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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  • Banned

    This poor guy has gone to some great lengths to try to convince himself that EVIL is not THAT crappy. Unfortunately this is what denial does to you…

    • Bigus Dickus

      biggest concern is not that much low high iso quality. P&Ss are most sold cameras after all.
      Biggest concern is, that this camera will be bulky as NEX (in 3 dimensions so not pocketable), with much lower image quality, same price and no DOF.
      The only reason we want interchangeable lenses is that we can use existing ones, not buy expensive crappy small new ones. But while we can swallow APS-C crop, we will not swallow 2,6 crop with so high pixel density that all you get from those lenses i maybe 1Mpixel worth of resolution.

      • dgreene196

        If the rumored sensor is, for example, 12 MP, it’s only slightly more pixel dense vs. the NEX-7’s new sensor, and about 1/3 as dense as the 1/1.7″ sensors in high-end compacts currently available. 10 MP would be practically identical in terms of pixel density.

        As for depth of field, I think there are, on occasion, photographic opportunities where a deeper depth of field at a given aperture might be beneficial. Often, you do want to isolate your subject. But, other times, it’s nice to have more of the frame in focus.

      • Do people want a mirrorless camera to mount their existing lenses on? I don’t. All of my existing Nikon lenses are massive. If I’m going to buy a portable alternative to my D700 I want something truly portable, not a tiny body to mount something like a 70-200 f/2.8 or 45mm PC-E to.

        The point is to get to very good image quality, DSLR alternative (with compromise), true portable size, including lenses. Its not an easy task by any means, but I think cameras like the NEX miss the mark because they are still too big, especially with the lenses they pack with them. The Fuji X100 was getting along the right lines, but is too buggy, too expensive and still too big for what I really want.

        • AtlDave


          I already own an APS-C SLR with some lenses and want something significantly smaller, not a small body to mount large lenses on. If I wanted that I would just buy an NEX.

          • PHB

            Only point I can see to mounting F-mount lenses on an EVIL would be to get really long. Mount a 80-400 on it and you will have a 200-1000 equivalent!

            The people talking about the sensor size are talking nonsense. They clearly don’t understand the physics. On an F-mount camera the sensor size has a particular effect because the sensor plane and accommodation for the mirror sweep are fixed. On a completely new format it makes no difference.

            Consider the following, imagine adding an extension ring between the lens and the mount. The effect will be to push the focal plane back and the image will be larger as a result. Now does anyone think that this is going to affect ANY aspect of the image other than the size? There will be a very slight change due to the different focus point, but the depth of field and amount of light falling on the sensor is unchanged.

            On a new format, the sensor size only affects diffraction and limits the maximum theoretical resolution. The maximum theoretical resolution of the 2.7x crop is well over 24MP.

            The flip side of this is that to get the same results as you would get with a large sensor you are going to need lenses that are just as big. Nothing for free!

            So using EVIL to the full is going to take two sets of lenses, a small, compact set for ease of transport and a larger set for taking high def landscapes. The EVIL format is going to allow for better wide angle lenses than F-mount due to the ability to use the short focus design rather than retrofocus.

            It is very likely that you will find that the EVIL format with pro lenses gives better results than the D4 plus the f/1.4 wide lenses for landscape shots. The Leica already beats the Nikon range in this area (for the same reason).

            Instead of comparing the EVIL to the D4, people should look at how it stacks up against the Leica.

            • sirin

              thanks for the sole voice of reason here.

              while i’m personally not interested in the EVIL (for now) i fell this is going to be a truly awesome p&s killer that i would recommend to all my non-dslr friends. great move by Nikon and glad to see Fuji on the same track.

            • f/2.8

              PHB because your comment makes sense therefore it makes no sense to almost everyone here.

            • Ren Kockwell

              The “smaller sensor for far away shots” theory always confounds me. I’d rather shoot FF and crop than deal with many of the other shortcomings of small and crop sensored alternatives.

              For me a cam like this is for portability (without having to completely surrender IQ) above all else. It would be great for street shooting, where greater DOF and inconspicuous form factor are assets. But for birding or landscapes, unless you need something tiny because traveling super-light is paramount, there are way better options. But a cam like this is not intended to do everything. Any camera that tries to do that fails anyway.

            • rhlpetrus

              “The flip side of this is that to get the same results as you would get with a large sensor you are going to need lenses that are just as big. Nothing for free!”

              Along with a few other comments, this not correct. You need to cover a smaller disk with even light, which changes requirements for size of lens (diameter). For example, on APS-C the much smaller 35mm f/1.8 DX performs as well or better than the much larger FF 35 f/1.4, and not all the size comes from the 2/3 faster aperture.


            • Except, Ren, I’d rather have a 12-16mpx native image if I’m printing large, than a cropped-down-to-4mpx image. Am I missing something?

            • PHB


              It is complicated.

              If the lens designer has done their job right then having a bigger or smaller sensor makes absolutely no difference to the amount of light that falls on the sensor.

              Therefore the amount of light that falls on the sensor is determined by the aperture (NOT the aperture ratio) of the lens and the subject and the angle of view for the lens.

              For a given angle of view it is only the aperture that matters. If you want a big aperture you are going to have a big lens.

              Now this probably does not matter a very great deal as for most people a compact camera that takes a good shot is going to be better than a huge one that takes a superlative shot with wafer thin DOF.

              For landscapes I don’t want a thin DOF, I want as much DOF as I can get and I want to have the sharpness and width that short focus lens provides.

              The 14mm f/2.8 is an amazing lens but I expect it to be trounced by the EVIL equivalent when it arrives. I also expect that to be some time in the future.

              @Ren Kockwell

              Cropping is just the same as reducing the sensor size and resolution. Its a valid approach, definitely. If I could get a 50MP D4X I would definitely go for it for that exact reason. But you can’t so a 2.7x crop is a cheaper approach.

            • DB

              Well, there is one area where physically larger sensors beat smaller ones, and that’s dynamic range. Think about two sensors, each with 12 MP resolution, but one being a 4/3 format and the other being FF. The individual pixels on the FF sensor will be physically larger than on the 4/3 format. That means that they can “hold” more photoelectrons than the smaller ones of the 4/3 sensor. When a pixel “fills up” (saturates), that’s the brightest (or whitest) tone that you can get out of it.

              If a pixel on a 4/3 sensor “fills up” with 16 million photoelectrons and that we can differentiate two brightness levels that differ by 2048 photoelectrons. That means that the 4/3 sensor will only be able to reproduce 8192 tonal values. On the other hand, if a (physically larger) FF pixel “fills up” with 64 million photoelectrons, we can extract 32,768 tonal gradations from it. This is a case where “bigger is better”. I don’t know if these numbers are accurate, but they do illustrate the point.

              It’s also to easier to make larger pixels more sensitive because the electric field gradients needed to “herd” the photoelectrons into the “buckets” can be smaller (while still give the same potential difference).

            • fred

              All this seems a bit oversimplified.
              Yes, a 50/1 lens on the rumored system will have the same diameter as a 135/2.7 on a D700.
              Yes, it will let in the same amount of light.
              So yes, it should have about the same low light capacity.

              But in good light (at base iso), the D700 will let you increase the amount of light on the sensor compared to the 2.7x system. Pictures will be taken with the same Relative Aperture and shutter time, not absolute aperture.
              So noise (and DR, which is the same) in good light will be much better with a bigger sensor. Cf the comment of DB on the same point.

              Also, the geometry of a f1 lens is different from a f2.7 lens. Until now, the FX24-120/4 is smaller with a wider zoom range than the DX17-55/2.8, which in turn is smaller with a wider zoom than the Olympus 14-35/2…
              And in the mirrorless domain, the Sony or Samsung 16/2.8 are much smaller than the Oly 12/2.
              All due in part to design choices, OK, but wait and see, nothing is so clear and simple IMHO…

            • fred

              Just to add an image :
              In good light (at 100 iso), the new camera should work about like a D700 at 800 iso (very roughly).
              That’s not a bad camera (not at all :-), it’s only that you can’t get better than that.

              PS : I know iso definitions by manufacturers are tweaked by camera, it’s just an order of magnitude comparison…

      • zoetmb

        I don’t know why you’re worried about body size if you’re planning to use existing lenses on it. AF-S and DX lenses are gigantic! Compare them to the old MF lenses. Most of the pro lenses today take a 72mm or 77mm filter size and those old MF lenses are mostly 52mm and much smaller and lighter.

        And personally, I don’t find NEX bulky at all. Sure, you can’t put it in your shirt pocket, but if I could, it probably wouldn’t be a camera that I’d want to use.

        But having said all that, unless Nikon can pull a miracle, I really don’t think I’ll be interested in this camera if it does have that very small sensor. A large sensor really doesn’t take up all that much room, so I don’t think that was the issue. I think the issue is squeezing in all the accompanying electronics. If this had been DX, it would have been very, very cool.

        • jake

          just go for the NEX7 and keep your FX intact.

          I think this camera may not be out very soon or just all this Nikon one inch pocketable mirroless system camera rumor is plain BSjust like the D4/D800 rumore that supposed to be announced on 24th of last month?

    • Roger

      lol true…

    • nikono

      im sooo sad when i see this sensor again. was really hoping for a bigger sensor mirrorless. huhuhuuuuu.

      • jake

        who knows it is for real?

        maybe a silly fake?

        remember , these rumors are usually plain BS , in last month,many many rumor sites said the D4 would be announced on 24th of last month , did we get it?

        no, obviously.

        I think this one also is fake.

        I got tired of these silly rumors and waiting.

  • Raspy mc nasty

    Still not interested because I’d rather get a nex,

    • Not Surprised

      You prefer giant NEX zoom lenses?

      I think if this really is what Nikon has in mind — then Nikon is doing it right. Just make a LOT of a fast pancake lenses, Nikon! Do it right.

      • z

        Actually if you really love pancake, it is not M4/3 or NEX, but Samsung.

      • Pdf Ninja

        You don’t have to use Sony E-mount lenses:

        The Nikon mirrorless system has some merits, if they can provide f/1.8 or faster lese from day 1. I’ve been waiting for a truly pocketable system with primes and a good image quality.

        • +1. Exactly. Its all about quality + portability. Size is 50% of the consideration in that market.

      • Blckcat

        I actually like the Giant, big looking lens. It some how looks cool to me. Some people have different preferences you know….

        • Ren Kockwell

          Your therapist would have a field day with that one…

      • jake

        just use some MF primes and Leica M mount lenses on the NEX7, or you can even use a lens size of Nikon AFS50f1.4G via mount adapter like I do on my NEXC3.

        it is very easy to MF with that camera and it focuses quite fast , I may get the Zeiss 24f1.8ZE for the NEX7.

        I also use my T*2/50Mkro planar ZF2 on my NEXC3 and I dont find it too heavy or funny.

        but if you must need a f2.8 zoom like the AFS24-70 or 70-200VR2 , then it is not the right camera for you.

        I think while the NEX or the MFT or this fake Nikon cannot replace your bigger FX cameras , it ican be a good street camera system.

        I have no plan replacing my D7000 and D700,etc with my NEX or Samsung NX or whatever comes next but they are great great inconspicuous street cameras.

    • Alfonso

      What is the deal in slim camera but fat lenses?

      • z

        Well I don’t know why everyone only emphasize on body vs lens combination and neglect the sensor size which is where the actual quality lies. So what if the lens is huge if the quality is huge?

        And we all know M4/3 has reached it’s peak. The sensor isn’t get any better and they know it. G1 to E-P3 please anyone tell me the key differences? They try to compensate with lenses and other features, which is nice, at the end of the day its all about IQ. Samsung almost catch up on lenses and Sony will eventually do too, sooner or later.

        I know damn sure about lens and camera argument in SLR. But it is a well , old system. The mirrorless is just so new. Even SLR never had this huge growth. I’d rather invest on camera and buy 1-2 good lenses with a promise of getting more in time rather than satisfy my 5-6 lenses need and hoping the sensor will eventually get better which is a lot less likely to happen. Especially when the lens cost an arm and half a leg. Not to mention the E-P3 is a lot more expensive than the 5D2 killer, the nex-5N, with no apparent improvement in quality other than usability while nex-5 and 5N is like a galactic jump, makes us wonder what is the full potency of APS-C sized sensor.

        And what about legacy lenses? They all perform a lot better in larger sensor of course. I just want to see what NX200 like though it is unlikely any better than Sony-made sensor. Even Nikon admit Sony makes amazing sensor, or they will not use it in their top of the food-chain D3x

        • Alfonso

          For huge quality with huge lenses there are Nikon DSLR! For that I have a D7000

    • good luck with that.

  • Raspy mc nasty

    Still not interested because I’d rather get a nex,

  • Capture nxFAIL

    I’m sure you can add shallow DOF via software. Pffft what a loada crap. There is a x100 sitting in my bag with a nice big sensor.

    • Raspy mc nasty

      Still not interested because I’d rather get a nex,

  • HY

    I am sorry but this is an epic fail, destined.

    • I fear the same…

    • preston

      If Nikon’s is an epic fail, then what does that make the Pentax Q? (much smaller sensor than Nikon’s and STILL not compact enough lenses!)

  • Sly Larive

    I’m not in the market for an interchangeable smaller lens system, but while initially I was so caught up with the NEX until I saw it with lenses on. What is the point? I may as well get a D3100 and use my own lenses. Sure, there are a few standout features, video for one. But nothing to justify me buying new lenses. If I want compact I’m carrying a Canon G12 anyway.

    Maybe this format will appeal to us more, but the lenses would have to be very innovative for me to do so. Either I want to carrry multiple lenses, change them, so that I won’t mind having a small SLR, or I want an all-in-one solution such as P7100 or G12.

    • Alfonso

      I am looking to replace my Canon G9. I think a better option is a G12 or P7100. For changing lenses I’ll carry D7000

      • MJr

        I’d say the P7100 goes all the way from 28 to 200mm without sacrificing quality compared to the G12’s 28-140, so … if you want a carry-around

  • Steve

    I thought the Nikon sensor was 2.6x which would be approximately 1″. This is the first time I ever heard of the 2/3″ sensor being used for Nikon. Did I miss something?

    • Kurtis

      By 2/3 he’s referring to the aspect ratio, not the size of the sensor.

      • Steve

        Are you sure?

        “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”

        • Trevor

          I believe you are confusing 1/2.3 with 2/3″. Most P&S use 1/2.3 which has a diagonal around 7mm. Here it just happens that the diagonal of the Nikon sensor is close to .66 inches, but that shouldn’t be confused with a P&S sensor size.

          The Pentax Q, however, DOES use a 1/2.3″ sensor, and Fuji may use a P&S sensor in a lower X camera.

          So, yeah, admin is referring to the aspect ratio.

          • Eamon Hickey

            No, the author of that section of the post clearly believes that a 2/3″ sensor has a diagonal of 16.9mm. That’s wrong.

            And 2/3″ is a standard sensor size, along with 1/2.5″ and others. It was used in many early point-and-shoot digicams. So the poster you are responding to is not confused.

            A 2/3″ sensor has an area of 6.6mm x 8.8mm, and therefore an image diagonal of 11mm. It is a 4:3 aspect ratio sensor.

            All this confusion is caused by the way that engineers have named sensor sizes since the 1950s. The naming scheme is derived from vidicon tubes; it has no relationship to the actual image area, in inches, of the solid state sensors we use now. Unfortunately, this weird leftover from the 1950s leads many, many people astray.

    • dgreene196

      At a quick glance on’s section on sensor size, 2/3″ sensors have historically had a 4:3 ratio. As this reader’s thoughts and calculations suggest, the Nikon mirrorless sensor appears to have a 3:2 ratio. While it is possible that the Fuji and Nikon will use the same sensor with 3:2 ratio, only time will tell.

    • BornOptimist

      I think it is this reader who has misunderstood the size of the 2/3″ sensor. A 1″ sensor is not 25.4mm in dia. It’s an old way to say something about the film size, and it’s a reference to the outside diameter of the barrel used for the lenses. Today this has no meaning, and I’m sure Nikon will not call this sensor a 1″ sensor. They will probably call it MX. In old times a 2/3″ sensor was just a fraction larger than a 1/1.6″ sensor with ca 11 mm diameter.

      • Eamon Hickey

        You’re right about the sizes and the fact that the naming scheme is old.

        You’re wrong about where it comes from. It comes from vidicon tubes, the technology that was used to make electronic (not film) images before CCDs and CMOS solid state sensors were invented.

        A naming scheme used to specify a sensor’s size — i.e. 2/3″, 1″, 1/2.5″ etc. — refers to the diameter of the glass tube in a vidicon tube. So a 2/3″ vidicon tube had a tube diameter of 2/3″ but a much smaller imaging pickup area inside the tube — in this case, 6.6 x 8.8mm.

    • BornOptimist

      And, Nikon has used 2/3″ sensors in their P&S before. The Coolpix 8400 had a 8Mp 2/3″ CCD sensor.

  • Jacob

    You can look at it under all different perspective, but what always shows up first is…”small sensor”…useless toy, based on the little we know today, but who knows what may be hiding.
    Now talking seriously, how about giving us a decently priced FF with at least the features that should be standard nowadays? (yes, 60p 1080 video!)
    Thanks Nikon.

    • And what other DSLR cameras currently offer 1080/60p, Jacob?

      • Jacob

        You probably did not read well:
        “with at least the features that should be standard nowadays”
        which means that for a new camera announced today by Nikon I would expect something like 1080p/60fps video…setting today’s standard for Canon to beat. Hope it’s clear now Ron. I did not say it’s out there already.

        • Mock Kenwell

          Small sensor = useless toy? Are we still having this discussion?

      • RichST

        If the sensor could do a full pixel scan for its video mode it would wipe every other camera’s arse for video quality, even if it was just 24p. Heck even using Fuji’s EXR binned mode would produce amazing videos. That should be a lot easier to do with a smaller (like 2/3 or 1″) sensor than with an APS-C size due to heat issues and other considerations inherent in larger sensors. In fact Sony even made a 6mp 1/1.7″ sensor way way wayyyyy back in 2007 that could do a full readout 60 times a second. Of course it would take one blazing fast processor to handle that much incoming data (wasn’t Nikon developing something like that?)

  • LGO

    Pretty good assessment – thanks. Do chime in and include your thoughts on the compatibility of this Nikon mirrorless with the bigger Nikkor F-mount lenses. I would assume that the Nikon mirrorless can electronically control the aperture of some Nikkor lenses. The primary question would be whether this body can autofocus with AF-S lenses. This would make a difference for some Nikon owners planning to get m4/3 or NEX cameras to use with their Nikkkor lenses.

    • Mark H

      I’ll chime in!

      Others have already proposed that since the mirrorless has a much shorter flange to focal plane distance, you need something like an extension tube to use a DSLR lens. In that case, it may be straightforward enough to add a focus motor to the adaptor.

  • Bip

    Guess this product, crappy or not, will have it’s fan base and haters. I have full size Dslr, but wouldn’t mind getting one of these if I want to travel extremely light.

  • Until this post, I was 100% uninterested in mirrorless. I just don’t understand why anyone would buy an NEX – the only draw seems to be that it is compact, and the things are not compact at all with a lens attached. If I can’t put it in my pocket, it may as well be a D3. The idea that Nikon could be making pancake lenses for this thing that are millimeters thick with no focus or zoom rings, and possibly even zooms that retract into the camera… Now that is something that interests me. That is something that I’d use in lieu of a point and shoot for vacation pics.

    • Especially if you could attach F-Mount lenses in addition to whatever lens it ships with.

      • Mock Kenwell

        +10. If this camera doubles the IQ and capability of an LX5, without adding DEPTH (width and length are not as crucial), with fast, thin, sharp primes and an F mount option, I will be all over it. It’s the smartest move when you look at the numbers IF they keep the form factor super small. I’m with you Brandon. Keep it in my pocket or it may as well be a DSLR.

        I would love a manual focus ring on the lenses, too, though that is unlikely. I wouldn’t be toting lenses with this thing. Just pick your focal length for the day, drop it in your pocket and go. If Nikon can make a small, modern day Contax G2, how great would that be? If they dumb this down to point and shoot drivel, how bad would that suck?

        I would also love to see Nikon come up with a gorgeous Sigma DP2 type camera, without all the crappy usability obstacles. One focal length, one sickeningly sharp and fast lens, and the option to remove features from your user menu.

        You chumps can keep your NEX system. You’re talking about a few grams and mm here and there. Ridiculous. If it’s over your shoulder, who cares about those small extra measurements? Once it’s out of my pocket, IQ is paramount. That’s what she said.

        • Jon Snow

          Agreed. Sensor size is overrated. Small sensor technology, particularly with BSI has greatly enhanced their performance. Shallow DOF is important but, again, for practical photography a big ‘compact’ sensor should serve for most applications. Throw in Nikkor optics (they do know how to make nice lenses), a really portable package, and if rumors of a new image processor capable of nearing RED Scarlet specs are to believed….the world better watch out.

          Point and shoots’ days are numbered. The next iPhone will do at least 8 MP and basic HD video (720p) which pretty much obviates the need for a dedicated p/s. Canon should be afraid. Why bother competing with Powershots when Coolpixes are going to bring a pro-like creative possibilities in a compact package and potentially redefine this class of cameras?

          I don’t think what we are seeing is at all a mistake. If Nikon ships this right, this is going to be the new starting point for compact cameras.

          • bart b

            +1 Coolpix is dead, long live the new Coolpix.

            I’m sure we’ll see this sensor in all future Coolpix cameras. 🙂 It will be the bridge between Smartphone camera’s and DSLR cameras. Top.

          • RichST

            Yes, but both the LX series and now the x10 offer something that will apparently go missing with the debut of the Nikon mirrorless: a fast stabilized zoom

    • no-nikon-no

      youre point is nonsense. because although they shrank the sensor, to make it truly as pocketable as you say, they should have shrunken the mount also. smaller mount diameter equals smaller lens. what is the point of having shrunken sensor on a regular diameter mount? only thing you will get is free zoom factor but same sized camera.

      • BornOptimist

        No, the diameter on the mount has little to do with the size of the lenses. The contact surface between the lens and mount must match, but the lens barrel can from there take any size necessary. It’s better to have a wider mount, than to narrow. This gives them better opportunity to make faster lenses.

        • bart b

          And it fits better in your hands
          And more space to house retractable lenses 🙂
          And is very impotant if you don’t want to make fat lenses

      • sirin

        the diameter has nothing to do with it, you’d still be able to put pancakes on it.

    • fred

      Yes, but m43 is also doing this, and with more lens choice and a bigger sensor… (OK Nikon sensor technology is certainly better than Panasonic’s right now, but that may change)

      I wonder if it is worth investing in a system camera (buying several lenses), whose sensor is only 1,5 stop bigger than a LX5 (or G, or ZX…)
      I use and love very much a LX3, but the dynamic range is really very small, among other limitations in IQ.

  • DanielJH

    I’m actually pretty excited about this. I was so attracted to NEX but they fumbled with a slim lens selection, and overly big lenses that they do offer… I’ve been tempted to buy an s95 as a compact for when I can’t use my D7000.. held off to see whatever its upcoming replacement is (s100?)… As long as the Nikon offers decent performance in a small size for a somewhat reasonable price, I’m on board! …I would have felt so dirty buying a canon, but Nikon’s P&S line can’t compete.

    • Alex

      I think the P300 fits the bill perfectly. You get almost everything from the S95 and a 24/1.8 for $300.

  • While it is a big step down from even a DX sensor, it is also a big step up from top of the line P&S cameras. Being about 2.5 times the size of those sensors, with good travel size lenses could make this a very nice package for long hiking trips, and traveling in general. While I am looking forward to seeing the D4/D800/D400, this could also be a worthwhile addition. Sizewise the NEX and micro 4/3 both appear to be too close in size to DSLRs.

  • Hope dream lens are true.

    I mean very large aperture lens with pancake design.

  • Are there any recent Nikon lens related patents that can feed this fantasy of the upcoming flooding of the pancake lenses for the Evil camera? I can only recall the rumor of 4 lenses coming for this thing, one of them being a pancake and another one being a superzoom.
    I find the AW100 the only product of interest, it would kick HD Hero’s butt if Nikon comes up with an affordable line of accessories/attachments.

  • iamnomad

    If it ain’t full-frame, it ain’t news.

    • preston

      Oh, I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Mark

    Thars quite an idea if the pancake lenses come true. If that happens, and ultra fast primes, I’ll be on board as well. I had no interest at all in mirror less anything until I read this post. I love the idea of pancake lenses with this compact of a camera. Especially with the lenses being of nikon-quality. If they do capitalize on pancake lenses, it’d be interesting to see what third-party companies like Sigma and Tamron come up with to wedge their way into the market, as it’ll probably be booming if that happens.

    Cool stuff. I’ll tag along now.

  • Bob

    In many ways what Thom Hogan alluded to 1-2 weeks ago. About 1 stop slower than 43rd, 1-2 stops better than P&S–right in between. Who knows, with Nikon’s expertise in high ISO sensor/image processing, we might just be surprised by the quality. Certainly, at base/low ISO, most modern cameras (even a P&S) do an almost indistinguishable job for general photos.

  • Drew

    People who want point and shoot cameras don’t want interchangeable lenses — they want to point and shoot.

    Photographers who want interchangeable lenses want great low light and shallow focus.

    The market for photographers who want a camera that can fit in your pocket with a collection of mandatory deep focus small lenses that you carry in a purse consists of about six unique characters in this comment section.

    If the detective work of Nikon Rumors is accurate — this is another BOMB from Nikon.

    • Mock Kenwell

      Wow. Some really small-minded thinking there. Are you the spokesman for all photographers?

      • spam


        • J2


    • Worminator

      Hee hee .. by your own logic Panasonic and Olympus should have sold precisely one of each model they have put out over the last two years.

      What is abundantly clear now is that an awful lot of people do NOT want to buy a dSLR, even a small, cheap and relatively easy to use one like the D3100 or K-r. They DO want something more capable than a cheap point and shoot however. Hence the success of m43.

      Nikon could have competed directly with m43, but that would have meant cannibalizing whatever remaining sales of entry level dSLRs. This new sensor size is innovative and face-saving in one go.

      “I would rather get the NEX”

      Well, you’ll have to wait and look at the lenses first, I’d say.

  • dgreene196

    It will be interesting to see what is announced in about 3 weeks. The potential ability to retain autofocus with at least some of my Nikon lenses would be appreciated, although the crop factor will cause a pretty radical departure to my lens collection.

    I’ve been carefully awaiting 2 products over the past few months as I’ve searched for a more compact companion for my D7000 (and, yes, I realize lots of people who visit NR would consider that to be a “compact” camera). I’ve never been really impressed with the NEX series: not enough external/easily accessible controls. And, while the short register distance allows adaptors for nearly any lens, the system lenses are mediocre. So, in addition to the Nikon mirrorless, I’m very interested in Samsung’s next generation of mirrorless cameras. If the NX100 replacement is just a bit more svelte, and makes up the gap between the last generation of Samsung vs. Sony sensors, it’s going to be a very intriguing product. Samsung has done a great job of releasing some nice pancake lenses with at least equivalent quality to anything Panasonic or Sony have released, although their telephoto choices are a bit odd (standard superzoom, 60 mm macro, and 85 mm f/1.4!?!). And the obvious advantage of having the same field of view when you want to throw on those Nikon lenses via an adaptor and focus manually.

    So many possible choices:)

  • D7000xz1ep1

    Fuji 2/3 EXR sensor may be used for the new Nikon EVIL cameras since Fuji is the only one that makes EXR sensors with Hybrid auto focus system(Phase+ Contrast detection focus). I mainly use D7000, but I often bring EP1 and XZ1. They are not bad. If this mirroless camera can produce better IQ than XZ1 or on-par with EP1, I am very interested to get one.

  • Jon Snow

    BTW, throw in a 10-100mm zoom and keep it mounted on the camera and this effectively becomes a point and shoot if that’s all you care about.

  • nobody

    The comparison to the Fuji X10 sensor is wrong.

    That Fuji sensor will be 4x crop, which is less than half the size of the 2.6/2.7x crop sensor sensor the Nikon mirrorless will be using.

    • MJr

      Indeed !

    • Adde

      is not the sensor 16/10, 6 mm (3:2) in size?

      • BornOptimist

        The “old” 2/3″ sensors was 8.8×6.6mm, and they were 4:3 aspect ratio.
        Have no clue what the new Fujifilm sensor is, but if the old designation is used, it’s still a small P&S sensor, just a fraction larger than the XZ-1 sensor.

        • MJr

          So yeah, the point is Nikon Mirrorless is bigger than that.

  • Eric Calabros

    am i the only one who tired of FF worshipers here?

  • NG42

    This has the same sensor size as the new Fuji? Not a good move Nikon, not good at all.

    • ke

      This a lot bigger than the Fuji X10’s sensor.

  • Bondi Beach

    Not sure why Nikon would choose in-lens VR if their objective was to keep lenses small. The lens will also need some form of grip to allow changing, which would be very difficult if it retracts far into the body.

  • SNRatio

    It’s all about finished image size. For web use, small copies etc, something that is significantly better than current P&S might actually suffice. We may get a DR of ca 9-10 at base ISO, color precision similar to current APS-C DSLRs etc. And, with optimal sensor technology, the gap up to current m4/3 may be looking rather small.

    Diffraction is not that much of an issue if the effective resolution is just a few MPs, let’s say 4-5.

    Lenses: Take, for example, a standard 3-4x zoom, a 10-12x superzoom, a few fast primes (say, equivalents of 35-50-85/1.4) and a wide-angle zoom. Makes an interesting kit for shooting <ISO 1600 and printing <10".

    I think this may become a great hit, and the first of a new class of pocket-size cameras.

  • robert kaufman

    I have a pretty good idea of what it will look like. And what sensor it wil use 😉

  • Q

    Contacts. Seems to be a ridiculously argument for modern electronics. Serial buses can easily handle megabytes per second. No need for extra contacts for that functionality. More power and redundancy may be a valid design reason. If they need more pins for more functions they need to fire their engineers. They will go in to problematic future if so. Mechanics is expensive electronics is cheep.

  • If existing lenses can be used on the ML, imagine sticking a 14-24 to the mount! 😮

  • ericnl

    I would actually like to have some pancake lenses for my D7000 to make it more pocketable 😉

    • MJr

      recommend the current 24/2.8 it’s a awesome 35mm. color-rendering and depth is a dream.

      • preston

        First of all, if it has greater length than diameter then it’s not a pancake. Secondly, that lens has terrible performance at f/2.8, so there’s not chance to get satisfactory shallow depth of field shots. Lastly, the coatings are terrible for shots in the fog (one of my favorite weather conditions for photography) since the front element clouds up and causes the photo to have almost zero contrast and color. None of my G lenses do this by the way.

        Sorry for the off-topic rant, but an update of that lens for DX is the thing I’ve been hoping for ever since I got my D90 2.5 years ago! 35mm (FX) is my favorite focal length, so the 52mm equiv of the 35mm DX doesn’t help me. I bought that lens but would sell it in a heartbeat if they released a 24mm DX for less than $300!

        • LGO

          Agree on the performance of the current Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D and the need for better small, light, compact and inexpensive prime lenses from 16mm to 24mm from Nikon.

          The absence of a good small light and compact 24mm from Nikon to use with my D3100 was what made me get the X100. My Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G is too big and heavy for use with my D3100 and neither my D7000 or D700 are small, light and compact. I hope that Nikon will finally address this gap soon by releasing a 16-18mm and 24mm DX prime soon.

  • Anthony

    I think most people forget that for more than 90 years there has been a successful market for a mirrorless camera… Leica proved that… and the photographers who used these cameras loved the camera because of its image quality, its compactness and its discreet operation. My camera of choice was not the Leica but the Konica Hexar… it was stunning.

    Since the move to digital, I have not had an equivalent for the Hexar… and the Leica M9 is not going to be an option (no AF, average IQ at high ISO, expensive). About the only cameras that are coming close to being useful at the moment are the Fujifilm X100 and the new NEX 5N and NEX 7 cameras.

    If anything, Nikon should have realised that the micro EVIL camera market is pretty well covered and they should have had the balls to make an FX format EVIL camera. A D3s FX sensor, combined with three or four prime lenses would have given Leica a run for its money… and get the attention of a lot from a lot of pro photographers… from news and documentary photographers through to wedding photojournalists, theatre and stills photographers and a host of other professionals who would prefer a quieter camera over the noise DSLR.

    I am interested to see how this new camera performs but for the moment I feel Nikon have it wrong…. sad really.

    • BornOptimist

      Anthony, it cost a LOT of money to bring out a new system.
      Let’s just assume they would sell 2x the quantity of all FF digital cameras Nikon has sold so far, in one year (and that is an outrageous assumption), they still don’t sell 1 million a year!, and to split the R&D cost on so few cameras, would imply a hefty cost of the system.
      By using a smaller sensor, and place it between P&S and DSLR (and m43) where there are less competitors, they can probably sell 5 million a year (and I don’t think that is too ambitiously), the ROI is far far better. Nikon doesn’t do this for charity, it is about earning money for the company.

    • robert

      +1 exactly what i’m waiting for: digital hexar af / 35mm f2. someone should do it! sony should have it in their drawer — the old blueprints from konica -> minolta -> sony.

  • EastOfGratiot

    I’ve been hunting for a small size/decent image quality setup for quite some time and I’m not going to dismiss this camera before I see the results. My D7000 serves all my needs quite well. I own a 20mm Voigtlander pancake lens and a couple of Nikon 45mm AI-p lenses that make for a handy, high IQ travel pack.
    I currenty am trying out a NEX-5 and an Olympus E-P2. I like using my Nikon lenses on both but the F mount adapters are larger than my Nikon pancake lenses negating much of their size benefit. I also tried these two pancakes on a D3100 and the overall package was light, reasonably small and affordable.
    Right now I think the best combo is the NEX-5 with the 16mm pancake + a CV 35mm f/2.5 M-mount lens. This package is VERY small and light and the photos are nearly as good as a DSLR. The NEX-5 is not difficult to use with it’s scroll wheel and hot keys. Actually the Sony interface is one of the most simple and intuitive to use if you assign your favorite settings to the custom dial funtions. The NEX-5N will bring the overall capability up another notch.
    If Nikon keeps the MPs down to a reasonable level and gets the sensor performance up to at least M4/3 quality I’ll consider this camera. A couple of well-spaced prime lenses native to the camera + my 20mm and 45mm F-mount pancake lenses would make a nice mini-system for travel, hiking, biking, etc..

  • Trevor

    I have a feeling the market this camera is intended for is not well represented on this site. From the rumors so far, I think Nikon has gotten it right. Not for me, but good enough to beat m43/Nex.

  • My take on this is very different. For instance, you want to take your camera to a concert or event and take photos of your favorite singer. If you show up at the gate with a DSLR, you stand a chance of being turned away. I know I have been in the past. Even a DX camera is no help, since it is about the same size.
    A Sony NEX is smaller, but still might draw interest.
    A point and shoot is an option, but the image quality is just not very good in low light.
    The new camera has a sensor size that will be in between the NEX/43 cameras and point and shoot bodies. But the camera body will be point and shoot sized, SO it will be much more likely to go missed in the bag search as just a plain camera.
    Therefore, you get to take photos of the singer.
    But that’s just my thinking.

  • Bryan

    Something I don’t know if any of your considered. All we have is a picture of the mount……no body. What if this is a Nikon Video Camera? Another mirrorless camera isn’t a surprise to the market since it’s been done before and as stated in an earlier post, Nikon says customers aren’t demanding one anyway. What many ARE demanding however is video with interchangeable lenses. Think about it, why develop a whole new mount and lenses for something that would have so little market share (mirrorless still camera). However, designing them for a new video line could be very profitable.

    • Bryan

      Would also explain why the Expeed 3’s improvement are all geared towards high end video.

    • Ren Kockwell

      No way. It will be a stills camera that takes video. All cams are doing that now anyway, and the target segment weighs stills and video evenly so it makes sense. It may have more robust video capabilities than past cams, but we’re talking about Nikon here.

      • RichST

        LOL, love the name.

        But why not have a camera that does BOTH? (and by both I mean “does both competently”). The so-called 1080p video seen on every stills camera today frankly sucks, we just think it’s great because there’s no real point of reference that doesn’t cost less than 5 digits.

        The technology is there for much better – Sony produces a line of small sensors that can do full sensor scans at 40 to 60 times a second. They’ve done them in sizes as large as 1/1.7″ nearly five years ago (that’s like 5 centuries in digicam years) but didn’t have processors fast enough to crunch all that data into video in realtime.

        But apparently it’s now possible in 2011; JVC has introduced a unusual looking NEX/camcorder hybrid that looks to do exactly that (though with a small 1/2.3″ sensor). The video samples are beautiful; the stills, meh (it’s 1/2.3 what do you expect?). The first company that has the cojones to offer a quality stills camera with a full sensor readout video mode will be rewarded greatly

  • OsoSolitario

    To say nowadays small sensors are something like a toy, is just to forget that technology is for somethat more that made big sensors (FX alike).
    I could affirm that 90% of standard photo users NEVER print their photos… so at the end is on-screen where finally them are showed. So that, WHY asking only for big sensors?
    If we want a camera for TV/web use or just print sometimes a digital photoalbum, an EVIL camera with prime lenses (f:1.4-1.8) would be a good solution.
    As a joke, there’s some months ago I wanted to sell an AF Nikkor 24/2.8 on a Spanish Nikon forum. So I take some pictures of it with a P&S Canon S90 camera. Looking at the pictures, most of forum users asked me about “so pretty lens -MicroNikkor maybe-” where used for. They became astonished when I told them that just a P&S camera where used!!
    Link to that pic:

    We really need always a BIG sensor?


    • Agreed. The new Nikon woudl NOT be my primary camera. It woudl be a walk around, have it just in case there is something unusual to shoot. Much better than a phone camera. Kind of thing. Come on-folk ease up a little on Nikon. I think they KNOW that this won’t replace your D3X. That’s not what they are trying for.

  • RaVax

    IMHO, that Nikon sensor in the picture is NOT 3:2, it’s 4:3. In the original image, the visible part already exceeds 3:2. So if we add the hidden part, I believe we could reach 4:3

    Stupid question: Is it possible, by just looking at it, to determine if it is a CMOS or CCD?


  • Alex the Great

    The author has mixed up imperial and vidicon inches. Based on 7mm focus distance Fuji X10 most likely has 2/3″ (or 1/1.5″) vidicon inches sensor of 11.3mm.
    Nikon OTOH looks like 17mm and this is very close to vidicon 16.93mm. So in digicam dimensions this is 1/1″ size (or one vidicon inch if you will).

    • BornOptimist

      Agree, and the X10 sensor is also a 4:3 ratio sensor, while the Nikon sensor is a 3:2. The X10 sensor is probably 8.8×6.6mm

      • MB

        That is correct, 2/3″ sensor size is actually around 17mm/1.5 or roughly 11mm and 8.8mm by 6.6mm.

        • MB

          It just struck me that this makes X10 2/3″ sensor only around 20% larger than 1/1.6″ and less than half the size of 1” Nikon sensor.

          • Alex the Great

            X10 has crop 4 sensor and expected Nikon will be crop ~3.

  • Eric Pepin

    I suggest… the Olympus XA. Tiny camera that closes to protect the lens. Great metering, Aperture priority, SHARP zuiko 35 2.8 prime, and the best part, full frame. All this, and more, fits in your pocket, literaly in your regular mens jean pocket.

    Until a company beats that, ill keep using my favourite camera. <3 XA

  • 14

    A lot of talk and assumptions for something that doesn’t exist, you would thing we are debating the meaning of life here. Lol

    A lot of people own stuff I personally would never buy and they are quite satisfied with.

    Let’s not try to generalize here, In the end some people just want a camera… The world does not revolve around FF, camera size, 1/3rd, 2.48282925, -8.544543 degrees etc….


    Take a deep breath it will be ok 😉

  • mirrorless=senseless

    i don’t understand why would someone want a DSLR alternative when you have a DSLR already? and also how does a small camera (presumably made for portability) make sense if the lenses you mount on it are bigger than the camera itself? wouldn’t anyone rather carry a real DSLR than an alternative that mimics the real thing and requires you to carry a bag for lenses anyway…

    my point here is that, the reason why you buy a DSLR is because you wouldn’t want to compromise the image quality that you get from the real thing.. if you’re a real photographer / enthusiast / hobbyist, you’d prefer holding a “proper” DSLR and not worrying about the weight and the gear you have to take with you to get the best possible image.. you simply don’t compromise : not for anything..

    these mirrorless systems are for tech savvy people, who wants to carry an accessory rather than a real camera.. they want to look smart and “low key”.. but on the other hand, how can you’re accessory be smart and stealthy when you have big ass lenses that attach to the tiny camera body? and how can you say that the camera is mirrorless when in the design and theory, the mirror / shutter is integrated in the lenses to mimic dslrs? (e.g. nex lenses) now that doesn’t make sense..

  • no

    so let me get this straight. nikon is slaping a sensor barrely larger than a superzoom in an interchangeable lenses camera, thus neglecting the reason to have lenses: take advantage of the better sensor. If all you want is a small sensor, why put up with the hassle of lenses? just get a super zoom and be done with it.

    in other worse, nikon took the worse of interchangeable lenses, and combined it with the worse of small sensors. that is the nikon EVIL system in a nutshell. worse of both worlds.

    good job nikon.

    • Alex the Great

      Not sure I’ve got you. Typically superzoom equipped with 1/2.3 vidicon sensor (crop factor 6) and anticipated Nikon will be about 3. This is 2 times bigger diagonal and 4 times real-estate. This is what you mean under ?

    • Alex the Great

      Not sure I’ve got you. Typically superzoom equipped with 1/2.3 vidicon sensor (crop factor 6) and anticipated Nikon will be about 3. This is 2 times bigger diagonal and 4 times real-estate. This is what you mean under ‘barely larger’?

  • throbbing parts

    “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)…”

    so let me rephrase: “it’s exactly the same except for all this different stuff.” …instills confidence in this source.

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