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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  • DSLRMania
  • broxibear
  • Ant

    Thunderbolt and Light Peek very very frightening me!

    Anyway, this would seem to be of more advantage to studio-based users, correct me if I’m wrong. If true would this potentially signal that they will retain the 2 versions from the start? – the high MP “studio” one, and the low noise “field” one.

    • > would be an advantage to studio-based users

      Yes, it would, as long as their camera is no further than 9 feet (3m) from the computer. This to me is the big limitation of Thunderbolt so far. I don’t want to be putting expensive repeaters every 9 feet.

  • LoneBear

    Speaking about Thunderbolt means free advertising for Apple, not really about new D4 highlights!!

    • ed

      thunderbolt is made by intel, not apple

      • LoneBear

        Yes, but witch devices are the first to come with that new plug? Mac ones of course!!

  • sjms

    adding in TB as a wow factor I/O is cute. will it really make a difference when most just pull their cards out from the camera and transfer the data externally? i do remote with my D3 and D700 it might make a slight difference there depending on the file size. a good quality TB CF reader is what i’d like. then of course a TB external drive but since there is only 1 TB I/O on a 15″ MBP and no expresscard slot to add more i’m SOL unless there is a TB hub too. let the $$$ flow

    • McLean

      The Thunderbolt drives will daisy chain just like firewire so you will only need one port on your Macbook Pro.

  • From what I’ve been reading, Intel wanted to bring Light Peek to market as the new, “do everything” connector; to carry everything including video, keyboard, whatever, so that it didn’t matter whatever the device was. Effectively the next generation of USB and then some.

    However, the cost of the light technology was too high for the mainstream manufacturers so Thunderbolt was created to satisfy them as this uses copper, but its distance is restricted to 3 metres max.

    Judging by the cost of our networking LED transceiver modules compared to the copper versions, I can believe it. I don’t think the kinds of units we currently find in our household AV systems would be up to the grade for Light Peek.

    We do have some real laser systems for longer optical runs where LED down multi-mode fibre just can’t cut it, but they are a little on the dangerous side; we take enough care with them in a work environment so I can’t see actual lasers entering a connectivity role in the home; too tempting for some brainless prat to look down the end.

    Still; once Thunderbolt is in place and the protocols are settled down, we’ll likely see machines start to offer LED optical ports at some point; like USB, motherboards offering mostly 1.1 with one bank of V2 and then eventually everything was V2, and now with the occasional V3.

    • In fact, thinking about this, I wonder about the longetivity of devices. Our optical ports generally have to be polished every few years to maintain a decent connection; and they’re not exactly being connected and disconnected every few minutes. They also live in a nice, controlled cabinet.

      …and that’s got to be done by a professional company; we don’t even do that ourselves.

      In a home environment, optical connector contamination is going to be a good question; especially if they’re using the fifty-odd nanometre stuff. I think that given the option, I’d stick with Thunderbold until they’ve shown a good solution to the contamination issue.

      • Another thing; there is the question of power draw. At the moment our telephones are connected by copper and use POE (power over ethernet) so they get their power over the ethernet cable rather than needing their own transformer.

        Running optical means the device has to use its own power to run the optical connection. That would mean to connect a mouse or keyboard via optical would mean they’d need their own power source, like wireless keyboards and mice do now. I wonder what the power consumption would be?

        Has anyone done the maths?

    • tmay


      from the wiki;

      A future version is planned to use optical fiber cable containing two 62.5 micron wide fibers that can transport the infrared signal up to 100 metres (330 ft).[18] The conversion of electrical signal to optical will be embedded into the cable itself, allowing the current display port socket to be future compatible, but eventually Intel hopes for a purely optical transceiver assembly embedded in the PC.[14]

      (Implied is that you will need power available at both ports for optical)

      The spec plans growth to 100Gb over the next decade…

      Intel hasn’t been very forthcoming about power over fiber, so I wouldn’t assume that it will happen.


  • Uhm, overkill?

    Our cameras can’t even generate data anywhere near the speeds of USB3 — why put in an even faster, and less ubiquitous, spec?

    • People said why do we need USB keyboards and mice? PS2 serves the purpose brilliantly. Yet that is the way connectivity went 🙁

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