Nikon UK talks mirrorless

AP had a interview with Simon Iddon, Product Manager for DX DSLR at Nikon UK. Similar to Canon, Nikon's position is that they have "a complete line-up and does not need to fill any gaps in its product range with a compact system offering".

Nikon does not see the mirrorless market as a threat to their DSLR line: "compact system camera market will not divert sales from the DSLRs, because if you want a DSLR you want what a DSLR stands for and that isn't a compact system camera".

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  • CanonUser


  • Trevor

    “compact system camera market will not divert sales from the DSLRs, because if you want a DSLR you want what a DSLR stands for and that isn’t a compact system camera”

    So true imho! I’m glad Nikon is thinking this through and not rushing to do something just because others are. While some would argue for mirrorless, I personally think Nikon has it right — they have a complete lineup (being refreshed) that meets the needs of their users.

    • Merv

      I’d say it’s because those mirrorless cameras still can’t fit in a jacket pocket

      A Sony NEX could fit in a girl’s purse though if it has a small lens, but I don’t really know who is buying all the Sony NEX cameras

      • Sarge

        I spent a lot of time winter and summer with a D90 and 18-270 Tamron in the pocket of my ski shell. It doesn’t have to be tiny to be a LOT more portable than my D3.

        A GH2 with 14-140 is suitably small for me, and if Sony would make an f1.4 pancake for the NEX5, that would be a brilliant little camera. That camera has its detractors, but it is still a very powerful little unit.

        I wish Nikon would do something soon. I can’t wait until the end of summer…

    • Sarge

      “the needs of their users” are not being met, though. Nikon lags on convergence on the video side of their line. I have a D3 for pro photos use, and while I would prefer Nikon-quality imaging in my smaller unit (formerly a D90), my next camera will be a GH2 or NEX 5/7 unless Nikon announces a product this week. They are quite unfortunately behind Canon, Sony, and Panasonic in video.

      I foremost prefer Nikon’s ergonomics and imaging quality, so this isn’t a troll post, I’m just being frank with regard to their market position on video convergence. I hope they release something that blows the doors off their competition. Either way, their product line is sorely lacking on the video (particularly focus/noise/audio) and ‘size’ side of the equation.

      It’s going to be an interesting year though, with supposed 800k+ ISO from Sony, and new D4/x cameras from Nikon on the way in late summer.

      • broxibear

        Hi Sarge,
        “and new D4/x cameras from Nikon on the way in late summer.”
        I think this circulating rumour was based on staff not being allowed to take time off during a period in August/Sept.
        As far as I’m concerned any rumours, tips, inside knowledge for pro equipment means nothing after events in Japan. Schedules haven’t been changed, at the moment they just don’t exist.
        May 12th is a date to look out for, Nikon post their financial results for the past year…I think you’ll get some statements then about how the earthquake has affected future models.

        • Sarge

          True that, re future release schedules. I don’t know that it will be as bad a hit as everyone thinks, though, as they have manufacturing elsewhere. And the nuclear problem notwithstanding, I’ve never seen a group of people get their act back together faster than the Japanese. I have hope, but most likely I will also have a GH2 soon, too.

    • John

      Nikon is certainly NOT meeting my needs and I have a lot of Nikon gear: D300, D700, many Nikkor lenses.
      Mirrorless may not be taking sales from their DSLRs, but it is certainly taking sales away from Nikon.
      I wanted a high quality compact – bought an LX-3 because Nikon does not have any CoolPix that can compete. Now I want a higher IQ camera larger than a LX-3, but smaller than a DSLR – Nikon has nothing. So I’m probably taking my $$ to m43 if Nikon doesn’t come out with a compact mirroless interchangeable lens system soon (and I don’t really want a 2.5x crop sensor).
      I certainly hope this is all smoke and mirrors from Nikon, because if it’s not they will be turning away business.

      • broxibear

        Hi John,
        I was in a similar position, I waited as long as I could to hear of any Nikon mirrorless, waited for the X100 prices and a few months ago bought a GF1.
        Looked at all the other micro four thirds including the GF2, tried an NEX5 but for me the GF1 was the standout camera…coupled it with the 20mm f1.7 and it’s fantastic.
        I know Olympus are rumoured to be bringing out two new PEN models in the next few months so it might be worth waiting to see what they’re like ?

      • ramdomweb

        I quite agree with you. I had NEX-5 before but was given as a gift to my father-in-law. I can see there is a market for this type of camera.

        If Apple can create an ipad to fill the whole between a netbook and a laptop, which I have heard millions of nagetive voices about how stupid the Apple’s move was, why won’t Nikon to put down their DSLR mind and look carefully into this mirrorless market?

  • spamdie

    Its called being smart. They have to have something in the works. They just won’t tell anyone. Their largest competitor said no so why rock the boat until you’re good and ready.

    Maybe in a year they’ll really have something they could put to production. And maybe in a year the current mirrorless cameras will have such poor sales that they saved money by not putting it out to market. Worst case scenario that format takes off and then they produce.

  • Nat

    Well, what if in the next few years the IQ of mirrorless better than DX DSLR?

    • It is already. With Leica M9.

    • “Nat
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink
      Well, what if in the next few years the IQ of mirrorless better than DX DSLR?”

      That’s impossible. If the smaller format like DX finds a way to improve image quality, the same improvement will be applied to DX sensors and improve that image quality also. In other words it’s impossble for a smaller sensor to have better quality images. Larger sensors will always be at least equal in quality and frankly, even that is unlikely, since larger sensors have other advantages, they will be better.

      As for Nikon saying they don’t need a mirrorless camera, that makes no sense. Having a higher quality option than the coolpix with more control over image taking choices is a good idea, not a bad one.

      • Correction:
        Instead of:
        That’s impossible. If the smaller format like DX finds a way to improve image quality,

        I meant to write:
        That’s impossible. If the smaller format than DX finds a way to improve image quality,

      • farb.rauschen

        yeah, but the Sony NEX cameras are DX and quite capable already. The only difference obviously lies in post processing the image data – the NEX raws are 12bit only, but that might be a nobrainer to change.

        Have a D300 and a NEX3 and I find myself more and more keeping the D300 in my backpack and the NEX3 in my hand.

  • Sarge

    Since I already have a D3, I guess I’ll be waiting a few short days to decide between the upcoming NEX7 and the Panny GH2 to replace my D90 as a jacket-pocket camera for backcountry expeditions, skiing, and vacation travel.

    Yeah, there’s no gap in your lineup, Nikon. Except there is.

    I also think the above statement was intentionally placed, as they’ve made it quite clear they’ve got something in the works. My guess is it’s APS-C, EVIL, uses DX lenses, and does high ISO still photos slightly better than the GH2, but video focusing will still lag behind the competition. If that’s the case, I’ll probably be deciding between the NEX7 and GH2.

    Either way, I need a replacement soon. It might be smart to wait for Nikon’s second gen EVIL anyway…

  • RMT

    I still can’t see what all the mirrorless hype is about. The body without lens is smaller, agreed. But even with an 18-55 kit lens, every size of body will be too large to fit in anyones pocket. How about a 200 or 300mm zoom lens? That would dwarf the body, and also invalidate the whole “pocket” factor.
    What’s left is a small body with a number of pancake primes (I hope that’s what the built in rear caps were for). But this would not be an option for consumers……. So only pro’s left; FX D3x versus a DX mirrorless, no flash (or SB-400) and a lot of primes in a bag.

    I think we should see a mirrorless camera, but only for Nikon to improve it’s live-view focus speed and incorporate that into their DSLRs……
    Otherwise, everything else will be something like the P7000 which already is “mirrorless”.

    • Sarge

      I’m leaning heavily towards a GH2 for it’s small size as a travel/hiking/skiing DSLR. It fits in the pocket of any shell (rain or ski) and the lenses are smaller too – a full kit with 7-14mm, 14-140mm, 100-300mm and an f.95 prime takes up FAR less space (for travel) than a comparable D3 setup (which I use professionally).

      The still image quality isn’t as good, but the video is far better, so I may be willing to sacrifice a little still IQ for the size/weight/video benefits of a GH2. I’d prefer a Nikon, unless the IQ is as terrible as their compact cameras…

      Either way, a camera need not fit into tight jeans pocket to be hugely more portable. A NEX5 with a pancake does fit into my jeans pocket, by the way. So there is merit to these tiny bodies, when coupled with a pancake – and that is fully suitable for social/evening use.

      • Photonut

        “A NEX5 with a pancake does fit into my jeans pocket, by the way.”

        What the heck…? What’s your pants size ….

        • Sarge

          I’m 6’3″ with a 35 inch waist. It fits in jeans pockets (man jeans, not those gay skinny jeans). I don’t own a NEX 5 yet, but I ‘tried it on’ at the store and it fits, albeit snugly.

          • preston

            haha, i was wondering if he was wearing skinny jeans too

      • Photonut

        btw. the only pocketable cam is the Canon S95

        • Sarge

          …and the Panasonic LX5 and a host of other cameras. Unless you’re a little girl, but then you’d have a purse. The S95 does have a nice form factor, but if you’re looking for top image quality, there are other pocketable options.

  • Alexander

    Actually mirorless Nikon would be the only reason for me to switch to Nikon from Canon. I’m using Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III for a long time. It’s a nice professional camera, and it provides the same image quality as Nikon D3x (I’ve tried both of them, and they both are really nice, so please don’t troll on this). But I want something in addition to my main camera(s), something that can put in my pocket. And I don’t like image quality of Canon and Nikon compacts. So I would rather buy Olympus E-PL2 or even Fujifilm X100 for my needs. And I think I’m not the only one who wants high quality pocket camera. So, hey.. Canon/Nikon – you are wrong! )

  • Me

    From a company that should be looking to evolve using the benefits of newer technology, that sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

    In the future all systems will use mirrorless or similar technology. Some companies will drag it out and milk it more than others.

  • If Light Side and Dark Side emperors want to do something really EVIL, they have to remember the times when they had rangefinders in their line-up. Two armies of rangefinders will struggle against Leica M hegemony and there will be the greatest battle of all and in the end only one will survive.

    Para-trooper pictures presents…

  • twoomy

    Admin– Does this sound like a change for Nikon’s plans? There were quite a few rumors about Nikon working on mirrorless.

    Guess the Sony NEX and M4/3 might keep their niche value? I know many here don’t appreciate the benefits of a mirrorless system, but having something size-wise and quality-wise between a standard SLR and a cheap compact is pretty cool. (I’m a D700 AND a GH2 user. Both machines serve their purposes well.)

    • No idea, maybe the earthquake in Japan.

    • BornOptimist

      That was my initial reaction as well, that they have postponed the CSC-products!
      I really hope not, but in the light of all exectutives that already has expressed their opinions on the CSC-line, I fear that if there are substance in this, it means the CSC-line are not announced any time soon.

  • Photonut

    “Nikon ….because if you want a DSLR you want what a DSLR stands for and that isn’t a compact system camera”.

    So, what does DSLR stand for? Or should it be called BBHO? Big Bloody Heavy Overweight?

    In case the Sony NEX-7 really comes out with the rumored 24 MP sensor then it’s mine. The perfect landscape cam. Or make that a Nikon mirrorless 16 MP with D3s noise level.

    • A DSLR stands for having a mirror that allows you to precisely frame the subject and has less shutter lag to get the exact moment in your photo that you wanted.

      Rangefinders are great little cameras that are small and unobtrusive, but they don’t work well with superwide or long lenses because you can’t frame the subject well. They work even worse with things like microscopes the telescopes.

      Cameras that use EVF are fine for many things, but they don’t show depth of field very well, so manual focusing is a guess and the delay between the action and the added shutter lag makes taking images of fast moving or unpredictable subjects a guessing game.

      DSLR’s are bigger and heavier, which can be a disadvantage in many situations. In fact each kind of camera I listed above has advantages and disadvantages. Horses for courses, they say.

      • Dan

        Most current DSLR’s don’t show depth of field very well either (unless you’re doing live view, which practically requires a tripod anyway). In both the Nikon and Canon lines, the focusing screens on DX/APS-C cameras have “native f-stops” of something like f/4 – f/5.6, so the depth of field in the viewfinder is so large that you can’t accurately see where the focusing plane is. Full-framers are a bit better, but doing accurate manual focusing at f/1.4 or f/2 is still tough. There are after-market solutions that improve the situation a bit, but I personally find it pretty disappointing that manual focusing in critical-focus situations, like when the DOF is really thin, is difficult on digital SLR’s.

      • John

        Dan is right. Optical viewfinders do not show accurate DOF with fast glass whereas an EVF shows the true DOF and the true final framing (unlike my 95% OVF on my D700).
        The standard mantra is that optical viewfinders are the best thing to have – I don’t buy it. I think people are just used to them and accept their faults.

        A reall good EVF – high resolution, 60HZ update rate, long eye relief, etc. – would be fantastic to have on a large sensor camera.

      • twoomy

        Chris – You need to try a GH2. With its electronic viewfinder, I can touch the screen to pick my focus point and then zoom in on my focus point as if I was using a microscope, all while looking at an indicator that tells me how close to minimum or infinite focus I am.

        While I love my Nikon SLR, when I’m shooting macro work, I’ll choose the Pany GH2 with the Leica 45mm macro any day. I would consider manual focusing with my D700 and 105mm to be a guessing game in comparison.

        Definitely horses for courses, but I think you’re underestimating the other horse. 🙂

      • preston

        I don’t know about rangefinders not being good for ultawide angles. The best prints I’ve ever seen with ultrawide angles are from the Mimiya 7 with 43mm lens (equivalent to 21mm with a 35mm sensor).

  • The poor fools.

    Personally, I just bought an Olympus EPL2 to replace a Panasonic LX3. I carry it all the time. I bring my D700 out for serious planned photography. (With the Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake lens, the EPL2 is less than 1/4 inch thicker than the LX3, has great image quality, and leaves lots of flexibility.)

    Right now, DSLRs have a significant-to-modest benefit in AF speed (though many people say the GH2 is comparable to low-end DSLRs for single focus speed but not for tracking continuous AF; wouldn’t know, haven’t played with a GH2).

    Mirrorless have an advantage on focus ACCURACY, though.

    Image quality in bright light is pretty much a non-issue for any serious player; I’ve got 8 20×30 prints up at work from a mix of cameras (Fuji S2, Nikon D200, Nikon D700 — and the LX3). Nobody can tell which was which. How many people make prints bigger than 20×30? Some, certainly; but most sales even of DSLRs go to people who never make a print at all.

    The D700 wins solidly at high ISO, of course. That’s why I bought it, that’s why I don’t see giving it up any time soon. But lots of people don’t live in the dark the way I do :-). It also tracks action better (though that’s mostly a side-issue for me personally). Has higher frame rate, which I do use sometimes (got the battery pack just to kick it up, too).

    A mirrorless system is quieter, and probably can be handheld at lower speeds (no mirror movement to induce camera shake).

    It’s possible that a mirrorless system only really fills a niche for people with a really good DSLR who are finding the P&S they carry the rest of the time not good enough, though; if so it’s not that big a market, and already being served. I think it all depends on the AF; if the AF in mirrorless cameras gets good enough to take pictures of your kids (including their soccer games) (which is not to say good enough for pro-level sports photography), then the whole bottom half of the DSLR market evaporates. Of course, if you put that AF in a fixed-lens P&S, the people I’m talking about might by that instead of an EVIL, leaving the mirrorless niche still small.

    Good thing I’m not in market planning for a camera company; I’d have to reach a definite conclusion on this stuff!

  • broxibear

    Read an interesting article on AP, very personal experience of residents going back to their tsunami damaged homes in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture.
    I’m posting it because Natori, Miyagi Prefecture is home to one of Nikon’s plants and Nikon was one of the biggest employers in this town. As a photographer I never really thought about where my camera equipment came from apart from “made in Japan”…until of this earthquake and tsunami.
    It’s well worth a full read, here’s asmall excerpt…
    “Bundled up against the wind, Junpei Endo gets off his bicycle, sets it on its kickstand and ponders the dusty mementos he has collected in its wire basket. There is a stained and torn photo album. A few magazines. An old Pentax SLR camera. The kind that still uses film.
    Endo dusts off the lens. He breaks into a smile for just a moment.
    “It was my father’s camera,” he says. “He loved this camera.”
    His father, a retired newspaperman, was home alone that afternoon. “He probably didn’t have a chance,” Endo says, tears welling up as he tugs at his dirty black ski cap. “He died alone.””

  • Dpuglas

    I was hoping for a pro mirrorless from Nikon. I mountain bike, and carrying my D300 isn’t an option, and my iPhone camera just doesn’t cut it. I’m starting to eyeball the X100, although the fixed lens isn’t my ideal. Unfortunately, you can’t have everything. So maybe I will get the X100, and either the D700 replacement, or the D700 when prices come down. I like the idea of the M9, but 7 grand, plus another 1500 just for one lens, can’t justify it.

  • Trevor

    I love how all the mirrorless fans post about the GH2 because it’s really the only EVIL done well, but then in the same breath they talk about its smaller size. The GH2 is 4.9×3.5×3 while the D3100 is 4.9×3.8×2.9. Throw a 35 f/1.8 on instead of the kit and the Nikon is only off by about half an inch all around. So the GH2 saves .5 inches, loses an OVF, and gains DoF (a bad thing in this case).

    The GH2 isn’t a bad camera, but where does the “it fits in a pocket” argument come in? And, without a huge size difference, what’s the big deal? Neither the D3100 nor other cameras with live view NEED a mirror to work. We should be happy that Nikon is not taking away a feature but instead giving us an option and not making us buy all new glass.

    As someone above said, this is the reason mirrorless has problems; you just can’t beat physics. The things we want like shallow DoF and low light shooting come with large sensors and large apertures. Large sensors plus large apertures equals, well, large. I think this post shows that Nikon has (smartly) recognized that. Hopefully now they will one-up the S95 which really is the best quality truly pocketable camera.

    • BornOptimist

      I agree completely with you. And I have said for a long long time, that a 2.5x crop factor is the ultimate sensor size. With a short flange distance it should be possible to make fast small prime lenses, and even medium fast short range zoom-lenses (18-55 equv.).
      But I don’t mind buying a new set of lenses if Nikon releases a 2.5x CSC.

    • John

      Well, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the GH2 against the D3100. Sure, if you made a GH2 with as inferior of a viewfinder as the D3100 and without an articulating screen and with with the same video capability the GH2 would be even smaller for sure.

      How about comparing the D3100 with the G1? (4.88″ x 3.31″ x 1.77″)

      • Trevor

        The point is not so much the specs of the D3100 vs the GH2; the points are that you will always sacrifice when you make the camera smaller and to say mirrorless is great because the GH2 is pocketable completely ignores that there are DSLRs just a shave larger.

        As I said, the GH2 isn’t a bad camera (it’s great in many ways), but it sure isn’t small. And Panny can massage the sensor all they want, but to have the sensor smaller means you get a broader depth of field. To combat that you can have larger apertures — which completely offset any size gains (and can make a small camera and big lens be ridiculous).

        So, again, I think Nikon recognized that when you begin making all of these compromises, mirrorless is an odd in-between that is probably best filled with better point and shoot.

        Also, the sizes you quote for the G1 were a bit of a Panasonic press release figure that excluded protrusions, etc to trumpet mirrorless as being smaller. The actual measurements (body only) are the same as the G2 which come in at 4.88×3.31×2.91 ( right around the D3100.

  • Agony

    This quote makes Nikon seem obtuse. They are losing sales. I am one. I have a D90 and was waiting for a D400 to upgrade to and then the X100 came along. Same price point as D7000 body only. I’m okay with fixed lens as I shoot a prime on my D90 nearly all of the time, anyway. But, I don’t want to lug a large camera around with me everywhere I go, which was my one hesitation witha D400. I always want a camera with me. The X100 I can throw in cargo pants pocket and go to a BBQ or dinner party, it has an APS-C sensor and better manual controls than Nikon DSLRs. That’s one sale gone.

    And if my sale is not valued by Nikon execs, they’re arrogant and too comfortable in their jobs and need to be replaced. Maybe that’s the same reason they initially lost the DSLR market to Canon. Nikon would benefit from listening to their customers more and their marketing data less.

    • Rob

      You are too arrogant to think that your individual desires should matter to Nikon. They know much more than you or anyone on this website knows about the market dynamics and the most profitable directions to take the company. They can’t make the perfect camera for everyone’s individual needs. No one can; it wouldn’t be financially feasible. They don’t always make all the best decisions, but for you to suggest that them not making the exact camera for what you want (when it seems another company already can deliver – why would they try to split such a small market) is obtuse is…obtuse.

  • Jack

    wow, i can’t believe that statement. how old fashioned nikon’s become. as if the size of current dslr’s was the be all and end all. heaven forbid cameras got smaller and actually usuable in a day to day situation.

  • simon

    I don’t care if there’s thousands of cameras out there, when no one has a real working viewfinder. I find it really hard to shoot without one. Fixed lens, equivalent to 35 mm n a film camera, is all I need, plus a damn viewfinder! 🙂

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