Some thoughts on the Nikon mirrorless camera from a reader

I do not have any new updates today. Here are some thoughts on the Nikon mirrorless camera I received from a [NR] reader:

The only substantial fact we have so far is a photograph of a supposed to be new Nikon mount. Previously we had some assumptions on the mount and sensor size based on this single image but without taking into account distortion and if we do correct this and straighten up the image the size would be more like this:

Compared to µ4/3 it appears to be almost exactly the same except for the sensor size and the fact that Nikon sensor has 2/3 ratio instead of 4/3. Also we see that alleged Nikon mount has even more contacts than µ4/3 (12 compared to 11) and we could assume that this will be used for aperture, focus and zoom electronic controls so the new lenses might not have focus and zoom rings at all.

The main concern and loudest voices against this new system are about sensor size, it is supposed to be too small and unfit to deliver any kind of decent image quality. But if we analyze the image areas of a currently available sensor size lineup we will see that new sensor perfectly fills the gap between 1/1.65” and µ4/3:

This new sensor is smaller than µ4/3 but it is almost 2 and a half times larger than 1/1.6” sensors. Cameras such as Nikon P7000, Canon G12 and Lumix LX5 do produce very decent images using this much smaller sensor so if the new sensor is much better than they are as it should be the image quality should be very good at least. Also we hear rumors that Fuji is preparing non interchangeable lens X10 (or X50) camera with the same (2/3”=16.93mm is pretty close) sensor size so it may mean Nikon and Fuji are friends again and it also may solve the mystery of who will be making this new sensor.

I also tried to make a collage of a mockup Franken camera buy putting up the pieces of what it is supposed to look. Indeed if we superimpose the image of the mount and keep the proportions we will see that it fits P300 perfectly:

The only thing that could add substantially to the size of a camera is EVF (if it is to be usable at all) but I seriously doubt the first “not so pro” model will have it and it will probably be missing a hot shoe too.

And now that we know about this “Nikon in White” event and the rumor that the camera will be available in different colors (black and white for sure and probably others) we will almost certainly have the announcement on September 21st. And almost certainly not only the cameras but also the lenses will be available in different colors because we are talking about gadget class merchandise here.

So what’s in it for us (photographers I mean)? We could end up with a P300 sized interchangeable lens camera with image quality much better than highest end point and shoot cameras … not too bad actually. How small we are talking about? Tessar style 20mm prime lens (about normal field of view on this sensor size) without a focus ring could be made only a couple of millimeters thick, mid zooms without rings could be made retractable on this mount and therefore very thin when closed so the camera with a lens should not be much larger than S9100 for example. Ok the size could make it very portable and usable but will it be any good for more “serious” work? It really very much depends on the lenses (for me at least is does). On a sensor of this size for example diffraction will limit the minimum usable aperture at around f/8, and by usable I mean smaller newspaper photos. For any kind of decent IQ minimum should be f/5.6. On the other hand for any kind of usable DOF we should have very fast lenses, mid zooms should be f/1.8 and primes f/1.4 or faster. If Nikon hit us with something that starts at f/3.5 new camera will not be anything but a cool toy.

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