New Nikon patent for a Nikkor PC-E 19mm f/4 full frame mirrorless tilt-shift lens

Nikon Nikkor PC-E 19mm f:4 full frame mirrorless tilt-shift lens patent
Nikon has a new patent filed in Japan for a Nikkor PC-E 19mm f/4 full frame mirrorless tilt-shift lens. This is the second Nikon patent for a full frame mirrorless lens - the first one was for a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.

I already reported rumors that Nikon is working on a new full frame mirrorless camera. Here is a 2014 quote from Toshiaki Akagi (Department Manager in Nikon Design Department) about the possibility of a new large sensor mirrorless camera in the future:

"We know that there is a certain body of demand for larger sensors in mirrorless products. Although we already have the 1 inch sensor in the 1 System, we don't want to deny the possibility of future large-sensor mirrorless cameras. So maybe if there is enough demand we may be able to provide another type of mirrorless camera with larger sensors. This is one of the solutions."

I think the new mirrorless system will be announced in late 2016, maybe for the 2016 Photokina show (September).

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  • neonspark
  • Spy Black

    It’d be nice if they also updated the existing PC-E lenses as well, and maybe throw in a 19mm DSLR PC-E lens as well.

    • Eric Calabros

      Nikon is like “why bother?” about many of our needs.

    • NicP

      Im really confused about what is going on there in Nikon Japan HQ. Canon updated tilt/shift lenses years ago giving the advantage for more movements which help a lot landscape, product, architecture photographers. Many disappointed Canon photographers use their lenses on Sony bodies, where here Nikon could benefit if had an ultra wide angle and updated PC-E lenses. Do they want to close down the company? Dont know.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Nikon is turning out some very uninteresting products. Maybe there are a few photographers waiting for this lens, but for most no. How about an aps-c mirror less with AF like the 1 system? It must technologically possible for them to do this. Something other than just mild updates to dated product lines.

    • Piooof

      There’s a rather large gap between a patent and a product.

      • MonkeySpanner

        Absolutely. But patents give you clues about what the r&d department is working on.

      • rhlpetrus

        In fact, it is not uncommon for Nikon and other photo companies to file a patent just before the release of a new lens.

        • Piooof

          On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for them to patent designs that will never see the market.

          • rhlpetrus

            True, there are many more patents that are never used than those that are, but one should not use that as an indicator for a specific situation, statistics is about large numbers, not individual cases.

    • David Weinehall

      You’re calling a tilt-shift lens for a mirrorless full-frame camera that hasn’t even been released yet a mild update to a dated product line? Wow. You’re sure hard to please.

      • MonkeySpanner

        Oh, sorry. You are right. I completely missed the part about being mirror less. Yes, this is suddenly much more interesting. I wish they were working on a DX morrorless solution. But an fx mirrorless is also interesting.

        • Ineedmy Bobo

          The DX mirrorless solution is called Fuji X. 🙂 I don’t think Nikon could compete against Fuji and Sony successfully, starting out about 4 years behind them. FX, they still have a chance. Either way, I’d buy that 19mm T/S for SLR or mirrorless if it ever actually came to reality.

          • MonkeySpanner

            What about a weather proof DX mirror less in the spirit of the d300? Larger body (than Sony or Fuji solutions) larger battery, faster and more competent AF system. I think that niche has not been filled by any mirror less. I am thinking a mirrorless 7DmkII.

          • John Picking

            Nikon NX

    • preston

      A new lens they’ve never had before that could expand the possibilities for many shooters is a “mild update to a dated product line”? Those full-frame mirrorless lenses sure are a thing of the past for Nikon.

      • preston

        Oh, just realized others have pointed this out below already. Hadn’t gotten there yet! Sorry

        • MonkeySpanner


  • yrsued

    Call me crazy but I don’t see the relation between the Mirrorless Marketplace and those who use, need and know how to use a Tilt Shift Lens.

    Architectural Photographers or Studio Photographers ( i use an 85 PCE for Product Studio Photography) don’t use Mirrorless Cameras for Pro work, at least I don’t know any that do here in the Phoenix Area.

    • Lex Cross

      perhaps that’s because nobody has made a good tilt shift lens for mirrorless…

      • yrsued

        Yes, it could be, if they make it, we will see if the sales are there.

        I reserve the right to be wrong..

      • Patrick O’Connor

        a 19mm PCE would be primarily for architectural or landscape photography and, for those purposes, would likely be paired with, at minimum, a 24mm, for which there is no patent. Of course, an individual could use the SLR 24mm but in that case, why not just make the 19mm an SLR lens and sell it to both groups!? Too few people use PCE lenses for it to be logical to segment them this way.

        • Piooof

          Maybe simply for size, weight and cost reasons, rather noticeable at 19 mm… Why bother going mirrorless if you don’t benefit from the removal of the mirror cage?

    • tcohen

      Absent a mirror, the rear element can be much closer to the sensor. This should allow design of a wide angle tilt/shift lens with a larger image circle and a greater range of movements, probably simpler and less expensive than a less capable F-mount lens.

      • yrsued

        That much is very true, but I don’t see myself using a Mirrorless Camera in the studio for a Commercial Magazine or Catalog Shoot. But like I said above, I reserve the right to be wrong!!

        • tcohen

          While mirrorless opens new possibilities, until we have an actual product, all bets are off.

          • yrsued

            YUP, that much is right!!


            For the money it would cost, I could get a View frame that I can attach my D800 on and can get better movements!!

            I’m used to that in the studio.

            • tcohen

              True. But not wide angle.

        • I think here you would be right. Atleast for next 5 years. EVF is still not good enough.

      • All these advantages and still 19mm instead of 17mm.

    • Patrick O’Connor

      I think this is a reservation patent. It wouldn’t make any sense, given their current PCE lineup, to actually manufacture this lens in the near future.

      • yrsued

        I agree, it doesn’t make any sense.

      • And, they’d need to make a camera to put it on.

        • Patrick O’Connor

          If the admin is right, and he generally is, there should be a FF Mirrorless next year.

    • In theory a wide angle tilt-shift lens that doesn’t need to span a mirror box would command a considerable advantage from a design point of view. If it could provide optical performance not available otherwise, it might bring a new audience to mirrorless.

      • yrsued

        You are right, in theory….

        Another thing is the Marketplace!!

        The Mirrorless Market is serious Hobbyists, The PCE line is NOT AF, I don’t think the Mirrorless target Market is those who would be looking for a manual Focus Tilt & Shift Lens.

        That is a more specialized lens.

        • I think you missed my point. If a lens like the one patented by Nikon turned out to be a game changer for say, architectural photographers, it could create a new market. I’m not sure it would be huge, but there is at least the potential to shift users (sorry for the pun) to a new camera format to take advantage of capabilities theretofore unavailable.

          • yrsued

            I got your point perfectly well, I would respectfully disagree, I have been behind the camera now for over 30 years and Pro’s are a weird bunch, we sorta stick with Gear we are comfortable with. Some of us like Gizmos, but not for work, when it comes to making money, we stick with what we know and trust.

            That being said, I switched to Digital 15 years ago and I would have never thought that Digital would be able to beat 4×5 Film!!

            • captaindash

              You’re right, camera pros are about the most fickle bunch around. Drives me nuts because it’s seriously stifling for innovation. It’s ridiculous that entry level models will have features not available on flagship models released around the same time.

              Anyway, I’d buy a 19mm tilt shift tomorrow (I’d actually prefer a 20 or 21 for architecture) , and I’d love to see a perfected mirrorless. So many advantages to an EVF if they can get it right. I just don’t want the smaller size of a body. Gimme all my buttons and dials on the outside, thank you very much. So long as they have an adaptor for the transition period to new lenses, I’d be all-in.

              All it takes is one spectacular body and people will come in droves. Nikon used to say they had no use for full frame, then came the D3.

            • yrsued

              Not really, you can use whatever you want, the issue is that when lots of money is on the line, we use what we know and we are comfortable with!!

              A big job is NOT the place to play with new gear and experiment, we are NOT paid for coming up with new and cool gear, we are paid for our work and how consistent we are in our product!!

              I get paid because I can consistently deliver the highest quality work, my lights are over 30 years old, I was told by a salesman at a local camera store that I needed to upgrade to the latest and greatest gear, I replied if this gear was going to make me more money or make my Images better and if this $30-$40K Investment was going to pay for itself in one year…. He never brought up that subject again!!

              I still run two D800’s in the studio, I haven’t had the need to upgrade. Nikon just referred one of the bodies for free and I paid to get the other one done. Buying a D810 is NOT going to make my work better.

              I like new gear like the other guy, but I can’t afford to buy it when it comes out. I let guys buy it and then I get it cheap at Fred Miranda’s!!

              One of my D4’s I got for over $1000 less and it had 1400 actuations, THAT is what makes sense to a businessman in this economy!!

            • All good points and you and I agree…mostly. In fact, in my little market here in Idaho I’m shooting with D700s that I bought used on eBay for ~$875. Remember when they were the cameras of the century? But, I did it to replace my D300s because of pressure from my competitors. My image quality has improved marginally, and it was enough to keep me competitive. I agree that spending a fortune on gear is not good business, although my CPA tells me I might as well since the IRS will take the money otherwise. I don’t know that a 19mm tilt-shift lens is the breakthrough that will create a new market for Nikon. But, I think there is potential for mirrorless, and wide angle photography in particular. Now, if they can just make an EVF that doesn’t look like I’m watching TV and can refresh at the speed of reality….

            • captaindash

              Absolutely. Using top end gear, but being 1-3 years late for the party means you get to use the best, but pay way less. It reminds me how someone will pay the same amount for a brand new top end Honda Civic as they would for a 4 year old BMW (not even entry level) with low mileage. That BMW at 4 yrs old still drives like a BMW. That Civic won’t, no matter how new it is.

              If anyone suggests a D800 isn’t good enough, just nod and back away slowly.

            • I have often made the same argument, I don’t believe that mirrorless is just about size and weight. I don’t think Nikon should get rid of their mount, they might be able to still design wide angle lenses that retract into the space left by the mirror still on f mount. Best of both worlds a camera that is slightly lighter but still with a good grip and battery life, balances well with tele lenses and is also great for video. That would sell I think.

            • I too have been behind a camera for several decades and pay my bills with them. If I thought that a competitor was beating me to good paying gigs because they were using a lens that delivered results to their clients that I couldn’t match with my current gear, what do you think I would do?

          • Patrick O’Connor

            A 19mm PCE, while useful for architectural photography, wouldn’t entice anyone on its own. 24-35mm is more useful. You could put a 1.4 TC on the 24 to provide for most needs with 24 and 34mm, the 19 being good for tighter spaces.

            • The shorter FL lenses are always more difficult to design in terms of correcting distortion and aberrations. Eliminating the mirror box lets you bring the lens closer to the sensor and that gives the designers more freedom. I’m amazed that Canon has a 17mm T/S lens for DSLR…that’s quite a trick and I hear it’s pretty sharp and distortion free…kind of.

        • Eric Bowles

          I think you are missing the boat on who is actually using mirrorless cameras today. People like Rob Sheppard, Jack Graham, and Bill Fortney are all using non-Nikon full frame mirrorless cameras for professional work. All are top pros who shoot a lot of landscapes. This is right in the sweetspot for these pros if Nikon has a full frame mirrorless. It may be late for them – but not for the market.

          The Nikon 1 cameras include hobbiest owners, but also second or third cameras for pros. The V3 and 70-300 lens can produce stunning images – and an equivalent 200-810 focal length with VR that is very handholdable. You’ve got to try it before you pan it.

          • yrsued

            Are they Studio Product Photographers??

            Are they shooting Catalog Covers of Products with them??

            Can they do the Scheimpflug with those cameras??

            I think not!!

            Mirrorless for Studio work is ways away!!

            Would I use it if they do what I can do with a DSLR in the studio with the same ease of use??


            At this time, Honestly, I only care for what I do, that is what pays the bills and keeps the lights on, what other do, good for them.

            • Well, you’ve pretty much covered every base at this point.

          • yrsued

            I just checked, ALL those guys are Nature Photographers!! That is a totally different animal!!

    • Joe
    • Ineedmy Bobo

      If you made a mirrorless D810-quality camera and a PCE lens for that camera, I would buy it in a heartbeat!

      • yrsued

        Ya, that is one of the issues, but the whole Mirrorless thing that I don’t think will work for us studio guys, at least not yet, not enough lenses and support. IMHO, this is not a Studio Pro camera, but something you put in your pocket and have fun with.

    • NicP

      PC-E lenses are used in many areas in photography. I sometimes use the 45mm for a few shots in weddings. I agree with you whats the point of 19mm for mirrorless when full frame slrs dont have one where pro users would benefit from it. Maybe they want to give the opportunity to people spending less money to experience the miniature effect which was a trend couple of years ago? Who Knows what’s in their minds.

    • Kevin Chen

      I actually don’t see a distinction between DSLR and FF mirrorless… After all, assuming I use an 80mm – 100mm large format type lens on a monorail bellows camera for a commercial shoot in studio set-up, isn’t that technically a ‘mirrorless’ camera? By definition all Sinar, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Horseman, Linhof, and Toyo, etc, etc cameras are all mirrorless. no? In this sense, would that be deem as ‘unprofessional’?

  • Aldo

    F4? So they are going the small route with mirrorless .. guess they’ll sell more f mount adapters than mirrorless lenses.

    • captaindash

      The Canon 17mm is f4, and the 24’s for both companies are f3.5. I don’t think the f4 has anything to do with the mirror, or lack thereof.

      • Aldo

        You are right. I guess it’s a TS thing.

  • Espen4u

    If they hope to sell this lens with all that glass inside, they most certainily must pair it with a pro/prosumer mirrorless body. And this lens might also mean that a new wider mount is a necessity.

  • Ineedmy Bobo

    Holy geeze, if this ever actually came out, I’d be all over it. (Provided there is a decent mirrorless camera to mount it on! 🙂 ) I have always wanted a true wide-angle tilt-shift lens.

  • Are they sponsored by Sony? There is a difference.

    • Joe

      I bet there are more sponsored by Nikon than by Sony.

      • not really, Nikon stopped sponsoring many photographers and they switched to Sony as a result

  • rhlpetrus

    I’d like to see a small APS-C mirrorless Nikon with the Nikon 1 AF system. Or maybe just a great APS-C compact with a nice fast zoom, like the one on the Panny LX100. But Nikon is so slooooow these days, they seem to be dead on water, no?

  • yrsued

    That is NOT what I do, I do Studio Product and Catalog Photography, TOTALLY different animal!!

    And I’m NOT sponsored by anyone, other than the money I produce from my Business

    • Singani Mamiya

      You can certainly use a Sony in your studio with great results. What do you think is the problem?

      • yrsued

        Lack of Pro Support, not enough lenses and I can’t see it used for Product Photography!!

        • Singani Mamiya

          What’s so special about product photography? I use the FE 90 Macro and a Schneider-Kreuznach 90mm Apo-Digitar on the Cambo Actus. Outstanding results. See this guy:

          • yrsued

            I used a 210 Schneider when I was in school, Product Photography is what pays the bills and I don’t need to experiment at this time!!

            He uses what he likes, I use what I like that is what makes us all different.

            You don’t have to use a D800 with an 85mm PCE, I do, that is what I’m comfortable with, I don’t feel the need to spend money to experiment!!

            This is what we do


            Our setup works best for us at this time.

            A friend does the same thing with a Canon 5D MK Something with the 90mm TS, that is what makes him happy. He’s not wrong

            For me, Lighting, Composition and Exposure are what makes my Images. NOT the Camera I use, but I use what I’m comfortable with.

            At this time, and I repeat, AT THIS TIME, Mirrorless is NOT for me.

            If it is for you, great!! Have at it, we live in a free country.

  • Singani Mamiya

    Funnily enough, Nikon already makes a great 19mm f/2.8 tilt-shift lens for mirrorless. It is called the “AF-S 14-24/2.8 G” and works nicely on my Cambo Actus with the Sony A7R II as a 17-24mm T/S-Zoom.

    • Ineedmy Bobo

      That’s cool, but it’s not exactly taking advantage of the size advantage of mirrorless. 🙂

  • Richard A J

    Doesn’t this lens being described as a “mirrorless lens” suggests that it won’t be an F mount lens? I can’t see Nikon being successful if they introduce a whole new line of FX lenses that aren’t compatible with their DSLRs. Maybe thats their plan… release all new “mirrorless” lenses that are better than the F mount versions, then kill off F mount and DSLRs if and when the mirrorless stuff begins to outsell the DSLR stuff.

    Anyway, it’s an odd way of describing a lens.

    • Ineedmy Bobo

      That’s how Panasonic and Olympus migrated from Four Thirds to Micro Four Thirds–backwards compatibility until the M43 line of lenses matured. The thing that’s needed though is an adapter that mounts traditional F mount lenses onto to the new mirrorless camera and has responsive AF. That’s the only way you’ll get most people to jump on board.

  • Singani Mamiya

    You’re absolutely right, and I didn’t mean to make you switch to mirrorless, I just wanted to point out that it is *possible* to use one professionally, too. 😉

    Well done images on your portfolio, btw.!

  • rhlpetrus

    This is just another indication that Nikon is developing an FF mirrorless system, just like when we started seeing lens patents for the Nikon 1 system about 2 years before the system came out. Late next year is a good bet.

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