Another D400 rumor from Germany

This Nikon D400 rumor is coming from the Nikon Solutions show in Cologne, Germany (May 15-16, 2009):

  • new D400 EXPEED II
  • HD movie function with stereo
  • tiltable display with continuous AF
  • 16-18 MP sensor
  • as well as some new DX lenses

Original German language source | Google translated text

I attempted to email the owner of the site, but his contact form seems to be broken. I am speculating that he received that info from somebody on this Nikon Solutions show. Let me just say that Europe, especially Germany is much more relaxed in terms of "leaking" info before an official release - we have received many good stories from Schland, so I would not be surprised if this one turns out to be true. 

NR rating system: 60%

Here are some pics from the show:

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  • AZ

    would be nice to finally see it, especially the performance of the new expeed and high iso behavior of 18mpx sensor

  • Digitalux

    Well, this would be a great product.

    Current economy may turn a great product into a fiasco though. Compared to the D300, I believe less volume is to be sold (and so with planned production) so I’d be expecting a quite higher price tag to meet profit expectations.

    I hope to be proven wrong…

  • If the MP count is right (16-18Mp) I suspect it is an FX camera…
    And will loose the DX on the “professional” or “metal-body” range.

    • PHB

      There is zero chance that Nikon is going to introduce an FX body camera that is better than the D700 as a D400, be serious.

      The launch of the 10-24 shows that the DX line is here to stay. If you are shooting big glass (over 200mm) or doing macro photography you want a DX sensor.

      I don’t think that a 16-18 MP range has any credibility at all. Either the guy knows or he does not. It is really not worth increasing the number of pixels by 25%, that is only 12% more pixels horizontally and vertically. There was some point to small advances of that type when sensors were at 6MP. There is a noticable difference between 6MP and 8MP.

      I expect that the D400 will be a 24MP body with the D3x sensor in it and prices at the same level as the D700. The FX fanatics will hate it as it will be a complete repudiation of the idea that DX is dead as a pro format.

      ISO will be poor, certainly no better than 1600, possibly as low as 800. Although the D3x is rated at 1600ISO it is clearly a near miss. But there are plenty of folk who would want a camera that is capable of 24MP at 800 ISO. At one time we used to all shoot Velvia or Kodachrome and think 64 was fast compared to the 32.

      My guess would be that there will be a mode that allows you to trade ISO for resolution. If you take a 24MP you can easily obtain a 12MP image with half the noise just by avearging across 2 cells. If you use a more intelligent algorithm you can get to four times the ISO.

      So a 24MP D400 could in theory manage to provide the same 6400 ISO performance at 12MP resolution as the D3. And you would still have a 24MP camera for use when conditions allow.

      I find that I more often want low ISO performance. With a fast lens wide open in sunlight, ISO 200 is rather too fast.

      • iamlucky13

        I agree that more low ISO options would be very useful. The quest for high ISO is compromising the options for doing large aperture shots in daylight.

        But you’re going to have to explain why long lenses or macro demand a DX sensor. If you’re thinking it’s for better resolution or reproduction ratio, you’re incorrect.

        • mike

          It’s not the lenses that demand small sensors, it’s the applications. If you want reach, then you want high pixel densities, and 16Mp DX has the same pixel density as 36Mp FX . You need really good lenses to take advantage of pixel densities like that, though.

        • PHB

          Reproduction ratio is a lens attribute. A 1:1 lens on a 24MP FX format camera will cover full frame. If the object you are photographing is DX sensor size or smaller you will get better resolution with a 24MP DX sensor camera.

          The other aspect is lens design. For most telephoto designs coverage is not an issue. any lens of 50mm or more is probably going to give decent FX frame coverage. Macro lenses are the exception. That is why Canon’s 1-5x lens only fits on a crop sensor camera.

          Same goes for long telephotos. If all you ever use is a long telephoto you might as well use a lens 2/3 the focal length on a crop sensor.

  • Do we have any information regarding the speed of the frame-readout on the D400’s sensor? i.e. will the D400 display horrible rolling-shutter issues when in movie mode? The D90’s rolling shutter makes it a real challenge to shoot video with.

    I know, I know – everything we “know” about the D400 is just a rumour at the moment. But are there any hints about the D400’s sensor? I recently read that the D400 will feature a Sony sensor.

  • NikoDoby

    16-18 MP sensor?! I’m gonna need a new computer, bigger hard drives and bigger flash cards and better lenses to resolve more detail and more money!

  • I don’t believe this for one moment.

    Reason : The date of the rumor is after the date of the show. Surely, if this was going to be true, then we would have heard the real thing by now.

  • rwpl

    16-18 MP sensor?
    on DX?
    What’s the point in that?

    Nowadays dslrs producers aim to have good ISO performance in theirs products. I don’t think that you can achieve that with so many MPx on such a small piece of silicon.
    If we were see more then 15MPx in D400 I would fully convince myself that marketing people at NIKON Japan are absolute …. .

    • Agree

      I have to agree. Reviews are already talking about the 50D needing pro lenses just to do the sensor (at 15.1 MP) justice. Why would Nikon (with all those new DX lenses) go even further?

    • I’m with you. I don’t want/need the extra MPs. That’s what the D3X is for.

    • Chris

      Agreed that 16MP is too much.

      I’d pick 12MP, but +1 stop high ISO performance (and smooth real ISO100), and +1 stop dynamic range anyday.

  • Nikkorian

    In order to be — at a higher price — more interesting than an unlisted or even used D300 (video I don’t need) the D400 would have to offer much better high-iso quality and higher dynamic range. Say, slightly better than D90 quality, at least measurably. I wonder how that should be possible with 16-18 MP!

    • Stephen

      I think it’s been hashed over a lot, that an increase in MP count won’t affect image quality. Look at the D3x. It’s dynamic range is the first, and only, camera to compete with the Fuji line. Let’s not go through this I don’t need more MPs. If it doesn’t negatively effect quality, then I want more MPs.

  • Nikkorian

    I don’t believe it will be FX, it’s not logical since they would spoil sales of the rather newly introduced D700. Also it would have to cost the same as D700 at least, but no more than 5DII, and so there would be no camera between 700 and 2000 euros then — impossible!

  • funny

    if it is fx it would make perfect sense to keep the MP in that range. Also it does not whatsoever affect the D700 until the price is announced and all the features are known. Even if it is better, who is to say nikon doesn’t have a revamped D700 on the works or that they merged the d300&d700 lines into one. For them it makes more sens to grow their marketshare (buy ANY nikon is better than ANY canon). so it makes pefect sense to up the game even if there is some slight model canibalization (you’re still buying a nikon over a canon).

    having said that 16mp on DX isn’t going to be much different than existing canon 15mp aps-c sensor, so I really doubt that the theory that it is FX holds any water.

  • The timing’s right for the D300’s successor to be named. The D300 came out the end of Nov. 2007. Nikon’s been refreshing the Dxxx line around 1 1/2 years, IIRC, so that puts us at Now. The specs all seem feasible as well. Nothing crazy thrown in there, so I don’t see why anyone would pooh-pooh this. Could be fake, but even so, I’m pretty sure we’ll get wind of something similar soon enough.

    Personally, I don’t see it being FX. The DX crowd’s paying the way for Nikon, so I don’t see Nikon taking away the amateur-pro body from the DX crowd. Just doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. The world doesn’t revolve around FX. Yet.

    • Neil

      Actually the announcement days are,
      2/21/2002 – D100
      11/1/2005 – D200
      8/23/2007 – D300

      No discernible pattern and no reason to believe in the 1.5 to 2 year refresh cycle for this level of Nikon DSLR.

      • Ah, I hadn’t looked. I’d read something of Thom’s before where he had it mapped out into roughly 1 1/2 yr cycles, so that’s what I was going by. It’s been awhile, too, so perhaps the rust is affecting my gears.

        Thanks for the info!

        • Neil

          I think he was referring to the consumer end which has a much more frequent refresh cycle.

  • rwpl

    thats rather 100% it will be DX.

    D400 will aim into pros and semi-pro – people that know that >15Mpx in DX is just stupid – so they shouldn’t go beyond that line.

    However! Did Nikon marketing managers ever followed logic in the past? hm? :]

    • There are always ways to extract better performance from existing tech. My d70 was noisier than my d90/d300. The laws of physics haven’t changed since 2005, the tech has gotten better. Better ADC placement in the circuit, better microlenses, better on chip noise reduction. Faster processing. All of this lead to better high ISOs…the sensor in the d90/d300 isn’t bigger. It’s just better. You want to be surprised–look at some of the pixel densities on point and shoots and compare the output to the DSLRs from a couple years ago. Things have happened at resolutions and qualities that the naysayers poo pooed as impossible.

      I know there are limits, but we haven’t reached them.

      And I know that I own glass that’s good enough for higher res, so bring it. I won’t buy the d400, but I welcome it. It’ll probably be the Sony 14+mp sensor from their newer models, so watch the performance of that. Nikon will make it match the performance of the d300 and the resolution isn’t a big jump.

      • Roger

        If it’s the new Sony sensor design (backwards), in theory you could see 18mp with the noise characteristics of a 10/12mp DX, which would trump Canon.

        • getanalogue

          Roger, you are completely right: there are 2 ways to increase MP’s without sacrificing noise resistance – either using new post-bayer sensors or using new Fuji EXR tech. I am very curious about the way they will go. Fuji is becoming another tough competitor in the game, particular in APS format. New pro DX glass is indispensible for such a project since nowadays’ DX lenses don’t reach actual sensors’ resolution anymore.

  • Pablov

    Any specific detail about Video ?

    HD or Full HD ?
    frame rate?
    AF while recording?
    Codec ?

    (well, I know, there would be lot of questions to do…)

  • Ronan

    Honestly i’m more interested in a D300 DX camera that has D700 ISO capability and higher FPS.

  • Quash

    Nice work, NR Admin!

  • albert

    For D3 owners, maybe they don’t mind the D400 to be hi mp, but a bit less “cleaner” in the hi iso performance. They’ll use it more in base iso setting???

    I do own a D3 btw. Photographic service is my sole income. So, as a professional photographer, i do welcome a 2nd or 3rd solid built body in different sensor factor (DX).

    I do welcome the video capability, self sensor cleaning feature, flexible LCD screen. LED screen is even better. BUT, it’ll never happen this soon. Maybe new upcoming generation DSLR in 2010.

    I NEED & WANTED AF-S fast primes so badly. For quiet, speedy focusing & shallow DOF. Just my 2 cents.

    • albert

      AF-S 24mm f/1.4
      AF-S 35mm f/1.4
      AF-S 85mm f/1.4 (Have a AF-D 85mm f/1.4, too slow & noisy when focus hunting)
      AF-S 200mm f/2,8 macro VR ??? (Quite difficult to realise this “dream lens” though)

      • cy

        Make all of those lenses but at least the 85 1.4 a VR!!
        They are as overdue as overdue can be so skipping a generation without VR is really, really indicated at this point!

      • albert

        I’m also alright with them adding the VR feature to the up coming new 85mm f/1.4 lens.

        Not a must have though. With or without VR, i’m buying one.

  • Anonymous

    Tilting screen? Oh dear god, please no. I hope this doesn’t become a standard Nikon feature.

    • On the contrary, I can’t wait. Would love to have ’em on my D300 and D700.

    • Nikkorian

      For me it would be cool. Since i’m tall, when shooting portraits I always have to bend my knees looking through the viewfinder. Only being able to tilt would the screen be worth anything at all for me. Still AF speed is in the way of total LV mode though. I prefer to go by the uptilting mirror to get phase AF at the selected AF point.

  • alex

    i don’t think you can make tilting screen body weatherproof. it seems very hard to keep water out of joints.

    that’s why i think d300 type of camera is very unlikely to have rotating screens

  • Nik oN

    exept that de olympus E3 already does it…And to go back to the future Nikon top DX I bet its gona be out with or after the next top sony slr that will film !!!not those apetizer that goes out for summer first try shooting I bet for september or november;I ts better to take time for a pro or semi pro slr I think ,anyway.

  • alex

    olympus is a toy. we’re talking at least 1.6x dslrs that actually are photo cameras.

  • Peter Fox

    You can contact the source directly here:
    ******* – email removed by admin because of spam

    • I did contact him already – I will remove his email from here (because of spam)

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