Nikon’s EVIL camera may have DX size sensor

Based on previous Nikon's patent applications, the initial estimation of the sensor in the upcoming EVIL camera was 17mm in diagonal (image circle). For comparison the m4/3 sensor is 21.6 mm. This news was a bit disappointing, but now there is hope. Few weeks ago Thom Hogan and [NR] forum member JonnyApple suggested that the Nikon may be obfuscating their designs in some of their patent applications. For example: look at figure 35 (page 36) from patent application 20090257125 (filed in the US) for the 14mm f/2.8 EVIL lens:

If you compare the above lens design with drawing 19 from patent 2010-072276 below (filed in Japan, no direct link available) you will notice that they are identical:

The interesting part is that the Japanese patent is for a 23.65mm DX lens (28.4mm in diagonal). It's basically a 1.65x scaled up version of the lens patent filed in the US. Which are now the correct numbers? Is Nikon really obscuring the real calculations? I don't know, but a DX size EVIL camera sounds much better and may explain why Nikon is taking their time on that project.

If we assume that the EVIL sensor will be DX, we have to revisit also all previously discussed EVIL lenses and re-calculate the focal length (after the break, updated):

Based again on previous patent applications, the Nikon EVIL camera is not expected to have a F-mount, but I am sure there will be adapters that will allow the use of F-mount lenses.

Follow this [NR] forum discussion for more info on this topic.

Read more on sensor sizes here and here.

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

    The whole idea with this camerasystem is good IQ from a small form factor. The determining factor for size today are the lenses. Screw the camera, it’s the lenses that sets the size. Just look at the NEX. It’s a tiny-tiny camera, but with a lens it’s still too big to carry around everyday (unless you use those pesky baggypants which I refuse to be seen walking around with). I have been very facinated by this 17mm sensor-idea because it will make lenses smaller. You can still use the old F-lenses with an adapter, so no need to cry foul because of that.
    Just look at the patents here. The total length of the 14mm in the US patent is 31.51mm, if we multiply this with 1.65 it is a 52mm lens!. This is not a small lens anymore. In a previous patent that was mentioned it was said that barrel dimmension was 49mm, and does this also mean 1.65x this – I don’t think so. Flange diameter 39mm – multiply this with 1.65 gives a diameter of 64.35 – I still don’t think so. It would be nice to have a large sensor, but for this camera I choose small formfactor rather than large sensor.

    • John

      I guess we all have different ideas as to what Nikon’s “EVIL” system is supposed to be all about.
      What I want it to be is:
      – High stills IQ – on par with current Nikon DSLR standards (even a generation behind my D300 would be fine with me). DX sensor is a must.
      – A compact body (even smaller than a D40 would be nice – remember the FM-10 film body? It had a pentamirror OVF AND a full frame sensor!) It’s dimensions were WxHXD 5.5″x3.4″x2.0″ (37.4 cu. in.) while the D40’s dimensions were 5.0″x3.7″x2.5″ (46.3 cu. in.). For me I don’t need to pocket it, but it needs to be small when hung around my neck or when it has a collapsed lens (note Thom’s comments).
      – Interchangeable lenses
      – F-mount compatible via an adapter (that has full electronic contact with AFS lenses to maintain full functionality)
      – Smaller WIDE ANGLE lenses: Wide FOV lenses have gotten very long and fat with digital sensors. My old 20/2.8 AF-D was extremely nice to hang off my FE2 and was plenty fast at f/2.8 – can’t we get back to that kind of FOV AND lens size with the reduced flange to sensor dimension now achievable w/o the mirror?
      – Reasonably fast AF – contrast AF or phase AF on the sensor. I’m tired of front/back focus issues – sensor-based AF would help eliminate this. Contrast detect AF seems plenty fast for most things these days.
      – Built-in EVF. The technology exists these days to have very nice EVFs (I personally think the one in the Panny GH-1 is perfectly fine – heck I was happy with the one in the CoolPix 8400)
      – Different versions for different folks. An advanced version with more advanced features and a version that is more towards a point and shoot (although that’s what a D3000/D5000 is for I suppose). When I say advanced features I don’t mean like some of the features in a D300 (like 51 pt AF, 5 fps, etc., etc.), but rather make it more of a photographer’s camera than a P&S camera.
      – Video if you must. I suppose it will have to have 1080p/30 video to even be credible these days. Not all versions would need to have video in my book.
      – Excellent build quality
      – Built-in flash of some type. This is just too handy not to have, even if it’s not the most powerful flash. Add-on flashes are fine, but they are typically pretty big compared to the camera.
      – Fold-out LCD would be great, but I realize that this makes the camera bigger and heavier than it could otherwise be. A detachable/tetherable high resolution LCD would be a great idea. Detach it when you want the smallest body size with the longest battery life (use the EVF exclusively) and attach it for playback either directly onto the camera or via a tether/cable.
      – High resolution LCD screen with accurate histogram (both on the LCD and in the EVF)
      – Fast RAW writing times – don’t cripple it with slow RAW. RAW-only would be fine with me, but I know that’ll never happen.
      – I’m out of thoughts right now, but you get the idea – a compact system that is backward compatible with current AFS lenses AND with a new generation of hopefully smaller lenses.


      • John

        Holy cow! Did I really write all that stuff? My morning coffee must have kicked in at the wrong time!

        • LGO

          Reading the above specs, I get the feeling that I might be better off with the D3000/D5000 with a Nikkor prime (pancake) lens. Not only will it be provide full compatibility with all Nikon lenses and flash units, it will likely be a better and cheaper camera, and most importantly, is now available for me to buy.

      • * DX sensor a must. Agree. As I outline in a later post, DX is in one of those sweet spots for balancing various physical constraints.
        * Smaller than D40. Absolutely a must. The new standard for body size in this class is between the Sony NEX5 and Olympus E-P2. If you can’t get below a D40 size, you might as well reiterate the D3000 ;~).
        * Interchangeable lenses with F adapter. Agree, though the F mount adapter isn’t as important practically as most people think.
        * Small WA lenses. Agree, but I believe this is wishful thinking. These cameras aren’t targeted towards someone who knows what to do with a WA lens. I was happy that Sony did the 16mm and the two adapters. Solves my needs fine. But I don’t expect Nikon to get this or do it.
        * Fast AF. Agree. But Nikon’s never had that with any Coolpix either ;~)
        * Built-in EVF. Disagree. External add-on is fine if done right (pass through flash connector, anyone?)
        * Different versions. Would be at the top of my list, but it’s at the bottom of Nikon’s. I’d have a pro spec and a consumer spec version, and lenses to match. Nikon won’t.
        * Video. Required now, unfortunately.
        * Flash. I suppose. On small cameras I’ve never found flash particularly useful. Now if you said wireless flash trigger…
        * Fold out Hi Rez screen. Agree. Sony and Olympus got this wrong.
        * Fast RAW. If Nikon is using the EXPEED chip, it’ll be fast enough, I think. Won’t have much buffer though.
        * High build quality. Not in Nikon’s target, I think. Sony’s NEX5 has a very good build quality. I’m hoping Nikon will match it, but somehow I doubt it.

        • iamlucky13

          * F adaptor – presumes it will be non-F-mount, although that seems a given. Anybody using larger bodies should appreciate compact walk-around lenses, with the ability to swap to their existing collections as desired.

          * EVF through the flash mount? I guess it could be ok as long as it doesn’t prevent compatibility with existing flashes. After a while you start to get a lot of pins with different voltages and physical tolerances in there, and that could be problematic. However, connections like a cord to the USB port would be inconvenient, so it’s a toss-up.

          * Wireless flash trigger on a consumer level camera doesn’t seem likely to happen. It’s a valuable upsell. Besides, if you’re firing more than one flash, the minimal size aspect of EVIL is already negated.

          * Versions – Still hoping for a Nikon FM-digital?

          * Video – It’s already reading the sensor to make the liveview image. Video is an easy add-on. I just hope picture-taking ease doesn’t get compromised in the process.

          * Build quality – D3000 etc all seems reasonably sturdy.

          You didn’t comment on ring-tones. Cell phones can be customized with all sorts of annoying sounds? How long do we have to wait before we can personalize picture taking with clips like excessively loud click-clacks, “You’re on Candid Camera,” or Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi?

          Sorry…I couldn’t resist.

      • Richard

        The DX sensor makes a great deal of sense from several perspectives. Obviously, good IQ should not be an issue. Nikon have a developed DX sensor that should be a “parts bin” piece, which also means that there really is no additional R&D cost for the sensor. Although the cost of a DX sensor is more than a smaller one, I think the ease of design using proven parts should not be underestimated.

        If one thinks of the original Olympus OM series of cameras, it is not hard to imagine something even smaller because of the lack of a mirror system. (The designer of the OM series was a self-confessed Leica fan.) The lenses for the OM cameras were rather smaller and lighter than most contemporary lenses. If Nikon use either an F mount or F mount adapter and adds lenses specifically designed for the EVIL camera which are smaller and lighter than many of the current DX lenses I think that would be “the best of both”.

        I believe some sort of flash is essential in a consumer camera, but it should be able to serve as a trigger as well.

        If the articulated screen is good enough, it would take away a lot of the calls for a viewfinder. I would rather see attention paid to the buffer to get a decent frame rate (should be easier without the mirror assembly).

        My question would be whether the EVIL camera uses in body VR. If so, it would help keep lens size and complexity down, as well as working with non-VR lenses that might be adapted to it. Just ask the Olympus crowd.

    • LGO

      I also prefer for Nikon to use a smaller sensor than DX-sized sensor for exactly the same reasons you stated. The large lens sizes for the m4/3 makes the lens-body combo unwieldy for anything other than a pancake lens. The DX-sized EVIL from Sony and Samsung fare even worse.
      Personally, I would like to see Nikon to release a compact EVIL than is slightly bigger than the Canon S90 /Panasonic LX5 but with the biggest-sized sensor it can cram into that. To bring cost down, the lens could be fixed rather than interchangeable. For the fixed lens, a 35mm equivalent zoom lens of 24-70mm f/2.0-4.0 (ok, f/2.8-4.0) would be nice.

      A higher model of this body would offer an interchangeable lens option. Mounting a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR2 via an electronic adapter that will enable AF-S and VR on a body with a 2.5x sensor would be a lot of fun. :))

    • Nikkorian

      The way I understand EVIL is that it’s the same as DX size DSLRs, but without the mirror box. So you have a really compact cam, could in principle use the usual DX lenses (with adapters), but can also buy more compact lenses (because of the reduced flange focal distance). I especially don’t want to lose the possibility to compose a little with low DOF. Also it opens up the possibility to have a second – more compact – cam hanging around your neck, which you could use eg for wide angle shots, where your classic DSLR mounts a tele zoom.

      This kind of EVIL concept does not prevent the camera maker to introduce more HQ cams to fill the gap to the compact cams. I see the attractive Canon S90, for example. Or, a very interesting concept is the Ricoh model, which uses different sensor sizes for differnt lenses, always keeping the camera small, allowing a compact super zoom and also a compact 2.8 lens with fixed focus.

    • Worminator

      I’m also hoping Nikon goes with the 17mm format, because it would mean truly compact, interchangeable lenses coupled to a sensor twice as large as that of the LX3, G11 etc. This is interesting.

      APS-C would mean very bulky lenses for anything other than wide angle primes. Your 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 is going to be just as big as the dSLR version … who cares if the body is a bit smaller than the D40 or not.

  • Stevens

    This is really cool! Great work admin. I am so looking forward to the EVIL camera. DX sensor makes sense.

    • David Hasselblaff

      Please Nikon, don’t just target the entry level with your EVIL lineup.

  • I think we’re all excited about the potential with the new EVIL.

  • I’m interested to see what is announced. I might be great for a hiking camera

  • Sam

    What’s the point of making them DX without the F-Mount? By using F-Mount, Nikon get the benefit of being able to sell more lenses for entry level cameras (maybe a pancake lens on a D3100?)

    • John

      Well, if they reduce the registration distance it won’t be an f-mount by definition. I’m sure there will be adapters to allow f-mount lenses.

      • if it will not have electronic managed aperture, of course. (i hope/wish manual…)

    • Pdf Ninja

      Just like the Sony NEX-3/5, the reason is an ultra compact carry-everywhere with near D3000 image quality. It fits in a pocket with a pancake lens, especially if it’s separated from the camera. It certainly fits in a coat, purse, or belt bag. Unfortunately the Sony 16mm is a bit too wide angle for everyday use, yet only an f/2.8, and the camera ISO settings are buried deep inside the menu system. If you go to and compare let’s say the S90 and NEX-3 samples, the difference in high ISO performance is striking. The GF1 and the E-P1 are close enough, but competition is always good. Who knows, the Nikon EVIL might be able to act as a commander for CLS, which would be really cool. Personally I need something that I can pocket with a little stretch, perhaps in two pieces.

  • John

    Those are some odd focal lengths after scaling by 1.65x. The non-scaled focal lengths seem to be make more sense for a DX format camera. Remember that these focal lengths and apertures are approximate.

    Let’s hope they announce something soon. Good to hear that it looks like it may be a DX sensor mirror-less camera and not that terribly idea of a 2.5x crop sensor (unless it was a fixed lens camera to compete with the LX-5 – then I’m all for it!).


    • I’d say those focal lengths perfectly describe a consumer DX device from the Japanese marketing/engineering standpoint. 28-300mm focal length targets. f/2.8 and smaller aperture targets. Occasionally we get something outside of that (Sony’s 24mm equivalent and the two adapters that take it wider, and Panny’s f/1.7 lens), but the main target is not the sophisticated DSLR user.

      It’s a shame that the Japanese haven’t quite figured out how to do a dual-cater launch correctly. They all missed the boat on doing a high-end simultaneous launch, though Panasonic came close with the G1/G1H duality.

      • John

        They do now – the Admin has edited the focal lengths to which I was previously referring to (the ones that were there when this first started). I now agree with Thom – these focal lengths make sense for a DX sensor camera.


  • Rob-L

    DX Sensor would be awesome. I agree that if it is a DX sensor, it wouldn’t make sense for it not to be an F mount.

  • I hope it will not be F-mount, but usable with AFS lenses + adaptor. It should have its own line of smaller lenses.

    • John

      Well, the telephoto and normals won’t be any smaller, but the wides should be.

  • Dr SCSI

    Anything less than an F mount and a DX sensor would be buisness suicide for Nikon. To me, it would make complete sense if Nikon made an EVIL camera with an F mount that accepted, FX and DX lenses. I’ve said this before, such a camera would provide an upgrade path for users moving from your point and shoot models, to EVIL, to DX, to FX. They have already said they are going to surprise the industry. What better way to that, than to introduce an EVIL camera that accepts over 50 years worth of lenses.

    • John

      As said before, if it wasn’t an F-mount (no reason it MUST be and many reasons it shouldn’t) there will likely be an adapter. I personally DON’T want it to be an F-mount because I want Nikon to make some reasonably sized wide angle lenses for this (hopefully) smaller camera body.

    • Karlosak

      Hopefully it *WON’T* have F mount but an adapter *WILL* be available. With F mount lenses the distance from the mount to the sensor would have to be the same as with DX DSLRs, thus killing any chance of portability of such a system.

      • Discontinued

        Exactly ! ! !
        And not just DX DSLRs. FX DSLRs and SLRs have this very same distance too: around 46mm + sensor + back of the body including the screen. In other words: in size a F-Mount EVIL would be a D90 without prism, just a bit empty inside (no mirror).
        Is this really the kind of (compact) EVIL I wish for? Surely not.

        • you havnt even seen it yet, what a bad attitude!!!

  • Astrophotographer

    The total length of this lens is ~52mm from front element to image plane. So the lens itself is about 25mm. Sounds like a better pancake lens that Sony’s. And better focal length. About 35mm FL in FX equivalent.

  • BornOptimist

    The patent: Patent 20090273851: 52mm f/1.2 you mention, is not a fixed lens, but a zoom lens with focal length 16.5 – 53.3mm (it is mentioned a zoom ration of 3.22), and F number 3.5 – 6.
    Even though this patent was filed 24. November 2009, it is noted 29. July in the header, does this mean it has been changed, or it was granted yesterday?

    • BornOptimist

      Ahh, now I see, you link to the wrong patent application. You link to patent no: 20100188755, not 20090273851.
      You also link to the wronk patent application on Patent 20090135498: 17-180mm f/3.3-6. This link to the patent above (50 – 180).

  • yulia

    i hope nikon release F mount adapter with AF function, for 14-24mm.

    • i_want_a_D900

      OMG… with a 14-24 mounted in front of a [let say NEX5 sized] EVIL, the combo would be so front-heavy that you would simply be holding the lens instead.

      • Possibly break the mount/adapter if you’re not careful.

  • Is there an error in the calculation somewhere? If you take the “14mm” Lens from the example, and the scaled up version for APS-C is about 24mm, shouldnt it be equivalent to about 35mm full frame, rather than 58mm, which is also a much more sensible focal length for this type of camera? Did you apply some factor twice, or is it a knot in my brain?

  • You can’t just scale up optics and have them work, so if these are the final designs at proper scale, yes, the others were intentional obfuscation.

    • PHB

      Actually, you can.

      The laws of Newtonian optics are scale invariant. That means you can scale them by any linear factor and they work perfectly. It was always likely that the early EVIL lens designs would be scaled versions of the DX and FX designs.

      Now optics are not perfectly Newtonian. The thickness of the multi-coatings to stop flare and correct for various issues are dependent on the wavelength of light and they have a tiny effect on the design. But we are talking about dimensions that are way, way below manufacturing tolerances.

      That is why this story is bogus and why the crop sensor makes a better camera for the target market than DX or FX. A 2.5x crop is going to allow for reasonably good ISO performance (1600-3200 on present technologies) and reasonably light lenses (even a 600mm equivalent is pocket sized).

      You can’t get a cost or weight saving without reducing the sensor size from DX. But 1″ is still way bigger than the 1/1.7 of the better compact cameras.

      This is not going to be a D3s/D3x substitute. And there would be no point. It is going to be quite some time before the mirrorless systems are able to replace the SLR design.

      The EVIL system is about having superlative wide angle lenses without the huge cost imposed by the F-mount and mirror and about pro-quality video. It is implausible to make an F-mount 14mm faster than about f/2.8. But it should not be that hard to make a 5mm f/1.4 or even faster on the EVIL format.

      I really would not want a DX EVIL camera, it is not going to be as compact and useful as a smaller sensor. It is a bad compromise. An FX EVIL camera on the other hand would make very good sense. But not much point having it without a series of dedicated primes and zooms to match. I think we will see that, but not for a while and when it comes the prices will be D3x territory. In the short term it makes much more sense for Nikon to focus their pro-end efforts on building out the F-mount range with fast primes and lighter teles.

      • LGO

        @ PHB

        As always, well reasoned and well said.

      • You make a well reasoned argument for something that goes against the knowledge and experience of the few optical engineers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting an bs-ing with.

        • PHB

          In normal lens design you cannot scale every piece identically.

          In particular, in DX vs FX you have the same flange diameter and distance to the sensor (a constraint that affects FX more than DX actually) and you have the same area reserved for the mirror sweep (a huge issue for DX).

          When you start to look at camera phones, the resolution of the camera is already into the range where quantum effects take over. Many camera phones and compact camera sensors are at the limit where diffraction effects and the wavelength of light are limiting performance.

  • Victor Hassleblood

    REMEMBER: Nikon is going to surprise the market.

    I agree with everyone who said, the whole EVIL-concept is about becoming smaller than DSLRs. Therefore an F-Mount is highly unlikely and doesn’t seem to be very desirable. But where would be the surprise if Nikon just tries to match Canon on the DSLR sector (video and such) and to match Oly, Pan and Son on the fields of EVIL?

    Remember the patent on the fully automatic and build in rear lens cap? What if Nikon decided to keep the F-Mount and has chosen a completely different form factor for both, EVIL-body (more like a HB DSLR, but way smaller) as well as EVIL-lenses. The latter could be built half way into the inside of a F-Mount body (cause there is no mirror). The handling (a real grip) and ergonomics of the body could be significantly better than Pan’s, Oly’s or Son’s.

    I am not saying I would like it, neither that this is likely. Just speculations, where the announced surprise could possibly be hidden. In my opinion this rear lens cap patent only makes sense for lenses, that will vary a lot in size and shape at their rear end. This could apply to lenses that are meant to reach far inside a body.

    • Nikon is not going to surprise the market with their mirrorless camera (well, okay, there’s one feature in it that might).

      When Nikon first started filing all these small lens patents the first thing I did was check the scaling. Why? Because Nikon is NOT going to spread sensors around like they’re bird seed. Nikon’s modus operandi has been and continues to be as much reuse and repurposing of sensors as possible. This is almost certainly how they get pricing and favored customer status from Sony. It’s why we still have a 10mp camera in the lineup: Nikon buys huge quantities of a small number of sensors and uses them well past the generation switchover.

      So I’ve believed all along that Nikon would do a DX sized mirrorless system if they did one. And lo and behold, a close reading of the patents shows that these are probably scaled designs. Why Nikon did that, I don’t know. They’ve not done a lot of patent obfuscation in the past.

      The scaled patents also show a different mount and registration distance. Whether Nikon does one or not, we’ll see adapters for F-mount lenses on the camera. The key factors in whether that will be truly useful or not boils down to two things: (1) whether mount communication is preserved (ala the TCs);; and (2) how good the manual focus assist is in the camera.

      • LGO

        Would it make sense for Nikon to use a DX sensor and enjoy all the benefits of the economies of scale this brings with it, but match this to a new and smaller diameter zoom lens (2.0-2.5x) to maintain an overall still compact size for lens and body? This question refers to zoom lens.

        Prime pancake lens would still be 1.5x. Those who want to shoot wide with pancake prime lens would still be wide and will use the entire sensor.

        Those who want to shoot long would work with a 2.0-2.5x crop and still have a compact zoom lens

        Then finally, Nikon could provide an electronic adapter that would be fully compatible with the AF-S and VR with all DX/FX lenses and which would cover the full 1.5x image area of the sensor.

        This setup would allow a small compact size for those so minded and yet achieve the flexibility of being able to use all Nikon F-mount lenses (though AF will not be available for non-AF-S lenses).

        • So you’re proposing something similar to what FX has (a DX crop ability). That seems like a stretch to me in many ways. The reason why I’d say it’s not likely at all is that the target customer the Japanese seem to think wants mirrorless cameras isn’t sophisticated to understand things like DX/MX crop. Heck, we’ve had a hard enough time getting across FX/DX crop to some ;~).

          • LGO

            Yes … this is what I had in mind but you summarized and encapsulated it far better than I did. 🙂
            Well, one reason why I think this could work is that it will keep the overall size and weight small and light. Take note how well it currently works with FX and DX.

            • Dr SCSI

              FX/DX or DX/MX, it doesn’t matter what it is called, it is all about how you market it. Most of your D90 users understand that they can mount a top dollar FX lens on their camera and use it. They also know they can mount their DX lenses on a possible future purchase of an FX camera. The salesmen of MX only need to say, “Hey look, if you buy this camera you can use MX, DX or FX lenses on it interchangeably. You are buying into a system that grows with you, as you grow as a photographer.” Shooting both FX and DX cameras and lenses, I like the interchangeability and the extra reach I get from mounting my FX lenses on the DX camera. Perfect example, take a 135mm f/2 lens for $1200 and mount it on a D300. What do you get… well you sorta get an equiv. 200+ mm f/2 lens for $1200 and not $5000. Now take that same 135mm f/2 FX lens and mount it on a MX (EVIL) camera with a 2x multiplication factor, and you get 270mm f/2. Who knows what Nikon is really up to, but I suspect we will soon find out.

  • C

    I don’t want APS-C EVIL, there are plenty now – Sony & Samsung. Look at Sony’s, totally not slim at all. The body is small but the lens is a joke. Look at the 18-200 lens. Like a monster. I want a EVIL with LENS smaller then M4/3. 2.5x crop factor is just perfect, keeping the lens and the body size small. APS-C EVIL.. Big head and small body, like a monster, really not portable, not slim.

    • Physics is a bitch.

      Olympus got this right with their collapsing lenses (though I would have liked automated collapse/extension). The big factor is what the size is while carrying, not shooting.

      But if you want quality and performance, during shooting a DX-sized lens is not going to be small unless it is a prime. A lot of people forget that back in the film days with compact cameras we had apertures like f/7.8, f/9.9, and even f/11 at the long end of the retractable zooms.

      • Roger

        You mean, with their 28-84mm F/7-11 equivalent lens? Slow garbage, if you ask me.

        If you want quality and performance, use a D3x, 24/1.4 and 85/1.4. These EVIL cameras are great for carrying (they’re light, especially with their slow lenses), but for using… naaaaaaah. If performance, image quality, good viewfinder and ergonomics is what you want, look elsewhere.

        Now where are my 50/1.2 AF-S, 85/1.4 AF-S and 135/2 AF-S?

        • Roger

          Oh, and D3s image quality in a D700 body would be appreciated. Now that I can use!

          D3s + fast lenses = heaven.

      • Richard

        Remember the Olympus OM 75-150? It was quite small in comparison to most all of the zooms of its era. Although its zoom range was limited, I carried it and a few primes, film & etc and it was way lighter than an F2 and equivalent gear…but it is now orphaned and the F2 gear is still compatible with at least a few things.

  • Anonymous

    For haven sake, it is obvious that Nikon cannot make its own sensors and very often sony is the supplier. Now, the NEX uses DX. Just think about the volume of sensors they can all share in different cameras together. So, no question about it, this will be DX sensor.

    • Um, nikon made the sensorsin the d3, d700 and D3s, among others. easily the most sspectacular sensors on the market. Im sure nikon will make a killer product like they always do.

      • elliot

        “Um, nikon made the sensorsin the d3, d700 and D3s”

        Um, they didn’t. They co-designed a few sensors with Sony, which apparently manufactured all or most of them. They have been dependent on Sony tech knowledge and production ability for many years.

    • Roger

      Yeah, it’s obvious.. if you’re completely ignorant. 😀

      Nikon happens to make the best sensor on the market, imagine that.

      • Richard

        Nikon doesn’t “make” the sensor. Depending upon the sensor they may have a lot of design input or may even design it themselves, but they do not, at the present time, manufacture their own sensor. That said, I have not doubt that whatever size sensor Nikon may use, it will be one that was optimized for their use.

        The important difference is that whatever masks are used in the production process, it will be a standard size that whoever produces the finished sensor is set up to use and it probably will be a sensor that is the same as used in other Nikon products.

  • As a reader noted my focal length calculations were wrong – I update the post.

  • Makoto Kimura

    yeah… this makes me sad. i argee with the comments about sony being the sensor supplier for nikon. the 17mm format is probably not going to come out and that sucks. even micro 4/3 is unwieldy when you slap long zooms on it.

  • FakeKenRockwell

    One of Nikon’s themes is bringing ‘fun’ back to photography. Big Camera Fun. I hope we don’t get a DX EVIL. It would defeat the entire purpose.

    • Big? Did you say, “BIG?” We can have fun watching The Blues Travelers on our Coolpix projectors! 😀

  • Huggs

    No doubt it will be DX. It would be bad to fall behind on current trends-Sony Nex.

    • MK

      just bc it is current, does not mean that it is good haha. in my opinion, the nex “trend” is not well thought out. its the clown car of cameras – tiny body and huge lenses. one purpose defeats the other.

      • huggs

        Companies are slaves to the trend masta. I totally agree with the clown car comment (the NEX design is a lil silly) but, DX sensors in small bodies is where it’s at.

      • Get one in your hands and see if you feel the same…

        …the interface is the real Achilles’ heel of the NEXs. Interface/ergonomics/usability is where Nikon shines.

  • BenS

    Btw , why is this camera referred to as EVIL camera ? What does EVIL stand for ? Will it be Nikon D666 ? Sorry for my ignorance.

  • rhlpetrus

    Wld guessing: Nikon is developing APS-C and 17mm diagonal EVILS. Second one will be more like a stills/movie hybrid, APS-C staying with the stills tradition. Depending on where market is going they’ll bring one, the other or both.

    My guess is the APS-C first, to compete head on with Sony, Panny and Oly. Entry-level dslrs (D3000 line) are selling less and less, market being eaten up by evils.

    • Roger

      Of course, average D3000 user doesnt care about the quality, he/she just wants something to take crappy pics for facebook. As long as the image quality is better than their cell phone camera, it’s good enough for them.

  • Wait a minute, sorry for my ignorance but:
    You guys mean that this EVIL camera will NOT accept the usual Nikon lenses?????
    Once again the corporates try to rip us off.. 🙁
    How can such mentality sustain…

    • Ojitos: It was clear from the start, that any EVIL system will have new lenses, even if old ones can still be used with an adapter. This is actually very sensible, as true EVIL lenses (like Leica M lenses) can be made cheaper,
      smaller and with less compromises due to shorter flange distance.

      Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung and Sony do the same, btw.

      • Discontinued

        Leica M is actually the worst example you could possibly have chosen in order to proof the “true EVIL” lenses’ advantage of being cheaper. I still get your point and am with you.

      • Roger

        And yet, somehow, the 6,000 dollar Leica 24mm F/1.4 is optically inferior to 2,000 dollar Nikkor 24mm F/1.4.

    • gt


      the point of an EVIL system is to be compact. Naturally this means it will be designed with smaller than usual lenses in mind. We already have bodies that are designed for DX lenses (the D3000,D5000, D90, D300 etc etc)

      • D40-owner

        I mean, I own a D40, which is as small as you can get with a DSLR in the Nikon world. To make it an EVIL, the only dimensions you may cut are width and height. The length when using the current F-Mount lenses is determined by the lens + the needed distance to the sensor.

        As other posters before me, I sure hope that an EVIL Nikon compact comes with a MUCH shorter distance between the lens and sensor.
        That means new lenses, but that’s the whole point! To be small and portable. If not, I just might as well bring my D40.

        • D40-owner

          I will say more.
          I find the NEX images that are showing up just ridiculous!
          If you want to use a huge telephoto zoom lens, why are you using a small compact body? It defeats the purpose!

          To me, portability means coat pocket when traveling.
          It means pants pocket when at a party. Small, thin, portable.

          “Hey Jim, are you happy to see me, or is that a Nikon EVIL in your pocket?”

          • LGO

            ““Hey Jim, are you happy to see me, or is that EVIL in your pocket?”


        • elliot

          “I sure hope that an EVIL Nikon compact comes with a MUCH shorter distance between the lens and sensor.”

          It would be possible to make a small high-end compact cam, but given the costs and boutique demand, at the selling price (less than Leica, more than Ricoh) it would be too expensive for many here.

  • Derek R

    I think it’s a 17mm sensor. The drawing at this earlier rumor
    seems to indicate so. If the drawing was for an APS-C sensor, then the mounting ring would have to be huge!

    • MK

      i hope you both are right… DX evil is just not that interesting. why would nikon file all those patents for the 17mm sensor? filing a patent is an investment, expensive enough to deter potential holders from trying to just file frivolous applications. it makes no sense that they would file something in order to confuse consumers/competitors and throw them off their trail. or even to generate buzz… it is still a huge waste of $

      if anything, i would say that the patent for a DX lens / EVIL is a red herring; nikon wants to make it look like it will be a DX format! those guys are so shrewd

      • Richard

        Two words: head fake.
        It is not uncommon to file patents which are expected to mislead the competition.

    • GeirA

      That’s what I also noted. From previous patent applications it was said the barrel dia was 49mm (80mm if corrected), and flange diameter was 39mm, which gives a 63mm flange if corrected. These dimensions does not seem plausible to me. There might be two different systems here, and that’s fine by me, but I still belive there will be a 17mm system, which I will invest in, but not in a DX(or FX)-system. For that I have my present D700 with it’s lenses.

      • A 17mm imaging circle system would be a mistake IMHO. Most of the motivation for it comes from people wanting smaller camera sizes, not from there being something special with 17mm. As I pointed out three years ago, you can create a Coolpix P6000-sized FX camera if you really want to (though there might be heat issues that tightly packed, but I like problems like that because they’re solvable ;~).

        And I’ve been pretty consistent on this position. When Olympus first announced 4/3, I took them to task for picking too small a size, too. A lot of people say that 35mm is an arbitrary size, but that’s not exactly true. There are physical tradeoffs in size, one of them being diffraction impacts. Thus, there are what I would call “sweet spots” in sizing that make sense. DX made perfect sense out to about 14-16mp, yet some lenses could probably perform out to about 24mp on DX. At the time Nikon chose DX (back in 1996 or 1997 I believe), one could see that it would have a very long usable arc. I didn’t think the same was true with 4/3 when it was chosen by Olympus. The added diffraction impact means that they max out earlier for optimal pixel numbers, and you could see that this was going to happen relatively rapidly. 17mm would be even more problematic in this respect, and I hope no one would want to isolate subjects in DOF with such a camera.

        • Derek R

          I think Nikon is preparing to do battle in the high-end video market. The most expensive camcorders have 2/3” sensors. The 1/1” sensor (16mm) is in that ballpark.

          Also, the problem with large sensors and video is that focus is a pain. You actually need some serious skills when video’ing with a shallow depth of field. The usual photographic technique of focus & recompose is impossible with video. A small sensor will give you more depth of field to reduce your focusing errors.

          With respect to photographic DoF, a 50/1.4 equivalent on 17mm gives the same DoF is f/2.8 on APS-C, which is extremely adequate for isolation of subjects. You can’t get “ultra-bokeh”, but the selective focus is quite servicable.

        • GeirA

          “A 17mm imaging circle system would be a mistake IMHO. Most of the motivation for it comes from people wanting smaller camera sizes”.
          No – the reason is not to make the camera smaller. It’s to make the LENS smaller. As you say, there are no problem fitting a DX or FX camera into a small compact, but as long as the lenses has to be almost the same as before, why bother making the body so small that it compromises ergonomics.

  • If this had an f-mount it would sure boost the sales of the existing lens. I think that would be a lot smarter than creating a new line of lenses. I am sure a few smaller form-factor lenses will be made available, but overall I am excited if they do put an f-mount on it.

  • There is no reason that they cannot use an Fmount on the new LIVE (Lens Interchangeable Viewfinder Electronic) cameras. The new lenses can be made to only fit the new EVF cameras but the cameras can be used with the old lenses. The new lenses just recesses into the mount. But having said that I think the more sensible was is to have a new mount with an adapter(basically an extension tube) to mount the old lenses.

    Maybe there will be 2 EVF camera formats! one 17mm other DX. note that the same lens design can result in 2 lenses one for each format.

  • So who is this micro F competing against, besides the D3100?

  • The Man from Mandrem

    I can imagine Nikon hedging their bets in their patent portfolio that SLR mirror systems may at some point become obsolete for the entry level consumer so I could imagine a very low end camera body with DX sensor and cheaper lenses at the way bottom of the Canon range. If for no other reason than for us yuppies to buy for our kids as a 1st kit. The ability to swap to borrow a real camera lense and the low unit cost on sensors reuse makes alot of sense to me. There may also be a larger market for that kind of camera. I know quite a few hobbyist photographers who don’t use their viewfinders as they snap away at their kids and during travel. Some have eyewear as a motivation.

    That said, the optical quality of an iPhone is quite impressive (IN GOOD LIGHTING) so I think everyone has to reevaluate what the market requirements and price points really are for cameras below the traditional SLRs. If I were trying to take the higher end of the point and click in the market 2 years ago, I’d benchmark the Canon Powershot that fits in your pocket for size and image quality. I would definately ensure that whatever lense I had would move into the camera body and be covered when not in use. Now, with the iPod out there I’d change my approach.

    I’d see how good an optic I could get with how big a sensor (massive sensor in terms of pixel density) and rely on digital crop. I may then have a few lenses you swap between to go to very different ranges of focal length (1 lense for Ultra Wide, 1 Lense for Tele). I think of the outer lenses in the Contaflex I inherited from my dad as an example. If you choose the lenses correctly (so their maximum resolution corresponds to very useful sizes that are spaced apart) you could have a trivially small, somewhat more expensive but damn cool optical system to carry with you on swank dinner parties. Now if I could somehow have the lenses change themselves (moving out of the way within the camera housing instead of you changing them yourself, that would be better still.

    This is just one thought but my point is Nikon should target a game changer, not a me-too and there’s alot of things a larger sensor size could open up as possibilities…

    • elliot

      “the optical quality of an iPhone is quite impressive (IN GOOD LIGHTING) so I think everyone has to reevaluate what the market requirements and price points really are for cameras below the traditional SLRs”

      My friend bought his 10-year-old an $85 Canon a490 for the kid’s school photography class, but the kid told dad that most of the kids were using cameraphones! Not to mention the growing class of people using iPhones (and related in-camera software) to shoot and share.

      Some random thoughts:

      The high-end compact cam is around $500 (LX5, G11, GRD3) which is getting slammed by intro-level mirrorless cameras. The bottom end of the camera market is getting slammed by surprisingly good ‘free’ cameraphones. The low end of DSLRs are getting competition from mirrorless too.

      People looking for something more than cameraphones or low-end compacts want 1) better IQ, 2( better low-light IQ, 3) better video/sound, 4) better low light video/sound. Interchangeable lenses come a distant 5th, more important to upgraders as a tickable chekbox than as something most will probably take advantage of. That means the sweet spot for mirrorless is $400-$700 (and higher ONLY if it offers something superior to DSLRs, like better video, or matches it at ISO 800 or in AF speed … and that’s not happening yet).

  • Kozłowski Artur

    Nikon talks this, Nikon plans that, patents, drawings… blah blah. I’ve been visiting this and other sites for MONTHS, and NO REAL NEWS. WTF NIKON? Are You planning a trip to Jupiter? How long is it going to take? In the words of immortal Chris Rock – I’m TIRED!, TIRED! TIRED! TIRED!

    • Anon

      I think Nikon may be in some real trouble financially. They’ve slipped behind schedule on body releases and they don’t seem to have any revolutionary new ideas, at least if these patents are anything to go by.

  • John

    Well, to me the 17mm sensor make sense for a large sensored non-interchangable lens compact. It will have much better IQ than an LX-5 or G11, but still be small. Should be good as long as the zoom starts at 24mm FX equivalent FOV and is reasonably fast at the wide and long ends (f/2.8-4?). this could be the top of the CoolPix line of cameras.
    For a Nikon EVIL camera the DX sensor seems the way to go – great IQ, potentially better/smaller wide angle lenses (and wide zooms), re-use of existing sensor technology (especially the upcoming DX sensors that have built-in PD AF). If on-sensor PDAF can be used with existing AFS lenses – that would be terrific.
    If Nikon implements this new camera SYSTEM correctly they can charge top $$ and generate more lens sales. However, there will have to be a compelling reason to buy into the EVIL system instead of a D3100/D5000 model (or the D90 replacement). I wonder what the compelling reasons will be?


  • Ren Kockwell

    This would be fantastic. An adapter for F-mount lenses and a cadre of very fast, low-light pancakes and who wouldn’t want this system? Nikon would be smart to avoid the “tweener” sensor removable lens bandwagon. If Nikon can do this small and well, they’ll have the enthusiast world at their door. Then all they would need is a true, serious, fixed-lens pocket compact somewhere between the S90 and the DP2 and I’ll forgive them their last 15 years of Coolpix masturbation.

    • Roger

      Nah, no such thing as “fast” for crop sensors. I can get a 40/2 pancake for full frame camera, I dont see any 20/1 pancakes for M4/3 cameras.

      • John

        You really mean a 20/1.4 pancake right? ’cause one of these does exist (well, a 20/1.7 at least).


        • Roger

          No, I really mean 20/1. I’m afraid that 20/1.7 pancake on Micro 4/3 is nothing like 40/2 on full frame.

  • Crabby

    A DX-sized sensor, smaller basic lens diameters than F mount, and an excellent adapter for F-mount lenses seem ideal for my needs if the build quality is OK. I would buy the body and adaptor as a spare camera when I’m carrying my D300. I would buy a wide-to-normal lens to put on the EVIL Nikon when I only want something small with me, maybe 40mm equiv. pancake.

    4/3 cameras have many lenses now and very few of them are all that good IMO. Something for the Nikon EVIL with the FL equiv. range of the new LX-5 (24-90mm or maybe even 28-80mm) that folds cleverly would put it in the game for many people moving up from P&S cameras.

    Nikon *must* make a product that is clearly well above the iPhone4, 5, and 6 as regards taking photos. Buying a P&S equal to them seems entirely pointless to me.

    • GeirA

      Even the simplest P&S is way above a phonecam. Don’t let you be fooled by one or two decent pictures in good light from a phonecam.

  • ChriSin

    I’d love to see a DX format evil that takes both current F mount glass AND new Evil designed lenses…..this way we could have small, very compact evil lenses designed specifically to be light and easy to carry around, but if you want to use your old big manual telephoto for video you can do that too!

  • Anon

    Great, another “me-too” addition from Nikon! The main unique selling point in the now crowded mirrorless is compact size. By sticking with DX the lens size becomes the limiting factor. Expect the new camera to look just like Sony’s NEX offerings – ungainly and out of proportion.

    • elliot

      Mirrorless interchangeable cameras are less than 2 years old. It’s a stretch to call anything in the market a me-too considering that all these companies have had their designs in development literally for several years. Is Sony a me-too? Samsung? No, the technology and costs just caught up to usability and all the manufacturers are applying it to varying degrees.

      • Anon

        Why is it a stretch to call it a me-too? m4/3 got there first, followed by Samsung, then Sony and now Nikon, if these rumours are to be believed. That leaves only Canon out of the major manufacturers not to have entered the market. It’s a race and Nikon have finished 4th (5th if you consider the two separate companies involved in m4/3). If you reach the market two years after your competitor, with basically the same product formula, then it doesn’t take a genius to work out you’ve lost two years worth of sales. Even worse, we’re discussing systems here, so a consumer is unlikely to switch brand once they’ve invested in lenses etc. That’s why it’s vitally important to reach this particular market as early as possible. The reason it’s a me-too is that it doesn’t seem to address the fundamental problem that all of these designs share so far:

        Small body + large lens = Not much more compact than a small DSLR

        • elliot

          The e-p1 only came out a year ago, and Sony announced its intentions to be in the same market just 6 months later, and soon thereafter Samsung came out with its 1st mirrorless cameras. Just because Oly/Pana came out with their mirrorless designs a few months before other companies means nothing when they’ve all been working on these designs for years, contemporaneously.

          Your opinion is a stretch because all these companies have had their designs in development for a looong time, with relevant patents extending back for YEARS.

          More, it’s amusing to see you slag Nikon’s product without your even knowing what it is. Think about that.

          • Anon

            > The e-p1 only came out a year ago, and Sony announced its intentions to be in the same market just 6 months later, and soon thereafter Samsung came out with its 1st mirrorless cameras. Just because Oly/Pana came out with their mirrorless designs a few months before other companies means nothing when they’ve all been working on these designs for years, contemporaneously.

            The way you’ve framed this paragraph makes me think *you* think I’m so kind of m4/3 fanboy. Sorry to disappoint you but I’m a Nikon user and I’ve never owned an Olympus or Panasonic camera in my life. I’ve got money invested in the Nikon system, so I’ve got a vested interest in the success of the Nikon brand. That doesn’t change the *fact* that they’re late to the party as far as mirrorless is concerned.

            > Your opinion is a stretch because all these companies have had their designs in development for a looong time, with relevant patents extending back for YEARS.

            And it’s been two YEARS since the first mirrorless camera was released, with Nikon still not having brought their offering to the table. If you can’t see how that puts them at a competitive disadvantage then we can’t really have a discussion.

            > More, it’s amusing to see you slag Nikon’s product without your even knowing what it is. Think about that.

            Where did I slag off Nikon’s product? I clearly stated “if these rumours are to be believed” in my second post. Like the rest of us I’m only going on the info we have here. If you can find the unique selling point in these patents for an interchangeable mirrorless DX camera, over what exists on the market already, then please feel free to explain it. That was the basis of my me-too claim. Of course, for all we know these patents might exist just to throw competitors off the scent (hopefully), which would change things entirely.

            • elliot

              “Where did I slag off Nikon’s product?”

              The sarcastic ‘great,’ saying Nikon’s “finished” 4th, saying the camera will be “ungainly and out of proportion”. If you think that’s not slagging we have nothing more to discuss on the subject.

          • Anon

            Well, now I can see you’re just here to conduct a point-scoring argument, rather than have an actual discussion as you’ve twisted my words out of context for a second time. However, I’ll set you straight, just for the record.

            elliot: “The sarcastic ‘great,’”

            That’s an expression of my disappointment based on the latest patent reports. Remember I’m a Nikon user, I’d like more people to buy their cameras because that means more bodies and lenses for *me* to buy in the future with their increased R&D fund. However, I’m not a deluded fanboy like yourself. I understand that no one brand is currently leading in all areas. For example, in the P&S/advanced P&S and entry level DSLR categories there’s significant room for improvement on Nikon’s part. On the other hand their prosumer and professional DSLR lines, as well as many of their lenses are class leading.

            elliot: “Nikon’s “finished” 4th”

            In terms of bringing a mirrorless camera to market, yes, they have. Are you going to argue that fact?

            elliot: “saying the camera will be “ungainly and out of proportion””

            If the patent rumours are correct I don’t see how it won’t be. They can make the body smaller, but the lenses will still have to cover the DX image circle and remain compatible with the existing DX lens line. Do you know differently? If you do please give an explanation rather than misrepresenting what I say.

            • elliot

              And you’re still slagging, whether or not you want to hide it in the guise of ‘disappointment’ or not.

  • MD Floyd

    I think the DX sensor size is a great idea. The issue on size
    can/is dominated by the lens. A small lens can be put on a
    DX sensor and you have a small camera. For a given front

    lens element, you collect a fixed ammount of light for a

    Field-of-View angle. That is all the light for the angle of

    converage there is. If this light is focused on a full-frame

    sensor or a DX or 17mm os 1/3 inch, it is still the same

    ammount of light. A different focal length is required for

    each sensor size. Given that the F-Stop is determined by

    dividing the effective focal legth of the lens by the

    effective diameter of the lens, the F-Stop aperture will be

    smaller for the larger sensor, again, with the fixed size of

    front element. There can be other losses in the lens, but

    there will not be any light gain. The larger sensor can

    collect this light with greater sensitivity at lower noise.

    This means that a small camera can be designed with a DX

    sensor that can take slow lenses, F 4/ F5.6 for small size,

    but if the full potential of the camera is to be used. a

    larger lens with more light colllecting can be used. If this

    takes an adapter to allow me to use my FX and DX lenses,

    that’s great. As long as I get full AF-S, VR and full angle

    of coverage for DX.

    I look forward to an electronic view finder. Having used a

    small ultra-zoom that had evf which allowed me to see the

    entire frame and set a manual color balance that I could

    check via evf in bright lights before taking the photo was

    great. Sometimes I don’t have the option to color balance

    when taking snapshots and I’m away from computer and want to

    share my photos in jpeg.

    The EVIL concept for a camera is very interesting because of

    the convergence of still and video cameras. I get paid for

    both video work and still work and would really like to not

    have to support two completely different systems. Batteries,

    media, lenses and cameras are currently all different and I

    have to manage all of it for many live events.

    BTW, I like what Red is doing and their offerings may be a

    great choice for me. Although I do not see anything

    pocketable within the Red offerings. But no one said they

    were done with their definitions either.

  • Rich

    I don’t want APS-C EVIL

    give me FF for maximum quality or small sensor for compact size.

    APS-C stuck in the middle, not good enough quality and not small enough compare to small DSLR like D3000. Look at the Sony NEX. Slim body but once you added the lens, it’s just almost as big as a small DSLR, what’s the point?

    I rather get a small DSLR instead.

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