Interview with Nikon about their upcoming cameras

The Japanese Digital Camera Magazine did a series of interviews with leading camera manufacturers about their future products (see a recap of the interviews with Pentax and Olympus executives).  The magazine will be published on December 19th, 2011 in Japan. A 12 pages preview of the upcoming issue can be downloaded here (the Nikon interview is on page 7). Here is a quick recap (thanks Matthew) of the Nikon section:

  • D700 successor to have high pixel count, high resolution
  • D3 successor to become a highly sensitive, high speed model

Keyword (explanation/ editing dept)

D3, D700 successors. The two models that have been in production for several years are expected to have their successors announced early in the new year. I would say it will be aimed at CP Plus. Considering the trend towards high pixel count, it is thought that both models will have a considerably higher pixel count than the current approx 12MP.

Large improvements toward “High Sensitivity” “High Resolution” “High Speed”

These are the keywords from Mr. Tanaka’s question on how future cameras will progress. Mr. Sasagaki predicts DSLR cameras above entry level will become “pointed cameras” with very advanced functionality.  It does seem that these are strongly desired in various media.

The current year at Nikon as seen by Kimio Tanaka

2011 was a tough year for Nikon. Sendai Nikon in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, got a beating, and as soon as it started to recover, then came the Thai flood disaster.  The main factory went into complete shutdown.  Because of this, the announcement of what was rumored to be “something big” which was expected in Autumn was “pushed back” to 2012. As the announcement schedule became considerably twisted, in 2012 the strain will likely lead to a new product rush hour. The big news for 2011 would have to be the Nikon 1. For Nikon this is the first camera system based on a new mount since the Nikon F 50 years ago.

For all Japanese speaking readers: if you see any other interesting info in the interview, please add them to the comment section and I will update the post. Thanks!

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  • Sebastien_M

    “D3 successor to become a highly sensitive, high speed model”

    NOT D3s successor..! So more than 6’400 iso yes..but not than 12’800 iso.. 🙁

    • Not level but only a QUALITY of working ISO is important!
      So D4 can be much more better in this.

      • Not Surprised

        D3S wont have a successor! Neither with D3X!

        You have to understand how these series work. Its like Star Wars. Episode II & III are successors to Episode I. And Episode V & IV are successors to Episode IV.

        Even if Episode V is a successor to Episode II — you don’t call it that!


        • Not Surprised

          D3S MK II — Revenge of the ISO.
          Subtitled: The Freakin’ D4.


        • Zav

          I lurves my D3x. If it only had a sensor cleaner and a mode to get better lower light performance. If only.

      • SN

        Why does everyone insist on calling it the D4? I didn’t think that any Japanese company would release a number 4 of anything.

        • F4? The aversion to the number four (4) is a Chinese superstition, which is not necessarily shared by the Japanese. At least that’s my understanding from Chinese and Japanese friends–correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Nico

    Gooed times ahead….

  • Jonny Ray

    Good stuff. He says the release will be aimed at “cp plus.” What/when is cp plus?

  • I think this is the first time that Nikon acknowledges that their announcement was delayed till 2012? And nobody believed me when I wrote about it two months ago:

    • ennan

      I believed you!

      • ISP

        Me too !

        • jodjac

          Me too!

          • Al dud

            Te moo!!

    • KT

      You are the man, we are being spoiled here at NikonRumors, now how about a sneak preview of the D4, just like you did with the D800

    • Markus

      That’s not true. You should have said: : “nobody believed me here.” 🙂

    • dgs

      I always believe you, if you are right!

    • Ray

      Don’t confuse the silent logical majority with the insane but vocal minority.

  • looks like its the big Japanese Photo Image show in early Feb, anyone want to tag along 😉

    • I am actually considering going to the CP+ show in Japan in February. I will to see what will be announced at PMA and then I will decide.

      • broxibear

        I think you’ll get the D800 in Las Vegas, and the D4 in Yokohama since that’s where you’ll see the XQD cards for the first time.
        It’ll be interesting to see who steals the show, Nikon with their new cameras or Fuji with their new ILC ?…or maybe Canon will surprise them all with their mirrorless ?

      • Jonny Ray

        Admin, thanks for everything you do here.

        Based on this interview, are you thinking announced at CMA and on display at CP+? Or D800/D4 announced at CP+ in February? Or some other variation?

        • Jonny Ray

          Obviously by CMA, I meant PMA. I don’t truly expect any camera announcements to be made at the Country Music Awards.

          • Jonny Ray, you have Billy Ray Cyrus on your mind 😉

      • dgs

        If you are going there, this site does really well! Would like to have some less demanding ad’s, as it takes ages to open this site on a mobile phone…

        • so Admin doesn’t deserve to have a comfortable income? Or be able to travel to camera-related events to bring you news that’s about 1000% relevant to this site?

        • jodjac

          Works good on my iPhone 4s.

          • It loads slow on my 3gs. I would gladly pay for a subscription level viewing.

        • bikinchris

          Can you say TAX WRITE OFF?

  • Anon

    Forget this I’m buying a 5d mk ii now

    • why?

      Me too. Feb is too late. And D800’s price will be too high.

      • Mike

        So you’re buying a $2000 camera plus a few $1500-2000 lenses because the D800 *might be* $4000? That’s sound logic for sure.

    • Martin

      me too, but not because of delay. because of D800 specs that don’t suit me. i’ll wait to see the price though, but i expect it to stay well above 2k for a while in which case i’m out.

    • I have been waiting for the D800 since over a year now, but I wouldn’t even change my old D90 against a 5D Mark2.

    • Kurgan

      If you need a new camera NOW, then by all means do so. But won’t you be sorry when the D4 turns out to be everything posted on this site? You’ll have less sensitivity, less resolution, less speed and maybe, just maybe, inferior video. And even if the D4 disappoints you’ll most likely to be able to buy a very nice used D3s from someone who absolutely must have the latest camera.

  • Steffen Hokland

    Am I missing something, or has everything D400 been completely shelved?

    • Who knows, they might change it to D9000, an affordable FX body.

      • Axel

        Hahahaha ..

        Good one …

        they learnt their “market segmenting” lessons with the D3/D700 … No more stellar camera on a prosumer budget guys … you want pro-features and pro-level-sensitivity ? You will have to pay pro-prices …

      • WoutK89

        Dxx00 is reserved for DX I assume, so don’t expect to see FX cameras named D9000.

    • PeterO

      Even though Nikon is saying that they are now targeting buyers with specific models (I guess they’ve finally figured out that the shotgun approach that Canon uses isn’t so smart), I can’t see them not upgrading the D300s. There are too many out there (perhaps not as vocal as the D800/D4 crowd here at NR) who want the reach that DX gives. For me the D7K lacks buffer depth which I need for sports. So I’ll just wait for the D400/9000 and hope it fits the bill for my needs. In the mean time, I make do with what I have.

  • Everlast

    “Pentax is working on a mirrorless full frame and medium format cameras” in the other interviews linked in the post.

    WTF, why is it some other company again, why are Nikon sleeping?

    • Gareth

      they don’t seem to be sleeping to me. pentax has a history of medium format, it would take far more development for nikon to come up with a system, and for questionable profits. Instead they have come out with a high MP small body, full frame camera with the option of no AA filter, seems like they’re wide awake to peoples desires in this area. There will end up being vastly more of these in small studios than pentax has a hope of selling, even though their 645 is very reasonably priced. 51 AF points…

      • Everlast

        Well I wouldn’t mind a mirrorless FF camera as well, and as far as I could understand Pentax are working on FF mirrorless and just considering medium format. And they will not be able to use their existing MF glass as as it is designed to stay 70-80 mil from the sensor and this makes it pointless to use on a mirrorless. They’ll have to design a totally new line of lenses.

    • Martin

      I don’t care who’s name is on the cam that i need. I’d need

      – FX
      – 5 fps
      – one AF focus point would do it, in the center maybe 😉
      – low megapixel count of 12 to 18
      – high dynamic range!!
      – standard video, 1080p @ 30, or even 720p would be ok
      – built-in flash
      – direct manual control over two parameters, eg aperture and iso
      – a few extra function buttons and custom presets would be welcome, but not mandatory
      – price should stay below 1500, or slightly higher for better AF system or control layout.

      samsung? anybody?

      • Yhannoby

        you might wanna try lookinf for a mirrorless camera for the price. 😀

      • Axel


        The only 2 things I would had would be :
        – A great viewfinder (yeah I know it changes the price, and maybe the need for a mirror)
        – A real and good handling i.e. no need to buy a third-party grip.

  • My Japanese is a bit rusty. By “pointed cameras” I believe they mean bodies with more specialized features, not unlike the division existing between the D3x and the D3s right now. Looks like no D400 this time around, which has been my belief for a while. Although I shoot a D700, I don’t see a widespread need for a pro quality DX body when the D7000 is as good as it is right now. I realize some birders will be disappointed.

    Bring it on.

    • Merv

      I’d say there is also a possibility for further branching within the D5100/D7000 models. The D5100 does have some “gimmicky” features that are of no interest to the D7000 crowd. Meanwhile, most mass-market/casual users would not even bother to even think about in-camera motors, remote commanders, autofocus fine-tune, etc.

    • dgs

      rusty, LOL…

    • Rob

      Literal translation is ‘pointed’ but in this context it means ‘focused’, i.e. each model with be targeted towards a more specific market/user.

      • PCM

        >>pointed camera
        yes, in this article, 「とんがった」 POINTED means Featured, Focused, or Specialized for just one specific feature.
        Kind of Outsider.

        • Matt B

          Cheers guys, I had not heard this expression before so went with the literal meaning. Good to know the new camera won’t hurt my hands 🙂

    • Alex

      The D7000 lacks back button autofocus which is a key feature to a lot of us sports shooters. I believe it also lacks a switch to change between servo modes which is another feature that is handy when someone needs to go from AF-C to AF-S quickly (in case they aren’t a back button AF shooter). I have only briefly used a D7000 but I believe that are also come other things left off. In any regard if there is no D300s replacement then there is a huge hole in the Nikon lineup from a price point perspective. There are a lot of us out here that need more pro features than the D7000 has and still need the DX reach.

      • Lanskymob

        wait….on my D90 I have my AE/AF lock button set to be my “back button autofocus”. Are you saying that feature isn’t available on the D7000?

  • Landscape Photo

    I keep wondering the sales ratio of the two cameras below, theoretically both available in the market & priced the same.

    D800 – as rumored
    D850 – sensor from D4, 6-7 fps, else the same with D800

    About 50-50 % or something different?

    • More like 20%:80% … i think most existing d700 users would go for a d850 if this cam would be real.

      • Axel

        I agree for the 20-80 ratio … at least !

        But what would be the impact on the D4 sales ?

        So it would mean that this hypothetic D850 would be released at the D4 upgrade release, which put it in about 2 years from now … So available in 27-30 months …. I don t see anyone on this site waiting until then 😉

        I think they deliberately chose to “preserve” very-high-sensitivity for their top-end camera because it’s the most wanted (and so most valued) feature of the moment.

        As hard as it is for us non-pro geek to accept …

        • Steve Jobs said it nicely: Don’t Let Your Competitors Cannibalize Your Business … cannibalize it yourself.

          The truth just is that, other companies might overtake you and you risk being put out of business if you don’t keep up and break an egg or two yourself every now and then. I am for sure waiting for some testreviews between the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III before i make any buying decision on what to replace my old D90 with. All i want is a High ISO camera at a decent price with good lenses. And if Nikon can’t deliver because they think it’s not strategically wise to make a good camera at an affordable price then i hope Canon or Sony will do.

    • Joe

      That’s hard to say for now. I regularly do prints of 1,20 x 0,80 m and above, and before making a decision I’d like to see what 36 MP really does against 18 MP or even the 12 MP of my D700, taking into account that you use the best tripod you are willing to afford and carry, the quality of your lenses and filters, and of course how good your shooting technique is.

      For sure the D800 sounds like a landscapers dream on paper, but I want to see what it really does.

  • nuno santacana

    The most surprising thing is that they consider D800 the D700 successor!!!

    I want a small D3s and I think they would sell millions of it if the made this camera D700s.

    • GeofFx

      What about if Nikon keeps the D700 in production and adds a D700s (or D800s) with the D4 sensor in a couple of years?

    • Abraham Collins

      Yes, slap the D3s sensor in a small body with an Expeed3 and call it D9000. MSRP $3000 USD.

  • ericnl


    I don’t want (nor can I afford) a camera that is twice as big and twice as expensive, only to get better noise ratio at high iso.
    and I’m not going to buy a 2nd hand D3s, it is just too big to lug around!

  • luo

    I see.. Interesting interview, thank you for bring it on.. bringing everything that have been delayed from 2011 into next year, it seems 2012 will be a very busy year for Nikon (they call it as a ‘lively’ year).. they listened many user said 12MP resolution from full-frame camera is not enough, such as for landscape/nature photographer, and want to deliver higher resolution to address this issue.. well, expect many activities from the company within first several months of 2012..

  • R!

    D4 will be class leading in quality as usual,D800 will canibalize medium format and the next D4oo will probably be as fast as the A77,It’s all good exept that we can’t wait anymore ,and we don’t believe in Santaclaus anymore but we still react like kids Its a lot of fun …and a lot of wait but we ll be all happy next year !! happy holydayz!!!!!!

  • avidsiman

    If Nikon says the D800 is the D700 successor…..I’m very disappointed.

    All I want in a D700 successor is:

    12 mp –> 18 mp
    ISO 6400 –> ISO 25, 600
    photography framerate: 6 fps
    video framerate: 1080p @ 30 fps
    Price < $2600 USD

    This is well within Nikon's reach to produce such a camera. Why don't they?

    Nikon is dropping the ball pretty hard here.

    • The Manatee

      Why would you think that given a 30% appreciation in the yen that Nikon would sell this camera for less than $2700?! The D700 priced OVER $2700 when it was initially released.

    • lock

      That’s the D4, but with more fps, and of course more dollars …

  • The interview also mentions that Nikon hopes to make 2012 a lively year by announcing camera and lenses including what was not announced in 2011. There were also mentions of a D7000 replacement but no concrete info was given.

  • Bacon G

    Whether it is Feb or Jan, I can’t wait to see the new babies D800 and D4..!

  • Donaldejose

    Here is an idea.

    If the new D800 and the new D4 are more focused (one for high resolution and the other for high sensitivity/speed) then perhaps Nikon will be thinking of creating the same divergant focus for the top of the old DX line. The D7000 could be the high resolution counterpart to the D800: after all it will be using one half the sensor in the D800. Now for the sensor to use in the new D400 to make it more focused on sensitivity/speed? We have been hearing of a 24mp DX sensor for the D400 and that may well be true. Simply using one half of the old D3s sensor could instantly create high sensitivity/speed. But at 6 mp it probably wouldn’t sell because that mp number is so low it seems old and outdated. However, using one half of the new D4 sensor could work quite well. It would be a 8 mp DX sensor which may not seem too low but may be boarderline. However, I think its performance would remove doubts. But if accommodations can be made to the new D400 body and if Nikon has recouped its development cost for the D3s sensor perhaps Nikon could keep making D3s sensors cheap and put them into the D400. New advances in processors and software can be added to improve IQ. Yes, this jumps the D400 from DX to FX but it sure would be a cheap way to extend the life of the D3s sensor; it would create the same focusing in the top of the advanced amateur Nikon models as will exist in the professional Nikon models. If Nikon can do it this cheaply, I would love to see a D400 with D3s FX sensor for about $2,000. I think they would sell a lot of them. When you add a battery grip for less than $500 you would be able to get a “lite” D3s for about half the cost of the old pro D3s. Yes, the shutter wouldn’t last as long but plenty of advanced amateurs won’t be taking that many shots anyway. Most of us who don’t shoot for a living are probably shooting less than 100,000 shots before we replace camera due to new technology anyway. A type of d3s “Lite” could be very useful for many people: like all those parents who want to shoot their kid’s sports.

  • tk

    The responses by this gentleman from Nikon is very non-committal. It may not come through very well in automated translations but reading it in Japanese, I can say he deliberately avoided giving any specifics. He neither denied nor confirmed anything and any planning he mentioned was put in terms of possibly doing it in the future.

    (I am a native Japanese speaker)

    • Mark

      Well, if he was more specific, he’d be making the announcement, wouldn’t he. And that’s not what he was doing. The announcement, and the specifics, are planned for early next year, as this site has pointed out.

    • Juergen.

      Thanks for commenting tk!
      Makes really sense what you write.

  • Donaldejose

    Thanks tk; we often read more into something than we should here because we are so anxious to find any excuse to speculate.

  • By now I can totally see the logic behind the D800. This just isn’t the right time, the right economy, for another $8,000 camera. (D4X) Canon enjoyed an $8K price tag in their FF flagship for a few generations, but Nikon missed that boat with the D3X because by 2008 the economy was tanking. Nikon probably realized that they would make MUCH higher profits if they just made a D700-sized D3X successor, and priced it at $3-4K.

    Canon seems to be in the same boat, at least that’s what the 1DX indicates. A $6800 price tag puts it right up there where the 1Ds series usually found itself a year or two after hitting shelves. And 5D mk3 rumors are putting it at 30+ MP too.

    So, all of this sounds logical for the high-res, MF-wannabe market. The landscape photographer hobbyist in me would love to have one.

    But my JOB is not about resolution, it is about low light and accuracy. The ONLY camera I will consider upgrading to is a “D700s” type body. D3s or D4 sensor, dual card slots, video, etc.

    I’m not trying to whine and complain here, I can get my work done just fine with the cameras currently available. I could spend 2-3 years keeping myself occupied with lens upgrades. I’m just saying, for Nikon’s sake if they’re listening, that I won’t be buying a new DSLR body for the next 1-2 generations.

    I guess it’s just not my “turn” this generation. I’m sure Nikon heard the exact opposite when the D700 came out. (“We understand the need for crazy ISO and low MP count, but we’re not upgrading until we get affordable high-res FX”)

    Either way, I’ll happily look forward to new lenses in 2012 and just forget about bodies for a while. Oh well…


    • broxibear

      Hi Matt,
      You’re not the only one skipping a model. I know many photographers who’ll not be upgrading unless their cameras are physically falling apart. It makes no sense at all to spend thousands in tough times for the sake of an extra stop if your picture taking doesn’t need it.
      I’ve seen people posting that there’s a massive difference between the D3 and D3s, there isn’t, there’s a stop after 6400 if you start corner staring at 100%. (I,ve seen fools leave their D3s at 10,000 iso all day every day just because they can but that’s another story).
      2012 is going to be a tough year, cnn just last week sacked 15 photojournalists, if some interesting lenses turn up I’ll look at them, but like you I won’t be upgrading bodies.

  • It’s going to be one “sharp” camera.
    Probably meaning a “refined” competition killer. Is what they seem to be claiming.
    I can’t wait.

  • Xiao

    There is a page for Fujifilm next mirrorless as well. So they confirmed that the sensor size is APS-C and the size of the camera will be a little bit bigger than X100

  • kokko

    D800 & D4 are coming at January, D300s replacement is coming at Photokina 2012. That’s what I think.

  • Landscape Photo

    A 36mp FX will be putting pressure on the snobbish MF manufacturers. Some substantial drop in prices of backs should be expected in the following years.

    I bet these MF backs don’t cost more than the quarter of what they are sold for, and the issue of low yield on silicon wafers is not more than an urban legend.

  • DaveyJ

    I am still more interested in a D400 and that seems to be further out all the time.

    • lock

      Same for me.
      I don’t care about FF, even if it carries 2 bln pixels. The current price ranger of the D800/D4 is way beyond what I’m willing to pay. If it’s about money, I will put it in lenses.
      I’m in for better hi iso (proper iso 6400 is a minimum) compared to my current D300, and I could use an extra 4 to 6 mp for cropping purposes. Video ? Well, I wouldn’t mind if it was there but it’s not my goal if I buy a a d300/s succesor. But I do want at least the same quality AF, buffer size enough to keep a decent speed for a sufficient time (6fps is enough for me, really) , pro button layout, properly customisable, and an lcd similar to the A77. The latter is a real bonus for me. Which means the d7000 is not good enough for me.

  • andrew

    well I don’t want a f’in high res D800 i want a high ISO D800………. I don’t need high res for my sports and i only make about $1000-1500 a year doing sports, (its a hobby) so the D4 will be way out of my price range 🙁

  • BillM

    This quote really got me “D700 successor to have high pixel count, high resolution” because I have been hoping the D800 would represent a new line but that the D700 would remain alive and they would soon offer a D700s, but based on this quote it doesn’t sound like that may happen.

    Maybe Nikon realized the issue with the D3/D700 and D700 sales cutting into D3 sales and did it simply to draw people over from Canon and others. If they keep the D4 with lower MP and the D800 is 30+ MP I will be exremely disappointed because that means Nikon will no longer offer a low MP, high ISO option at a reasonable price (ala D700).

  • zenflash

    Does anyone know what the pixel count may be with this new camera? I’m looking for something that might follow the D3X —more than 24.5 mp. I would like to print mural size on my large format printer.

  • I can’t wait any longer NIKON – Where is the D800
    D4 is great but way above my budget, I just need a darn FX body, and the D700 is buying backwards.


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