Nikon’s surprise to the market.

  • M!

    the market demands these EVIL cameras. Nikon you are a little late.
    we want one now!
    i hate to get a NEX7 and but sony lenses or other m43 with adaptors.
    give us a nikon one!

  • http://fotografstuttgart.de Hochzeitsfotograf

    there is no real demand on evil cameras for those prices they are available now. nikon knows it, if they cannot compete with price, there is little sense to release anything. Even worse, there is no upsell, DSLR buyers only buying 1.7lenses in average, compact camera users will be stuck with one lens even more.

    • Mistral75

      “there is no real demand on evil cameras for those prices they are available now.”

      Actually there is, at least in Japan where mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs) now have a 30% share in the market of interchangeable lens cameras (DSLRs + rangefinders + MILCs).

      Source : BCN ranking, http://bcnranking.jp/news/1006/100615_17390.html (scroll down a bit until you see this chart http://bcnranking.jp/sys_imgs/news/gallery/lerge/20100615bcn3_04.gif).

      Blue line = market share in sales; magenta line = in units.

      The market share was 20% before the launch of Sony NEX and it went up by 10 additional per cent.

    • Gonads

      There is a demand, otherwise I wouldn’t have given money to panasonic for a gh1 and 2 of their lumix lenses. It’s important to emphasise that this is money I would gladly have spent with Nikon if they weren’t so slow with releasing new products.

      You know, even in the UK M43 sales have hit 10% of all interchangeable lens cameras. That’s pretty impressive given how young the technology is.

      http://www.dpreview.com/news/1003/10030401gfkq4salesreport.asp

      A lot of people on this blog seem to be in denial, presumably because mirrorless cameras aren’t yet suited to the professional photographer yet. However, nikon are missing out on potential sales, sales which could be reinvested into all areas of their business, not just m43 tech.

      • http://fotografstuttgart.de Hochzeitsfotograf

        for me it would be interesting only with optical viewfinder built in and very small and fast (1.4) and good prime lens, (about 35mm eq). Then price would not be such issue. But here are prices for rather mediocre packages exceed entry level DSLR with one to two lenses. that is just funny and they sell poor in germany at least based on info i get from retailers

        • Gonads

          Well, you are right – they are currently far too expensive. Hopefully, they’ll get cheaper over time. However, if you consider they’re also capable of extremely decent HD video (gh1) you could argue they’re cost effective as a 2-in-1 camcorder/stills device. I wouldn’t consider buying one just for the stills though, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread :)

          RE: fast lens, well they do have a lumix 20mm f1.7 pancake lens which is very nice and ultra compact. I’m currently playing with a canon 50mm 1.4 fd lens on an m43- canon fd adaptor and it works a treat, but you lose the novelty of a small device.

      • http://www.kvatek.com eric

        If you want to encounter some camera buffs seriously in denial check out the Canon forum on dpreview… They are convinced that the G11 is the end all camera and half of the think it shoots on par with a FF dSLR. The mere mention of sensor size and why a 4/3 or APS EVIL camera is superior has them running for their pitchforks and some buckets of tar.

        I have been a loyal Canon shooter am considering a Panasonic GF1 but would be happy to buy a Nikon mirrorless camera.

        Nikon and Canon seem content to sit back and let Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma and Sony do their R&D and marketing research for now…

    • M!

      i am surprise with this comment. how else are all these companies, olympus, panasonic, and sony selling theirs like pancakes?! (pun intended)

  • Marcel

    We are waiting for a D700 replacement … for several months now! We know it has been shelved for months now! Please bring it to the market now! Now please! Start to dislike Nikon more and more …

  • zack

    This sentence: “Markets in developed countries are expected to continue to grow provided that consumption throughout Europe doesn’t fall as a result of the eventual economic downturn.” is probably the dumbest business sentence this year.
    He is basically saying: Markets are going to grow if there is no crisis. Oh really, Mr wise guy, how many days did you prepare this wisdom?

  • SNRatio

    Possible interpretation re EVIL:

    1. They evaluated different approaches, and chose not to follow m4/3 or Sony. Their probable choice can be seen through their patents, something like 2.5-2.7 crop.
    2. They have got the demand message, but they are not sure about more exactly how to profile their offerings. They don’t want metoo contributions here, but they can’t afford being innovators and not get it about right first time.
    3. They prefer to let others build up the market, and step in when they deem it ripe.
    4. They clearly want to undercommunicate their investment in EVIL. Which probably indicates that more is coming, rather than less.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedtoast/ Fried Toast

      Maybe letting the masses come out w/ their versions and then trying to come up with something that differentiates from the crowd. One way of looking at it- no clue if that’s what he meant, tho’.

    • LGO

      Great analysis. I concur! :-)

      • LGO

        @ SNRatio

        You should be writing here more often.

  • bob

    I got bored waiting for a D700 replacement and started shooting with the F100. Now I’m hooked on film (Tri-X) and learning to make wet prints. This is not the future I expected… :-)

  • Ant

    we discern the appropriate timing for the launch of our new-generation digital cameras based on the direction of the market demand.

    Translation: We’re waiting to see what everyone else will do.

    • Anonymous

      and then copy and steal the good ideas >>> cheap development

  • Ren Kockwell

    It’s nebulous, timid, non-commital, vision-less statements like these that frighten me far more than a lack of a timely DSLR refresh. Nikon’s compacts are mediocre to sub-par, their bridge cameras are derivative and their enthusiast cameras are non-existent. They’re putting all their eggs into the DSLR basket and in that realm, they’re slow to market and can’t figure out how to stock.

    IMHO, they don’t need another 40-year Nikon lifer at the helm, they need new blood with bold ideas and vision.

    • http://www.russbarnes.co.uk RussB

      Well said man ;)

    • CK

      Bold ideas and vision just means “Here’s a truckload of money – screw profits.”

  • Greg Webb

    I’m fine with them not rushing to go mirrorless, personally – there’s only so much engineering resource in the company, after all, and the more I see this it seems a flash in the pan.

    I was browsing in a local electronics shop recently – they had a D3000, Panasonic G1 and E-P1 all out close together. The D3000 was the cheapest and was so little larger as a unit as to really question the purpose of going for a smaller sensor (with m4/3) and a new lens mount. I’ve not yet played with the Sony NEX, but small as the body may be, with the relatively large lenses they’ve announced so far – again, what’s the gain? I can’t shoot without a lens…

    Will the image quality be better? You can do wides better with the shorter lens flange distance, but otherwise, no. Are they cheaper? No. Are they enough smaller / lighter to let you take a camera when you otherwise couldn’t? Compared to entry-level DSLRs, IMHO no.

    A nice concept but of the three manufacturers who’ve tried it so far, none have produced a camera enough better to justify starting from scratch on a new system IMHO. Save the engineers for refreshing the SLR line where almost every model is looking tired. D90, D300s, D700, arguably D3s – Nice cameras in so many ways but too far behind the competition’s spec and in bad need of a refresh.

    • http://www.russbarnes.co.uk RussB

      Exactly!!! I’ve been looking for a very small 2nd body and I have been massively disappointed with what I’ve seen from the other manufacturers, to the point that I too came back to the D3000 as a possible option. Problem is I own no DX lenses – they are all giants like the 24-70mm and 16-35mm. Even my 85mm f/1.8 is hardly what I would call inconspicuous… I guess I’m going to have wait for the next generation or just get myself a point and shoot in the interim.

      • Gonads

        Thing is, is the d3000 also a replacement camcorder like the gf1, gh1, and epl1? Clearly not. These m43 cameras aren’t aimed at the pros, yet. If you want a 2-in-1 device that is light, does fantastic HD movies, and very decent stills, then m43 is for you. If you want excellent stills, but aren’t fussed about video, then sadly m43 has nothing to offer you yet. I say that as the owner of a d300 and a gh1.

        If you’re interested in HD videos, you’ll note from this website that the gh1 offers amazing quality for the price: http://www.zacuto.com/shootout

        I would never use my gh1 for stills if I also had my d300 to hand, but then it weighs half the weight and is significantly smaller so the chances are on most casual trips it’ll be the gh1 that I take with me. It’s a fun camera to use, not a professional piece of equipment, but the video quality is very much up there with camcorders that cost magnitudes more.

        • Greg Webb

          But there’s zero technical reason why the D3000′s shell couldn’t be upgraded to give video alongside its existing performance. The promise of M4/3 isn’t that it’s the only way of delivering good stills & video, which is already available in conventional SLRs, but that it could deliver smaller, lighter cameras. So far, three manufacturers have tried and failed on that measure.

          • Gonads

            Well, you’re right – technically a d3000 shell could be upgraded to give video, but – well, where is it? the market place is waiting. I want to see Nikon innovating a bit more :)

            I wouldn’t say that the existing m43 manufacturers have failed. In terms of making sales they’re doing pretty well, but yes – maybe in terms of the quality of the stills. It’s early days though.

            I agree that the M43 isn’t just for video+stills combo, but as it happens in this area they come in at a reasonable price point.

          • Greg Webb

            Gonads, I agree that M4/3 has an innovation lead at present and that Nikon are behind the curve and need to catch up, but that’s it – they will catch up, it’s an easy enough win to get, at which point we’re back where I started and the need for a new mount and accompanying lenses and, with m4/3, smaller sensor and worse image quality, is out of the window.

            M4/3 is doing well at present because it’s new and photographers have gadget lust in their hearts, but I still think it’ll be a flash in the pan and that it has shown no reason why it’ll evolve to deliver any more than existing SLR platforms can to make up for its lack of a supporting back catalogue.

          • Gonads

            Well there’s a good reason you could be right about the long-term future of M43, that’s because mirror-less cameras aren’t restricted to M43. Leica already use a full frame sensor in a mirror-less camera, and get fantastic results. I think M43 is a relatively affordable stepping stone in the right direction, for impatient people like me.

            Unfortunately, the thing that frustrates me with the Nikon Q&A is that they’re talking about mirror-less in general, and what we can conclude is that they have no intention about innovating at all – merely following the flock. Why must they be so slow? they could learn something from the TV manufacturers who are trying to shove 3D TV down our necks!

            If Canon/Nikon brought out an FF mirror-less camera then things would really change, because it’d be on a level playing field with the DSLRs. At which point, I’d happily swap-out the massive DSLR brick I currently have to lug around with me. Guess we just need to be patient, but in the mean time I’m more than happy to make do with M43 for superb HD video/casual snapping

            Incidentally, you may not be interested in video, but you should check out some of the GH1 footage to see that it’s really much more than just a gimmick. Video-wise, it’s right up there D3S & 5D MK2, and at a fraction of the price. Here’s a nice sample: http://vimeo.com/12472000

          • Greg Webb

            Oh, I’m quite prepared to believe the video isn’t a gimmick, but mirrorless in general seems not right just yet IMHO. Canon / Nikon might bring out a game-changer with a big sensor but Sony definitely didn’t (even if that’s only half way to FF) because they can’t get the lenses small enough for their to be any advantage to the bodies – so you end up with a barely smaller total camera that doesn’t handle as well, loses the precision of an optical viewfinder for really tight focus and which has a smaller family of lenses and other accessories for it. They may well be nice cameras in their own right, but as a system I can’t see why I should switch for even a second body.

          • Gonads

            Yeah, I wouldn’t advise switching either to be honest, but as a second body I’ve found the GH1 compliments the D300 very nicely. D300 for stills, GH1 for video (and casual stills). Of course, that’s completely irrelevant if you’re not fussed about the video. In terms of professional-quality stills, mirrorless has a way to go yet. Unless you happen to have the budget for an M9, perhaps :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikezphoto MAGICWANDY RODRIGUEZ

    IMMA B!

  • The invisible man

    In few years we may have our DSLR cameras with no prism and mirror, looking in a HD monitor to see the subject.
    I think I’ll miss the mirror’s noise, but in an other hand, it will make the camera cheaper, smaller, quiet.
    Just Like a Leica M.

    • Anonymous

      The speed Nikon comes to market with new products (dslrs) and how they stock them I guess we will not only miss the prism and mirror but the entire camera as well. :-)

    • enesunkie

      I wonder if that HD monitor will be a touch screen, at least in the entry level bodies and remove the buttons on the back.

  • Ken Elliott

    I wanted an Micro 4/3 camera, until I played with one. As others have observed, it is not so small when you put a lens on it. A D5000 starts to look pretty good.

    Nikon may be looking at Leica’s M series, thinking if you can’t fit in a pocket, then you might be much better off going to a true rangefinder with a FX sensor. I’d jump all over a SP-like body with a FF sensor and fast prime lenses. Build in an IR focus assist and you’d have a fantastic PJ camera that would sit in a market all my itself.

    • NIKE ON

      I agree with you Ken, this is the exact way to go for Nikon : gain back this professional reporter – backpacker marketing the brand wonderfully achieved to do in the Film days by selling Leica-genre FF rangefinder cameras but with autofocus & tank built construction !!!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/neogene Neogene

    In my opinion they are too much considering / thinking and acting less.

    If they follow, as they say, “the market demand” we should have now a Canon 5D MK2 competitor and a 7D competitor too.

  • Anonymous

    It’s as good as no Q&A at all…

  • SNRatio

    Nikon has one clear Achilles heel, I think: Programming, soft/firmware. They are basically an optics company having become quite good at DSLR cameras, but for complex new imaging applications they are usually no forerunners, to say the least. Lack of programming capacity may be one important reason why they are late with 7D/5DII answers, and it may be one important factor behind their hesitation with EVIL cameras. As for EVIL, they do have their own, original approach to that, and it seems to me that they play more than a little stupid when they make statements about it now. Probably to avoid stirring up development activity with their competitors, and to get away from customer expectations like they have in the DSLR segment.

    • http://www.bythom.com Thom Hogan

      I’d second that and add: but they don’t think that software is an Achilles heel for them.

      However, software really doesn’t really come into play with EVIL for them. Some might say contrast AF performance is the problem and that’s all done in software, but I don’t quite see it the same way. While Nikon has been slow to get state-of-the-art contrast AF performance, I don’t think that’s the holdup for a Nikon EVIL.

      • Astrophotographer

        Interesting, and as has been posted here in the past nikon is actively developing some type of in-chip AF technology. A few dozen patents over the past 2 years. I think this new AF technology is aimed at a mirrorless camera.

    • LGO

      For a Nikon Lens-interchangeable electornic viewfinder (LIVE) camera to make sense, it needs to be smaller and lighter than the current crop of m4/3 offerings, not just in its body but more importantly in the lenses. It makes absolutely no sense to get a small and light body only to triple or quadruple its size and weight after the lens is installed.

      Nikon will need to make a smaller and lighter lenses, and this means offering a camera with a smaller sensor than the current m4/3 and APSC-sized sensor from its competitors. If Nikon is able to bring to market its superior sensor in a miniature size, implement a global shutter (thus mirror-less) and bring forth a slew of small miniaturized lenses, then it may just succeed in creating a whole market niche for itself which would be beyond the reach of its competitors having already committed to a different sized bodies and lenses.

      It may thus make sense for Nikon to sit this one out, wait for market to clarify, let its competitors (notably Canon) commit to a standard, then execute what my well be a better strategy for this market niche.

  • http://blimpbouldering.blogspot.com sd

    if they ever do come out with a EVIL camera it will ave 12mp for the next ten years.

    Actually, the concept of a nikon camera being greater than 12mp is starting to feel weird and wrong (minus the d3x).

  • Jay

    Sadness… I wish one of the big two made a evil with 1.5 or 1.6 crop… even a 1.3 would be nice =) I would buy one NOW!

  • Brian Davis

    This is stupid. Basically the guy says “The camera market is growing and happening around the world.” No kidding??? I didn’t know that…

    He then goes on to basically say, “We will continue to sell cameras.”

    What a tool.

  • longtimenikonshooter

    Is EVIL a fad just like netbook laptops are?

    • LGO

      Based on the current configurations of the m4/3 cameras and its small but APS-C sensor-sized rivals, I would consider the SIZE of the LIVE (I prefer this word to EVIL) cameras to be transitory. If I want something really small and light with decent lens and manual controls, I much prefer the Canon S90/Panasonic LX3 than any of the m4/3 cameras. There are also certain aspect of the current implementation of LIVE that I find difficult to accept but which hopefully will improve considerably in the future … e.g., average electronic viewfinder, mediocre resolution caused by the software correcting the heavy distortion of m4/3 lenses.

      The TECHNOLOGY used in m4/3 cameras however will significantly impact the future of the dSLR market as we know it. For example, the next generation of m4/3 cameras will make use of a mirror-less electronic global shutters. This means that these next crop of cameras will have unparalleled HD video capabilities that cannot be matched by the current crop of cameras with mechanical shutters, e.g., no jello video, 1080p at 60p, etc. If HD video does not prick your interest, how about 12fps still photography in full-resolution RAW? How about noiseless shutter releases? How about eliminating the need for mirror lock … as there is no mirror to begin with?

      So while certain elements of the LIVE camera may end up being a fad (e.g., small bodies but with big and heavy lens), other elements will not only thrive, but may even revolutionize the current dSLRs as we know it. It is likely that once global electronic shutter is perfected and the technology for electronic viewfinders improve even further, it is likely that the dSLRs will evolved to make use of the technologies that are being designed and pioneered in LIVE cameras. In this sense, the LIVE camera will not be a fad.

      • SNRatio

        I think Nikon may have got much of this right in their EVIL approach.

        Smaller sensor (2.5-2.7 crop) provides for smaller mount and smaller lenses (think of mini-versions of the Leica designs, guess Nikon people would like to do them), and decent normal zooms (e.g. 10-35mm) which still may slip into the pocket. For more special use, adapter-mount ordinary Nikon glass, like the 18-200 MkII. (I have a suspicion that the very high central resolution of that lens may have a purpose beyond DX.) There are lots of interesting video applications for such a combo.

        If Nikon could resist the MP pressure and produce versions with very good IQ (think 5-6 MP cut-outs from the D4X sensor), they may come up with something really innovative. Built-in GPS and WiFi, mobile broadband through USB3 extension, and an adaptive and extensible (think, just as an example, Nokia N900) operating system – they could create a new kind of tool, delivering on the m4/3 promises and much more. Even better would be if they made the sensor assembly modular, over time offering D3s-type sensitivity, non-Bayer versions etc..

        Besides being a very interesting tool in itself (and a big hit, I think), they could in this way create an operative testbed for new developments, many of them also actual for DSLRs.

        • LGO

          If I were Nikon, I would choose to releases a bridge camera prior to releasing its LIVE camera. The bridge camera would be a small and light, moderately sized camera with a bigger high-ISO sensor, full PASM controls, but with a fixed non-interchangeable f/2/8 zoom covering the 24-85mm focal length in 35mm equivalent to keep the overall size small.

          This would bring down the cost considerably yet provide the user with a very capable camera in a small and light package. This model will likely cover 90% of the market’s needs.

  • jim h

    No need to spend any more time trying to interview that guy. I can’t conceive of an answer with less relevance and content than the one he gave.

  • Chuck

    Umm Nikon we got a problem here. Looks like managment been drinking from the wrong koolaid. Put your head between your legs and kiss your A$$ goodbye. can’t wait to see the D90 successor if this guy was leading the definition or the D4 or D800 or the next gen for that matter.

    Or was something lost in the translation, thats it. It was a language barrier issue, ROFL

  • Jim

    With the comments he made, he is good material for the U. S. government.

  • shube

    It would be nice if he actually said something of substance.

  • Blue Ninja

    Sounds like this guy used to work for the Lindbergh Palace Hotel. He could’ve just said, “I’ll inform you of my decision at the appropriate time.”

  • Ren Kockwell

    Well I’m not sure if I’m in the heart of the target market for M4/3, but these units shine with dedicated pancake primes. When they can begin to assume a footprint similar to the Sigma DPs, LX3 and G11, then I will consider them a success. The GF with the 20mm pancake is a small camera that is jacket pocketable. The zooms are all well and good, but if I have the very competent 14-140 attached to my GH1, I may as well have a D90. Once it starts living on a sling over your shoulder, I don’t notice the weight at all, I just start noticing the limitations.

    Nikon has made a very small amount of pancake primes. And I couldn’t care less about something with a 2.5 crop factor and slow, inaccurate focusing.

    I think Sony is closer to where I’d like to see EVIL go. APS-C sensor in a small, rangefinder-like body. But Sony doesn’t know their ass from their elbow where user interface is concerned. The NEX series is laughable in that regard, and the lenses are slow, ridiculous behemoths.

    I will say it again. Build the digital Contax G2 with about 2/3 of its body size and you will hit a home run. A well thought-out array of amazing lenses, terrific AF and intuitive, smart interface. Then add HD video with manual override and stereo mic. I would pay dearly for that system and still invest in the D700 replacement.

    • Eric Pepin

      except sony doesent care what photographers think, just what well off first world moms and dads think. Just the way life goes. Ive now handled the Samsung NX, and oly M4/3 as well as the pany m4/3. Ive not held the sony but been a few feet from it and got a food view and as much as i hate the build quality of the samsung it feels the best in your hand, and feels like a tool and not a toy in terms of grib and controls. Make a metal version with a sweet prime and im sold.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedtoast/ Fried Toast

      Was just talking to a friend about the NEX. He was stoked about the NEX coming out and I figured he’d be first in line for one. Ends up he was very disappointed and ended up not getting one. He told me that there are “no controls.” A couple soft buttons and everything else menu-driven. I’ll pass. The soccer moms can have it. Although I can’t see soccer moms being the target market for these cams.

      I tried out friends’ Olympus m4/3 a few times and it’s… ok. It still doesn’t seem pocketable to me, so I’d rather have my DSLR in tow if that’s the case. Friends also didn’t seem to be 100% happy with the things. Now that I mention it, I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone with their m4/3 cams out and about lately. They’ve all been carrying around either DSLRs or film cams. *shrugs* Make of that what you will.

      • Eric Pepin

        The samsung you would like more , feels like a smaller SLR not an attempt to be retro or to redesign the wheel. The viewfinder though is horrendous.

    • http://www.kvatek.com eric

      Second the motion for a digital Contax G2.

      Or even a FF digital Contax TVS.

  • Nikon is sucking dow

    Well, I’m in Japan now. Visited Nikon store, and I have to say, it is pretty sad. The worst store in Ginza Tokyo. Canon has it nicer, Sonys is amazing.
    -Nikon doesn’t have anything new. Inside the store you can try only D300s, D90, 3000, and D3s. You can not touch any lenses, Nowhere to point and shoot. How disappointing.

    People walking around with Canons, Sonys and Lumix cameras. Nikon is for tourist one Japanese guy told me. Fuji is also very popular, btw.

    Everyone here has 12mpix cell phones and they shoot with that.

    Nikon prices in Japan now? Very, very expensive. Take your price and multiply 2x and you will get a price of a used lens. Pitty, No pics in the forum ;(

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedtoast/ Fried Toast

      Fuji is very popular? Really? I’ve lived here in Japan for 8+ years now and I’m not sure I’ve seen any Fuji cams other than one or two point & shoots. Maybe I don’t get out enough ;)
      There’s definitely a good mix of cameras out in the wild- especially Minolta and Pentax. However, to say that Nikon’s a tourist camera, well, your Japanese friend is pretty sheltered. I can go out and count Nikons all day long. I have no clue which brand is strongest in Tokyo, but for someone to say that Nikon is a tourist brand is just ridiculous. Anyone saying the same about Canon would be wrong as well. If it were, then so be it- doesn’t really matter to me. What other people shoot isn’t affecting what I shoot. I’m just saying that what I see out on the street and what you’re reporting are two completely different things.

      • Discontinued

        To them you still are a tourist.

        (Just kidding).

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedtoast/ Fried Toast

          You may be right ;)

  • FakeKenRockwell

    Nikon gets it and they are taking their time.

    The rest of you guys can hyperventilate all you want. Me? I am shooting my Real Raw with my Winn Dixie disposable, making pictures and not stressing out.

    m4/3 is interesting but ultimately silly. It isn’t much more portable than a small DSLR particularly when coupled with decent lenses/optics. Those who get into the m4/3 format thinking it is a less intimidating format will learn soon enough than it doesn’t do anything particularly well. It has all the compromises and cost almost as much as a really nice mirrored system.

    Movable mirrors’ days are numbered but until EVF get significantly better, optimal still photography is still best on a DSLR.

    If NIkon gets into the mirrorless game, it will be a much smaller camera, targeted at making Canon’s G9/G10/G11 system irrelevant. It will be priced as such and have teenie interchangeable lenses than I can throw into a baby-sock for ultimate portability. They will call this the MX (Mirrorless interXchangeable) system.

    AND, at the same time, they will invest in EVF and AF-detection technology so that when the technology catches up, they’ll put it into the bigger bodies for professional demands.

    You guys can whine all you want today, it is kinda funny. Me? I am going to make pictures with those gorgeous over saturated colors that I love so much. It’s not a great photo until my son looks like a pumpkin in it.

  • Ren Kockwell

    You’re cracking me up, cousin!

    • FakeKenRockwell

      right back at cha, brotha!

      • http://www.kenrockwell.com Ken Rockwell

        Stop impersonating me or I’ll bash your head in with my D40!

        • FakeKenRockwell

          how do I know you aren’t impersonating me?

          • Fat Ken Rockwell

            this is outrageous :O

  • thefunk

    I am not waiting for the next thing.

    But the next next thing is going to be really special.

    Jesus, what was that ?

    my life.

    • Loona Lux

      The problem with waiting for “the next big thing” is that you’ll always be waiting.
      Some people like to have the latest equipment and pay a premium for it, I know many pro photographers who have found a camera they’re happy with and instead of buying the next new camera will wait 3 years and buy the next development.
      I think Canon and Nikon are starting to realise this and are waiting longer between new pro dslrs, so few flagship cameras are sold by both companies it makes sense to extend the lifetimes of current technology.

  • Loona Lux

    “The digital SLR camera market is expected to experience continued growth on the back of growth in the category of entry-level models”
    “create differentiated products that are appropriate for Nikon and to live up to the expectations of Nikon enthusiasts around the world.”
    These quotes indicate that Nikon will bring out an entry level dslr but as far as pro bodies are concerned it won’t be soon as there’s no demand, and the current D3s and D3x meet the requirements.

  • http://www.unlikelymoose.com/blog yikesmoose

    global schmobal. Just give me the stupid replacement for the D90.

  • Wierdo

    Yay for nothing happening on the 29… :/

  • Wierdo

    Am I mr 100? :P

  • ATAMAH

    May be will wait 1st julay? :D

  • Carlos R B

    I wouldnt worry…you just have to be patience, lets wait Canon release their mirrorless sytem and then after 2 to 3 more years Nikon will have theirs…

    • Markus

      I think Canon will not come up with one…at least not before nikon comes up with one soon, and they probable will not.

  • Ren Kockwell

    Canon has been waiting in between releases? Really? Are you kidding?

    Also, there have been a lot of posters talking about how much M4/3 systems cost. They’re not inherently more expensive to make—in fact all evidence points to the opposite being true. Demand will bring their cost down with time, as will manufacturing maturity.

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