Let’s start talking about the upcoming Nikon mirrorless camera

Let's start talking about the upcoming Nikon mirrorless camera

I have been reporting about the new Nikon mirrorless camera for over a year now, but I still don't have any reliable technical details. Several different scenarios are possible:

  • Nikon will bring back the Nikon 1 with a new and better adapter. Maybe they can squeeze a slightly bigger than 1" sensor inside the CX mount?
  • Nikon will create a new mount for their upcoming mirrorless camera and introduce a new adapter to use existing Nikkor lenses.
  • Another possibility is that Nikon may introduce two different mirrorless cameras (possible mix: Nikon 1/F-mount/new mount)
  • Nikon has already filed several patents for full frame mirrorless lenses but I am still not sure what sensor size Nikon will select - all the reports I received point to a "large" or "larger than Nikon 1 sensor". I think it is safe to assume that if they go with a new mount, it will be 100% full frame compatible.
  • At least two new Nikon mirrorless lenses will be launched with the new mirrorless camera.

The only matching information across all my sources is that Nikon is working on a new adapter for their upcoming mirrorless camera

Reportedly Nikon is putting a lot of effort in the development of a new lens adapter for their next mirrorless camera. The new adapter is supposed to be very complex and it will be expensive. Nikon wants to make sure the autofocus is fast and is backward compatible with old Nikkor lenses (AF-D included).  This brings me to a new Nikon patent that was recently filed in Japan (I have no idea if this is what Nikon is working on):

Nikon patent for pellicle/translucent mirror autofocus adapter to use current Nikkor DSLR lenses on a mirrorless camera

The patent describes a mirrorless camera with a hybrid sensor and an AF adapter with a pellicle (translucent) mirror and a dedicated phase AF module (similar to the current Sony LA-EA4 adapter). The AF adapter will compensate for the DSLR flange distance and will allow the use of DSLR Nikkor lenses on the new mirrorless camera.

Additional information from the patent filing:

  • Nikon Patent No: JP 2017-138624 (P2017-138624A)
  • Publication date: August 10, 2017
  • Original filing date: May 23rd, 2013

The same patent also describes a hybrid PDAF sensor (see more PDAF Nikon sensor patents field in the past):

As usual, Nikon patents are no guarantee for future products - I just found an interesting link between the rumors I received and the recently published patent.

Nikon mirrorless camera mockups by Broxibear.

Like the new Nikon Mirrorless Camera Facebook page and join the growing Nikon Mirrorless Camera Facebook group for a more detailed coverage of the upcoming Nikon mirrorless camera.

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  • What exactly does “100% full frame compatible” actually mean? Do you mean whatever the mount is, it is able to project a full frame image circle or something else?

  • Chas

    Style: E-M1 Mark II body. Specs: A7RII. Nikon badge and I’m in …
    Done and Done!

  • Vince Vinnyp

    I still hope they go modular as with some of their other recent patents. Then everyone could be happy just mix and match sensor/mount with the body you want and get a USP.

    • Michiel953

      Modular (a subject not mentioned a lot) certainly is something I would welcome.

      Look at how you configure a new car these days, and please don’t tell me it’s not economicalle feasible.

    • TurtleCat

      A build to order setup would be fantastic. It would put them more in competition with their dealer network but afford them more flexibility on inventory.

  • teagueAMX

    I guess Nikon missed the memo – the horse has left the barn: All those resources chasing that horse, with hope and a prayer being able to use existing Nikon AF lenses will save the product? By the time they bring these products to market, Sony will have extended their lead even further. A dying, hopeless last gasp – a tribute to old-school inflexibility in the product development and marketing. This a move they should have made a year or two ago. No vision / no hope.

    • D700s

      Says the man that lives day to day to the Corporation that survived 100 years and has millions in assets. You made me chuckle…

      • teagueAMX

        Sniffing your own fumes again, are we, “Says the man that lives day to day to the Corporation” whatever the the F that means? Really where you donw in your basement wanking and came up with that BS? But, I guess you missed the memo. NIkon has slipped to from 2nd to 3rd place behind Sony in this area of the market. Maybe while you’re busy chuckling you’ll miss Nikon loose additional market share. And with 100 year old ideas and methodology it’s no wonder they’re losing ground. If you really look at the stuff described it at one by likely 2 steps behind what’s already out there.

        • Sawyerspadre

          Which part is “this part” of the market. Mirrorless, yes I guess Nikon in behind Sony in share. Overall ILC, I think not.

  • rhlpetrus

    This adapter is a good sign Nikon will introduce a new mount on a serious camera, as it will be useful with older lenses and likely most of the larger telephoto lenses, so the bodies coming are not just introductory level.

    I am waiting for their ML. Hope they make at least one excellent compact body, like the Sonys, FF.

  • Cranky Observer

    The Nikon 1 V1 was a good camera – to this day my artist spouse prefers it for wilderness shooting due to its excellent color rendition and unmatched handling of reflections. That said, it is highly unreliable and we have pretty much given up using it in favor of a D3400 because otherwise we just have to carry the V1 and the D3400 anyway, for when the V1 decides to lock up (with 75% battery remaining). And that is after completing the lens-causes-system-lockup recall.

    Why couldn’t Nikon just keep improving the V1 every 2 years, as Fujifilm as done with the XT-1/XT-2, instead of going down the rabbit hole of not two but three different designs with the V2 and V3, each very different and each with their own set of unfixed problems? That’s the problem Nikon management should be solving.

    • Craig Yuill

      “The Nikon 1 V1 was a good camera…”. Hear, hear. I have been using V1 bodies for almost 5 years. I use V1s about twice as often as my D7000. One reason is that I shoot a fair amount of video, and the V1 is much better for video than the D7000. There are those who insist they only care about still photography, but video is an important thing that many photographers use, and it isn’t going away. It is unfortunate that Nikon hasn’t developed the video capabilities of its cameras more vigorously. The feature set of the D850 (zebra stripes, focus peaking, etc.) indicates that Nikon may finally be getting it.

      Nikon’s mismanagement of the Nikon 1 system is rather unfortunate. I hope they resuscitate the system. I would be interested in acquiring a new, improved “V” body, and certain lenses not currently in the line up. (13mm f/2, fast wide to tele!) I would also like to see reliability improved. I have two 1 Nikkor lenses that I must send in to get repaired due to problems with the aperture mechanism.

      • Kyle

        I also use the V1 and J5 as video cameras for wedding work. My D750 and 7200 are mains. But the J5 with cx70-300 is amazing. My V1 with 6.7-13 is a processional safety camera.

        I also use them both for vacations.

    • Rich

      I’d like small lenses to go with my small camera so I’ve always wanted a V camera that offered ergonomics similar to a Fuji XT20 (complete with integrated EVF).

      I would have even bought a V3 had it not been so overpriced compared to the competition.

  • Andrew Jay

    This is all very interesting, and when Nikon introduces their mirrorless miracle I will investigate and do my research, then determine what direction I will take. In the meantime, I sure do hope to be shooting with my D850 this coming weekend!

  • If those concept renders would be the new mirrorless system from Nikon, plus if they out perform Fujifilm – I’ll be broke very soon.

  • RC Jenkins

    Specs for *my* ideal mirrorless camera. YMMV:

    ::Sensor resolution: 7680×4320 (33MP 8K sensor) @ 42.67mm x 24mm
    BSI, OSPDAF, no AA filter.
    Yes, let’s go 16×9 native, since every display out there now is 16×9. It’s mirrorless: just seamlessly crop down for other aspect ratios if needed in the EVF, inc. FF.

    ::Mount: 16mm flange, 60(ish) mm throat. Include a basic F-mount adapter, offer more adapters. Plenty of room for optics & moving sensor…because…


    ::EVF. (AMOLED) + all the goodies (focus peaking, live histogram, etc.)

    ::Tilty touch screen.

    ::Thin. As in about 30mm thin. Grip optional.

    ::Good tactile controls. Optional click shutter/aperture/ISO knobs, control dials, Joystick, buttons.

    ::7 FPS mechanical shutter. Silent shutter option. Decent buffer (35+ raw).

    ::Raw options like the D850 + robust video options (10-bit video? 4K60?)

    ::Priced competitively. $2500? Definitely under $3000.

    • EnPassant

      My dream is a 7680×7680 square sensor for unlimited choice of crop formats!

      • RC Jenkins

        LOL would be great but very expensive from a practical sense! For FF compatibility, they’d need to make it 36x36mm. That’s huge, and leads to every other part being huge as well… 🙂

        • MB

          Depends on what you by mean by FF compatibility …
          To be able to use current FF lenses and cover the entire square sensor (43mm diagonal) you will need something around 30x30mm …
          Or to be able to cover fully all standard frames (1:1,2:3,16:9) you will need 43x43mm rotatted by 45degree and will left large portions of chip unused:

          • MB
          • RC Jenkins

            A 30x30mm square doesn’t let you “crop down” to full frame, which is 36x24mm.

            • MB

              That is obvious, but it will allow you to make smaller camera, and also obvious is the fact is the fact that 36x36mm will not let you use the entire sensor for 1:1 frame with FF lens … it all depends on what are your priorities 🙂

            • RC Jenkins

              Right, but now we’re “full circle” back to the original statement I made… 🙂

            • MB

              Exacatacaly 🙂
              It seems that square sensors are not feasible idea …
              But I just have that thing for drawing squares and circles if you dont mind 🙂

      • Gosh1

        To reiterate
        see tripartite of posts buried below >>>

        ….This can be met by building a top of the line modular system to cut costs by scaling the D850 sensor from DX through a FX mirrorless flagship to Medium Format (MF) (44 x 33) with 2 development roads for MF. The latter gap-filler will embrace the existing MF AF lenses (X1D and H mounts in Hasselblad and the Fuji glass). It will be not too tricky for Nikon to adapt its killer F-mount to 3rd party glass. If Nikon choose not to, we will soon see 3rd party clones from a strategic niche filler – like Sigma.

        The second MF strategy for Nikon will release top end pro MF Nikkors – zooms and primes that please the Pros. The prominent Pro niches is for 3 MF Dragons from ~15 – 24, 24-70 & 70-200, with specialized 2 or 3 superteles and 4 top primes in 20, 35, 50 & 105 FX equivalents. Tilt-Shift can be done with an adaptor like the ‘Blad HTS. 10 lenses will deliver the goods. This will be the Pro killer system embracing and extending the best of CLS, D5-D850 AF AND stick to the F-Mount so one can still shoot all Nikkors with a crop on the MF Nikon sensor. A Nikon MF sensor you ask? It exists simply by scaling up the D850 sensor from 35.9 x 24 to 44 x 33.

        This will expand the Nikon system with F-mount and CX and MF adapters as its core: from CX through MF.
        Opting for mirrorless MF and FX will circumvent the costs of a MF DSLSR, and learn from the mistakes of Fuji and Hasselblad in their respective equivalents of new innovations in the league of the Nikon D1.

      • Gosh1

        Agreed – in techno industries the opposition exists to be leapfrogged. Embrace and extend. Nikon is unique in its legacy and experience to integrate and scale digital camera technology from CX > DX > FX to Medium-Format. Capitalizing on their D850 sensor and existing advances in high quality AF and cameras, this is achievable. [Their Bronica lenses were 6 x 6 and leadng 35mm models were first designed for both formats. Pertinently, the 300 f2.8))

        This range embracing a spectrum of formats will bring on board the vast majority of professionals. The consumers will follow and buy into more affordable DX and CX ranges with the pathway to build and expand should they aspire

  • br0xibear

    If Nikon stick with their usual schedule the D5s is due in late Jan, early Feb 2018…do you think any mirrorless will come before the D5s ?

    • I don’t know.

      • br0xibear

        If it’s a lower end of the market camera (D3000 price range) then CES would be a good place to show it…but then again none of Nikon’s announcement timings make much sense ?

        • The CP+ show in Japan is a good place to show it too – it is in March 2018 I believe.

  • Ivanku

    Going with a new mount for DX mirrorless makes perfect sense, but that precedent makes me nervous that they’ll ditch native F mount for full frame, as well. Given the additional tolerance differences, etc that an adapter would introduce, it would make for an unreliable system for professionals who are more likely to use FX.

  • TinusVerdino

    You can build a great camera out of Patents can’t you :p

  • Vince Vinnyp

    The patent has monitor/screen interface housings with drop in modules that have sensor and lens mount. So for example you could have a rugged gripped body and a lighter travel body. Sensor wise a full frame DX, or something new. Low noise high speed low MP or high res high DR. F mount or …

  • Michiel953

    Shutter/body/sensor/viewfinder modules?

    • MB

      Dont forget about all those screw and washer modules used to keep it all together 🙂
      But seriously cameras are highly precision equipment and vital parts such as sensor, shutter and lens mount must be factory assembled and adjusted …
      Image processors can be separate unit, so can grips, battery holders, interface modules, LCD screens, rigs etc …
      RED system has that kind of modularity, but then we will be talking about tens of thousands of dollars for something usable … not that Nikon should not try and make something in this segment but that would not be your average Nikon we are talking about …
      For where Nikon is now and what is their target even external EVF are too expensive and not too popular …

  • jmb2560

    It’s hard to believe that Nikon would have spent some much time and R&D $$ to launch a CX-based mirrorless. The minimum for a camera supposed to ship in Q1 2018 would seems to be DX; one DX and one FX-based would give users plenty of choice depending on 1. lenses they already have and 2. the type of image their shoot.

  • tomskyphoto
  • animalsbybarry

    The collection of patents and rumored seem to make it most likely the new mirrorless will be
    New short mount
    Pelicular adapter for F mount lenses (expensive)
    New Nikon desighned sensor ( not necessarily the one in the patent)
    This is my best guess about which of Peters rumors will most likely be in the new camera

    • PhilK

      Given that the pellicle lens adapter patent application was first submitted in 2013 and OSPDAF has improved quite a bit since then, I’m not sure that producing a complex adapter like that would be all that necessary or practical these days.

  • Dominic Siu

    I also want to see what mirrorless camera will come out from Nikon. If it is FM2 style and size that would be nice.

  • NightPhotographer

    This translucent mirror thing is the exact same mistake that Sony made. It causes light loss and , also, decreases the resolution of the lens. (It’s like a filter in front of the lens). Apparently, even if Nikon comes with a 100 MP camera, still wants to make it compatible with a shitty lens made in 1800 BC!!! This stupid notion of Nikon made them lose the market to Canon when they wanted to go digital. Nikon is going to sacrifice the benefits of the new lenses just to make the old lenses “usable” on the new mirrorless camera. It’s moronic!

    • MB

      I presume new mirror-less lenses capable of out resolving 100Mpix sensor will be used without adapter …

      • NightPhotographer

        It takes time to develop a complete set of lenses. Nikon needs their current modern lenses to be perfectly fine when used on their mirrorless cameras. it’s better to forget about D lenses and make sure that their on sensor phase detection AF works fast and reliably for G lenses (like the Canon DPAF). Putting a mirror between the lens and sensor is a terrible idea.

        • MB

          You kind of lost me there … do you want new lenses or not?
          By the way G lenses are actually D lenses just without aperture ring …
          And one more thing … the adapter patent is something very old and obviously made before OSPDAF was readily available and most like predates Nikon 1 … so dont worry about it …

  • milkod2001

    Personally im not interested in small crappy sensor with some new lenses.
    I want slightly smaller body than D750, FF sensor and all what Sony A7ii has. Do you guys think Nikon could delivered this within one year? If not let me know why.

    • António

      I doubt that anyone around here can respond to all this with the degree of certainty you want, so it would be best to contact Nikon directly or show this post to Sony and ask them a good discount for services rendered. 🙂 🙂

      Come on, this is a rumors site and no matter how very well informed the administrator can be don’t you think you are asking for the impossible?

      • milkod2001

        What i really want to know if Nikon would be able to use existing F mount for its next mirrorless camera, if that’s even technically possible.

        • António

          That’s different from the tone of your initial post and I may say it’s a question I also would like to see clarified.

          Nikon 1 uses a small sensor and different mount (CX) but it allows to use F mount lenses via an adapter that offers AF for lenses with a focusing motor, i.e. AF and AF-D lenses will not autofocus.

          So, the mount of a larger sensor future mirrorless camera is still an open question nobody can answer but it is likely that if a new mount appears Nikon can’t afford to prevent existing lenses to work with it as F lenses park is the big asset to guaranty Nikon’s market position and some rumors talk about solutions guaranteeing more compatibility that the adapter for CX.

          No option other to wait and see what the future will bring and how satisfactory Nikon offers will be.

  • peter w

    The second looks very nice.

    However, D850 seems to have all the specs that I would think to need from mirrorless. Silent and shake free. Except perhaps for an electronic viewfinder (optional).
    Let’s see.

  • Tran T

    At least a 24MP full frame sensor with some sort of OSPDAF, full frame 4K, a new mount meant for mirrorless full frame (not like the E mount or EF-M mount which were built for APS-C sensors) and I’ll buy.

  • Nikkor300f4VR

    Well, this will be the longest comment section ever..

    • we had over 1200 comments in one of the D850 posts

      • TurtleCat

        Whenever we have a concrete rumor for the Nikon mirrorless I bet the comments will easily best the D850’s. I’m interested in what they’ll do but I won’t be buying anything anytime soon. I like my D500 and it’ll take a lot to budge me.

  • AlexG

    I agree with you in everything but not in the part of focusing inconsistencies. My experience is completely the opposite. From all the DSLR and mirrorless i have used with their system’s lenses, the only times i have af miss focus is with DSLR cameras. The mirrorless are spot on, no matter the lens, subject distance, focal length of the zoom. With DSLR can be a headache to fine tune the af for a lens, even prime lens, as it can be done for a specific distance. Don’t let me start about what mess is with zooms (multiple focal lengths x subject distances = huge number of missed af).

    If now you mean by inconsistencies with the af the speed, subject tracking i think we are at the point where mirrorless has nothing to be shy of DSLR’s af system speed and accuracy while it gives even some advantages to af.

    I agree very much with your argument that Nikon has to use F mount lenses as this will bring them infront of competition in the number of lens choices.

    • TurtleCat

      For a static AF a mirrorless is great. For tracking AF, mirrorless has a way to go.

      • AlexG

        I watched the video that Chris Phillips linked to and i see that point is true. The tracking accuracy of the DSLR was almost perfect.
        Another interesting point was that in the case of those cameras you end up with more keepers for a given time and alot more missed photos to deal with though, with the A9.

        • TurtleCat

          I tried really hard to get a mirrorless to work well with tracking AF, even the models that have a good reputation for being “almost DSLR-like” but I was always disappointed. The tracking let me down and the ergonomics were a disappointment. Lens choice also hindered me as I like longer telephoto options.

          A true hybrid option would be really cool and I hope someone does it. Not the Fuji XPro fixed optical hybrid but a true TTL one. But for now I am solidly happy with my D500.

          • AlexG

            D500 is an incredible camera. You can take your time until it is worth it for you to upgrade rest assured you got a beast of a camera to shoot with.
            I am more into landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, so i am waiting for a mirrorless which will replace my D810 as i am getting more into video. D850 is a nice update but i will wait for Nikon’s mirrorless as i am invested havily in Nikon lenses but keeping eyes for Sony’s next A7R and Canon’s upcoming FF mirrorless although i do not think they will have a high MP coming soon.

  • Rod P

    Some promising information, as others have said would love to see an M750 or M850 camera, with a great EVF & rotating not tilting touch screen.
    The dream of it being backwards compatible with all previous Nikon lenses shouldn’t stop innovation on new lenses I would hope.

  • Oz Baz

    Will Nikon make an adapter for pre Ai and S mount rangefinder lenses – Both Internal and external mount? No AF required but it would be good to have a legitimate Nikon branded adapter. I can’t wait to see what Nikon come up with. Hopefully they come back with avengance.

  • Oz Baz

    I hope they go for a new mount with quality adapters and not native F mount. Much sleeker design.

  • atomiccow

    Maybe those renders already have the right idea and Nikon should join the Micro 4/3rds consortium. Heh, like that would ever happen. :p

  • Ineedmy Bobo

    If it’s not FX mirrorless, Nikon has already lost. For smaller sensors, the Panasonic and Olympus’s M43 system is incredibly mature already with dozens and dozens of great lenses. A rebirth of the Nikon 1 isn’t going to excite anybody who isn’t already invested in the system. For DX, Fuji X is what I always wished Nikon would have released about 5 years ago.

    For FX, Sony has the A7 series, but their cameras are still lacking on the side of usability, and their lens selection is still pretty weak. This seems to be the area where Nikon could excel and compete. And talking personally, I’d be most excited about a D850-ish landscape camera in a smaller package.

  • Ric of The LBC

    Df body, fixing some of the control quirks. DX version first then FX.

    yea, that’ll do it.

  • AlexG

    I watched the video and i understand what you mean.

  • animalsbybarry

    It seems very probable that a high end FF Nikon mirrorless is coming
    I am hoping this will be a high res camera, at least as high res as the best the competition has to offer

  • AlexG

    Really? Interesting haha.

  • teagueAMX

    I don’t have the Chinese translation for the patent drawings, but it appears the AF adapter has more AF electronics than in the mirrorless camera itself. That would make sense with regard to the other patent drawing for what appears to be a 5-axis sensor image stabilization device. So assuming the mirrorless camera will have image stabilization and won’t need its native lenses to have AF stabilization. It’s stopgap measure cuz Nikon is a little late to the game. So, they are pursuing the same path as Sony and others – who already have that functionality.

    Given that Nikon’s mirrorless camera program has been less successful than others, their latest gambit must be: Save the program by designing a highly sophisticated adapter so that most Nikon lenses will work with it on the mirrorless camera. OK, makes sense.

    But the question is this:

    Will the adapter be very expensive given its highly sophisticated design (virtually 1/3 a DLSR), or will Nikon give them away like candy in order to get Nikon lens owner on board with the new camera? From a promotional standpoint it would make sense to give them away cheap, but my guess is the tight fisted Nikon bean counters won’t let ’em do it.


  • When Nikon finally bring out a mirrorless FF I may be interested

  • Flickr_Channyuk

    If Nikon is going to use a new mount, how about going beyond FX sensor size e.g. 43.8 x 32.9mm like the Hasselblad x1d? They could then develop native lens for this bigger mount and include IBIS, as well as an adapter for all existing F-mount lenses. It could be a 50MP plus sensor that allows for multiple format options, all delivering ultra high resolution. I really like what I have seen of Sony’s continuous eye autofocus option, great for portraits. I hope Nikon implements a similarly effective feature.

    • RC Jenkins

      43.8 x 32.9mm is “better”, but much more expensive to fabricate, and doesn’t offer too much benefit: only 2/3 of a stop–assuming lenses of the same F-number.

      Perspective: There is a bigger difference between FX & DX than between FX & Hasselblad’s x1d.

      For now (and I think many years to come), we’re not at the point where pixel density or light performance is a bottleneck in most shooting scenarios for FX sensors.

      I do advocate that Nikon uses a larger sensor & new mount–but much more moderate: I think Nikon should go for a 42.67 x 24mm mount, with a 61mm throat. This gives a 16×9 native aspect ratio, with ability to crop down to full frame or smaller.

      This mount will allow larger sensors as well if needed in the future, or IBIS with this sensor today. I picked 61mm throat, because that allows for a future 51x34mm sensor–which provides exactly 1 stop improvement over full-frame at the same aspect ratio. It also allows plenty of room for sensor movement for any sensors smaller than this.

      I just don’t think that Nikon should try to release the camera today with a significantly larger sensor, because that will definitely result in a significantly higher price for the sensor/camera & lenses.

      • Flickr_Channyuk

        Yes, that’s a very good point re: cost of a bigger than FX sensor. I like your idea of a 61mm throat that would allow for a bigger sensor in the future, but be implemented now with an FX or slightly bigger sensor to allow for implementation of IBIS, and maybe faster primes e.g. 1.2 etc.

        • Nikkor300f4VR

          That would be a good idea, and please do not forget the flage distance: would be good to shrink a bit down too..

    • I don’t think a larger sensor is a good idea for Nikon; and I don’t think Hasselblad is a good litmus test. But, maybe if I saw some Fuji GFX and Pentax 645Z sales figures / profit reports, I might change my mind.

      The megapixel race got absurd after 24 MP. Nobody except the most serious landscape shooters and editorial commercial shooters need 36+ megapixels, let’s be honest. Even if you’re cropping a ton, 24 gets you plenty of resolution for a slideshow on your new 4K TV, or a big wall print, let alone instagram and facebook which is as far as 95% of all our photos ever get anyways.

      With that said, if Nikon is pulling off 45 megapixels on FX, (IMO Canon did NOT pull off 50 megapixels) …I can only imagine what they’d be able to do with a slightly larger sensor. It could take down Fuji, Pentax, and even give Hasselblad and Phase One a run for their money.

      With THAT said, I still think it’s a bad idea. Nikon’s legacy is its massive lens collection, and it’s really in their best interest to focus on FX and DX sensors in a mirrorless system. They should save medium format digital as a trophy / reward for themselves, if they survive the mirrorless revolution.

      • RC Jenkins

        Beyond those extreme landscape & low light (sports / wildlife / action & astro) examples, video–esp low light video–is one other case where the combo of fast lenses & large sensors make some sense.

        The viewing output is typically large, noise can heavily affect compression (and is very distracting / apparent to be “in motion” between frames), and shutter speeds can be limited due to frame rates.

  • MonkeySpanner

    I think the real sweet spot for a consumer/enthusiast level body DX. With DX you can make small bodies for the mount as well as larger bodies with more controls, etc. You can also make reasonable size lenses to go with it. But none of this makes any sense until Nikon gets serious about smart device integration. They are dead in the water with consumer level electronic devices until this happens.

    • RC Jenkins

      I personally think this “lens size” thing is largely a myth. If you take an FX-sized sensor, and create a slower lens, it will often be similar size to the DX equivalent. Or if you take a DX lens and make it faster or sharper, it will be almost the same size as the FX equivalent.

      In other words, if you take a 24mm F/1.8 DX lens, a 35mm F/2.5 FX lens would provide similar performance. I’d think that each would be a similar size.

      Example, this lens:

      And this lens:

      …have similar fields of view & light performance–they have the same size aperture. One is an APS-C lens and the other is full-frame. Of course, the older lens may not resolve as well from an absolute sense–but it doesn’t need to, since each pixel on the full frame sensor will be twice as large (assuming the same MP output). And as pixel density increases, lenses have to get sharper. As lenses get faster & sharper, they get bigger.

      I do think there’s both a DX & FX market, but just want to make that note about the relationship between sensor size & lens size. It’s not as clear-cut as many of us often assume.

      • MonkeySpanner

        I think that point is valid if you are concerned primarily with depth of field issues. But modern DX sensors are hair raisingly close to fx sensors in performance – so if you are trying to get faster DX lenses to erase some noise performance issue – you really dont have to do that.

        • RC Jenkins

          It’s not just depth of field–it’s total light (and thus noise performance) as well and everything that goes along with that.


          All sensors today are highly efficient. A vast majority of noise we see today is not electronic (sensor) noise–it’s from the total amount of light:


          • MonkeySpanner

            Well, regardless – the DX situation is very good these days. If you discount dof issues – the only reason for fx today is for those who need every last ounce of performance. For 99% of people even DX is overkill.

            • RC Jenkins

              But that’s not what we’re talking about. I didn’t say DX isn’t very good. Please re-read what I wrote–what I said was that DX itself doesn’t lead to smaller lenses because a 1-stop lower FX lens will be roughly just as small.

            • sandy

              That’s not true. DX cams like the D500 and D7200 are great. But the 1 stop improvement at hi ISO my D750 gives me is HUGE. If you shoot low light on a regular basis, you shoot FF. Or you should.

          • “Total amount of light” is becoming less and less relevant, as image quality at ISO 100 is nearly identical on comparable generation sensors, (check out the D7200 vs the D750 at ISO 100) …and DX sensors are doing “clean enough for professional work” at higher and higher ISO’s. (check out the D500 at ISO 6400, versus a D700 at ISO 3200!)

            • RC Jenkins

              No, it’s not.


              Every larger-sensor camera does well when one has enough light to expose well at ISO 100. But we don’t always have still subjects on tripods–sometimes we have to shoot above ISO 100.

              And comparing the D500 vs D700 is not comparing the same generation sensor, which was a clear part of the scope I included. You’re essentially saying that it took 10 years for DX to catch up to FX. But FX has also improved in the past 10 years.

              So how does the D500 do at ISO 6400 vs the D750 at ISO 6400 or 3200?


              Roughly 1 stop advantage (where ISO 3200 on the D500 looks similar to ISO 6400 on the D750). Which is exactly what I said.

            • Charts and graphs, man… I dunno, the D7200 looks pretty good here… 😉

              But my point is not which is better on paper; I’ll freely admit, “total amount of light” will always show a slight difference on paper. But that difference has shrunk enough over the past 10 years that DX is “professionally acceptable” at all ISO’s from 100 to 3200 / 6400.

              I was actually just about to point out the D500 versus the D5 in addition to the D700, and show how the D500 is totally usable at both 3200 or 6400, and that’s the bottom line for most consumers and many pros.

              Of course your original statement is totally spot-on: the main factor in deciding to buy DX is price alone. If you have the money, FX will alway offer slightly better quality.

              And yet, that statement is still out of context of the real world. You must also include your other statement, that all sensors today are highly efficient; this equals, almost every APS-C sensor on the market today is just plain good enough.

              All this to say, I would be totally fine with Nikon putting just as much energy (R&D, MFG resources, whatever) into DX mirrorless as they do into FX, and I wouldn’t hold it against them if they put even more into DX actually.

            • RC Jenkins

              I noticed that you purposely didn’t include the most relevant column in the DxOMark screenshot you posted: the Sports (aka “low-light”) score.
              Why don’t we include that too?


              And look at that. Predictably, the D750 shows a roughly 1-stop advantage over the D7200. In other words, ISO 1333 on the D7200 is roughly the same image quality as ISO 2956 on the D750.

              The absolute difference has stayed the same. The percent difference has not as both systems have improved overall–this is what has “shrunk.” ISO 100 vs. 200 has a smaller perceptual difference than ISO 6400 vs. 12800.

              I’m not at all saying that DX is not useable. What I’m saying is that for the same image quality (in terms of noise, depth of field, dynamic range, etc.), you’ll need lenses of roughly the same size.

              So the argument that DX necessarily results in smaller lenses is flawed–for the same performance, the system sizes are actually similar. DX simply makes the sensor costs cheaper, making the body cheaper and a lower cost of initial entry.

      • RC, the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC Art is another great example. If you want to match the DOF and sharpness of full-frame’s f/2.8 zooms, there is no free lunch. In fact the Sigma 50-100 1.8’s zoom range is *less* than a full-frame 70-200 2.8, and yet it’s about the same weight, or heavier.

        I could go on and on, such as the Fuji 56 1.2 versus a full-frame 85mm f/1.8.

        However, this doesn’t stop DX from still being the “sweet spot” for general photography, for enthusiasts and consumers. Try comparing the Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4 against the Nikon 24-120mm f/4, and you’ll probably notice just how incredibly sharp the DX lens is; in fact if you put a gun to my head and said I had to go shoot landscapes with the 16-80 on a D7200 or with the 24-120 on a D750, I’d go with the D7200+16-80. Heck, gimme a D5600 if it’s a really long hike, since the sensor is just as good and the body is much lighter.

        • RC Jenkins

          With all due respect, you are just proving my point about sensor size not being directly related to lens size, and are not controlling scope properly–though this is largely because comparable lenses and sensors don’t exist.

          If I were going to compare the Nikon 16-80mm F/2.8-4, I’d need a 24-120mm F/4-5.6. This lens doesn’t exist that I know of. That 1-stop may not seem like much, but it can actually makes a huge difference to size & weight. Not only does the max aperture diameter need to be 50% larger (30mm vs. 21mm), but it also needs more corrections for light hitting the outside of the lens.

          In the case that you cited, there is more to the ‘sharpness’ aspect than just the lens–remember that the D750 has an AA filter, while the D7200 & D5600 do not. You’d need to find a 24mm FX sensor without an AA filter to properly compare the two in terms of sharpness–or to downscale a higher pixel-density sensor that lacks an AA filter.

          But even then, let’s look at measurements for cameras at similar resolutions (the most consistent site I could find was ephotozine, but open to any other reliable site you can find):


          The FX lens with an FX sensor outresolves the DX lens on a DX sensor. The FX lens also is 1 stop faster at the long end and the same price.

          There was an older, cheap (half the price, and overall not good) 24-120mm F/3.5-5.6–this was faster at the wide end, slower at the long end than the F/4 lens. It’s also faster at the wide end and the same at the long end as the 16-80mm DX. This older lens weighed 25% less than the 24-120mm F/4, and 20% more than the 16-80mm F/2.8-4.

          This is all just proving my point–size is much more complicated and not directly related to sensor size. Instead the factors of resultant image quality & total light are more strongly correlated to lens size.

          • Well, it’s still not apples to apples with that older 24-120 though, since the new DX one is ultra-sharp throughout, while the old 24-120 is downright abysmal. A 24-120mm f/4-5.6, while it might be a *little* smaller and lighter, would be hard-pressed to be *that much* lighter and smaller than it currently is, if it had to match the images of the 16-80.

            I’m trying to agree with you, of course- if more true apples-to-apples comparisons did exist, we would see more examples of exactly what you’re saying: smaller sensors do not equal smaller lenses. That is apparent any time you come even close to achieving equal DOF, total light gathering ability, AND sharpness / overall image quality.

            My point, however, was that most people just don’t care to measure things so clinically and extensively, because lenses like the 16-80 are just plain GOOD ENOUGH, in fact they’re more than good enough, and often times, even though they’re apples-to-oranges, the DX option is actually preferable because it’s lighter, smaller, cheaper, and/or sharper. Another great example of this is the duo of collapsible DX lenses, the 18-55 and 55-200. Lenses like that simply don’t exist on FX, and they’re sharp enough for a lot of general uses.

            • RC Jenkins

              I understand that’s your point–but that’s not the topic we’re discussing; nor have I argued against this, with the exception of one statement that you made:
              ‘the DX option is actually preferable because it’s lighter, smaller, cheaper, and/or sharper.’

              The lens is not. Only the body is cheaper.

              Even in your example of the 16-80, the DX option is lighter and smaller, but it’s also slower. It’s not cheaper (both are over $1000), nor is it sharper. The FX equivalent (if it existed) would definitely be lighter, smaller, & cheaper (and also likely sharper) than the current 24-120 F/4.

              For another data point, compare the 35mm F/1.8 DX to the 50mm F/1.8G to the 50mm F/1.4G. They’re all roughly the same size, though the $200 50mm F/1.8G results in the sharpest images and is 1 stop ‘better’ than the DX. The F/1.4G, which is only a fraction of a stop faster and less sharp, is more than double the price, at $450.

          • Max

            Why do you want to compare a f/2.8 dx to f/4.0 fx lens?
            If it’s for dof yes, but exposure is the same.

            • RC Jenkins

              Did you read the linked article at all? It explains this basic concept.

              It’s just like asking “why would you want to compare a 35mm DX lens to a 50mm FX lens?”

              Exposure & f-number may be the same, but total light & aperture are not–these are different. These are what matter. It’s more than just DoF. Exposure & F-number are relative and meaningless without some additional context regarding size; Total light & aperture are absolute.

              An F/2.8 DX lens and an F/4 lens have the same aperture for a given field of view.

              This is why F/1.8 lenses on cell phones don’t look like F/1.8 lenses on full frame sensors in terms of noise as well as DoF.

              Sidenote: DoF has nothing to do with f-number and everything to do with aperture.

            • Max

              I… err… No. what article?

            • RC Jenkins
  • inteliboy

    Why Nikon hasn’t made a digital FM2 is beyond me. The thing would sell like crazy.

    • RC Jenkins

      …to retro & dial enthusiasts. Don’t get me wrong–I would seriously consider buying one, but I doubt this is true of the rest of the market. I think the Digital FM2 buyers would be a minority.
      Sort of like how the Df isn’t exactly selling like hotcakes relative to the other products in the lineup.

    • Oz Baz

      I am with you on that one. The DF is the digital FE2, sort of. It is too thick and arguably too complicated. Still a very good camera and a great start. Leica have finally made a digital M that is the same thickness (Depth) as a film M. In many ways the Fuji XT1 and now 2 are the digital manual “SLR” style camera reflecting the simple analogue style interface many of us crave but also appealing to a modern user too.

  • C_QQ_C

    mm could also be a “new” concept , a modular camera, which can be set up mirrorless, or “”SLR”(pellicle) like , depending on lenses and modules you would choose..Even sensors could then be choosen as separte modules , prizes depending on the format and density of the sensor…

  • sandy

    No, they are not “going on about it”, this is a patent application for a device that works their way, which is different than the other way, or they wouldn’t get the patent.

  • Chinky

    I hope Nikon produces an ASPC mirrorless camera, not a FF. I went from the d750 to the d500 and I like the d500 much more because the lenses are much lighter ( and because it has shutter speed and aperture lock) There is absolutely no difference in IQ between the d500 and d750.

    The point of mirrorless is it should be lighter than the DSLRs. Therefore, it would be of a greater benefit an ASPC camera. I didn’t take my d500 either went I we t on vacation because it was too big. I took a Sony RX10 along with me. I learnt that I hate the IQ of a 1″ sensor even with a fantastic lens. Today’s Nikon ASPC sensors are the ultimate in balancing the overall size, weight and IQ of a camera that is enjoying to use in all situations.

  • Aiham Dib

    will be great if nikon create a kind of follow focus function for low budget filming. the idea is based on a pre-set of focus point from the start to the end of the cut. say we have four focus stages. A, B, C,D . so the function give us the possibility to pre-set our focus dectate to our key shooting points. so we select point A and focus on it and save, go to the point B in our composition and select the focus distance and save, and go to the point C and do the same and with D as well. now when we shoot our preplanned cut : we start with the focus on A and when we move on we just push a button assigned to shift the focus to B.when we know we art at that , then to C then to the D. this is a dream for on the run movie maker. it will save lot lot lot of gadgets .

    • Chinky

      Follow focus is old -fashioned. Fast video leaf takes care of focus during video

  • Yes, pretty much what I have been saying for a while now:


    • peter w

      I was triggered by the timing: first half 2018. Would there be evidence or hints to support this?

      • No evidence, just rumors.

  • SmarterEnu

    Just another piece of Nikon mirrorless junk to look forward to when the bigwig Goto at Nikon states pros do not use mirrorless. Sad indeed.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    I really don’t mind a new mount as long as the adapter works great with the F mount.

    If they want to keep things smaller and mirrorless like they need a new mount. 😉

  • Charlie Valentin

    If it looks like that rangefinder, I’m in.
    Doesn’t need to be tinyish like the Sony a6*** series (which I use and like), full frame or crop, I’m in.
    Really like the idea of using all that F glass without an adapter of course.

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