Nikon Plans to Release a Flagship Mirrorless Camera Similar to the D5

Nikon Plans to Release a Flagship Mirrorless Camera Similar to the D5

The release of the Nikon Z6 and Z7 has seen a surge in interest for the brand riding in the wave of mirrorless hype Sony have started. Now, with the immediate success of the Z series, Nikon are going to create a flagship pro model.

The new Z series have been selling like hot cakes, but not without their fair share of criticisms. A number of outspoken professionals and prominent names in the industry have voiced their concerns over things like the single card slot, citing it will alienate the professional photographers and steer them away. Well, Nikon were either listening, or well prepared for that eventuality.

Speaking with Japanese website, Nikon Imaging Business Development Department Director Hiroyuki Ikegami claims you can count on there being a pro model in the Z-line that is similar to the much coveted D5. Now, from what I can garner via Google translate and comments, this reveal was made in passing and not particularly significant to the interviewer. However, the news will be welcome to many photographers who are on the fence about the Z series.

Would a flagship mirrorless similar to the Nikon D5 pique your interest? What features would be essential for this camera to be a success?

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Rob Davis's picture

As many have said, the Z6 and Z7 were never meant to be "professional" cameras in the way Nikon views professional cameras. They are Nikon's enthusiast mirrorless cameras. A lot of Sony fans think the A7's are professional cameras and that's fine. It's okay to have different standards.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think Nikon's mistake was actually putting out the Z7. If they had just hit the market with the Z6 stating that a pro version was on the way then a lot of the complaints would never have happened. But the fact that the Z7 came too with a big resolution, pro-style sensor, and a pro price point the natural presumption many made was: Z6 = consumer, Z7 = pro. In my opinion, the Z7, as it is, works against them. I think if Nikon had held it back for 6months, worked out all the kinks then released it in a larger form factor pro body with features such as dual card support, eye tracking, better AF, etc then this new line of cameras would have been better off.

Whether or not the Z7 is a "pro" camera (a term I view as meaningless these days), many have come to expect certain features at its price point. Of course Nikon can offer whatever features it wants, but it's not a point of debate that some potential purchasers will be turned off by a single card slot. I personally am also not fond of XQD. Canon has disappointed potential customers with its DSLR card choices in the past too. While the 5DIV has two slots, it's ridiculous that Canon didn't use a faster SD standard and CFast.

Well put. Pro or not, it's a $3400 body. It should have dual slots.

Rob Davis's picture

Leica's are enthusiast cameras that cost more than twice that with only one card slot.

Douglas Turney's picture

Why are dual slots so important to everyone? Sure I like having them but I don't find it a must. Photographers have shot for decades with only one memory device - Film. They survived. Heck even the early digital cameras only had one slot and I don't recall seeing article after article and post after post screaming for dual slots.

David Pavlich's picture

The "back in the day" defense of one memory apparatus is easily explained; it's all anyone had. My reply in the form of a question is this; if you're a shooter of one off events such as weddings and you know that there are cameras with a built in insurance policy against data loss, two cards, why would you choose to take the chance that a one card camera's one card goes kaflooey and you lose your reputation as an otherwise good photographer?

It only takes one major mess up at an event that cannot schedule a reshoot to tarnish a reputation, not to mention the potential loss of that event's paycheck.

If you're a pro landscape shooter or portrait shooter, dual cards aren't nearly as important. These things can be rescheduled. Dealing with the bride, groom, and especially the bride's mother when you tell them you missed the bride and the father walking up the aisle because your one card gave up the ghost is not a pleasant thought.

Douglas Turney's picture

I shoot one off type of events all the time and would have no problem with one card slot. My clients fly me around the country covering these events. 29 events so far this year. By your logic not only should a photographer have multiple card slots but also multiple cameras. Which I bet you do as do I. But guess what? The fact that I have multiple cameras ensures a card "kaflooey" as you say doesn't cost me the entire job. Let's take it even further using your logic. If I truly don't want to fail at these one off type jobs, not only should I have redundant card slots, a back up camera, I guess I should have a backup lens for each lens I use. The exact same lens, because a 24-70 won't be good enough to back up my 300mm.

Tell your editor or the manager of the athlete that you missed that exceptional play isn't pleasant but I'm fine with one card. I'm also tired of the internet crying "Oh my how can anyone be expected to shoot with just one card?". Skilled photographers know how to work around problems. Only having one slot isn't a problem.

David Pavlich's picture

The weak link in this chain is the memory card, not the camera body or the lens, well, unless you drop the stuff in a fountain or something. The discussion is about memory cards and the fact that they fail WAY more often than a camera or lens.

All I'm saying is that your client deserves EVERY consideration. It may be unpleasant that you missed a terrific shot and that could also mean that you could lose that client when he/she finds out you didn't do your best to ensure your product would meet the client's demands.

Rob Davis's picture

*cough* Leica *cough*

People survived without A/C and running water but should we go back to it?

Douglas Turney's picture

My point isn't that we should go back, my point is that people are making foolish comments that this can't be a camera that professionals will use because it has only one card slot. Those kinds of comments are silly.

Tim Cray's picture

Very true, Douglas. I'm sick of these "so-called" professionals complaining about the one card slot. If you don't like what Nikon is offering, then it's simple: don't purchase it. And as I've stated before, people that earn their living taking photos is much smaller than the average consumer, enthusiast, etc. or whatever term you choose to use to describe them.

Rob Davis's picture

If they know Nikon they know the Z7 wasn't meant to be a pro camera. People are getting cost confused with pro.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Why would you say that? Nikon cameras in the $3k-4k range have always been pro bodies, historically. I can't think of any examples of Nikon cameras aimed primarily at hobbyists in the $3k+ range. At least not any time recently.

Rob Davis's picture

I don't know any pros that would put their business on the line for a 1st gen product no matter how great it looked on paper. Nikon knows this. It's always been a more conservative company in that regard. Another conservative camera company, Leica, just release a brand new camera $8000 camera with only one card slot.

Ryan Cooper's picture

You edited your comment after it had been replied to?....

Regardless, Nikon has consistently released Pro bodies in the mid $3k range. Thus it stands to reason to expect that $3k range bodies are aimed at pros.

That said, I'm pretty sure Nikon considers the Z7 a Pro Body, even if critics do not.

Leica is a completely different beast so not really relevant.

Rob Davis's picture

The Df was close to that and not considered a pro body. I think Nikon knows this is a camera for early adopters.

Rob Davis's picture

Leica is still a camera company. Could you imagine the sh**tshow from purists if people were posting articles about not being able to do serious work with a Leica? "No serious wedding photographer would ever shoot with a Leica because it only has one card slot." Please someone write that article.

David Pavlich's picture

And even if I could afford it and I were a wedding photographer, I wouldn't have a $100,000 camera to shoot a wedding if it had one memory card slot. I'd write that article in a second and wouldn't care a whit if any Leica purist didn't appreciate it. Remember, there is not ONE memory card built that GUARANTEES that it will not fail.

So you have an $8000 camera that is built like an M1 A2 Abrams tank that has a $100 memory card that isn't built like said tank and can fail at the drop of a hat. So what do you do when you have a bride sitting in your office crying because you lost an important part of her wedding? Do you give her your $8000 camera?

I'd rather shoot the wedding with a D750 and then shoot the bride's portrait with that $8000 Leica. At least if the portrait shoot is lost, I'd be able to reschedule.

Douglas Turney's picture

How about minimizing the risk by not shooting the entire day on one card. How about switching cards out as the day progresses. This way if a card goes like you are so concerned with, you would only lose a smaller portion of the day. And who is to say that the camera itself won't cause both cards to be corrupted?

Yes dual card slots are nice. I like having two cards slots but this out crying of the internet that this camera only has one card slot is ridiculous.

Jason Lorette's picture

As much as I despise the single card slot...the XQD cards are 'expensive' which is almost as big a gripe for me. A good 32GB SD card can be about $40-ish CDN, a 32GB XQD is about $140-ish CDN. (I never use larger than 32GB for an event or wedding in case of corruption)
I think Nikon is pushing these in newer cameras as they just released their own line of XQD cards, trying to cash in twice.

David Pavlich's picture

So you only lose part of the wedding, you know, like when the bride and father are headed up the aisle...or when the bride is getting ready....or, well, you get my train of thought. The crying out is ridiculous until that day that it happens and you have to tuck your tail between your legs and tell your client you were using only one card and it got corrupted. Then there's a different kind of crying like when you don't get paid or worst, you're taken to court.

Maybe it never happens to you and that would be great. Bur for the life of me, I don't understand why you tempt fate when you don't have to.

I've made a conscious decision to always shoot with two cards regardless of the situation. You have decided the redundancy isn't necessary. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

user-189304's picture

I don't really think it's intellectually honest to say "but [x brand] is different". At least not without rigid and strict substantiation.

user-156929's picture


Ryan Cooper's picture

It was close but not over $3k, its MSRP was about $2,750, if memory serves. Also, they very explicitly marketed it has a high-end hobby camera for people who liked the old days. It is also the only close exception that I know about and it also happens to be a camera that didn't sell very well and was pretty quickly mothballed. It was effectively a failed experiment.

Leica is a camera company but their target audience is completely different meaning the expectations are different. Personally, I have no clue why people are willing to spend so much on the product Leica provides but there is a big difference between Leica and Nikon so it's not a meaningful comparison.

user-189304's picture

But Phase One is different.

But Olympus is different.

But Fujifilm is different.


Well the D750 had a starting retail price of 2296 in 2014. Adjusting for inflation in 2016 that would be 3,124.22 using the CPI calculator. And the D750 is not classified as a Professional camera by Nikon, only the D810, D850, D5 are considered "professional" by nikon USA website. The D750 falls into Enthusiast DSLR catagory.

Wow... if you're getting hit with almost 25% inflation over two years, OUCH!

Ryan Cooper's picture

Jason, I'm not sure where you got your numbers or what CPI calculator you used, but in the US (where the $2,296 price was relevant) inflation has been sub 2.5% each year. Using US government CPI data $2,296 USD in 2014 corrected for inflation in 2018 dollars would be ~$2,475. Nowhere near $3k.

2296 * 1.008 (0.8% in 2014) * 1.007 (0.7% in 2015) * 1.021 (2.1% in 2016) * 1.021 (2.1% in 2017) * 1.019 (~1.9% in 2018) = 2475

(based on a forecasted 1.9% inflation rate for 2018)

As for William, they are but Olympus and Fuji, much less so as their target audience does actually intersect with the market for a Nikon mirrorless so it would be more apt to compare them.

Think of it like comparing automobiles. A Ford Focus, Toyota Camry, and a Honda Civic, while different, at least target the same general audience segment but trying to compare them to an F-350 (Phase metaphor) or a Ferrari (Leica metaphor) is irrelevant. Ferrari buyers don't care that their car sucks at pretty much every practical application because it is fast and a status symbol. Leica fits a similar niche. Leica could do near anything and Leica fans would buy the camera on logo alone and so long as the form factor and elite status are retained it doesn't matter. (Not to say Leica doesn't invest in making their camera perform well)

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