New Nikon interview: “we plan to move faster on our lens roadmap for Nikon Z”


Phototrend published a new interview with Nikon - here are the highlights:

  • Nikon will continue to promote both F-mount and Z-mount systems.
  • DSLRs still have the upper hand over hybrid cameras in sports and press photography.
  • Nikon plans to expand our entire Z-mount system, including the lens range.
  • Nikon will meet the needs of hybrid photographers who take not only still images, but also video.
  • DX-format (APS-C) hybrid cameras are an important category for providing a portal for amateur photographers.
  • Nikon plans to move faster on the scheduled Z mount lenses.
  • The demand for a faster release of the f/2.8 trinity is particularly strong.
  • A lot of demand for pancake type lenses for Z-mount.
  • Nikon will continue to make improvements to the Z system through firmware updates.
  • D6 was developed primarily for sports and press photographers.

Here is the full Google translation:

How does Nikon see the photography market in 2020?

Nikon Corp: Our competitors have also launched a number of new products, and we believe this will further activate the mirrorless market. We believe that the strengths of Nikon, namely the technologies developed over our long history with NIKKOR lenses and DSLRs that meet the needs of professional photographers, as well as the success that we have experienced in this field, can be used effectively in such a competitive environment.

How does coronavirus impact production at Nikon?

Nikon Corp: We are concerned that our ability to procure the parts we need will be adversely affected. We are closely examining the precise impact that this epidemic will have on our imaging activity. It is difficult to assess the precise situation at present because it will vary considerably depending on the magnitude of this impact or its duration.

What is the place of SLR cameras in the coming years for you? Will Nikon eventually switch to a “100% mirrorless” strategy?

Nikon Corp: Each system offers unique benefits. We will continue to promote both systems to meet the demands of more users. Mirrorless systems are compact and lightweight, and their electronic viewfinders (EVFs) provide users with a preview of the final image. DSLR systems have the advantages of optical viewfinders which facilitate viewing and framing of scenes and subjects, continuous and fluid shooting allowing the subject to be viewed in real-time, and reduced energy consumption. We will continue to promote the construction of a technological platform to improve the efficiency of our development through our range of hybrid cameras (Z series) and DSLRs (D series), both of which have their own strengths.

How to keep the reflex camera relevant for photographers in the face of the strong innovation that the hybrid represents?

Nikon Corp: We believe that DSLRs still have the upper hand over hybrid cameras in sports and press photography, which demand the ability to capture important moments as they happen. More specifically, our DSLRs have unique advantages such as a rich range of NIKKOR F-mount lenses covering the focal range from 8 to 800 mm, optical viewfinders that allow users to use them for long periods with minimum fatigue and reduced energy consumption.

What is Nikon's strategy for attracting smartphone users?

Nikon Corp: We believe there is market demand for capturing photos and videos that simply cannot be achieved with a smartphone. We hope to make users with such demands aware of the value and appeal that only SLR and hybrid cameras can provide, notably by providing photo experiences through a variety of meetings and hands-on experiences.

In terms of strategy, the Z system is still young. What are Nikon's next steps? APS-C or Full-Frame, entry-level or high-end?

Nikon Corp: We plan to expand our entire Z-mount system, including the lens range. In particular, we will focus on the following points:

  • the development priority will be the extension of both our range of devices and objectives,
  • we will meet the needs of hybrid photographers who take not only still images, but also video,
  • we recognize that DX-format (APS-C) hybrid cameras are an important category for providing a portal for amateur photographers.

How does Nikon plan to attract professionals to the Z system?

Nikon Corp: We believe that the expression capabilities enabled by the level of optical performance available only from the Z-mount system will appeal to professional users. For example, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens, made possible by the Z mount, allows new forms of expression never seen before. We also believe that the Z mount, which offers superior performance for recording still images and videos, will meet the needs of those who are more often required to capture both photos and videos in a professional context. In addition, the additional support for RAW video output meets the very strict requirements of professionals.

The Z 6 is a commercial success, at least in France, for Nikon. Is it the same in other markets? How could you explain it?

Nikon Corp: Although the exact figures are confidential, we can say that this camera has had some success, not only in France but also worldwide. The Z 6 has proven to be particularly popular with hybrid photographers who take both photos and videos. The optical performance of the lenses obtained with the Z-mount was particularly well-received, which clearly shows that users recognize the value of the Z-mount system.

You updated your Z roadmap with the launch of the Z 50 last year. Until 2021, you will announce 13 new goals. It's a lot? What are the most important lenses to develop for the platform?

Nikon Corp: While the FTZ mount adapter allows F-mount NIKKOR lenses to be used with Z-series cameras, expectations for expanding the NIKKOR Z lens range are high. Therefore, we plan to move faster on the schedule presented with the introduction of the Z mount system in terms of expanding the range of lenses. All the objectives of the current roadmap are important, but the demand for a faster release of an f / 2.8 trinity is particularly strong.

What is the demand of users in terms of objectives?

Nikon Corp: If the demand for a wider range of lenses is strong, we have a lot of demand for pancake type lenses. Mirrorless cameras are smaller than their DSLR counterparts, but current hybrid lenses aren't much smaller than F-mount lenses. Many Z 6 and Z 7 users expect a more compact system overall.

The D780 looks a lot like the Z 6 with a mirror. The Z 7 is more like a mirrorless D850. Can we see a diagram here, where Nikon launches "brothers and sisters" on both platforms to satisfy all photographers?

Nikon Corp: Although we refrain from commenting on the development of future products and the needs of individual photographers often vary greatly, we can say that we will continue to plan and develop products taking into account the needs of photographers and market trends.

The Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 have already received 6 updates since the launch a year and a half ago. How do you explain such high figures?

Nikon Corp: We are responding quickly to market needs and customer feedback by adding new features through firmware updates. Customer response to support for RAW video output added with a firmware update last year and the addition of animal detection AF with an update released in February was overwhelmingly positive . We will continue to make improvements to our Z system through firmware updates.

How did you integrate the Eye AF into the optical viewfinder of the Nikon D6?

Nikon Corp: New algorithm for EXPEED 6 image-processing processor and high-resolution images made possible by 180K pixel RGB sensor have developed eye detection technology that also works with the socket viewfinder.

The D6 is a great new camera for sports professionals. But why stay so conservative on the video side with 4K 30p?

Nikon Corp: Since the D6 was developed primarily for sports and press photographers, and since photo performance is more important to these photographers because few record both photos and video, we focused our efforts on increasing AF performance and improving the workflow associated with capturing still images in a professional context.

In addition, functions related to video recording not available with the D5 have been added to the D6. Among these functions, we can cite the possibility of capturing still images during video recording, recording of information on the time code, and taking charge of the peak of the assistance of focusing (focus peaking).

There are rumors of a Z 8 arriving in 2020. Can we expect Nikon to launch a high-quality mirrorless camera this year?

Nikon Corp: Nikon refrains from commenting on the development of future products. However, you can be sure that we will continue to develop and offer products that meet the needs of our customers.

What are the next big photography challenges for Nikon?

Nikon Corp: For the Business Imaging Unit of Nikon, we do not want to limit ourselves to cameras, but we want to make our contribution to all areas concerned with imaging. Throughout our long history, photographs have been our main contribution, but we wish to contribute to the culture of the image in a broader and deeper way.


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