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Nikon D4 to support Light Peak/Thunderbolt?

Nikon D4

Nikon D4 drawing by Adrien Séné (flickr)

I received a rumor that Nikon D4 will be the first DSLR to offer Light Peak connection (high speed optical cable interface offering 10 Gbit/s). The new MacBook Pro models that will be announced tomorrow are expected to have this technology (Apple calls it Thunderbolt).

I received this rumor few weeks ago and decided to post it today after I learned that the first computers with Light Peak are just around the corner. Intel is expecting Light Peak peripherals to become available in 2011:

"Light Peak components are expected to begin to become available to customers in late 2010, and Intel expects to see Light Peak in PCs and peripherals in 2011."

Update: the official name of this new interface is now "Thunderbolt".

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

    Before someone gets confused, I have to mention that the Nikon D4 drawing is not real.

    • Son of FE

      Glad you cleared that up. I thought your D4 rumors were a little “sketchy”

      • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

        You don’t have to “draw out” your point.

        • http://fajarnurdiansyah.tumblr.com fajar

          Yeah, he “painted” admin to the corner there.

        • aetas

          I am really glad he outlined this for us.

        • gt

          There wasn’t a Trace in my mind that it was real!

          • Global

            OK!! We get it! Enough already. Geez.. can you guys “illustrate” your points any more clearly!? :-P

            • Ruben

              Don´t “draw” your attention to it then

            • TS

              Funny how Americans have to highlight the humor in quotation marks.

            • JK

              Ok, you are all really crossing the line here

            • Son of FE

              TS,
              It’s either highlight with quotation marks for the benefit of non-native English speakers or just draw pictures.
              Just want all to enjoy.

      • texasjoe

        Haha. Sketchy. But seriously, if it has light peak that thing will super fast. And it will eliminate the need for overpriced high speed card readers.

        • WoutK89

          Only problem, the first batch of Light Peak technology will work at 1Gbps because they will not use optical cable but copper. So it is like a fast USB in the beginning until they decide the Product is finished and cheap enough to be used with optical.

          • Niklas

            That would be 10Gbit/s, no?

            • Joe R.

              The first iteration of Thunderbolt will use copper and run at a theoretical max of 10 Gb/sec. The optical version, due out next year, is 100 Gb/sec.

              It’s worth noting that 10 Gb/second is 1280 MB/second. The lower-case b in Gb is bits (used for speed measurement) while the capital B in MB is bytes (used for storage capacity).

              Lets call 1280 MB/second 1.2 Gigabytes per second for clarity. Since this is strictly a theoretical speed limit, lets assume, something mor like 1.0 Gigabytes per second. You have NOTHING that can send or receive data that fast. the top-of-the-line SATA 6 SSDs that are just now coming out can read data at almost 1/2 that speed, but not write anywhere close to it.

              It’s a huge amount of throughput. There’s no reason for a camera to have a connection that fast. It’s faster than the sensor can write data to the buffer. It’s faster than a D3s writting 14-bit lossless compressed video, full resolution at 100 fps.

              It’s huge.

            • Woutk89

              Sorry, my bad, I meant indeed 10, typos :-S

            • dpnsan

              Imagine a D4 tethered with a camera control app that lets you control and capture video. Look out, RED.

            • PHB

              I was thinking that the spec looks better suited to ultra-high def TV than stills photography.

              The copper version of Thunderbolt would support a 4K sensor with ease. A 24MP camera would be able to support almost full 8K resolution.

              While this is all currently overkill, it is much better to have overkill than having to keep updating stuff. I like to have a quiet office so I have my machine room separate and connect the monitors over two 50′ dual link HDMI cables at over $100 each. In a commercial environment that configuration would cost even more since laying cables is expensive.

              I would ideally want to lay the cables in the floor, but that is pricey if you have to update every 10 years or so when technology changes.

              Optical is great because the cable itself is pretty much future proof. Even if the data format changes, the photons will still run over the old fiber.

            • Chris Noellert

              What this could be a peak at is, a D4 which is constantly transferring native RAW in 24 fps in greater than 4k res. Essentially a single frame based dump of the raw nef 24 times a second (or higher) allowing for a completely unaliased video stream of files and native sensor res.

              4k real time storage has been around for a while, but it’s comprised of a shit ton of spindles to get the required data bandwidth with usually SAS, fibre, fibre or on the cheap end, esata to fibre connectors on the back.

              For me this is aimed at turning the D4 into a red or alexa competitor. With light peak there would be no reason to store the video in a wrapper format like H264 or Quicktime or whatnot… and no licensing issues either, because you’re just spraying out nefs to high speed storage.

              Very very interesting.

            • Rob

              To Joe R.:

              I believe a 16x PCI Express v2 slot has an interface bandwidth of 16GB/s, and version 3 will be about 32GB/s. There have been PCI-e SSDs for well over a year that peak above 1GB/s. The first >10GB/s pci-e ssd will certainly be announced this year. These are products even consumers (with enough money) can use on their home machines, not rack-based storage.

            • Otti

              To Rob/Joe R.:

              I think the problem starts after the interface… You cannot save that amount of data on any storage, which is available, except probably for an array of SSDs.
              And I doubt, that current processors can encode this huge amount of data in real time to H264 or anything else (only special purpose DSPs could).
              In my opinion there is no need for such a fast interface in this camera, although it would be very cool.

            • Mike Soto

              Joe R. – You are correct but there is one important point to consider when looking at any interface – Total available bandwidth. As Thunderbolt proliferates you will have more devices occupying the bus and utilizing that bandwidth. So pieces of that 1.2 GB/ps start to dwindle away pretty quickly when you connect 2, 3, 4 and more devices. USB 2.0 @ 480mbps, how many devices do we have connected? I have plenty and I can definitely notice when I use them simultaneously the impact it has on performance. We always find a way to grow into rather than grow out of which is the best scenario we could hope for. Bring on Thunderbolt…we’ll figure out the applications soon enough.

          • The Invisible Man

            I wonder why the need a 10Gb connexion with a 12mp sensor !
            Unless the 3 RVB sensors is comming with the D4 ;o)

            • Jan

              networks are already using gigabit speeds.
              it doesn’t mean much. the overheads take out 30-60% of the theor speed.

        • Anthony D’Atri

          No, what it will do is be an excuse to jack up the price of the body even higher than it otherwise would have been. My FireWire card reader cost $45 or so, and will work for years with any number of bodies. Tethering a body to offload files is no easier than plugging in a card, and it means that you can’t use the body when a card fills up.

          • PHB

            The point is that you can do it in real time.

            A large market for the ‘professional’ Nikon bodies is in telemetry type applications. Many of the speed cameras in use have a D2H or the like inside.

            So connectivity is a big selling point for some professional camera sales even if it is not a major selling point for some photographers.

            If people don’t like the cost of a D4 then buy a D700 or wait for a D800. Seriously, the D4 is likely to cost $6000-$8000 which is likely $3000-5000 more than the same model is going to cost in a ‘compact’ professional body. And you are piddling about complaining about the price of one feature.

            Thats like going into a Jaguar dealership and asking if you can get an XK8 without the leather seats and the electric windows. Actually they will make one without leather, but its special order and costs extra.

            If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. If you are worried about the additional cost of video or a comms connector then you can’t afford it.

    • broxibear
  • http://snailartphotography.daportfolio.com/ benjamin

    meant it as a pun to third… just in case =)

  • seiad

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this…

  • http://sdickinson.com Sam

    From what I’ve heard about Light Peak on the Macbook Pro being announced tomorrow, it’s not the optical version, but the copper only version unfortunately.

    • WoutK89

      It’s the same for all early products supporting this connection what I have read.

  • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

    That would REALLY limit the market, and would be a stupid move by Nikon, depending on how they implement it. USB 3.0 is more then sufficient with the transfer speeds, is available to many more people, being open (Cutting down costs) and not being limited to mac. I don’t want to jump the gun of course, and maybe to some very few this would be beneficial.

    Speaking of upgrades Nikon. Ahem, still desiring that firmware update for my D7000 to allow for 720p/60 ability with manual aperture control during liveview. PLEASE!!!

    • Nau

      I can see PCI card adapter for PC with in few month if needed
      and if it really kicks in build in port on next gen motherboards … not a big deal

      • WoutK89

        +1, just because Apple will be first, doesnt mean PC will never get it.

        • anton

          This is funny to discuss considering that Lightpeak is developed by Intel.

          • Woutk89

            Its about supported products, as long as no product has it, there is no need to put this connection on your motherboard. So no matter who made it, it has to create a market first. Apple loves pioneering, but what supports light peak at the moment?

            • anton

              :) future nikon cameras :)

          • Eric

            Intel and Apple developed it together. A well documented fact.

            But it doesn’t matter. All this hysterical talk about it is simply amazing. It’s not Apple-only. It’s going to be adopted by everyone because it’s clearly better that the alternative by so much, and won’t require any proprietary drivers of backwards comparability to PCI express, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, USB, DisplayPort, DVI. just a set of connectors for those cables to plug in.

            • anton

              If it is a well documented fact then give the link.

          • Otti

            I do not get the point here: The processors used by all new Macs is also developed by Intel.

            The times of PowerPC are over.

            • anton

              You’ve just said what the point is. You can delete the os from mac and install linux or windows on it effectively getting a PC. You can even rip of the apple logos. (Inside a Mac is a PC).

      • Joe R.

        PCIe 2.0 x16 slot isn’t fast enough. You’ll need need a PCIe 3.0 motherboard when they come out.

        • Jeff

          Each lane in a PCI-Express 2.0 slot supports 4Gb/s. So a PCI-E x4 slot should be able to do 16Gb/s, well within the first-gen 10Gbps Thunderbolt spec.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express (look in the box to the right at the top of the page)

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

        >would really limit the market

        Nikon’s tried this “be at the forefront of tech” before. You may remember that the D1 was a Firewire device. Know of any current Nikon Firewire cameras? Heck, they even took that support out of their own software (screw you D1 series users). I’m with you, I think this is an interesting but somewhat strange decision.

        WiFi would make 100% more sense for a fast connection. The camera companies don’t seem to actually try tethered cameras much other than as an experimental project. In practice, tethering via wires in a studio just gives you something more to trip over, and you never have quite the right length cable.

        > firmware update for my D7000 to allow for 720p/60 ability with manual aperture control during liveview

        The first part is possible but unlikely, the second part is easy: use lenses with aperture rings and do the hoodoo steps Peter iNova and I have been describing since the D90 first appeared ;~)

        > I can see PCI card adapter for PC

        As someone else indicated, many computers might not have a bus fast enough to take full advantage. But here’s the real problem: most of the computers sold these days are laptops, and 99% of them have no bus access. So on most users cameras, a Lightpeak port is going to sit unused. You’ll be happy to pay the extra for it, though, right?

        • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

          Built-in wifi is a great point, Nikon should include it in all Mid to pro level cameras, and with some custom firmware you could have a fast and efficient work flow.

          The aperture ring idea is ok, but is really limited. Like did you know, if you move the ring from its default highest f-stop to another f-stop, that it won’t allow you to take photos? (I’m the type of guy who switches between the two, and that’s a drag). I have a few lenses that don’t have the aperture ring and that’s where the problem continues. Being able to just turn the dial on the front would make it worlds more effective. Having upgraded from the D90, the D7000 is a very nice step-up, but its a let-down that Nikon left out the few last important things to make it an actual video competitor (Feature-wise) with even the T2i : (

        • JorPet

          All the laptops I deal with have ExpressCard interfaces that are currently rated max speed of 2.5 Gbps. I would guess that Light Peak cards that plug into the ExpressCard slot will become available soon enough after the technology rolls out.

          That said, I would prefer a slower WiFi connection as it could be doing continuous downloads and would be done by the time I needed it.

        • Eric

          Sorry Thom, but that’s just short-sighted. FireWire didn’t take off because people are cheapskates, and camera makers figured out they’d save 75 cents per camera to stick us with clearly inferior USB. This kind of spreadsheet mentality holds back camera makers to a ludicrous degree.

          And lets get serious. I’m betting Nikon’s engineers are just now becoming aware of Thunderbolt. They couldn’t possibly see the benefit at this point.

          And it doesn’t matter if the full bandwidth is utilized in the first iteration. Right now USB 3 is not even close to being as fast as it will be once drive makers develop new chipsets tha will really support it.

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

            I don’t believe that Firewire died because people are cheapskates. A better reason is what Adam Osborne used to say: “adequacy is sufficient, all else is superfluous.” An even better reason is that the industry politics behind it got in the way, and that’s one reason why I think that Thunderbolt is a gamble, too: it’s nearly the same politics and marketing problem as before. These things have a way of repeating themselves.

            Nikon’s engineering department would have been aware of Lightpeak at worst case back when it was first talked about by Intel, which is more than a year ago. Given the constant stream of industry folk demonstrating upcoming technologies to Nikon in Tokyo and the way I know I would have operated if I were running the Lightpeak show, Nikon would have been no worse than in the second wave of private, NDA disclosures. In short, they’ve known about it for some time.

            Personally, I still don’t see how the full bandwidth is going to really benefit me, but I’ve learned never to bet against smaller, faster, more in high tech.

            That said, WiFi is all the market needs. USB 3 maybe. All else is superfluous.

            • PHB

              I think the reason firewire dies was that it was only every usefully implemented on the Mac. Pretty much every other implementation was broken.

              I have tried using firewire to download camcorders to a PC. The JVC never ever worked and the Panasonic only worked if the planets were in the exact right configuration. And neither worked at all on the first three firewire boards I bought.

              The only Firewire application that seemed to succeed was attaching storage devices to Macs. USB captured the keyboard/mouse/printer connection market and so once USB 2.0 came out, the game was pretty much up there.

              When Nikon was adding Firewire to cameras, USB was not an adequate replacement. Once it was clear USB was the industry standard, they switched.

              I doubt that the D4 will lack a USB connector. Intel will almost certainly have produced a support chip for mobile devices that supports both standards.

              WiFi and GPS are another matter. I think that they should be considered ‘must have’ features. WiFi has a major impact on the usability of a machine and an add on dongle is no substitute for having it built into the body. GPS is somewhat less useful, but the chipsets that have GPS are only trivially more expensive than the WiFi only ones.

            • http://www.zinchuk.ca Brian Zinchuk

              I was at the Wedding & Portrait Photographer Intl. conference last week. I had a chance to speek to one of the NPS reps for about 10 minutes. I strongly suggested they:
              a. ditch their crappy woven straps for neoprene
              b. install a pocketwizard style triggering system for new flashes
              c. barring pocketwizard, install wifi for both flash triggering and file transfer.

              Her response: Thank you for your suggestions. We report all pro suggestions back to Nikon and hope they listen. And yes, they have heard all of these suggestions many, many times.

              Zinchuk

        • Mike Soto

          Thom – Wifi for a fast connection? Most folks are stuck on Wireless G routers. N is proliferating but not as fast as I would hope. Let’s look at this – 54mbps for 3-6MB JPEGs x ~30-50 shots turns out to be a significant transfer time. Wifi is susceptible to interference and signal quality can significantly impact transfer speed. Convenient yes, practical for everyday use, probably not. Even with Wireless N you get max 300 mbps, that’s better but still not as good as USB 2.0/3.0 or Thunderbolt. I like the Wifi option and would use it as a last measure, never as a primary means of transfer. It’s just too slow.

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

            I have no problems with WiFi on any device I use it on. Yes, it isn’t all that fast by potential future standards, but actually it’s fast enough for most uses, I think. Nor do I think that camera makers have actually optimized the WiFi use, either.

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

      I also think this is a strange move. I can see the need for the next generation of data speeds being needed for global networks and server infrastructure, but for a camera, even the standing of a D4? What are they thinking, what possible use is that really? Tethered live streaming video? Doesn’t make sense to me….

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

        Tethered live streaming requires quite a huge bandwidth internally in the camera at the sensor and in the ASIC, at least if we’re talking using the full sensor, which is the only big reason to do it I can think of.

        The question is then: tethered to what? A computer? Bad decision. A portable hard drive? Better, but now we have to design a Lightpeak hard drive that’s compatible with the stream ;~).

        • Just A Thought

          “A portable hard drive? Better, but now we have to design a Lightpeak hard drive that’s compatible with the stream ;~).”

          LaCie is already on it:

          http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/lacie-readying-little-big-disk-with-thunderbolt/9622

          Intead of using CF cards, lets say you might be able to add a high speed SSD to the bottom of your grip or maybe shoot tethered to a high speed SSD drive pak attached to your monopod. You shoot sports, your assistant runner comes by but not to pickup used CF cards. The assitant connects a tether to your camera (or SSD drive pak) and within seconds transfers all your shots to his/her portable drive pack. The pack gets taken upstairs and your shots are either checked or transfered over VPN connection on the inet to New York or LA to get worked on and published. No more bent CF slots pins. No more changing CF cards. A lot less running for the runners especially as the senors gain megapixels.

          Sensor data transfer can be addressed, while a large buffer, thanks to low cost memory, takes care of it for now.

          Hint – keep an eye on what stuff Sony comes out with which uses this technology.

          Remember the days when 56K modems came out? People were asking what do we need that speed for – or were saying that it was useless because the Uarts in serial ports could not handle the extreme (for those days) speed. New Uarts came out and 56K modems took over the 1200 and 2400 baud modem market and are now museum pieces.

          Good non-technical overview at:
          http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm

          • Tan

            keep an eye on what stuff Sony comes out with which uses this technology, and how they manage to make it incompatible with everyone in the world again, right?

            • Just A Thought

              “how they manage to make it incompatible with everyone in the world again, right?”

              Careful about throwing stones when in a glass house. It’s not only Sony who has played that game. Nikon’s gear is designed to be compatible with what other brands??? Same can be said for all the major camera manufacturers, including Leica.

              Besides Apple and Sony there is another elephant in the room, namely Intel. I kind of think that it would be in Intel’s interest to keep this as open to as many comers as are willing to pay royalty fees. Development costs prevent a competing standard from coming into play.

            • Eric

              Guess you forgot about those proprietary Memory Sticks, no?

            • Mock Kenwell

              Oh please. Sony is totally indefensible when it comes to developing intentionally exclusionary proprietary technology. To compare them with Nikon is like comparing Gacy to someone who accidentally ran over a cat.

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

              This whole proprietary/incompatible discussion is off base, I think. Simply put, Thunderbolt is NOT an open specification, and it’s a tightly controlled license. It is what Intel says it is, and nothing else unless Intel gives into lobbying. That’s both a big plus (compatibility) and a big minus (there will be resistance to licensing and following a proprietary standard). It’s even more problematic in that it is an American company controlling the specification, something that the Japanese companies balk at.

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

            Of course, the camera needs to provide 10w of power on the Thunderbolt port for that to work. Going to need bigger batteries to shoot all day that way.

            However, this was my point when I presented to Nikon: a wired solution isn’t a solution. It’s still sneaker net, just in a different guise. So what if the sneakers are faster? We really don’t get the freedom that we’re looking for without wireless solutions, period.

    • Aaron

      From what I understand though, USB pushes data in bursts, rather than a constant stream, much like firewire and fibre. So in this case, it would benefit, given the camera doing video or multi / rapid shot photography without any risk to corrupt files for separated data.

    • http://bit.ly/9NIXQ David Hasselblaff

      To me it looks as if copper based Light Peak (Thunderbolt) has become what USB 3.0 should have been. Intel is capable of making it an industry standard so that we are finally getting speeds that should have been possible five years ago. USB 3.0 was outdated on the day it got introduced … Apple made the right choices by not adopting it.

      • suprchunk

        They did not make the right choice in not “adopting” USB 3.0. It’s really not adoption when it will be an industry standard. They could have included it, but they chose to only support up to USB 2.0. Bad move. I dare say that all future USB devices will be USB 3.0. When someone buys a new USB drive to use with their MBP they are downgraded to USB 2.0 speeds. This will cause some frustration until Apple releases an update to the firmware to make it USB 3.0. When they should have included it from the beginning. Or they will do like they always do and make you buy a new MBP to get that support, again when it should have been included from the beginning.

        • http://bit.ly/9NIXQ David Hasselblaff

          Now, I have not read into the whole thing too much yet, but isn’t USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt possible?

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

            Yes. But one thing that worries me about Thunderbolt is the cabling situation. I don’t want hydra cables.

  • Fenst

    will it be a DVD player there?

    • sade

      No, there won’t. There will be a punched card reader.

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

        I understand that there’s a paper tape bootstrap loader necessary to use punched cards ;~).

      • DSLRMania

        That would be a reason for somebody, who has bought it at amazon, to return it.

  • http://www.robertogrilloph.com Roberto

    you think, how much the new d4?

    • WoutK89

      I think the price of the D4 will be around 5000-5500 euro/dollar. D3s is doing around 4300 euro at the moment.

  • http://www.tony-smith-photography.com Tony

    So why just the D4? Why not all other new releases from Nikon this year?

  • Jeff

    Here’s an interesting read on Intel’s release of Light Peak and some comments on Apple too.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20034900-64.html

  • Distanted

    Stand by for Ludicrous speed! Seriously, that’s swell, but I’m more curious as to what new wireless features Nikon will bring to the table. If the $80 SD cards can send images to an iPad across the room, an $8000 camera should be able to do a lot more.

    • Filen

      Brew coffee?

  • Anonymus Maximus

    Hmmmm

    10 Gbit/s (copper technology) is approximately sufficient for 10 pitures per second 60 MB Raw files continuos shooting. (if the camera processor can deliver that)

    • Joe R.

      Twice that.

      • dpnsan

        Twice that.

        Which is about the minimum theoretical rate to be ‘sufficient’.

        • francois

          Just because USB and 802.11 has a great disparity between signaling rate and throughput doesn’t mean that is normal, especially when talking wires.

          EXPECTING 50% overhead is ludicrous. 10%, maybe.

  • Biziclop

    Any memory card today capable to run at 10Gb speed? Or at least get somewhere close to USB3 performance? Whats the point then??

    • Senic’

      With multiple card slot we could see arriving some RAID solution. And for D4 (High quality for extrem pros who want unbelivable caracteristics), un RAID 0 between the two card slot could really help to bring the burst framerate up. Furthemore, with this kind of connection, we’ll be able to unload all card at the same time. But As Anonymus Maximus said, this will be an improuvement only if the camera has the strenght to handle such bandwith… W&S

      • VJ

        I hope not… RAID0 gives a performance increase, but it would be quite a mess to read out the card anywhere else. They might alternate photos between cardslots though, giving each card twice the time to write the file. This would yield a similar speedgain to RAID0 but still allowing the cards to be read elsewhere.

        • Joe R.

          I don’t think the sensor-to-buffer pipeline is fast enough to support 10 gb/sec.

    • Anton

      Why would you care about the speed of memory cards?

      The point of this technology is that you can stream RAW video to a computer that either stores it directly on a (professional) RAID and/or compresses it using the full power of a workstation (like the CUDA technology stuff).

    • Anonymus Maximus

      well I guess if intel and Apple have it in their mainboards then the computer should at least be able to receive the data in that rate and store it somewhere.

      No card needed when shooting tethered.

      As 8 -10 shots per second seems to be the professional maximum shooting speed (otherwise do a video) . I just wanted to see where the maximum size of the sensor is with that technology.

      I gues copper is at least good enough for the next three generations. (d4 d5 and D6)

  • Klaus

    No light peak, HDMI 1.3 and USB 3

    • Joe R.

      You can send HDMI 1.4 and USB 3.0 data down the Thunderbolt wire at the same time. You’ld just need a breakout box on the other end.

      • Klaus

        HDMI 1.4 not necessary because is for 3D.

        • Woutk89

          And the D4 will not support 3D? Look at the trends at this moment

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

        This is the one reason why I can think of to use Lightpeak: you could get down to one output cable for virtually everything we want. But having a spaghetti box at the end of the cable doesn’t appeal to me.

        • broxibear

          That’s what everyone said about usb, then they all started putting their own type of connector on the other end…generic usb on one end of the cable and a camera specific one on the other end ?

        • VJ

          This will basically depend on how the market will handle the multiple protocols over one cable…
          Suppose in the future we see TVs that have a lightpeak connection: you could then use the same cable to connect the camera to the TV as the one you use to connect it to the computer.
          It is the chicken-and egg problem: we need useful devices for the interface to become useful. While it future-proofs the camera somewhat, at this point, users are likely to benefit: the camera will still need usb and hdmi connection, or it would need a break out box which is not very convenient. There is such a thing as trying too hard to futureproof something…
          My personal thought is that it is a bit too early, but it all depends on how Nikon implements it and how quickly the market will adapt.

  • CJ

    Awesome

  • Bigus Dickus

    cards dont need to be that fast… there is where 8GB onboard buffer comes into play :-)

  • pk

    For those of you bummed by the heat control switch on the SB-900, just wait until this puppy warms up while being used for extended periods as a “movie” camera. Can’t help but wonder how fast it will eat power too. It would be nice to be able to unload a day’s worth of images with the swipe of a card like at a gas station though…

  • pethunia

    I’d be hesitant to welcome a new ‘fast connection’ after bad experiences with a Sony camcorder that only communicates with the outside world by FireWire.. FireWire being on the way out already and not available on my new and fast laptop.. It should definately NOT be the ONLY option, but rather be alongside USB.

    • anton

      What “new and fast” laptop are you using? My fast and new laptop has a firewire (i-link) connection. I use it from time to time (for instance to connect a sony camcorder).

      • pethunia

        ASUS A52j if I’m not mistaken.

        • anton

          Well, i guess next time you should pick a notebook more carefully (the one that contains everything that you might need).
          The firewire connection on my gaming notebook was a must have.

          • suprchunk

            But you had to get a Sony.

            It is a shame that IEEE 1394 did not take off. Part of the reason is that Apple didn’t let anyone else use the name FireWire to promote it. Good call Apple. The speed benefits of 1394 seriously outperform USB.

            • anton

              No, i have a MSI gt640

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shigzeo/ shigzeo

      It isn’t available on your ‘fast’ laptop because it isn’t on most pc lappies (cost cutting), especially as they aren’t used much in the professional portable video/photo work for editing, transfer, power supplying. I care little for USB anything as long as it requires simple interfaces to use mains power. Firewire has been around longer than USB 1.1 and is still used (though on the way out) because it is fast, supplies 12V of power, and can interface with less cpu overhead than any other portable connector.

      A PC laptop without firewire has been a joke for a long tome since PC companies generally are left out in the music/movie/photo portable world. Either they don’t know how to make machines that are good for the road, or who knows. Complaining that yoy ‘fast’ lappy doesn’t have it is like complaining that you souped-up civic does’t have a trailer hitch, and even if it had one, complaining that it tips back when pulling a trailer.

      • pethunia

        Well, really, I am not complaining about my laptop, but rather about Sony’s camcorder that forces me into an apparent laptop niche market. This Sony camcorder is NOT a professional device. Neither should be my laptop for up-loading my toddler-and-cat-on-the-couch video’s. …Eehh.. that’s what I would expect from a D800 too – and admittedly not from a (professional) D4. But cornering a product (like the D4) into a possibly soon surpassed transfer technology – that requires all kinds of future backward-compatibility (like the FireWire on my laptop) just seems onwise to me now.

        • anton

          There will definitely be a memory card on D4. The use of Lightpeak is up to the user, some people might benefit from it,

  • Intel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izNoF1SWtSg

    Some nice info on the new connector.

  • camaman

    If the next body won’t have USB 3.0 it will be a very sad day!

  • hexx

    isn’t lightpeak (optical version as stated here) 100Gps instead of 10Gbps? As far as i know 10Gbps is for copper version of this technology (should be announced later today by apple and branded as thunderbolt)

    • dude

      apple announcing intel tech?

      • hexx

        nope, intel announcing lightpeak earlier today and after that apple is expected to introduce refreshed line of macbook pro and also addition of this new connection – but using copper instead optic fibre and they will use current mini displayport connector

  • Artur Kozłowski

    I for one hope the D4 will be modular, like in the ol’ days… F6 was such a great design!

  • http://www.fotografnuntaIasi.BogdanSandulescu.Ro fotograf nunta Iasi

    My 2 cents: Who cares about that? I want to see in D4 more important stuff updated: more dinamic range, center weight exposure linked to focus point, autofocus module with suport for f/1.4 lens and mutch more (MP, etc…). Light Peak for me it’s a big NOTHING. :D

    • broxibear

      I think you’re right fotograf nunta Iasi. (apart from much more mp)
      Nikon are making a mistake by adding more and more features that few want, use or need.
      Personally I’d rather they looked at what Leica did with the S2, still using cutting edge technology but simplifying the menus, controls, buttons to make it easier for the photographer to concentrate on image taking.
      Light Peak is just another connection, how many people changed their computers and drives because USB3 was faster than USB2 ?… exactly?.

    • dpnsan

      Amen. Add to that AWB that is as good as or better than Lightroom.

  • Markus

    Light Leak….? I always hear they try to avoid ;-)
    Light Peak….Suddenly I have to think about Firewire…does it still exist, oh no and I will not mention their Displayport technology…

  • Roninsteel

    The new 48 mp chip will need fast connections and fast memory cards expect the D4 to blow Canon out of the water with this one

  • longzoom

    No lenses so far for such the sensor. Come on, guys, let us get real.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shigzeo/ shigzeo

    Strangely, it isn’t 35mm sized sensors that will ou-resolve lenses, it is micro 4/3 cameras with startlingly packed pixels that will. The 24mpx D3x is razor sharp with most of Nikon’s good glass, and is roughly the same pixel size as the D200. Even the D7000 looks great with the 50 1,2, and it is much higher resolution in the same area than the D3x is.

    10mpix m4/3 cameras make my 50 1,2 lens look soft, but that is because their sensor is so packed. Once we get up to ~40 megapixel, we MAY see lens out-resolving at large apertures, but not when stopped down. At 50mpix, current professional glass may be a serious probel even when stopped down a bit, but i doubt a big big problem.

  • Kingyo

    Nikon has something up it’s sleeve..and we’ll soon find out what it is. This D4 might be the ‘ultra revolutionary’ camera product they were talking about last year :)

    • broxibear

      Hi Kingyo,
      I’m curious to know what you think (as far as image taking is concerned not video) would be “ultra revolutionary” ?
      I come from a film background, from college to work I’ve used various types of equipment, polaroid through to 10 x 8. The fact that I can get cleaner images at 3200 with my D3 than I could with 400 iso film is revolutionary.
      What’s the ultimate goal that some people are waiting for?…being able to shoot at 307,200 iso with the same noise as 100 iso ?…and how would that make your images better apart from the noise ?
      I know sports photographers who use D2x and their images are just as good as those using the D3s.
      Do you honestly feel something Nikon might do with their new camera is going to revlolutionise your photographs ?

      • bob

        Revolutionary would be the D4 having a “HAL 9000″ Mode, telling Kingyo “that’s not a good photo”, taking over control, and bypassing the photographer altogether.

        • broxibear

          Don’t get me wrong bob, I’m not having a go at Kingyo. I’m just curious what people believe will change in their photography, if they use the latest D4 compared to a 6 year old D2x other than cleaner noise ?

      • Jabs

        @broxibear.
        I know that you asked another person their opinion, but let me chime in with mine, if you don’t mind.
        I see a few things happening maybe with newly released Nikon pro cameras:
        1. Going to 3 chips as in RGB (Red, Green and Blue) plus increased dynamics, resolution, color purity and sensor bandwidth which is needed in video as perhaps Nikon will emulate RED and give us 2K video.
        2. I see 16 to 24 bit internal processing within their new cameras and perhaps 16 bit or higher output.
        3. I see the use of the new Intel Thunderbolt as a combination output combining USB 3.0, HDMI and other outputs in one or two multipurpose connectors.
        4. I see removable heads and more specialized removable screens plus maybe removable sensors geared for specific tasks available as options.
        5. I see more modularity coming in newer Nikon pro cameras and even more expensive cameras due to increased options, but their starting prices will be reduced.
        6. I don’t see a push for wireless as a way to transfer files, as it currently is too slow and too insecure (where did my pictures go??? HACKED) – LOL!
        7. I see an inclusion of more Video specific features, such as metering, Video Test patterns and measurements included and even some Video specific filters and/or simple Video transitions and effects included.

  • D700guy

    This ‘thing’ is due for announcement in what, 2 months? And that’s all we have is intel on light peak? I cant even get a half chubb on that.

    • broxibear

      Not sure where the 2 months came from D700guy ?…I’d say 7 to 10 months would be more credible.

  • Karel

    Thunderbolt is now the official name. Intel dropped the codename Light Peak and calls it Thunderbolt™ now too.

  • Joe Bodego

    It’s strange that D3 owners are not anxiously awaiting an upgrade. It seems to me that D700 owners are not happy with their cameras. They have been mourning and groaning for years and at the other corner of their mouth, they say the D700 is the best camera in the world. I am guilty of this also and have now saved enough money for a D3 replacement, Nikon has dragged their feet for so long on the D700 that I have saved over $5000 in two years. Now instead of waiting for the D700 upgrade I might as well go for the D4.

    • D700guy

      +1.
      Keeping my D700, but augmenting with a D4, if it ever is produced.
      My D300 can blow me, I have no use for it anymore.

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

        Hahaha… “My D300 can blow me…”

        +1 and ditto.

    • broxibear

      “It’s strange that D3 owners are not anxiously awaiting an upgrade.”
      As a D3 owner I can give you my thoughts on why this might be happening for some…
      Firstly, the D3 is so good that many photographers felt no need to upgrade, many didn’t change to the D3s because they didn’t need video, and 1 to 1.5 stops better at very high iso wasn’t worth it for the way they worked.
      Secondly, many are skipping an upgrade because of the ever increasing cost…the D4 is going to be more expensive than the D3s which means more than £4000, times are tough for most photographers.
      Thirdly, I genuinely think photographers are not falling for the hype of new equipment as they did before…just because something’s new doesn’t mean it’s better, at least not better for you.
      I’m sure others will have their view, and I’d love to hear them, but that’s what I think.

      • D700guy

        That is one deterrent I currently have; the cost of that beast and what I fear it will be. Needless to say, it will not be a camera that I will replace anytime soon after purchasing it. Just like my D700; I plan on investing in a D4 for keeps.

    • Rob

      “It seems to me that D700 owners are not happy with their cameras.”? Poor beggars. Oh bring out the violins for the poor D700 owners…
      Short of, wearing out a modern full frame DSLR, what possible reason could you have for buying another one? People could skip a generation IE buy a new body every eight years. I guess I come from a more frugal angle. I bought a D40 thinking I would keep it for ever, traded up to a D90 and I am deluded enough to think I will keep it for ever.
      The D7000 doesn’t appeal. (its replacement in four years time might).
      So no new camera fro me this year (to broke at the moment anyway)
      I would love to be able to be unhappy with a D700. ( I could sell all the gear I own, get a used D700 and have no lenses)

      • broxibear

        Hi Rob,
        I know a number of photographers who are skipping an upgrade, it makes more sense to invest in other equipment, like lenses which you’ll keep for longer, than changing bodies every 3 years. If you can afford it great…but spending £5000 every upgrade is silly for the sake of a few more mp or 1 stop better high iso unless you really need it.

  • Tony

    Apple should make an App for a shutter release button…that way I can control my D4 with my ipod :P

    • MRPhotoau

      It’s called ‘BlueSLR’
      But you need to buy a small bluetooth device that plugs into your camera. Google it as well as check iTunes for the free app

  • Dr SCSI

    Nikon’s cameras are evolutionary, not so much revolutionary. With three year development windows, Light Peak/Thunderbolt technology is too new to make it in the next D4. Besides, how many pros tether their USB ports from their D3 series to their computers? They typically shoot, shoot, shoot, eject CF cards, insert new CF cards, shoot, shoot, shoot. In the mean time the assistant has put one card in a protective case, while the other card is backing up to a laptop hard drive or an external portable backup device. Maybe the new D4X, a studio camera, will get this new data bus, but I doubt it. Built in Wi-Fi or GPS receiver is a more likely feature. Expect a much bigger buffer too. Native ISO to 25K is what I would REALLY like to see; then I won’t need all the f/1.4 lenses and I still get useable DOF at f/4 with relatively fast shutter speeds for action stopping. I hear that old Aerosmith tune, “Dream On” playing now…

  • mikeg76

    Fiber optic interfaces aren’t that great for consumers. Too fragile. I guess the cable manufacturers will make a killing on cables though. In any case, this throughput is not needed and is simply something to throw on the list of features to make it sound like a super-high end camera. I sure as hell hope they put a USB 3.0 interface on it too. That will be the useful interface.

  • Funduro

    Will my 5.25 drive be compatible with Thunderbolt?

  • Hussam

    This move doesn’t make sense. Why would they move to LightPeak?

    1) As far as I’m aware, most pro’s don’t even use the Camera’s USB to transfer pictures/video from the CF card. They eject the card, and use a high-speed FireWire 800 or ExpressCard CF readers.
    2) For tethering, I believe USB 2.0 is fast enough to transfer RAW images to the laptop. However, it’s the current implementation on the camera which is the bottleneck.

    I’m not a pro, just a fan.

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

    Please just let us do raw video out over this….please?

    • http://geoffcbassett.com Geoff

      I know, if this is what they are planning then it will seriously one-up canon in a BIG way.

  • http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com Ron Scubadiver

    Thom, a while back you were big on USB 3 and thought Lightpeak will not happen at Nikon. I think in a few years Lightpeak will be everywhere and USB 3 will practically disappear.

  • FM-2 fan

    Being a D700 user myself: no never give it back – its the best for the money (as of 18 months ago). The evolution in cameras is for sure on the handling i.e. wireless control using an app(lication) – transmission of images to the internet (in a secure way), digital processing in the camera to shorten workflows.

    The sensor here and there discussions are interesting, but won’t start a revolution. With the 12+ MPXL and 10K ISO barriers left behind: the versatility is for stills very high. The next advances are for sure the inclusion of AF and metering on the sensor, rather than resolution only. These features allow simplified designs and full video support.

  • 2cnets

    Wow. Great to see Nikon adopting early into new to be used technology. So, will the D4 be a real game changer for DSLRs in other areas of advancement as well?

  • Jabs

    Here is a little information on Thunderbolt – AKA Light Peak

    MacBook Pro is the first computer on the market to include what was previously known as Intel Light Peak, which has been renamed Thunderbolt. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.

  • Iorick

    Evening Nikonists. So I can see the new D4 wont bring many physical differences. It will keep an integrated grip, a rounded viewfinder, and it will be a little bit more asymetrical. That’s it? lol

  • Geoff B

    Just got an Apple announce email about their new Macbook Pros. Thunderbolt is included.
    With the way things are going Nikon would be shooting themselves in the foot not to include it in future DSLRs.

    • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

      No they wouldn’t. Max CF and SD card transfer speeds are far below USB 3.0 or TB, so where’s the damage?

  • Anonymous

    If you build, they will come. Nikon will build it, and users will find creative ways to maximize and unleash that power.

    When video was first introduced to dSLRs, I heard moans and groans about what was the use. I spoke with a friend of mine, who happens to be an Indy director. He loves using his dSLR to make his movies. The high ISO makes less demand on setting up expensive and exhausting lighting, and the great collection of lenses make getting the the desired DOF easy. As movies are shot in small sections and stitched together, he has no problem with the few minutes of take per shot. He even used lensbaby for a few dream sequence in his latest endeavor.

    Nikon’s use of latest technology is a great sign of great things that are already on their way to the dark side :)

  • Eric

    It’s a freaking rumor. And now people are acting like this wild hair-on-fire rumor is fact. Please. Nikon can’t possibly be thinking this, unless they also include USB and HDMI.

  • Omar

    To NR Admin,
    Thunderbolt is not a renamed port by Apple, actually Intel renamed LightPeak to Thunderbolt.

    http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm

    Not sure why intel chose the name thunderbolt cuz I actually preferred the name lightpeak.

    I will be really happy if its true cause with DSLR MP getting higher and the inclusion of videos, transferring images/videos just became longer. I cant wait to see the next gen of Thunderbolt AIO Memory Card reader.

    • hexx

      I guess it’s because current iteration is based on copper wires, original tech introduced at IDF 2009 was presented using 30m optical cable. copper has cable length limit of 3 metres (the same like usb and firewire).

      So I believe that we’ll see LightPeak coming back when optical cables will replace copper ones. The problem lies in the fact that Intel aims this as a replacement for USB and FireWire, that’s why we see iteration with copper cables so these devices don’t need to be self-powered but instead are powered by bus.

      • Omar

        Don’t think so, Thunderbolt supports both optical and copper wires. Just for now they are using copper but in the future it might change, and isn’t LightPeak = Thunderbolt?

        Apparently from what I’ve read, LightPeak was Intel work in progress name for Thunderbolt.

  • telecomm

    Thunderbolt ports are backwards compatible with both USB and HDMI.

    • mikeg76

      How? They are all completely different connectors.

  • Anonymous

    Light Saber, eh? Nikon is building into our new cameras a bloody light saber. Oh boy, lots of fun is coming around… The other day an good Jedi Knight friend of mine told me this. :-)

  • mpeg

    not apple calls it thunderbold, intel called it so.
    lightpeak was the codename.

  • The Invisible Man

    FROM THE “AMAZON” CUSTOMER REVIEW:

    “I have no plans to reorder the F6, but I do have a shipment of film canisters (Kodak) coming so that I can test them in my Digital Nikon SLR”

    That guy need help or quit cocaine.

  • Art

    guys, this is not true!! I work with the product team on “Light Peaks” and it is NOT in this platform!

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