« Paul Grubb? | Main | Look at Tone as Light »

Friday, 14 July 2017


Nikon already has mirrorless cameras, and they were intentionally designed to be uncompetitive so they wouldn't cannibalize more profitable DSLR sales.

Even though, theoretically, Nikon could make a huge R&D push into a new mirrorless system with larger sensors, I don't see any evidence that they've changed their corporate philosophy.

Olympus had a very small digital system at the point Canon stirred. Now look at the Micro Four Thirds and Fuji systems of today. These are substantially complete systems, with a strong community of users these companies could only have dreamed of in the early naughties.

That said, the idea that it is somehow game over for CaNikon is of course absurd.

My take on this has been for Nikon to retain the F mount. But considering the convergence of still photography with video, a new mount that would allow the use of the increasingly popular short flange third party video lenses does makes sense.

See how foresighted the K-01 was? Mirrorless, K-mount friendly, huge battery, all that good stuff. Really sold great, too.. once it fell to $300 :¬(

Also note its size compared to the GX8 while reading of all its disadvantages.

Nikon has the ability to shine, if not dominate, in the mirrorless segment. For over 4 1/2 years I have been using the Nikon V1 and a variety of CX-mount lenses. It has been a fine system, hampered by inconsistent UI and design changes and a less-than-stellar Aptina sensor. Nonetheless, the V1 has been my most used camera these past 4 1/2 years because it is both a capable stills and video camera. (Nikon DSLRs are great stills cameras but suck when it comes to video AF.) I am currently editing a video of a recent family trip with clips taken with the V1. A V-series camera that combined the best attributes of the V1, V2, and V3, along with an up-to-date Sony sensor, EVF, standard hot shoe, and IBIS would be a formidable 1" mirrorless camera.

I think that F-mount mirrorless cameras are a given, especially now that the mirrorless-friendly AF-P 70-300mm FX lens has been introduced. It is possible that Nikon could create a new mirrorless mount. But Nikon could also possibly keep the CX mount, using it with a larger sensor. Thom Hogan mentioned a few times that there is talk that the CX mount could support a sensor with a crop factor of 1.7, which is pretty close to the DX/APS-C crop factor of 1.5. It is possible that the CX mount could be used to support the larger sensor and allow usage of DX and FX lenses through an FT-1-style adapter. I have used the FT-1 to mount mostly telephoto lenses to my V1, and it works quite well (albeit only allowing me to use the central AF sensor).

Kieth Canham, Richard Ritter, the fine folk at Linhof and many others make beautiful mirrorless cameras and have for a long time now. My favorite mirrorless 8x10 Deardorff was made in 1949 and the 5x7 was made in 1926. Hundreds of lenses fit them. They will take images ever bit as good as I am able to find.

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future" -- Yogi Berra

Sounds like the same path as Olympus / Panasonic from 4/3rds to M43rds. Many years later many folk are still using the original lenses, designed for cameras with a mirror.

I agree with everything you say, sir. But the other day I saw a pic, I believe it was in The NY Times but I may be mistaken. This particular pic spoke volumes, spoke at incredibly loud volume. It was of a senator in Washington making an announcement possibly about the recently proposed health care law. The pic was taken from the profile and in the background was at least 5 to 7 journalists also snapping away, taking the senator's picture. Not only were they not using DSLRs, they weren't using mirrorless either. No, they were all, each and every one, using their iPhones.
Now, possibly a poor segue, you be the judge, but apropos I believe. Recently visited one of the few remaining high end audio-video salons in NYC. The demo my son, 31 yrs old, my daughter, 27 yrs old, and I listened to consisted of Wilson's Alexandria speakers, speaker cables as fat as elevator cables, a "cheap" $30,000 turntable, and amps that look,like they could power a neighborhood. After listening for about 20 minutes we were leaving. The salesman, as we entered the elevator to ascend from the basement showroom to the first floor (there was no available staircase) said, do you mind if I ask you a quick question, addressing himself to my children. Sure, they said. He said, did you two acquire your dad's hobby as an audiophile? As they were placing their white Apple earbuds in. They looked at him like he was nuts.

I see two major questions arising from this discussion: The first is not just whether Nikon will introduce a mirrorless camera, but whether it will do so soon enough and well enough to prevent existing users from buying a competitor's mirrorless alternative or abandoning Nikon entirely. The second question is whether said camera will be attractive to people who are new to interchangeable lens photography (i.e., iPhone users). Based on Nikon's history and most recent performance, they will be able to produce hardware that addresses the first question but not the software necessary to appeal to the second group.

Funny thing. Until only a couple of days ago many has seen Nikon as nearly finished, dead duck. Then Nikon issued a vague statement and suddenly there is positive 'geist', all the nervous bashing forgotten. All the pundits knew it all along of course, the few not quite negative articles from Thom Hogan are being re-read, the other articles are forgotten...
To make photographs, we have already everything we need and more. No new camera necessary for color or B&W. It does not matter what Nikon (or Canon or whoever) is going to make - it will be good, better than anybody among us needs or can use. Really use. There will not be one single camera with all the features we talk about, it will cost more than we would like and it never will be the perfect camera to Mike, Thom and me equally. Even with a 'perfect' camera, we would try hard if necessary and find a problem or two. No problem. 😉

I agree with your analysis on the market situation and whether the game is now over for new entrants or not. However, from a users standpoint the status quo is manageable: three real mirrorless systems, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Canon is likely to slowly build a system around its mirrorless and Nikon will do the same with a new, larger sensor mirrorless. The questions that I have can the market support all these brands and what does it mean for users?

Fur users, multiple incompatible brands that are more or less equal is not a desirable proposition when the investment to a system is done over a multi year period. At least we have companies like Sigma that even out lens options across mounts, but it would be desirable to have some level of standardization.

Who cares what mirrorless Nikon makes next. If you don't have a digital Nikon or otherwise camera with which you're able to take the pictures you want, you should take up fishing or macramé!

greets, Ed.

Apple has made a fortune by entering markets after watching and learning from the mistakes made by pioneers.

Does that mean I believe Nikon will learn the lessons to be learned from others? Maybe.

Will Nikon make the mirrorless camera all those lessons would seem to indicate people want? Maybe.

Will anyone be able to afford it, or more importantly, WANT to pay for it? That's the real dilemma for Nikon and anyone else.

Sony (A9) and Olympus (M1 Mark II) have made the best mirrorless cameras YET and all people can talk about are the lack of a lens lineup and professional support (Sony) and price and sensor size (Olympus).

The comments to this entry are closed.