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Nikon mirrorless interchangeable lens camera

Nikon mirrorless interchangeable lens cameraNikon mirrorless interchangeable lens camera

DSLR magazine has a whole article on the upcoming Nikon mirrorless camera. The two interesting bits of information are the expected release date (March 2011) and  the statement that the "The new Nikon mirrorless system would be more professional than what's offered by other companies".

Here is a list of patents filed by Nikon that could be implemented in their mirrorless interchangeable lens camera:

I think the new mirrorless camera from Nikon will be rather innovative and will probably contain some of the technologies mentioned in the patents above.

Previously filed Nikon patents can be found here. Old posts on the Nikon mirrorless system can be found here.

Nikon mirrorless interchangeable lens cameraNikon mirrorless interchangeable lens camera

This entry was posted in Nikon 1, Nikon Patents and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • John

    IT HAS BEGUN

    • nuno

      Yeah!

    • Paul

      Can we ban this crap?
      Can you not see the 9 different patent posts from earlier?
      Of course not, you saw the headline, scrolled down to comments and spammed.

      • elliot

        It has not begun?

      • GlobalGuy

        Hey Paul – just face it: IT HAS BEGUN! lol

        This camera will be very interesting. I hope it doesn’t weigh a ton and focuses on lenses that are as pancake as possible. But somehow I feel doubtful.

        An interesting note, if true — seems that Nikon might go for quality over price competitiveness on this one. If so, that puts it apart from the P&S line and square in the DSLR line.

        Potentially very good for the brand and class leading if Sony doesn’t pull something out of its magic hat too quickly.

        • Highlight

          Exactly quality over price, so I bet $2000 for a 16 MP DX camera and kitlens?

    • Sony

      Eighth post!

  • http://mikkro.net Mikkro

    Sounds good, except the new lens mount …

    • Paul

      Why would a new mount be bad?
      You want to use huge f-mount lenses?
      They probably can make an adapter for it.

      • James

        Yes I do. The only reason I would want a EVIL is because it would be smaller.

        I could stick my 50mm f/1.4 on the front and use that and not have to buy a new lense or a crap point and shoot

        • Paul

          Using f-mount lenses would defeat the purpose of a small body.
          In your instance, yes the 50mm f/1.4 is fairly compact. What if one wants other focal lengths like 24mm, 35mm, 85mm etc…
          The weight balance would be off entirely. Even with that 50mm it will probably be awkward.
          This is not to mention f-mount lenses have been designed with the space the mirror takes up for focusing.

          • GlobalGuy

            This isn’t a D40, guys! This isn’t a P&S either. So don’t judge it by the F-mount series. If Nikon makes a new mount, that’s perfectly fine.

            Anyone expecting this make use of FX lenses is probably on drugs. If Nikon made it — that sure would be amazing — because it would be annoying as heck.

            Judge this product by the standard of other EVILs not by the D700/D90 standards.

          • SZRimaging

            But, if I am only going to use a lens a handful of times, I am most likely not concerned with the balance. Not to mention I can use my current lens line-up while I build one for this new mount type. I think backwards compatibility with F-Mount is a no brainer. But, it should be through an adapter, and it should not be the primary mount. Not to mention sensor to lens depth is most likely different, so you need a new mount anyways.

        • Roger Moore

          The camera itself might be a bit smaller, but sticking with F-mount would restrict how much smaller it could get. Specifically, it would mean you’d still need a structure the size and shape of the existing mirror box, and you’d also be struck with lenses about the size of current lenses.

          Switching to a new mount with a smaller diameter (assuming that the camera will be APS-C only) and much shorter back focus will let you shrink the camera even more. It will also let you make smaller lenses- potentially much smaller for wide angle designs. If you really need F-mount compatibility, it should be possible to design a new mount to F-mount adapter. It would even be possible to design a family of adapters with different capabilities, e.g. with or without AF motor, with or without AI sensing lever, etc.

          • PHB

            I can see using this with an adapter. Put an 85 f/1.4 on it and you should have a 200mm f/3.2 equivalent. But you won’t want to be using anything less than a 50mm lens as the EVIL wides should be higher quality.

            Sure it is not going to be as compact and lightweight as you might want. But its going to be a lot smaller and lighter than an FX camera with a high quality 200mm on.

            And certainly some shots you will want a full DSLR for. But the EVIL scheme is going to be the format of choice where weight matters.

            Its not just the camera to think about. A smaller camera and lens means you can use a smaller, lighter tripod. I can see putting a 70-200 f/2.8 on this to make a 200-500 equivalent. I can see birders going for even bigger glass.

            My main interest is at the wide end though. I don’t typically take landscapes handheld in low light. So lower ISO performance from the smaler sensor size would not be a concern for me.

            Another cool feature that I did not see mentioned was the built in caps on lenses and bodies. That should reduce lens swapping hassle.

            • http://www.flickr.com/people/genotypewriter genotypewriter

              Put an 85 f/1.4 on it and you should have a 200mm f/3.2 equivalent.

              How exciting… a 200mm f/3.2 equivalent lens with the IQ of a wide-open 85 1.4…

              What makes a camera a P&S or a serious camera is the size of the sensor. It’s much easier to get better IQ using a large sensor and a slow lens than with a small sensor and a fast lens. At the end of the day, the lenses are just going to be roughly the same size anyway (as it is the case with FourThirds).

            • Eric Pepin

              You would have a 85mm 1.4 with a crop equivelent of a 200mm 1.4. You dont loose fstops when you crop, DOF is something different but its still lets in 1.4.

            • PHB

              No, the size of the sensor makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.

              It is the size of your aperture that determines the amount of light that falls on the sensor. And the number of MP determines what fraction of the light falls on a given cell and it is the amount of light falling on the cell that determines the signal and thus the signal:noise ratio.

              And the cost of a telephoto lens is pretty much a function of the aperture. If Nikon made a 200 f/2.8 prime it would probably cost in the region of $1700, just like the 85 f/1.4 does.

              Once you get down to coolpix sized sensors the performance starts to be affected by diffraction and quantum effects (there are some sensors out there that have sensor cells that are smaller than the wavelength of blue light). But thats not going to be an issue for EVIL cameras since it is unlikely that they will be looking to make 50MP sensors anyway.

            • PHB

              Eric,

              Actually it all depends on how you decide to base your measurements.

              If you calculate focal length/aperture the answer is the same regardless of sensor format.

              If on the other hand you use effective focal length / aperture then the effective f number will increase.

              Which is what you would expect since you are effectively throwing away half the light.

              When looking at the effect of sensor area it is better to consider the ISO response to be constant for a given technology and number of pixels and use the effective focal ratio.

    • ItsaChris

      I never understood why/how nikon would use an f-mount for a smaller camera with a shorter flange.

      Tell me how this camera would work with an F-mount lens….. Almost every picture taken with a f mount lens would need to be of a subject beyond infinity. not to mention the image circle will be much smaller than normal. That is unless you want a camera just as large as nikon DSLRs (then why do we want mirrorless?).

      • Steve

        A new mount is no bad thing of itself except for two things.

        One, they’ll need to roll out a wide range of lenses asap and that will almost certainly mean them diverting resources from dx and fx lens development.

        Two, without a wide range of lenses or a clear lens roadmap, many people simply won’t buy into the new system and it stands a chance of being a failure; an expensive failure and once again that impacts on dx and fx development.

        I simply hope they make an adapter so F mount ( G and AI etc) will work on the new body. If they do, I might get the mirrorless body to try, but if they don’t then it’ll be years before I consider it, by which time Panasonic, Sony, et al, will be way ahead.

        All in all, I think I have to say that my best hope is that it has a new mount but a dx sensor. Not much hope of that ?

        • Roger Moore

          There should be a decent range of lenses available from the start. We know from patent filings that Nikon has already designed a family of lenses for EVIL cameras. Those patents included, IIRC, an ultra-wide zoom, a normal zoom, a super zoom, and wide, normal, and portrait length primes. There’s no reason they couldn’t have an F-mount to new mount adapter, too, so you could use existing telephoto primes and zooms.

          • PHB

            The range of lenses need not be as wide as for the F-mount.

            Producing f/2.8 glass for F-mount costs a lot because it takes a lot of glass. The teles need large amounts of glass for speed, the wides need to bend the light round a sharp corner to get it through the f-mount constraints.

            The result is that Nikon has several ranges for the f-mount lenses. There are the consumer zooms, the mid range zooms and the professional zooms and the professional fast primes. And thats not counting a whole rack of obsolete primes and zooms and the manual lenses.

            There won’t be a need for three separate ranges and the lack of the mirror box to work round will make superzooms and wides much easier to design.

            I would be quite happy with an initial launch with only five or six lenses: a superzoom, a wide zoom, a tele and a clutch of decent wide primes (equivalent to 14, 28, 50). If they brought out another batch of six the next year they could probably satisfy 95% of their customers.

            You don’t need a range of 40 lenses and you don’t need to have the lenses be completely original designs. They can adapt the F-mount designs in many instances.

            I don’t see a drop in FX and DX lenses as being a bad thing. How many new lenses do people need? Nikon released 9 lenses last year and will probably release the remaining AFS updates next year. The only one I have heard serious griping about a revision being seriously overdue is the 80-400 update.

        • SZRimaging

          You know, I kind of disagree on the wide range of lenses at launch. I think you need the standard zooms, then maybe a prime. If you can get F-mount, M45 and other mount adapters, then you would be able to mount all kinds of lenses. Personally, this is the best way to go, IMHO. And it allows the camera to sneak into and compliment your current kit, not start a completely new one.

      • iamlucky13

        Easy. The normal mount would have a very short flange-to-image plane distance to reduce the size and simplify wide angle designs. An adapter would extend that flange distance to the norm for F-mount.

        • http://www.lightpaintphotography.com ItsaChris

          people talk as if they want the F mount to be used on the camera not as an adapter but as a primary mount. and I was trying to show how that would be pointless.

          none of the comments after mine addressed what i was talking about – dispelling the idea that some people had that a mirrorless camera should us an f-mount.

  • texasjoe

    any ideas about a price?

    • WoutK89

      probably between 400 and 4000 dollar body only :-P

  • Rahul

    Admin, what would be the probability rating of this rumor (i.e. Nikon releasing an EVIL camera in first half of this year)? 40-50% or 80-90%?

  • Ian

    I know it’s probably not going to happen but I hope
    The system supports f mount lenses.

  • http://www.adelieland.eu/ Diti

    Hopefully they chose a standard Micro Four Third mount, so everyone can use the adapters they want, with all the lenses they want, from C-mount to PL mount. Otherwise it will be a big fail and only Nikon enthusiasts will buy it.

    I expect from Nikon to make a m4/3 camera, because Nikon makes excellent quality lenses and the m4/3 world is growing and Nikon has a lot of business to do over here.

    • http://www.adelieland.eu/ Diti

      OMG look at the image in the patent, count the contacts for the mount (there are nine), and compare them to http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/whitepaper.html !

      So there is good probability it may be a m4/3 mount! Particularly interesting for nature shooters: reduced weight but good quality, and a 2x crop factor. Hmm!

      • http://www.adelieland.eu/ Diti

        Wait, there should be 11 contacts on MFT mounts. But it looks strangely very similar.

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

        yes, it looks similar but I doubt Nikon will join m4/3

    • King Of Swaziland

      Nikon doesn’t do open standards and cross platform compatibility.

      • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

        +1

    • http://www.flickr.com/people/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      The 2x crop factor of MFT really has no benefits… lenses are bigger, heavier, expensive and slow to focus than equivalent FF lenses. The MFT sensors also have no pixel density advantages over APS-C models.

      MFT was all just Olympus marketing hype… very misleading:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_noise#Effects_of_sensor_size

      • Roger

        Spot on.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        Sorry, I meant to say FT not MFT…

        • Roger

          No worries, we all know what you meant. Now go try and say that on dpreview Olympus forums, you’ll be eaten alive by the Oly fanboys. :D

  • The invisible wife

    Mirrorless camera ?
    Certainly not for women….
    :o

    • GlobalGuy

      Don’t worry, the pink version will come with a vanity mirror for femmies and metrosexuals.

      • plug

        And the backside illumination……

        • Bondi Beach

          With oversize receptors?

        • Rahul

          And will be moisture proof.

        • plug

          The rotating mout will be interesting too.

  • broxibear

    It has match or beat the Panasonic Lumix GF1 in both quality and price otherwise there’s little point to it.

  • http://www.larry-bolch.com Larry Bolch

    NIH = “Not Invented Here”, likely rules out a µ4/3 sensor. Nikon has great experience with DX sensors, which would still produce a small camera and offer an edge over µ4/3 quality, specially in low light. Competition would be Sony and Samsung at the moment.

    With the thin, mirrorless body, a coupler would be relatively simple to make that would fully utilize Nikon G and S lenses, capable of focusing on infinity. Adapters are available to mount most common lenses on µ4/3 cameras, though auto-focus and auto-exposure may be diminished or unavailable. With Nikon engineering the camera, the mount and the adapter, this should not be a problem with Nikon’s dSLR lenses. I would not expect to see a drive-motor in the body, so older designs would be limited as they are with the current entry-level bodies.

    However, expect a line of native lenses that will be much smaller and lighter – more in keeping with the size and intent of the camera.

  • richNYC

    Too little, too late… Panasonic has the market cornered in EVIL cameras;)

    • GlobalGuy

      That market hasn’t even been cracked open yet.

      • sflxn

        The market is still waiting on a more professional camera with better IQ in still photo and a good selection of non-overlapping lenses. Panasonic hasn’t produced so the market is still waiting. That’s why everyone was floored with the Fuji X100. If either Canikon can do this next year, m43 is doomed. In the end, I’m betting m43 will end up being like 43 — too much of a compromise for most people. APS-C will probably win this battle.

    • Roger

      Panasonic hasnt cornered anything.

    • waterengineer

      not for long…….

    • Markus

      Panasonic took a lot of market share in Japan, as did Olympus and also the new Sony is gaining popularity. It is a growing market
      What I heard is that the new Nikon compact camera will be a hybrid camera (both by operation and format) and that F system can be used with it.

  • Quash

    If it is 4/3, then the Fuji X100 remains top of my list. APS-C sensor in small body with viewfinder. Would prefer interchangeable lens, but I’ll take a good fixed lens and larger sensor over interchangeable with small sensor any day.

    • elliot

      For reasons discussed many times previously there is ZERO chance that Nikon is joining any 4/3 system, so don’t waste your breath (or website pixels).

      Unless Nikon intends to be the sole supplier of new smaller-than-APSC sensors (conceivable but expensive considering higher per-unit sensor costs) it’s more likely that they will follow in the footsteps of Sony and Samsung and use APS-C sensors, giving Nikon’s mirrorless better image quality and low light/high ISO capability than 4/3 cameras. The differentiating factors will be in autofocus, user interface, native lens availability and processing.

      • Roger

        No one can do decent autofocus with mirrorless. You need a mirror for that.

        Eventually, they’ll figure out how to do AF-on-sensor, but that makes image quality worse. In a way, mirrorless will never be as good as the DSLR, but we already know that…

        • Steve

          Check out the GH2 – it’s AF is very fast (faster than many low-end dslr) and being CAF it is very accurate too. There are reports of it getting focus in 0.1 seconds on Photographyblog.

  • Merv

    I hope the “more professional” aspect of this camera does not scare off the mass consumer market.

    Besides price being something that may scare people off, most people don’t really want to know or learn how to be a photographer or learn camera controls to take great pictures.

  • Kevin Z

    Admin, do we know whether this camera has an APS-C or the previously rumored 2.5X crop sensor?

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

      no, but it better be APS-C

      • PHB

        I think APS-C would be a mistake.

        The only thing that the bigger size buys you is better ISO response. And that is not a fundamental quantity.

        If you want better low light response you can always use faster glass. Put a 200 f/2 on the end of a D300 and the result is going to be almost identical to using a 300 f/2.8 on a D3. Guess what, both lenses have the exact same aperture and cost roughly the same.

        On the F-mount there is a limit to the games you can play there. Once you go wider than 50mm, faster glass gets pricey. The mirror box gets in the way of your tradeoffs.

        On an EVIL mount there is no mirror box. So from a design point of view it is the aperture that determines the cost rather than the f/number.

        • http://www.flickr.com/people/genotypewriter genotypewriter

          If you want better low light response you can always use faster glass. Put a 200 f/2 on the end of a D300 and the result is going to be almost identical to using a 300 f/2.8 on a D3. Guess what, both lenses have the exact same aperture and cost roughly the same.

          That’s not always true. You’ll see bigger differences as the lenses go below 100mm.

          For example, the FT Panasonic/Leica-D 25mm f/1.4 is equivalent to a 50mm f/2.8 lens on FF… but almost any decent 50mm @ 2.8 on FF will beat the expensive fast lens made for the smaller sensor.

          The FF 50 (2.8) will also be lighter, and smaller and require less maintanence over time due to its simpler construction.

          • Roger

            There’s an even worse example – poor Voigtlanter 25/0.95, 900$, that’s bigger and more expensive and worse than a 50/1.8 for full frame cameras.

        • Roger Moore

          There are limits to where you can go with faster glass for several reasons. Aberrations get very bad with ultra-fast lenses, to the point that you tend to get better results with a slower lens on a larger format than a faster lens on a smaller format. It’s much easier to design a really good 50/1.8 for FX than a 33/1.2 for DX or a 25/0.9 for µFT. The problem gets worse the faster you go, so lenses equivalent to the f/1.4 and f/1.2 models on FX will be hopelessly impractical for µFT.

          And that’s assuming you even collect all the light from those super-fast lenses. Most sensors are less sensitive to light that comes in at angles far from the optical axis. We’re used to thinking about that causing problems at the corners, which is why everyone was talking about near telecentric designs, but it also affects the light from the outer part of a very fast lens. This is already a minor problem with f/1.4 lenses on current generation sensors, and it will take increasingly big bites out of anything faster than that. By the time you’re going past f/1.0, you won’t get much benefit from making the lens faster.

          • PHB

            Of course there are huge problems round 50mm on the F-mount, it is designed for 35mm film.

            The SLR design imposes huge design challenges for the wide angle lens designer because they have to keep the rear element of the lens away from the mirror sweep. The DX lens designer has this problem doubled since the DX lenses have to fit on FX cameras without being damaged.

            Sure there are significant issues once you get to really, really fast lenses. But thats not a sensible test. A new camera format has to excel in different ways to the current range. So that means that it should either be a lot smaller than current designs or a lot bigger.

            We are discussing whether the crop factor should be 1.5x or 2.5x. So comparisons to FX are really not very useful.

            If you want the very best low light performance you are going to want to get an FX body and fast primes for quite some time to come. You are going to need the SLR to focus in low light in any case. Its not a game the EVIL format will be able to play well for some time.

            It makes much better sense to choose a sensor size that compliments the DSLR range. I think that ultimately the combination of the EVIL format and cheaper 24MP FX bodies is going to see the end of the DX format. If you want compact, the EVIL format will beat DX and if you don’t the 24MP FX will be a 10MP DX as well.

            I would also suggest that by the 2014 time frame the EVIL technology should have matured to the point where a full frame EVIL makes sense. The F-mount is more than capable of supporting a 50MP sensor with telephotos. But its going to struggle on wides. And even a DX format sensor is going to be seriously challenged on low light performance at 50MP.

            So I still think a 2.5x crop makes better sense for the first EVIL format launch.

      • Mark

        I say it needs to be APS-C or full frame. I know the full frame is not going to happen but why invest in the 4/3 sensor.

        Nikon just needs to offer the various aspect ratios that is offered by some of the 4/3 cameras. I love that my Panasonic G2 offers 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and especially 1:1.

        Mark

  • sirin

    the only reason i’m interested in Nikon EVIL is cuz i hope Nikon gets a lot of cash from this thing so we won’t have to wait another 4 years for D5. ))

    • Ronan

      What?…

      • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

        I guess they are alluding to Nikon requiring success in a consumer-level line in order to afford R&D for their flagship pro body…

        …yeah, they must be new here.

  • Bjorn

    “More professional” = Full Frame or Available only in Black, or both?

    • Ronan

      Again… what?…

  • broxibear

    “The new Nikon mirrorless system would be more professional than what’s offered by other companies“
    Is this just another way of saying it’s going to be stupidly expensive compared to other companies?
    I go back to the Panasonic Lumix GF1, there are many photographers who use this camera to put in their pocket when they don’t want to carry around their dslr gear, it produces extremely good quality images. A GF1 + 20mm is £450, the Fuji X100 some have mentioned has a pre-order price of £1000.
    Look at the thread about 2010 sales in Japan, the GF1 is 5th behind 4 dslrs.
    Nikon need to price this mirrorless camera carefully or else there will be no market for it.

    • Roger Moore

      The “more professional” part probably means that it will offer higher-end lenses. The Nikon patents everyone has been looking at are supposed to include a 30/1.4 and a 52/1.2, which would be substantially faster than anything else in the mirrorless market. Their zoom designs also look to be faster at the wide end.

  • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

    It better have a backwards compatible mount so all pre-existing lenses can be used. I’m sure they can figure it out.

    Really interested to see what they produce. Maybe at CES?

    • c.d.embrey

      What I want is a NEX size camera to use with 70-200 and 200-400 zooms! Also the ability to use a 200 f2 is important, it’s my favorite walk-around-lens.

  • Ronan

    Cool, have pancake lenses available, make the whole thing cheap (E-Pen fail price, remember), and ill grab one for my everyday carry.

    Make it stupidly expensive, and i’ll stick to my FM2n… which takes better pictures than any comptact camera’s i have seen.

    And it fits in my coat pocket :p

  • DT

    It will be expensive, at least $1,000 imho. It will be interesting if we’ll have a possibility to somehow mount nikkor lenses.

  • chris

    I’m supportive of the general idea of a mirrorless large-sensor Nikon body with interchangeable lenses that are not F-mount lenses. I suspect that if Nikon’s planning on having a curved sensor then all F-mount lenses available would not function properly with it.

    It always struck me as “wasteful” and inelegant to hack a DX-size sensor into Nikon F-mount DSLR bodies. But a camera designed from the beginning to be DX-only … that’s great. I love the purity of the idea.

    INTERCHANGEABLE SENSOR: Great idea! This solves the #1 problem with DSLRs produced thus far: your body is married to the sensor. This is like buying a 35mm film SLR and only being able to use one type of film in it, forever, never being able to use more modern, faster, better films as they are produced. Imagine only being able to load film types available in 1959 into a Nikon F body … that means you cannot ever put Velvia in your body. How silly is that?

    ROTATING MOUNT: I am skeptical of this idea. It seems like it may wind up being overly complicated and prone to breakage or other problems. It’s not that hard to turn a camera sideways!

    BOUNCE FLASH: Might be a good idea, but since bouncing requires a lot of flash power, how well is a tiny on-board flash going to bounce?

    BACKSIDE ILLUMINATION: From what little I’ve read, this is a good thing.

    LARGE EVF/MIRROR: EVF is a good idea, since you lack a mirror you’ll either have to use an EVF or a seperate peephole. I’d rather have an EVF. The only problem I’ve seen with EVFs so far is that they update slowly and their resolution is not nearly as high as an optical SLR viewfinder. Plus bright sunlight is not a problem with EVFs.

    INTEGRATED EMAIL: Um. Ok. Whatev.

    CURVED SENSOR: Excellent! Solves a major problem that has always plagued photography.

    • http://micahmedia.com Micah

      Curved sensor does NOT solve a major problem that has plagued photography. A curved sensor creates new opportunities for lens designers. That is all.

      Optics R&D has never before addressed the issue of projection of an image onto a curved sensor/film.

      And even if it has, none of the R&D departments at any of the major camera manufacturers has.

      So you’re talking about spending money that isn’t there on a product that hasn’t been invented yet.

      Great idea, but currently a pipe dream. Sorry to say so, but that’s just how it is. Unless you’d like to show me implementation patents for optics that will project onto a curved sensor?

      • Gw

        Seems like a curved sensor might address distortion and light fall off. Could lead to less elements and smaller lenses. Not sure it required such a dismissive response. If there are patents, then there is R&D. Patents are not cheap to file let alone to author. Just my 2 cents.

      • Astrophotographer

        I think your science it a bit off. Optical designers have to work hard to reduce field curvature. Look at the classic Minox. Walter Zapp designed it to curve the film in order to accommodate the lens’s curved field.

        Still a curved sensor seems a silly idea.

      • chris

        I’m no engineer, but I *think* that a curved sensor would help with vignetting, soft corners and chromatic aberration.

        If you look at the 135 format / FX format, it’s always the corners that have the lowest performance.

        http://cameras.about.com/od/technologies/a/human_eye_camer.htm

        I’m not certain about any of that, though.

        In another matter, a mirrorless system presumably would have the advantage of having more accurate autofocus, since the focual plane and the AF sensor are in the exact same plane.

        With an SLR/DSLR, there’s a disconnect between the AF sensor located in the bottom of the mirrorbox, and the sensor, in the back of the mirrorbox.

        Perhaps with a mirrorless system, Nikon could finally do away with backfocus and frontfocus problems and with the AF microadjustment feature.

        There is even a way to embed passive AF sensors within an imaging sensor by dedicating a few pixels on the imaging sensor to be passive AF sensors instead. That way, you avoid the slow AF speed associated with contrast-based AF systems currently found on live view and on p&s digicams.

  • Cloudsorghosts

    This is excellent news; I think it’s a bold and ingenious move for nikon to enter this market with a higher range model. They have the resources to pull it off from a dead start, and this is the very thing that users of every other mirrorless system is clamoring for. If the march release is correct, that points to a likely announcement in a few days at CES. My predictions are a DX sensor in a compact body. No way nikon will join m4/3. A new lens mount will focus on small light lenses, with an electronically connected adapter for FX lenses. My guess on price is $800 with a kit zoom. This will be a very exciting year for mirrorless cameras – barely a year into the concept and every camera maker save canon have entered, and this move will almost certainly pull canon into the fray within a year.

    @ Roger: think mirrorless will always lag behind slr? Here’s a bold prediction. In 10 years, NO cameras will contain (archaic) mechanical mirrors. They are a vestige of pre-digital systems, and any problems currently solved by mirrors will be solved and improved through digital solutions sooner rather than later.

    @ Chris: I agree 100%! good to read your thoughts.

    • Roger

      Mirrors are still used everywhere. Why do you think a eve million dollar car use rear view mirrors and not electronic screens?

      It’s nice to dream and all, but mirrors today can not be replaced. Calling it archaic is a bit fanboy-ish, they enable cameras to do what no other type of camera can do today. If by “archaic” you mean “irreplaceable”, you are correct.

      Issues with mirrorless arent not even close to being solved. Do you expect EVF will ever be even half as good as the OVF and when? Electronic finders have been around for many years and they are still disastrous. The only thing that’s improving in EVF screens is resolution, the other huge issues havent progressed an inch in many years.

      How do you expect that AF will be solved in mirrorless cameras? Currently, there are two options – AF on sensor which makes image quality worse, and pellicle mirror, which makes image quality worse. See the problem?

  • carlgo

    I do not want to buy another DSLR and am waiting for that truly professional quality EVIL camera.

    I want it to be of superior quality, a camera to love, with likewise little purpose-built lenses. Keep them small. Put the VR in the body. I don’t understand the rotating mount or why I would want one, and don’t care about power zoom. Not that it would be bad, just not necessary unless some zooms were too small to manipulate by hand, like P&S designs.

    Make the sensor big. FX would be ideal, the camera is going to be small and the lenses can be small even with FX. I doubt this will happen, DX being what people predict. Any smaller than DX and I wait.

    The best thing for Nikon would be for an interchangeable sensor so that they could offer different sensors for different prices, all in a beautiful body made possible by the economy of scale.

    I go into debt for this, nothing else. That is the future for me at least.

  • Darkness

    Click thru fodder, zzzz

  • M!

    “The new Nikon mirrorless system would be more professional than what’s offered by other companies“.

    I like it!

    • Anonymous

      yes, as long as Nikon can actually produce enough so they will not be out of stock.

    • Roger

      It wont be. You can not make a “professional” mirrorless today. EVF and AF in mirrorless dont allow it. Non existent lenses for mirrorless dont allow it.

      You can only make toys like Sony, Panasonic and Olympus have already made.

  • Gareth

    Well, we will see if this is better than the X100, that would take some doing! I need something small with good qual by the end of March.

  • Johnny

    If its not full frame, go away. I dont care.

    • Ronan

      Theirs a range of full frame DSLR already on the market, pick one and stfu :)

  • Anonymous

    I guess Nikon should first sort out the out of stock issues … who cares about a camera that anyway will be out of stock?

  • http://www.sinclairvisual.com/cognitions ChriSin

    I hope this is the camera that Nikon does video right. It would certainly make sense. New mount is definitely a good thing, Im sure they could release an official adapter that worked like a teleconverter with no glass and allowed AIS lenses and up to be used with normal metering.

  • MartinF

    If it’s made by DLSR engineers, fine.
    If it’s made by Coolpix engineers, it sucks…

    • Luc

      MartinF:
      I agree but I quess there are really no Nikon Coolpix engineers just marketeers … I doubt if Nikon designs and/or make the Coolpix-cams themselves. My bet is they’re all made by an OEM-manafacturer like Sanyo.

  • John Bowen

    Not if it’s the same old wasted sensor space 3:2 aspect ratio sensors their competitors use, it won’t be.

    Go 4:5 or stay home, Nikon!

    • MartinF

      Old 3:2 ?
      Better 4:5 ? HA!
      I’d like to see 16:9 for my huge, modern monitor!

      • John Bowen

        Real photographers display their images as prints. 16:9 is useful only to videographers.

        I’ve been in the printing industry long enough to know that 3:2 doesn’t get ordered very much, except 4×6′s by scrapbookers, and even that is changing as the scrapbooking programs get better.

        Professional photographers order 8×10′s, 11×14′s and 16×20′s almost exclusively, when doing enlargements. Sometimes 5×7′s, but hardly ever. 4×6′s don’t get much play from the pro’s anymore because most of them proof digitally these days.

        • http://www.flickr.com/people/genotypewriter genotypewriter

          Real photographers…

          ROFL… people with real talent paint… not click

          • John Bowen

            If clicking is the extent to which one understands photography, then painting will always look better.

        • Roger

          In my corner of the world, 3:2 is the only thing being printed.

          • John Bowen

            That’s a real pity.

  • http://bibikova.com ben

    Are they launching a new Leica comepetitor?
    I have an uneasy feeling about this camera. I understand its good to make it smaller, but to make a completely new f-mount lenses baffles me, because for many photographers its a total new investment not addition of it. Maybe Nikon is aiming at something else here, but I cannot clearly see what it would be.

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      I think the big boys are going to wait and see how FujiFilm handles the X100 before they jump into the Lecia boat.

      I’d love if they did. I think FujiFilm has still compromised too much with it…

    • Roger

      Any mirrorless cameras HAS to have a new mount. Using the old F-mount makes no sense at all. Canon, if they make a mirrorless, will make a new mount too.

      That’s a theoretical (but not a real life) advantage of mirrorless cameras, and camera makers will take advantage of it – you dont have to use retrofocus wides. It makes no real difference in quality of the lenses itself, but they are smaller and cheaper to make =larger profit for the manufacturer.

  • http://net-photography.com Natthawat Wongrat

    interesting!

  • design.matters

    All very interesting discussions, but we should clearly reflect on us being focused on the brand. This will for sure create a NEW market segment for Nikon, which means in turn, that those who expect the D700 or D3n updates need to wait. For Nikon it is much more attractive to enter into a new segment. After having deployed new lens in 2010, they can for sure wait, until the 2nd or 3rd mini-update by the competition.

    Think of it: how often do you WANT to replace your gear? A more robust design takes more time … hence all the new inventions are welcome, if they are a real benefit. If NOT, than it is “just” branding for nothing.

  • Matsu

    The most interesting aspect is the flexibility of the system suggested by the patents.

    Interchangeable lenses, we’re all used to that. Those coming from Medium format are even use to interchangeable backs and to some extent, formats (modular 645, 6×6, 6×7 film systems for example)

    But we don’t really have a fully integrated system for video and still photography that incorporates multiple lenses, bodies, sensors, and sensor sizes and aspect ratios through one common mount.

    I’m throwing in multiple sensor sizes as well here. Partly because I’m not interested in a small sensor still camera and only marginally so in a small sensor video device. I want a large sensor still camera, APSC at a minimum. What can be done though, if the mount is universal across the system is that both larger and smaller formats can live on the same modular platform with lenses that cover both or only one depending on their use.

    To a limited extent we have this already engineered into FX and DX format cameras and lenses. Our DX cameas allow us to use all F mount lenses and adapt to the crop, but our FX cams also allow use of DX glass over a smaller portion of the image, and they provide other crop options as well, like 5:4.

    In the case of DX body with FX lense waste some for the field of view of the larger lense, unless we specifically want the telephoto boost – and sometimes we do.

    In the case of an FX body with a DX lense we waste some of the surface area of the larger sensor as well.

    However, “waste” is a bit of wrong headed way of thinking of these things. They are options, and they currently seem limited because we few combinations.

    Enter the modular system camera. Connecting it all to the same mount I could do a few things. I could have an FX sized sensor and relatively small primes that use the reduced back focus distance: I use all the image circle projected by the lens and all the surface area of the sensor.

    I might add a wide ratio zoom lens that crops down to only a central portion of the sensor – even smaller crops, remember, were experimented on in the D2X high speed crops. Why would I “waste” all this marvelous large sensor? Well, let’s say I wanted a fast 20X zoom for video work? What would such a thing look like in FX or DX ? It would be monsterous, but it might be workable in a 2.5X “crop” lens, and so long as there are about 2Kx1K pixels to use out of that centre crop, I can get a broadcast quality video…

    Someone who knows they only want the video option might not bother with a large sensor version at all, and, because the system is modular, order their camera with a 2.5X sensor and their choice of powered zoom video lenses. They might also want to use that same camera/sensor&lense for a light packing still camera. Would they get the same still quality as a bigger rig? No, but the option is there to expand the system with more sensors, bodies and lenses.

    There are times when I might want a fast large sensor for classic 35mm aesthetic, but there are other times when I might want something else. As long as it all goes on the same mount it’s a good reason to keep buying more system cameras, lenses and sensors.

  • SinCabeza

    WOW !
    New lens type !! sounds GREAT !
    Never will be FX ?
    RJ45 LAN connector on board ? Will work like WiFi spot ?
    Can we download Torrents with modified firmware directly inside NAND Flash disk ?
    iPAD compatible ?

    Hope so !

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