Are We About to See a Budget Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera From Nikon?

Are We About to See a Budget Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera From Nikon?

With Nikon expected to make a series of bold announcements in the next 12 months, one of the most exciting might be the prospect of an affordable, entry-level, full-frame mirrorless camera for under a thousand dollars.

With the Z 6 and the Z 7 receiving a generally favorable reception since their launch last year, Nikon will be expanding its Z range of cameras, and rumor websites are speculating that this will be a budget full-frame mirrorless model that goes head-to-head with the Canon EOS RP.

As discussed a few weeks ago, Nikon has a number of recently registered camera codes, and various rumor-mongers picked up on a news piece released on a Japanese website that seems to suggest that a camera in the “100,000 yen range” is thought to be due before the end of September.

This could be a Z 3, and keeping the price down could make for some interesting compromises. Canon’s RP sacrificed the top deck display, and the rear display and EVF are slightly smaller and lower resolution. Along with the fact that Canon cobbled the video capabilities, this all squeezed the price down to $1,300. In an effort to bring it in under a grand, could Nikon go one step further and make a rear display that doesn't flip out, or even ditch the EVF? Or is this actually a sign that Nikon will be releasing a Z camera that features an APS-C sensor?

Nikon may have an eye on Sony’s next move. Along with the much-discussed and long-awaited a7S III, Sony is thought to have two affordable options in the works: a budget full-frame mirrorless camera that will be called the a6700 or a7000 and a cropped-sensor camera that may be named the a5.

So, if this rumor is true, how will Nikon keep the costs down? Your thoughts in the comments, please!

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Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I suspect Nikon's answer to the RP will be a somewhat more capable camera, much like the D600 was compared to the 6D.

Think it’s more likely to be the next model which addresses the dual card issue, which people seem so upset about. Would have thought the Z 6 is already a budget model, especially if they drop the price a bit. Cant see the point of a cheaper camera with fewer features than a Z 6 - I imagine the next major mirrorless announcement by Nikon will be more lenses this year, then perhaps V2 camera bodies next year.

I initially recoiled at the idea of removing the EVF, but that is how people shoot with the most popular camera in the world: the phone.

Whereas I just finally upgraded to a camera w/EVF. No more chimping on compact cameras and I get to use my head to block the display (inside) to review on my DSLR, and I also get my neck and forehead to complete the third leg of the natural tripod: L arm, R arm, and head. None of this holding cam at arm's length and hoping for a stable shot. I ensure it is stable, by basic physics

Honestly, I think this makes a lot of sense. If they can get the price low enough, it will be enticing for people that would otherwise choose an APS-C camera. I've always thought that most manufacturers make more of their money on lenses - if there aren't enough cameras out there, there certainly won't be a lot of lens sales. Getting more Z mounts into hands can pump those lens sales, even if it is sold at a partial loss. The Z 6 is the more budget option available from Nikon right now, but no doubt there is a market of people who can't afford the Z 6, and getting some of them to pick up a Z mount camera means they may eventually consider a nicer Z mount lens to go with it, or continuing to upgrade in the Z stream. This camera would not likely be targeted at people interested enough to read a forum on photography, but rather people who want something better than their phone can deliver.

How to do it though? Strip out the EVF, recycle the sensor from an older model (D750 sensor is still competitive, but I don't know if it would work with the Z's focus system?), single card slot, no weather sealing, no IBIS, older processor, plastic construction. I bet that would get you close, and I bet a lot of the upper-entry level users wouldn't miss a lot of those features, but would certainly notice the better image quality it delivers than their phone.

This is sad when Nikon is competing on price and not on features and specs. Sony has an incredible amount of features packed in their cameras which also happen to be very competitive in price.

Not sure I agree with your take. They led with feature rich and expensive cameras and lenses and now appear to back-filling the low end.

It certainly seems a camera above the z7 is more forthcoming than one below the z6; nonetheless I see value in an entry level mirrorless like that. I shoot a d610 now and would love an equivalent: full frame, efv, and weather sealed, but don't care as much about no pop-out screen and other luxuries. There would need to be other compromises I'm sure but a mirrorless body in the neighborhood of $1000 would definitely have a market.