Nikon Confirms Development of Mirrorless Camera to Compete With Professional DSLRs

Nikon Confirms Development of Mirrorless Camera to Compete With Professional DSLRs

Many Canon and Nikon users have been anxiously awaiting their respective companies to offer a truly professional mirrorless solution. With the Sony a9 taking aim at the top DSLRs, that clamor has only increased in intensity. A Nikon spokesperson has recently confirmed that the company is developing a mirrorless camera that "should compete in the mid-range and high-end DSLR [market]."

In speaking to DPReview, a Nikon spokesperson confirmed that the company is indeed developing mirrorless products that "offer the performance prospective customers expect, including the ultimate optics performance, image-processing technologies, strength and durability, and operation." The spokesperson declined to elaborate on details, and it's unclear how such a camera would integrate with the current product line, in particular if it would introduce a new lens mount. Nonetheless, the spokesperson indicated that the camera would aim to compete with professional DSLRs. While details are very scant at the moment, receiving official confirmation from Nikon is a great sign for those who have been long awaiting the company to step up to challenge Sony and Fujifilm. If both Nikon and Canon step into the mirrorless market with full force, it could cause a major paradigm shift in terms of the DSLR/mirrorless landscape and will no doubt propel development forward all the more quickly.

[via DPReview]

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20 Comments

In summary: Big company announces vapor-ware product to satisfy media clamouring "to provide a response".

Anonymous's picture

I guess you work for Nikon to feel qualified to summarize their response to an interview question. :-/

I don't, but let's look at the details:

"The spokesperson declined to elaborate on details, and it's unclear how such a camera would integrate with the current product line, in particular if it would introduce a new lens mount." This suggests they haven't even decided on the question of mount. Given how fundamental the mount is going to be, it suggests they are still at the early design stages.

"Nonetheless, the spokesperson indicated that the camera would aim to compete with professional DSLRs." What a surprise?! The hype surrounding the A9 which on paper is aimed at the Nikon and Canon flag ship action cameras has had a lot of people asking when Canon and Nikon were going to do a professional mirrorless camera.

"While details are very scant at the moment, receiving official confirmation from Nikon is a great sign for those who have been long awaiting the company to step up to challenge Sony and Fujifilm." Details are scant? Official confirmation? Let me see... Nikon "officially" announced how many cameras which they later "officially" cancelled without ever releasing? Unless you are assuming Nikon management are incompetent, it is a safe assumption they are watching the mirrorless field.

"If both Nikon and Canon step into the mirrorless market with full force, it could cause a major paradigm shift in terms of the DSLR/mirrorless landscape and will no doubt propel development forward all the more quickly." Both obvious, and possibly slightly irrelevant. Nikon don't have much to offer being dependent as they are on Sony for sensors, and with Sony now announcing only Sony are getting the cutting edge FF sensors, I really don't see what Nikon are bringing to the table. Canon are more interesting, as they still build their own sensors. That said, if either company changes their mount when moving to mirrorless, I fail to see why they would be particularly relevant. A new mount means no stable of legacy lenses, which eliminates one of their big advantages.

Anonymous's picture

I didn't read the interview but it seems to me, relative to lens mount, the interviewer is making suppositions that were neither confirmed or denied by the Nikon Rep. You could be right but you could be wrong as well.

In the case of undelivered cameras, I can only think of the DL line which, if their rationale is to be believed, was beyond their control because it was taking to long to get out the door.

The rest of your arguments don't support your initial statement so I won't address them. I'm kinda lazy! ;-)

>> Robert Bridges
"The spokesperson declined to elaborate on details, and it's unclear how such a camera would integrate with the current product line, in particular if it would introduce a new lens mount." This suggests they haven't even decided on the question of mount. <<

It suggests that if you are a pompous over-confident know-it-all. Yes, that is one possibility. But it could also be that Nikon want to keep competitors uncertain while reassuring customers who want a mirrorless model. Both possibilities are obvious and I don't think any sensible person would claim to know which is more likely - let alone hold one out as a revelation.

Spy Black's picture

I've have yet to find a mirrorless with an EVF I find comfortable. I can tolerate them in little pocket cameras, but I looked at the A9, XT2, GH5, Leica SL, etc. They all suck. I can understand and appreciate what EVFs have to offer versus and OVFs, but to me they still need to have higher resolution and especially frame rate, as well as the ability to match scene brightness outdoors. Of course, that requires more processing power and power consumption, but so be it. Maybe next generation, we'll see. It will be interesting to see if Nikon and Canon will have to offer.

Korey Napier's picture

Very interesting that you find the the current EVF's to be so bad. I don't think I've heard anyone say that the EVF in the X-T2, A9, etc. "suck." With regards to resolution, refresh rate and magnification, the EVF's now a days are pretty impressive. I personally love the quality of the EVF in my X-T1 (although not so much in my X100S), but to each their own I suppose. EVF's are not for everyone. I have no idea how it would work, but it would be cool to see a hybrid DSLR with an OVF and EVF.

Spy Black's picture

Magnification is not an issue. Frame rate is the biggest one, followed by resolution. It's problematic when tracking motion. The A9 was the best at it, but there was still a smear fest going on. The XT2 was pretty bad. I'm confident they will improve with time however. Right now they don't work for me.

Korey Napier's picture

Fair enough.

The evf on the Leica Q is excellent

On SL is magnific!

>> Spy Black I've have yet to find a mirrorless with an EVF I find comfortable. I can tolerate them in little pocket cameras, but I looked at the A9, XT2, GH5, Leica SL, etc. <<

More likely you haven't looked through any with that silly profile name because you are 12. More importantly, who gives a damn about what you are comfortable with?

Spy Black's picture

You're new around here I see.

michael buehrle's picture

Nikon is not gonna change their lens mounting system. that will be a deal breaker for so many photogs.

They could go to a dual system. Compact highly telecentric lenes that will only fit their mirrorless model and an effectively zero-delay adaptor for their DSLR lenses.

Spy Black's picture

I doubt Nikon will keep the F mount on a mirrorless system. They made a new mount for Nikon 1, they'll need a new mount for a full frame/APS-C mirrorless format. They'll probably have an adapter that will accept F-mount lenses like they did with the FT1, but it will not be in their best interest to support F on the mirrorless. I will bet that only the new E series will work on it. Nikon needs to move forward with technology, and just as EOS did it for Canon back in the late 80s, mirrorless will allow Nikon to break free of the reins of the F mount. Backward compatibility is no longer the best interest for Nikon, not as they go moving forward into the mirrorless age.

Nikon might have gotten the jump on Canon with this announcement but they've got a long ways to go to top Canon's Dual Pixel AF which will be incredible in their pro mirrorless.

Spy Black's picture

Nikon already had an effective autofocus system in their old Nikon1 mirrorless system of several years back that could focus continuously at 20fps, and they can only improve upon it since then, so I doubt Canon really has that much of an advantage with their system.

Nikon: We have been developing the new Mirrorless design for about three weeks now. We have always believed for years that Mirrorless is the future. We anticipate the first one to be introduced by late 2019 and will be in production around 6 months after that.

Spy Black's picture

You forget Nikon released the 1 system some years back (predating the Canon system) which, while stupidly crippled in certain aspects, was shooting 20 fps with continuous focus (years ahead of Sony) and 60 fps with 1st frame focus, among other features. All of that R&D did not go to waste. It will be interesting to see what they'll do next, which is pegged for late 2017 to early 2018.