What could the Nikon D400 sensor be like?

The only D400 traces so far (credit: Anders Relling)

In addition to Nikon's press event on August 24th, Sony is also expected to announce its new a77 camera on the same date. This is another reason why we may not see a Nikon D300s replacement this month - Sony will want to take all the glory with its new 24MP sensor. Here is what I know about the a77 sensor in case Nikon decides to use it in the D300s replacement later this year:

  • World's first 24.3 MP APS-C sensor (FIY: Nikon D7000 has a normal ISO range of 100-6400)
  • ISO range of 100-16000 (expandable to ISO 50)
  • The sensor will offer AVCHD progressive (ver.2.0) full HD video recording at 60p which is also world's first
  • A 24p frame rate option will also be available.
A recent unscientific poll indicated that the D300s replacement is the second most anticipated Nikon camera right now (22% of all votes).
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  • MB

    Seems to me we are, as always, overexpecting and overdemanding.
    What we will most likely get on 24th of august is a new Coolpix lineup.
    New s1200pj, P7100 and maybe something called S8200, but nothing more.
    New FX camera will probably not be available this year, and I seriously doubt we will ever see D400 now that we have D7000.
    We may hope for that mirrorless Nikon wonder in a couple of months (October maybe) and a lens or two this year but that’s it.

    • broxibear

      “overexpecting and overdemanding” what?…here on nikonrumors?…nooooo…I don’t believe a word of it ?

    • photonut

      “overdemanding”? What’s that? That word doesn’t exist in my Nikon related vocabulary. I’d call it bare minimum … 😀

    • Danyyyel

      Yes there might be some over expectation but sorry do you think that Nikon will not upgrade its line of camera after 4 years. Which is an eternity in terms of any electronic industry. So you are saying that we will have to wait for half a decade for Nikon to upgrade their camera.

      Sometime people expect the camera line to change every year which is a bit of an exaggeration, but the contrary is also true.

    • paulus

      Why a mirror-less camera? what does it bring?
      And indeed over demanding, because a sensor with 24Mp on APS-C size will absolutely be overkill and give lots of noise, and no lens will be able to give the resolution needed. The 16Mp D7000 already had its problems with many lenses.

  • Perfect, the D400 will look like a manhole cover!

    • Ke

      Perfect for stealthy street photos.

  • AnoNemo

    NR Admin, this manhole is really fascinating!

  • Chad

    So I was in Salt Lake City, UT today at the PDN Photo Expo and asked a Nikon rep about the upcoming announcement and he was, a little grumpy and said “what Big announcement”, then he said nothing was being announced and he hadn’t heard about anything. I think this was after being asked the same question possibly a 100+ times already.

    I failed to ask the Main Nikon rep who I have spoken with for many years the Big questions but he was definitely eavesdropping on the conversation. He has always been for straightforward in a round about way of saying there is nothing coming. They all seemed a little moody today. (Nikon Reps)

    “What big announcement, I haven’t heard anything. (nikon Rep)

    What about a new DSlR D4, D400, D800? Oh Yeah, is there new mirrorless system” (ME)

    Okay then the rep finally said If something was announced, He might know something maybe an hour before its is announced because of a company wide email.

    So based on there general grumpiness and blatant denial of any new system or new cameras.

    Not sure, then again, based on the 3 pro photo tweets already covered in NR there is maybe something coming. Duh!

  • Bondi Beach

    I’ve got it! New D4 with 24mp and 110% viewfinder. New Leica non-rangefinder with D3x sensor tweaked with new microlenses combined with Fuji hybrid viewfinder tech. New a77 with pelicle mirror and 60FPS raw. 😉

  • Well it could be like here, already.

    • Sahaja

      If any of these cameras (D400, D800, D4) are going to be announced this month they have already been in the hands of testers for months.

      • Worminator

        It always impresses me how tightly the details of pre-release cameras are kept secret, considering so many people much have access to them. 16 days before the official announcement, not one photo, and very little credible info.

        Even NR seems to be running dry this time.

        • Worminator, maybe we will not see anything more than the Nikon mirrorless camera since this was the only real leak so far.

  • AnoNemo

    NR Admin, change the logo on your website to this manhole! This reflects better the where the rumors come from

  • carlgo

    That’s not a manhole cover, its a crop circle carved into metal. UFOs have the technology to do that.

    • Anonymous

      It’s 60cm wide super-sensor, 1 gigapixels, Iso 1 to 1M, disguised as a manhole 🙂

  • Erland Flaten

    And there is more. Ulefoss is Norwegian company making heavy iron street garnityre. Other hot sensors:


    • Anonymous

      This company alternatively has a F900 model, which must be an analogue version 🙂

  • Jabs

    OFF topic, but maybe interesting:

    a. The hard drive that you need for your RED, D3s and the upcoming D4/D800 or whatever they call them – video drive anyone?


    b. The camera lens cover that you MAY or MAY not need – lol – and a Nikon body in there too!


    • Carl

      Read some of your postings, which revealed your vast technical insight. So as you mentioned a 2,5 inch HD on this one, do you have any idea how a data-transfer from the camera body to a mobile hard drive could work?
      I checked already the “equip equip USB 2.0 OTG Bridge” but the maker informed me, that it wouldn’t work for the lack of powersupply for the mobile hard drive.
      If this would be the whole problem, a battery (maybe even 4 eneloop AA cells) should do since USB Voltage is 5,0 V at limited Amps if I’m not mistaken…?
      SSD drives should be even less hungry in their power consumption, though so far I’ve seen only versions to be built into the Computer.

      • Jabs

        @Carl – thanks but ‘mutton head’ here – lol

        I never tried that, but I have a few flash drives and one laptop hard drive (no power supply, as it gets its’ power from the laptop) and several ‘desktop style’ larger 3 1/5 in hard drives. Laptop USB drives are too slow for me (generally 5400rpm), so I use 7200 rpm 3.5 in desktop drives in enclosures and when I outgrow them, I simply put a newer and bigger hard drive in there.

        Most cameras seem to have a mini USB port and thus you would need an adapter with two male ends and then connect directly, as I DO NOT know if this will work.

        When I get some time, I will try it out and let you know or maybe someone else already has done this and can report their findings here. Flash drives are much faster but less capacity, so maybe you try that too.

        The drives above I thought about for including in a desktop with a 3.5 to 2.5 adapter or even an expensive replacement for your laptop drive. I seldom use laptops for serious work, though they can, as compared to desktops – they are very slow and most do not have a sufficiently fast graphics sub-system to suit me. MacBook Pros are fast, but the hard drives are too small for me and thus I would have to dump everything to an external 1-3 terabyte 3.5 in drive.

        Solid state drives are really fast and really expensive and one as large as that above would probably cost several thousand dollars, but if you need it, you need it, providing you have the money to pay for it. There are external solid state drives like I think LaCie and others – look at http://www.tigerdirect.com -OR- http://www.newegg.com

        There are lots of solid state drives but they seem to perform best with either USB 3.0, Apple’s or really Intel’s Thunderbolt interface or SAS, or the latest SATA 3 interfaces. There are a few solid state drives that are like video cards that plug into your PCI-E X8 or X16 slots and they are really, really fast, but again expensive. Usually for video use, you need a RAID-0 (zero or 0) with two drives set up for your Operating System (for speed) and then a higher RAID version setup for redundancy or fail safe for your DATA. This often is too complex, so ask a ‘techie’ at a REAL computer shop to help you on that.

      • Jabs

        @Carl – second reply

        Busy, as it is Monday here – I did not have the time to check it out yet on my personal cameras, but use a NAS or Networked Attached Drive, as many have a built-in computer that makes it connect to anything basically.

        MAKE sure that it has a built-in computer too (very important) !!!

        That way, you get power and an OS within the drive that will recognize the camera through the USB interface and cable when you plug it in and then basically dump files there from your camera instead of trying to re-invent the wheel (lol).

        Will check later on with my cameras, as too busy now!

        • Carl

          Thanks for your advices. Well I’ve asked some techies before but earned just a strange look most of the times. Maybe these techies had a hard time to walk in the shoes of a photog…?
          However, the idea was to reduce weight and volume being outdoors in nature parks for instance. Meaning away from power lines and –I hope- off the necessity of carrying a laptop.
          Concerning computers I’m rather a simple user than an expert. But I thought, that it would be comfortable, to download pics from the cam direct to a hard drive. So far the DSLRs don’t have an OS which would allow to organize a download on an external harddrive. Thus I thought an OTG bridge could be the solution. But I have to admit, that I don’t know how this OTG bridge works, since it doesn’t comprise an OS as well. Anyway, the maker just stated that the problem would be the power supply for the mobile harddrive and thus I though if it is only that, this must be solvable. You mentioned a Y cable for instance, on which one could connect a power source, in this case a battery pack. But I’ve still not the slightest idea if that scenario would work. Besides I just jumped on the idea with the SSD, cause they have no moving parts inside (and hence should be more robust compared to conventional hard drives) and have probably less demand on power. A TB SSD for several thousands of Dollars wouldn’t make much sense for this purpose.

          In this blog, people were talking about how they were handling so many things and came up with some creative solutions. But for that download to hard drive thing, they seem to rather buy some more CF cards and be basically silent. Maybe its too technical.

          • Jabs

            I still have not been able to test my external drives with any of my cameras, as long day and the day still not finished yet.

            I remember some photographers talking about some LaCie drives that worked minus power or maybe they had an inverter in their car and when got back there from the hike, then they dumped all their files to their computer or NAS – not sure. I don’t know if you use Mac or Windows but just ‘google – USB drives to cameras’ or something similar and then maybe the results will satisfy you. I believe a NAS is what you need, but am not sure if they make ‘cordless’ units. In America there are several USB power supplies or chargers and they often run USB devices away from power and sold all over like in WalMart here.

            Look here – http://www.lacie.com/us/index.htm

            Once I try then I will post my findings but perhaps you look at a few web sites like http://www.macworld.com or specific Mac web sites and they probably already have figured it out. Maybe even look at small USB chargers for like iPods, iPhones and such – sorry important Project awaits.


  • Henrik Petersen

    what if: Like the D90 and D300S the new D400 had the same sensor as the D7000?

    Why do you think Nikon will use a different sensor?

    • Jake

      The D5100 already uses the same sensor as the D7000. If the D300s replacement also used that sensor, that would make three cameras with only minor external differences, and leave the markets pretty confused.

      • Henrik Petersen

        Well the D5000, D90 and D300s used the same sensor. So why not D5100, D7000 and D400?

        D5000, D90 and D300s was not seen as the same camera by consumers.

    • Carl

      In the first place I thought, if the D400 doesn’t come with more than 16 MP like in the D7k it would be a fail with respect to Canon’s 7D which will be updated next year. But when the discussion turned to most likely the Sony 24 MP sensor being used, I started wondering if that solution would really be the better choice concerning the performance of the existing lenses and the diffraction since the pixels must be smaller. If only these sensors are in the line to be used for the D400, maybe the 16 MP sensor is the better choice if Nikon manages to squeeze everything out of it.

      • Jabs

        @Carl and others

        -OR- Nikon could simply do what they did with the D3X and just use the same sensor BUT up or increase the cpu structure (Expeed) [plus also the buffer capacity in megabytes] within the NEW camera to say 16bit or even 32bit and this way stuff (stills, video) would fly through there in a higher density bit structure and they would now have 16bit files (RAW and/or even jpegs) instead of 14 bit – a big improvement too. Higher throughput = better files, easy video encoding at higher or denser bit rates and generally better RESULTS, all things being equal of course.

        The D7000 and even the D5100 look way better than ANYTHING from Canon now, except maybe the old 1D3 – 21 meg FF series, but it is real close and Canon’s older cameras (before the 5D MK2) look better to me than the newer stuff due mainly to lack of RED channel response (lower than the Blue and Green channels) and their electronics/processing is not up to snuff in output, in MY opinion, hence they do worse than the previous generations UNLIKE Nikon.

      • Sahaja

        Yes, it doesn’t seem to make much sense for Nikon to make a new “pro” DX camera (D400) based on the 24mp Sony sensor (or something similar) if they don’t also make some new “pro” DX lenses which are capable of getting the most out of such a sensor.

        How committed are Nikon to “pro” DX systems these days? – or has all their effort at that level shifted to FX cameras?

  • Tony

    I would be awesome if D400 has 5:4 ratio option.

    • Anonymous

      Not really imo.

  • Joe Bodego

    lets see

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