Nikon’s reviving an old playbook with its new mirrorless release, focusing on a high-speed model and a high-resolution model in a one-two punch to competitors, at least if rumors are to be believed.
The naming scheme doesn’t quite follow past releases though. Instead of an “X” model and an “S” model to denote high resolution and high speed, the cameras look like they’ll be called the Z6 (according to Nikon Rumors, a “high speed, low light model” at 24 megapixels) and the Z7 (the “high-resolution model” at 45 megapixels).
Along with the names and the megapixel count, the mount looks like it will be called the Z-Nikkor with a few lenses available at launch — a 24-70mm f/4, a 50mm f/1.8, and a wide-angle lens. No word on any specifications for an adapter.
There is one mention of a specialty lens, a 58mm f/0.95 with the “Noct” branding, which always proves to be special.
The new models are slated to be announced on August 23, 2018.
For Professionals or Not?
With all that said, is this a good start for professionals? As someone who has shot Nikon professionally for the better part of a decade, I have some concerns.
The presence of two models would seem to indicate that Nikon was unable to build speed and resolution into one body, and we’re back to D3X and D3S days where you can have speed or resolution, but not both. 24 megapixels is fine for today, but with 4K video here now and 8K video tomorrow, the lower resolution might not age well on the Z6. The renders on Nikon Rumors, while they are best-guess Photoshop jobs, seem to be lacking that all-important AF-On button that professional bodies usually have, though the D750 gets by just fine without that, so this alone isn’t a disqualifying factor.
The interesting, and worrying, part of the rumor is the Nikon focus on fast primes. Fast primes are great, and I love them. But if I need cameras to just get out of the way and work, I’m looking for the real “get-down-to-business” holy trinity of lenses — a 24-70 f/2.8, a 70-200 f/2.8, and something wider, such as a 14-24mm or a 16-35mm. Sometimes I’ll also carry an 85mm f/1.8 if I’m feeling frisky. Whether it’s a wedding, event, or photojournalism, these are the lenses that professionals need. If these key lenses are not available at the introduction, then the system stands a chance of being dead on arrival. That doesn’t even begin to cover what sports photographers need, where 300mm and up is the order of the day.
That no information has been released about how the adapter performs puts the Nikon faithful, those with thousands of dollars in what will now be “legacy” glass, on edge. However, another way to look at the focus on primes could be that adapter performance is so good that there’s room for some esoteric lenses at launch. One can hope.
If an adapter works as good as a native mount, and image quality and performance beats what’s out there now from Nikon, the company could have as well created a mirrorless monster. If that’s not the case, though, then Nikon will need more than the promise of a few fast primes to lure professionals.
Do you think Nikon’s taking the right approach to its mirrorless models? Will you buy one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.