Nikon’s new mirrorless lenses

Nikon is expected to announce four new lenses with their mirrorless interchangeable lens camera on September 21st. The first three of those lenses are:

  • 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens (could not find a related patent).
  • 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens that is expected to be very short and portable (see patent):

  • 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR super zoom lens (see patent). Expect the zoom lenses to have an electronic zoom button (see patent).

I believe the fourth lens will be a macro, but I do not have any details on the focal length and aperture.

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  • DarkNikon

    the 2.8 one should be promising if its pancake 🙂 I will like to try one

    • Steve

      Too bad it was not an f2 lens.

    • Ren Kockwell

      Pathetic offering. If true, this, not the sensor size, is the death knell for this camera. F/2.8 is the fastest you can muster in a prime? M4/3, lenses, not known for their blazing speed, blow the doors off this sad group. What is this camera good for? Shooting polar bears in the snow? Nikon has made it clear. You want a quality camera to take photographs with? Buy a DSLR or go to hell. We make DSLRs for pros, and everything else is a steaming pile of monkey shit for a consumer we have nothing but disdain for. Don’t want to lug a DSLR around? Go to Sigma, Panasonic, Sony or Samsung.

      Eff you Nikon for having so little courage, and for being slaves to the gutless morons in your marketing department. This camera will likely be about as portable as a nuclear power plant, and as fast as Bea Arthur. Be more out of touch. You can’t even build a system your die hards can get behind.

  • LGO

    Too slow!

    • LGO

      Very disappointing specially in the face of the Fujifilm X10 which has a
      28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens even if this lens is non-interchangeable.

      No sale to me Nikon. I will be keeping the D3100, GH2 and X100 as my compact camera and will be recommending the X10 in lieu of Nikon’s mirrorless to others.

      • Steve

        No ultrawide ? No sale to me either. But at least I now know to try m43. Thanks NR !

        • LGO

          The problem is less acute for telephoto lens.

          F-mount compatibility (through adapter) will at least mean that some of Nikon’s rime lenses can be comfortably used with this Nikon mirrorless body. Hopefully, autofocus is supported in AF-S lenses.

          A 2.7x crop means that even the 35mm f/1.8G will have the the 95mm FOV 95mm in 35mm equivalent. A 50mm f/1.8G will have a 135mm FOV.

          • LGO

            If Nikon is smart, VR on F-Mount AF-S lenses should also be supported by the adapter and should still function on the mirrorless bodies.

            I am puzzled why Nikon would bother making a dedicated 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for this mirrorless when it cannot be really small and compact and there are a surfeit of existing F-mount zoom lenses already available that can be adapted to the mirrorless bodies.

            16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR = 43-230mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
            18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR = 49-284mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
            18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR = 49-540mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

            It would be far better for Nikon to have focused its initial lens to cover ultra-wide to wide since its current F-mount lens can cover the longer focal range through an adapter.

            There is of course a limit to what the F-mount lens one can sensibly use on this mirrorless. I cannot imagine that one would want to use the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 or the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens when such lenses unbalances the D3100 and even the bigger D90/D7000 if used without a battery grip.

            • iamlucky13

              A 10-100mm made for 2.6X can certainly be smaller than an 18-105 made for DX, especially with the shorter flange-to-sensor distance. Plus, none of those would be sufficiently wide-angle to be appealing.

              Furthermore, each of those are already at their sharpness limits at DX. They’ll be substantially outresolved by the sensor on a 2.6X. The same for almost all other F-mount lenses. Nikon may well make an adapter, but few of the existing lenses will adapt particularly well.

            • LGO

              But of course the dedicated lenses for the mirrorless will be smaller than a zoom lens made for a bigger APS-C sensor. If you have to state that thinking that nobody else knows that, then you really should perhaps apply to run Nikon.

              And you think that the new tiny zoom lenses for the mirrorless which will sell at a low price will actually be better than the new fast AF-S prime designed to work with DX and FX and which sells at a higher price? This is misplaced unless you know of a secret recipe for making the lenses really work that not even Nikon knows of.

              If Nikon is limited to releasing just 4 lenses at the start, it can do far better than produce lenses for which there are readily-available substitutes F-mount substitutes. This redundancy is of no help when there are gaping holes at the start of the launch. Nikon should instead make lenses which are needed and that can only mean wide angle lenses as the 2.7x crop factor of the mirrorless camera renders even the ultra-wide angle lens for DX insufficiently wide when used in the mirrorless body.

            • LGO

              I apologize for the harsh tone of the post above. I am really pissed off at Nikon if the rumor on these lenses for the mirrorless body turns out true. A lot of waiting for nothing.

            • PHB

              I would expect it to be five years at least before the EVIL lens range is anywhere near as comprehensive as for F-mount.

              Expecting the EVIL camera to compete out of the gate with a 50 year old system is a bit silly.

              That is why I don’t think an FX sized EVIL would make much sense at this point. It might make sense once the EVIL tech is mature. But not right now.

            • LGO

              Having an even smaller sensor than the m4/3, the Nikon mirrorless with this slow zoom lens shooting in the long end will already be hitting the lens diffraction zone very early. The rumored 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 would be hitting the lens diffraction zone shooting long and wide-open at f/5.6 depending on the resolution of this sensor. Who wants to to buy a one-aperture camera system?

              How can any Nikon dSLR owners be happy with such a setup? More than the FX and DX bodies, Nikon needs fast lenses for its mirrorless camera when this camera is launched.

      • El Aura

        Yeah, even my iPhone has a f/2.8 lens.

    • iamlucky13

      No surprise, though.

      It’s been increasingly clear over time that the mirrorless, at least the first version, will be a consumer camera – an upgrade over point-and-shoots/cell phones and a competitor to M4/3’s, rather than a more portable SLR-alternative for hobbyists and pros who want ultralight weight and discrete gear.

      The lenses fit that perfectly:

      – A cheap, small kit lens
      – A superzoom
      – An ultrasmall wide angle prime (unfortunately, not one with a particularly remarkable aperture
      – It sounds like the last one will be a flower lens. I’m a little surprised to hear this is a higher priority than a dedicated telephoto.

      All in all, not terribly exciting.

      And electronic zoom? Why add complexity and reduce utility? I can’t find the logic behind that move.

  • {{{YAWN}}}

    • Victor Hassleblood

      You must not forget that Nikon was talking about new and innovative features. I guess we will see the first interchangeable lens camera ever, that comes with a built in projector.
      Come on, that is exciting ! ! !

      • broxibear

        Maybe this sensor is the innovative part ?

        • Carlos R B

          For dummies (, what does it mean?

          • broxibear

            Hi Carlos R B,
            The patent is for a sensor that is designed using different shaped pixels, which it claims will result in better focusing and sensitivity to light…which means a smaller sensor with better image quality than a bigger one.
            Whether it works is another matter ?

            • Carlos R B

              Broxibear….Big thanks…like you said “whether it works is another matter?”

            • RichST

              Didn’t Fuji try that a few years back?

        • LGO

          However innovative this is, a better lens lineup will still be needed. Current Nikon dSLR users will not wait for Nikon to develop the lens they want in the next 3-5 years when there are so many choices from Nikon’s competitors.

          More than anytime in its history, there are now many Nikon dSLR owners who now own more non-Nikon gears. Nikon’s mis-steps here will drive even more Nikon dSLR users to try what the others have to offer – and many will like what they see there. This will cost Nikon dearly as many such Nikon dSLR users influence and direct the camera buying decision of less knowledgeable camera buyers. Nikon will lose big here for any mis-steps it makes.

          • Mock Kenwell

            Indeed. Further, most noobs are just fine with a compact. Typically, the decision to upgrade (a system such as this one would be seen as a step-up, not a compact competitor) comes when the noob realizes he wants his cat to be in-focus, and his background to be out of focus. Then he gets a 50mm f/1.8 & a D3100. How can these pathetically slow lenses and small sensor deliver any better/different images than say a P7100? Everything will be sharp at just about every aperture. So the solution is to attach a honking 50mm f/1.2AIS? Retarded logic.

        • Bart B

          Imagine the mirrorless camera to come with a new Nikon sensor including these patents:

          Curved image sensor:

          Sensor with better optical quality then CMOS and CCD:

          Nikon may have a winner :^)

          • gallon

            Thanks for those, Bart. I remember the curve sensor and it fits this mirrorless idea very well.

      • nobody

        And it will surely have a Facebook upload button!

        • Jeremy

          Heavens no. My Picturetown is all you need. 🙂

  • We want wild~!!!! I mean wider aperture on prime lens.

  • BakaInu

    Just curious, why in would you need VR on a 10-30? Its almost as rediculous as them putting VR into the 18-55 kit lens, serving only to drive up the price.

    • SZRimaging

      Not all that bad of an idea. As someone who does video, VR in that focal length is an awesome tool. Especially considering this is a bridge camera not aimed at consumers likely to have full rigs for video shooting.

      That, and VR is handy in any length when you have longer exposures. If the lens is f3.5, then the VR could easily come in handy for stills in darker situations.

    • nah

      why wouldnt you? also, you realize the crop factor makes these focals lengths significantly longer, correct?

  • Renato M.

    By that I guess the crop factor will be 2.4x or 2.8x, more likely 2.8x.

    The standard kit 10-30mm will be a 28-84mm f/3.5-5.6

    the f/2.8 will have a f/8-like DOF in 35mm equivalent.

  • David

    Guys, this is the first little camera with PHASE AUTOFOCUS, if this site was correct. Unlike X100 and m4/3 as many of the posters above posted about. That’s what unique about it, if it is true. If i does have phase autofocus, its continuous AF will be head and shoulders above the competition in this sector, which all have CONTRAST AF System only.

    Now my question re: lenses, I forgot, what is the conversion factor for this sensor?

    • twoomy

      My Pany GH2 focuses almost instantly and the new Oly supposedly focuses even faster than that. If this is supposed to be head and shoulders above the competition, it needs to focus BEFORE I press the button. 🙂

      I’m guessing 2.8 for a 28mm equivalent on the pancakes? Although I’d love for a 24mm equivalent.

      • SZRimaging

        I think you are confusing single autofocus and continuous/tracking. The new E-P3 has an amazingly fast single autofocus, much like your cameras, but it is not great at continuous or tracking. That is where the Phase system is superior to contrast.

      • LGO

        The GH2 indeed focuses very fast as do the latest m4/3 bodies from Olympus. Even if the Nikon mirrorless focuses a tad bit faster, this is best taken advantage of by using fast lenses with it as well.

        For now, Nikon’s lens lineup means that Nikon’s mirrorless will be a glorified Coolpix and thus best ignored or avoided.

      • nobody

        “My Pany GH2 focuses almost instantly and the new Oly supposedly focuses even faster than that. If this is supposed to be head and shoulders above the competition, it needs to focus BEFORE I press the button.”

        This is true only for single shot AF. Regarding continuous AF, even the best contrast detect AF is still not so great. (I know because I have a GH2.)

        If the Nikon mirrorless really features phase detect AF, it could be better than a GH2 regarding continuous AF.

        • David

          Another advantage of Phase Autofocus method as compared to m4/3 contrast method, is that, and I learned like veryone else hard way, with external flash on m4/3, the AF Assist light on your external flash is not working, be it Oly 36R, or other flashes. Because AF Assist light on these flashes is only designed to work when camera features PHASE AUTOFOCUS METHOD OF FOCUSING. That was especially true with some m4/3 cameras that had no autofocus assist light feature build into cameras. So with Phase Autofocus Method implemented, the Nikon’s SBXXX flashes will operate properly and use build-in AF light for focusing in low light condition as needed.

          The question I have is, what was the difficulty with implementing Phase Method with m4/3 in the first place?

    • BornOptimist

      It’s believed the cropfactor will be somewhere in the range 2.6x-2.8x.
      Like twoomy says, m43 does focus quite fast, but this is only with single focus, single point (not continous focus) on stationary object. Ass soon as some movement of the subject is involved, then it’s a hit-or-miss whether you get subject in focus or not. That is what we can expect be fixed with phase focusing. Not necessary focus speed on stationary object. If the focus points are a part of the main sensor sensels, it remain to be seen what impact that will have on image quality.

    • fred

      Is phase AF really needed to track a subject with a f16 equivalent teleobjective ? Or with a f8 equivalent wideangle ?
      Or maybe that’s precisely why it is needed ? Does anybody know if contrast AF would be slow with such a depth of field ?

      • BornOptimist

        None of the lenses described above is a f8 or f16 lens. It’s only when DOF is compared they will be like a f8-f16 ff-lens. A 2.8 lens is a 2.8 lens regardless of sensor size when it comes to light passing capability.

        • El Aura

          But the AF requirements depend on the DOF. Large DOF comes with small and light lens elements (which can be moved very fast) and does not require a very precise AF.

          • BornOptimist

            With a larger DOF it’s easier to “nail” the focus, but DOF in it self does not have anything to say for focus speed, nor the ability to track a subject. The problem with contrast af is that the camera does not know in which direction to move the lens. So it has to guess. It can compensate a bit by reading the sensor faster, but if it moves in wrong direction, it’s lost, and the ability to regain focus on a moving object is minimal. This can only be fixed by a focusing method which tells in which direction it has to move the lens.

            • El Aura

              Sorry, I only read your post and not the one you were replying to. Yes, for tracking CD-AF is problematic even with large DOF. Unless the DOF is so large that you can park the lens at the hyperfocal distance…

            • fred

              My point was that with a large DOF, subject tracking is a lot less critical. You need to search for a less different “focus steps”, and your subject does not move out of focus that fast.
              Then, I do not know how the contrast detection algorithms work, it may be a good thing (your subject will not have moved more than one step away, you can thus serach in both directions) or a bad thing (you need to move your lens quite a bit to see a change in contrast and know if you are in the right direction) or … (I’m no expert)
              Brute force search can often win over intelligent prediction, but maybe not today 🙂 Nikon must have its reasons…

            • fred

              @El Aura, I hadn’t seen your answer, thanks. Could you please explain a bit more ?

  • ZinhaEq

    I hope (and I am not joking, not even a bit) this isn’t the downfall of Nikon… And once Sony will feel good enough, they’ll just decline selling their sensors to Nikon and take the market for themselves.

    • BornOptimist

      Sony is not in a position to decline selling sensors to Nikon, because Nikon is by far their biggest customer. It’s a bigger problem for Sony if Nikon decides to make their own sensors for more models than D3100, D700, D3s.

  • AnoNemo

    By the time this goddamn Nikon refreshes the FX line my bloody iphone will have more resolution, dr, and low light performance not to mention connectivity.

    To be honest, I think Nikon is too late in this mirrorless game. This is nothing else but a Coolpix on steroid.

  • jerl

    The lens choice is obviously disappointing to many of us, but I can’t expect to say that I’m surprised. The first market (and very likely the only market) Nikon is going to go after is the mass market, who are obsessed with compact tiny do-it-all zooms. It’s likely that a macro lens would fit in with this patter by also being short in focal length: equivalent to the new 40mm macro.

    What will be telling is to see what comes out after this and release some faster primes or zooms, and of wider or longer focal length. I think this is unlikely, but we will see.

    I am a little surprised that they would decide to go with a wide, slow prime rather than with a faster normal prime, but I think they are taking a cue from Sony on that front.

    • BornOptimist

      “…equivalent to the new 40mm macro”
      This is a DX lens, so FF equ. to a 60mm. It’s not far fetched to think a CSC micro lens will be a 60mm or 105mm equ. After all that’s the most sold micro lenses for DSLR as well.

  • Dandydon

    What about Sept 8th? Anything on Sept 8th?

    • see my last post, I just published it online

  • Pdf Ninja

    Small sensor f/5.6 maximum aperture toy. I’m glad I pre-ordered the NEX-5N, body only. They don’t have any lenses whatsoever either, but there’s peaking mode manual focus assist, so I can use vintage manual focus lenses.

    • LGO

      Good choice!

    • Rahul

      NEX-5N looks great among mirrorless cameras. The only problem is Sony does not have good small lenses for NEX. 16mm 2.8 seems good but Sony needs to make a 30 or 35mm general purpose pancake. I don’t like the idea of putting a giant lens in front of a small body. This defeats the whole purpose. If I can’t cut down on size then I will prefer my DSLR instead of a mirrorless.

    • nobody

      Not bad at all, but if the Nikon mirrorless can auto focuse AF-S Nikkors (using an adapter) that may be even better. Wait and see 🙂

      • LGO

        For tripod-based live view focusing and shooting in landscape, portraiture, and travel, the AF advantage of the F-mount lenses in a Nikon’s mirrorless will not mean much of an advantage.

        The touch screen and touch-magnify function of the Sony NEX-5n plus the Peaking feature makes manual focus very accurate. It is also quite fast and convenient too due to the articulating screen. The bigger and better sensor of the NEX-5n will make a much bigger difference in the image quality one can take vs the diminutive sensor of this Nikon mirrorless.

        • nobody

          Well, let’s just say, I for one don’t shoot only landscape from a tripod. Of course, YMMV 🙂

  • Carlos R B

    Well, waited so long for….nothing…no fast pancake…and to begin with a 28mm or wider EQ…no 35mm…and even worse, no 35mm EQ for D5100 series…to at least keep the camera small….


    Something another: yawnyawnyawn.

  • AtlDave

    I hope the large gap between the 2 sets of elements in the 10-30mm means it will be a collapsible lens. Since the Nikon mirrorless will have a smaller sensor it really needs to be noticeably smaller than a m43 camera when they both have the kit zoom attached.

    If the 10-30 does collapse the 10mm f2.8 makes even less sense. It would not be much smaller than a collapsed 10-30 for carry, would only be a half stop faster, no wider and not have image stabilization. A f1.4 14mm pancake or 7mm ultra-wide would have been much more useful for me than a 10mm f2.8.

  • valynor

    No fast prime (e.g. 1.8/20mm) = you can keep your mirrorless toy.

    • I don’t understand this either. If Panasonic can make an ultra compact 14mm (28mm equivalent) lens that covers a larger imaging circle and is F2.5, then why can’t Nikon’s 2.7 crop 10mm pancake be at least F2.0? That would go some way to offsetting the disadvantages of the smaller sensor.

      • BornOptimist

        I agree it’s a bit worrysome about the slow prime, but this is a system, and system has the benefit of being built over time. There are other patents for faster lenses existing already, ex a 45mm f1.4 equ. With respect we don’t have any clue about the 4th lens, it’s strange that there are no fast normal angle prime. In my opinion a fast normal prime is more important than a dedicated macro lens (normal in my mind = 35-50mm ff-equ). Special lenses should be introduced after a while (micro and t/s lenses).

  • fred

    Nikon isn’t dumb. One of their big innovations on this camera is reducing the depth-of-field in the image processor. Wait and see.

    • SZRimaging

      Depth of Field is a principle of physics. They can’t really reduce it at the sensor level. It has to be done in the lens.

      • fred

        Depth of field in a finished photograph is a principle of pixels, not physics.

        • NG42

          If they can do something regarding dof and have it not look fake that will be interesting.

        • SZRimaging

          It has nothing to do with pixels, as depth of field acts the same independent of actual number of pixels. The only way it could be dependent on pixels is if pixel pitch plays a role in the behavior on the sensor.

          But, the principles of how depth of field act are much older than digital technology. Depth of field is a product of focal length and aperture and is a result of using glass to project an image through a tiny hole onto a flat sensor plane.

          Because the focal length for a normal lens on this size of sensor is so small, the depth of field is huge. To obtain a thinner depth of field you would need to run f-stops much smaller than any current lens.

          • fred

            And you actually don’t even need glass, the tiny hole is enough…

            I actually only answered because there are several “fred” in this thread (hello to the other one). I posted something higher up in the thread, and didn’t know identifiers were not unique in NR ?

            • fred

              PS : it seams I always get the same little picture though. So is the unique identifier the pseudo + the picture ?

            • SZRimaging

              Weee…pin-hole! One of my teachers in college did pin-hole. Never was a huge fan, but it is interesting.

              Yeah, I could see how having two Freds in here is confusing….

      • fred

        You’re still missing the point. I can make a realistic oil painting with an apparent shallow depth of field. Does that involve some principle of physical optics? No. And neither does Nikon’s depth-of-field-reducing image processor.

        • fred

          Hello Fred 🙂
          Yes, you are right, depth of field is an effect of geometry (exactly like perspective), but you can of course simulate it in an oil painting.
          Now to do it Nikon either needs to build some depth map of the image (it would be a real innovation), or it would be plain post-processing (with face recognition & so on).
          In the last case, I would like it a lot better in Picasa, Flickr et al. than inside the camera. I can already imagine a whole generation of systematically blurred images 🙂

    • BornOptimist

      I agree, DOF can be manipulated on pixel-level, and this can explain the majority of slow zoom lens patents (to obtain compact size lenses). Nikon has also shown more interrest in zoom lenses than prime lenses (most ppl also favor zoom lenses before prime lenses).

  • Manolito

    And this my friends is the beginning of the end of an empire. They ruled the old well established format, but I just don’t see Nikon being successful with a new one. Much less with this stupid tiny format… no in-camera VR? For a completely new system with no legacy lenses no user base and no mirror? DOA. Long live NEX.

  • Worminator

    So what they are saying here is “hey, we have the same basic lens options as m43, your 28mm pancake, and standard zoom, we’ll throw in a superzoom as your travel option, and the whole thing is is smaller and neater than a PEN or GF system”.

    What they didn’t do it play the Pentax Q card, which is “hey, our camera is really tiny, but also check out these crazy miniature lenses: dirt cheap toy and fisheye optics, and a fast normal prime, as well as the standard zoom.”

    What I mean is they didn’t try to differentiate in the selection of optics, just size. And then hope that the disadvantages of the smaller sensor vs. m43 are not a big concern for the target market.

    Although uninteresting, it’s probably the right move. Most people do not care about the “F number” of the lens. Sad but true. Plus, with an F mount adapter, fast telephotos will be readily available.

  • Astrophotographer

    The pancake may be an equiv 35 f2.8. There’s a patent for a 14mm EVIL

    • BornOptimist

      Could be, and the lenses described in this patent is very small. Only 31-ish mm from the sensor. With a flange distanse about 18mm, it means the lens is only 13mm long.

      • fred

        Yes, that’s a lot more interesting than the zooms, which are quite long acording to NR (but maybe collapsible).
        OTOH, f2.8 on such a format does not let in much more light than a luxury compact like the ZX1…

  • NG42

    I don’t see the point of this camera. I think it’s gonna be a failure.

  • Well, they defined their audience with these lenses. What happened to the speed demon lenses of yore?

    • BornOptimist

      This is a system camera. It’s not like a P&S where everything is fixed when the camera is introduced. It’s just like the F-mount system, new lenses will be introduced with time, and like kit-lenses with entry-level DSLR, they are not the most sofisticated lenses. This looks like lenses made for the masses. There must be something small, something average and something mega-zoom. Just like the m43 when that was introduced.
      I wonder if the mount specification will be open for 3rd parts company (Sigma, Tamron etc)?

  • jjohn

    To me it seems that the crop factor is most certainly 2.7 which would result in the following FF equivalents
    7-13 = 19-35mm
    10 = 27mm
    10-30 = 27-80mm
    10-100 = 27-270mm
    I’m a little disappointed

  • Kostas

    The next lenses i would like to have with this new system is 12mm or 14mm f1.4 or f1.8 and a 7mm to17mm zoom

    Sorry for my English

    • SZRimaging

      Your English is just fine. Just need some capitals and two periods and you are perfect.

  • Anonymos

    Good thing I submitted this rumor correctly 5 days ago and it was ignored along with a complete description of the accompanying camera.

    • Anonymous

      And I do have a real picture of the new camera as well as its official name but I’m keeping it all for myself now 🙂

      • Well, you were a new tipster and I had to do some research. If you decide to share the name and the images, you know how to contact me. Thanks!

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