Nikon D5R concept camera

This Nikon D5R camera is a designer's concept created by Ned Mulka. The idea is to include the mirror, prism and sensor into a rotating element that can reduce the camera size and weight (see this slideshow for a detailed description of this concept).

Please note that  this is only a concept camera that is not associated with Nikon Corporation in any way. As always, I am interested in your opinion and feedback.

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  • Meh

    So in portrait mode you hold it at the bottom?!

    Stability is thrown out the window for compactness and “cool”. Better off designing for Sony.

    • Meh

      Plus, rotating the prism would give you a landscape view when you’re actually photographing a portrait view I think.

      I’m gonna call this a FAIL design.

      • Meh

        Ok someone mentioned below that you hold the grip like normal and just turn the prism to shoot portrait, which would mean shifting the sensor around too.

        I get the design slightly more now, but myself, I’d prefer not moving the sensor and prism all the time, more stuff to break. If I want something small I’d just buy a d7000 it’s not like that’s a huge camera.

        Interesting design…..

    • The invisible man

      No use for me, I never take picture in portrait mode, I just ask my customers to lay on the floor.

  • The invisible man

    Radiations proof ?

  • broxibear

    Yeah…think I’ll give this one a miss for a digital FM2.

  • Rashad Mahmood

    No, you always hold it from the side, or “standard” grip. The sensor rotates so that the same hand position can take either portrait or landscape.

  • Call me conservative…but I honestly don’t like this design

  • Chris

    Looks like shit and a complete joke of a concept. Sorry.

    • LGO

      Badge this as a Leica and everyone will call it revolutionary … or perhaps not. 🙂

      • Eaksoy

        seeing as how leica has had the same basic design since its debut, I don’t see the analogy.

        (aside from the s series, but who cares about them)

  • One downside I notice immediately is that larger lenses will not balance well on this body. Otherwise, it is certainly an interesting concept.

  • David

    I think it is a great idea. Looks a little odd at first, but I can see how this would work pretty well.

    When it comes to reducing the size of the camera body, that’s not going to be as easy. The vertical grip isn’t empty space. In case of the compare D3 it holds a pretty large battery. And it’s as big for a good reason. A D4 with a small battery wouldn’t last very long.

  • dudemanppl

    NR admin, I love you and want to make babies with you, but please stop posting these bullshit, retarded ass designs that are of no use to us.

    • Awwww come on. Slow news… nothing real to post. Its not a big deal that he posts something that is just someone’s idea. You don’t have to read it or look at it.

    • mwl

      Don’t listen to this douchebag Admin. Posts like this are interesting and probably help Nikon to avoid making huge mistakes.

      • dudemanppl

        I’m a douchebag!

  • Um, I’m sorry. No no no no no.

  • ben

    It looks more like coolpix concept. It look to me, hard to hold camera in balance with large lens, more place to put weather sealed and moving part like that may cause some failure in extreme condit6ion like single digit D series is targeted to.
    Very interesting concept but not quite feasible for this level I think. May be for entry level ons that target is more casual users?

    • ben

      Just added why I think it’s out of balance is that not all the photographer is using right eye for view finder. I’m right handed by my primary eye is left one. I rather have the viewfinder in centre of the camera.
      Also, because of vertical grip the posture is not that bad as he suggested on the slide.

  • Not a Video Shooter

    Let’s get away from old approaches, like rotating digital backs on next generation
    systems. Or as in this case having this drive the design of the camera.
    As this is driven by concerns with limited sensor area and constrained
    aspect formats.

    With future advances in digital sensors this will soon be a solution to a
    problem that does not exists.

  • not bad

  • The main point of this concept is to reduce the size and weight…yet it is called a professional camera? Kind of an oxymoron. I know a lot of people that associate a professional camera with ‘big’ – nice chunky body with grip that will withstand a beating. Personally, I like a bit of weight – it helps steady my hands. I find it harder shooting with a smaller and lighter camera.

    I also agree with the above post that lenses will be awkward. Imagine a 70-200 on that thing?

    I’m all for new design concepts, but things always look better on paper.

  • Roger

    I have a feeling that this type of design will not fair well with older lenses which has an aperture ring. Not only that, such a rotational mechanism will have to be very robust in terms of dust and moisture resistance. Can you imagine carrying the (slightly larger) Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II on this body and all of a sudden the rotational mechanism breaks? Or you are a pro-photographer shooting sports with a large lens on a monopod and one wrong move the whole set up is on the ground and the mechanism breaks?

    Whoever design this probably is not a photographer. One of the BENEFIT of having an extra battery grip like the MB-D10 for the D300s/D700 is you could have multiple power source. If you run out of battery, just go to a nearby 7-11 and buy some AA batteries and you are shooting again.

    The pros will never like this design.

    • in china,they have 7-12….seriously,,,

  • Okay…so we rotate the viewfinder and the lensmount to shoot in portrait, but the sensor remains fixed relative to the rest of the camera body. Lots of problems with this concept:

    1) Since the pentaprism needs to rotate while keeping the sensor (and in turn the mirror) in place, it would push the whole lens-mount forward. Not only would this thicken the camera, but would require special lenses to focus on a sensor that is now further from the lens mount.
    2) Bad posture. Rotate that viewfinder for portrait mode, and the viewfinder is now much further from the grip handle – a longer moment arm. Physically, it will be harder to stabilize in portrait mode. But in addition to that, the pentaprism once again gets in the way of proper shooting posture. How do I grip my smaller lens if that pentaprism is in the way?
    3) Speaking of that pentaprism, that thing is now in the way of manual focus ring as well.
    4) The lens is now mounted way off to the side instead of close to the relative center – presumably to accomodate the rotation so the pentaprism can get around the corner. that doesn’t leave much space for the sensor. Perhaps the lens mount itself would need to be larger (more plastic around it) to accomodate. More bulk, more holes in the size argument.
    5) Shooting on a tripod? Tough luck…your viewfinder no longer aligns with the centerline of the sensor in portrait mode. Talk about awkward shooting.
    6) The hot shoe – what a horrible location. Not that I condone using a flash mounted…we now have a situation where the flash mounts at a location not at all centralized to the sensor/lens. You now have to aim the flash at the subject based on the distance from the subject.
    7) DOF Preview button and program button are now unrealistically far from the grip. Either grow longer fingers or move the buttons. But by moving the buttons, you’re introducing necessary components in order to make the DOF preview button work – a relay of some sort? There’s a reason it’s mounted directly adjacent to the lens.

    Bottom line: Epic Fail.

    • mike

      Did you read anything at all? Mirror and sensor rotate with the prism. It doesn’t make sense any other way. I can’t believe you wrote this much without even understanding that much about it.

      • I did…but perhaps I wasn’t clear. The sensor needs to be mounted to something. If not to the frame, it needs to be mounted to the unit that needs to rotate. So you have a frame…the rotation interface, a secondary frame to mount the sensor. That pushes everything forward…thus a thicker camera (item #1). Additionally, that core – the part that moves – would have to have a radius large enough to house the sensor entirely and everything around it (including the frame). So it would not really be as small as the sketches would suggest (item #4).

        In hind sight, I will admit my comment about special lenses may be moot. If I could edit my post, I would have redacted that specific sentence immediately.

  • Guest

    A plus for this design is that the speedlight remains on top whether sensor orientation is landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical). This is important for event photographers who does not want speedlights on the side when shooting portrait orientation. Eliminates the need for a flash bracket.

    • Event photographers are using flash brackets. It’s not just because it’s easy to rotate them to accommodate orientation, but also to move the flash further from the glass (read: red eye). As I pointed out above, the flash location is actually pretty awful. Though I prefer off-camera flash, an on-camera flash should be in direct alignment with the lens.

  • Ian

    The only size-weight saving is elimination of the battery compartment. The designer seems to think that there’s a lot of empty space in the main grip, and that the battery could be put there. I doubt that the current professional Nikon DSLRs have empty air (if they did, they wouldn’t weigh as much as they do).

  • Just use a 1:1 (square) sensor. No rotation necessary. Problem solved.

    • jim


    • Rob

      Came here to say that.

  • Mark Stump

    We don’t have to keep the 2:3 format!
    Rather than 36×24
    Lets go with 30×30, then crop one way or the other to 4×5, or leave square and reduce turning the camera to those times when one really needs the diagonal.

    • fretless

      i’m with you here, why not have a 1:1 sensor? couldn’t be THAT much more expensive, could it? and 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and whatever crops (landscape and/or portrait) could be displayed optionally in the viewfinder like those grid lines for architecture/horizon we know already.

      but nikon simply won’t do that. why? because there wouldn’t be any need for vertical/battery grips any more … and this would mean a whole lot less money to make!

      concerning the concept camera: it took me a while but i realised that the standard orientation must of course be portrait and you rotate it into landscape – THEN you don’t have to twist your arm! however i also dislike the flash position – should be above the lens. the body not being balanced seems like another big problem to me – think of larger lenses.



  • vinman

    Closed minds. It’s sad, really. Don’t get me wrong, I love big bodies like the D3 and my D700 with the grip, but there is no reason we have to stick with 40 year old designs if they aren’t necessary. Remove the traditional mirror box, and a whole world of design options open up. As long as it’s still dust and wether sealed and all the support structure is metal, a design like this could be nice. Heavy lenses? In critical situations you’re likely using a tripod, right? Balance isn’t a big issue on a good tripod and head. Personally, I’d welcome a “pro” build that’s light weight with legendary Nikon pro quality. I gave up pounding nails with my bodies once I sold my last F4s…

    • Hammer Man

      I actually just use my Nikon F to hammer a nail in earlier today. Then I took three photos of the nail. (bracketed)

    • chris

      you are confident enough in contrast based autofocus to give up the mirror? you must not shoot anything that moves!

      • vinman

        People who can assess what one must or must not shoot based on a comment on a forum thread about a concept camera must be
        (bad) comedians
        add adjective here
        If a mirror box is replaced by a newer method in the future (and it will be), then will you stop shooting “anything that moves”? But hey, this is the interweb so feel free to be a big ol overgeneralizing douche all you want. That’s what anonymity is all about, right?

  • Some of you noobs can’t read. Some of you are talking about how it doesn’t make sense because the sensor is fixed.

    READ THE FREAKING PICTURES! The sensor rotates with the mirror and prism housing.

    I’m not saying its a good design idea… but it makes sense and it could theoretically work. Especially if it were to be used mostly for smaller lenses like the size of the 35 1.8, 50 1.4 , and new 50 1.8. I don’t think he intended it to be well balanced hand held with a 200 f/2 lens.

  • ceedubya

    there should be 2 shutter buttons. one for the normal view, one for the vertical view. the other one turns off when the other is in use. Also the ergonomics must be perfect for this to be practical.

  • Mike

    How will the rotating part handle lenses which weight more than 2, 3 or more pounds? Additional moving parts in electronics normally cause greater amounts of mechanical problems associated with wear and tear, and what photographers require from their equipment is durability.

    Another weak point of that design is its water resistance. How would you seal such big area of motion without risk of initially water-repellent device becoming over time natural host of moisture (again tear & wear issue).

    Even though concept is interesting and brings fresh air, I wouldn’t see any pro-photographer running around with such device.

  • Sam

    So dirty Design.

  • Apooo

    Wow… It’s different… Kind of interesting though… Bear in mind that it’s just a concept and a radical one at that. It’s difficult to accept simply because there are no design elements that really tie this one to current designs today. Call me an old dog but I think it’s out of context. It’s almost as if we skipped a few generations in between. For example in human evolution (for those of us that believe) we started of as a single cell organism and evolve to multi-cellular organisms to amphibians and so on to homo sapiens. Well let’s say we skip the “monkey” phase where we start walking on two limbs and go straight to man. From the outside… that would look weird!!! And that’s how I feel about this design. You hit the fast forward button too far without showing how you got there.

  • probably cheaper to design a square sensor or one that rotates within the camera, rotating the entire lens is silly. what if youre lens is attached to monopod?

    • Rob

      Looking at the drawings, I don’t think the lens mount rotates with the sensor, so on a monopod you just rotate the sensor/mirror/prism assembly and the lens doesn’t move. This introduces its own problems as a moving sensor could be prone to focusing problems.

  • Can we add a rotating front grip while we’re at it? The ergonomically retarded fixed vertically oriented main grip is a holdover from film cameras and really needs to go.

    While I don’t necessarily like this concept, thinking outside the unnecessarily self-imposed film camera form factor is definitely a good thing.

  • From Canada

    I must echo the square sensor solution.

    Also, the concept designer’s perception of the “current issues” is flawed. Professional photographers want the stability that comes with the weight of the bodies. Top priorities for photographers is the ability to configure/switch between shooting settings without fumbling around menus and such. Even VR is an invention to keep the lens sales high.

  • Kurtis Kronk

    What a terrible concept design… First, to think that what working professionals want is a more compact body like that is ridiculous. That’s a consumer thing, not a pro thing. We like our bodies to fit comfortably in our hand. Make them lighter if you want, without sacrificing build quality, but size is what makes it comfortable to handle the thing.

  • mike

    I would have thought that using a square sensor like on some medium formats would make more sense, but hey maybe this is easier.

  • 2cents

    okay. Just think ergonomics. Imagine looking through the view finder with your right eye in standard mode. Then flip it to horizontal mode. Your now holding all of the camera far to the right of your head. Actually do that physically and see how awkward is actually feels.

    A quick redesign could allow only the sensor to rotate internally with a switch or button without even having to move anything. You would maintain good holding position of the camera.

    • M!

      right on.

  • Visualiza

    Why not just have a square sensor, so that one can just choose the framing with a button or toggle switch?

    • 2cents

      that would work too. 🙂

  • Seems kind of pointless. Why take the time to move the camera away from your face and turn the part when you can just hold it vertically or horizontally in one quick movement

  • The invisible man

    *** Broken D700 on Ebay ****

    There is a broken D700 on Ebay for $1200 (the camera looks like new, that’s an internal issue because of sea water).
    Maybe a good deal if you know how to fix it.

    • INA

      Good deal? If the sea water somehow entered into the camera, then you need to change every single piece of electronic and internal metal parts which where in contact with the sea water… Sea water is killer… There is high risk that you will buy just the “housing” for the 1200$…

      • The invisible man

        (sold) the guy said that the camera did not go “into” the water but received the sea water from a spash.

        So what about the D700 internal sealing rubbers joints ?

        But you’re right sea water is x100 worse than fresh warter.

  • M Thomas

    I’m sorry but this is butt ugly…. Give me a brake. Glad this is NR….

  • Sean

    too many moving parts, shorter mechanical life, not something professionals would be after i think
    gimmicky concept

  • chris

    this is a gimmicky concept which would better be suited for a bridge camera or low-end slr like a d3100 or d5100 level than a pro body. if you shoot in portrait enough to want this, you will probably just buy a grip!

  • Davo

    Good out of box thinking even though I don’t particularly like the design.
    If they did something like it I’d have it permanently locked in ‘portrait’ orientation and still rotate the entire camera (not just the prism/mount/sensor) for the occasional times I shoot in landscape. I can’t see how the rotating mechanism would be robust or quick enough compared to just rotating the entire camera.
    Can’t we have an oversized multi-format sensor similar to the GH2 design but covering traditional 135 format as well as a square using the entire image circle.

  • R R

    man Im getting sick of seeing such terrible ideas been posted on Nikon Rumors, my worst nightmare is that maybe somebody at Nikon is actually listening and may end up producing some of this shit.

    please dont listen Nikon.. these are noobs that havent ever worked as pro photographers.. please dont listen to this crap.

    in the other hand someone should post this crap in the Canon Rumors site.. that would put them behind for certain.

  • Mr. Kotku

    My favorite feature is the off center hot shoe so all your flash pics have that lovely drop shadow effect. KISS principle says square sensor is better AKA film Hasselblad.

  • sjms

    please don’t let these people near a camera

  • Ren Kockwell

    EWWWW Please no.

  • Chris

    I’ll say it again, this design is a joke.

  • BG

    This design would be suited much better for Canon.

  • Geoff1

    Horrible. Don’t do it Nikon.

  • Roger


  • WhoCares

    This concept is a perfect example of a design that doesn’t meet any customer needs, resulting in a failed product.

  • Simon Bailey

    What’s with making everything smaller?

    One of the great things (for me) about Niko DSLR bodies is that they are (a0 large enough to hold and (b) large enough to allow balance with a big lump of glass hanging in front of them..

    No interest here.. 🙁

  • steve

    Should keep this one for April 1st.

    I have to say that from an engineering point of view, this is an absurd solution to landscape/portrait ‘problem’ that has already been fixed in the original, because it introduces more problems and only solves one. Most importantly, pro bodies need to be tough. This won’t be. unless it is very heavy and over-engineered.

    Surely, it is easier just to make the current body dimensionally smaller rather than screw up an excellent, ultra-tough design ?

    If not, and just for the sake of exploring the concept, then it is simpler to make the grip rotate around a circular body as this avoids the screen problems his design introduces.

    I really hope this guy doesn’t work as an engineer because this concept is a farce. Must be an art student ?

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