Nikon’s upcoming mirrorless camera rumored to have a new Z-mount with 16mm flange focal distance

Nikon's patent drawing showing a new lens mount design with different electronic contacts location (not sure if this is the rumored Z-mount)

Some interesting rumors from CES - Nikon's upcoming mirrorless camera is rumored to have a new Z-mount:

  • Designed for full frame mirrorless cameras
  • External diameter: 49mm
  • Flange focal distance: 16mm

Keep in mind that "Z-mount" may not be the final marketing name, but I believe the dimensions are right.

For comparison, here are the dimensions of the Nikon F and Sony E mounts:

Nikon F-mount

  • External diameter: 44 mm
  • Flange focal distance: 46.5 mm (more info on flange focal distance can be found here)

Sony E-mount:

  • External diameter: 46.1 mm
  • Flange focal distance: 18 mm
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  • Konrad Dubach

    The shorter the flange focal distance the larger the lenses. Is that correct?

    • Duncan Dimanche

      nope.. the flange has nothing to do with the size of the lenses. unless I am mistaken but look at the size of the sony 24-70 f2.8 or all their G master lenses

      • RC Jenkins

        (that example just proves @disqus_sOLrBGBGYG:disqus ‘s point…) 🙂

        The shorter flange distance will make it easier for some optical designs. This may or may not translate to different sized lenses. There is a lot more to lens size than flange distance.

        If Nikon wants to reuse optical designs, the mirrorless lenses may be roughly 20mm longer. But I hope Nikon introduces some new optical designs as well.

  • soberphobia

    Looking forward to this camera. We know already that Nikon has some super wide aperture lenses patented for this system. I hope they make a native 32 or lower ISO setting so that the camera can get medium format type clean images.

    • RC Jenkins

      Which medium format? The D850 is already at ISO 64, which is roughly 2/3 stops faster than ISO 100 on a full frame.

      The Fuji GFX has a base ISO of 100–on a sensor that’s 2/3’s larger than full frame.

      So these are already even.

      • Mehdi R

        It’s still a mystery to me why Fuji jumped from APS-C to medium format!

        • RC Jenkins

          APS-C -> Full Frame is just 1 stop improvement.
          Many people underexpose by 1 stop anyway (whether knowingly or not). Sometimes the difference from the center of the image to the edge of the same image is 1 stop… 🙂

          2 stops is where things become more interesting.

          • Mehdi R

            But it looks GFX is not that successful, it turned heads and made lots of discussions but I see almost every medium format shooters stick with their PhaseOne/Hasselblad systems..

            • RC Jenkins

              If that’s true, that’s not all due to the sensor size.

            • Well, the Fuji is junior medium format. Eventually I will buy serious medium format. i just hope that Nikon comes out with it before I decide to pull the trigger and end up with Phase 1.

            • PhilK

              Technically speaking, none of the current “medium format” cameras actually replicate what the term used to mean in film cameras, which started out as:

              6×6 centimeters (eg, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex)
              6×7 centimeters (eg, Mamiya RB67, Pentax 6×7)

              Then along came along the “mini medium format” cameras with a 6×4.5 centimeter format. (Mamiya 645, Bronica ETR)

              Now that “mini medium format” is the very largest sensor size “digital medium format”, and most “digital medium format” sensors are much smaller than that.

              I think we’ve been duped. 😐

            • I agree with that.

        • Fuji has always been in MF. They have just now added it to digital line up.

      • soberphobia

        I didn’t mean the ISO the same. I meant the images having the same cleanness. Medium format will always have an advantage due to sensor size but full frame just seems to have more R&D into it.

        • RC Jenkins

          I think you’re misunderstanding. The ISO isn’t the same.

          Medium format doesn’t have a 2/3-stop “cleanness” advantage when the frame sensor is getting 2/3-stop more light. In this case, they’re even.

          The medium format would only have the advantage if it was shot at ISO 64–which it doesn’t offer.

          Just like how APS-C at ISO 3200 performs like full-frame at ISO 6400.

          Here’s a comparison of the “cleanness” between a D850 & GFX:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ad63dce9fcf56a388f289b6783aa340683716ec65a6ebea859c5df716bbf26d.png

          It’s basically the same.

    • BrainBeat

      If they go that low I hope they have dual native iso then as the lower the base is the worse the top end is going to be and I know I would much sooner clear high iso than crazy low iso every day of the week.

      • soberphobia

        yeah different folks want different things. I think they will likely stay with native 64.

  • BrainBeat

    Is it just me or does the decision to make a new mount sound totally insane?? Why create something new when the normal F mount I would think should do just fine. It had better ship with an adaptor for F mount lenses or as a system lives and dies by the lens selection. I do understand that that mirror-less bodies don’t need as much depth as they do not have a mirror but creating a new mount seems limiting for no reason.

    • RC Jenkins

      It’s just you.

      There are many potential reasons for a new mount.

      To name a few:
      ::Thinner body
      ::Fewer optical constraints / better quality corners / sometimes simpler designs
      ::Better support for IBIS (lenses with larger image circles)
      ::Better ability to adapt lenses from other systems

      If Nikon sticks with the F-mount, they give up a lot of potential mirrorless benefits.

      • Mehdi R

        Completely new mirrorless mount with F mount support via adapter is the best compromise IMO.

        • Connor

          Yeah i’ve got no problem with a new mount so long as they allow the majority of F mount lenses to work well via the adapter 🙂

          • marymig

            “Work well”….color me skeptical

      • AYWY

        Also… The mirrorbox tends to clip bokeh balls, if anyone is into those things.

        • PhilK

          Please don’t clip my bokeh balls! :-}

    • Remember, we are just discussing a rumor, so there is still a chance that this won’t happen.

  • bobgrant

    I like all the crying over the mount. A dedicated lens system for this camera will likely allow for MANY benefits. And we already have the D850 as the king of DSLRs. Since a mirrorless body has terrible handling for large lenses, I doubt we’ll see the end of DSLRs for a while yet. These systems can co-exist. I’ll pick up a mirrorless Nikon and a few small lenses for when I don’t want to lug the D850 around.

    • Stuart Crowther

      Same for me.

    • marymig

      For those people who have a lot of spare change.

  • Mehdi R

    And how they will name FX and DX for mirrorless? FX-M & DX-M 🙂

    • ZX

      • Mike D

        And is that full frame or crop. Actually, I don’t think you need to change FX and DX. That refers to a sensor size. If I was Nikon I would change the camera model names. So for instance you would have M500 or M700.

        • No, I think they should not call it FX. That will cause mass confusion as to what lenses go with which bodies.

          • RC Jenkins

            Lens mount: “Z”
            Lens image circle: “F” or “C”

            • PhilK

              Too bad Zeiss already has “ZF”.

              Because then it would be a simple matter to make “ZF” and “ZC” options. Or to ape current Nikon terminology: ZF and ZD.

  • Kob12

    In my opinion Nikon, being a conservative company, will probably come out first with a D6XX – D7XX class mirrorless to replace the current models which are due for replacement anyway. They will not dare jeopardizing the momentum of the D850 by coming with a high-class pro-rated body.

    I would guess that the price would be in the range of 1500-2500 USD, depending on the new feature set and market conditions, and will probably be introduced with no more than 2-4 native lenses (2 primes, 2 zoom) with a promise for more to come real-soon-now.
    A big unknown is what video-features management is aiming for: amateur, advanced amateur or semi-pro?

    • Ben Cushwa

      Nikon has a history of releasing the more expensive pro version of something a few years before the more consumer-friendly version. Look at most of their recent 1.4 primes relative to their less expensive 1.8 primes.

      But…you do raise a good point about not wanting to squash the D850’s momentum. So…who’s to say?

  • RC Jenkins
  • grkraj

    you have to give cost/prices in Indian rupees

  • neonspark

    Canon’s diameter is 47mm in comparison for their EF-M which is allegedly a possible platform for their full frame system. Unless you believe canon will have a fourth mount (or third if you discount EF-S) and plans to support EF, EF-M, EF-F, and EF-S.

    what a nuthouse that would be.

    • RC Jenkins

      …sort of like:

      Nikon F
      Nikon AI
      Nikon AF
      Nikon AF-S
      Nikon G
      Nikon E
      Nikon P

      Where each combination of lens & body has different levels of compatibility, and no single Nikon body supports them all.

      🙂

  • HotDuckZ

    If you want to make a money for cameras, let me know.

  • Turk Turkleton

    F-mount or nothing for me Nikon. I’ll go to Sony if you make me spend money on Dongles errr adapters.

    • consumer10101

      That makes sense, because transition to Sony system is free.

      • sandy

        Exactly. I see what you did there.

    • Markus

      If Nikon is smart they pack the F mount adapter to every camera in a bundle with a little higher price but not like the FT-1. They made basicly everything wrong you can do wrong with the pricing of the V3.

      Much like heart rate gear. Watch alone or the bundle with the brust belt.

      • I agree, they have to just calculate it in the price of their mirrorless camera and offer it in the box.

        • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

          and not price it like the zaneous price of the MB-D18, MH-26a (£700) – went for third party option in the end, if Nikon priced it a reasonable rate would have gone for it. Also to make the accessories for Nikon 2 to be as compatible / interchangeable as possible. one grumble is the different grip between D500 -> D850.

  • Davo

    Z mount doesn’t exclude future F-mount EVF bodies.
    Peter’s sure there will be an F-mount adapter. We will have to assume Nikon has figured out a way for current F-mount lenses to AF well using the adapter. And what can be put into the adapter can also fit inside a regular F-mount body.
    So we could have:
    – Z-mount smaller body and lens. Perhaps IBIS. Thom mentioned the original HP patent is expiring soon.
    – F-mount EVF with F mount lenses.
    – F-mount OVF with F mount lenses.
    – F-mount hybrid EVF/OVF with F mount lenses.

  • 白大福

    The kidney market is large.

  • Brett Monroe

    Any idea if the sensor might be flat or curved?

  • consumer10101

    That’s the key, as the “Sony shorter”.
    As a Nikon user, I would love a flexibility to use DSLR or mirrorless camera with an adapter for my existing glass.

  • Davo

    Z mount doesn’t exclude F-mount mirrorless.
    Anyways, just speaking for myself it’s the UI that got me into Nikon in the first place and is a strong incentive for me to stay with Nikon.
    But the Panasonic G9 has got me thinking though. From the pictures I think I’d like the UI a lot but it’s not yet released where I live so I haven’t had the chance to try it out.
    I keep trying the Sony’s from the mk I to the A9. Just can’t get along with the UI for some reason.

  • Eric Calabros

    Just because they introduce a new mount doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t release a mirrorless with F mount. Just sayin.

    • Markus

      What if that’s the rumored situation, 1 Camera 2 mounts?

      They can basicly make it the same just with an other form factor. One with Z-mount + Adapter and one with F-mount.

      Just on the top of my head.

      • HD10

        Possible but one will not be well optimized in terms of size and weight for the lenses it will be using.

        • Markus

          Housing must not be the same, nor should it be but the electronics can.

          • HD10

            Indeed … and this is why I expect Nikon to also release a mirrorless F-mount even if it releases a Nikon mirrorless with a new mount. But with such modifications and changes that you think of, the mirrorless F-mount body might as well be based on an existing F-mount dSLR design where the grip, size, ergonomics and controls position will match well with existing F-mount lenses.

    • HD10

      I consider it as a given that even while Nikon will release a new lens mount to enable smaller and lighter camera body and lenses (though within a limited range of focal length where such size and weight reduction is feasible), it will also release a mirrorless with an F-mount.

      The question in my mind is in what mount would it be more advantageous for Nikon to release the new mirrorless cameras?

      Releasing a mirrorless camera first in F-mount means that there would immediately be a large lens library that it could be used with. It would also dispense needing to develop a lens lens-mount adapter. It would however not provide Nikon with the advantages that some seek in a mirrorless camera, including smaller and lighter lenses (within a specific range of focal length).

      Releasing a mirrorless camera first in a new mount would enable Nikon to break new grounds that would directly allow it to take on Sony, Fuji, Canon, Olympus and Panasonic. But this would require more work from Nikon, including new lenses and a super-duper adapter that would enable full functionalities of many F-mount lenses (or at least the G and E versions of the F-mount lenses).

      Given the time that Nikon has taken to release its mirrorless camera, I am inclined to believed that Nikon will go the second route.

    • Yes, but let’s keep in mind that they haven’t even announced a new mount yet, it’s all just rumors 🙂

  • HD10

    A new Nikon lens mount for use with mirrorless cameras will have an electronic aperture control. In addition to Nikon making an adapter to enable the use of Nikon F-mount lenses, it would not be too long before third party manufacturers will release adapters enabling the use of Canon EF/EF-S lenses which had long had an electronic aperture control.

    Owners of Canon EF/EF-S lenses that now use these with an adapter with a Sony camera will likely have the same option of doing the same with this expected Nikon mirrorless camera. But experience has shown that adapted lens setup eventually transition to using native-lens mount. If Nikon is diligent in releasing desirable native-mount mirrorless lenses, I would not be surprised to know that a good part of the market share that Nikon will recover will come from erstwhile Canon users.

  • DSP~

    I dont understand, why everyone wishes for the F Mount to stay. Some even argue that an F Mount mirrorless may be possible.
    Is there any example out there where a manufacturer kept an existing SLR mount for their mirrorless lineup? Sony didnt, Canon didnt, Nikon didnt, Hasselblad didnt (I believe), Pentax didnt (I believe).
    Using the lenses you already own may be a nice thing, but I would definetely prepare for a slow transition to new lenses. Especially because I think that completely switching to mirrorless may not be possible due to the lens selection at launch.

    • HD10

      … you sure you want to start WW3 here? =)

      One simple reason is that many have spent a fortune on their existing F-mount lenses. They want to be able to use this in the new lens mount that Nikon may release.

      Second is that Nikon will not have much lenses in the new lens mount.

      • RC Jenkins

        One simple solution is known as an “adapter.”

        Adapt.

      • DSP~

        I am sure there were people who thought the same when the Sony released the E mount after the A Mount – or when Canon released the M Mount after the EF Mount.
        All these people seem to be perfectly fine right now.
        And I am sure that will be the case for Nikon as well.
        I agree so far as an adapter would be useful. But a mirrorless with a native F Mount would be a waste of ressources.

        • HD10

          “But a mirrorless with a native F Mount would be a waste of ressources.”

          A D850-equivalent without need to perform an MUP and with an articulating EVF, and be able to AF fast while on live view and shoot silently, would be quite an attractive proposition for me … as for quite a few others I think.

          • RC Jenkins

            Agreed…

            …but it would be able to perform more-or-less identically with an adapter. What does the F-mount do for that D850 that an adapter can’t provide?

            • HD10

              The non-F mount mirrorless will likely be smaller and will not have the ergonomics of a D850, specifically, ergonomics, grip, controls, battery, peripherals, etc.

            • RC Jenkins

              Why’s that? That doesn’t have to be true at all.

              They could quite literally take a D850 and reduce the mount cavity only. This would result in the same ergonomics, grip, controls, battery, peripherals, etc.

              It would also allow this camera to use a much wider array of lenses–including all of the lenses that the D850 can use, along with better lenses from a variety of mounts.

            • HD10

              A D850-size mirrorless with a non-F-mount requires an adapter to use F-mount lenses. This is an added expense which some F-mount owners will not want to spend for. Given the possible issues arising from weather resistance (dust and water intrusion) contact points, lens alignment and mount tolerances, it makes more sense to just use an F-mount mirrorless for one’s F-mount lenses.

              As to Nikon making a mirrorless camera that can use a wider array of lenses, I think it unlikely that Nikon will want non-Nikon lenses to be used with its non-F-mount mirrorless camera. We only need to look back to the Nikon 1 series and remember the hurdles that others have had to go through to adapt non-Nikon lenses to that. It is such that I cannot even remember anyone I know who tried adapting a non-Nikon lens for use with a Nikon 1 series body. Many will make an adapter for use with a non-F mount Nikon mirrorless but that will be in spite of Nikon’s effort to block it rather than Nikon purposely enabling it.

            • RC Jenkins

              The “added expense” is another assumption. Remember that for the body, Nikon can also save significant cost in removing the AF module, pentaprism, focusing screen, mirror assembly, etc. These costs are not directly correlated to what the consumer is charged.

              Weather sealing in the adapter should be just as easy as it is to build into lenses; and mirrorless cameras naturally correct for distance tolerances. If IBIS were added, it would correct for a further array of tolerances–and even allow for things like sensor-shift. This would be one of the main benefits of going mirrorless for a D850 user.

              I’m also not saying that Nikon will rush out to build an adapter for non-Nikon lenses (though they should). But the physical mount size immediately makes this a natural benefit for a wider array of users.

              Perfect target audience for Nikon? Canon landscape shooters who have Canon’s 11-24mm F/4 (or Nikon’s equivalent).

              So I’m still not seeing the benefits of a native F-mount mirrorless D850 over a Z-mount mirrorless D850.

        • RC Jenkins

          And let’s also not forget when Canon launched EF mount to take advantage of a new technology at the time–autofocus.

          Canon seems to be doing just fine now.

          The well-designed new mount is what did it. Nikon’s been playing catch up ever since.

          But now, we’re in interesting times. Canon L glass (DSLR) is a big part of why Canon users stayed Canon. What happens if Canon users can use this same glass on a Nikon–especially when Nikon has been outputting some great cameras?

          • PhilK

            To be fair, it wasn’t just the lens mount. Canon’s AF was superior to Nikon for quite a while there (pretty much until the D3/D300 were released), and the AF sensor part of that equation was not mount-dependent. (The USM focusing motor was, arguably, but Nikon was able to retrofit that without changing their mount mechanics, so it really wasn’t mount-dependent)

    • RC Jenkins

      There are 2 examples I can think of: Pentax & Sigma.

      Both were disasters.

      Here’s the Pentax K01:
      https://1.img-dpreview.com/files/p/articles/8417299899/images/specs.jpeg

      And the Sigma:
      https://www.dpreview.com/files/p/articles/7675116335/Camera/Intro.jpeg

      Looks like the Pentax just ripped the mirror out & Sigma just permanently glued an adapter in place.

      • Thom Hogan

        Sorry, but you can’t just say that something failed. You have to understand WHY it failed.

        Failure is not a huge issue to us Silicon Valley alum. Failure is how you learn and adapt.

        So let me state categorically, the Pentax K01 did not fail because it didn’t have a new lens mount. Thus, you cannot apply its failure to say “don’t build a mirrorless camera with an old mount.”

        Understanding this kind of thing is why you pay product line managers big bucks. They save you from making wrong assumptions.

    • Markus

      Nikon will make F-Mount lenses available for whatever mirrorless system. You can not ignore the lens lineup. They will not start with 20 Z mount lenses.

    • Pentax did actually and it did not go that well:

      https://photorumors.com/tag/pentax-k-01/

  • HD10

    A blast from the past … of the adapter that Nikon released to enable the use of F-mount lenses on its Nikon 1 bodies. I can only wish that Nikon will do better than this:

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/823722-REG/Nikon_3613_FT1_Mount_Adapter.html

    • Markus

      The FT-1 is no beauty but it is a very good adapter.

  • Does the larger throat diameter mean it will be easier to design faster lenses? Could be one way to attract people over. A couple of 50 and 85 1.2 lenses should make for a buzz.

    • HD10

      One benefit of the wider throat is a simpler design and a more compact UWA primes/zoom.

    • RC Jenkins

      Yes. (Nikon already has a 50mm F/1.2, but it is manual focus).

      This mount will make it easier to design faster lenses near F/1.0 near mid range. Like 50mm F/1.0 easily possible, where it was practically (if not absolutely) impossible on F. 85mm F/1.2 similarly shouldn’t be an issue (but 85mm F/1.2 is already possible on F).

      The other thing this will do is potentially improve corners (vignetting, bokeh, etc.) & offer more possibilities for wider angle lenses.

      This mount removes a lot of challenges that lens designers have–namely trying to fit optics within a long, narrow tube.

      In essence, here’s what Nikon’s lens designers have been up against when designing lenses for F-mount:

      https://youtu.be/TOgtj00Rp8s?t=43

  • RC Jenkins

    Don’t assume that DSLR owners will “switch” to mirrorless. A lot of people who shoot full frame have multiple cameras (myself included) and will continue to use multiple cameras. I like Nikon’s layout, menus, and image quality.

    In a few cases, I will buy new lenses–probably a few smaller primes. Not to switch, but to supplement.

    In most cases, I will adapt my existing lenses until there is a compelling reason to switch.

    For my photography, a decent full-frame mirrorless camera can improve my experience with landscapes, astro, travel, and casual photography. This is fast, high-quality wide angles (which will be large anyway) and small primes (which will be new lenses). Don’t need fast autofocus–just need image quality, histograms, focus peaking, minimal shutter shock. Nikon’s 14-24mm F/2.8 still beats the Sony 12-24 F/4 for me; and Nikon doesn’t eat my stars. I’ll consider a new mirrorless lens if it beats this 14-24. Also, my small manual focus lenses aren’t going anywhere–they’ll be on my mirrorless.

    Portraits & weddings, I’ll pick either. I don’t need fast autofocus or compact lenses or anything. High electronic shutter speeds could help in some cases; but otherwise, either camera works fine. Nikon’s 105mm F/2D DC (defocus control) or the newer 105mm F/1.4. I’ll probably bring both types of cameras for weddings.

    My action photography will remain DSLR for the time being but may eventually go mirrorless. These lenses are huge anyway–and adapting existing lenses (even in the future) will work fine.

    This isn’t in theory: I already have mirrorless cameras, and I can’t wait to replace them with Nikons if the Nikons fit what I need them for.

    So do I plan to switch? No.
    Do I plan to start over? No.
    Do I plan to buy a bunch of mirrorless lenses? No.
    Do I plan to buy a Nikon full-frame mirrorless? Absolutely.

    • True! When I still owned a D800 I did the supplemental mirrorless thing with the Nikon 1, and it made a lot of sense considering that the batteries were the same. If Nikon’s next mirrorless actually has a good autofocus adapter and uses the same accessories it could definitely make sense as an add on body that keeps people from leaking away.

  • Semaphore

    I actually went from Sony to Nikon. Mirrorless have its advantages (and disadvantages), but frankly I don’t see myself going back to Sony’s ergonomics and UI.

    • That’s fair. Having gone from Nikon to Sony it was definitely an adjustment, but I’ve come to appreciate the added customization of the Sony (I’ve heard Olympus allows for a lot of customization as well but I like full frame).

  • Konstantinos

    Personally I don’t care so much about the price. The only reason I haven’t switched to Sony is the lack of a proper adapter for my Nikkor AF lenses (I also have a few AI-S that shouldn’t be a problem). Logically nikon will do that so it is a YES for me. I really hope they include Focus Peaking and a 5-axis stabilization for the same reason…

  • NikonFanboy

    What sensor size would it be? DX or CX?

    • Markus

      FX, otherwise a 49mm diameter is absolutely useless.

      • RC Jenkins

        Not useless–still useful for IBIS & optics.

        For perspective, Canon’s EF-M (APS-C) mount is 47mm.

        Canon’s EF (full-frame DSLR) is 54mm.

        Micro four thirds is 38mm, despite having a sensor with half the image circle diameter of full-frame.

        But yes, this Nikon Z-mount should allow for full-frame.

  • sdf0815

    A good idea would be a mirrorless DX with maybe 35mm diameter and a flange focal distance of maybe 12mm and a mirorless FX with a diameter of 49mm and a flange focal distance of maybe 20mm. so they could get advantages in size of DX, using FF lenses by a small (and cheap!) adapter on DX. Almost nobody use DX lenses on FF. In this case you get only andvantages and you can (could) fight m34 and Sony FF the same time.

  • EnPassant

    Z is the new X!

  • John Smith

    Just hoping for and a7s2 low light equivalent so i can throw my as72 in the garbage….low light is great, size is perfect, but sony color science drives me batshit crazy…..And sony doesnt even offer sensor cleaning (poor customer service)

  • HD10

    It’s interesting that this rumored new lens mount has a flange distance of 16mm. Nikon’s own Series 1 cameras had a flange distance of 17mm.

    The Nikon 1 series had a wider than usual lens mount diameter relative to the sensor size and Nikon seems to have done the same here.

    If these specs are accurate, Nikon would have chosen this based on the lessons it has learned from the Nikon 1 series.

  • Dominic Siu

    If just using F mount the flange focal distance will be the same, means the mirrorless camera will be more or less the same thickness as current Nikon DSLR, so using adapter would be nice for users to continue using F mount lenses on the mirrorless camera.

  • Adam Brown

    There are some advantages of a new mount — specifically the ability to reduce camera size and the size of some lenses.
    But I believe this is a mistake by Nikon unless they have an adapter ready that provides 100% functionality to at least most f-mount lenses. (Not so simple. Sony’s a-mount adapter doesn’t really provide 100%… but Canon’s EF Mount adapter does).
    The reasons are simple: especially in a shrinking market, it’s hard to support two mounts. Canon is basically telling their users just to adapt EF lenses, they have released few native EF-M lenses. Sony has not released a single truly new a-mount lens in 5 years— ever since they got serious with the e-mount.
    Secondly, you’re late to the game to be starting with 2-3 lenses. You could have gotten away with that 3 years ago… not now.
    Third — while small size is a big pro for those who have bought into Mirrorless so far…. for many who have avoided Mirrorless, it’s because specifically they prefer the ergonomics of a larger body. A larger body Mirrorless would immediately be differentiated from the market.

    Imagine a great mirrorless camera with the ergonomics of the D850 and the lens support of f-mount.

    Instead… even if Nikon gets great Mirrorless functionality… yet another smallish camera and only supported by 2-4 lenses for a while.

    • Allen_Wentz

      A) Agreed: “There are some advantages of a new mount — specifically the ability to reduce camera size and the size of some lenses.” Size is key I think, since Nikon is already state-of-the-art in largish DSLR bodies/lenses.

      B) I believe that Nikon will have an adapter ready
      that provides 100% functionality to at least SOME f-mount lenses. IMO there is no need for Nikon to adapt to “most” f-mount lenses, just to a selection, likely tele. Wide angle and normal should primarily be dealt with by new, small Z mount lenses available right away to provide immediately marketing buzz.

      • Adam Brown

        But — If it can adapt telephoto lenses well, then it can naturally adapt wide/normal lenses well. Telephoto lenses are harder to adapt. (My wide angle Nikon lenses actually adapt fantastically to Sony.. the telephoto hunt). Most Nikon shooters are using “G” lenses. I can see Nikon cutting the cord to those still shooting screwdrive lenses, etc… But you can’t launch lenses like the 8-15, 105/1.4 and the 180-400…. and then say, “they won’t really work too great on our newest cameras… but maybe we will get around to a mirrorless version eventually… in 5 years or so.. but for now, you we have a variable aperture 28-85 and a nifty fifty for you!”
        Here are the scenarios if most Nikon F-mount lenses are not fully compatible with the new mirrorless:
        1 — Nikon devotes all their lens energy to the new mount, releasing 5-10 new lenses per year. Generating buzz for Z-mount, but making F-mount users feel abandoned. And forcing Nikon users to choose — should I spend $2000 on the mirrorless 24-70/2.8 or $2000 on the F-mount 24-70/2.8 — But it would be ridiculous to buy both. And by splitting your user base, you may end up with 2 losers instead of 1 winner.
        2– Nikon splits their energies in a shrinking market…. continuing to release 2-3 serious new lenses for F-mount each year, and 2-3 new lenses for the new Z-mount. Which puts the Nikon mirrorless system behind the competition. So you will have some Nikon users who have been waiting for Nikon’s mirrorless… who can say, “ok… I waited… I now see what they have… I need a 24-70/2.8… (or I need a 85/1.4.. or whatever)… and it looks like Nikon is years away from having that lens for mirrorless. I guess I can just switch to the competition, which already has that lens.”

        Nikon’s biggest strength is their existing customer base, built around existing lenses. Starting over with a new mount completely squanders that advantage — Unless existing lenses are 100% compatible.

        • sandy

          Nikon has updated a very large percentage of it’s FX lineup over the last five years, Not many holes. I think they could sustain primarily Z lens production for a bit. maybe this is why not much DX lens activity the last few years, they may have known they were inevitably going to need a new mount. After the 1 line collapsed. I sure wish the DL would have landed.

          • Adam Brown

            And when Nikon releases a 11-24 for Z-mount but there is no such lens for F-mount… and they release 1.8 primes that are optically superior to the F-mount 1.8 primes…. You don’t think F-mount users will groan as they are told, “we haven’t forgotten F-mount but we are devoting our resources to Z-mount for the next few years.”
            I fear Nikon is counting on something that won’t really happen — They are counting on profit by getting Nikon users to spend new money buying a whole new set of lenses.
            But that’s a dangerous risky proposition. Let’s say I am a portrait photographer, I primarily shoot with an 85/1.4 lens (Whether the Sigma ART, the Nikon… whichever). I’ve been shooting Nikon for years, but mirrorless would be great for my work (eye-AF, no longer worrying about focus shift.) So I’ve been waiting for Nikon’s mirrorless solution.
            Lo and behold… the new Nikon mirrorless full frame camera comes out. But… being first generation, it probably isn’t quite as good as the Sony A7riii. But that’s ok, I want Nikon.. I’m invested in Nikon lenses… so I can accept a slightly inferior camera if I can keep my lenses. Wait a second… my current lenses don’t adapt well? Nikon releases a 85/1.8 lens….. ok, it’s a pretty good lens, but I have to wait another year or 2 for them to get around to an 85/1.4? If I have to buy the lens all over again, why even bother sticking to Nikon? I may as well move to Sony, they already have a spectacular 85/1.4 lens.

            In other words — If they stick to F-mount or 99.999% compatibility with F-mount, then they will sell their mirrorless cameras to current F-mount owners. Lots of them.
            If they start with a new mount… then they may as well be starting a whole new brand from scratch. Current Nikon users will either: A — just stick to F-mount instead of the big expense of starting a new system. Or B– go to whoever has the best mirrorless system, best bodies, best lenses and best prices.
            I do have faith in Nikon’s engineering. But I doubt that right out of the gate, they will launch camera bodies better than the A7riii and A9.. at better prices.. with more/better lenses.

            • Allen_Wentz

              I do not think that the very expensive A7riii and A9 are the bodies that Nikon needs to best. What Nikon needs to do is build a Nikon MILC system that competes well against the mid range of mirrorless, but with Nikon ergonomics, durability, etc.

              Not to say the high end is irrelevant, but rather that Nikon already unequivocally proves its high end chops with D5/D850/D500. A Nikon MILC competitor to A7riii and A9 price points can wait another year, no problem, because both those bodies are less than ideal anyway.

            • Adam Brown

              I agree completely. They don’t need to aim for a9 or a7riii yet.
              If they get the lens system/compatibility right — that’s the key. They don’t need an “A+” camera body out of the gate. If the lens compatibility is there, a “B-“ is fine to start. But if the lens compatibility isn’t there, then Nikon users will ask themselves, “why are we sticking around for a B- body and a C- lens system?” If they have the lens compatibility, people will say, “I’ll take the B- body to go with my A+ lens system”

            • Thom Hogan

              That’s exactly what Sony SLT and DSLR owners did ;~). But Sony didn’t have as many of those that they needed to bring over the E/FE as Nikon has DSLR owners.

              You are correct. For a company that is all centered around optics, if Nikon makes just 5-6 Z-mount lenses a year for the foreseeable future, they are in a world of hurt. They need double or triple the production they’ve been doing.

            • Adam Brown

              I’m a former Sony a-mount shooter — so yes, it’s exactly what Sony did. And the result: the a-mount is nearly dead. Now the a-mount market was never massive. I second guessed Sony at the time —- thought the result would be to kill the a-mount market. I was half right — it did basically kill the a-mount market. But the risk paid off, their E-mount market is stronger than their a-mount market ever was.
              But Nikon can’t follow the same strategy — they have much more to lose. Are they willing to let F-mount sales drop by 90% in order to devote resources to Z-mount?
              (That’s what I’m guesstimating happened to Sony… 90% drop in a-mount sales over the last 5 years)

            • Adam Brown

              I’d roughly estimate… if you took 2007-2013 a-mount users…
              1/5th are still shooting a-mount.
              1/5th went to Nikon, 1/5th to Canon, 1/5th to Sony E-Mount. 1/5th to Fuji, m4:3, iPhone, etc.
              Very roughly.
              I was part of the 1/5th that went to Nikon but now Sony FE.
              Sony was able to afford losing half their a-mount customers in exchange for taking mirrorless customers away from Canon/Nikon.
              Nikon can’t afford a similar strategy.

          • Thom Hogan

            Nope. The 300mm f/2.8 never got FL, the 12-24mm never got E, most of the primes are G and not very video capable, we never got the 200mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor update, the list goes on. Stopping the F-mount updating sends a bad message.

            • Allen_Wentz

              No reason not to do both F upgrades plus new MILC lenses; in fact it is a necessity. Hopefully 2017 lens work just has not been released yet.

            • L8rNik

              Now that the 200-400 E has been released, I’d expect the 300 sees an update next. The 12-24 doesn’t need to be refreshed to E, not a large demand for shooting 10 FPS with wide angle DX. I think we could see a 135 or 180 prime update if F mount sees any lens releases in 2018. Nikon is going to be busy marketing their mirrorless on a limited marketing budget.

  • HD10

    Some interesting info here:

    Mount Flange Distance / Mount Diameter

    dSLRs

    Nikon F …….. 46.5mm …… 44.0mm
    Sony A ……….44.5mm …… 49.7mm
    Canon EF ….. 44.0mm …… 54.0mm
    43 …………….. 38.67mm …..44.0mm

    Mirrorless/EVF

    Nikon Z ……… 16.0mm …… 49.0mm
    Nikon 1 ……… 17.0mm …… 40.0mm
    Fuji XF …….. 17.7mm …… 44.0mm
    Sony E ………. 18.0mm …… 46.1mm
    Canon EF-M . 18.0mm …… 47.0mm
    m43 …………… 19.25mm ….. 38.0mm

    Notes: Mount Diameter: Changes from dSLR to Mirrorless

    Nikon F > Nikon Z: From the narrowest (44mm vs a 36mm sensor) in a dSLR, it now has one of the widest (49mm vs a 36mm sensor) in mirrorless.

    Canon EF > Canon EF-M: From the widest (54mm vs a 36mm sensor) in a dSLR, it has reduce this to 47mm in mirrorless.

    Sony A > Sony E: From 49.7mm, Sony reduced it to 46.1mm. But at that time, Sony had not planned on using the E mount for a 36mm x 24mm sensor.

    Nikon F > Nikon 1: The 40mm mount diameter for the Nikon 1 series is gargantuan when one considers that it needed to cover a 13.2mm sensor. While the 49mm diameter for the Nikon Z will be the widest for mirrorless cameras, it will still be a substantial reduction ratio wise from what Nikon utilized for the Nikon 1 series. At 40mm, the Nikon 1 mount could easily have handled an APS-C sensor that at its widest is 23.5mm.

    • Someone

      You have to compare mount diameter to sensor diagonal, not its width.

      • HD10

        Concur.

    • tomskyphoto

      Most mirrorless mounts you list were developed for APS-C or even smaller sensors. That Sony shoehorned a 135-sized sensor behind their E-mount doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good design choice at all. Fast lens designs for FE seem to particularly suffer from the narrow throat diameter, resulting in overly complex, large and heavy optics.

      But the elephant in the room that no one sees is DJI:

      Their DL-mount is 58mm wide and has a flange distance of 16.82mm. Yes, fifty-eight, more than Canon EF, and still an extremely short flange distance. Currently they only use it for an APS-C (Super 35) sensor but DL definitely looks like being designed with 135-sized sensors in mind.

      And the Zenmuse X7 drone camera that uses DL-mount isn’t exactly a monster, despite the large diameter. Neither are the DL-mount lenses for that camera.

      Don’t know where the infatuation of Japanese camera designers with everything small – and then often too small – comes from. Or the unjustified fears of photographers that a large mount diameter would necessarily mean larger lenses. Looking at DJI and Sony in comparison it seems to be the other way round.

    • Thanks for directing me here, HD. Yeah, this is interesting AND encouraging. Looks like they started from scratch for the Z-mount and that’s a good thing. The flange to sensor distance also implies a slim camera. I’m hoping they give us the option of adding a grip if we want, but otherwise not have one, which would be my preference.

  • sleepwalker

    Let me speculate a bit.
    I expect this to be a DX-sized sensor camera, and I expect that Nikon will launch another mirrorless camera with full frame sensor, F-mount and dSLR-like body.

    • HD10

      I think otherwise. Nikon could have used the Nikon 1 mount for an APS-C mirrorless using the Nikon 1 mount. It will not need to make a new mount. This new Nikon Z mount (if the name is correct) clearly is intended to use a 36mm x 24mm “FF” sensor and can easily accommodate an APS-C sensor of a DX.

  • jojo

    It would be a master stroke if they could come up with 2 different lens adapters – one to use F mount lenses, and the other to use E mount lenses! It’s conceivable with those dimensions.

    • RC Jenkins

      Nah. People attempting to adapt E mount lenses will be a very small minority.

      The second lens adapter (aside from F) needs to be Canon EF. This is where a majority of users–and a majority of who Nikon should target–are.

      • Nyarlathotep

        E to “Z” mount would require losing infinity focus or a corrective element or removing the lens mount and replacing it with a Z mount. The E and Z flanges are too close in proximity that they actually will overlap. Much like K and F mount overlap.

        • RC Jenkins

          What’s that have to do with adapting Canon’s EF mount?

          • Nyarlathotep

            I was only commenting with regards to the first sentence about the E mount, not the second about the EF mount. Just mentioning that it will be made even more unlikely E mount users attempt to adapt to Z with out a viable mount.

            I am sure some third party manufacturer will cook up an EF to Z mount. That seems like a pretty viable market.

            • RC Jenkins

              Oh…got it. Yes, totally agreed then. Personally, I think Nikon should only try to help 2 types of lenses get adapted: Nikon F & Canon EF. This is a strategic move for Nikon to build market share–and specifically to take it from Canon.

              Let 3rd parties handle adapting everything else.

            • Nyarlathotep

              Do you think Nikon will make a mount adapter for EF to Z? Honestly, I don’t know, do any of the DSLR manufacturers develop mounts for adapting other DSLR manufacturer’s lenses on their system? Sigma not withstanding, I only seem to remember noticing 3rd party accessory and/or lens manufacturers producing adapters for ABC mount to XYZ mount. The Japanese DSLR manufacturers seem to avoid stepping on each other’s toes in strange ways.

            • RC Jenkins

              I don’t think they will, but I do think they should. 🙂

              Or at least actively help some third party make one. I think Canon EF lens owners should be a target for Nikon with this mirrorless camera. There are Canon users who love their lenses but prefer Nikon bodies.

              I can only think of a handful of camera makers who have made adapters for other systems–one off the top of my head is Fuji, who made a Leica M mount adapter:
              http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/accessories/lens/mount/fujifilm_m_mount_adapter/

              ..which makes sense, since Fuji was targeting the same market as Leica with the X-Pro’s:
              https://petapixel.com/2017/02/18/fujifilm-x-pro2-vs-leica-m-imitation-highest-form-flattery/

              But strategically, Canon lens owners are the single largest market of photographers out there–even larger than Nikon’s own base. I’d say that Canon EF users are a higher priority for Nikon than Nikon F users–though in practice, Nikon should have no problem adapting their own lenses and preventing leaks to other systems if it does this mirrorless well.

            • Nyarlathotep

              Also, Leica isn’t a Japanese company, so I don’t think they feel the rules are the same with regards to competition with Japanese national companies. It would be cool to have an EF adapter though.

            • PhilK

              I’d think that making adapters for other company’s lenses opens you up to all sorts of complaints or even lawsuits if there are any kind of weaknesses in the functionality of the adapted lenses.

              It also would really stick a thumb in the eye of any current competitors you offered an adapter for. While the Japanese camera companies certainly compete between each other for business, I’d think national pride would discourage them from being cutthroat about it.

            • Nyarlathotep

              Yeah, that is my take too. They seem to have a different code of honor than in the US with regards to wading into a competitors bread and butter.

            • PhilK

              No doubt about that. Character and honor are immaterial in the US world of capitalism, as long as you are making money.

              Take for example Uber. I never wanted anything to do with their service because that company was sleazy in a million dimensions. But the CEO was largely enabled in being a toxic, sleazy ass because profit-drooling VC’s were throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at the company, hoping to cash in. Only when it became a huge public scandal did they flip around and call for “reform” at the company. Prior to that, they were perfectly happy constantly throwing boatloads of money at that sleazy company.

      • jojo

        Lots of good Sony and Zeiss E mount lenses available and already in use, would be a big help in the early days of the Nikon system if they could be used. It just occurs as a useful possibility given these rumoured dimensions. How many lenses do you think Nikon will start off with?

        I would agree a Canon EF adapter would also be desirable, but clearly wouldn’t give the more compact lenses an e mount adapter would.

        • RC Jenkins

          Nikon will start off with under 5 lenses.

          Specifically, which good, compact Sony E mount lenses that a majority of Nikon mirrorless users will adapt (that don’t exist on any other mount) are you referring to?

    • HD10

      A 3rd party manufacturer can do that … and why limit it to Sony … the same can be made with Fuji X-mount lenses.

      • jojo

        An E mount adapter could potentially bring back a fair
        number who have jumped ship to Sony (they will have FF lenses). Any jumpers to Fuji will have smaller format lens which wouldn’t be very useful on a FF Nikon mirrorless (and anyway Nikon not too worried about DX competition).

        I’m sure all these adapter variants will be available from 3rd party mfrs, but I was thinking of adapters from Nikon themselves.

        Flange distances would make it possible for E mount lenses on Z mount bodies if the Z mount mount diameter is big enough to allow E mount flanges to fit inside (as in the case of F mount lenses on EF camera bodies).

    • Nyarlathotep

      E and Z will not adapt well. Much like there has never been a K to F mount that doesn’t either sacrifice infinity focus or alternative have a corrective lens element built in. Both are not ideal in the slightest. The mounts are just too close to each other that both the E and Z mounts would overlap.

      • jojo

        True, they are close. Flange distances would make it
        possible for E mount lenses on Z mount bodies if the Z mount mount diameter is big enough to allow E mount flanges to fit inside (as in the case of F mount lenses on EF camera bodies).

    • Allen_Wentz

      Nikon does not want to encourage folks to use Sony gear. Period.

      • jojo

        Not normally, that’s correct. But quite a number have jumped ship to Sony FF and have a Sony body and several lenses. If they could use the Sony (and Zeiss Loxia and Batis) lenses on a new Nikon FF mirrorless, it would be an easy way to tempt them back. After all, how many lenses do you think Nikon will start off with? It would also be a useful way to fill gaps in the lens road map over the first 3 or 4 years.

  • Suhail Alam

    One of the main reasons I have not shifted to mirrorless is precisely because when you factor in the lens, the smaller body is hardly any advantage at all. Hard to justify another slightly smaller slightly less professional body that you need to carry batteries around for. Hopefully the lenses can be downsized significantly

    • RC Jenkins

      That’s strange, because I use mirrorless precisely because despite the lens, the size is a huge advantage. Because I mainly use small lenses with my mirrorless cameras.

      There are two extremes to your argument:
      ::Mirrorless is always significantly smaller
      ::Mirrorless is never significantly smaller

      The truth is somewhere in between. Mirrorless is sometimes significantly smaller.

      • Suhail Alam

        I guess I’m asking for a lot 🙂 The one mirrorless I do have is the Fuji X100F. Thats a size that I think really changes the game.. otherwise if you still have a bag and the camera is still swinging around all over the place, I feel it’s not different enough from my DSLR

        • RC Jenkins

          That’s not a mirrorless ILC, though. It has a fixed lens. You may not realize this, but most of the lens in that camera protrudes into the body.

          My mirrorless is easily smaller and more portable than my DSLR:
          http://disq.us/p/1o8jwcs

          • Suhail Alam

            Yes actually that’s why I like it. And yes that’s why the profile is so damned awesome, can fit it in a large pocket. Can zip my jacket over the camera. All with an APS sensor. Just currently can’t do that with other offerings. I’m hoping that Nikon’s will be similarly small and they have a decent pancake prime with it. I was debating between a ILC with pancake prime but ultimately went for the fixed 35 F2 of the XF100. There’s no perfect setup here of course.. which is good for camera makers.

            • Allen_Wentz

              Agreed at least one pancake lens available upon release is MANDATORY from a marketing standpoint. Ideally several, like the DL series but ILC.

              If Nikon does the MILC camera/lens release properly we will see why they chopped the DL line.

        • When it comes to saving space (and weight) in a camera system, the bottom line is that flange distance comes in dead-last, almost every time.

          First and foremost is sensor size. If you want to save size in the system overall, get a smaller sensor.

          Second, and hand-in-hand with sensor size, is sheer aperture, and/or equivalent aperture. Meaning, If you want to save weight within the same sensor size, get a slower aperture. Or, if you want to save weight between sensor sizes, then a 2.8 zoom dedicated for APS-C will be smaller than a 2.8 zoom dedicated for Full-frame.

          Third comes the overall sturdy construction in both the lens and the body, and the optical performance of the lens itself. Simply put, if you want a lighter lens, start compromising in the corners.

          Last, but not least, comes flange distance. The shorter flange distance allows you to do wider, slower focal length lenses in a more compact lightweight design. Plus, it also allows you to do more compromises in optical quality too, LOL. (Which is partly why the kit lenses for the Sony A6000, although they’re diminutive compared to the APS-C kit lenses for DSLRs, …are pretty sad WRT corner sharpness.)

          So, there you have it.

    • Allen_Wentz

      I fully agree with RCJ below. The points are that

      A) Mirrorless bodies can be smaller than DSLR.

      B) Smaller lenses than we are accustomed to with DSLR can be specially built to suit the rumored 16mm/40.5mm body.

      C) Existing really long, expensive glass can be adapted until/if such tele is specifically made in a mirrorless mount. When we look at lenses like the AF-P 70-300mmf/4.5-5.6E VR that I just bought it is apparent that Nikon clearly does have the capability of making smallish zoom tele with decent IQ and without exotic pricing.

    • jonebize

      If you’re using pretty big glass, it isn’t a huge difference. But if you like to carry a camera and a short prime around with you 24/7 just to capture things, the reduced body size reduces the overall setup weight more significantly

    • Only if you factor in certain lenses. The faster the aperture and the longer the focal length, yes what you say is true. But, if you make a more modest aperture, wider lens, the smaller size of mirrorless overall does become noticeable. Take a 35 f/2 D on a D750, and compare it against a theoretical mirrorless 35 f/2 on a mirrorless D750, and I suspect you’ll see a huge difference in portability.

      • tomskyphoto

        I see a huge difference with moderately fast lenses (f1.8 or less primes, f4 constant aperture zooms) with my Sony kit already.

        Even though I appreciate the overall handling and user experience of my Nikon cameras much, much more than the Sony’s the Sony is more and more becoming my “just go” and travel camera due to its size and weight advantages.

        • HD10

          Concur. Nikon able to combine the size and weight savings on a camera with long battery life and good grip with well-placed controls will likely see a substantial leakage from Sony to Nikon.

          An optically improved version of the Sony 24-70mm f/4 or a 24-105mm f/2.8-4.0, a 12-24mm f/4, a 20mm f/1.8, 28mm or 35mm f/1.8 and a 85mm f/1.8 in native “Z” mount would be very attractive for me even if I already have faster lenses in the same focal length in F-mount.

          I will however likely stick to my Nikon D850/D500 and F-mount lenses for focal lengths longer than 85mm.

        • Not necessarily. The Sony 12-24 FE is almost a pound lighter than the Sigma 12-24, but that’s largely because the Sigma is also built like a brick, and the Sony is built intentionally lightweight.

          Consider instead some of the 70-200 f/4’s availble. The Sony FE is roughly the same size and weight as the Canon and Nikon.

          Same thing goes for some of the f/1.8 and f/2 primes. Often the sharpest of the bunch (Batis, for example) on Sony are still roughly the same size and weight as the similarly performing options in Nikon’s f/1.8 G prime lineup. But since sharpness is almost never identical, nor is overall construction, it is difficult to say just how much of the difference is actually attributed to the shorter flange distance.

          It is only when you get wider than ~50mm, with the f/2.8 or slower primes and the f/4 zooms, that you can consistently see mirrorless’ flange distance being a truly space-saving factor.

          And all of the savings pales in comparison to if you’d just go down a sensor size, anyways.

  • RC Jenkins

    In re-reading this article, one thing is troubling me: That’s the external mount diameter, and this particular diagram shows the contacts within the inner diameter of the mount. I wish Nikon went with something bigger. Still, better than nothing.

    • HD10

      Saw that too but this could be a “maskirovka” on Nikon’s part … or that the 49mm diameter refers to the clear open space on the lens mount.

      • RC Jenkins

        Hope so… 🙂

        Or I hope that the rumor was a typo and actually should have said “59mm”

        • HD10

          Now that would bring a cause to celebrate!

      • I think this is what they mean by external – the actual opening, the entire mount is actually wider (the metal ring around the opening).

  • Ben Cushwa

    I really think Nikon is on a good path here.

    The new mount is wider than the current F mount to make faster normal lenses easier to engineer.

    The short flange distance will make it easier to adapt existing Nikon F (and other lenses) to the new mount.

    As long as the adapter works *really* well, new users will get to keep their existing Nikon F glass collection while gradually transitioning to new glass is it’s released.

    I think the one thing that would make a new FF mirrorless camera with this mount a total smash hit would be a 50mm f/1.0 released at the same time. Kind of a shot across the bow back at Canon. Didn’t Peter post a reference to a patent for this a little while back? 😉

    • HD10

      The challenge is for Nikon to make a good adapter. The adapter can be a weak point or even a point of failure. The tolerances and the durability of the adapter needs to be top-notch if may problems are to be avoided. The experience of those who regularly and extensively use teleconverters can be helpful in understanding some of the potential issues from the use of adapters.

      Nikon can make several models of adapters … from a professional adapter for use with weather-sealed lens and bodies, and a lower-price prosumer version, and possibly still a 3rd bare-bones but durable version for use with manually focused Nikkors.

      • Ben Cushwa

        Totally agree. If they botch the adapter(s), they will have really shot themselves in the foot.

      • Nyarlathotep

        I completely agree here. With lenses so dependent upon very fine tolerances, one more mechanical connection between the lens mount and mounting flange creates more play in the mount. There is a reason Roger Cicala dislikes teleconverters and adapters, he has seen first hand with his equipment the issues these introduce.
        So if Nikon makes an adapter mount, they really ought to do it right with very fine tolerances and strong QA.

        • RC Jenkins

          Yet he seems to like extension tubes, which are closer in functionality than teleconverters (which add optical elements) and most adapters (which are across different camera brands).

          And he seems to really like Canon’s EOS-M adapter.
          https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/10/eos-m-first-impressions/
          where he says:
          “My favorite part of today’s tests, though, weren’t the lenses. It was the EF-EOS-M adapter.”

          So perhaps there’s more to it than claiming that “There is a reason Roger Cicala dislikes teleconverters and adapters.”

          • Nyarlathotep

            Fair enough. There are instances, but it is the exception rather than the rule. It really boils down to which Nikon we get. The “yeah this integrated telephoto grip is as good you will ever need”, which was followed up by RRS and Kirk swooping in to produce replacements for descent tripod performance. Or do we get the excellent D850 Nikon on this? Time will tell.

      • Allen_Wentz

        IMO Nikon’s many decades of experience evolving TCs should allow them to make a first class adapter. But like with TCs, we should not expect full functionality with all lenses and we should expect to see some shooting compromises involved.

    • Good point. We should very likely see a prime or two that hit f/1.2 or even f/0.95-1.0, with autofocus.

      (Also, what is the outer diameter of the Canon EF mount?)

      • tomskyphoto

        54mm.

        • If Canon’s is 54mm, and this is 49mm, then I’m having second thoughts about f/0.95 and autofocus. But we’ll see.

          • tomskyphoto

            I hate to say it as I want Nikon to succeed – but 49mm looks like a lukewarm compromise trying to keep up with Sony’s small body form factor and improving optical performance just a tad.

            Or it’s just another mount designed for APS-C. For 135 it looks rather mediocre and halfa**ed.

            • Nyarlathotep

              Well in Nikon’s defense, 49mm opening at a 18mm flange is probably easier for a 1.2 or wider design than a 54mm diameter open at a 44mm flange distance. The closer to the sensor the flange sits, the less it will restrict rear lens elements ability to project on a sensor, but that still means the throat of the lens will need to be pretty wide for a <1.2 f-stop.

          • RC Jenkins

            The F-number isn’t the only piece that determines what’s possible.
            The flange distance does as well.

            Here’s one way to think about it: imagine a mount that was exactly flush with the sensor. I would only have to be about 43mm in diameter. Yet it would have no optical contraints.

            Nikon’s issues with the fast lenses were mainly around the 50mm mark, because that’s near the mount in an F mount camera. Hard to build a 50mm aperture 50mm in front of the sensor when theres only a 44mm hole 46.5mm in front of the sensor.

            • Well, the whole point of using optical elements (as opposed to a pinhole that is exactly 50mm from the sensor) …is to be able to move the aperture way from the theoretical 50mm point.

              Otherwise, we wouldn’t have full-frame 11mm or 12mm rectilinear lenses, period.

              But, you have a point- At some point or another, a very big image circle is gonna hafta fit through that mount, no matter what. And if the mount is too small, you’re just not gonna get f/1.2 without some serious light falloff or actual vignetting.

            • RC Jenkins

              Yes, you are correct that this is why we have (retrofocal, not rectilinear) lenses. 🙂

              What the shorter flange allows is for fewer lenses that require retrofocal designs–in this case, in the 16mm to 45mm range–which is a common range. 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, and corners / speed on 50mm. Good range of lenses that hopefully can take some advantage of this!

              Because the barrel is also less pre-determined, we could also see less vignetting (and rounder bokeh at the corners–which are caused by the same effect).

              Hopefully, we actually see lenses from Nikon improved by this mount.

      • Amabird

        What if Nikon goal is not compete with Sony but target all the Leica audience by pushing out 1.2 to 0.95 lenses.

        Is kinda interesting the spending behaviour of people able to accept iPhone X price compared to few years back means the general audience willing to shelf out big money and Nikon is targeting this market segment. The segment which people will buy not only body, but with more lenses.

        I observe the circle around me normally just buy an entry level APS-C, satisfy with it and either stick to kit lens, or just switch to phone after long.

        So Nikon need those high attach rate customer. And the popularity of hand phone photography is exactly filtered out the sustainable gear purchase customer.

        • Ignore Sony, to compete with Leica? That would be extremely unwise. Nikon only really ever “competes” with Leica when they make an anniversary edition of something, for their collectors. Other than that, Nikon /must/ focus on volume sales. Otherwise we would have already begun to see more exotic lenses a long time ago.

  • Prasad Palaniyandi

    This is what my take on Nikon Mirrorless,

    1. For FM ( FX Mirrorless ) Nikon will use D750 sensor with new EXPEED processor and most of the bells and whistles from D850. They may borrow D850 some ergonomics but I feel it will be hybrid of modern and retro style to attract all levels of users.

    2. For DM ( DX Mirrorless ) Nikon may use D500 sensor and may share most of the FM features. But I feel it would be 100% retro style body cheaper than Fuji X-T2 targeted towards Street, Travel, Hiking and general Walk around users.

    * Both will have 4K video recording.

    3. Nikon may concentrate more on new FF Mirrorless Primes lenses…
    Street / Travel / Walk around : 35/1.8 or 35/2.0
    Portrait shooters : 85/1.8
    Standard : 50/1.8
    Other possible options : 20/1.8 and 24/1.8

    * FM and new Prime lenses may attract many Video shooters.

    4. Possible DM lenses may be,
    Standard Zoom ( Kit ) : 18-70 / 3.5-4.5
    Prime : 24/2.0

    * F-Mount Adapters to support both FX and DX formats

  • RC Jenkins

    The image in this article is from an unrelated patent, filed in 2013, for duplicated electrical contacts between a lens and camera body.

    https://nikonrumors.com/2013/04/04/nikon-patents-for-illuminated-f-mount-duplicated-electronic-mount-contacts-and-hybrid-viewfinder.aspx/

    • HD10

      That’s a relief! =)

  • jonebize

    All I want to say is how frickin excited I am.

  • jonebize

    How much smaller can lenses get with this new mount?

  • donaldejose

    Guys, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks anymore. Nikon made the decision a while ago. We all just have to wait to see what they release this year and deal with whatever it is. I think the mount will be an insignificant issue. People will buy mirrorless for what it offers, such as seeing what the lighting will look like before you press the shutter, which a DSLR doesn’t offer. Once a decision is made as to whether you want what mirrorless offers people will deal with the mount issue. If it is a new mount there will be an adaptor and people can adapt their old lenses as a transition step. When new lenses are purchased they will be purchased in the new mount. Really, it won’t be a big issue. For a while people will shoot both a DSLR body and a mirrorless body.

    • klaxion99

      Mirrorless is the future.

      DSLR is a dinosaur and now even Nikon can see that. They wouldn’t go to the extreme measure of creating a whole new mount if they didn’t see that.

      Will take a while for the DSLR fanboys to get with the program, but they will come over just like the film guys did.

      • Markus

        Why is DSLR a dinosaur? It is nothing less than mirrorless. As long as battery life isn’t close mirrorless is a pain for me.

      • TurtleCat

        Typical extreme viewpoint. DSLR and mirrorless are virtually the same. One has a mirror, the other an EVF. Other than that it’s just a few features that separates them. Mirrorless is here not because it’s a quantum leap but rather it solves a couple of minor problems at the expense of an important feature (live viewing without a screen). It’s not like we’re talking digital vs film transition here.

      • Well mirrorless has been around for 10 years and they are not even close to DSLRs in terms of market share. DSLRs are dinosaurs for a very simple reason – there was nothing better (I may even say there is nothing better). Mirrorless fanboys have to understand that DSLRs will be around for a very long time, just like film is still alive today and actually has a comeback. BTW, Nikon did not just realized that, they already had a Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras a few years ago.

  • With such a short flange distance, I suspect they are hoping to offer adapters into which they can cram as many backward-compatible functions as possible.

    In this scenario, we should certainly see an adapter that offers a mechanical aperture coupling for all lenses all the way back to AI. (and oh-so-ironically, the old “E” lenses, not to be confused with the NEW “E” lenses lol…)

    If we’re lucky, (or, willing to spend even more!) Nikon may even be able to offer an adapter with some sort of small AF-D motor as well.

    Either way, let’s keep the ball rolling on this one, Nikon!

    • Nyarlathotep

      That would be great if they did offer a screwdriver motor for the AF and AF-D lenses, but I think that might be an unlikely option. It would probably be mechanically less than ideal.

      • I bet they could pull it off, with a sub-section on the adapter or something. It’s really just a matter of whether or not they’ll offer it separately. Meaning, how many adapters are we gonna see, one, two, or three?

  • Wonil Suh

    they’ve been waiting for me to switch to Sony a mount.

    • BVS

      If you’d switched sooner we could have had our Nikon mirrorless cameras already. Hurry up please! 😉

  • Wonil Suh

    won’t it be cheaper in a way thanks to the curved sensor – less elements and simpler design?

  • Richard Hart

    What will motivate sales is an f mount converter. Brand loyalty…

    Remembering that last adaptor patent, is it possible the camera wont have a mechanical shutter? It looked like there was a shutter in the adaptor. Will the flange distance make it more difficult to use f mount lenses? Will this make focussing more accurate?

    • RC Jenkins

      umm…what…?

  • Tieu Ngao

    Nikon is LATE for the mirrorless game, and therefore they must do it right in the first attempt. I think it boils down to 2 things:

    – performance & features: must be at least on par with the competitors. This is tough because other manufacturers already have several years of experience.

    – price: must be reasonable and competitive because, under the circumstances, market share (and survival) is more important than short term profit (Nikon had made mistakes on this before).

    This product is critical for Nikon’s future IMO.

  • TurtleCat

    I’ll be intrigued by what actually gets announced. The key thing for me is performance. Not just in AF but all the way around. I want a fast EVF refresh rate, fast menuing system, sturdy batteries, good grip, USB-C 3.1 connector, 802.11ac, and SnapBridge v4 (I’m assuming v2 and v3 won’t be very good, so let’s go to a hypothetical one that works).

    Note, I’m not concerned with tiny. Tiny is usually the bane of performance. I’m not concerned with F mount lenses. I’m not concerned with adapting other lenses. These are my wants: performance, connectability, and good ergonomics.

  • Markus

    I wonder when they plan to release it.

  • Proto
    • Davo

      “Tchk tchk tchk”
      What’s that Skip? Mirrorless is coming?

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